EU Statement Condemning US Embassy Move Blocked

In an effort seemingly to embarrass and isolate the Trump administration just days ahead of the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem, the EU drafted a statement criticizing the move.

The draft had three key points:

  • Jerusalem should be the capital of both an Israeli and a Palestinian state,
  • The final status of Jerusalem should be determined through negotiations by both parties (well, at least we agree on something!), and
  • EU member states will not follow America’s lead in moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

The draft was put forth by France and other EU member states, to be published by EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini, with the support of all 28 EU members.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to ratification of that statement:  Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania blocked it, making it impossible to achieve consensus necessary to publish it!

Way to go, Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania!  May God bless you for standing with Israel.  (And He will!)  BTW – visitors from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania often follow this blog!  I see you…and I welcome you!

Global politics always has its ups and downs, so wise statesmen know not to get “too high” or “too low” when the tides turn.  True…Israel and the US are enjoying some “high times” right now, but history tells us it won’t last forever.

But there is a “high” that lasts forever!  Being in the middle of God’s will brings eternal peace and victory in Christ Jesus!  Christian friends, aren’t you glad we serve a King who may be condemned and criticized by the world, but will never lose the battle!  We are secure in Him, regardless of how high or low things get in this world!

Better still…He is our Redemption, and He is coming soon!  Luke 21:28

Will Trump and Macron Spearhead a New Iran Deal?

My friends, things continue to stir in the Middle East, Europe and the US.  Concern regarding the ill-founded nuclear deal with Iran is percolating and French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump seem to be working on potential plans to revamp the deal.  Will they succeed?  Who knows.

Here’s how The Jerusalem Post reports the Trump-Macron meetings.

However, as usual, I want to divert attention from the geopolitical view to a view that looks through the lens of Scripture.  We are living in a time like no other in history.  Bible prophecies are lining up right before our very eyes.  For example, this is the first time in human history that Russia, Iran and Turkey have joined in coalition, each with thoughts of conquering Israel (for various reasons).  That brings Ezekiel 38‘s predicted War of Gog and Magog to front and center on the stage of Bible prophecy.

But here is what I find curious.  According to Scripture, a leader will arise out of what I believe will be the revised Holy Roman empire.  He will appear to be a peacemaker and will indeed make a peace covenant with Israel.  The Bible describes that person as the Antichrist.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 describes a “man of lawlessness” who will come to deceive and to exalt himself above all others.  That is the Antichrist.  However, verses 6-7 tell us that he is “restrained” and won’t be revealed until the “restrainer” is removed.  Who restrains the man of lawlessness, if not the Holy Spirit?  Indeed, the Holy Spirit lives within us (Romans 8:9, among other places).  Thus, at the rapture, when believers in Christ are taken out of here, the Restrainer (Holy Spirit) will be removed and the Antichrist will be revealed.

So, I am not looking for the Antichrist!  We (believers) won’t see him!  However, some question whether or not Macron fits the bill.  I believe he exhibits characteristics, but I don’t think we can know at this point.  (See here, here, here and here)

So, what’s the point?  Glad you asked!  Whether Macron is the Antichrist or not, we are living in a time and season where “peace” is the buzz word, amidst a world that is spiraling more and more out of control.  When we see these signs, we can lift up our heads because our redemption draws near!  (Luke 21:28)  Look to current events if you wish, but view them through the lens of Scripture.  Then, let’s be diligent to avoid dwelling on the news, but on what would please our Father in the midst of the crazy world in which we live!

Are you about the Father’s business, as Jesus was?  (Luke 2:41-52)

Afterthoughts: The US-led Attack on Syrian Chemical Weapons Facilities

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Questions about the US-led attacks in Syria are swirling, so let’s approach them the appropriate way: by viewing them through the lens of Scripture.

What led up to the American-led attack?

In brief, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is opposed by rebel groups who have suffered under his tyrannical reign.  Thus, to rid himself of the rebels, Assad has repeatedly attacked them with chemical weapons.  Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, America (and the rest of the world) stood on the sidelines, despite “red lines” that were crossed by the Assad regime.  Once elected, President Trump vowed to take action if chemical weapons were used, and he followed through on that promise about a year ago when Assad unleashed a chemical attack on his own people.  Again, on Saturday, April 7, Assad used chemical weapons to decimate citizen (including children) in the city of Homs (just outside Damascus).  President Trump openly declared that missiles were forthcoming, though they were not launched until April 14.

Why did President Trump wait so long to strike?

That is a  complicated question and I may not have the correct answer, but here is my take.  In early April (before Assad’s latest assault with chemical weapons), Trump announced that he wants to pull troops out of Syria.  Following Assad’s attack, Trump then had a dilemma: pull out (as recently promised) or attack (to fulfill a previous promise)?  To remain true to his campaign promise to respond to chemical weapon attacks, he had to do something.  But he wanted the assistance of others, and he did not want to be dragged into a long conflict.  Thus, I believe it took time to draw the UK and France into commitment to strike alongside the Americans.  (Which they did.)

Meanwhile (in the span of that week), rhetoric from the White House, the State Department and the Department of Defense had grown fairly course toward Russia and Iran, holding them responsible for aiding and abetting Assad in his monstrous attacks on his people.  In fact, in the aftermath of Assad’s attack, President Trump very specifically aimed tweets at Russian President Vladimir Putin, stating smart missiles were coming.

So, if Russia and Iran were being held responsible, why didn’t the US target Russian and Iranian facilities?

Reports from trustworthy sources indicate that there may have been considerable disagreement among Trump’s advisors regarding attacks on Russian and Iranian positions.  Also, the timing was interesting.  It was several days after Trump promised action that he actually ordered the attack.  By that time, virtually all Russian and Iranian military assets were evacuated, leaving very little for the Americans and their allies to attack.  In fact, reports indicate that Assad very likely evacuated the Syrian chemical weapon stashes from the two storage facilities that were hit.  Therefore, while I see the destruction of the research facility as a major “hit,” I’m not convinced the attack was very successful in terms of setting back Assad’s capabilities in using chemical weapons again.

Will the US and its allies carry out further attacks?

It appears this round of attacks is over.  Things are “returning to normal,” meaning Syrian jets are back in the air, bombing rebel positions.  (Though no chemical weapons are believed to have been used since April 7.)  Though the US has said they will levy additional sanctions on Russia, Russian and Iranian military assets are returning to their bases in Syria, and I suspect it will soon be “as you were.”

Now….through the lens of Scripture.  We’ve talked at length in previous posts about the Isaiah 17:1 prophecy, foretelling the destruction of Damascus.  That is coming, and I believe, could be the spark that lights the fuse for the Ezekiel 38 prophecy.  (War of Gog and Magog – attack on Israel by a coalition led by Russia and including Iran, Turkey and others.)

Now, the elephant in the room: is the US truly standing with Israel or not?  By not taking more decisive and determined action against the thugs in Syria whose target is ultimately Israel, is the US as strong a partner as Israel needs?

Dear friends, Scripture tells us that, in the end, Israel will stand alone.  Of course I want the US to take the strongest stand possible for Israel.  Of course I don’t want America to let Israel down.  But God’s Word is God’s Word.

The US is not specifically mentioned in Scripture, so that should be our first clue that the US will not likely be a key player in the end.  If there is any possible mention (indirectly) of the US, perhaps it is part of the “…merchants of Tarshish with all its villages…” in Ezekiel 38:13.  However, if that is the case, those “merchants” and “villages” do nothing to assist Israel.  They simply stand on the sidelines asking questions!

Furthermore, Joel 3:2 indicates a time in which God will gather ALL nations to be judged for how they treated Israel.  Unfortunately, America is part of “ALL nations.”

But here is my favorite view of these current events through the lens of Scripture:

Some boast [trust] in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast [trust] in the name of the Lord, our God.
~Psalm 20:7 NASB (“trust” used in other translations)

It will NOT be the strength of the military (US or otherwise) that will protect and save Israel.  It will be the Lord Himself!  Should we, as individuals, be faithful to stand with Israel, regardless of the cost?  Absolutely yes!  Should we pray that our nation remains faithful to stand with Israel?  Absolutely yes!  But at some point, will Israel ultimately stand alone?  Yes…and Israel will see the power of her God!  Trust in the name of the Lord our God…He reigns over all!

 

 

Will there be a US Strike on Syria?

White House briefing from military leaders (Photo Credit: Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

News is abuzz over the potential US strike in Syria.  President Trump has cancelled a trip to South America in order to remain at the White House to manage the situation, and movement of US vessels and aircraft has been observed in the Mediterranean.  The Pentagon has likely drawn up possible attack options, while the President is soliciting assistance from current allies such as France, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Qatar.  All have called for Syria to be held accountable, though it remains to be seen how active they will be in any military action.

Following Trump’s recent announcement that he plans to pull US troops out of Syria, he now walks a thin line in determining how to orchestrate an effective strike on Syria.

News reports can be found on almost any news outlet, so if you are interested in more logistical detail, just scan the news outlets.  However, I think it is important to view current events through the lens of Scripture, so let’s consider a logical  stream of Biblical thought:

  • Isaiah 17:1 tells us Damascus will be utterly destroyed in the last days.  Damascus and the surrounding area are taking a beating, and should the US or its allies strike hard and relentlessly, Damascus will cease to exist.
  • As you likely know, Russia has propped up the Assad regime in Syria almost from day one of the Syrian civil war.  Putin has become “czarish” and is calling the shots in much of Syria.  No one has attempted to restrain Russia and Putin is smelling the power he so desperately desires.
  • Along with Russia, Iran has set up camp inside Syria.  In fact, it is believed that the helicopter that deployed the latest rounds of chemical weapons took off from an Iranian-controlled base.  That base (T-4) was attacked by Israel soon after the chemical weapons attack, destroying infrastructure.
  • Turkey is the “silent partner” at the moment (though not-so-silent in the grand scheme of things).  Wanting their piece of Syria, their motive is to drive out their arch enemies, the Kurds.
  • Taken together, Russia, Iran and Turkey make up the key players (though not the only players) in the coalition named in Ezekiel 38.  A ruler (Gog) will arise out of Russia and will command the invasion of Israel.  Puting could well be that ruler Ezekiel describes, and we could well be on the verge of that War of Gog and Magog.
  • It is believed by some well-known Bible scholars that the destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17:1) could be the spark that lights the Ezekiel 38 fuse.
  • Interestingly, the United States is not mentioned specifically in Ezekiel 38, and only as a spectator if one believes the US is a “village of Tarshish” (Britain or Spain), alluded to in Ezekiel 38:13.  (More detail in Week 8 of the study, Looking for the Blessed Hope.)  If the War of Gog and Magog is indeed at hand, we can expect America’s power to be taken away somehow, because they will not be a major world player at that point.  What will happen to diminish or totally dissolve America’s military might?  Internal collapse? External attack? Rapture?  (That’s my pick!)

Most are oblivious to what it taking place in the Middle East right now.  Many of those who do have an inkling are expressing fear.  But let’s anchor Biblical truth here!  As believers in Christ, we should most definitely care about what it taking place in the world.  We should be praying as Scripture commands, and we should be doing whatever the Lord leads us to do.  We must be about our Father’s business!

But, dear friends, Scripture is filled with “do not fear” messages!  We do not have to be afraid of what is happening, or what is about to happen.  We know how it all ends!  As believers in Jesus the Messiah, we are another day closer to joining our Savior for eternity!  Therefore, we stand firm.  We stand bold in our faith.  We stand steadfastly with Israel (while the world turns their back on her).

Prophecy is not meant to scare, but to prepare!  It is time to take stock in what we believe and how we live it out.  It is a time to prepare to meet our Lord!

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”
~Matthew 24:42-44

Are you ready?