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Three threats to America, Israel & the Church in the Mideast. Notes from my address at Moody Bible Institute.

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm

MoodyBibleInstitute(Chicago, Illinois) — It was an honor to be on the campus of Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago on Monday and Tuesday. At the invitation of Dr. Paul Nyquist, president of MBI, and Dr. Michael Rydelnik, a professor and head of the Jewish Studies Program, I was invited to teach a class on the Holocaust, another class on modern Israeli politics and society, speak on an evening panel on “Israel & The Gaza Conflict,” tape two programs for Moody Radio, and address the student body — some 1,600 future Christian leaders — on Tuesday morning at chapel.

Here are my notes for the addressed I delivered at chapel: “Three Threats Facing America, Israel and the Church in the Middle East.” I hope you find them helpful.

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Thank you, Dr. Nyquist. It is an honor to be back here at Moody Bible Institute and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share with you. This morning, I’d like to discuss threat grave threats facing America, Israel and the Church and how we as followers of Jesus Christ are supposed to respond, according to the Scriptures.

Let’s begin by reading the first ten verses of Ezekiel chapter 33.

33 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’ Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.”

Ezekiel was a Hebrew prophet writing more than 2,500 years ago. He was part of the Jewish people that had been conquered and captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and were now living in the Babylonian Empire. And the Lord came to Ezekiel and called him to be a prophet — to hear the word of the Lord, and then to speak it to the people.

In this passage, the Lord says very clearly that He has raised Ezekiel up to be a “watchman” for the people. That is, his responsibility is to see threats and dangers that are approaching with God’s help and insight, and then warn the people about those coming dangers. He is also supposed to warn individuals about their sins, that they might repent of those sins and turn to the Lord with a humble heart for forgiveness.

But the Lord tells Ezekiel that it is not simply his job to be a “watchman.” The Lord will raise up and appoint other watchmen over time. And it is the responsibility of such watchmen to see threats and dangers and sins and warn the people, or they will be held to account by the Lord Himself.

Each of you are future Christian leaders. Each of you have come to Moody to study the word of the Lord and learn how to teach it to others. Each of you, therefore, has a responsibility to see dangers and threats and sins and to lovingly but honestly and clearly warn them to turn to the Lord before it is too late. It is a high calling and a great responsibility, and I urge you to take it seriously.

Today I want to briefly discuss three grave threats we all must see and understand and take action on:

  1. The threat that America is not just declining but imploding — and that our only hope is a Third Great Awakening;
  2. The threat that America and parts of the Church will turn against Israel & the Jewish people; and
  3. The threat that Christians in the West will ignore or turn a blind eye to the barbaric slaughter and terrible persecution of Muslims as well as Arab Christians in the Middle East by Radical Islamic jihadists like ISIS, Hamas, etc.

Let me now share a bit more on each point.

1. America is not simply in decline. We are heading for collapse, for implosion.

There are many reasons for this, including a massive and crushing national debt with no end in sight, the implosion of families through divorce and out-of-wedlock-birth and the assault on traditional marriage, violent crime, drug use, pornography and so forth. I wrote about this in more detail in my 2012 non-fiction book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?, so I won’t take the time today to go through each of these issues in detail.

But I do want to discuss one threat above all: America faces the implosion because we face divine judgment for murdering so many unborn children.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland. As I stood in an actual gas chamber that was used to systematically murder so many Jews, political prisoners and others, it was a horrifying experience. I’m Gentile on my mother’s side, and Jewish on my father’s side, and standing there thinking about how the Nazis created these murder factories to kill six million Jews was one of the most painful experiences of my life.

But as I stood in that gas chamber, I could not help but think of how my own country, America — a country I love so dearly — has created murder factories to kill millions of people, as well. I was born in 1967. In my lifetime — since 1973 — the American people have legally murdered more than 55 million babies. If this is not stopped soon, we will reach 60 million. Think about that. If we really get to the point that our nation has systematically murdered 60 million human beings, we will have murdered 10 times more people than the Nazis killed of the Jews.

Now we know how God judged Germany and the Nazi regime through a crushing defeat in World War II, and we believe that the Nazis deserved such judgment. What do we think is going to happen if continue to murder millions of children? We are going to face the judgment of God. It is extraordinary that it hasn’t happened already.

There is hope, but we are running out of time. We could repent as a nation. We could turn from our wicked ways, plead with God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive our sins, and plead with Him to heal our land.

The Bible says, “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 7:14)

This was specifically a promise given to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. But it is a principle we can apply today. We could plead with God for forgiveness, and He could grant it. He could give us a sweeping series of revivals that could culminate in a Third Great Awakening, with hundreds of millions of Americans — beginning with the Church — repenting of our sins, turning to Christ, praying, fasting, reading God’s Word and seeking to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is possible. There is hope. But again, we are running out of time.

But let’s be clear: Without a revival, we are on the road to implosion. Indeed, the threat of implosion is far beyond what the next President or Congress can solve alone — we desperately need a Third Great Awakening.

Will you and I faithfully teach and preach the word of God to the nation? Will America hear the word of the Lord that we have strayed far from the teachings of the Bible and allowed our land to become polluted with abortions and pornography and violence and wickedness of all kinds? Will we admit how far we are from God’s plan and purpose for our lives? Will we confess that our hearts are far from Jesus Christ and plead with the Lord for His mercy and grace and forgiveness? Will we fast and pray and earnestly seek God’s face, and implore Christ to give us a Third Great Awakening? Or will we ignore the word of the Lord and continue in our sins and watch our nation continue to decline, or even implode?

Twice in American history we have seen sweeping spiritual revivals known as the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening, respectively. Millions of Americans repented of their sins during those seasons, became devout followers of Jesus Christ, began to read the Bible voraciously and to obey the word of the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture, however, has America been promised a spiritual revival in the 21st century, much less one that would be so sweeping, so game-changing that it would qualify as a Third Great Awakening. But who knows? Perhaps the Lord will show us tremendous mercy and forgiveness if we all humble ourselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways?

2. What happens if — on top of all our nation’s challenges and sins — America abandons or turns against Israel?

In Genesis 12, the Lord God chooses Abram, calls him out of Ur of the Chaldees (located in modern-day Iraq, 220 miles southeast of Baghdad) to go to “a land that I will show you,” which turns out to be the land later called Israel. The Lord promises to bless Abram, and through him bless “all the families of the earth.” Specifically in 12:3, the Lord says, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” As one reads through the rest of the book of Genesis, it becomes clear that this promise from God is passed down from Abram (who is later named Abraham) to Isaac to Jacob (later named Israel) and then to Jacob’s descendants, Israel and the Jewish people. Thus, the Lord is making clear that those who bless Israel and the Jewish people He will bless, and those who curse them He will curse. If America turns against or abandons Israel and the Jews after being their closest friend and ally for so many decades, God warns He will bring judgment upon us.

Psalm 122:6-9 — This passage reads, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, ‘May peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

Clearly, people all over the world, including in America, need to:

  • pray for peace in Jerusalem, Israel and the broader Middle East
  • pray for Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
  • love Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
  • seek the good of Jews and Arabs in the epicenter

The Lord promises to bless and “prosper” those who do.

3. Followers of Jesus Christ who love Israel and understand God’s Biblical plan for Israel must not be blind to the suffering in the Arab, Iranian, and Muslim world, nor deaf to their cries for help, nor dull to the terror and tyranny they face.

We are witnessing a Radical Islamic offensive across the Mideast, from Gaza to Syria to Iraq.

Leaders in Washington and across the world have been slow to see, and slow to act.

But the Church must step up. We serve the King of glory. Our King was born in the epicenter. He died and rose again in the epicenter. He is coming back to the epicenter — and He’s coming soon.

So we must help our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in the Middle East. We must show Christ’s love and compassion to Jews, Muslims and Christians in the epicenter.

We need to LEARN about what is happening in the region and God’s plan and purpose for the people there. [On this note, I shared with the students why I write fiction and non-fiction books to help educate people about coming dangers and mobilize them to action. I also shared about my forthcoming novel, THE THIRD TARGET, about the threat ISIS poses to the region and America, and that Tyndale and I have decided to release the novel earlier than expected because of how rapidly ISIS is moving. The book will now release on January 6th.] 

We need to PRAY for peace and healing and stability and calm in the region, and for open doors for the Gospel.

We need to GIVE to ministries that are doing effective work in the region, ministries like The Joshua Fund.

We also need to be willing to GO to the region if God sends us there to serve Him and serve the people in the name of Jesus.

Is this hard? Yes.

Is this dangerous? Sometimes.

But Jesus laid down His life in love to save us. Will you and I lay down our lives in love to serve Him?

When people and nations are in danger, will you and I blow the trumpet and sound the warning?

May the Lord use you as a faithful watchmen on the wall.

CONCLUSION

If a nation follows these principles — if they love and bless Israel and the Jewish people, and do not divide the land of Israel, and love and pray for Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem and seek their good — then God will love and bless and show mercy to such a nation.

But if a nation violates these principles — especially chronically and consistently — then there will be a day of reckoning.

The question is: What do we want, a blessing or a curse, mercy or judgment?

Overall, most Americans are very supportive of Israel and find many ways to love and bless her, as well as the Arabs and others in Israel and the Middle East. This is good.

But there are a growing number of voices who say it is time to:

  • cut off military aid to Israel
  • boycott Israel
  • divest from Israel
  • sanction Israel
  • and/or turn against Israel once and for all

Some do so because of anti-Semitism, others out of a belief in isolationism, and others because of ignorance.

Given the high stakes, one of the things we need to do is teach people about God’s love and plan and purpose for Israel and the Jewish people, and why this matters to America. We need to help more people — including our leaders and future leaders — understand why America’s fate is inextricably linked with how we treat Israel and the Jewish people, as well as her neighbors.

I would encourage you to study Genesis 12 through 17, in particular, on your own more carefully.

You will seen how the Lord unfolds the Abrahamic Covenant, piece by piece, step by step, including the fact that this is an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:7) and thus cannot be broken or abrogated, and that the Lord has given the land of Israel as an “everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8). 

Thank you  

I’ll give a sneak preview of my forthcoming novel, The Third Target, at the Moody Bible Institute chapel on Tuesday.

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Moody-Gazaevent

This week I am looking forward to being back in the U.S., albeit briefly.

On Monday and Tuesday I will be on the campus of Moody Bible Institute. Dr. Michael Rydelnik, a wonderful Moody professor, has asked me to speak to two of his classes on Monday, one on the Holocaust and the other on Israeli politics and society. Then, on Monday evening, I will speak on a panel on “Israel and Gaza: Understanding The Conflict.” It will take place from 7-9pm in the Alumni Auditorium. Please join us if you can.

On Tuesday, I am scheduled to address all the students on the Moody campus in chapel. I am planning on giving a sneak preview of my forthcoming novel, The Third Target, which deals with the rapidly growing threat the Islamic State (aka, ISIS) poses to Jews, Christians and Muslims. I hope to comment on the direct challenge the Islamic caliphate poses to the Church and how Christians can and must respond.

Then I hope to head back to Washington, D.C. for several days of board meetings for The Joshua Fund.

I’d be very grateful for your prayers, and I will do my best to keep you posted along the way through this blog and Twitter. Thanks so much and God bless you.

“Epic flip-flop”: Now Rand Paul is trying to deny he’s an isolationist & assert he would be tougher on ISIS than the President. Unbelievable. This is the GOP frontrunner for 2016?

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2014 at 4:56 am

Sen. Rand Paul is engaging in one "epic flip flop" after another.  Troubling views and troubling behavior for a GOP frontrunner. (photo credit: Politico)

Sen. Rand Paul is engaging in one “epic flip flop” after another. Troubling views and troubling behavior for a GOP frontrunner. (photo credit: Politico)

With President Obama floundering on foreign policy and economic issues, and the world seeming to spin out of control amidst the vacuum created by America’s retreat from the world, it is important to understand the leading contenders to replace him in 2016.

One is Sen. Rand Paul, who is widely described as the “frontrunner” for the GOP nomination (see here, here and here) and is doing well in numerous national polls. As reluctant as I am to comment on American partisan politics, I do feel compelled to say that Sen. Paul would be a disastrous choice for President. He is wrong on many vital issues, including being hostile to Israel and clueless on the threat of Radical Islam. But he is also increasingly demonstrating that he is fundamentally dishonest, willing to say just about anything to advance politically.

On August 6th, I wrote a column titled, “Rand Paul has repeatedly called for ending US military aid to Israel. Now he’s denying it. Why?”

Now Sen. Paul is trying to deny that he is an “isolationist,” even though that is exactly what he is and what themes and principles he has proudly (and loudly) proclaimed for years. Indeed, after repeatedly urging the US to retreat from the Middle East, and repeatedly urging the US not to take decisive action against ISIS, Sen. Paul has now done what one critical has called an “epic flip flop,” arguing that if he were President he would have been much tougher on ISIS than President Obama.

And it’s not just Israel and ISIS where Paul is flip-flopping — it’s on one issue after another.

Would this matter if he were just another face in the crowd? Maybe not. But he is the GOP “frontrunner” for the 2016 presidential nomination so it is important people know who he is and what he believes. Or at least his changing stories.

Here are several useful interviews, opeds, and analyses, some by the Senator, and some about him, describing his changing views and his troubling flip-flops on various issues, including foreign policy and national security. I commend them to your attention. Please also share and discuss them with others.

Here’s another, written by former Sen. Rick Santorum and published by Politico on September 5th. It captures the heart of the trouble quite succinctly.

Will the Real Rand Paul Please Stand Up?

The Kentucky senator is trying to tell us he’s not an isolationist. That dog won’t hunt.

By Rick Santorum

Rand Paul insists he’s not an “isolationist.” Writing this week in TIME, he says, “I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally.” 

But in reality, the Kentucky senator has advanced a brand of neo-isolationism and appeasement that is as short-sighted as it mistaken. Despite his recent, and frantic efforts to recast himself as not completely ridiculous on national security issues, the truth is his record often puts him in league with Barack Obama—or even to the president’s left. Anyone who truly cares about American liberty at home must not ignore real enemies and rising threats abroad. Rather, we must confront such challenges wisely and decisively to protect American lives, our economy and our allies.

He may be changing his tune now, but he can’t hide from his record. Senator Paul has long been wrong and far out of the mainstream on three key matters – Iran, the Islamic State and Israel. Let’s look at each in turn.

Iran: Senator Paul now says “all options are on the table” when it comes to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But few believe he is serious.

In a radio interview in 2007, while helping his father, isolationist Rep. Ron Paul, run for president, Rand actually denied that Iran is a threat to the United States or Israel. He did so despite the fact that the U.S. government designated Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism” as far back as 1984. “Even our own intelligence community consensus opinion now is that they [Iran] are not a threat,” Rand said. “Like my dad says, [the Iranians] don’t have an Air Force, they don’t have a Navy. You know, it’s ridiculous to think they’re a threat to our national security…. It’s not even that viable to say they’re a national threat to Israel.”

In September 2012, the U.S. Senate voted 90 to 1 in support of Joint Resolution 41 to advance a firm American policy “to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability,” a policy that “urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on …I ran,” and one that “warns that time is limited to prevent … Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.” The authors specifically noted: “nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war.” The focus was exclusively on urging the Obama administration to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran. The resolution was even non-binding.

Nevertheless, this was all too much for Senator Paul, who chose to be the only member of the U.S. Senate to vote against it.

In February 2013, Sen. Paul delivered a disturbing speech at the Heritage Foundation in which he urged leaders in Washington to seriously consider a policy of “containing” a nuclear-armed Iran, rather than focusing like a laser on preventing the Islamic Republic from building or acquiring nuclear warheads.

“Containment,” Paul said, “should be discussed as an option.” This, however, put him to the left of President Obama, who has said, “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment. I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

In January 2014, Senator Paul sided with President Obama in opposing the passage of new economic sanctions on Iran, further evidence he would rather appease the mullahs in Tehran than ratchet up pressure on them to give up their illegal and dangerous nuclear program. “I think while they [the Iranians] are negotiating – and if we can see they’re negotiating in good faith – I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass sanctions,” Paul told CNN.

The Islamic State: Earlier this summer, Paul questioned in the Wall Street Journal whether there was any good reason for the U.S. military to stop or even slow down the Islamic State’s jihadist offensive in Iraq. He did so despite the fact that ISIL, as it is commonly known, has been slaughtering Muslims and Christians across the region. Yet he saw no serious threat to the American people from ISIL and could not bring himself to support the use of U.S. airpower to help our Arab and Kurdish allies defeat ISIL and prevent the establishment of a radical Islamic caliphate. What’s more, he continued to argue that it is in part the GOP’s fault that Iraq is fast becoming the epicenter of terrorism.

Yet now, with American journalists being beheaded and even President Obama taking reluctant half-measures to slow ISIL through air strikes, Senator Paul is suddenly changing his tune. “If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress,” he now says. “I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek Congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.” (ISIS is another acronym used to refer to the Islamic State.)

Did Senator Paul just hire John Kerry’s speechwriter? Is he really trying to convince Americans that he was against U.S. intervention before he was for it?

It is President Obama’s reckless retreat from the Middle East – a retreat Senator Paul has wholeheartedly supported – that has created the vacuum into which the Islamic State is now surging. 

America must change course. We must not allow the Islamic State or other radical Sunni groups to seize control of Iraq. Nor can we allow the radical Shia leaders of Iran to exploit the situation and gain effective control over Iraq. If America keeps retreating and surrendering in the Middle East, the terrorists will attack us here at home. I have offered several ideas to protect ourselves and do this right, but we must move decisively. Time is of the essence.

Israel: I recently returned from leading a solidarity delegation to Israel. This is a country that has been attacked by a radical Islamic terror group with more than 4,000 rockets and missiles. Now more than ever, America should stand solidly with Israel, our best friend and most faithful and trustworthy ally in the Middle East.

Yet if Senator Paul had his way, he would cut Israel loose. Though he recently tried to deny it, Paul for years has called for an end to all U.S. military aid to Israel, deriding the roughly $3 billion America invests in Israel’s military annually as “welfare.”

“All right, so just to be precise, [you want to] end all foreign aid including the foreign aid to Israel as well. Is that right?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked during a January 2011 interview.

“Yes,” answered Paul.

On a trip to Israel in January 2013, Paul again repeated his call for ending all aid to Israel. The senator says he is not anti-Israel, but how is it pro-Israel—or pro-American—to cut off our military investment in a key ally facing existential threats?

Not only would this be a dangerous mistake, it once again puts Senator Paul to the left of even the Obama-Clinton-Kerry team who, for all their many mistakes, have never gone so far as to call for ending all aid to Israel. (For the record, Politifact gave Paul’s claim that he hadn’t “really proposed” cutting aid to Israel a “Pants on Fire” rating.)

Rand Paul is now scrambling to not sound completely out of touch on foreign policy and national security issues. But it’s hard to see how his new rhetoric is anything more than a veiled attempt to hide his record as he looks to 2016. His neo-isolationism should be rejected. It is bad for the Republican Party, and it is bad for America.

Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania from 1995-2007, is chairman of Patriot Voices and author of Blue Collar Conservatives.

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