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LATEST WORLD NEWS-ARTICLES FRIDAY MARCH 30th 2018

DAILY SCRIPTURE:

 

PSALM 23 – THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD:

Psa. 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Psa. 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Psa. 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psa. 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psa. 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psa. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever

 

PETER AND THE ROCK

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/peter-and-the-rock-2/

QUESTION:   I greatly appreciate your responses to the question asked of you. I was raised Catholic, and know that the Catholic church claims Jesus made Peter the first pope. I know the passage they refer to as their proof of this, but can find no basis for believing that to be the correct interpretation of this passage. How would you respond to this claim?

ANSWER:   The Passage you’re referring to is Matt 16:13-19:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

The key to understanding this passage lies in the Greek language. The Greek word for Peter is petros, a word of masculine gender that means rock. But when the Lord said, upon this rock I will build my Church” he used the feminine form petra which means He wasn’t referring to Peter but something else. And in fact, it’s Peter’s confession “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” that is the foundation of the church. This is the rock to which the Lord referred.

Having the keys to something means you can open it for others. After the resurrection the disciples, of whom Peter was chief, would have the authority to allow people into the Kingdom, to bind the forces of evil, and loose the prisoners of sin.

CAN WE TURN AWAY FROM HIM?

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/can-we-turn-away-from-him/

QUESTION:   When my son was younger he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Since coming back from war, seeing what he saw and doing what he had to do, he now says that all religions are the same. Controlling and killing each other, all man made. I know that once we are sealed, nothing can separate us from God. But can a person ask the Lord to forgive him, believe in Him, and then turn away from him?

ANSWER:   The Lord Jesus often compared us to sheep and called Himself the Good Shepherd. Sheep are not responsible for keeping themselves from wandering off and getting lost. That’s the shepherd’s job. Our Good Shepherd said no one can take us out of His hands (John 10:28-29) and that He’ll never lose even one of us (John 6:39).

Some people would have you believe the phrase “no one” means “no one but ourselves”, indicating that we can relinquish our salvation. But that puts words in the Lord’s mouth. It violates the clear intent of the shepherd/sheep analogy, and renders His promise meaningless.

Besides, the Bible says, It is God who makes us stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22). When we become believers we are not our own any longer. We’ve been bought at a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20) which is the precious blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18) and God, who owns us, has taken responsibility for keeping us.

PEOPLE CAN WANDER AWAY BECAUSE OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCES LIKE YOUR SON HAS ENDURED, BUT IT’S THE LORD’S JOB TO BRING THEM BACK, AND HE’S PROMISED US A 100% RECOVERY RATE.

 

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(CLICK ON) LATEST DAILY NEWS CLIPS:

News Clips Obtained From Many Sources – Including

HEADLINES FROM TRACKING BIBLE PROPHECY

http://www.trackingbibleprophecy.org/birthpangs.php

Rapture Ready News

Prophecyupdate.Com

Main News Channels

Other Christian Sites ​​30/03/2018

 

ISRAEL NEWS:

 

THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN IS “ANTI GOD” – (GOD WILL NOT ALLOW JERUSALEM TO BE DIVIDED).

1Th. 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; THEN SUDDEN DESTRUCTION COMETH UPON THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape

 

 

WORLD TERRORISM – WARS

 

 

GENERAL WORLD NEWS: 

 

 

WORLD FINANCE:

 

 

MASSIVE EARTH CHANGES/EARTHQUAKES/VOLCANOES ETC:

 

 

EXTRA WORLD – ALTERNATIVE NEWS:

 

 

 

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PROPHETIC NEWS ARTICLES:

MIDDLE EAST WAR LOOMING THE BUILD UP TO PSALM 83 AND GOG OF MAGOG WARS EZEKIEL 38:

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 BORN IN A DAY – ISRAEL’S 70TH ANNIVERSARY

http://prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2127

Isaiah 66:8 records the famous question ‘can a nation be born in a day?’ 2,700 years later the question was answered. Despite insurmountable odds, Israel – armed with help from above and the heroic courage of its men and women – was born in a day on May 14, 1948. 

In this article we are going to look at three unique heroes of Israel’s miraculous modern-day re-birth. 

Golda Meir – An Amazing Fundraiser

Golda Meir is famous for becoming Israel’s first female Prime Minister in 1969. However, many are unaware of the pivotal role she played in 1948. 

Israel desperately needed modern weapons if it’s rag-tag band of Jewish fighters were to stand a chance against the impending onslaught by five modern Arab armies. 

However, their main funding source – the US Jewish community – was already stretched to the limit with various local projects such as schools and other Jewish institutions. They were growing tired of the incessant appeals for help from the Jews of Palestine, and it was estimated that they would only be able to raise $5 million for Israel – just a fraction of the amount needed. 

Zionist leader Golda Meir immediately volunteered to go to America. Two days later she was on her way having had no time to bring any more baggage than her handbag! Armed with $10 in her pocket, the determined Golda set out in search for the missing millions. 

Coinciding with her arrival in Chicago was a meeting of the leaders of Jewish federations from across the US. However, many of these distinguished Jewish leaders were indifferent or even hostile to Golda’s Zionist ideas. 

Warned not to address this particular group, Golda ignored the warning and delivered a rousing impromptu speech to the gathering about the dire challenges facing the fledgling state. Explaining that the survival of Palestine’s 700,000 Jews as well as the whole dream of a Jewish nation was at stake, she stressed the absolute immediate need for funds to fight. 

As she ended her speech, the hall fell eerily silent – and for a moment it seemed like Golda had failed miserably. Then the audience rose and delivered a resounding applause, and many began telephoning their bankers to take up immediate personal loans. 

By the time the evening was over, over $1 million dollars had been raised! Over the next few weeks, Golda succeeded in raising 50 million dollars – which was three times the amount Saudi Arabia earned during that entire year from its vast oil revenues! 

As Golda triumphantly returned to Israel, Ben Gurion solemnly declared that ‘it was thanks to a Jewish woman that the Jewish state was born’. 

Haim Slavine – An Engineering Genius 

While many people are unaware of Golda’s contribution in 1948, even fewer have ever heard of Haim Slavine. 

In the wake of the end of World War 2, the US decided to close down parts of its armament industry and convert the valuable machinery to scrap metal.

Learning of this plan and knowing Israel’s desperate need for weapons, Haim set off for New York. He found technical magazines with pictures of the machinery and used his photographic memory to memorise from these photos all the parts that were needed. He then assembled a team of scavengers to scour through junkyards all over the country looking for the required pieces. 

 

The pieces were sent one-by-one to New York where Haim succeeded in putting them together into working order machinery capable of a daily production of 50,000 bullets as well as an assembly line production of machine guns (requiring 1500 operations!). 

The next puzzle Haim had to solve was how to get the machinery past the British blockade of Palestine. He ended up taking every piece of machinery apart again even to the very last nut and bolt and labelled all the pieces with a unique code he invented. He then scrambled all the pieces together and sent them in crates labelled ‘farm equipment’ to kibbutzes all over Israel. 

Once safely in Israel, Haim re-assembled the 75,000 pieces of machinery into working order and could boast by the end of it that he had not lost one single bolt, screw or washer in the shipment!

It is stunning to read of Haim’s genius, and through this engineering feat we can easily see the hand of God at work – making a way for the Jewish nation to defend itself in the upcoming conflict. 

Foreign Volunteers

Over 4’500 volunteers from abroad – both Jews and non-Jews – joined Israel’s struggle in 1948. 

One such hero was the 23 year old Esther Callingold from Britain. A nurse by profession, she was sent to assist the beleaguered Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem. As the Arabs cut off all supply routes and subjected the area to heavy bombardment, Esther was tasked with running messages between the scattered and isolated Jewish troops. 

The battle was intense, but ultimately Esther ended up mortally wounded in a poorly equipped hospital. Before her death, she penned this letter to her parents in Britain: 

“Dear Mummy and Daddy,

…. We had a difficult fight. I have tasted hell, but it has been worthwhile because I am convinced that we will see a Jewish state….  I hope one day soon you will all come and enjoy the fruits of that for which we are fighting.

…. remember me only in happiness. 

Shalom, Esther”

It is hard not to be touched by Esther’s story of courage and sacrifice, and we should remember that she was only one of 6,300 Israeli soldiers and civilians who paid the ultimate price during Israel’s costly War of Independence. 

Ultimately through the hard work, creative genius and sacrifice of so many heroes like these we have described, the nation of Israel was born ‘in one day’ as Isaiah predicted. 

It was not an easy birth, but let us give thanks to God for those who paid so much to see the Jewish nation restored to her rightful inheritance.  

In honoring their sacrifice, let us follow Esther’s admonition to go and visit and enjoy the God-given Land of Israel. 

 

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 THE COMING CASHLESS SOCIETY

http://www.end-times-bible-prophecy.com/the-coming-cashless-society.html

The Bible says a time will come when a global dictator requires everyone on earth to receive a mark on the right hand or the forehead (Revelation 13:16). Those without the mark won’t be able to buy or sell anything (Revelation 13:17). For centuries, Christians have wondered how this will even be possible. But in recent years, the rise of advanced technology has given us a glimpse as to how it might occur.

New technologies have driven endless speculation about what the mark will be. Some think it will be an implantable microchip. Others think it will be a visible tattoo. Still others think it will involve bar codes or RFID chips. And on and on. The fact is, we don’t know. And we won’t know until the mark actually appears.

However, we can know this – the technology is here to make such a mark possible. To control every buy and sell transaction in the world, the Antichrist will need to set up a system capable of tracking every transaction. And thanks to modern technology, we can easily envision such a system. Much of the foundation for one is in place. Electronic payments are already a way of life, and they foreshadow the coming of a cashless society. In fact, not only is a cashless society possible – it’s inevitable.

The Future of Cash

For years, people have speculated as to how the Antichrist will exercise the immense power of Revelation 13:17. How will he control every buy and sell transaction? Many transactions, such as the buying and selling of illicit drugs, are already illegal. Yet despite this, black markets for these products thrive. People regularly buy and sell drugs and other illegal products “under the radar,” where the government rarely sees, much less has the power to control, what’s bought and sold.

Cash is critical to these black markets. Almost everyone accepts cash as a form of payment, and it’s hard to track where cash goes and what it’s used for. But the ability to use cash to hide your activities, or simply remain anonymous, is coming to an end. Why? Because cash (currency and coins) will soon disappear. Don’t doubt it. It’s going to happen. And it has nothing to do with a government desire to get rid of cash. It’s a foregone conclusion because cash will soon be worthless.

That’s right. If you hold on to your cash long enough, it will be worthless. Why do I say this? Because soon, the government will be unable to control the supply of cash. In the near future, counterfeiting will become impossible to prevent. Advanced technology ensures it.

In a world of new technologies where every molecule can be perfectly positioned, it won’t be possible to stop counterfeiters. They’ll be able to create exact replicas of every national currency. And when that happens, the world will be flooded with fake money – worthless fake money. And since no one will be able to tell the difference between the fake cash and the real cash, both will be worthless. In such a world, the only way to prevent counterfeiting will be some form of electronic tracking of cash. An electronic means to verify the authenticity of a cash note. But if you’re using electronic tracking devices within cash, why bother to make physical currency at all? Why not just make all transactions electronic?

The Current Situation

Essentially, that’s what we’re seeing now. The majority of buy and sell transactions are electronic. Think about your daily routine. Whether it’s the coffee shop, the grocery store, or Walmart, how do the people around you pay for what they’re buying? If you take the time to look, I bet you’ll see a lot of credit and debit cards – maybe even a mobile phone payment. According to a 2016 Gallup survey, only 24% of Americans make all or most of their payments with cash. And the younger you are, the less likely you are to use any cash. In the United States, cash is becoming obsolete.

Nevertheless, according to MasterCard Advisors, 85% of global payments are still made with cash. How will the Antichrist be able to control those transactions? He’ll be able to control them, because the situation will quickly change. Take India for example. In late 2016, the Indian government announced a crackdown on tax evasion, black market goods, and counterfeiting. All existing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would soon become worthless. Citizens needed to exchange them within a short timeframe for new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes. The result? No one wanted to accept the old notes as payment, so electronic transactions skyrocketed. According to The Wall Street Journal, mobile wallet payments jumped 104% in India between October 2016 and February 2017.

But while electronic payments are more efficient and convenient, they also create a problem. You can’t hide them from the government. While this is good in some ways (catching criminals), it’s terrible in others (government invasion of privacy). Without proper safeguards, governments will have the unprecedented power to monitor every buy and sell transaction you make. This is nothing new. For those of us who already use electronic payments for nearly everything, this is already the case. But in the future cashless society, you won’t have a choice.

Conclusion

So why does any of this matter? Because of this… At some point in the near future, the Antichrist will seize power. When he does, a global electronic payment system will already exist. While it remains to be seen how he will control every buy and sell transaction, the stage is being set. Convenience has already led to most transactions going electronic. And soon, new technologies will make all paper currency obsolete. This will eventually create a situation where a global government could monitor and control every economic transaction on earth. Such a system has never existed in the nearly 2,000 years since the Book of Revelation said the Antichrist would control all buy and sell transactions (Revelation 13:17). In fact, such a system was impossible for all of those nearly 2,000 years. But today? Today is different. We see the groundwork for such a system coming into place. It’s yet another sign of the soon return of Jesus Christ.

 

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 HAMAS TO FORCE ISRAEL’S HAND WITH ‘RETURN MARCH’ OF THOUSANDS OF PALESTINIANS

By Yoni Ben Menachem http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2126

Hamas has adopted a new method of fighting Israel by using civilians in the same way it did during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 — as human shields.

The “Return March” planned for Friday is a cynical exploitation of Palestinian refugees and a publicity stunt that has no political benefit.

The refugee problem can only be solved through diplomatic means by a body representing the Palestinians that recognizes Israel’s right to exist—not through a terrorist organization that wants to destroy it.

Even if Hamas makes a huge media impact with its march, within a few weeks it will disappear into a cloud of oblivion.

The military wing of Hamas began a “defense exercise” on March 25 in the Gaza Strip. Sources in Gaza say it is a show of strength in preparation for the large “Return March,” which is supposed to take place between Land Day on March 30 and Nakba Day on May 15.

According to these sources, the exercise sends a double message. On the one hand, it is a message to residents of Gaza wanting to participate in the march that there is someone who will defend them from the Israel Defense Forces.

On the other hand, it is a deterrent message to the IDF that harming the marchers will lead to a security escalation. This war could then spread to the borders with the State of Israel, and not be confined only to the Gaza Strip.

The march of a mass of Palestinians towards the border with Israel is not a Palestinian invention. It was first invented by Hezbollah, who tried it on Israel’s northern borders on Nakba Day on May 15, 2011.

During that six-hour event, several hundred young Palestinian men and women tried to cross the Lebanese and Syrian borders with Israel. The IDF soldiers at the border were taken by surprise and compelled to open fire. As a result, 10 demonstrators were killed and another 100 were injured.

Now, Hamas is attempting to replicate Hezbollah’s exercise and turn this into an event that will last several weeks. Its basic premise is that the large media presence on the Palestinian side will provide enough protection for the Palestinian marchers to overcome the “fear barrier,” approach the border fence with Israel, and try to cross it.

In Hamas’ estimation, IDF soldiers will act with great caution and won’t use live ammunition due to the media presence among the marchers.

No country in the world would agree to tens of thousands of demonstrators, accompanied by various kinds of media, infiltrating their borders and trying to get into their territory. Hamas is making cynical use of Palestinian refugees living in the Gaza Strip as cannon fodder against the IDF, who have to protect the border fence and cannot allow infiltration.

According to a report by the Quds Press news agency on March 7, one of the activists involved in the media campaign for the return march is Zaher al-Birawi. He is an activist affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, who also bears the title “liaison for the international committee for breaking the embargo on the Gaza Strip.” In the past, he held a key position among the organizers of marches and flotillas to Gaza.

The planned “Return March” is similar to the incident of the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010, which was organized by Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Fatah sources in Gaza report that Hamas is encouraging residents to go to the area of the border with Israel and take part in marches toward the fence. Several Hamas activists have even promised payment for participating in these activities.

According to these sources, Hamas is interested in provoking an escalation that will lead to many casualties on the Palestinian side in order to place the Palestinian issue firmly on the top of the world agenda.

The avowed purpose of the “grand return march” is to show that the Palestinians have not given up on the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees or “houses and property” as defined by UN Resolution 194.

The organizers claim that the Palestinian initiative was provoked by US President Donald Trump’s cuts to UNRWA’s budget and reports that the current US administration will recommend in a final status agreement that refugees will settle in the places where they currently live—in other Arab countries.

Even if Hamas succeeds in attracting the attention of the world’s media by fomenting an escalation at the border with Gaza, it is clear that this move will have no political benefit.

According to Palestinian data, there are around seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel will not destroy its own national identity by absorbing the Palestinians within its boundaries as they demand, changing Israel’s demographic map.

Their problem needs to be solved with the cooperation of the international community. Tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees marching to the Gaza border will not solve the problem. If anything, it will only frighten the Israel public and discourage any attempt to resolve the refugee issue.

The Hamas march actually disregards the fate of Palestinian refugees. Hamas does not have any real ability to get them across the border into Israeli territory. The IDF will prevent this, and even if a few individuals do manage to cross the border, they will either be injured or arrested.

How long can thousands of Palestinian residents live in tents close to the border fence without proper infrastructure or food? In the end, will they understand that Hamas is using them for its own political purposes?

Conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, coupled with the regional and international situation, are not currently conducive to finding a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, and neither marches nor parades will help.

It’s a shame about all the blood that may be spilled. It’s an irresponsible move by a terror organization that has no scruples about using the residents of Gaza as “human shields” during a time of war, as it did during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Hamas is trying to adopt a new strategy of using civilians to fight against Israel. It calls it a “non-violent popular struggle,” similar to Mahmoud Abbas’ strategy in the West Bank, which he refers to as “popular, peaceful resistance.”

Both of these strategies are bound to fail and they have no bearing on a solution for the problems of the Palestinian people.

 

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 NATO BRACES FOR PUTIN’S NEXT MILITARY MOVE IN EASTERN EUROPE

Nolan Peterson – http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2128

KYIV, Ukraine—Since 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine has rearranged the national defense chessboards of countries across Eastern Europe.

In turn, the NATO military alliance has deployed weapons and troops eastward, to “make clear that an attack on one Ally would be considered an attack on the whole Alliance,” said NATO’s website. And the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has approved delivery of American anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

Yet, U.S. and NATO military leaders may have it wrong when it comes to anticipating Russia’s next military move in the region, a U.S. think tank says.

“The Russian military is well-positioned to launch a short-notice conventional war in Ukraine and a hybrid war in the Baltic states, the opposite of what Western leaders seem to expect in each theater,” Catherine Harris and Frederick Kagan wrote in a March report for the Institute for the Study of War.

That assessment challenges U.S. and NATO military orthodoxy about what Russia’s next military offensive might look like.

“U.S. leaders and their European allies are unprepared for the ways in which Putin is poised to wage war in Ukraine and the Baltics,” Harris and Kagan wrote.

Yet, one thing seems certain—the Russian military threat to both the Baltics and Ukraine is not likely to taper off anytime soon. Putin’s rubber-stamp election victory March 18 guarantees at least another six years with the ex-KGB lieutenant colonel at the helm of Russian foreign policy.

“We are painfully aware that if there is a medium-intensity conflict and we are going to be part of it, it is going to be against Russia,” Maj. Ivo Zelinka, deputy commander of the Czech Republic army’s 43rd Airborne Battalion, told The Daily Signal.

“In addition,” Zelinka said, “Russia did learn a few new tricks since the Soviet times, but surely did not forget any.”

Consequently, when it comes to military spending, Eastern Europe will be the fastest-growing region in the world in 2018, according to the annual Jane’s Defence Budgets Report.

“Growth has been particularly spectacular among the three Baltic states,” the report said, adding that by the end of 2018, defense spending among NATO’s Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will have more than doubled in real terms compared to 2014 levels.

Similarly, since 2014, Ukraine has rebuilt its armed forces into the second-largest standing army in Europe, behind only Russia.

Russia’s defense budget has declined since its 2015 peak. Yet, Moscow appears to have repostured its military forces within its Western Military District, which borders on Ukrainian and NATO territory.

Harris and Kagan wrote for this month’s Institute for the Study of War report:

The ground forces deployments around the periphery of Ukraine give an indication of what preparations for a short-notice mechanized invasion might look like—pairs of regiments co-located under distinct headquarters along separate but converging lines of advance with well-secured rear-areas, all within 50 miles of the border. This disposition looks nothing like the ad hockery that would be required for a mechanized invasion of the Baltic states.

No Easy Task

Russia invaded and seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014. The following April, Moscow launched a proxy war in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

Four years later, about 60,000 Ukrainian troops remain deployed along a 250-mile-long, entrenched front line in the Donbas opposite a force of about 35,000 pro-Russian separatists, foreign mercenaries, and Russian regulars. (Ukraine and NATO say about 3,000 Russian soldiers are operating in Ukraine, mainly in command and control roles.)

Europe’s only ongoing conflict has so far killed about 11,000 Ukrainians and displaced more than 1.7 million people. Stuck in an endless cycle of waxing and waning violence, it’s a static, trench conflict, comprising episodic artillery and rocket barrages as well as small arms gun battles. Despite punitive Western sanctions, Russia still feeds the conflict with weapons, cash, and its own troops.

Ukraine’s national security doctrine officially refers to Russia as the “aggressor nation.” Consequently, Ukraine has rebuilt and repositioned its armed forces specifically to defend against a Russian invasion.

Since 2014, Ukraine’s military center of gravity has shifted from its Soviet-legacy western bulwarks (meant to repel a NATO invasion) to the eastern border with Russia.

Also, Ukraine has increased its active force structure from 15 to 22 brigades, comprising more than 250,000 active troops, up from about 100,000 in 2014.

The country now fields “an entire new generation of combat-hardened commanders who know Russian weaknesses and how to exploit them,” wrote Phillip Karber, president of The Potomac Foundation, and Wesley Clark, NATO’s former supreme allied commander in Europe and a retired U.S. Army four-star general, in a report for the Potomac Foundation, a Washington think tank.

Ukraine’s military is still hobbled by a lack of arms, equipment shortfalls, and a need to modernize. Moreover, it remains outmatched in terms of troops, materiel, and technology by Russian forces in the region.

However, Ukraine’s army is “ready and trained” and “larger and stronger” than it was four years ago, Clark and Karber wrote, adding that a Russian attack on Ukraine is “not as easy as it looks.”

Détente No More

Relations between Russia and the West are worse than they have ever been in the post-Cold War era, many security experts say. And the Baltics are the tectonic boundary of those rising tensions, where the spectre of war looms most ominously.

“President Putin clearly appears to distrust NATO and harbor resentments toward it,” wrote RAND Corp., a U.S. defense think tank, in a 2016 report detailing the Russian military threat to NATO’s Baltic countries.

“[Putin’s] rhetoric suggests that he sees the Alliance’s presence on Russia’s borders as something approaching a clear and present danger to his nation’s security,” the RAND report added.

That report, titled “Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank,” found, after multiple war games, that invading Russia forces could be at the gates of Estonia’s capital city of Tallinn and Latvia’s capital of Riga within 60 hours.

To reverse Moscow’s advantage, the report advocated a buildup of NATO air and land power in the region, to include seven NATO brigades permanently based in the Baltics, with three heavy armored brigades, supported by airpower, artillery, and other forces.

“A successful defense of the Baltics will call for a degree of air-ground synergy whose intimacy and sophistication recalls the U.S. Army-U.S. Air Force ‘AirLand Battle’ doctrine of the 1980s,” the RAND report stated.

Rattled, in part, by the RAND report’s findings, the alliance announced a plan during the 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw to build up its military forces in the Baltics by rotating four battalion-size, combat-ready battlegroups throughout the region—including 800 U.S. troops stationed in Poland.

NATO officials said the move constitutes the “biggest reinforcement of Alliance collective defense in a generation.”

Those rotating forces are now in place, supported by other temporary deployments of NATO airpower.

NATO also continues to run an air policing mission over the Baltics, which dates back to 2004. The 24/7 operation to defend Baltic airspace was run out of only one base in Lithuania until 2014, when it was expanded to include operations from Estonia’s Ämari Air Base.

Wrong Toolkit?

NATO’s military buildup in the Baltics may not be the right tool for the kind of threat Russian forces pose to the region, some experts say.

Russia has three motorized rifle brigades, one motorized regiment, and three airborne regiments based within close proximity to the Baltic states, according to open source reporting. Those forces are distributed within mainland Russia as well as Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.

The special operations-heavy makeup of Russian forces within striking range of the Baltics telegraphs a readiness for the type of hybrid warfare assaults Russia conducted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War report said.

“Russian military leadership, practice, and ad hoc deployment along the Baltic borders all suggest Putin is much more likely to pursue a hybrid approach in the Baltic over a conventional mechanized invasion,” Harris and Kagan wrote.

Thus, to launch a conventional invasion of the Baltics, Russian commanders would have to shift mechanized forces from other locations in Russia toward the region, and expose Kaliningrad to a NATO counterattack.

With its constellation of spy satellites and other reconnaissance assets, NATO would notice Russia internally reinforcing its military forces on a scale required to mount a successful land invasion of the Baltics, thereby betraying the element of surprise.

In contrast, with three mechanized divisions along the Ukrainian border, and the concurrent headquarters already established to command those forces, Russia has the pieces in position to launch a land invasion of Ukraine on short order both from the north and from the east.

“Russia has strengthened its military presence on the border with Ukraine as several mechanized divisions are fully prepared for intervention,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a speech to Ukrainian troops last week.

In 2015, Russia re-established its 1st Guards Tank Army, which comprises about 700 tanks and which the Kremlin claimed could reach Kyiv in 48 hours.

In 2016, the Kremlin shifted its 20th Guards Army—with 400 tanks—from Moscow to the vicinity of Voronezh, which is about 400 kilometers, or 250 miles, closer to the Ukrainian border.

And in 2017, Russia re-established and began forward-deploying its 8th Guards Army—with about 900 tanks—near the Ukrainian border. Elements of the 8th Guards Army are deployed near Ukraine’s Donbas border to support Russian proxy forces within the breakaway region.

“There are three mechanized divisions near the Ukrainian border compared to just one airborne division near the Baltic, which would not be optimal for large-scale mechanized offensives,” Harris and Kagan wrote.

Learn by Example

So far in 2018, Russia’s proxy war in eastern Ukraine has quieted—the average number of cease-fire violations is at its lowest level in more than two years, international monitors say.

Yet, cease-fire violations are not the only measure of Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine. Russian forces are waging a larger hybrid conflict that extends beyond the front lines in the Donbas, comprising weaponized propaganda, cyberwarfare, assassinations, and sabotage.

Russia also has used economic pressure as a weapon, such as cutting off natural gas supplies to Ukraine earlier this month amid a late-season cold snap, sparking an immediate countrywide heating crisis.

Similarly, Russia’s post-2014 brinkmanship against the West spans the gamut—aggressive warplane flybys of NATO aircraft and ships, global cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, as well as meddling in European and American elections.

Russian relations with the West recently hit a new post-Cold War nadir following the attempted nerve gas murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil.

“The West would be foolish to over-focus on any one form of possible future war with Russia,” Harris and Kagan wrote in their report for the Institute for the Study of War, adding that the deployment of NATO armor and airpower to build a defensive bulwark against a Russian land invasion of the Baltics may not be an effective deterrent..

Many Western military analysts say that Russia’s war in Ukraine is a case study in Moscow’s contemporary “hybrid warfare” doctrine. Therefore, along that line of thinking, Western military leaders would be wise to study Russian tactics in Ukraine to anticipate how a hypothetical Russian hybrid assault on a Baltic country would play out.

Echoing that sentiment, last week Poroshenko told reporters, “NATO nations could learn from Ukraine how to resist Russia.”

When he was U.S. president, Barack Obama levied punitive economic sanctions against Moscow for its military aggression in Ukraine. Obama also kick-started the U.S. military’s pivot to Eastern Europe.

Yet, despite years of appeals from Kyiv, Obama never approved sending Ukraine lethal weapons. Reportedly, the Obama White House feared such a move would escalate the conflict and spark a tit-for-tat arms race between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine.

The Trump administration, however, has taken a tougher stance against Russia in both Ukraine and across Eastern Europe. Notably, it has approved the delivery of American anti-tank weapons to Ukraine and upped the budget for U.S. military operations in Eastern Europe to deter Russia.

The formidable U.S. Javelin anti-tank missiles—set for delivery to Ukraine this year—won’t be enough to tip the balance of power in Ukraine’s favor should Russia invade. Yet, the Javelins will increase the cost in blood and treasure that Russia would suffer in such a war.

More importantly, Trump’s decision to supply Kyiv with lethal weapons underscores both a commitment to Ukraine’s security as well as a commitment to deter Russia in Eastern Europe more broadly.

That’s a message, many believe, that Moscow is sure to consider when plotting its next move.

“Ukraine’s struggle against Russian revanchism is NATO’s,” Clark and Karber wrote. “It’s time the West recognize that.”

 

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 THE PASSOVER LAMB

Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com

As we enter the most holy of celebrations, Passover, let us prepare our hearts, repent from un-cleanliness and seek true understanding of our relationship with God the Father and the Messiah. In a day and age where being Christian or Jew is looked down upon, even by some Christians and Jews, we need to have introspect on our mission in life, how that relates to the Lord, and our position in the world as we come closer to the end of days. This is the week of Nisan 10 on the Hebrew calendar. During the week, the sacrificial lambs were to be examined and only the ones found without blemish would be sacrificed on Nisan 14 (Friday this year) before the beginning of Pesach, or Passover.

The Passover coincides with the final days of Christ, his crucifixion, and resurrection. It is the picture of Christ being the true Passover Lamb, the sacrifice that liberates mankind from sin, as did God free the Israelites from the bondage in Egypt. The crucifixion of Christ took place as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the temple in Jerusalem. The Hebrew calendar starts its days from sundown to sundown, making its timing far different than the Gregorian calendar that we follow. The Pesach sacrifice (sacrifice of the Passover lambs) needed to be completed before sundown on Nisan 14 (which is Friday on our calendar). The Messiah was nailed to the cross, suffered, and died before sundown on Nisan 14.

Christ entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan, which is the day that the devoted Jews were choosing their Passover lambs. This is referenced in Matthew 21 where the great multitude spread their garments and branches on the way saying in verse 9, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” Jesus went to the temple and overturned the money changers, his authority was questioned by the religious leaders, and he gave the great commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…and the second one is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” He also sat with his disciples and taught the chronology of what would happen in the end of days. This is called the Olivet Discourse.

Christ stated to his disciples in Matthew 26:2, “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” He then held an early Seder in which he spoke of the wine as his blood and the bread as his body. The events of the evening followed where Christ was taken in the garden, brought before the priests who sought a false witness to put him to death, but as Matthew 26:60 says, “But found none. He was taken before Pilate who also could find no fault in him, but allowed the people to decide if he should be crucified. These events follow the examination of the Passover Lamb who had no blemish. Christ is the true Passover Lamb as stated in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” and John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”

 

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 WHAT WAS THE ‘CRIME’ OF JESUS THAT GOT HIM CRUCIFIED?

Dr. Jerry Newcombe – https://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/guest-commentary/what-was-the-crime-of-jesus-that-got-him-crucified.html

Soon another Holy Week will be upon us, beginning with Palm Sunday and culminating with Easter Sunday. It was “the week that changed the world.”

The week began in a humble, triumphant sort of way. That may seem like an oxymoron. Jesus was hailed as a king, but rode in on a donkey—a humble way to begin His public entry into Jerusalem. Of course, He was fulfilling what Zechariah the prophet had foretold about 700 years before.

Dr. Paul L. Maier is a professor of ancient history emeritus from Western Michigan University. He is a terrific scholar on all things related to Jesus and the Gospels.

In his 1997 book, In the Fullness of Time, Maier writes of Jesus’ entry into the Holy City on the eve of the Passover on that very first Palm Sunday: the donkey “was the common beast of burden of the time, in contrast to the superior horse of gilded chariot used in Roman triumphs.”

The city was bustling and filled with people. Dr. D. James Kennedy notes this: “Josephus tells us that there were over three million pilgrims that visited the city on this occasion. 256,000 lambs were slain for the Passover.”

Of course, the climax of Jesus’ entry was His death (on Passover) and resurrection.

Why was Jesus crucified? What crime did He allegedly commit?

Crucifixion was a horrible way to die. It was so bad that no Roman citizen could be crucified. It was an execution reserved for slaves and bandits. How amazing then that the Son of God become man would allow Himself to be so degraded by people whom He Himself had created.

Crucifixion was invented in the Near East and perfected by the Romans. It was not uncommon for a crucified victim to suffer for days. Pontius Pilate was surprised Jesus had died in only a few hours—however, He had been scourged so horribly that He could have bled to death, had He been released after the whipping.

The crucified victim had the crime he committed posted above his head. Crucifixion was like a living billboard—do what this fellow did and you too could end up like this.

In the case of Jesus, we’ve all seen the crucifixes with INRI above His head. This stands for Iesus Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm, Latin for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, as recorded in John’s Gospel.

His “crime” was claiming to be a king, a treasonous act in ancient Rome.

In a television interview I once conducted with Dr. Paul Maier, he noted that there were three phases of Roman history, beginning with the Monarchy from 753 to 509 B.C. The next stage was the Republic from 509 to 30 B.C. And then there was the Roman Empire from 30 B.C. to 476.

Commenting on that first phase, Maier told me, “The first seven kings of Rome ended in a real tyrant. His name was Tarquin the Proud, and they didn’t want another king throughout their history.”

Thus, after 509 B.C., the Romans eschewed the title “king” [rex] thereafter, despite having emperors who were far more powerful than any earthly king.

Thus, Jesus’ claim to be the King of the Jews was His death sentence. Maier adds: “[Rex] was a term of opprobrium. It was somebody who was trying to subvert the masses…. And that is the charge that the prosecution made, which really turned the case as far as Pontius Pilate was concerned.”

It’s a tragic fact that in 2000 years of Christian history, there have been anti-Semitic professing Christians who blamed the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus.

But the fact is that Jesus laid down His life as fully God and fully man, who alone fulfilled the Ten Commandments, on behalf of sinners—so that those who believe in Him might be saved. As Jesus Himself said, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18). If there were any “crime” committed for which Jesus was dying, it was the crime committed by sinful people against our holy Creator.

Christians believe that Jesus is the King, whose kingdom was foretold by Daniel the prophet about 500 years before He came, who said that in the “days of those kings”—which kings? The Roman kings—the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will smite the Roman Empire.

It begins as a small stone but that stone goes on to become a mountain that fills the whole earth. Christianity began very small, but has grown to where about one-third of humanity claims to be Christian.

And so during this Holy Week, Christians celebrate the coming 2000 years ago of the King, who came the first time in humility, who will one day ride a white horse as the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

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REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY – IS IT SCRIPTUAL

https://gracethrufaith.com/

PSALM 110 AND REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/psalm-110-and-replacement-theology/

QUESTION:   I was at a home school conference a couple of years ago and heard (a well known theologian) use one of the verses you used in this week’s commentary to support his replacement theology position:

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” (Psalm 110:1)

According to him this one verse sums it all up “Jesus will not return to earth until the Christians have made things on earth better and better by going forth and multiplying.”

I would appreciate your comments on what this verse really means because I know that the Bible teaches things here are going to get worse not better.

ANSWER:   I personally don’t think the interpretation of Psalm 110:1 you’ve quoted could be further from God’s intention. You underlined the word “until” in your question, but it’s the next word, “I”, that defines the passage. God is the one making His enemies His footstool, not the Church.

And you’re right. The only prophecy I see in Scripture for the End Times “church” is a great falling away (2 Thes. 2:3) something we see beginning in the rapid growth of the emergent church movement.

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/replacement-theology-2/

QUESTION:   Thank you for the teaching and word you have been blessed with. I enjoy many of your articles when I get an opportunity to visit your site.

Question: What would you say is the main reason for the replacement theology that seems to be spreading and taught by many good men of God.?

ANSWER:   The view that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s mind and will be the recipient of blessings formerly promised to Israel has gained in popularity recently.

In my opinion, there is more than one motivation behind this. First, every body likes to be on the winning side, and hearing that the Church will conquer the world and be blessed above all others in this world (as dominionism teaches) is good news indeed. Spiritualizing God’s promises to Israel into something intended for the Church underscores this position.

Another really has its roots in anti-semitism, although many of its proponents would deny such a thing. They say that giving Israel’s blessings to the Church is God’s punishment for rejecting their Messiah. Therefore there is no Biblical reason for Israel to exist today.

This jealousy between some in the Church and Israel was foretold in one of the interpretations of the Lord’s Parable of the Prodigal son. The older son, representing the Gentile Church, was angry with the Father (God) for welcoming the younger son (Israel) back with open arms after his time of rebellion. The father’s reply was a perfect description of God’s view toward Israel.

“My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:31-32)

The Church will be blessed above all others, but not at the expense of Israel. Both will receive their unique blessings during the Kingdom Age; the Church in the New Jerusalem, and Israel in the Promised Land.

1 PETER 2:9 AND REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/1-peter-29-and-replacement-theology/

QUESTION:   How do you answer someone who believes Israel has been replaced by the Church and uses 1 Pet. 2:9 to support his position?

ANSWER:   Replacement Theology is the false teaching that after Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah, God transferred to the Church all the unfilled promises He had made to Israel. Therefore the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plans for the future.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Notice this verse doesn’t disqualify Israel from anything. It doesn’t say the Church has become the chosen people, as if we’ve been chosen in place of Israel, just that we’re a chosen people.

In addition, one of the problems of trying to build doctrine on one or two verses is that if you get it wrong you have to either ignore or re-interpret lots of other ones to maintain your position. This is true of replacement theology, no matter which verses you try to hang your hat on. Through out the Old and New testaments prophecies of the reappearance of Israel in the End Times are so numerous as to be undeniable.

For example, in Luke 21:24 Jesus said Jerusalem would be trampled on by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. The word “until” means there will be an end to Gentile dominion but Jerusalem will remain.

Romans 11:25-29 is another clear example showing that after the church has been taken, Israel will be saved. There are dozens of others in Deuteronomy, the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah, Zechariah, etc. In summary it’s impossible to hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible and also subscribe to replacement theology.

A QUESTION ABOUT REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/a-question-about-replacement-theology-2/

QUESTION:   I found an article on a Christian site where the author claims that the Old Testament contains many prophecies that cannot be fulfilled and promises that have been forfeited because God’s promises to Israel were conditional. Am I correct in interpreting his teaching as replacement theology? What would you say in a rebuttal to this? I personally don’t believe in replacement theology and think it is a heretical teaching and was interested in your view. Thanks for your wonderful insight.

ANSWER:   Yes, you’ve come across a website that teaches Replacement Theology. This view holds that when the Jews rejected the Messiah, all the promises to Israel were transferred to the Church. It’s held by a significant portion of the main line protestant church as well as their more extreme counter parts in the Christian white supremacy movement, where it’s used to justify their anti-semitism.

Advocates of Replacement Theology have departed from a literal interpretation of Scripture, especially where the Old Testament is concerned, and in the New Testament they often re-interpret passages about Israel, saying they’re really written to the Church. Therefore, offering a satisfactory rebuttal is difficult. But there are a number of passages that clearly deny this teaching, and if you take God at His Word, you’ll reject Replacement Theology. Jeremiah 31:35-37 is representative.

This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar– the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.” This is what the LORD says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the LORD.

And in the New Testament, there’s Romans 11:25-27.

“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

This sounds pretty unconditional to me. There are literally scores of other similar promises.

As far as prophecies that cannot be fulfilled, this idea goes against the very heart of God’s most powerful claim to authority. The way He validates Himself as being worthy of our obedience to Him is by His faithfulness in keeping His promises to us. You’ve staked your eternal destiny on this. Listen to Isaiah 46:8-10.

Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

Advocates of Replacement Theology are asking us to believe that God didn’t know that Israel would disobey Him and therefore had to come up with a plan B when they did. They say that Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him justifies His unfaithfulness to them. If so, what’s to prevent Him from changing His mind about us? The Church has certainly been unfaithful. Like I said, if you take God at His Word, you’ll reject Replacement Theology.

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

https://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/replacement-theology/

QUESTION:  I guess I must have had my head in the sand for many, many years or something but it never occurred to me so strongly until recently that there are some last day views that write Israel as a Nation out of Revelation.

I guess it is part of the “Church replaces Israel” view but even their views vary. I know that the New Covenant is that all who are to be saved in this day, will be part of the Church, so they include all in Israel who will believe in Christ.

I guess my question is how can they ignore the language of Revelation, the 144,000, Babylon, the 12 tribes, Mt.Zion, The Mount of Olives, etc etc. Do they spiritualize the book of Revelation? Is it seen as all of the O.T. has already taken place or fulfilled before Christ came? I can see the point of all who become saved being the Church but I just cannot see the Church as being Israel.

ANSWER:   The view you’re asking about is called Replacement Theology because it replaces every mention of Israel with the Church. Since the Bible is clear that Israel will endure the Great Tribulation, many people who believe in Replacement Theology are either post-trib, or deny the Tribulation altogether, saying it all happened in the past. In either case holding this view requires a departure from the literal understanding of end times prophecies like the Book of Revelation.

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