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Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

NETANYAHU HOSTS TWO-HOUR BIBLE STUDY IN THE BOOK OF RUTH: Says “the Bible is the foundation of our existence.”

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm

You may recall that in December 2011, I posted a story from the Jerusalem Post that gave me fresh hope about the future of Israel. “Taking a page out of David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin’s playbook, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will begin hosting a regular Bible study group in his official residence for researchers, public officials and invited  guests,” reported the Post. “Netanyahu announced the establishment of the study circle on Friday at a ceremony marking 30 days since the passing of his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi. The study group will be named after Ben-Artzi, a noted poet  and Bible teacher. Both Ben-Gurion and Begin, when they each served as  prime minister, hosted regular Bible study groups. Netanyahu said he was establishing the class to perpetuate love of the Bible.”

Apparently, it took awhile to make it all happen, and since then Mr. Netanyahu also experienced the death of his own father. But on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu, his wife, his sons, and several close friends and Jewish scholars kicked off their first home Bible study. It was scheduled to last for an hour, but went on for two — and focused on the Book of Ruth.

Today, the Post updated the story — here are some excerpts:

  • “On Wednesday afternoon in Baghdad, a few thousand kilometers away from  the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem Residence, the world powers known as the  P5+1 — the US, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany — sat down for much anticipated talks with the Iranians about their nuclear program. At the same time, just a few hundred meters away from the Prime Minister’s Residence, 100 or so people loudly demonstrated for the rights of Ethiopian immigrants and against discrimination. And all the while, for two hours on a mild afternoon, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu — with a small black kippa on his head — sat in the covered courtyard of his home with 16 rabbis, academics, Bible scholars, archeologists and linguists, and discussed the meaning of the Book of Ruth, which will be read on Shavuot on Sunday in synagogues around the world. His wife, Sara, sat next to him, and his two sons sat on a bank of chairs set to the side.
  • “There was something at once heartening and slightly humorous about Netanyahu setting aside precious time in  the late afternoon to talk about Biblical figures Tamar and Yehuda, Naomi and Boaz, Ruth and David, while Iran loomed so large, and domestic issues beckoned so seriously. It was heartening in that it is uniquely elevating seeing the prime minister of the Jewish state taking time out to study the Bible, the heart of Jewish existence. One cannot talk about Jewish historic rights to this place, which the prime  minister does constantly, without appreciating and understanding the Bible….
  • “[The Rabbi] wanted to read only a few verses from the Book of Ruth, but the prime minister urged him on to read more. This is better then the usual matters he has to deal with, Netanyahu quipped as the session — originally scheduled for an hour — went 60 minutes longer than planned….
  • “Wednesday’s meeting, the first of a number of study sessions that are to take place throughout the year, was more symbol than substance, more message than  meat. And Netanyahu made clear what the message was: ‘Ben-Gurion  and Begin believed that the Bible should be the heritage of the entire nation – secular and religious, young and old, men and women. The Bible is the foundation of our existence. It unites the Jewish people, as it  has throughout the generations. It also serves not only as a foundation  but also as a map and compass,’ he said. ‘The Bible is always  relevant vis-à-vis today’s problems and challenges. It inspires, it is a source of life for our people and I think that it is important to  expand Bible study and love of the Bible among all parts of the nation. This is also the goal of this circle.”
  • To read the full article, please click here.

I am so encouraged by these reports. Lynn and I have been praying for Mr. Netanyahu and his family since he first invited me to work with him in 2000. Would you join me in praying for the entire Netanyahu family, as well as in reading the Book of Ruth as a family this weekend?

  • Let’s pray that the study of the Word of God has a powerful, personal impact on the Prime Minister and his family and each of his colleagues and guests.
  • Let’s pray that many Israelis would follow the Prime Minister’s lead and begin reading the Holy Scriptures again.
  • Let’s pray that Bible studies in people’s homes would spring up all over the Land of Israel.
  • Let’s pray that pray that more and more Israelis would develop a new and deeper curiosity about Bible prophecy, both the dramatic prophecies in the Scriptures that have already been fulfilled, and those that will come to pass soon, including the all-important prophecies about the Messiah.

May the Lord do a great work in drawing the nation of Israel back to His Holy Word.

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NEW EVIDENCE SHOWS IRAN ENRICHING URANIUM TO 27% PURITY, UP FROM 20%: Nuclear talks in Baghdad go nowhere; next round in Moscow

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm

“The U.N. atomic agency has found evidence at an underground bunker in Iran that could mean the country has moved closer to producing the uranium threshold needed to arm nuclear missiles, diplomats said Friday,” according to the Associated Press. “The International Atomic Energy Agency has found traces of uranium enriched up to 27 percent at Iran’s Fordo enrichment plant, the diplomats told The Associated Press. That is still substantially below the 90-percent level needed to make the fissile core of nuclear arms. But it is above Iran’s highest-known enrichment grade, which is close to 20 percent, and which already can be turned into weapons-grade material much more quickly than the Islamic Republic’s main stockpile, which can only be used for fuel at around 3.5 percent.”

Meanwhile, the nuclear talks held this week in Baghdad between Iran and six world powers went nowhere. The only thing agreed upon was to hold more talks. The next round is scheduled for June 18-19 in Moscow. This will give Russian Czar Vladimir Putin an opportunity to dramatically shape the future of the showdown between Iran and Israel. How will he use it? Putin is reportedly headed to Israel in June, though as far as I know the dates are not yet set. But clearly next month is going to be a critical moment in Russian-Iranian-Israeli relations. UPDATE (5/25): Russia’s Putin to visit Israel in June.

All this comes as Iran’s top military commander said his country was fully committed to completely destroying the State of Israel. “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel,” Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi , the Iranian military’s chief of staff, said in a speech to a defense gathering Sunday in Tehran.

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IRAN CLAIMS DISCOVERY OF ANCIENT “GOSPEL” WILL PROVE ISLAM AND DESTROY CHRISTIANITY

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm
Image of the alleged "Gospel of Barnabus."

Image of the alleged “Gospel of Barnabus.”

The Shia Muslim leaders of Iran are trying desperately to stamp out the explosive growth of Christianity inside Iran and the Muslim world. They are killing pastors and house church leaders, arresting and persecuting rank-and-file followers of Jesus, and declaring that the Twelfth Imam — their so-called “messiah” — is going to be revealed soon. Now the mullahs are claiming they have a document that will destroy Christianity.

“Iran’s Basij Press is claiming that a version of the Gospel of Barnabas, found in 2000, will prove that Islam is the final and righteous religion and the revelation will cause the collapse worldwide of Christianity,” reports Reza Kahlili, a former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officer who became a double agent for the CIA and eventually an American citizen. “Turkey confiscated a leather-bound text, written on animal hide, in an anti-smuggling operation in 2000. Turkish authorities believe the text could be an authentic version of the Gospel of Barnabas, one of Jesus’ apostles and an associate of the apostle Paul. This version of the Barnabas Gospel was written in the 5th or 6th century and it predicted the coming of the Prophet Mohammad and the religion of Islam, the Basij Press claims. The Christian world, it says, denies the existence of such a gospel. However, religious scholars have said another version of the Barnabas Gospel, discovered a century ago, was written less than 500 years ago, which would post-date Mohammad. In Chapter 41 of the Barnabas Gospel, Basij claims, is this statement: “God has hidden himself as Archangel Michael ran them (Adam and Eve) out of heaven, (and) when Adam turned, he noticed that at top of the gateway to heaven, it was written ‘La elah ela Allah, Mohamad rasool Allah,’” meaning Allah is the only God and Mohammad his prophet.” To read the rest of the story, please click here.

The New Testament warns that in the “last days” false teachers, and false prophets, and false messiahs will come and seek to deceive people and cause them to turn away from the truths of the Bible and Lordship of Jesus Christ (see also here). The Apostle Paul also warned in Galatians chapter one that followers of Christ must even be on guard against angels or so-called “apostles” preaching a false and deceptive gospel in the End Times, because anyone who preaches or teaches a gospel other than that found in the New Testament will be cursed. “Even if we, or  an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Paul wrote. “As we  have said before, so I say again now,  if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8-9) Sadly, Islam is a false religion that came from a false prophet and is promulgated by false teachers. The good news is that millions of Muslim around the world are waking up to the falsehood of Islam and are discovering that Jesus Christ is, in fact, the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no one comes to the Father and enters heaven except through Christ (see John 14:6)

HOUSTON’S FIRST BAPTIST TO HOST LIVE “IMPLOSION SIMULCAST” EVENT: Churches, home fellowships and book clubs can still register to show the simulcast.

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

 

 

 

I’m very grateful to my friend, Gregg Matte, the pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church, for hosting the “Implosion Simulcast” event on Saturday, June 16th. The event will occur live from 9am to noon that day. Everyone is welcome but you do need a ticket which you can get by clicking here.

Do you live in Houston or anywhere within driving range? Please register to come! We would love to have you participate. I’ll be teaching for about 50 minutes. Then we’ll take a short break. Then I’ll take your questions for two full hours — my favorite part of these events.

Here’s a short video that will give you a better sense of what Implosion is all about.

If you don’t live anywhere near Houston, that’s okay. Here are some other options:

Thanks so much. This is a very challenging and sobering topic, but I’m deeply grateful for the commitment of pastors like Gregg Matte to helping generate a national conversation about just how serious our situation is as a country, and how Christ is the only answer. Please pray for more churches and small groups to participate, and for the Lord to teach us all something from His heart before it’s too late. God bless.

IMPLOSION UPDATE #4: PROMINENT U.S. SENATOR SAYS U.S. FACES “SUDDEN COLLAPSE” DUE TO “DEBT BOMB”

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm

>> Short video about “Implosion” now posted on YouTube

“America today faces one of the greatest threats to its existence since our founding,” writes U.S. Senator Tom Coburn in his chilling new book, The Debt Bomb. “The threat does not come from any foreign army or terrorist network, but from our own government and its unsustainable spending. If we don’t change course in the near future — most likely the next two years — America as we’ve known it could soon be a shell of its former self. We could face a sudden economic collapse worse than the Great Depression, or we could enter an era of managed decline and waning influence.”

I couldn’t agree more. Most Americans would rather focus on the winners of the “American Idol” competition, or the new Avengers movie, or the latest baseball standings, or almost anything else. But we can’t wish this crisis away. The painful fact is our debt crisis poses an existential danger to the U.S. economy and way of life. Indeed, a new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the U.S. is staring over the edge of a “fiscal cliff,” in growing danger of a double-dip recession, higher unemployment, and a European-style debt crisis. We have blown past $15 trillion in federal debt this year, and we have $65 trillion in unfunded federal promises rushing our way. Just look at the horrors unfolding in Greece to see where we may soon be heading. Unfortunately, our economy is only part of the story. We are also seeing families imploding all around us due to adultery, pornography, divorce, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, domestic abuse, violent crime and a metastasizing list of social pathologies.

How serious are these problems really, and can we turn things around in time? These are the questions I examine in-depth in my new book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges In Time? which releases in just a few weeks, on June 12th. A few days after the book releases, I will host a three-hour national town hall meeting called an “IMPLOSION SIMULCAST” on Saturday, June 16th at Houston’ First Baptist Church (register here to attend in person). Are you and your church or small group Bible study signed up to watch this simulcast where you live? If you’re not in Houston, the simulcast can only be seen by signing up in advance. I hope you and your church will participate, and invite family members, friends and neighbors to join you for this important discussion. I’ll be honest, I am deeply and increasingly concerned about the very real possibility that God will allow America’s economy and society and collapse. It’s by no means a foregone conclusion, of course. We’ve seen God rescue our country from the brink before, especially during the Great Awakening of the early 1700s and the Second Great Awakening of the early 1800s. I’m praying earnestly for a Third Great Awakening to come soon, and in the book — and the simulcast — I’ll describe why I believe we desperately need such a powerful, sweeping move of God. But my concern is that if the Church doesn’t wake up soon, and if America does not repent and plead with God for forgiveness and mercy soon, the Lord may very well remove His hand of grace from us in the not-too-distant future.

OTHER HEADLINES TO TRACK:

EGYPT HOLDS HISTORIC ELECTIONS TODAY: Will results lead to end of peace treaty with Israel?

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Millions of Egyptians are voting today. The big question is not simply, “Who will become Egypt’s next President?” but “Will the results lead to the end of the peace treaty with Israel?” “Egyptians went to the polls Wednesday to choose their first freely elected president in a vote that could end 15 chaotic months of military rule and define the future of political Islam,” reports the New York Times. “It was a new climax in a cascade of scenes that would have been unthinkable just two years ago, when election days meant that state television would film former President Hosni Mubarak walking a red carpet to his special polling place in a predictably fraudulent plebiscite. But on Wednesday, millions of Egyptians waited patiently in long lines, often holding scraps of cardboard against the desert sun, and debated with their neither neighbors over which of the five leading contenders most deserved their vote. ‘It is like honey to my heart,’ said Mohamed Mustafa Seif, 36, an accountant voting in downtown Cairo. ‘For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a role to play. My vote could possible make a difference.’ With a fluid and shifting field, no reliable polls, and a potential runoff next month, the outcome was impossible to predict. Two rival Islamists, two former ministers from the government of Hosni Mubarak, and a Nasserite socialist are all in the running.”

What is the future of Egypt? The Lord has much to say about that actually, and Egypt plays an important role in End Times Bible prophecy.  The God of the Bible loves the people of Egypt. He is determined to get their attention and draw them into a personal relationship with Him through faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Still, the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah tells us Egypt has some very dark days ahead of it in the “last days” of history before the Second Coming of Christ. See Isaiah 19. See also this video blog on the future of Egypt in Bible prophecy posted on The Joshua Fund website.

TIME CROWNS NETANYAHU “KING BIBI”: The eyes of the nations are riveted on Israel.

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

When was the last time the leader of a country with fewer than eight million citizens made the cover of Time magazine?

“Time Magazine devoted its lead story to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is featured on the cover of the renowned publication, under the heading ‘King Bibi,'” reports Ynet News. “Underneath the heading, in the article, titled ‘Bibi’s choice,’ author Richard Stengel describes Netanyahu’s unshakable political stature, writing that he ‘is poised to become the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since David Ben-Gurion, the founding father of Israel. He has no national rival. His approval rating, roughly 50%, is at an all-time high.'”

Here’s a link to the story (though you have to a be a Time subscriber to read the whole thing). It is further evidence that the eyes of the nations are indeed riveted on Israel, the epicenter of the momentous events that are shaping our times and shaking our world.

The Jerusalem Post reports that “Netanyahu discussed his relationship with the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, disputing the impression left by  a recent New York Times piece that the two have a ‘warm friendship little known  to outsiders’ stretching back decades that was ‘nurtured over meals in Boston,  New York and Jerusalem….It was at Boston Consulting [Group] that he met Mitt Romney,’ Stengel wrote. ‘We did not know each other that well,’ Bibi says. ‘He was the whiz kid. I was just in the back of the room.’ In actuality, the  article says, Netanyahu has seen Romney only a handful of times over the years  and only once this year – when they spoke for 10 minutes during his visit to  Washington in March, mainly about Iran. Netanyahu was asked about the  cover and Time’s appellation ‘King Bibi’ during a press conference Thursday in  Prague. ‘I can tell you one thing,’ he quipped, ‘Israel will remain a democracy,  not become a monarchy.’ This was the second time Netanyahu had the weekly news magazine’s cover all to himself, the first time being on June 10, 1996,  after he was elected prime minister for the first time. Then the headline was, ‘Can He Make Peace?’ Last month a small portrait of him appeared in a collage on Time’s cover of the ‘100 Most Influential People in the World.'”

THE FUTURE OF EUROPE, ISRAEL AND THE JEWS: VIDEO MESSAGES POSTED FROM PROPHECY CONFERENCE IN GERMANY

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

(Siegen, Germany) — For the last several days, I’ve been teaching at a pastors and ministry leaders conference in Germany, with each message translated into German. We’ve been focusing on the future of Europe, Israel and the Jews, looking at a number of key Bible prophecies, including the remarkable prophecies found in Ezekiel 36, 37, 38, 39 in light of current events. We also did in-depth question & answers sessions that I think you’ll find fascinating. It’s been an amazing time to be here with several hundred ministry leaders and lay people from all over Germany and all over Europe. We’ve been recording each of the message in high-definition and we are posting them one by one. You can watch the ones that are posted so far by clicking here.  

You can learn more about the conference at www.epicenterconference.com.

Here is a brief overview: “One of the most exciting phrases we find in the Bible is ‘Then they shall know that I am the LORD’. It often follows some incredible promise of God or precedes prophetically some powerful work that can only be credited to His hand. This is what we find at the end of Ezekiel 36 as God improbably promises to bring the broken nation of Israel back into the land. It precedes one of the most incredible passages in the Bible, found in Ezekiel 37, as God asks the prophets, “Can these dry bones live?” God then goes on to give Ezekiel a vision of the nation of Israel being resurrected, a promise which sustained hope over thousands of years of scattering and persecution of His chosen people. Over those centuries, this promise of God must have seemed not only improbable, but impossible. Yet, in this century, we have witnessed the beginning of God’s fulfillment of His promise. In much the same way, God has made incredible—some might say impossible—promises to His Church. But, as the centuries have gone by and the years have taken their toll, many of His people have lost hope and see the fulfillment of God’s predictions about the future as true in theory, but having little practical application in their lives. Joel C. Rosenberg is joined at the Pastors & Leadership Conference in Siegen, Germany by pastors Ray Bentley, Bob Botsford, Nick Long, David Guzik and Lance Ralston as we dig deeply into God’s Word. We will focus on Ezekiel 36-39 to see how God has been faithful to His promises in history past and will continue to be faithful in the future. The promises He has made to Israel and to us, His Church, are true and have powerful, practical application in our lives and ministries today.”

The next Epicenter Conference in the U.S. will be in September. Learn more at www.epicenterconference.com.

This summer, don’t miss the IMPLOSION SIMULCAST on Saturday, June 16th. 

IMPLOSION UPDATE #3: GREECE ON EDGE OF ECONOMIC COLLAPSE AND CIVIL WAR — WILL CONTAGION SPREAD TO E.U. AND U.S.?

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Greece is on the verge of economic collapse and civil war, according to top leaders inside Greece and the European Union. Decisions made by Greek leaders and the Greek public in the coming days and weeks could lead to catastrophic results. What’s more, experts are worried the economic and social contagion unleashed by a Greek implosion, should it happen, could spread throughout the European Union, the U.S., and around the world in our highly interdependent global economy.  

Greece is staggering under a crushing amount of public debt. The politicians and the public is addicted to runaway government spending. But the Greek public is resisting the massive budget cuts and other reforms needed to avoid an implosion. It is resisting the reforms the EU leadership is requiring in order for Greece to receive new infusions of EU emergency funding and access to emergency loans. Greek leaders are, instead, seriously considering quitting the Eurozone system in order to avoid the austerity measures the EU leaders — led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel — are insisting upon. But leaving the Eurozone would likely make things far worse, cutting off or severely limiting Greek access to the capital markets and possibly leading to sky high interest rates, hyperinflation, massive business failures and soaring unemployment. If Greece leaves the Euro system, it would also severely impact the rest of Europe. Banks who have large investments in Greece fear they might never be repaid, which would threaten the health of those banks. Bank officials around the world would, in turn, jack up interest rates for other struggling European countries — including Spain, Italy and Portugal, among others — fearing they, too, might bail on the legal and financial agreements that are party of the E.U. treaty and making them higher risks of defaulting on their loans. Businesses throughout Europe could then struggle to get access to capital, potentially leading to a horrific cycle of further business failures and skyrocketing unemployment. Given that Europe is the largest trading partner with the United States, and the fact that many American banks have European exposure, the American economy and financial could also be severely impacted.

Consider the latest developments:

If this were not all serious enough, the Greek crisis offers a warning to American policymakers who are also addicted to overspending and massive debt. The U.S. is already $15 trillion-plus in debt, with another $65 trillion in unfunded liabilities coming due. If we don’t make dramatic course corrections quickly, we may find ourselves on the financial equivalent of the Titanic, unable to avoid hitting the debt iceberg straight ahead of us before it’s too late. 

Just as many Europeans are growing anxious about the future of their countries and personal economic futures, so are many Americans are growing anxious about the future of our country. On Saturday, June 16th, I will host a live, three-hour “Implosion Simulcast,” which will be shown around the country and around the world. What does Bible prophecy say about the future of the United States in light of the global crises that are in motion and more crises that are coming up over the horizon? Is America simply in decline, or do we face a catastrophic moral and economic collapse? What role does the Church play, and is there any hope of a Third Great Spiritual Awakening? During the “Implosion Simulcast,” I will teach from the Scriptures and from the research I did for my forthcoming book, and take questions from all over the world. Please sign up your church, home fellowship group, or small group Bible study today to participate in this unique event. It will be distinctly non-political and non-partisan. In light of current events and trends, I hope you’ll participate and begin praying and fasting even more for the Lord to pour out His Holy Spirit and show great mercy to our country and to nations around the world.

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>> In case you missed it: “How Can You Be Jewish And Believe In Jesus?” A video of Joel speaking at a recent conference, explaining his spiritual journey.

IRAN STEPPING UP ATTACKS ON MUSLIM CONVERTS TO CHRIST

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Please pray for the believers in Iran as persecution intensifies there. “Iran’s ayatollahs are showing frustration with Iranians leaving Islam for Christianity in large numbers despite the threat of execution for apostasy,” reports Reza Khalili on The Daily Caller website. “A former intelligence officer in the Guards, who has now defected to Europe, told The Daily Caller that the country’s regime has ordered the domestic intelligence apparatus to use drastic measures to stop them — including imprisonment, torture and the mass-burning of Bibles. According to a report by Mohammad Reza Modaber, the chief editor of the Christian Farsi language Mohabat News, two Christian converts in their mid 20s were arrested in April after intelligence agents entered their home in Tehran without warrants. One agent, responding to the mother of the arrested who asked where they were taking her children and why, responded mockingly, ‘Tell Jesus to come and rescue them.’ TheDC’s source who was formerly an Iranian intelligence officer indicated that in the city of Shiraz alone, with a population of over one million, there were 30,000 files at the intelligence headquarters on individuals who had converted to Christianity….”

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