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A GREAT ROYAL WEDDING TO COME

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm

What struck me most as Lynn and I got up at 5am and watched the royal wedding as it unfolded at Westminster Abbey in London was that the Word of God went forth — and the name of Jesus Christ was repeatedly proclaimed — to an estimated one billion people around the world watching the live TV coverage. It was a gorgeous ceremony, with all its pomp and circumstance, and it reminded me that there is a Great Royal Wedding to come to which we are all invited. We need only say “yes.”

  • The Rev. Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, began the ceremony noting that, “In a sense, every wedding is a royal wedding,” then spoke of followers of Jesus Christ being children of the King who will one day have a wedding of His own.
  • James Middleton, Kate’s brother, read from the New Testament, Romans chapter 12, beginning with, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” — that is, we must prepare our hearts for the Royal Wedding to come.
  • Dr. Rowen Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his sermon told the newlyweds, “William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another….As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light.”
  • The Archbishop concludedhis sermon with this prayer, “God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

The Scriptures teach us that we are all invited to the wedding of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world to come. But while all are invited, not all will attend. We must individually accept the Lord’s invitation by personally receiving Jesus as Messiah and our Lord. Sadly, the Bible says that not all will do so.

  • In Revelation chapter 19, we read, “Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder: Hallelujah! The Master reigns, our God, the Sovereign-Strong! Let us celebrate, let us rejoice, let us give him the glory! The Marriage of the Lamb has come; his Wife has made herself ready. She was given a bridal gown of bright and shining linen. The linen is the righteousness of the saints.”
  • Speaking of the Great Royal Wedding to come, Jesus said in Matthew 22, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!”
  • Speaking of His return to Earth to get His bride, Jesus said in Luke 12, “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.”

With the signs of the Last Days all around us, may each one of us choose today to say “yes” to the Lord Jesus’ invitation to the Great Royal Wedding to come.

FATAH CHOOSES PEACE WITH HAMAS TERRORISTS, NOT WITH ISRAEL: Please pray for the Palestinian people

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Update: Israel: No talks with Fatah-Hamas government

Update: Audio of Glenn Beck’s interview with Joel — and an article Joel wrote on “The Coming Is Upon Us” film

The leaders of the beleagured Palestinian people chose to embrace terrorists today, not the road to true peace, justice and reconciliation. What a tragedy. Instead of spending the last 18 months engaging in peace talks with Israel, PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas has spent the last several months engaged in secret peace talks with rival Hamas, the radical Islamic terrorist group that calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State. The talks, brokered by Egyptian intelligence, concluded with an announcement today that Fatah (PLO) and Hamas have sealed a unity agreement that some reporters are describing as “an historic reconciliation deal.” 

In theory, the deal helps pave the way for the Palestinians soon to unilaterally declare a state encompassing the Fatah-controlled territory of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the Hamas-controlled territory of Gaza, and assert their capital in East Jerusalem. They will claim that their unity signals they are ready to govern themselves and assume the responsibilities of statehood. In reality, it is a shotgun wedding, at best. Fatah and Hamas leaders have historically not only hated each other but gunned each other down in broad daylight. When Hamas took over Gaza in 2005 and 2006, it set into motion a bloodbath, killing scores of Fatah officials and party members, even throwing some off of high rise buildings.

One this is for certain: the Palestinian leadership is taking yet another stop away from making peace with Israel. “The Palestinian Authority has to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told reporters. “Peace with both of them is impossible, because Hamas aspires to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly.” Netanyahu added: “Hamas fires rockets at our cities and anti-tank missiles at our children. I think the mere idea of reconciliation demonstrates the Palestinian Authority’s weakness, and brings up the question of whether Hamas will take over Judea and Samaria as it did Gaza.”

What’s not clear is whether the U.S. will continue to provide some $450 million in foreign aid to the Palestinians since it officially considers Hamas a terrorist organization and has long refused to talk to Hamas much less help fund it. Members of Congress will likely be overwhelmingly opposed to any contact with Hamas, and rightly so. The Obama administration, however, will be tempted to act as though the Fatah-Hamas agreement is a positive development and try to paper over the differences. To do so would be a tragic mistake, but not the administration’s first, and not likely its last in the region.

  • Please pray for the Palestinian people to be set free from leaders who keep guiding them towards terror, not peace
  • Please pray for Palestinians who love the Lord Jesus Christ to emerge as true peacemakers and to seek Biblical reconciliation with Israeli Jews generally, and Jewish believers in Jesus in particular
  • Please pray for Israeli believers in Jesus — as well as Christians around the world — to develop a heart of understanding and compassion for the suffering of the Palestinian people and to seek to be true peacemakers and agents of Biblical reconciliation
  • As the Lord Jesus said in Matthew, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

NEW DOCUMENTARY EXAMINES BIBLE PROPHECY AND MIDEAST EVENTS

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

Tonight on his website, Glenn Beck will premiere his new documentary film, “Rumors of War — Part Two.” As with Part One, I was interviewed for the film and have seen a rough cut of the film. While I don’t agree with all of the points made in it, I found it quite powerful and well made and highly recommend that you watch it. Indeed, I applaud Glenn and his team for making and releasing the film.

The documentary examines current events and trends in the Middle East and the Islamic world from various vantage points — Biblical End Times theology, Jewish End Times theology, and Islamic End Times theology. It discusses the latest threats from the Radical Islamic world to Israel, the West and our allies. It features a wide range of Jewish, Muslim and evangelical Christian authors and commentators in a balanced yet provocative and fascinating way. Among them:

    • Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the U.N.
    • Reza Kahlili, former CIA agent inside Iran and author of A Time To Betray
    • Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind novel series
    • Brigitte Gabriel, author of They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It
    • Joel Richardson, author of The Islamic Antichrist
    • Dr. Zudi Jasser, president of American Islamic Forum for Democracy

As far as I can tell, Glenn Beck is leaving the Fox News Channel in part because Fox is opposed to him devoting so much time on his program to End Times issues, Bible prophecy, Iran’s eschatology, and the linkage of these things to left wing efforts to sow seeds of revolution and chaos. It’s too bad, really. Again, while I don’t agree with everything Glenn says or believes, I’ve been amazed and impressed with how curious he’s been about important issues that few others in the media give time and attention to. What’s more, he’s attracted millions of viewers to pay attention to such issues and weigh their validity and importance. I’m grateful that he’s given me time on his program to discuss Bible prophecy and a Biblical perspective on current events. Will others TV hosts do so in the future? Only time will tell.

At 10am eastern this morning, I’m scheduled to be on Glenn’s radio show to discuss the film. I hope you can take some time to listen in.

[Note: You have to be a subscriber to Glenn's website to watch the whole thing tonight. You can watch a trailer by clicking here.]

HEADLINES TO TRACK:

54% OF EGYPTIANS WANT PEACE TREATY WITH ISRAEL SCRAPPED

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 at 2:01 am

“More than half of all Egyptians would like to see the 1979 peace treaty with Israel annulled, according to results of a poll conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center released Monday,” reports Haaretz. “According to the poll results, only 36 percent of Egyptians are in favor of maintaining the treaty, compared with 54 percent who would like to see it scrapped….The poll, based on interviews with 1,000 Egyptians around the country, was conducted between March 24 and April 7 as part of the Spring 2011 Pew Global. Attitudes survey that was conducted in 22 countries. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Opinions varied according to income, with 60 percent of lower income Egyptians supporting the treaty’s cancellation while only 45 percent of the wealthier classes thinking it should be done away with. Only 40 percent of Egyptians with a college education thought the treaty should be scrapped, as well.”

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DO YOU KNOW HIM?

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

A Jew from Bethlehem Ephratah named Jesus came to fulfill all the Messianic prophecies, die as a guilt offering to pay the penalty for our sins, and rise from the dead.  

Do you know Him yet? Have you received Him yet as your Savior and Lord? Please click here to read a simple explanation of the gospel plan of salvation and learn how to receive Christ as your Savior. The Scriptures teach us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

I received Jesus as my Savior when I was eight years old. To read a concise version of my spiritual journey (written about six years ago), please click here.

As millions of followers of Jesus Christ this weekend remember His death on the cross outside of Jerusalem and His resurrection from the dead on the third day, this is the perfect time for you to read His words (like the Gospel According to John), consider His claims, and make a decision for Him or against Him. The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is coming back soon. We don’t know the day or the hour. But the signs are all around us. I pray that you will chose to receive Him, choose to be for Him, choose to be ready to meet Him face to face when your hour comes to slip into eternity, or when Christ returns for His faithful followers.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33, “Therefore, everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” May the Lord bless you and draw you into His family and His kingdom this very day. And please feel free to post on the Epicenter Team Facebook page if you have questions for me about your own spiritual journey. I’m praying for you.

ISRAELI ECONOMY SURGING: Tel Aviv stock exchange hits record high

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

The Israeli economy and stock market are surging, despite growing regional tension and instability. On Wednesday, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed one point below a record high. Today, the market formally hit a new record and is up 130% since November 2008 and 11% for the year.  “The Israeli economy grew by 7.8% in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to figures released Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics,” reports Ynet News. “This is the third estimate for the second half of 2010, which points to a significant rise in the gross domestic product compared to previous quarters – a 4.6% increase in the third quarter and a 5.4% increase in the second quarter.”

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NETANYAHU TO ADDRESS CONGRESS IN MAY

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2011 at 10:00 am

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will give a Mideast peace policy speech in front of U.S. Congress in late May, Haaretz learned on Thursday, in an attempt to counter a speech expected to deal with U.S. Mideast policy by President Barack Obama,” reports Haaretz. “On Thursday it was announced that the premier received official invitation to speak before Congress due to the support of Republican congressmen, and following several weeks in which he and his staff had been attempting to procure such an invitation. Netanyahu is expected to speak at the same week in which he is scheduled to address the AIPAC conference due to take place on May 22….”

Mr. Netanyahu previously addressed a Joint Session of Congress on July 10,1996.

IS OBAMA ABOUT TO PUSH PALESTINIAN STATE IN SEPTEMBER? A TERRIBLE MISTAKE

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm

>> Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman faces corruption charges — may be indicted soon

>> Mubarak had heart attack during questioning: state TV

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As international support builds for the Palestinians to unilaterally declare their own state at the U.N. General Assembly opening session in September, I am growing increasingly concerned the President Obama is preparing to endorse such a move and even push for it.

  • A new article in The Economist reports that “before the UN vote of February 18th [condemning Israel for building settlements in Judea and Samaria], Barack Obama reportedly encouraged Mr Cameron and others to take a tough line on Israel. In phone calls to his European allies, Mr Obama is said to have expressed frustration at Mr Netanyahu’s approach to settlements, but to have explained he had ‘too many domestic fires to extinguish” to risk a bust-up over Israel.'” The reporter says this allegation cannot be confirmed, but “in private, European officials have told Israel that their pressure is choreographed with America.”
  • A new Washington Post column asks: Is Obama Abandoning Diplomatic Support For Israel?

America can ill afford turning on Israel at all, much less now. To do so would be a terrible mistake. 

Bible prophecy makes it clear that in the last days the nations of the world will divide up the land of Israel. But the Scriptures are also crystal clear that the nations will face the judgment of Almighty God for doing so. “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them to the Valley of Jehoshaphat ["the Lord judges"]. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” (Book of Joel 3:1-2).

Let the nations be warned by the God of Israel: they are on a dangerous and disastrous road. Let us pray they turn around before it is too late.

One could wish the clear warning of the Bible would be enough to dissuade the President from dividing the land of Israel. I am not sure it will. Perhaps sheer politics will help. A new poll shows that 51% of Americans oppose a unilateral declaration, and only 31% supporting one. Nevertheless, the President and his senior advisors don’t seem to be listening to the Lord, or the people on this one.

“The United States plans a new push to promote comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday, suggesting a stronger U.S. hand in trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” reports Reuters. “President Barack Obama will lay out U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the coming weeks, Clinton told Arab and U.S. policy makers in a speech that placed particular emphasis on Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

“The president will be speaking in greater detail about America’s policy in the Middle East and North Africa in the coming weeks,” Clinton said at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, a gathering sponsored by Qatar and the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, Reuters reported. “America’s core interests and values have not changed, including our commitment to promote human rights, resolve long-standing conflicts, counter Iran’s threats and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies….This includes renewed pursuit of comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.”

That said, there are disturbing signs that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu may be succumbing to this intense international pressure. Consider the following headlines from Israeli newspapers in recent days:

 

Developing…..

EXPOSURE OF IRANIAN FILM ABOUT THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH CAUSING TURMOIL IN TEHRAN

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm

 

Must read book by Reza Kahlili.

>> To watch a short video explaining the implications of the Iranian film about the coming of the messiah, please click  here

The exposure in the Western media of a new Iranian documentary film, “The Coming Is Near” (also translated, “The Coming Is Upon Us”) about the imminent arrival of the so-called Islamic messiah known as the Twelfth Imam and a soon-coming apocalyptic war with Israel and the West is apparently causing turmoil within the regime in Tehran. It has led to the sudden demotion over the weekend of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff because of his involvement with the film, and sharp criticism from the top Shia Islamic cleric in Iraq.

Reza Kahlili, the former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officer who became a double agent against Iran for the CIA — and now the author of a must-read autobiography, A Time To Betray — first brought the film to the attention of the West two weeks ago through a report on CBN news, followed by extensive coverage on the Drudge Report, Fox News, this blog, and other media outlets. Kahlili now reports that “a heated argument has been taking place within the Iranian establishment” and that “there is panic and concern over the coverage of the movie in the West.”

“The film reveals the regime’s true ideology and plans for the world,” notes Kahlili. “Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei — President Ahmadinejad’s top adviser and chief of staff — was directly involved with this project, and he was the first one to be sacrificed over the movie’s publicity in the West. Ahmadinejad, who had strongly supported Mashaei, had no option but to fire him from that position, which was announced on April 8….The Iranian regime never intended for the documentary to be made public. Reports indicate that funds for its production came directly from the Revolutionary Guards: they intended to distribute it en masse throughout the Middle East to incite further uprisings, while calling for the unification of Arabs to overthrow U.S.-backed governments and promising the destruction of Israel and the imminent coming of the Shiite messiah.”

The Los Angeles Times confirmed over the weekend that Mashaei was demoted, though that article didn’t mention the film in particular.

Kahlili writes that “it is important to note that in the video, Grand Ayatollah Khomeni, the founder of the Islamic Republic, is quoted as saying that he had three goals for Iran: 1. Overthrowing the Shah; 2. Establishing an Islamic State; 3. Creating the situation for the return of the last Imam. Then it goes on to say that the one after him will be the one to pass the flag of Islam to Imam Mahdi for the conquest of the world by Islam. There is also a quote that Khomeni personally told Ayatollah Khamenei that he will be the one to bring about the End of Times and the final glorification of Allah.”

Kahlili reports that the Grand Ayatollah of Iraq has publicly criticized the Iranian regime for producing and distributing this one hour and fifteen minute film about the coming of the Twelfth Imam. “The revelations in this movie have even caused Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq to show concern as he has long opposed the radicalism coming out of Iran,” notes Kahlili. “He openly made this statement:  ‘The analysis for the timing of The Coming of the last Imam is quite concerning. These analyses could weaken the very belief of Muslims. Such activities should not take place in Iran …This is very worrisome.'”

As I noted when the documentary was first released, the Iranian film is full of false teaching (the Twelfth Imam is not the true Messiah, cannot save mankind and will not set up a global Islamic kingdom). It is delivered by false teachers (Iranian clerics) who follow a false religion (Islam). But it is useful in that it is further evidence that our Lord Jesus Christ was absolutely correct when He warned His disciples in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 that “false messiahs” and “false prophets” will come in the last days before Christ’s own return. Indeed, while we can’t know for certain that a false Islamic messiah known as the Twelfth Imam is actually coming at all — much less soon — we must recognize that this is possible, would be a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, would create much deception in the world, and would need to be countered with great courage and wisdom by faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

The good news is that the film is helping to accelerate and intensify an on-going conversation among Muslims and Jews throughout the world who are asking, “Who is the Messiah? When will He come? What signs will precede His coming? How shall we recognize Him when He comes? And how shall we live differently in light of His soon arrival?” This is one of the reasons I wrote the book, The Twelfth Imam, and why I just finished its sequel, due out in October 2011.

I pray that the film would immediately lead to Christian ministries all over the world — and particularly those focused on the people of the Middle East — producing films and TV programs explaining what the Bible says about the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how to both prepare for His return and live lives of holiness, prayer, evangelism, discipleship and church planting in view of Christ Jesus’ coming. Followers of Jesus Christ should be ready and willing to answer people’s questions from the Scriptures, and teach other believers how to answer these questions from the Bible, as well.

>> Do you know who the Messiah is? To read a concise explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and learn how you can pray to receive Christ as Savior and Lord, please click here

120+ ROCKETS HIT SOUTHERN ISRAEL OVER WEEKEND

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Israeli soldiers stand next to a launcher, part of the first "Iron Dome" missile defence system deployed in Israel, near the southern city of Beersheva, in March 2011. Israel is planning to deploy four more batteries of its "Iron Dome" short-range missile defence system, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday. (AFP/File/David Buimovitch)

>> Israel warns travellers of Passover attacks

>> Would you invest in the work of The Joshua Fund as we educate and mobilize Christians around the world to pray for Israel and her neighbors, and provide humanitarian relief to the poor and needy? Thank you for your faithful and generous support! God bless you.

“Over the past 48 hours, terrorist organizations in Gaza fired over 120 Grad missiles, rockets and mortars at the Israeli home front, 50 of which were fired since this morning,” reported the Israeli Defense Forces website on April 9. “Since Thursday, approximately eight Grad missiles and rockets were intercepted by IAF Aerial Defense Corps forces, using the ‘Iron Dome’ system….IAF aircraft and armored forces targeted eleven squads of terrorists in the northern and southern Gaza Strip, immediately following their firing of rockets and mortars at the Israeli home front, deliberately targeting Israeli civilians. IAF aircraft targeted fifteen terror activity sites in the Gaza Strip, including terror infrastructure sites, Hamas outposts, smuggling tunnels and weapons manufacturing and storage facilities. Direct hits were confirmed.”

>> Two wounded in anti-tank missile attack on an Israeli school bus

Please pray for peace on the Israeli-Gaza border.

HEADLINES TO TRACK:

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