Trump Officially Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, and Announces Embassy will Move to Jerusalem

President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Jerusalem, and announced plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel…..This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.  It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
~President Trump, December 6, 2017

The announcements are expected to bring joy and celebration among evangelical Christians, and threats of violence and intifada from Palestinians and most Muslim Arab countries.  It will be interesting to see what happens between the growing relationships Israel and the US have forged with conservative Muslim leaders in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Stay tuned.  As more news and reaction take place, we will continue to look at world events through the lens of Scripture.  We are living in last days, so keep your eyes in God’s Word and prepare for the coming of our King!

You will find video of Trump’s announcements here.

Trump, Jerusalem, Israeli Military Action and Iraq…What in the World is Going On?

Lots of news over the weekend, so let’s sort it out!

First, Israel took aim at an Iranian military base near Damascus on Friday night, and hit its target.  At the time, little was known about what the IAF (Israeli Air Force) was targeting or what the mission was.  Israel, as always, was tight-lipped about the airstrike, neither confirming nor denying their involvement in military action.

According to DEBKA, we know now that the target was the Iranian military base just south of Damascus, where Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias taking briefings from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.  Iranian and Hezbollah officials were killed in the attack.

Meanwhile, following recent buildup of American troops in Iraq, there are reports indicating pressure applied to Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi to cut cooperation with the Iranians.  It is unclear what other diplomatic efforts are being done there.

On Saturday, Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh committed to a “new page,” in favor of the Saudi-led defense against the Houthis (another Iranian proxy).  Once a backer of the Houthi insurgency, the “new page” seems to coincide with US-Saudi efforts to topple the Iranian puppet (Houthis) in Yemen.

Finally, President Trump is faced with a Monday deadline in which to sign a waiver that would delay still further the move of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Furthermore, reports are coming out that Trump will make a major announcement on Wednesday, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority has warned that the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital will destroy the peace process.  (What peace process?  The efforts with the Palestinians has gone on since the 1960’s with no progress to speak of!)  Some believe Arab leaders such as Egypt’s President Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince bin-Salman are finally fed up with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and are ready for a change.

What does this all mean?  Do we see the Sunni Arab world becoming more-and-more aligned with western efforts, including those of Israel and the US?  It seems so.  Is Israel sensing the urgency of taking action, with or without the support of others, to prevent Iran from setting up shop right on their border?  It most definitely looks that way.  Will the US ever move the embassy to Jerusalem?  Who knows…but if it happens, we can count on chaos and further attacks on Israel.

Is the world ready for what is shaping up in the Middle East?  Hard to know.  Are YOU ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus to “catch us up” to meet Him in the air?  That could happen at any time.  Be ready (Matthew 24:44)…run the race (1 Corinthians 9:24, Hebrews 12:1)…be found faithful when He returns (Luke 12:35-43)…stand, and look up, because our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28)!

Understanding the Egyptian Mosque Massacre

On Friday the world was shocked by the extremely brutal attack on the Muslim mosque in Al-Arish Egypt.  At least 305 lost their lives and over 125 others were wounded as 25-30 terrorists armed with automatic machine guns stormed the premises in several vehicles, taking up positions in the front of the mosque and at its entrances.  From those vantage points, they unleashed the most brutal terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history.

Why would Muslim Arabs go into a mosque and brutally murder over 310 other Muslim Arabs as they prayed?

To begin to understand, one must understand the religious underpinnings of the opposing Muslim groups involved in this incident.  Inside the mosque was a congregation of Sufi Muslims, known to be very conservative and non-violent, spreading a message of love, harmony and unity.  There is some evidence they believe in a personal relationship with God (though they do not seem to accept Jesus).

Meanwhile, the ISIS attackers are rooted in Wahabism/Salafism, an extremely radical, jihadist perspective of Islam.  (Osama bin Laden was a Wahabi.)  Wahabis prohibit other Muslims from praying as they see fit, and in fact view other Muslim groups as infidels.  (Ironically, both are offshoots of Sunni Islam, revealing the “splintering” of Islam.)

Here is an animated video that helps paint the picture of the differences between Sufis and Salafis.  (I don’t necessarily vouch for the entire content of the video.  I simply share it as a helpful tool in understanding differences.)

 

But, I thought ISIS was losing the battle!

Indeed, that is what we’ve heard on the news, and it is true to a degree.  Other forces (good and bad!) are taking back cities and other strongholds of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  Many ISIS warriors are fleeing back to their countries of origin, where they enter easily because they have passports allowing their return, and where they unleash “lone wolf” attacks!  However, those who haven’t fled home have grouped up in desert areas, where they are most productive.  Their MO: flash into a city or small village, do damage, and scatter back out into the desert.

What’s being done to stop them?

Egypt’s President responded forcefully to the attack in Al-Arish.  A high-ranking General before becoming President, el-Sisi is not afraid of calling upon a strong military to launch F-16’s or other deadly weaponry.  Indeed, the Egyptian military took out a terrorist outpost with an airstrike following the terrorist attack.

The problem is this: fighting terrorists isn’t a conventional war.  Warplanes and tanks are not efficient at taking out a scattering band of terrorists in the deserts of Sinai.  Thus, like many other nations learning to fight terrorism, Egypt is turning to the experts: Israel!

Never has cooperation been so high between Israel and several of their Arab neighbors.  (Among them: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)  But as mentioned in a previous post, this should not be surprising to those of us who understand our Bible!  We know that, when Gog of Magog (Russia) leads the Ezekiel 38 coalition against Israel, it will not include those nations recognized as friendly to Israel!  Again, we see sides being taken that align precisely with what Scripture tells us they will be when the Northern Invasion takes place.

It’s coming!  But be of good cheer, believers…we stand on the side of victory!  Jesus said:

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BTW – Christians stand with Egypt, and so does Israel!

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Tel Aviv City Hall lit up as the Egyptian flag.  

The Gog and Magog Coalition Takes Another Step Forward

Well, we seem to keep coming back to the same Biblical prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39.  It is most definitely not the only end time prophecy showing signs of imminent fulfillment, though it seems to be one in which today’s news is almost always relevant.  We focused on an Iranian commander’s threat this morning, and we’ll stay on that theme this afternoon.

If you are not aware, Ezekiel 38-39 describe a coalition of nations/people groups who will invade Israel, only to be totally destroyed on the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:4).  I encourage you to read those two chapters of Ezekiel if you are not familiar with them.  I believe you will see that today’s headlines seem to be ripped from those very pages of Scripture.

For example…

Ezekiel 38:2-3, 5-6 names the groups of people (sometimes nations) that will form that coalition.  Remember, that passage was written a few thousand years ago, so the modern country names and boundaries must be determined through study of ancient lands.  Most scholars believe Rosh, Meshech and Tubal are likely parts of Russia or surrounding territory today.  Gog is a person.  In fact, he will be the “czar” of Magog.  Though Russian President Vladimir Putin is very “Gog-like,” it is too early to state unequivocally that he is Gog.  Whoever Gog turns out to be, Ezekiel seems to indicate that he will be the leader of that invading coalition.

Persia is most definitely Iran.  Gomer and Beth-Togarmah are a bit more difficult to identify, but there is strong evidence these regions are modern-day Turkey.

As you know, if you have followed current news at all, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey have been in cahoots for quite some time, and indeed, met together in Sochi Russia just days ago to discuss Syria.  Of course, civil war is going on in Syria and everyone involved has vested interest there.  For that northern coalition, one vested interest is that Syria shares a border with Israel…thus providing a gateway for that coalition to invade Israel, just as Ezekiel says!

However, there are other coalition partners named in Ezekiel 38:5-6.  Along with Russia, Iran and Turkey, people groups from north Africa will join the invasion.  Here’s where we plug into very recent news!  Bloomberg reported just yesterday that Russia has now welcomed Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir into official relations!  One of their first orders of business was the signing of cooperation agreements including in agriculture, nuclear power and mining.  (That guy is trouble!  Read the article for additional detail!)

Ez 38 NationsSo, why is that important news?  Because when Ezekiel 38:5-6 mentions “Ethiopia,” most scholars who have studied the historical locations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 believe “Ethiopia” may well encompass the lands we know today as Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea.  (“Put,” by the way, definitely includes at least parts of Libya and perhaps part of Algeria.)

Keep in mind, Egypt and Jordan have treaties with Israel, and Saudi Arabia is becoming more and more friendly with the Jewish state, in attempts to fend off Iranian threats.  Thus, Israel (the tiny nation sandwiched in between Egypt and Jordan) is directly exposed only to the north…on the Syrian border.  Not surprisingly, Ezekiel tells us the invasion will happen from the north!

So, with yesterday’s news, we find one other coalition partner (Sudan) officially joining hands with Russia to become an active member of the coalition!

Events are happening at rapid pace, and every day’s news seems to connect one more piece of the puzzle together.  When will the last piece be snapped into place?  We don’t know…but it could be soon.  Will God the Father send His Son to snatch us away (rapture!) before that invasion occurs?  We don’t know for certain.  But what we DO know is that God has not destined us for wrath. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)  Thus, we could be taken soon!

The real question is: are you ready?