-Daniel Chapter 9-a “The 69 Weeks”

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Some Say the Antichrist Has Already Come

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Famous Failures of Prophetic Interpretation

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Alexander the Great comes to Jerusalem

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Daniel Chapter 8 preview

Good news from the Middle East

Iraq refugee campThis is the first time I’ve made a news item the main substance of a blog post. But this article so struck me as good news, as well as an antidote to what I feel has been so much fear and terror that’s been spread on Christian web sites in response to recent events in the Middle East.

So this is a great article for the fear mongers and terror advocates. God’s not dead or even sick! It’s not all beheadings and terror in the Middle East. Here are Christians witnessing and singing, worshiping and bringing others to Him, even during their personal “great tribulation”!

For many Christians here in the West, they teach and believe that the Church will be waft away before the “great tribulation” (Mathew 24:21). But the Lord didn’t rapture out these suffering Middle Eastern Christians and we won’t be raptured out either, at least not the way many teach and believe.

This is a great article to show that “they that understand among the people shall instruct many.” “They shall be strong and do exploits”, (Daniel 11:32 & 33) even during great tribulation. I’d already been hearing this news from my missionary friends who have been in those places for decades. This article shows that there are those there who are standing up for Him, as more of us will be someday in similar circumstances.

This was found on the web site www.breakingchristiannews.com. I don’t know these folks and I don’t know what they believe. But it’s great that they are letting us know about these victories for Him as this Middle Eastern Christians stand strong for Him. Here’s the article:

Despite ISIS Grip, Holy Spirit is at Work:

Tent Churches Emerge in Iraqi Refugee Camps

Christian Aid Staff: Sep 12, 2014: Christian Aid Mission

“They asked us if God even exists for this to be allowed to happen. It was very difficult, but the Lord has given us grace in their sight to represent Jesus and the love of the work, which was shown to be wonderfully accepted among the Yazidis. They asked us to come back and took all our Bibles ‘in secret.’”

Iraq Christian aidIn the Kurdish area of Iraq, where people of different beliefs fled atrocities of the Islamic State (ISIS), the Iraqi ministry team supported by Christian Aid Mission found people in need of water, food and medicine.

Fatima, an Iraqi woman who fled atrocities committed by the Islamic State, was drawn to the sound of singing in a tent in a refugee camp in Dohuk, in the Kurdish region of Iraq. She approached cautiously.

Though embarrassed when the Christians worshiping inside saw her, she came closer and asked if she could enter and listen to what they were saying. By the time the meeting finished at 4 AM, she was on her way to embracing Christ as Savior and asked if she could bring friends and family to the next meeting.

Fatima, her husband and three daughters put their trust in Jesus for their salvation, and within a few weeks her involvement led to another 60 families making the same commitment, according to an area ministry leader supported by Christian Aid Mission.

“Tent churches are going on everywhere,” said the ministry leader. “Last week we had 68 families openly surrender their lives to the Lord. With all their large needs and difficult situations that they are going through, they thank God for the indwelling of Christ in their hearts. Twelve of those families were Muslims.” In addition, 200 children who received Bibles and coloring materials prayed to accept Jesus into their hearts.

Broken Hearts
Near Amerli, which Islamic State fighters besieged for more than two months before Kurdish and Iraqi forces aided by US warplanes drove them out on Sept. 1, the ministry leader’s team encountered people in need of water, food and medicine. In a visit with a group of families able to escape before the ISIS siege, the team found opportunity to meet both spiritual and physical needs. “The Lord gave us many souls who believed in Christ there,” the team leader said.

In northern Erbil, the leader’s team met with displaced Yazidis, a predominantly Kurdish ethnic group practicing a mix of Zoroastrian, Islamic, and Christian rituals, who suffered the slaughter of an estimated 500 of their members at the hands of ISIS. Some 130,000 Yazidis of Sinjar had fled to Irbil or farther north to Dohuk. “Our ministry to them was filled with tears and broken hearts to hear scary stories about abducted children and women and the slaughter of men,” the team leader said.

The Iraqi ministry team has prepared 2,000 Bibles, including those for children, plus 2,500 New Testaments in Arabic, Aramaic and Kurdish, along with tracts and Bible-based coloring books.

Iraq mattreses“We have a lot more that is needed, such as gas, workers’ support, radios, clothing and miscellaneous ministry items,” the team leader said.

Christian Aid Mission is helping the ministry to provide two kinds of food to Iraq’s internally displaced people – one for those who have cooking facilities, and another for those who are homeless. A box containing eggs, salt, oil, rice, cheese, beef, tomato paste, powdered milk, macaroni and bread costs $25. For 300 tents for small families, the cost comes to $7,500.

The team provides 800 sandwiches a day to different areas and groups at a cost of $2 per sandwich, which amounts to a weekly cost of $11,200. The ministry has borrowed sleeping bags and mattresses from a local store with the hope of repaying the merchants at $20 per mattress. “Four hundred mattresses cost $8,000, and we are almost out,” the leader said.

The ministry team also provides medicines for blood pressure, diabetes, headaches and stomach ailments, along with personal hygiene items. “Our goal was to provide $10,000 worth. We are starting with only $2,000 now,” he said. “Thank you so much for your prayers and support.”

For more information on indigenous Iraqi ministries, visit ChristianAid.org or see #HelpLocalIraq on Twitter.

The video of “The Last 7 Years” (Daniel 9:27)

If you’ve been seeing the other videos on the prophecies of Daniel before this, you’ll know that this is essentially the seminal video in the series. This video, based around the last verse in Daniel 9, is focused on the Old Testament verse that Jesus Himself referred to when He was asked about His return. For those familiar with Bible prophecy, this verse is somewhat like “The Rosetta Stone”, fitting together the many different pieces of the endtime picture and the future to come.

On a personal note, it’s been a joy to me that the Lord has made it so that I’ve been able to get this far in this series that these two videos on Daniel chapter 9 have been completed. I hope and pray this one will be a blessing to you and to all those who are seeking to understand. As Jesus said about this verse, “…whoever reads, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15b)

Sharing faith with Muslims

Austrian trainOver 30 years ago I was on a local train in Austria, heading in to the capital, Vienna. Sitting across from me were two young men who seemed to be foreigners and they had a large Koran which they were reading. I struck up a conversation with them as they spoke English. After a while, I told them I’d read the Koran some and suggested they read Surah 3:55. They looked it up, read it, read it again, looked at each other, said a few words together and then looked back at me.

Surah 3:55   says, “Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection.”

I had studied the Koran just a bit and somehow remembered that reference which of course says things about Jesus of Nazareth which most people would never think would be in the Koran, including these two young Muslims.

That was one of my first experiences sharing my faith with, and talking about God with, Islamic people. During the 6 years I lived in Vienna, we’d rather often have Islamic people over to our house or would meet them while we were out.

Then years later I worked for 3 weeks at the Nagyatad refugee camp in southern Hungary where thousands of Islamic Bosnians were being housed during the Yugoslavian war of the early 90’s. Again my experience with those people was a positive one. My friends and I would daily go to this camp which was an old Russian army camp, deserted since the fall of Communism, which had be converted into this refugee camp.

At this camp was an elderly woman and her husband and she was considered the spiritual leader of the camp. As it turned out, there was a young Islamic woman at the refugee camp at the time who was obviously being tormented by spirits that were not of God. The spiritual elders of the camp had not been able to help this woman to be free from the torment of those spirits. Some of my friends had asked if they could pray for the tormented woman. Permission was granted and when my friends had prayed for the woman, she was delivered from her torments and possession and was made whole. So the woman who was the spiritual leader of the Muslims there told everyone that we were the people of God and that they should receive us from then on, which they did.

This woman was the spiritual leader at the refugee camp of around 2000 Bosnian Muslims in southern Hungary.

This woman was the spiritual leader at the refugee camp of around 2000 Bosnian Muslims in southern Hungary.

In the centuries that the Ottoman Turks ruled over southeastern Europe, the only people who converted from Christianity to Islam was a portion of the people who live in Bosnia. Sarajevo later became at one point the northern most Islamic city in that part of the world. But others in that area didn’t convert from Catholicism or Orthodoxy to Islam. And the animosity between these peoples has been a running boil that has festered off and on for over 400 years.

With my translator, Rebecca, a Christian from Sarajevo, at the Nagyatad refugee camp

With my translator, Rebecca, a Christian from Sarajevo, at the Nagyatad refugee camp

Perhaps the experience I remember most from being at that refugee camp was when my translator and I were invited into a room to talk to some people. As soon as we entered the room, my translator, Rebecca, said quietly, “Uh-oh.”

Sitting in the room were around 15 young men who looked to be around 25 to 35 years old. They were all sipping thick black coffee and talking  quietly with each other but I soon found that these were all front line fighters who’d fled the fighting. I knew I wanted to and needed to share my faith with these men but how could I do that? Through our conversation I found that several of them had seen their wives and children killed in front of them. They all had been in prolonged, often hand-to-hand combat recently. I could take it for granted that they’d all killed enemies of their people in combat.

What could I say to these ones? “Jesus loves you”? Well, yes. But how do I communicate that to these ones who were alive and mostly well on the outside but extremely traumatized on the inside? I searched deeply to find some way to connect with these soldiers and hardened combat irregulars. And the Lord led me to share with them what was for me the most traumatic and excruciating experience I’d ever gone through. I won’t relate what that was here but it very nearly killed me or permanently scarred me. And I told them that at that time, I had to find the grace, the love and the power of God in order to not let that event completely destroy me. I had to find a way to rise above that injustice I experienced and that unutterable pain that took the life and humanity out of me.

One of the young men I talked to from the group of fighters. His wife and children were killed in the war. He turned his face to the side here because he had a very large scar on the other side.

One of the young men I talked to from the group of fighters. His wife and children were killed in the war. He turned his face to the side here because he had a very large scar on the other side.

It was a very intense time and my translator was doing good to hang in there and translate what I shared with her to pass on to them. Because these guys were killers; violence was what they had lived in for years.

But they listened. OK, maybe it helped that I was a little older than them and that I was an American. I just told them that for their own sakes, they somehow had to find the grace of God to not let their experiences conquer their hearts and souls and turn them into permanently evil men.

A question I was asked by one of them seared my soul. I had told them of what I felt had been a crushing injustice I’d suffered and which nearly snuffed out my soul and my heart. One of them then in the group spoke up and quietly, very sincerely, asked me, “Why didn’t you kill him?” I had to answer that question, with God’s love and wisdom, as well as with humanity and reality.

Yes, they were Muslims and they knew we were Christians, the people they’d been at war with. But, in that room that afternoon, God brought us all to a deeper level. We were all human beings. We were all wanting to find and take the high road of life. We found that we had a common ground of empathy and even faith in God that we could look toward together.

Even these Muslim “killers” were human beings. They listened to me and my friend, responded and asked questions. I believe the Lord used that time to at least plant seeds of His love in their hearts that day. We need to be “always ready to give an answer of the hope that lives within us” (I Peter 3:15), even to Muslim warriors.

 

Fear them not

fear them not flattenedMost Christians shun pornography. They know they aren’t supposed to be alcoholics, or steal or kill. But how many Christians are violating a direct commandment of Jesus Christ every day and reveling in it? In Matthew 10:28, Jesus commanded “And fear not them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

I’m going to be a little blunt and frank. It seems to me there are millions of Christians who are just in love with fear and are obsessed with it. But is that God’s will? For me, I would emphatically say no. I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear. Because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.

The Bible almost strangely says, “I wisdom dwell with prudence” (Proverbs 8:12) or in another place “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). In the same way, fear has companions too. One of fear’s biggest companions is hatred. And sadly you hear a lot of Christians talking about, not only their fears, but their hatreds.

fear them not 2 flattenedI should be even more plain here. Often the fear and hatred that Christians are encouraged to embrace has to do with Islam and people from the Middle East. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t see some panicked publication with the latest shrieking dread concerning how much we should be afraid of and hate Islamic people. And it seems that basically no one stands up to these things or calls them out. There’s a real thriving market for fear and hatred. And of course confusion and ignorance jump onto the wagon too.

“But Mark, they hate us! Think about 9/11! Think of the atrocities!”

What would I say to you?

“Think about Jesus Christ. Think about the Word of God. Establish your opinions and reactions on the eternal Word of God.”

It’s an outright sin, and a major one, to instigate fear, panic, and the obsessive observance of the most negative elements of anything or anyone. But how many Christians daily tune in to some news outlet or web site that is serving up a big dish of fear, hatred and prejudice, along with a supersized helping of ignorance, sprinkled with confusion? Millions are gulping this down and going right back to the serving line for more. “They love to have it so.” (Jeremiah 5:31)

But the Bible says, “Neither fear ye their fear: sanctify the Lord in your hear and let Him be your tread and let Him be your fear.” (Isiah 8:12b & 13)

“But Mark! What should be our reaction to these things? The dangers are real, Mark!”

If you are a Christian, haven’t you heard of the people of God for the last centuries who loved their enemies, whether those enemies were Godless, Christ-less communists or religious persecution that took place in Europe in past centuries? Have you heard of the ones who won their hellish enemies with the love of God?

Citizenship in heaven-flattenedSome Christians today are very seriously planning to take up arms against …whoever. I’ve repeatedly been in Sunday school groups where the conversation turned almost totally towards guns and preparations for armed conflict here in the States. And these are Bible believing, consecrated people.

How strongly can I say that I feel and know that this is not the way to go? You’re afraid of Islam and Muslims? How much do you really know about them, really? Not the propaganda, name calling and hyperventilating that you get daily from news channels or web sites.

mans problemsIf you are a Christian, you are actually commissioned by Jesus Christ to witness and win the world for Him. And yes, that includes Muslims. Could you share your faith with them, where they also really felt and knew that you loved them and had something to share with them that could change their lives, as it changed yours? Is your TV network or favorite web site instilling hatred, fear and even terror itself into your heart on this subject? Or is it teaching you how to love and win the World for Jesus through love and the power of His Word and His truth, including how to love, understand and win Muslims to the Lord?

If you’re in love with fear and stoking the fires of hatred in yourself and others, then I suggest you really take time to check out the condition of your heart. Is your hatred and fear “the fruit of the Holy Spirit”? (See Galatians 5:22 & 23). Is your “wisdom from above”? (See James 3:14-18). Our job as Christians is not to incite, promote and guzzle down fear and hatred of anyone. Our job is to love the lost and win the world to Him through His power and His truth. And we can. Because He can.

Get off the fear and hate train. It’s going to hell.