Prophecy News Watch - Week In Review/March 16 - 20
Keeping You Informed of World Events From A Biblical Perspective
Prophetic Trends & Headline News
1. Where is the United States in Bible Prophecy?
Sign Of Judgment? Total Solar Eclipse On March 20th Falls In The Middle Of The Four Blood Red Moons
The total solar eclipse on March 20th falls on Nisan 1, which is the first day of the first month of the Biblical calendar. According to Jewish tradition, a solar eclipse on Nisan 1 is a sign of judgment. And this has certainly been true in the past. For example, there was a solar eclipse on Nisan 1 in 70 AD. Later that year, the Romans attacked Jerusalem and completely destroyed the Temple.
What makes all of this even more interesting is the fact that the solar eclipse on March 20th falls right in the middle of the blood moon tetrad, and it also happens to fall during the Shemitah year. If you are not a believer, you may be tempted to dismiss all of this as some sort of extremely bizarre coincidence. If you are a believer, you also might be skeptical. But by the end of this article, at least you will understand what so many people are talking about right now.
In the Scriptures, we are told that God created the sun and the moon, and that he intended for them to act as “signs”. The following comes from Genesis chapter one…
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
So specifically how can the sun and moon be “signs” as God originally intended?
Well, one minister has discovered that eclipses on important Biblical dates have been associated with key world events throughout history. His name is Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries, and he has pointed out that total eclipses do not take place on any other planet in our solar system…
Total eclipses don’t take place on any other known planet, point out intelligent-design scientists. They only take place on Earth, the finely tuned planet where life exists that can actually view them. Biltz points out that the Bible says in Genesis that the sun, moon and stars were created specifically as signs for mankind, so His creation would know about the feasts (or appointed times) to have relationship with their Creator.
A number of years ago, Pastor Biltz discovered that a series of four blood moon eclipses would occur on important Biblical dates during 2014 and 2015. This kind of “blood moon tetrad” is very rare. It fact, it has only happened seven times before since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This current blood moon tetrad is the eighth occurrence.
And according to Jewish tradition, blood red moons are an omen of war for Israel. The following comes from my previous article on the blood red moons…
Is Israel going to be involved in a war during the blood red moons of 2014 and 2015? According to ancient Jewish tradition, a lunar eclipse is a harbinger of bad things for Israel. If that eclipse is blood red, that is a sign that war is coming. And blood red moons that happen during Biblical festivals seem to be particularly significant.
There was a “tetrad” of blood red moons that fell during Passover 1967, the Feast of Tabernacles 1967, Passover 1968 and the Feast of Tabernacles 1968. And of course the 1967 war during which Israel took full control of Jerusalem took place during that time period. There was also a “tetrad” of blood red moons that fell during Passover 1949, the Feast of Tabernacles 1949, Passover 1950 and the Feast of Tabernacles 1950. If you know your history, you already are aware that the Israeli War of Independence ended on July 20th, 1949. So does the blood red moon tetrad of 2014 and 2015 signal that another season of war is now upon us?
We already witnessed a war between Israel and Hamas in 2014, but personally I am convinced that more war could soon come to the Middle East. For much, much more on this, please see this article.
But what I want to talk about now is the total solar eclipse that is coming up on March 20th. The chart below comes from propheciesoftheendtimes.com, and it shows that it falls right in the middle of this series of blood red moons…
Blood Red Moons
As I mentioned above, when a solar eclipse falls on Nisan 1 it is traditionally considered to be a sign that judgment is coming to the world…
“Our Rabbis taught, when the sun is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the whole world. This may be illustrated by a parable. To what can this be compared? To a human being who made a banquet for his servants and put up for them a lamp. When he became wroth with them he said to his servant, ‘Take away the lamp from them, and let them sit in the dark’.
It was taught: R. Meir said, whenever the luminaries [moon] are in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel since they are inured to blows. This may be compared to a school teacher who comes to school with a strap in his hand. Who becomes apprehensive? He who is accustomed to be daily punished. Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for idolaters; when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons by the moon and idolaters by the sun…”
Of course Jewish tradition is not Scripture, but it is very interesting to note.
And what we do know is that we have seen this kind of pattern before.
On Nisan 1 in 70 AD, there was a total solar eclipse. But that was not the only eclipse during that time period. In fact, there were a whole series of eclipses that took place on key Biblical dates before and after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The following information comes from a book authored by Pastor Mark Biltz entitled “Blood Moons“…
October 18, 69 AD (Sukkot): partial solar eclipse
March 30, 70 AD (Nisan 1): total solar eclipse
April 14, 70 AD (Passover): penumbral lunar eclipse
Temple destroyed 9th of Av, 70 AD
September 21, 70 AD (Rosh Hashanah): annual solar eclipse
October 8, 70 AD (Sukkot): penumbral lunar eclipse
March 4, 71 AD (Purim): partial lunar eclipse
March 20, 71 AD (Nisan 1): hybrid solar eclipse
September 12, 71 AD (Rosh Hashanah): hybrid solar eclipse
Now we find ourselves in the middle of a similar series of eclipses.
So could it be possible that this total eclipse on March 20th is a sign of judgment?
Or is all of this just a giant coincidence?
Either way, at least now you understand what so many people are talking about.
America - Israel's Shield No More?
In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive reelection, the Obama administration is revisiting longtime assumptions about America’s role as a shield for Israel against international pressure.
Angered by Netanyahu’s hard-line platform toward the Palestinians, top Obama officials would not rule out the possibility of a change in American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has historically fended off resolutions hostile to Israel.
And despite signals from Israel suggesting that Netanyahu might walk back his rejection, late in the campaign, of a Palestinian state under his watch, Obama officials say they are taking him at his word.
“The positions taken by the prime minister in the last days of the campaign have raised very significant substantive questions that go far beyond just optics,” said a senior administration official, adding that recent Israeli government actions were in keeping with Netanyahu’s rhetoric.
While saying it was “premature” to discuss Washington’s policy response, the official wouldn’t rule out a modified American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has long fended off resolutions criticizing Israeli settlement activity and demanding its withdrawal from Palestinian territories.
“We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward,” the official said.
There is no virtually no chance that the U.S. will trim its financial or military support for Israel. But some analysts believe that going forward, Netanyahu may be vulnerable in international forums where the U.S. has long been a bulwark against criticism of Israel and its presence in Palestinian territories.
“I do think the administration is going to look very closely at the possibility of either joining, or at least not blocking an internationally backed move at the U.N. to restate the parameters for ending the conflict,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the left-leaning pro-Israel group J Street.
Netanyahu’s campaign statements “make it a lot easier for the administration to justify going down a more international route,” Ben-Ami added.
The chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, Saeb Erakat, told Agence France-Press that the Palestinians will “accelerate, continue and intensify” their diplomatic efforts to pressure Israel.
The U.S. has run critical interference for Israel on such measures in the past. Last November, the U.N. Security Council considered a draft resolution, pushed by the Palestinians and Arab countries, demanding an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank within three years. The U.S. quietly quashed the effort.
In February 2011, Obama exercised his first Security Council veto to strike down a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in Palestinian territory. Every other one of the Security Council’s 15 members supported the resolution.
Obama officials must now decide whether more international pressure on Israel can help bring a conservative Netanyahu-led government back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians — or whether such pressure would simply provoke a defiant reaction, as some fear.
Obama has other diplomatic options. He could expend less political capital to oppose growing momentum within the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel for its settlement activity.
More provocative to Israel would be any softening of Obama’s opposition to Palestinian efforts to join the International Criminal Court, which the Palestinian Authority will formally join on April 1. Under a law passed by Congress, any Palestinian bid to bring war crimes charges against Israel at the court will automatically sever America’s $400 million in annual aid to the Palestinian Authority, although some experts suggested Obama could find indirect ways to continue some funding — even if only to prevent a dangerous collapse of the Palestinian governing body.
On Monday, Danny Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said he expected Netanyahu to “retract” a campaign statement he made ruling out the possibility of a Palestinian state during his tenure as prime minister. But the senior Obama official said that the administration believes the prime minister meant what he said because Netanyahu made multiple comments during the closing days of his campaign as he appealed to conservative voters.
The official noted that Netanyahu also admitted that, during his first term as prime minister in the mid-1990s, he had approved construction at the Israeli settlement of Har Homa to cut off any possible linkage between Palestinian-majority areas. “It was a way of stopping Bethlehem from moving toward Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said.
“To actually come out and say that this construction is actually driven by efforts to undermine a future Palestinian state is fairly dramatic,” said the official. He added that the Obama administration is focused not just on Netanyahu’s comments but on his “several-year record of action on this issue” casting doubt on his desire for a peace agreement.
A former senior Obama official was more direct, saying of the Israeli leader: “He’s shown his true colors.”
For months, Israeli officials have insisted that the real problem lies not with their policies but with the Palestinians. They cite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s formation of a unity government with the Gaza-based militant group Hamas last June, and his December move to have the Palestinian Authority join the criminal court — actions that Israel vehemently opposed.
Even before the events of recent days, pro-Israel conservatives were alarmed about the possibility of a toughened policy from the Obama White House in the wake of Secretary of State’s John Kerry’s failed push for an Israeli-Arab peace agreement. That effort collapsed last spring, and some key Obama officials primarily blamed Israel.
Since then, the Obama administration has criticized Israel’s settlement building with increasingly blunt language.
In November, after Israel’s government announced plans to build 2,500 new homes in East Jerusalem, for instance, White House spokesman Josh Earnest warned that the news would draw international scorn — pointedly adding that it would “distance Israel from even its closest allies.”
Another concern for Netanyahu allies is a recent White House staff shuffle, in which the national security director’s point man on Israel, Phil Gordon, departed and was replaced by Rob Malley, a former adviser to Bill Clinton.
Malley’s ascension to the post of White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region drew outrage from some Israeli-American groups, who pointed to his past contacts, while a staffer at the nonprofit International Crisis Group, with Hamas. While the U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organization, Malley has argued that any Israeli-Arab peace deal will require dealing with the Gaza-based group.
As a candidate in 2008, Obama ousted Malley from his campaign advisory team after critics attacked his Hamas contacts. Malley has also publicly blamed Israel for the failure of peace talks with the Palestinians.
Soon after Malley’s March 6 promotion from a more junior White House post, the Zionist Organization of America lashed out with a statement calling him “an Israel-basher, an advocate of U.S. recognition of major, unreconstructed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and a proponent of the containment of Iran.”
More Signs In Sky Point To Coming Collapse
The approaching solar eclipse on March 20, followed by another blood moon on Passover, brings warnings of judgment coming to an unrepentant nation that has turned its back on God, says the author of two New York Times-bestselling books on America’s place in an increasingly chaotic world.
Jonathan Cahn, author of “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” says he will be watching and taking notes on the landmark Supreme Court decision expected this summer on same-sex marriage while also keeping an eye on ISIS and Israel in the Middle East.
Throw in a volatile U.S. stock market, and Cahn expects to be a busy man for the remainder of the Shemitah year, which reaches its halfway point at sundown on March 20.
That also happens to be the day of a total solar eclipse.
The second half of the Shemitah and its ultimate climax on Sept. 13, which is Elul 29, the infamous “wipe-out day” on the Hebrew calendar, is dreaded by financial investors. This is the same day that brought the two biggest single-day stock market crashes in U.S. history to that point, Sept. 17, 2001 and Sept. 29, 2008. In the 2008 crash, the Dow fell 777.7 points on the news that the House of Representatives voted down a $700 billion bailout deal.
If you’re starting to get the idea that the Shemitah is all about the number seven, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.
Following 2001 and 2008, the next Shemitah year is 2015, which follows a seven-year cycle laid out for Moses in Exodus, then repeated in Leviticus. Every seventh year, the Israelites were instructed by God to celebrate a Sabbath year, letting the land rest from sowing and reaping and canceling out the debts of their countrymen. Everyone would start with a clean financial slate on Elul 29, the day of “release.” They would be blessed as long as they followed God’s commandments, but when they turned to false gods or followed their own pursuits independent of God, that’s when the blessings turned to judgments, often starting out light but turning more severe the longer the warning signs were ignored.
Cahn sees a similar phenomenon playing out in America. He traces the first signs of judgment to 1973, a Shemitah year, following the removal of prayer from public schools in the 1960s and then the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. That started a downhill spiral, with each judgment getting more pronounced, including the stock-market crashes of 1980 and 1987, followed by terror attacks and a market crash in September 2001, then another financial collapse seven years later in September 2008. The present Shemitah year started Sept. 25, 2014, and is now halfway to its climax in September 2015.
“You never want to put God in box. He doesn’t have to do anything, but the pattern has been, the last seven Shemitahs, there’s been a collapse every time. And then the last two have been exactly to the day, on this Elul 29 wipe-out day,” Cahn said.
Elul 29 is the last day of the Hebrew month of Elul, which is followed by the month of Tishri. Elul 29 falls this year on Sunday, Sept. 13, which is the eve of the Feast of Trumpets, also known as Rosh Hashanah.
“Tishri is the month that manifests the wipe-out,” Cahn said. “Throughout history, the greatest crashes have all been focused on Tishri.”
Ominous signs in the heavens?
The current Shemitah year is being watched even more closely by some because it coincides with a rare tetrad of four blood moons that all occur on biblical feast days, the next coming on April 4, which is Passover. The tetrad of blood moons has only occurred three other times in the last 500 years. On top of the four blood moons, there will be a total solar eclipse on March 20 and a partial solar eclipse on Sept. 13 or Elul 29.
There’s that day again, Elul 29, the very day that in biblical Israel all debts were canceled and all financial accounts wiped clean, ushering in the month of Tishri and the Feast of Trumpets. The trumpet is symbolic in scripture of coming judgment and for people to get their lives right with God, Cahn said. The solar eclipse, likewise, has often been associated with ominous warnings in scripture.
If you haven’t read “The Harbinger” or seen “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” yet, now is the time to catch up on the groundbreaking spiritual detective work of Jonathan Cahn.
“One of the signs in the Bible of judgment can be a darkening of the sun,” Cahn said. “Well, on Elul 29 the sun will be darkened. A solar eclipse. I don’t want to be dogmatic, but the last time that happened was 1987; it ushered in black Monday, the worst percentage crash in Wall Street history. It also happened during the Great Depression. So it’s like a lot of convergence is going on at the same time.”
The prophet Joel connected solar eclipses and blood moons with the end times. In Joel 2:30-31, he prophesied: “And I shall show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.”
The Shemitah can also bring major turns in world events. In his book, “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” Cahn demonstrates how the rise and fall of empires have coincided with the seven-year cycle. Hitler’s Third Reich, Japan’s dynasty, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires all fell in accordance with the seven-year cycle of the Shemitah.
The day Nisan 1 marks the biblical new year on the Hebrew calendar, which is March 20, the same day as the solar eclipse and the exact center point of the Shemitah year.
“I think it’s significant. Generally the pattern is the dramatic part comes at the end. However, there is often foreshadowing at the beginning,” Cahn said.
In the first week of the Shemitah in September 2014, Russia became the world’s No. 1 nuclear power, surpassing America. In the second week of the Shemitah, the American economic juggernaut that began in 1871, the year the U.S. became the greatest economic power on earth, came to an end. China surpassed the U.S. in gross domestic product.
What’s more, China last month announced plans for its currency to replace the dollar as the world’s global reserve currency.
Simon Black, an international investor and founder of Sovereign Man, reported recently that China had placed billboards near the international airport in Thailand advertising its currency. He wrote:
“When I arrived to Bangkok the other day, coming down the motorway from the airport I saw a huge billboard – and it floored me.
The billboard was from the Bank of China. It said: ‘RMB: New Choice; The World Currency’
Given that the Bank of China is more than 70% owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, I find this very significant.
It means that China is literally advertising its currency overseas, and it’s making sure that everyone landing at one of the world’s busiest airports sees it. They know that the future belongs to them and they’re flaunting it.”
“China took the crown,” Cahn told WND. “That’s something I’ve been warning about for a long time, that the crown would be passed from America to China. One of the things about the Shemitah, is it’s not only linked to the economy but also history and the rise and fall of nations. So, to see that is very ominous. What you’re watching with America, it has been blessed by God and now it’s driving God and His ways out. What’s going to happen to America?”
Another barometer is America’s relations with Israel. That relationship appears more strained than it has been in decades, as President Obama’s former campaign advisers are working in Israel to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When Netanyahu came to the U.S. to deliver a speech to Congress, he was snubbed by the president and more than 100 Democrats.
Cahn believes the law of “blessing and cursing” with regard to nations and their treatment of the Jewish people, according to Genesis 12:3, is still in effect.
“Then you have America and Israel, another law of ancient times, and then you have the signs. I mean that was major, the end of the American age. We’re watching it happen,” he said. “So I believe it’s all coming. Whether it happens in the exact parameters or not, it’s coming.”
Sinking into the abyss
Morally, America continues to sink into the abyss, he said.
A new Wall Street Journal and NBC News survey found that 59 percent of Americans support allowing same-sex marriage, nearly double the 30 percent support reported in 2004.
On the day the poll was reported, March 10, the media were rife with astonishment in how a nation’s public opinion could transform in such a short period of time on such a controversial subject.
Just last week, 379 companies filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. The list of names on the brief reads like a Who’s Who of corporate America: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Coca-Cola, the NFL, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, J.P. Morgan-Chase, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo are among the hundreds of companies asking the high court to overturn a lower court’s ban on gay marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
If the old saying is true that “the Supreme Court follows the election returns,” then there is a good chance that the high court will issue a sweeping same-sex marriage decree that requires all states to recognize same-gender unions.
The redefinition of marriage would be just another nail in the coffin, sealing the coming judgment of American, Cahn believes.
“That is major. I believed for years it was going to happen if we didn’t turn around. These are milestones of world history to begin with,” Cahn said. “But in another key Shemitah year was 1973. That year saw Roe v. Wade, the other kind of milestone. And within one month of Roe v. Wade, that Supreme Court decision with abortion, the financial realm collapsed. Led to a global recession. That same year, America lost its first war in modern history, or ever, in Vietnam. So these were watermark years. And now we have another Shemitah, with another Supreme Court ruling most likely in June; that is another kind of cataclysmic, moral, spiritual thing. What’s that going to do in the spiritual realm? Well, I believe it’s all coming together.”
Cahn said most people aren’t aware that the Shemitah is linked to end-time prophecy.
“The last part of end-time prophecy we call the tribulation period. Well, how long is that? A seven-year cycle, linked to Daniel’s 70 sevens which is linked to the Shemitah,” he said. “And there’s one of the mysteries called the mystery of the seventh Shemitah.”
The Bible instructs that every seventh Shemitah, or 49 years, there comes a sort of mega Shemitah that is followed by the “jubilee year,” Cahn said.
“This cycle is actually linked to restoration of land that you lost,” Cahn said.
The 50-year cycles gives the exact time parameters of when the land of Israel was restored to the Jewish people in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration. Then 50 years later in 1967, Israel reclaimed East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the Six Day War.
“I’m not being dogmatic because it doesn’t have to continue, but if it did, where would it take us?” Cahn said. “It would take us to 2015. And then the year going after (2016) which in each period, after each cycle, has been a major war in the Middle East, gigantic, focused on Israel and a prophetic, major end-time event.”
When You See A Sword Coming - Three Existential Threats Facing America
Last month, I addressed the closing dinner of the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville. Last night, I addressed a conference of pastors and ministry leaders here in Tucson. The message here was nearly the same as at NRB. People have been asking me to share my notes because of the urgency of the subjects I discussed. So I am posting them here tonight.
The following is the formal message I prepared for the NRB Convention. While I did not deliver the speech verbatim, you will get the essential points I made that night.
WHEN YOU SEE A SWORD COMING: Three Existential Threats Facing America
My text tonight is Ezekiel chapter 33, verses one through nine. It is a famous passage — one that you all know — about the role of the “Watchman on the Wall.” I believe it is deeply relevant to our times.
33 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
7 “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.
More than 2,500 years ago, the Lord spoke these words to the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel.
- A man of God
- Born in Israel
- Exiled and living in Iraq
- Amidst grave dangers rising
What was Ezekiel commanded to do? The text is clear.
- Listen to God
- Watch for threats
- Warn the people, come what may
This was a divine calling – an enormous responsibility. And God was clear. Some would listen to Ezekiel’s warnings. Some would not. Ezekiel was not going to be held responsible for the decision others made to obey the Lord or not. He would be held responsible for obeying the Lord, teaching people the Word of God and warning the people when God told him to speak. Fortunately, Ezekiel was faithful to the task.
As followers of Jesus Christ — and as pastors and ministry leaders and religious broadcasters — each of you are, in our modern times, also watchmen on the walls. In many ways, you have the same calling. The same responsibility.
- To listen to the Word of God, found in the Bible
- To speak the Word of God — to tell people the bad news and the good news according to the Scriptures
- To warn people of threats that are rising
- To speak the truth in love, come what may
God warned Ezekiel — as He warns us today — that if He speaks and we don’t share His Word with others, we will be held to account. What’s more, if we see threats rising, and we do not warn people, we will be held to account.
Tonight, as I look out America, I see three existential threats.
Threat #1 — What if America is not simply in a season of decline but heading towards collapse, towards implosion?
Threat #2 — What if America is not simply at rising risk of attack by Radical Islam but heading towards the risk of annihilation by Apocalyptic Islam?
Threat #3 — What if America is not simply entering a season of strained relations with Israel but heading towards total abandonment of the Jewish State?
Let’s take those one by one.
Threat #1 — What if America is not simply in a season of decline but heading towards collapse, towards implosion?
In 2012, I wrote a non-fiction book called, Implosion: Can America Recover From Her Economic & Spiritual Challenges in Time? I commend it to your attention because every passing day I believe the analysis is proving to be true and its message is becoming more urgent. The nation – and the Church – must know how much danger we are in. If we are silent, or if we soften it around the edges, we will be held to account before the Lord.
In the State of the Union address in January, the President covered a range of issues and challenges that we face, but this was his central case. “No challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” (SOTU, January 20, 2015)
I respectfully disagree. There is a long list of reasons America faces implosion, but I can sum it up in one number: 58 million.
Since 1973, Americans have aborted 58 million babies. Think about that — 58 million. It is a staggering number. And if something doesn’t happen soon to change course, in less than two years we will hit 60 million.
If this happens, we as Americans will have murdered ten times more human beings than the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis.
We know the judgment of God that fell upon Nazi Germany. What do we think is going to happen to a nation that exterminates ten times more people than the Nazis?
The judgment of Almighty God is coming. There is no way out. The souls of 58 million babies are crying out for justice – and they will get it.But for this to happen we need to be pleading with God to have mercy on us. We need to be calling people to prayer, fasting and above all repentance.
I’m grateful for pastors like Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Bible teachers like Anne Graham Lotz who are calling the Church to precisely this. May their tribe increase.
As watchmen, are you warning America of the coming implosion? Are you calling the Church and nation to prayer and fasting and repentance? Is there more that you can do? Let us be found faithful, for I believe our time is running out.
RADICAL ISLAM AND APOCALYPTIC ISLAM
Threat #2 — What if America is not simply at rising risk of attack by Radical Islam but heading towards the risk of annihilation by Apocalyptic Islam?
There are two core themes in my books, both novels and non-fiction:
- To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blind-sided by it.
- Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.
On December 7, 1941, we were blindsided by an evil we did not understand.
It happened again on September 11, 2001.
The 9/11 Commission Report stated that the attacks perpetrated by al Qaeda were “not a failure of intelligence but a failure of imagination.” Despite all of the data that was pouring in, our leaders in Washington simply never imagined that such an attack were possible.
Fourteen years later, we have a President who refuses to define “Radical Islam” as the source of the threat we face in the Middle East and North Africa.
- Running in 2008, said Iran was a small country and did not pose a serious threat to us
- January 2014: said ISIS was a “jayvee” squad, not a serious threat
- August 28, 2014: “We don’t have a strategy yet” to defeat ISIS.
- January 20, 2015: didn’t mention Islam or Islamism or AQI in his SOTU address
My friends, we cannot defeat an enemy we refuse to define.
The threat of Radical Islam is a very serious threat to us and our allies.
Consider the words of Jordan’s King Abdullah, not only a Muslim but a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
- we are in a “Third World War”
- “This is a war inside Islam. So we [Muslims] have to own up to it. We have to take the lead. And we have to start fighting back.”
- “This is a Muslim problem. We need to take ownership of this. We need to stand up and say what is right and what is wrong.” (interview on CBS 60 Minutes, December 5, 2014)
The King and his senior advisors get it. They aren’t Radicals, but Reformers. And they are actively engaged in fighting the Radicals militarily, diplomatically, politically, financially, and even theologically.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi also gets it. He, too, is a Muslim – and he, too, is engaging the fight on multiple fronts.
Consider his speech on January 1, 2015 at Al Azhar University in Cairo:
- “Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants…so that they themselves may win? Impossible.”
- “We are in need of a religious revolution. You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world is waiting for your next move.”
The President insists that we are not at war with Islam. Obviously. The vast majority of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are not a danger. But research shows that 7% to 10% of Muslims worldwide do support violent jihad. That’s upwards of 150 million people. If it were a single country — the Islamic Republic of Radicalstan — it would the world’s 9th largest, just ahead of Russia (146 million).
But the threat we face is not simply from Radical Islam. Indeed, it not even primarily from Radical Islam at this hour.
The most serious threat we face in the Middle East and North Africa is what I call “Apocalyptic Islam.”
This is a term each of needs to become familiar with and begin to teach others.
For the first time in all of human history, we have not just one but two nation states who rulers are driven not by political ideology — or even mere religious theology — but by apocalyptic End Times eschatology.
- The Islamic Republic of Iran today is ruled by an apocalyptic, genocidal death cult.
- So is the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
- The former are Shia. The latter are Sunni.
- Both believe the End of days has come.
- Both believe their messiah – known as the “Mahdi” — is coming at any moment.
- Both are trying to hasten the coming of the Mahdi.
Yet each has entirely different strategies.
- ISIS wants to build a caliphate.
- Iran wants to build The Bomb.
- ISIS is committing genocide now.
- Iran is preparing to commit genocide later.
In the near term, ISIS is more dangerous. Why? Because ISIS is on a jihadist rampage right now. Robbing. Killing. Destroying. Enslaving. Raping. Torturing. Beheading. As Americans, we dare not turn a blind eye to this threat. If we don’t defeat the jihadists over there, they are coming here. We must act, and act now.
That said, as Christians we have different responsibilities. The government’s job is to defeat and destroy our enemies. Our job as Christians is to love our enemies, and all those who are living under their reign of terror.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we must not be blind to the enormous suffering inside the Muslim world, nor deaf to their cries for help, nor dull to the tyranny we face. Christ commands us to love them, to serve them, to bless them, to tell them the good news that they may have life. We must act, and act now.
Longer term, Iran is the most dangerous, especially if the President approves this nuclear deal that is emerging. Why? Because the apocalyptic leaders of Iran are biding their time to build a nuclear arsenal capable of killing millions of people in a matter of minutes.
Far too few people in the West truly understand the nature and threat of Radical Islam, much less that of Apocalyptic Islam. Indeed, many dismiss these concerns all together. But it is empirical fact that a deep and widespread belief exists within the Islamic world that we are living in the End of Days.
According to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center, “in most countries in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, more than half or more of Muslims believe they will love to see the return of the Mahdi.” That’s more than 750 million Muslims.
Egypt — 40% of Muslims believe the return of the Mahdi is imminent.
Jordan — 41%
Palestinians — 46%
Iraq — 72%
What’s more, the report found that an enormous number of Muslims believe that Jesus is coming back to earth (to serve under the Mahdi.)
Jordan — 29% of Muslims believe Jesus is coming back to earth
Egypt — 39%
Palestinians — 46%
Iraq — 64%
Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology is a photographic negative of Biblical eschatology. The leaders of Iran and ISIS believe the way to hasten the coming of the messiah to kill as many people as possible. The followers of Jesus Christ, on the other hand, believe the way to hasten the coming of the messiah is to save as many people as possible. (Matthew 24:14)
Which brings me back to you — the watchmen on the wall.
Are you warning the nation of the “coming sword” – the threat of both Radical Islam and Apocalyptic Islam — and explaining to people their similarities and their differences?
Are you urging the Church to fulfill the Great Commission by preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations, including Muslim nations?
Let us not simply tell the bad news. Let us tell the good news. And there is much good news. Since 1979, more Muslims have come to faith on Christ and renounced Islam than in the last 14 centuries of Islam combined.
So now is not the time to cower in fear. Now is the time to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit — with courage and conviction — because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.”
Which brings me finally to Threat #3 — What if America is not simply entering a season of strained relations with Israel, but we are heading towards total American abandonment of the Jewish State?
- Genesis 12:1-3 — God says He will bless those who bless Israel and the Jewish people, and curse those who curse them.
- Joel 3:2 — God warns the nations that He will judge all who divide the Land of Israel.
- Ezekiel 38-39 — God warns that a group of nations will attack Israel in the “last days” but no nation will come to Israel’s defense.
- Revelation 16 — God warns that all nations in the End of Days will attack Israel.
The Bible teaches us that all nations will turn against Israel in the last days — and all nations will face judgment for it — but woe into us if it happens on our watch.
Have we come to that fateful moment? It is not yet clear. Still, we are watching the President:
- negotiate an incredibly dangerous deal with Iran
- refuse to share the details of this detail with Israel, America’s most faithful and trusted ally in the region
- refuse to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister when he came to address a Joint Session of Congress on matters of existential importance to both of our nations.
- send the VP and Secretary of State out of country to avoid seeing the Prime Minister
- send his political strategists and operatives to defeat the Prime Minister and his party in Israel’s elections
This is the most dangerous moment in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
What do the next two years hold?
I’m not sure. But this much I know: on top of all America’s national challenges and sins, we dare not also abandon or turn against Israel and the Jewish people. If we do, we will seal our fate with God.
Which brings me back to you — the watchmen on the walls.
Are you warning the nation and the Church of the dangerous road the President has us on vis-à-vis Israel?
Are you mobilizing Christians to love and bless and pray for and stand with Israel and the Jewish people in this critical hour?
I am afraid I cannot tell you whether God will grant America a Third Great Awakening and/or raise up a King like Josiah (see 2 Chronicles 34-35) and thus forestall the coming judgment.
I cannot tell you whether the American government will do its job to protect us and our allies from Radical and Apocalyptic Islam before it’s too late.
Or whether the Church will do her job in fulfilling the Great Commission and standing with our persecuted brothers and sisters in the epicenter.
Or whether America and the Church will stand with Israel and bless her and the Jewish people.
All I can tell you is that you and I have been called to be watchmen on the walls.
Our job is to:
- Listen to and study and know the Word of God
- Teach the Word of God
- Watch for threats
- Warn the people, come what may
We are not going to be held responsible if people do not listen to us or to the Word of God. We will be held to account if we fail to speak and act when the Lord commands us to do so.
Much is hanging in the balance. May you and I be found faithful to the task.
China May Be Ending Dollar's Hold On Reserve Currency As Early As September
On March 9, sources within China provided new information that validates that the Far Eastern economy is now ready to compete with, or even supplant, the dollar as the sole global reserve currency as early as September of this year. Having already completed a message interchange system that mirrors the same one in the West, the Chinese equivalent of SWIFT is now ready and is expected to be fully operational by the 3rd quarter of 2015, which will allow other nations to transact with the world's largest economy without the need to purchase dollars as a medium of exchange.
Additionally, there has been a great deal of speculation over the past two years that China might back their currency with gold once they are fully ready to float it as a global reserve, with strong indications showing that at the very least, China will be calling for the use of international letters of credit or trade notes that are backed by gold to help stabilize transactions using this historical form of sound money.
Today, we got proof that it is the second outcome that is about to prevail following a Reuters report that China's international payment system, known simply enough as China International Payment System (CIPS), which serves to process cross-border yuan transactions is ready, and may be launched as early as September or October.
According to Reuters, the launch of the will remove one of the biggest hurdles to internationalizing the yuan and should greatly increase global usage of the Chinese currency by cutting transaction costs and processing times.
It will also put the yuan on a more even footing with other major global currencies like the U.S. dollar, as CIPS is expected to use the same messaging format as other international payment systems, making transactions smoother.
CIPS, which would be a worldwide payments superhighway for the yuan, will replace a patchwork of existing networks that make processing renminbi payments a more cumbersome process.
Less than a month ago, China's close partner in Eurasia, Russia, implemented and brought online their own SWIFT alternative after economic sanctions by the U.S. continued into their second year, and information was discovered that pointed towards the NSA monitoring all messages going through the Western controlled SWIFT system.
Even without a complete global float of the Yuan through their own message interchange, China has grown over the past few years to achieve 9% of all global transactions using their national currency. And with dozens of swap lines already in place in banking systems around the world, as well as London banking centers now able to issue Yuan denominated bonds, nearly everything in the global financial system has been mirrored by China to allow them to compete with, or replace, the dollar's function as the reserve currency.
The average lifespan for any purely fiat currency is around 30 years, with the dollar surpassing this by more than a decade due to its place as the global standard for trade and oil purchases. However, now that the world's financial system has become saturated with overwhelming debt, and most economies solidly entrenched in currency wars, the world is about ready for a return to sound money and a gold backed currency, which China may be providing to their trading partners within six months.
2. Israel - God's Timepiece
Bible Prophecy Experts - Netanyahu's Win Part Of God's End Time Plan
Benjamin Netanyahu’s stunning victory in the Israeli elections has led to an eruption of media criticism against the Jewish state and its newly re-elected leader.
But amidst growing concern that Israel will be diplomatically isolated, religious experts warn that such international opposition is not only inevitable, it is necessary to fulfill God’s plan in what many believe are the coming end times.
One of the leading voices warning of the growing hostility to the Jewish people is bestselling author Joel Richardson, whose shocking new blockbuster “When a Jew Rules the World: What the Bible Really Says About Israel in the Plan of God” was released on the very same day as the Israeli elections.
In an exclusive interview with WND, Richardson called the timing “providential” but cautioned the results of “one of Israel’s most important critical elections in its lifetime” do not spell an end to trouble for the Jewish people.
“Although President Obama is no doubt not happy with the results of the election, those who support Israel and her security are breathing a sigh of relief that Netanyahu was re-elected. But as Christians, we also know that regardless as to who is the prime minister of that nation, Israel’s only real security can come from trusting in the Lord.
“In the days ahead, as we draw closer to the fulfillment of the covenant promises of God to the sons of Israel, the rage of Satan and the nations will only increase. What we are seeing now with ISIS and Iran is nothing compared to where it will go.”
Pastor Carl Gallups sounded a similar theme. In an interview with WND, Gallups, author of the bestelling “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” suggested the Israeli people understood the threat posed by nations like Iran, even if the mainstream media and the Obama administration do not.
“The people of Israel have spoken. It seems that the majority of Israelis do not want Iran to have nukes, do not support the Obama administration negotiating with Iran regarding the procurement of nuclear weapons, do not want the Arab Palestinians to have a separate state (especially if it involves a land give-away on the part of Israel), do not want militant Islam to dominate the Middle East, and do want more Jewish settlements to be built.
“These were some of Netanyahu’s major planks and, in his words, he won hands down ‘against all odds.’”
Gallups believes the media’s opposition to Israel partially explained the misleading coverage during the campaign suggesting Netanyahu faced certain defeat.
“Prior to, and even during, the election process it seemed the vast majority of what I was reading predicted Netanyahu’s defeat and was proclaiming how this defeat was going to be a ‘good thing’ for the prospects of ‘world peace.’ Either the media’s pre-election analytics were astoundingly poor, or … could it have been that they were actually attempting to convince the Israeli electorate (or themselves) that Netanyahu needed to be unseated?”
However, Gallups says ultimately what is happening in the Middle East is part of a divine plan and subject to the will of God, not the vicissitudes of power politics.
“World events continue to unfold – all centered around Israel and its right to exist and defend itself – just as the Bible foretold thousands of years ago.”
Pastor Mark Biltz agrees that current events in Israel are the fulfillment of a divine plan. The pastor of El Shaddai Ministries and the original discoverer of the four Blood Moons teaching declared, “I believe God was in total control of the elections regardless of the outcome.”
Biltz, author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs” and host of the “Blood Moons” DVD says that signs sent by God warn Christians that the world is about to enter a whole new age.
Specifically, Biltz points to a solar eclipse that will take place on Friday as an indication that “time goes back to the beginning as everything is coming into alignment.”
Biltz explained, “This solar eclipse is also a super dark moon and it is over the North Pole. The last total solar eclipse on the March equinox occurred back in 1662 on March 20. It was in the southern hemisphere.”
“What is happening this week will be a first time ever in human history event.”
Biltz believes the timing of the eclipse followed by the appearance of the next Blood Moon signifies that momentous events are soon to follow.
“Having this once in a lifetime solar eclipse aligned with the spring equinox as well as the beginning of the religious calendar all on Nisan 1, just after Israel’s elections, is definitely a sign from the heavens. This is followed two weeks later by a Blood Moon, a total lunar eclipse on Passover, the very day all the firstborn of Egypt died about 3,500 years ago.”
According to Biltz, Netanyahu’s victory is a sign that he has been chosen to lead Israel at this critical juncture. As he put it, “God was putting the one He wanted at the helm of Israel for the perilous times they are entering.”
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, who was named special envoy for Middle Eastern affairs to the World Council of Independent Christian Churches for her expertise on Middle East affairs and Jewish-Christian relations, agrees that Netanyahu has been “raised up for a time such as this.”
In an exclusive interview with WND, Cardoza-Moore stated, “What is happening right now, what is unfolding, is bigger than any world leader is able to understand. All the strategies of man will not work against the nation of Israel.”
Cardoza-Moore specifically identified Obama’s attempt to manipulate the Israeli elections as an example of this failure.
“Obama puts all these millions of dollars and use the same kind of campaign that got him elected to try to unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu. It didn’t work. And he will pay a price.”
Cardoza-Moore called Netanyahu “the key statesman of our world and the Churchill of our age” who is the “only one who understands what is happening in the Middle East and around the world.”
But the U.N. special envoy warned that Scripture states that Israel is likely to face greater threats in the immediate future.
“We know that we are living in the last days. If we look at the policies of the United States government and the United Nations, we can see that they are dividing up the land of Israel. And Obama tried to bring down the King David of our time, for it’s God who raises up kings and brings them down.
“We must remember the final battle takes place against the enemies of Israel. And though Israel must face the wrath of nations around the world for prophecy to be fulfilled, military history doesn’t apply to Israel. God says, ‘I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you.’” (Genesis 12:3)
Also drawing on Scripture, Joel Richardson says understanding the role of Israel and the Jewish people is critically important for Christians to comprehend the end times and how God expects them to act.
“I’m happy to see Islamic Antichrist, a book that is now several years old, once again a No. 1 bestseller, but I truly believe that ‘When a Jew Rules the World’ is my most important book to date.
“Christians need to equip themselves to understand what the Bible says regarding Israel and how it is that we are to stand with her in these last days.”
And Biltz judges the real tests for Christians and everyone else are just about to begin.
“I say fasten your seat belts as this world is about to go on the ride of its life. We are back to square one and a new era begins.”
Major Prophetic Announcement! - Holy Altar Constructed For Third Jewish Temple
End-times prophecy watchers are marveling over a news report out of Jerusalem this week that the Altar of the Lord has been reconstructed by the Temple Institute.
The Institute, based in the Old City of Jerusalem, announced it has finished building an altar that is essentially “ready for use” in sacrificial services.
The altar is the most ambitious project to date toward the goal of rebuilding the Jewish Temple. The massive outdoor altar, which took several years to build, can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice, reported the Israeli magazine Matzav Haruach.
The altar is the last major component needed for the long-obstructed sacrifices to resume in a future Jewish temple.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray daily for its reconstruction atop the holy hill known as Mount Moriah or the Temple Mount.
Bible scholars say the rebuilding of the ancient temple is predicted throughout scripture, starting with Daniel’s vision in Daniel 9:27. Jesus echoed Daniel’s warning about an abomination standing in “the holy place” in the last days in Matthew 24:15, followed by the Apostle John’s vision of the Temple in Revelation 11:1-2. Paul mentioned it in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
Most people don’t realize the temple had two altars — the altar of burnt offering and the altar of incense. The largest was the altar of burnt offering, placed in the outer court of the priests. Designing and building it to exact biblical specifications required quite an undertaking.
It was approximately 5 meters (16 feet) tall and 16 meters (52.5 feet) wide, with four “horns” or raised corners, and a ramp.
The altar is the central focus of the sacrificial services that were halted with the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D.
The Temple Institute has prepared all the priestly garments and sacred vessels for the rebuilt temple, which can be viewed on its website. It even trains members of the priestly family to be ready to serve as soon as the Temple is constructed.
Carl Gallups, a Baptist pastor in Florida, Bible prophecy expert and author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” told WND the announcement about the altar will be seen by many Christians as a huge step toward fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
“This announcement will surely excite prophecy watchers around the world,” he said. “Regardless of one’s eschatological leanings, every sincere student of the Word of God knows there are at least hints, if not clear declarations, of something happening just before the return of the Lord that involves altar sacrifices and the distinct possibility of a rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount.”
Jonathan Cahn, author of “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah” also sees the announcement as significant.
“We know that end-time prophecy cannot be fulfilled without the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem,” Cahn, a Messianic Jewish rabbi in New Jersey, told WND. “The abomination desolation prophesied in Daniel and in the Gospels, must take place within the Temple precincts. So, too, the apostle Paul speaks of the ‘man of sin,’ or the Antichrist, sitting in the Temple of God. What many people don’t realize is that along with the Holy of Holies, the altar of the Temple is the most central and critical part of the Temple.”
Cahn said it is the altar that is the center of the abomination causing desolation.
“It was specifically the altar of the Temple that was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes in the days of the Maccabees that comprised the first abomination desolation and the foreshadowing of what will take place in the end-times,” he said. “So any progress made toward the rebuilding of the altar is worthy of our attention.”
Mark Biltz, author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs” and pastor of El Shaddai Ministries, says prophecy watchers should not forget, however, that the Temple Mount is under the control of the Muslims for a reason.
“Religiously, you have the Temple Institute and they are ready to rebuilt it,” he said.
In previous years, there have been attempts to sacrifice a goat on the Temple Mount at Passover, something that enrages Muslims who consider the hilltop the third most sacred spot in Islam.
“They could actually do sacrifices without a temple, some sacrifices. And Passover is one of them. There’s always been a drive to sacrifice a lamb on the Temple Mount,” Biltz said. “They would do it in a heartbeat. But it’s just like here in America where the ACLU wants nothing to do with religion or religious groups. So it’s the same there. The Israeli government doesn’t want to cause any uproar among the various religious factions, especially with elections coming up.”
The Temple Institute represents the views of the Ultra-Orthodox community, which makes up a small percentage of Israel’s population, about 4 percent.
“They would love a temple but the broader population wants to keep church and state separate, and there is a lot of animosity toward the Ultra Orthodox,” Biltz said. “But they don’t need some big elaborate temple, they could start to do the sacrifices with a tent or some sort of makeshift tabernacle. It’s all very interesting and it’s all coming to a head. I believe you’re going to see a major war first, which would redraw alignments and allegiances.”
This explains the reaction of former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan as he observed rabbis rushing to pray at the Temple Mount following the Israeli Army’s reclaiming of the landmark in the 1967 Six-Day War.
“What is this?” Dayan, a secular Jew, reportedly mused. “The Vatican?”
“One of the first things he did was give it back to the Muslims,” Biltz said. “They didn’t want the religious right telling the government what to do. They would rather have the Muslims have it. So there is a bigger fight among the Jews, an even bigger fight over whether to build a temple, than the fight with the Muslims. There are two huge fights going on. ”
There is an interesting foreshadowing of this end-time rebuilding event in the book of Ezra, who gave an account of the Jewish exiles returning from captivity in Persia.
“In rebuilding the temple destroyed under the Babylonian occupation, the first act of those returnees was to rebuild an altar and offer sacrifices upon it to the Lord,” Gallups said.
They did this at the site of the ruined temple. The altar was constructed under the leadership of a high priest named, of all things, Yehoshua (Joshua, or Jesus in the New Testament Greek).
The returning Jews, according to Ezra, rebuilt this holy altar despite fears of attack from surrounding enemies. After the altar was rebuilt, and regular sacrifices reinstated, the returnees celebrated their first festival — the Feast of Tabernacles.
That feast occurs in autumn. This year it will occur during the season of the rare tetrad of four blood moons and the seven-year Shemitah cycle described in Cahn’s book.
Ezra, chapter three, says that after the altar was rebuilt and sacrifices resumed, and when the temple had been rebuilt – the people shouted with joy, praised the Lord and wept aloud. “And the sound (of the celebration) was heard far away.”
“Now, in 2015, we have the news that once again the altar of sacrifice has been rebuilt and is ready for use,” Gallups said. “We also know of a very serious plan to rebuild the ancient temple of God upon the Temple Mount. The days of Ezra and Yehoshua appear to be upon us again. In the midst of the celebration of these facts, the sound of that celebration is once again ‘being heard far away.’ And through the modern technology of the Internet the sound is being heard around the world. These are certainly prophetic times in which we are living.”
Biltz sees the timing of the altar announcement as prophetic.
“Tomorrow, (Saturday) every Jew in synagogues around the world is reading the Torah portion from Exodus about the construction of the tabernacle,” he said. “It’s the last chapter of Exodus about the glory falling, Moses coming out and blessing the people and the glory falling on the tabernacle.
“Not only that but this next week, historically, is the very day the dedication of the tabernacle happened, on Nisan 1, that is read in the Torah portion. This year, being Saturday, March 21. It actually begins at sundown on Friday, March 20.”
As an expert in the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith, Biltz is always looking at current events in light of the times and the seasons according to the Hebrew calendar. And there is something else special this year about Nisan 1, which arrives at sundown March 20.
“Amazingly, there is also a total solar eclipse occurring at the beginning of the religious calendar on March 20. A total solar eclipse speaks of judgment coming on the nations. This is followed two weeks later by a total lunar eclipse or blood moon on Passover.”
So the fact that a remnant of Jews has prepared an altar and the sacred vessels for temple services, even if the politics are still such that constructing the temple is currently impossible, is exciting, Biltz said.
Most of the sacred vessels needed for the temple sacrificial system have been recreated by Israeli artisans – the cups, the chalices, the incense altar and incense shovel, the table of showbread, the high-priest’s crown, the golden menorah, the three-pronged fork and so on. All of these items are being planned now by the Temple Institute, even though the political obstacles to rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem remain huge.
“They even have the high priest’s crown. They have everything ready to go,” Biltz said. “They’ve even had the Levites come in and be fitted for the priestly garments, everything is ready.”
The purpose of the Temple was to make atonement for Israel and atonement for the nations of the world before the Creator, whom all mankind should desire to draw near, Biltz said.
“If the nations had only understood this back then, they would have never destroyed the temple but placed their armies around it to protect it,” he said. “If the nations understood that today, they would realize rather than dividing Jerusalem it should be united with a Temple to Hashem bringing His presence back into our world. This is the only true path to world peace.”
5. Apostate Christianity
Church of England Pastor Welcomes Muslim Prayer Service
A Church of England vicar has come under fire for allowing a Muslim prayer service to be held in his church.
Rev. Canon Giles Goddard joined in the "Inclusive Mosque" event at St John's church, Waterloo, by reading part of Psalm 139 and giving thanks to "the God that we love, Allah."
The service included a traditional Islamic call to prayer, and was attended by dozens of Muslims.
Rev. Goddard defended the move, saying: "We are offering a place for people to pray so it made absolutely perfect sense."
He claimed: "It is the same God, we share a tradition."
But evangelical C of E ministers have warned that the service is an affront to Christians around the world who are suffering for their faith.
Rev. Robin Weekes, minister of Emmanuel Wimbledon, noted, "It is offensive to Christians who believe that there is only one God, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"And it is especially offensive to those who are being persecuted around the world for their faith in the uniqueness of Jesus Christ."
The Rev. Stephen Kuhrt, vicar of Christ Church, New Malden, said, "the vicar of St John's Waterloo has done something that is completely illegal, which is to allow an Islamic service to be held in his church and then he has participated as well."
Last month around 60 C of E ministers signed a declaration urging the Bishop of Southwark to lead the diocese—of which St John's is a part—according to the Bible and Canon Law.
They highlighted the way St John's offers "thanksgiving" services for civil partnerships and same-sex marriages.
And in a separate private letter, 27 clergy warned the Bishop that if the liberal trends continue, there will be consequences for the diocese.
The New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel: Here's How
Peek behind the curtain of some "progressive" or "hip" evangelical churches, past the savvy technology and secular music, and you will find more than just a contemporary worship service. You'll find faith leaders encouraging young evangelicals to trade in their Christian convictions for a gospel filled with compromise. They're slowly attempting to give evangelicalism an "update"—and the change is not for the good.
It's painful for me to admit, but we can no longer rest carefree in our evangelical identity—because it is changing. No doubt you have seen the headlines declaring that evangelicalism is doomed because evangelical kids are leaving the faith. It is no secret that there is an expanding gulf between traditional Christian teachings and contemporary moral values. But the sad truth is that the ideological gulf between America's evangelical grown-ups and their kids, aka the "Millennials," seems to be widening too.
Somehow the blame for this chasm is being heaped on traditional churches. They are accused of having too many rules as well as being homophobic and bigoted. Yes, we've heard those false claims from popular culture in its desperate attempt to keep Christianity imprisoned within the sanctuary walls. But now popular culture is being aided by Christ-professing bedfellows whose message to "coexist," "tolerate" and "keep out of it" is more marketable to the rising generation of evangelicals.
The seasoned Christian soldiers are noticing these distortions of the gospel. But for young evangelicals, the spiritual haze is harder to wade through. Desperate for acceptance in a fallen world, many young evangelicals (and some older ones) choose not to take Christ out of the chapel, and so they are unwittingly killing the church's public witness. In this uphill cultural battle, mired by scare tactics and fear, three types of evangelical Christians are emerging:
Couch-potato Christians: These Christians adapt to the culture by staying silent on the tough culture-and-faith discussions. Typically this group will downplay God's absolute truths by promoting the illusion that neutrality was Jesus' preferred method of evangelism.
Cafeteria-style Christians: This group picks and chooses which Scripture passages to live by, opting for the ones that best seem to jive with culture. Typically they focus solely on the "nice" parts of the gospel while simultaneously and intentionally minimizing sin, hell, repentance and transformation.
Convictional Christians: In the face of the culture's harsh admonitions, these evangelicals refuse to be silent. Mimicking Jesus, they compassionately talk about love and grace while also sharing with their neighbors the need to recognize and turn from sin.
I know about these three types of Christians because at one time or another I have fallen into each of these three categories. My parents will tell you that even though I was raised in church, I morphed into a full-fledged feminist, told my parents they were ignorant for not endorsing homosexuality and bought into the distorted social justice rhetoric that confuses caring for the poor with advancing socialist or big government systems and demonizing the United States for its free market system.
I'm not ashamed to share my story because my experiences and those of my fellow bold evangelicals are a testimony of God's awesome, transforming power. Being countercultural for Christ isn't easy. What does the Great Commission say? Jesus commanded us to go, "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20).
Where Did We Go Wrong?
I see so many parents scratching their heads trying to figure out where they went wrong with young evangelicals. Following the instructions of Proverbs 22:6—"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it"—many evangelical parents took their children to church and prayed with them every night before bed. Yet the values those children now hold dear do not reflect the traditional teachings of Jesus.
To be perfectly clear, I want to let you know upfront that this isn't a parenting how-to guide that, if followed, will lead your loved ones to salvation. Instead, what I can offer you is a glimpse into the world of a twenty-something who sees thousands of young evangelicals being spiritually and emotionally targeted on Christian university campuses, in college ministries and at churches nationwide by a growing liberal movement cloaked in Christianity.
Research tells us that evangelicals are drifting further away from the orthodox truths their parents and grandparents held dear.
Our churches have rarely—if ever—faced the exodus we are seeing today. This will have a direct effect on the spiritual and moral values that will shape the nation in the coming years. That is why it is urgent that concerned Christians start acting now before the situation gets worse.
The Collision of Faith and Culture
Faith and culture will continue to collide in America. The culture wars, the growth of family, the success of missions, the prosperity of our great nation—the future rests on millennial evangelicals' worldview. And that is cause for concern, because something has gone wrong with young evangelicals' theology.
The millennial generation's susceptibility to "feel-good" doctrine is playing a big part in America's moral decline. Millennials' religious practices depend largely on how the actions make us and others feel, whether the activities are biblical or not. For example, we only attend churches that leave us feeling good about our lifestyle choices, even if those choices conflict with God's clear commandments. We dismiss old hymns that focus on God's transforming salvation, love and mercy and opt for "Jesus is your boyfriend" songs. Or we contribute to nonprofits that exploit and misuse terms such as justice, oppressed and inequality because tweaking the language makes us feel more neutral, less confrontational.
Popular liberal evangelical writers and preachers tell young evangelicals that if they accept abortion and same-sex marriage, then the media, academia and Hollywood will finally accept Christians. Out of fear of being falsely dubbed "intolerant" or "uncompassionate," many young Christians are buying into theological falsehoods. Instead of standing up as a voice for the innocent unborn or marriage as God intended, Millennials are forgoing the authority of Scripture and embracing a couch potato, cafeteria-style Christianity all in the name of tolerance.
This contemporary mindset is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian whose Christian convictions put him at odds with the Nazis and cost him his life, called "cheap grace." In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer wrote: "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."
Right now cheap grace theology is proliferating around evangelical Bible colleges, seminaries and Christian ministries.
Christian Doctrine Hijacked
It is not that millennial evangelicals were not taken to church by their parents. It is that their training has been hijacked by ineffective and sometimes intentionally distorted doctrine.
As constant and pervasive as the attacks on Christianity are at public universities, it is important to remember that Millennials' worldviews do not start taking shape after they move out of their parents' houses. Their understanding of Jesus' teachings and cultural convictions begin to form while they are still at home and under the influence of their local church.
What I hope and pray evangelical parents and leaders come to realize is that the church has been too trusting. In our jam-packed lifestyles, parents have treated Sunday school as they do softball or ballet class—drop off the kids for an hour then pick them up and hope they learned something.Early on in my Sunday school teaching days, my co-teacher and I followed the curriculum pretty narrowly, the exception being that my co-teacher had an outstanding knowledge of biblical history that he imparted to the kids.
We taught all about Jesus' birth, resurrection and saving grace. Thinking the fluffy kids ministry curriculum covered all of the necessary bases, I felt confident these kids had a firm grasp on their Christian worldview. Boy, was I wrong!
One day my co-teacher and I decided to play "True or False." We casually went down a list of worldview questions with our class, sure that our little evangelicals would nail every question correctly.
No. 1: Jesus is God. "True." Great job.
No. 2: Jesus sinned. "False." Bingo!
No. 3: Jesus is one of many ways to heaven. "True." What?
Shocked is the only way to describe how I felt. Hadn't they been listening to us? When I asked who taught them that, one girl said, "Coexist." Yes, these young evangelicals had been listening to their Sunday school teachers and their parents, but they had also been listening to their public school teachers, TV celebrities and rock stars.
Youth ministers, volunteer leaders and pastors also have to start preparing these kids to deal with the very real hostility that faces young evangelicals.
If we never talk about abortion in church, how can we expect the rising evangelical girl to calmly explain the option of adoption to her frightened best friend who just admitted she is pregnant?
What will surprise you is how much young evangelicals actually crave honest discussions about abortion, sexuality, sexual exploitation, feminism and radical Islam. My friend and Evangelical Action adviser Richmond Trotter has two non-negotiable topics when addressing youth: creation and life. Having volunteered in church youth ministry since 1996, Richmond is not afraid to have serious discussions about what Scripture says about abortion, evolution and homosexuality. Make no mistake: The trend away from biblical truth is not concentrated in the hipster city limits. It is unfolding in the crevices of America's plains, hills, mountains and swamplands. All across this nation, "old-fashioned" conservative evangelicalism is being traded in for a bright and shiny, mediocre Christianity.
If America's evangelicals disengage from the public square and fail to engage the rising generation of Christian leaders, then we risk losing our public voice, then our religious liberty, then liberty altogether.
What Happened to the Religious Right?
The last several decades witnessed tremendous evangelical influence in the United States. Leaders such as Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Paige and Dorothy Patterson, James Dobson, and James and Betty Robison made a bold impact on America's families, churches and government. Now that those few leaders are aging or retiring, or have died, there are very few traditional evangelical leaders left holding the torch and even fewer candidates to whom they can pass it.
But religious convictions in America are not on the verge of disappearance just yet. There is still hope. In the book God Is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America, Gallup Inc. Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport ensures: "Christianity will prevail in the U.S. America will remain very much a Christian nation in the decades ahead, albeit less so than in the past because of an increase in Americans who don't have a religious identity."
Heed the Warning Signs
Evangelicals and culture warriors in the U.S. do not have to look far to discover what happens when Christian denominations give up on their traditional convictions and teachings. All we have to do is look at the dwindling memberships of mainline Protestant denominations.
In order to safeguard the trajectory of young evangelicals, we must uphold the authoritative Word of God. It is imperative that those in a position to influence Millennials have transparent and honest discussions about the culture wars evangelical youth are already engaging. Otherwise they will be silent and accepting in the face of persecution and false doctrine.
The importance of arming the next generation of evangelicals cannot be overstated. If we continue to follow the example of mainline Protestants, evangelicalism will have a gloomy future. We must offer sorely needed leadership, but before we can do that, we need to know exactly whom and what we are up against.
7. Increase in Knowledge/New Technologies
Hertz Is Putting Cameras In Its Cars — Cameras Watching The Driver, Not The Road
Would you feel comfortable renting a car with a camera on the dashboard facing the driver?
You might expect a story about a rental car company putting cameras in its cars would be referring to dash cams that record what the driver is seeing. In the case of the world’s largest rental car company, Hertz, the story is quite different.
Since mid-2014, Hertz has been upgrading “NeverLost,” the onboard navigation assistant found in many of the company’s cars. However, “NeverLost6″ has something not found on previous systems, a camera that faces the driver.
For years, rental car companies have had “black boxes” monitoring their cars. If you didn’t know it, most rental car companies know exactly where you drove their car and how fast you were going to get there.
In December, a Blaze employee rented a car from Hertz, noticed the camera, and tweeted a picture of it.
Hertz responded to the tweet, claiming the company does not track customers.
Hertz’s claim, “We don’t track customers,” did not ring true with skeptics. In fact, looking closely at the photo sent by TheBlaze employee, you can see an icon showing what appears to be an active uplink indicated.
As news of the driver-facing cameras hit a variety of tech blogs, Hertz was forced to address the issue.
In a statement posted on Fusion.net, Hertz spokesperson, Evelin Imperatrice claimed the cameras were only in one out of every eight cars in the company’s fleet and they are not yet functioning. Imperatrice’s email response to Fusion’s Kashmir Hill clearly states, “We do not have adequate bandwidth capabilities to the car to support streaming video at this time.”
The words, “at this time” at the end of the Hertz statement has us wondering if there is a time frame for increasing bandwidth capabilities in order to support the technology.
TheBlaze has reached out to the corporate offices of Hertz for additional information about the cameras and any plans to use them.
The company’s unedited response, from Richard Broome, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications:
The cameras in NeverLost 6 units aren’t functional and cannot be turned on under any circumstances, by either renters or by the company. When we chose the new hardware device for NeverLost 6, we included a camera option in the event that a video conferencing function might be a useful, future application that renters would welcome.
We have always intended that the video conferencing function — like our rental kiosks which have video conferencing capability — could only be activated by renters at their sole discretion if, for example they were lost, in an accident, or their vehicle broke down and they preferred to interact with a Hertz employee through live video chat. Hertz does not have the technology to support an in-car video conference service, and we have no timetable to develop or acquire this technology.
While the camera function doesn’t work, we are happy to provide customers with a different vehicle if they are nevertheless uncomfortable with the NeverLost unit in their rental car
TheBlaze has submitted addition questions to Hertz. Specifically, “Why would you include video conferencing for a driver? Especially considering the problem ‘distracted driving’ has become.”
If the company responds, we will update this post.
Curiously, in mid-February, without offering any explanation, Hertz announced it was closing down the Twitter account for the on-board navigation system.
Would you rent a car with a driver-monitoring camera?
8. Christian Worldview/Issues
This Is The End? Pope Gives Up Cryptic Hint
An author who successfully predicted Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation now is suggesting Pope Francis may be a believer in an ancient prophecy that foretells disaster for the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope unleashed an international frenzy of speculation when he recently commented, “I have a feeling my pontificate will be brief. … It is a vague feeling I have that the Lord chose me for a short mission.”
Bestselling author Tom Horn, featured on the blockbuster movie, “The Last Pope?,” told WND in an exclusive interview that the statements imply the man once known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio sees himself as part of a prophecy.
Horn stated, “The comments by Pope Francis regarding possible assassination or retirement and that he may not be the pontiff much longer make me wonder if he is a believer in his role as the last pope (pope No. 112 in the ‘Prophecy of the Popes’), which speaks of the destruction of Rome.”
St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes” is said to be based on his prophetic vision of the next 112 popes, beginning with Pope Celestine II, who died in 1144.
Malachy presented a description of each pope, culminating with the “final pope,” “Peter the Roman,” whose reign would end with the destruction of Rome and judgment.
But other Catholic prophecies also speak of the final subversion of the Roman Catholic Church.
As Horn notes, “Even St. Francis of Assisi – the current pope’s namesake and one of the most venerated religious figures in history – gathered his devotees shortly before his death and prophesied, ‘At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavor to draw many into error and death. … Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. … for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true pastor, but a destroyer.’”
Horn believes Francis may also see his fate revealed as part of one of the famous “secrets of Fátima.”
“The final secret of Fátima was supposedly given to three Portuguese children, Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta Marto and Francisco Marto, when they saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Fátima) in 1917.”
As Horn observed, “There is a great deal of controversy over whether the third secret was ever completely released by the Vatican, but part of what was released describes a city, which some believe to be the Vatican City. The city is attacked and many priests, including the pope (described as the ‘Bishop in White’), are killed by fighters who could easily be interpreted as members of ISIS.”
This section of the prophecy reads,
… before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way [and] on his knees at the foot of the big cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.
ISIS has vowed to “conquer Rome” by 2020 and has called for an alliance with the radical left to further its objectives. ISIS has also included Catholic countries like Spain in its vision of the restored caliphate.
Pope Francis seems aware of the danger posed by the terrorist group. Only a few days before musing on the likely brevity of his papacy, the pope spoke fatalistically about the danger of assassination. The pope declared his life or death is “in God’s hands” and joked, “I have said to the Lord, ‘You take care of me. But if it is your will that I die or something happens to me, I ask you only one favor: that it doesn’t hurt.’”
Such levity, says Horn, conceals more disturbing questions about the nature of Francis’ papacy and the manner in which he obtained his office.
Horn explains the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano claimed to have uncovered a plot in 2012 to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI because of an internal power struggle. Horn asks, “Is that why Benedict ‘retired’ officially in 2012, though not publicly until 2013?”
Pope Francis is doing his best to convince the world about the stability of the papacy. Despite his reputation as an innovator, the pope has expressed opposition to an age limit for future popes.
New York Times bestselling author Jerome Corsi also wonders about instability in the Vatican. In an interview with WND, Corsi said Pope Francis’ comments about a short papacy surprised him.
“With Pope Benedict resigning, a new model of the papacy seems to be developing. Granted, Benedict is not day-to-day active, but he appears to give advice to Pope Francis when consulted. Do we already have two popes?”
“In the future, will popes have terms for which they serve, as presidents in the USA have term limits?” Corsi wondered. “Is Pope Francis the last pope to be appointed for life? Will Francis step down as Benedict did? We do appear to be in a new age where the papacy is undergoing redefinition.”
But Horn said the events in progress may be something far more substantial than simply organizational changes.
“Francis appointed Pietro Parolin as his secretary of state, an Italian (Roman) whose name is Peter,” Horn said. “If the Vatican were attacked or Francis and his Camerlengo (papal administrators) were to be killed at the same time or taken out of the way, this man would sit on the pope’s throne and literally be known as ‘Peter the Roman,’ the final line in the Prophecy of the Popes.”
Rising 'Nones' Show Americans Losing Their Religion
A shocking 7.5 million people have left religion since 2012, a new survey released last week shows.
The so called "Great Decline" of religion continued into last year, the 2014 General Social Survey showed.
Each year, the National Science Foundation releases a multi-million dollar study that monitors societal change in the adult population of the United States. The NSF researches things like life satisfaction, race relations, crime and punishment, and religion.
For the past decade, this study has shown a steady decrease in the number of religious Americans.
Three sections of this survey show the growing trend of nonreligious Americans.
1. More Americans say their religious preference is "none"
Nearly 1 in 4 Americans say their religious preference is "none." This has increased almost 20 percent since the 1990s, when the percentage of Americans who affiliated as nonreligious was in the single digits.
In comparison, around 24 percent of Americans affiliate as Catholic, the largest religious denomination in the United States. If the trend keeps increasing, in a few years the largest religion in the United States could be no religion at all.
2. Less Americans Attend Church
The number of Americans never attending church or other worship services each weekend is at an all time high. More than a third of Americans say they never attend a worship service.
3. Less Americans Pray
Only 17 percent of Americans say they never pray compared to the almost 35 percent who say they never attend a worship service and the 23 percent who affiliate as nonreligious.
Even though people aren't attending worship services or affiliating with religion, most of the country still believes in the power of prayer.
CBN News reporter Efrem Graham spoke with Dr. Corne Bekker, with Regent University, about what the church can do to stop this growing trend of nonreligious Americans.
"We need to put the scriptures back at the center of absolutely everything we do," Bekker said. "We need to give people real hope. The church needs to be a place of hope."
The Rising Tide Of Muslim Converts To Christianity
If you spend any time keeping up with the news, you know that radical Islam is a significant and destructive force in the world. David Garrison, does not disagree with that assessment, but he says it’s only part of the story. There is also a revival in the Muslim world, Garrison says. He believes between 2 and 7 million former Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past two decades, and he has impressive research to back up his claim. He documents his findings in his book A Wind in the House of Islam.
Garrison has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and spent more than 25 years as a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Missions Board. I had this conversation with Garrison in Atlanta at the recent International Christian Retail Show.
Many people, when they think of the Muslim world, feel discouraged by radical Islam. Your book has kind of a more hopeful message. What is it? Someone asked me the other day, “How do you interpret what’s going on in the world today in light of the Word of God?” I think Romans 8:22 is a good key for us to see, when Paul says that we know that all of creation groans as in the travail of childbirth.
That painful upheaval, all the trials, the violence that we see in the Muslim world hopefully are forbearers of new life that is taking place. That’s what my book focuses on, not on the things we see in the news every day, which are all very true and very valid. I wouldn't want to sugarcoat any of that. It’s horrific, the things that are happening. But I also want to give testimony to the fact that God is at work in the Muslim world, and, frankly, in ways that we’ve never seen before. [There is] more turning of Muslims to Christ than at any time in history.
Can you give us some specific examples of that happening? The striking thing about what we discovered was that there are movements of Muslims to Christ, and by that I mean not just individuals, but movements of at least 1,000 within a community who have been baptized or 100 churches planted over the last two decades. We’re seeing, currently, 69 of these movements that have just been formed in the last two decades that are moving … from one end of the Muslim world to the other, so from West Africa to Indonesia and everywhere in between.
I suppose one of the most striking examples is what’s happening in Iran today. We’re seeing that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s proving to be the greatest evangelist in the history of Iran because so many people are voting with their feet and they’re turning away from Islam and they’re walking toward really, all sorts of things. It’s not exclusively to Christianity, but certainly tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the last few decades have come to faith in Jesus Christ and followed him in baptism.
You said, “We are seeing.” Who’s “we,” and how do we know that what you’re saying is true? This was very important to me. Certainly, no one can know everything that’s going on, and the wonderful blessing I’ve had is a blessing of a great host of collaborators. Everywhere I went, I found I was able to work with missionaries who then introduced me to national partners, and so in my opening pages I talk about this great network. I think I’ve got about 150 people that I list that helped me in every region of the world. … I made it a point to document not only everything that I did in writing, but also to record, as much as possible, these actual interviews, to tuck them away, before I—what we call—sanitized them. I changed the names so that no one would be hurt and [for] security concerns.
How did you start down the path of documenting this phenomenon? I’ve had a long and twisting path. I’ve had 29 years with the International Missions Board and lived in places and studied languages like Japanese and Chinese, and then three different kinds of Arabic. In 1992, my wife and two kids and I at the time were assigned to work with Libyan Arabs. And over the next few years, we learned, probably, I don’t know, 100, 200 ways not to win Libyans to Christ. In the course of that, we realized this is a tough nut. This is not one that’s easily solved.
So in 2002, when our family moved to India, we started hearing reports of Muslims coming to Christ in South Asia, and then we started hearing other reports from Central Asia and a few from West Africa and East Africa. We took note because we knew this was not the norm, and we began making lists of movements that we had heard about, but had not personally verified. Before long, we had about 25 on our list.
Then in 2011, I was approached by a foundation that said, “We’re hearing these same rumors of angels, you know, things happening in the Muslim world. Would you be willing, if we would fund you and underwrite the expenses, would you be willing to go and find out what’s happening?”
You are talking in this book about truly supernatural experiences that Muslims are having, that are leading them to Christ. Am I hearing you right? In many cases, yes. Now, in some cases, it’s very normal, very routine, almost mundane, but of course, any time someone is turned from darkness to light it’s a miracle. Any time Christ saves someone, it’s a miracle. But certainly, we are hearing reports, also, of things that are out of the ordinary, and I’m a Baptist, so I say that with a healthy dose of skepticism.
I wanted to find out, and the reports I heard were just marvelous, particularly those of dreams and visions. Almost no one now denies that, for whatever reason, from one end of the Muslim world to the other, Muslims are having their sleep disturbed by visitations and by answered prayers, as well. We’ve talked to a number of folks who just talked about how they’d tested God. They said, “If this is real, I’m going to just pray, and if you’re really there, Lord, I want you to hear this,” and Jesus began to reveal himself through his faithfulness, and they realized that to follow Christ was not to follow a 2,000-year-old prophet, it was to follow a living Lord. That, for them, was the turning point.
What brought you to the point where you actually started believing there really is a movement of the Holy Spirit going on in the Islamic world? It was really when I went to these places myself. I traveled more than a quarter of a million miles over the next two years into the Muslim world, and [in] every corner … interviewed people I would have never imagined—I mean, sheikhs and imams and mullahs, leaders in the Islamic community—who gave testimony to having been baptized after having met Jesus, and knowing that in doing so, they were saying, “I’m willing to die” because they knew very well that Islamic law did not allow for conversion from Islam to anything.
Over the course of the next couple of years as I began compiling lists and ferreting out the truth, what I discovered was, in the whole course of Muslim-Christian interaction, there’s been 82 times, 82 movements, of Muslims to Christ of at least 1,000 baptisms or 100 church plants over two decades. Eighty-two times. Now here’s what’s striking: 69 of those have occurred since the year 2000. We are in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history. I don’t think the church of Christ is aware of this. Even though it’s minuscule when you look at 1.6 billion Muslims—less than 1.5 percent of Muslims have been touched by the gospel at this point—we’re still seeing 84 percent of all movements that have ever happened are happening right now.
Christians here in the United States are reading this book. What you do hope they do after they’ve finished? That’s a great question. I actually describe four desired outcomes for this book. The first one was to be historically accurate, to capture and document with real clarity these movements so that there’s no question about capturing this moment in history.
The second one is to be a word of encouragement to Christians who are afraid of Muslims, who are angry with Muslims, who see them as a threat, to realize that this is their day of salvation. God may want to use us to love Muslims, to minister to them, to take the Gospel to them because they’re very much on God’s heart.
A third purpose for this book was that we would learn the ways that God is at work in the Muslim world because, clearly, something is different today, something we haven’t seen before. If the body of Christ can learn the effective ways the body of Christ is at work, then we can all do the work of Christ much more effectively. The fourth purpose, and this comes to the heart of your question, is I hope this would be an encouragement to Muslims who are considering another way, that they would realize that they are very near to the heart of God.
Former SEALs Chaplain Could Be Kicked Out Of Navy For Christian Beliefs
A chaplain who once ministered to Navy SEALs could be thrown out of the military after he was accused of failing “to show tolerance and respect” in private counseling sessions in regards to issues pertaining to faith, marriage and sexuality, specifically homosexuality and pre-marital sex, according to documents obtained exclusively by Fox News.
Lt. Commander Wes Modder, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, has also been accused of being unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C.
“On multiple occasions he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds,” the Chaplain’s commanding Officer Capt. Jon R. Fahs wrote in a memorandum obtained by Fox News.
Modder told me he was devastated by the accusations. He believes charges have been trumped up.
Modder is a highly decorated, 19-year veteran of the military. Prior to becoming a Navy chaplain, he served in the Marine Corps. His assignments included tours with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Naval Special Warfare Command – where he served as the Force Chaplain of the Navy SEALs.
His record is brimming with accolades and endorsements – including from Capt. Fahs.
In Modder’s most recent review, Fahs declared that the chaplain was “the best of the best,” and a “consummate professional leader” worthy of an early promotion.
So how did Chaplain Modder go from being the “best of the best” to being unfit for service in the U.S. military in a span of five months?
The Navy did not return my calls seeking comment – so all we can do is rely on their written accusations and evidence.
Michael Berry, a military veteran and attorney with Liberty Institute a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases is representing Modder. He accused the military of committing a gross injustice against the chaplain in a letter to the Navy. He told me they will respond forcefully and resolutely to the allegations – which they categorically deny.
“We are starting to see cases where chaplains have targets on their backs,” Berry said. “They have to ask themselves, ‘Do I stay true to my faith or do I keep my job?’”
He said Modder is being punished because of his Christian faith.
“They want chaplains to be glorified summer camp counselors and not speak truth and love into people’s lives,” Berry told me. “There are some anti-religious elements in our military. Anytime somebody wants to live their faith out – there are people who say that is offensive.”
Modder told me he was devastated by the accusations. He believes charges have been trumped up.
“The military now wants a 2.0 chaplain instead of a legacy chaplain,” Modder said. “They want a chaplain to accommodate policy that contradicts Scripture.”
Modder’s troubles started on Dec. 6 when an assistant in his office showed up to work with a pair of Equal Opportunity representatives and a five-page complaint documenting grievances against the chaplain.
The lieutenant junior grade officer went on to detail concerns about Moody’s views on “same-sex relationships/marriages, homosexuality, different standards of respect for men and women, pre-marital sex and masturbation.”
Modder said the young officer had only been working with him for about a month and would constantly pepper him with questions pertaining to homosexuality. He had no idea that the officer was in fact gay – and married to another man.
“His five page letter of complaint was unconscionable,” Modder said. “He said I had a behavioral pattern of being anti-discriminatory of same sex orientation.”
The chaplain was not even given a chance to defend himself. He was immediately removed from duties and told to clean out his office.
“It was insulting and it was devastating,” Modder said. “I felt discriminated against. How could something like this happen at this stage of my career?”
Zollie Smith, the executive director for the Assemblies of God, U.S. Missions, told me they stand firmly behind the chaplain.
“We stand behind him 100 percent,” he said.
In hindsight, Berry believes the officer was setting up his client – and in doing so may have committed a crime.
“I believe some of what the lieutenant has alleged could constitute a military crime – false statements – taking what the chaplain said and twisting or misconstruing it – in an attempt to get the chaplain punished,” he said. “He abused the position he was placed in as a chaplain’s assistant.”
He believes the officer may have gained access to private counseling file
“To be clear, Chaplain Modder does not dispute that during private, one-on-one pastoral care and counseling sessions, he expressed his sincerely held religious belief that: sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual behavior is contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual orientation or temptation, as distinct from conduct, is not sin,” Berry said.
Modder said many Americans may be shocked to discover how much military culture has changed over the past few years.
“This new generation is very secular and very open sexually,” he said. “The values that the military once held – just like the Boy Scouts of America – are changing. The culture wants this. Culture is colliding with truth. That’s at the heart of this.”
Modder recalled an incident that occurred when he first arrived on the base. He was about to deliver the invocation at a graduation ceremony when the captain pulled him aside.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Hey chaplain – do not pray in Jesus’ name,’” he recalled.
Modder said he understands the firestorm he is about to enter – but he remains resolute.
“Every fiber in my being wants to run away from this – but if I do I’m not being obedient to the Lord,” he told me. “I need to stand up for righteousness and this is something I cannot walk away from.”
The reality is that many other chaplains could find themselves in Chaplain Modder’s shoes. The Roman Catholic church and the Southern Baptist convention have nearly identical positions on the issues that the Navy found problematic with Modder.
“It’s going to be a hard road for me,” he said. “But it’s what God has called me to do.”
Ultimately, it’s about leaving a legacy and setting an example for his family – his wife and four young children.
The day he was relieved of his duties, Chaplain Modder’s 14-year-old son tagged along to help pack up his dad’s office. A few senior enlisted men were there as well.
As they were driving away, the boy told his father that the enlisted men had spoken to him.
“They told my son that ‘you can be proud of your father because he’s keeping the faith,’” Modder said. “The whole command knows that Chaplain Modder is keeping the faith.”
Planet Fitness Revokes Woman's Gym Membership After She Complains About a Man Using Women's Locker Room
Planet Fitness has revoked a Michigan woman's gym membership because she filed a complaint with the company after seeing a man walk into the women's locker room. The national franchise said the woman is now banned from the chain on the grounds that she violated the company's "judgement free" conduct policy.
Yvette Cormier, who was a member at the Midland, Michigan, Planet Fitness location, told CBS affiliate WNEM about how she lost her membership after voicing her safety concerns when a man walked into the women's locker room as she was getting undressed.
"I was stunned and shocked. He totally looked like a man. He was not dressed like a woman at all," Cormier recalled. "This is very unprofessional and very scary."
Not being aware of the corporation's all-inclusive policy that allows people who identify as transgender to use bathrooms and locker rooms designated for the opposite sex, Cormier was informed of the gym's guidelines, which she had unknowingly violated upon complaining to the front desk staff and later the corporate offices.
"They proceeded to tell me that they have to embrace whatever sex someone thinks they are and that they are allowed to use whatever restroom that they would want to use," Cormier said.
Planet Fitness, which has over 900 locations across the United States, released a statement to WNEM explaining its policy on transgender restroom use.
"Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members," the statement reads. "Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity."
Cormier told CNN that she did not go to the gym that day to take a political stand but was rather forced to speak up for her own safety. .
"This is about me and how I felt unsafe. I should feel safe in there," Cormier contended.
"If you have male parts you don't need to be in the women's locker room. I don't care what you are; I don't care if you're gay, lesbian, transgender or transvestite, I am uncomfortable with you as a male in my locker room, in my restroom."
The man who Cormier saw entering the locker room is believed to be a transgender women who identifies as Carlotta Sklodowska, who spoke out on Sunday in defense of her right to use the women's restroom in an interview with MLive.
Sklodowska further explained that she isn't even a member of the gym but was there for a few days and used a friend's guest pass. Sklodowska added that she only used the changing area to lay her personal items down while she was working out.
Although Cormier lost her membership for violating the company's "Judgement Free Zone," policy, she's not worried about getting her membership back and will continue to warn other women about the gym's policy, which she claims the company failed to warn her about.
"They should point that out before you sign up to join their gym or post it on the front of the bathroom door," Cormier asserted.
According to CNN, Cormier's membership was revoked after she went back to the gym on four consecutive days and informed others of the gym's policy.
"Every day I [told people] 'just so you know, there's a man they allow in this locker room and they tell you that when you sign up,'" Cormier explained.
The Planet Fitness statement described Cormier's concerns and actions regarding the company's transgender bathroom policy as "disruptive" and "inappropriate."
"In expressing her concerns about the policy, the member in question exhibited behaviour that club management deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was canceled." the Planet Fitness statement continued.
Michael Brown, a nationally syndicated Christian radio host and guest columnist for The Christian Post, wrote that although Planet Fitness touts taking the concerns of its members seriously, the company was quick to ban a memeber who spoke out about a valid concern held by many women.
"Cormier subsequently went back to the gym and reported that every woman in the locker room she talked to about this was 'appalled.' But rather than Planet Fitness revisiting their policy, which is what was getting people upset, they blamed her for making people upset by talking about this," Brown wrote. "Since the gym claims to take the concerns of its members seriously, I would encourage all of you who are members of Planet Fitness to speak to your local gym about this, asking them to inform their corporate offices, politely requesting that they only allow biological males to use the men's locker room and biological females to use the women's locker room."
Although Cormier and LGBT advocates may disagree on the rights of transgenders to use the bathrooms and changing stations designated for the opposite sex, they do agree that a possible solution could be the installation of single-stall, unisex restrooms.
"We are intimately familiar with the fears that others have," Char Davenport, a transgender woman and professor at Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College, told WNEM. "Family changing areas, unisex changing areas and private spaces for taking showers, would really go a long way to resolving almost all of these issues."
Peak Fitness in nearby Flint, Michigan, has offered Cormier a free one-year membership with training.