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NCAA CORRECT TO IMPOSE RECORD SANCTIONS ON PENN STATE IN CHILD SEX ABUSE SCANDAL

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

>> WSJ: Philadelphia Monsignor Gets Up to Six Years in Prison — “A Roman Catholic monsignor was sentenced Tuesday to as many as six years in prison for allowing a priest suspected of sexual misconduct with a minor to have continued contact with children.”

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The unspeakable sex crimes against defenseless, innocent children by Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was an abomination. Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of raping, molesting and abusing children, including on the Penn State campus. But also abominable was the cover-up of the ghastly crimes by coach Joe Paterno and other senior Penn State officials. The investigation by former FBI Director Louie Freeh revealed that Paterno was a serial liar — the man knew the truth about Sandusky but repeatedly lied about it, called Sandusky a “good guy,” and did nothing to stop the man from raping and molesting boys and getting him put behind bars.

By attempting to turn a blind eye and keeping silent about the travesties that were going on rather than turning Sandusky into the police immediately, the Penn State leadership essentially aided and abetted those crimes. How this implosion of morality and ethics and sheer decency could have happened in the first place is still something that makes me shudder.

>> Read full PDF version of the Freeh Report

What was done cannot be undone. But those reponsible can and should be brought to justice. Sandusky is in prison. Paterno has passed away. And now college football is dealing with Penn State. “The NCAA fined the school $60 million, imposed a four-year postseason ban on Penn State football, significantly reduced the number of scholarship players the team can field over the next four years, placed the program on probation for five years and enabled any current or incoming player to transfer and play immediately without restriction,” reports the Washington Post. “But perhaps the most significant individual sanction in the context of college football history is that all of Penn State’s wins from 1998 to 2011 have been vacated, which means that Paterno, who oversaw the Nittany Lions’ football program for nearly 46 years, no longer is the all-time winningest coach in college football’s Division I. That distinction now returns to the late Eddie Robinson, who recorded 408 career wins in 45 years as the head coach of Grambling State — a number surpassed by Paterno on Oct. 29, his last game as Penn State coach before he was forced to step down….The $60 million fine dwarfs any levied by the NCAA in the past; the four-year bowl ban will cost the school tens of millions of dollars; and the reduction to 15 from 25 annual new scholarships, while not unprecedented in scale, will  significantly handicap recruitment efforts, especially given the other negative fallout from the Sandusky scandal.” Sports Illustrated provides more details of the record sanctions here.

We need to pray that the Lord heals the children who were abused of this horrible trauma and enables them to lead healthy, productive, godly lives. We also need to pray for their families to find the love and healing and comfort that only Jesus Christ can provide. What’s more, we need to ask the Lord to have mercy on other children who are being sexually abused all across America, and ask the Lord to expose this scourge of abuse and bring it to an immediate end, and bring all of these abusers to justice. The NCAA and the Big Ten conference have done the right thing to send a strong message throughout the college sports community. But this scandal is just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. This scourge of child abuse and molestation — by some in the Catholic Church, by some at Penn State, and by many others across the country — is yet another reason America is in grave danger of implosion. Lord, please have mercy on us. Please cleanse us of this horror show. Please bring a Third Great Awakening and bring millions upon millions of Americans to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ before it’s too late.

>> Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?

PASTORS: WOULD YOU MAKE THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT SERVICE A CALL TO PRAYER & FASTING?

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Dear Pastors — in light of the evil unleashed in Aurora last week, and America’s desperate need for a Third Great Awakening, would you turn your Wednesday night service this week into a call to prayer, fasting and repentance along the lines of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Joel chapter 2? More than ever, America needs pastors to boldly and passionately preach that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that will save this country. America needs pastors who will call this nation to humble ourselves and turn from our wicked ways and seek His face, before it’s too late. America cannot be saved unless the Church wakes up from our long and bitter slumber. “Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near….’Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘Return to Me with all your heart, and with  fasting, weeping and mourning; and  rend your heart and not your garments.’ Now return to the Lord your God, for He is  gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and  relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a  blessing behind Him, even a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Blow a trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber. Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not make Your inheritance a  reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:1, 12-17)

SHEER EVIL UNLEASHED IN COLORADO MOVIE THEATER: NOW WHAT? One Aurora pastor had 33 members in the theater that night; hear his powerful Sunday sermon.

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

UPDATED: What made James Holmes do it? Why did the 24 year old graduate student open fire in a crowded Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre last Thursday night at the premiere of the new Batman movie, leaving 12 dead and 58 seriously wounded? The investigation of this act of sheer evil is on-going, and we all await more details. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called Holmes “twisted,” “diabolical,” “demonic” and a “terrorist.”

In the meantime:

  • Please pray for the Lord to comfort and heal all those who were affected by this terrible tragedy –  for the more than 800 people were in the theatre that night; for their families and friends; for the first responders; for the suspect; for the law enforcement officials involved in the case.
  • Please pray for pastors to rise up and show the true love of Jesus Christ to those who need that supreme love so desperately, and pray that these pastors are able to communicate the Word of God with clarity and authority to those who are suffering and frightened and angry.
  • Pray especially for my friend, Ed Taylor, the pastor of Calvary Chapel Aurora. He is in the thick of all this — 33 members of his congregation were at that theater when the shooting started. Yesterday, he delivered a powerful sermon based on 2 Kings 6:13-17. You can listen to Pastor Ed’s message by clicking here. What shall we do when evil surrounds us? What shall we do when we face death and don’t know what to do and where to turn? O Lord, open our eyes, and let us see You…let us see Your power….let us see the hope You provide….give us courage to combat the fear we feel. Interestingly, this is the same text that the Lord told me to preach on in Haifa, Israel last week.

One thing clear today: the demons of violence and lawlessness are on the loose all across America, not merely in Aurora. Violent crime in the United States has surged by more than 460 percent since 1960. The further we turn away from God in our nation — or give mere lip service to religion — the worse things are getting. We are witnessing a horrifying explosion of murder. We are witnessing a gruesome crime wave unprecedented in American history. And there appears to be no end in sight. In recent years, we’ve seen brutal mass murders in high schools (like Columbine), on college campuses (like Virginia Tech), and in small towns all across America (a recent FBI report says the murder rate soared 18.2% in small towns in America last year alone).

Is this evidence of the early stages of cultural implosion? I believe it is. As I note in Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?, “Alarm bells are going off all around us. Lights on the dashboard are flashing, Warning! Warning! Yet America is sleeping through the alarms, blind to the warning lights. And tragically, for the most part, the Church — God’s chosen instrument to bless individuals, families, communities, and nations — is asleep as well. I shudder to imagine where we are heading if we don’t wake up soon, plead for the Lord’s forgiveness, and ask Him to use us to love our neighbors and revitalize our country….”If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:145)….America is on the brink of collapse. We desperately need God’s mercy. Without His grace, we will implode. It’s not a matter of if but when. Thus, now is the time we must urgently ask the Lord to give us a sweeping series of spiritual revivals in every part of our nation that will culminate in a Third Great Awakening. Whether God decides to say yes is up to Him. But let us not compound our many national sins by failing to get on our faces before Him and implore Him to pour out His Holy Spirit and save us from disaster.”

NETANYAHU INTEVIEWED ON FOX NEWS SUNDAY: Vows retaliation for Bulgarian bombing, linkage w/Iran & Hezbollah, and threat of Syrian chemical weapons

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Click here to watch video online.

Also:

ISRAELI PARLIAMENT MEMBER RIPS UP NEW TESTAMENT: Calls book “abominable,” even though it was largely written by Jews.

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm

(Jerusalem, Israel) — UPDATED: Please pray for Michael Ben Ari. He’s a member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) who this week was given the gift of a Hebrew New Testament study Bible by the Israeli Bible Society but chose to rip it to shreds and throw it into the garbage and do so in front of the press. It was a reprehensible act and a childish temper tantrum and the controversy over what he did and why he did it has made headlines here in Israel and around the world. The good news is several leading Israeli officials condemned Ben Ari’s action and called for him to apologize. Personally, I’d like to see Prime Minister Netanyahu make a strong statement condemning Ben Ari’s action, as well.

At the end of this column, I post some of my thoughts about why I believe this controversy is important.

But first, here are the latest details: “MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and threw it in the trash, an act that was apparently caught on camera,” reported Ynet News. “Ben Ari and several other Knesset members received by mail on Monday a copy of the New Testament, sent by the Bible Society in Israel, an organization that distributes religious books. In the letter sent with the book, director of the Christian organization Victor Kalisher wrote that the new edition ‘sheds light on the Holy Scriptures and helps understand them….We hope the book will help you and illuminate your way.’….However, while most MK’s chose to ignore the book or return it to its sender, the rightist lawmaker chose to term the book a ‘provocation,’ tore it up into shreds and then threw it out. ‘This abominable book (the New Testament) galvanized the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during [other] instances,’ Ben Ari said adding that ‘Sending the book to MK’s is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history.’”

“The religious and ultra-Orthodox Knesset members should honor those who want to read the book, Kalisher said,” noted the Times of Israel, “adding ‘it could help them expand their own knowledge.’ Kalisher also denied the notion of missionary activity, saying his organization studied and spread the holy scriptures, providing people with knowledge and study tools. There was no intention to ‘hurt the feelings of Knesset members,’ he said. ‘It’s a Jewish book, written by Jews. To better understand Judaism you need to study the New Testament.’

MK Ben Ari’s deplorable behavior was denounced by other Knesset members, including the Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin condemned Ben-Ari’s act and said all religious books should be respected. “Holy scriptures are important to their believers,” Rivlin said. According to the Times of Israel, Rivlin asked “what would the Jewish reaction be if a parliament member from another country burned the Torah.” Democracy, he said, includes the freedom of expression, “but not the freedom of offending believers of other faiths. Freedom of religion is a cornerstone of this country.”

Israel’s official government spokesman, Mark Regev, also condemned Ben Ari’s act. “We totally deplore this behavior and condemn it outright,” said Regev. “This action stands in complete contrast to our values and our traditions. Israel is a tolerant society, but we have zero tolerance for this despicable and hateful act.” A source close to the Prime Minister told me Mr. Regev’s comments reflect Mr. Netanyahu’s views.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to their credit, also called on MK Ben Ari to apologize for his behavior. Here is the statement the ADL released:  “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was horrified by reports that a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and posed for photographs with the destroyed bible. ADL called on Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari to publicly apologize for tearing up a copy of the New Testament he had received after a publisher sent copies to all members of the Israeli Knesset. ‘As Jews, we expect others to treat our holy books with respect and understanding,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. ‘We should likewise show respect for the holy books of other faiths. A member of parliament and a representative of the State of Israel should know better than to show such profound disrespect for another faith. His actions run counter to Jewish values and the standards of Israel’s democratic society.’ In a letter to Mr. Ben Ari, the League said he needs to apologize for his disrespectful act. ‘We understand that copies of the New Testament were sent to all members of Knesset,” the League wrote to Mr. Ben Ari. ‘In statements to the media, the publisher has asserted that the intention was not to proselytize, but rather to inform MKs of the wealth of religious texts produced in Israel.  However, if your belief was that this distribution constituted proselytizing, we believe a more proper outlet for your concern would be to call on the appropriate authorities to investigate if the manner in which this text was distributed constituted a violation of Israeli law.’”

I agree with the ADL and am encouraged by their statement.

That said, I would encourage all of the Members of the Israeli Knesset to read and carefully study this Hebrew edition of the New Testament and to proactively study the life of  Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. Indeed, my prayer is that all Israelis would read and study the New Testament and decide this question: Is Yeshua the Jewish Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets, or not? This is the most important question in all of human history, and the most important and urgent of questions that must be answered by each and every Jew and Gentile. Indeed, our eternal destiny depends on how we answer this question and what actions we take based on our answer.

I am very sorry that MK Ben Ari did what he did. But I am grateful for the wisdom of Speaker Rivlin who saw in this controversy the importance of denouncing Ben Ari’s reprehensible actions and show solidarity with the Christian world by showing respect for the New Testament. I’m grateful for Mark Regev doing the same. I’m grateful for Abe Foxman and others doing the same. And I’m grateful that out of something bad that was done, some good might results — perhaps more people will wonder why Ben Ari is making such a big fuss over the New Testament and choose to read it for themselves.

BUS BOMBING KILLS AT LEAST 7 ISRAELI YOUTH IN BULGARIA: Iran suspected

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

We just heard the terrible news out of Bulgaria and have stopped all we’re doing to pray for those involved. In case you’re unaware of the situation, here’s what we know so far: “A bus carrying Israeli youth exploded Wednesday in a Bulgarian resort, killing at least four people and wounding more than two dozen, police and hospital officials said,” reports AP. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it ‘an Iranian terror attack’ and promised a tough response. The explosion took place in the Black Sea city of Burgas, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of the capital, Sofia. TV images showed smoke billowing from the scene — a parking lot at the local airport where the Israeli tourists had apparently just landed. Several buses and cars were on fire near the shell of the exploded vehicle….Israelis often have been targeted in attacks outside their country, and Wednesday’s bombing coincided with the 18th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina that killed 85 people.”

UPDATES:

Please pray for all those injured in the attack. Please pray for the Lord Jesus to comfort and heal them, and comfort their families and friends, and draw them all to Himself. Please pray for those responsible to be brought to justice. Please pray for wisdom for Israeli and Bulgarian leaders to know how best to respond to this horrific attack.

>> To make a financial contribution to the work of The Joshua Fund to bless the poor and needy in Israel, please visit www.joshuafund.net. 

FED CHIEF SAYS U.S. ON “UNSUSTAINABLE PATH” & APPROACHING “FISCAL CLIFF”: Grave risk of implosion growing

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2012 at 6:03 am

(Tiberias, Israel) — Fascinating but troubling events here in Israel and the epicenter. Shaul Mofaz, the Vice Prime Minister, and his Kadima political party resigned from the Netanyahu government yesterday. Terrible bloodshed continues in Syria as the Assad regime continues to murder it’s opponents by the thousands. Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons and Israeli leaders try to figure out a way to stop them, even if it means war. And there are growing fears of a major earthquake occurring in Israel soon; experts say the “big one” is long overdue. Meanwhile, Lynn and the boys and I and some dear friends continue to do humanitarian relief projects with The Joshua Fund throughout Israel, helping care for the poor and needy while also teaching the Word of God.

Yet even as I have been so focused on Israel and the epicenter over the past several weeks here in the Land, I remain deeply concerned about the future of my own country back home. As I write about in Implosion: Can American Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?, the risks of an American collapse are growing. Since the release of the book on June 12, the warning signs of such a potential collapse have actually increased. The latest warnings come from the head of the Federal Reserve. We’ve also seen three California cities implode financially and file for bankruptcy in recent days. We urgently need to be praying for the Lord’s mercy on the United States, and for a Third Great Awakening to sweep the Church and the country. Nothing less will save our country. It’s that serious.

  • Headline: “Bernanke: Economy Faces Dire Risk From Fiscal Cliff.” Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said on Tuesday that “U.S. fiscal policies are on an unsustainable path, and the development of a credible medium-term plan for controlling deficits should be a high priority. At the same time, fiscal decisions should take into account the fragility of the recovery.” Bernanke “has warned lawmakers repeatedly that their failure to stop the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to occur at the end of the year, known as the ‘fiscal cliff,’ will hurt the economy. On Tuesday, he emphasized the tightrope lawmakers must walk.”
  • “The main threat to the economy is shifting from what others may do to us to what we are doing to ourselves,” reports the Washington Post. “For much of the year, economists worried about the impact of the slowdown in Europe on the U.S. economy. Now, analysts say anxiety about the impact of the fast-approaching fiscal cliff — the series of federal spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect at the beginning of 2013 if Congress and the Obama administration do not act — is displacing Europe as the primary threat to the nation’s sputtering economy. Morgan Stanley said this week that concerns about the fiscal cliff are reaching new heights across a wide range of industries. It is already seeing reductions in business orders and hiring, among other areas. ‘While our analysts are somewhat less worried about the impact of European bank strains,’ a Morgan Stanley report said Monday, ‘the negative impact of fiscal cliff uncertainty is becoming more widespread.’”
  • Headline: “Another California city opts for bankruptcy — San Bernadino”
  • Headline: “Stockton, California files bankruptcy petition”
  • Headline: “Mammoth Lakes, California files for bankruptcy”

MOFAZ QUITS ISRAELI GOVERNMENT: Why he did it, and what it means.

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2012 at 5:21 am

(Tiberias, Israel) — Shaul Mofaz quit the Netanyahu government here in Israel last night, taking his Kadima party back into the opposition. The move comes just 10 weeks after Mofaz had struck a deal with Prime Minister Netanyahu to join the government. Mofaz said he was quitting his position as Vice Prime Minister because he and Netanyahu had failed to negotiate a compromise over legislation that would require Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israeli Arabs to serve in the army (or in some form of national service, such as serving in police or fire units) like all other Israeli young people must do. There is tremendous and growing resentment in Israel among secular and traditional Jews because Ultra-Orthodox youths currently aren’t required to be drafted and thus serve the needs of the nation, but rather get government stipends to study religion and additional stipends when they get married and have children. 

“Without a sharing of the burden of army duty, there can be no social justice –- and without social justice, there would be no sharing of the burden of army duty,” Mofaz told the Times of Israel. “I was ready for historic compromises, but I had a red line, which I could not cross,” he said, adding that Netanyahu had “sided with the draft-dodgers over those who carry the national burden.”

Netanyahu responded by saying he was sorry Kadima chose to leave the government, reported the Times. “We were very close to a significant change in the distribution of the national burden,” he said in a letter. “I explained to you that the only way to implement this in the field would be gradually and without tearing the Israeli society apart, especially during a period of time in which Israel finds itself in in front of many significant challenges. I will continue to work to create a responsible solution Israeli society expects.” Netanyahu wants to phase in the new reforms by allowing the Ultra-Orthodox to attend religious schools first and not get drafted until they are 23 or 26 years old, rather than be drafted at the age of 18 like all other Israelis. Several key members of Kadima sharply disagreed with Mofaz’s move, saying the party should remain in the government to keep working on a compromise. The “Tal Law” which exempts the Ultra-Orthodox and Arabs from army service expires on August 1st.

Some Kadima members, and political analysts, believe Mofaz decision could effectively destroy the party, which is already bleeding public support. With Kadima out of the government, Netanyahu’s government still retains a healthy majority of 12 seats in the Knesset. But this upheaval could lead to new elections by the end of the year, or possibly in early 2013. It could also complicate the PM’s decision to launch a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. I believe Netanyahu is seriously considering a strike against Iran this fall, before the U.S. elections. But if his governing coalition falls apart, or if his approval ratings drop significantly, this could impede his ability to garner domestic Israeli support for such a strike.

SERMON IN HAIFA: “O GOD, IN LIGHT OF THE GROWING THREATS TO ISRAEL, OPEN OUR EYES”

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity of preaching at a congregation in Haifa, Israel. Here are some of my notes. I’ll post the rest soon.

“O God, In Light of the Growing Threats To Israel, Open Our Eyes”

  • On the one hand, the State of Israel is more secure and more prosperous today than ever before it its modern 64 year history.
  • On the other hand, Israel is increasingly surrounded by hostile and dangerous states.
  • Radical Shia Twelvers run the Hezbollah terrorist organization which controls most of Lebanon and has an estimated 50,000 missiles and rockets aimed at Israel.
  • The bloodthirsty dictator Bashar al-Assad is slaughtering his own people by the thousands in Syria even as his regime is on the verge of implosion. Assad had thousands of rockets and missiles also aimed at Israel, as well as large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons ready to be used to annihilate the Jewish people.
  • Iran, of course, is control by Radical Islamic Twelvers feverishly trying to build, buy or steal nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to fire them at Israel and wipe Israel “off the map.”
  • Egypt is now under the control of the Radical Muslim Brotherhood which wants to launch jihad against all Jews, Christians and infidels.
  • Jordan currently has a moderate leader in King Abdullah, but Radical Islamists are seeking to overthrow him and make Jordan a base camp to launch a war of annihilation against Israel.
  • Gaza is control by the Radical Muslims of the Hamas terror organization who continue to fire rockets, missiles and mortars at Israel.
  • Hamas is seeking to overthrow the Fatah/PLO leadership in the West Bank to mount a much more aggressive war against Israel.
  • In that context, we need the Lord to open our eyes to truly understand the threats to Israel, as well as understand God’s love and plan for Israel and her neighbors.
  • To that end, 2 Kings 6:8-23 is a powerful passage to study — consider the text: Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel; and he counseled with his servants saying, “In such and such a place shall be my camp.” The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there.” The king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him; thus he warned him, so that he guarded himself there, more than once or twice. Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?” One of his servants said, “No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”  So he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him.” And it was told him, saying, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “ Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “ O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he brought them to Samaria. When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, “ My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” He answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.
  • Here’s some analysis of the text.
  • Aram was a wicked ancient kingdom to the north of Israel. It encompassed much of the territory we no know as Syria, Lebanon and northern Iran. Damascus was Aram’s capital.
  • The king of Aram hated Israel and wanted to destroy the Jews and control the Holy Land.
  • Elisha was a powerful man of God and a prophet of the God of Israel.
  • The Lord used Elisha to provide the king of Israel with advance intelligence of Aram’s threatening moves, thus protecting the people of Israel numerous times.
  • Elisha’s prophecies repeatedly thwarted the king of Aram’s efforts to destroy Israel, and this enraged the king of Aram.
  • The king of Aram thought there was a mole in his camp, leaking his war plans to the leaders of Israel.
  • But at least one advisor to the king of Aram explained that there wasn’t a traitor in their midst; rather, Israel had a genuine prophet in Elisha who could hear the very words the king spoke in his bedroom.
  • So the king of Aram decided that he must first kill Elisha, and sent his army to get the job done.
  • One morning, Elisha’s assistant woke up and saw that the city of Dothan where he and Elisha were staying was surrounded by enemy forces. He was terrified and told Elisha of the disaster that was about to befall them.
  • Elisha did not respond in fear. Rather, he told his assistant, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
  • The assistant must have thought Elisha was crazy. There was just two of them, and the entire army of Aram was surrounding them and about to kill them.
  • Yet Elisha saw something that his assistant couldn’t see — he saw through spiritual eyes and saw the protective forces of the Lord all around them.
  • Sadly, the assistant didn’t pray when he saw the enemy surrounding them. That’s why he was fearful.
  • But Elisha did pray, and that’s why he had peace.
  • Elisha prayed, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord heard and answered Elisha’s prayer, and the assistant’s eyes were opened and he saw all the angels protecting them.
  • It’s important to note that what the assistant initially saw — their camp surrounded by enemies — wasn’t inaccurate; but it was incomplete. He saw only what could be seen in the natural realm; he wasn’t able (at first) to see as Elisha saw because he couldn’t see what God was doing all around him.
  • How about you? 
  • Do you feel alone and surrounded by enemies and without hope today?
  • Do you feel like your about to be destroyed, and feel like the Lord is nowhere to be found?
  • Are you seeing events only in the natural realm, without seeing with spiritual eyes?
  • I pray that the Lord would open your eyes to God’s great love for you, and to His great power to protect you.
  • We need to turn our hearts fully and completely to the Lord. We need to read His Word, and rediscover how mighty He is to save us, to defeat our enemies, and to lead us and guide us forward to accomplish His purposes.
  • Most Israelis today are far from the Lord. They don’t know the God of Israel in a real and personal way. They see themselves by geopolitical enemies. They find themselves stressed and pressured in their personal lives, as well, with no sense of God’s love or peace or protection.
  • Let us pray that the Lord opens the eyes of all Israelis to how much the God of Israel loves them, and what a remarkable plan He has for their lives. Let us pray that the Lord would open the eyes of all Israelis to the truth that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah that we’ve been waiting for, and that when we choose to follow Yeshua and let Him save and rescue us then He will give us the supernatural peace, hope, joy and courage that we so long for.

I’ll post the rest of my notes soon. Hope these are helpful to you.

INTERVIEW: IMPLOSION AUTHOR DISCUSSES “RAPTURE”

In Uncategorized on July 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Here’s a story published by Charisma News based on a recent interview I did with them:

For years, best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg has studied and written about external threats to the United States. His six New York Times best-selling novels have been almost prophetic when it comes to events in the Middle East.

His latest non-fiction book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in Time?, takes on the internal challenges of America and its teetering future.

Charisma News caught up with Rosenberg recently to discuss the external threats to America as well as the United States’ role in the end times.

Charisma News: Is it only a matter of time before China, and perhaps other nations, release the weapons and additional destructive strategies against the U.S. you described in Chapter 10?

Rosenberg: It’s hard to say. My goal in terms of describing foreign policy threats is simply to make people understand that this is not a secure world, even though we have been, in recent decades, the world’s only super power. There are other forces out there that are building rapidly and gaining destructive power and strategic advantages.

I don’t want to speculate on how rapidly that could happen beyond what I have written in Implosion. It is a fine line I’m walking and I realize that. I’m not trying to be an alarmist by what we don’t know. I’m trying to say what we do know is enough to make us alarmed. It is just that most people are not focusing on or adding up the details to come to that conclusion. But, the data is chilling.

Charisma News: In Chapter 12, you are quoted as saying, “While the Bible does not indicate precisely when the Rapture will happen, it does teach that all true followers of Jesus Christ will be removed from the earth prior to the beginning of the Tribulation.” How would you back that statement up to those who believe in a mid-Tribulation Rapture?

Rosenberg: The short version would be in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. It describes the Tribulation, and then chapter 5 says that the Rapture will happen like a thief in the night. It will happen as a surprise, when people are saying peace and safety.

Once the Tribulation begins, however, no person on this planet in his right mind will be able to say there is peace and safety in the world. It starts with the second seal in Revelation 6. Massive death and destruction builds in intensity to where more than a quarter of the population of the earth is killed in Chapter 6 alone.

At what point during the death of 2 billion-plus people will anyone say, “peace and safety?” It is ludicrous. This is only one of the pieces of Scripture that will help us understand that that the Rapture won’t be happening during the Tribulation.

Another element is in Chapter 5 of I Thessalonians. The Word says that believers are not appointed to suffer wrath. Wrath is mentioned more than a dozen times during the Tribulation in the book of Revelation. So, we’re to be rescued from that. Not because we’re such wonderful people, but because we have accepted Christ and are born again. That is the gift he has given us to take us out of the Tribulation.

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