Losing Nikki Haley at the UN

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Nikki Haley’s lone vote at the UN in support of Israel on December 18, 2017

As you likely know, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, resigned yesterday morning.  Since then, numerous people have expressed concern about losing Israel’s most staunch supporter (other than the Israeli ambassador) at the UN.  How will this impact Israel and the way they are seen and treated by the UN?

Well, I have no “inside track” to know what will happen, but I do have thoughts regarding this critical departure.

First, I believe there are other ambassadorial candidates (Dina Powell, for one) who are also extremely committed to standing with Israel in the face of anti-Israel sentiment in the UN.  Will the new ambassador be as steadfast and eloquent as Nikki Haley?  Perhaps not, but Haley has laid a very firm foundation.

Secondly, there is more behind this move than we know.  President Trump and Nikki Haley are two of the best strategist in government today.  I can’t help but believe there is a plan in the works.  Could we see Nikki Haley in a cabinet position while being groomed for a presidential run in 2024?  Or, could she show up as Attorney General if Jeff Sessions fails to survive disdain from President Trump?  Who knows.  But I would be shocked if there is not some sort of plan in place.

Finally, losing Haley at the UN is a blow to Israel, but President Trump’s administration remains the most pro-Israel administration ever.  Most importantly, though, our great God is still in control!

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
~Psalm 121:4

Let’s rest easy, my friends!  Neither our hope, nor the hope of Israel, lies in the UN or in the Trump administration.  Our hope is in the Lord.  Thus, we keep looking for the Blessed Hope…the return of King Jesus!  (Titus 2:11-13)

Yom Kippur: Shadow or Substance?

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Sundown this evening will mark the beginning of the most solemn day on the Hebrew calendar: Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Ten days of awe follow the recently celebrated Rosh Hashanah (Jewish civil new year) and lead into Yom Kippur.  These have been days in which the Jewish people have prayed, fasted and examined their lives, ahead of the Day of Atonement.  They know repentance is necessary, but trust in the rituals of their feasts (and other things) to bring atonement.

Leviticus 23:27-28 provides Biblical foundation for this important Jewish commemoration:

On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.

The King James Version translates “humble your souls” as “affliction of souls.” Rabbis have interpreted that to mean observant Jews should afflict their souls by fasting.  But is it the soul or the body that is afflicted by fasting?

Perhaps the greatest affliction of soul is brought about when one realizes they are sinful and have absolutely no means of becoming holy on their own.  There is no chance!  To be eternally hopeless is the greatest possible affliction of soul (mind, will and emotions)!

Furthermore, what are the offerings by fire to be offered?  Not only are sinful humans hopeless in affliction, but we are also hopeless in offering the perfect sacrifice (offering).

As a Jewish person commemorates the feasts of Israel, they view only a shadow rather than the substance, and the shadow leaves them hopeless.

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
~Hebrews 10:1 [Emphasis mine]

things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
~Colossians 2:17 [Emphasis mine]

You see, the feasts so faithfully commemorated by practicing Jews, are simply shadows.  Christ, the fulfillment of the feasts, is the substance!

As Christians, we understand the Passover Lamb (Jesus) was offered as the perfect sacrifice for us!  In so doing, His holiness was imparted to us, thereby forgiving our transgressions and covering our sin!  The blood of Jesus did what we cannot do on our own: it atoned for our sin.  It will atone for theirs as well!

However, before our Jewish friends can see the substance, they must come to the place of affliction by understanding their own strength and deeds will not atone for sin.  Their eyes must gaze upon Jesus, the fulfillment of each feast, rather than the rituals that are merely shadows of Christ.

Believers, we are not perfect, so we must not lord salvation over our Jewish friends.  However, we must pray for the Substance (Yeshua…Jesus) to become recognized and trusted by the Jewish people.

This Yom Kippur, will you faithfully pray for the Jewish people?  They have brought us salvation through Jesus Christ.  Let’s pray they will claim Jesus the Messiah as their own.  May there be a great awakening on this Day of Atonement!

Is Revival Happening in Israel?

The Christian community in Israel is still a small one, but believe it or not, it has grown in similar proportion to population growth.  Moreover, Romans 11:26 tells us that, one day, all Israel will be saved.

Indeed, much must happen before that occurs, but there are certainly signs that growing numbers of Jewish people are contemplating Jesus as Messiah.  Check this out:

 

Let’s embrace Paul’s yearning for his fellow people in Romans 10-11, and follow the lead of the psalmist in Psalm 122 as we pray for Israel.

Signs of the Times: Weather Events

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As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 
~Matthew 24:3, 7

It’s a common question: What are the signs of the last days?

Unfortunately, some so-called “prophecy experts” sensationalize various natural events (such as blood moons) as signs of the times by taking isolated Scripture out of context.  Jesus Himself simplified things for His disciples, however, when they uttered the same common question regarding the last days.

Jesus warned of false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, nations and kingdoms rising against one another, and famines and earthquakes.

Here, we spend considerable time discussing world events such as wars and rumors of wars, as well as the rise of the false prophet and the Antichrist.  Today, let’s focus on the weather events that Jesus referred to: earthquakes.

Over the past years, the frequency and severity of earthquakes around the world have shot off the charts.  Here are some statistics:

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    Earthquakes by Decade

    In a recent 48-hour period, 69 earthquakes hit the Pacific “ring of fire.”

  • 16 of those measured at least 4.5 of the Richter scale.
  • Five of the 69 hit the island-nation of Fiji.
  • An 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit in the Pacific Ocean, fortunately deep enough (over 300 miles) not to cause a tsunami.
  • Experts believe an earthquake of at least 8 on the Richter scale is imminent in California.
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    Volcanoes by Decade

    The Pacific “ring of fire” contains 452 volcanoes, which are also highly impacted by tectonic shifts brought about by earthquakes.

Indeed, the earth is shaking like never before in history.  Interestingly, God warned (through the prophet Haggai) He would one day shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.  He went on to say He will shake the nations and will fill His house with glory (Haggai 2:6-7).  It is a warning that we are living in the last days.

But, be encouraged.  Prophecy is not to scare, but to prepare.  The earth might shake, but we (believers) shall not be shaken!

I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
~Psalm 16:8

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
~Psalm 55:22

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken…
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
~Psalm 62:1-2, 6

Lift up your heads, dear friends!  Our redemption is drawing near.