April 25, 2016

nmThose Frustrating Jews in Israel

It seems fitting that the worst president in American history would be matched up with an equally incompetent vice president. Joe Biden has a habit of making embarrassing marks at the most inappropriate times. His latest gaffe involved the nation of Israel.

While giving a speech to J Street , a group of self-hating Jews (a favorite of the Obama Administration), Biden expressed “overwhelming frustrations” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies.

Several hours earlier in Jerusalem, a bombing of a bus injured 21 passengers. By the time Biden spoke, the Israeli police had already determined it was once-again—Palestinian terrorism.

I can only wonder if the source of Biden’s frustration was that no Israelis were killed in the attack. When it comes to diplomatic etiquette, it is standard practice to open with, “I strongly condemn…” when addressing a group that has just suffered an act of unprovoked violence.

A series of knife-wielding attacks against Jews—by Palestinians, has plagued Israel for many months. The State Department has stated there is absolutely no justification for terrorism. Secretary John Kirby said, “We continue to encourage all parties to take affirmative steps to reduce tensions and restore calm.”

The State Department’s moral equivalence here is appalling. We are not dealing with two equal parties in this situation to “reduce tensions” and “restore calm.” Palestinian terrorists have been brutally stabbing and killing Israelis. Last month, an American was one of their victims.

President Obama and other Democrats will often say, “Israel has a right to defend itself.” This remark is made whenever Israelis respond to Arab terrorism. There is nothing magnanimous about that statement because it’s like saying, a woman being raped has a right to ward off her attacker. By stating the obvious truth, the Obama Administration shows its natural bias toward the Arab aggressors.

The movement to Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) Israeli products is a pure exercise in futility and frustration. Trade with Israel is growing. Israel and China have just agreed to a multi-billion free trade deal that could double bilateral trade between the two nations. The limitation on agricultural products from a few selected areas of the “occupied territories” is not going to matter to a nation with a $300 billion GDP.

The world seems to be almost incapable of showing frustration toward the Palestinians. The citizens of Gaza have an incredible fixation with digging tunnels into Israel. The U.S. has given the Palestinians billion of dollars in aid. Much of this U.S. tax-payer money is spent on supplies and manpower to build more tunnels to infiltrate Israel.

The recent discovery of a major tunnel using new Israeli technological may mark the end of Gaza’s weapon of choice. I couldn’t find any reports in the media mentioning how Israel is clever in combating the tunnel menace. The silence can only be the result of disappointment.

There is no logical reason for Biden to harbor frustration toward Israel. In his speech, he talked about the long term goal of having a two-state solution. Biden warned that Israel needs to come up with a comprise—before the Arabs in Israel outnumber the Jews.

How you can you make peace with people who have shown no motivation to hold to any agreement? Netanyahu knows that the status quo is fine for Israel. The Palestinians need the Jewish state for jobs. The more they get walled-off for participating in terrorist acts, the deeper they slide into poverty.

It should be obvious to everyone that Israel has done nothing wrong. Yet she is increasingly seen as the villain. Last week, Mehmet Kaplan, Sweden’s housing minister was forced to resign after it was reported that he said, “Israelis treat Palestinians in a way that is very like that in which Jews were treated during Germany in the 1930s.”

Biden’s diminishing patience with Israel may be driven by the fact that Barack Obama’s term is nearing an end. In the coming months, we may see the White House openly declare Israel to be an enemy of America. Since God has already promised that those who stand against Israel will fail, I am confident that our lawless president will be met with frustration.

“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3).


nmOn Being Rapture Ready Part II

Note: This April 22 was the fifth-year anniversary of the Good Friday trip I was given to somewhere on the perimeter of Heaven. It remains as vivid in my every waking moment today as right after it happened. I wanted to again present the articles I wrote at the end of that year–2011–because I believe we are so very near the time of Christ’s Call to us–“Come up hither!” (Revelation 4:1).

Also, I wish to announce my just completed book which is now being prepared for publication at New Leaf Publishing Group. Rapture Ready…Or Not:15 Reasons This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind is scheduled for release July 1, 2016. I’m certain in the deepest regions of my spirit that this book is a major reason for the round trip to that other dimension on that Good Friday five years ago.

I’m having considerable trouble exercising patience as this book approaches its release. I just can’t wait to share it with you. Without intending to attract unto myself any aggrandizement–for the Lord of Heaven is the only pPerson deserving such–I believe I was commissioned to deliver this message. Rapture Ready…Or Not, this generation is on the brink of God’s most profound intervention into human history since the day the Great Flood of Noah’s day burst upon the world.

Here is Part II of that December 2011 Nearing Midnight article. There is no specific signal that presages the Rapture of believers in the Scriptures. That calling by Christ to those who know Him as Savior will be unannounced and instantaneous. Paul the apostle’s words inform us of that stunning event: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Paul says further: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The website Todd Strandberg began in 1987, before the internet was making an impact to any extent on life in America and throughout the world, encompasses what Christ expects every born-again believer to become. Todd gave it the name raptureready.com, a nomenclature defining a spiritual condition eternally crucial to each and every living individual.

All who have died during this Church Age (Age of Grace) are now beyond getting “Rapture ready.” They are either “Rapture ready” or not. People alive at the present time, if they don’t know Christ as Savior, still have opportunity to get Rapture ready. All who are saved (know Jesus as their Savior) are Rapture ready in one sense, but might not be Rapture ready in another. We will try to clarify these matters. It is most important that we do so.

I testified in my commentary last week of instantaneously standing before a throng of heavenly witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-3) the moment my heart stopped beating. This happened three separate times. Each time my heart ceased to beat, I was somewhere in eternity. God the Holy Spirit’s assurance of where I was and who the beautiful, cheering young people were becomes more strongly burned into my own spirit by the day.

The only action I have taken in my life to warrant being instantly transported to that heavenly realm was to accept Christ as my Savior. There is no other action I could take while in this physical life to assure my instant transport into those stunning surroundings. While my near-death experience wasn’t the Rapture, of course, I believe with all that is within my spiritual understanding that it was a type of what awaits the generation of Christians alive at the time of that great event, as described by the apostle Paul’s prophetic words as given above. At that future moment of Rapture, all who have died during the Church Age, or who are living at the time, will stand not before a throng of witnesses as I did, but before the Lord Jesus, Himself! “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

All who are living today who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior stand in mortal danger. When their hearts beat the final time, they will find themselves in the same, unimaginably horrid place as the rich man described by Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (read Luke 16:19-31). Likewise, the moment Christ says at the Rapture: “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1), the person who hasn’t accepted Christ will be left behind on earth to face a time in human history of which the Lord Jesus Himself said: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:21-22a).

Being Rapture Ready

So, it is imperative to make clear what it means to be Rapture ready. Our eternal souls hang in the balance of God’s impending judgment. The Lord of Heaven must judge sin, because He cannot abide sin in His holy presence. No sin can enter the gates of Heaven. And this is where God’s magnificent love comes to the forefront of His dealing with each of us who are sinners.

He loves you and me so much that He sent His Son–God in the flesh, Jesus Christ—to come to earth to be the perfect sin-sacrifice, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, whose blood takes away the sin of the world. To be Rapture ready, you and I must be “saved” from our sins and made pure in the righteousness found only in Christ. When we believe God and accept Christ as Savior, we become Rapture ready in the eternal sense. We will go to Heaven upon our death, or will be raptured when Jesus steps out on the clouds of glory and shouts: “Come up hither!”

But, there is another meaning of being Rapture ready. Each Christian is responsible for being Rapture ready in this sense. To be Rapture ready as a child of God means we are to be living our lives in a way pleasing to God. We are to lift the name of Jesus so that men, women, and children will be drawn to Him for salvation. We are to be watching for His any-moment return in the Rapture.

Let me make it clear. I believe the Word of God tells us that every person who is saved through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ will go to be with Him at the moment of Rapture, no matter the state of his or her fellowship with the Lord. We will ALL stand before Him, Paul tells us.

However, to be truly Rapture ready as a Christian means that we are living life in such a biblically prescribed way that when Jesus calls us we will not be ashamed to look Him in His omniscient eyes. We should desire above all else to hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23b).

End- times world conditions today are unmistakable. That face-to-face meeting could take place at any moment!