A Mending For Israel             4/30/2020

A map of Israel including the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan

In case you do not follow Israeli news, Israel may be concluding the political showdown between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz. For the last seventeen months the Israeli Knesset has been sidelined as Israeli′s have voted three times for Prime Minister. Three times the results were similar—the vote was too close to pronounce a victor—a victor who could form a coalition.

Fast forward to last Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and political opponent Benny Gantz finally agreed on terms in order to form a National Emergency Government—a unified government for the express purpose of fighting the Corona Virus. (See our blog of 3/4-11/19 and 4/22-29/19 for more on the election between PM Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz). The agreement will allow PM Netanyahu to remain the Prime Minister for eighteen more months and gives him the upper hand regarding his recent bribery charges. (He has recently been accused of a number of corruption allegations, to which a number of Israeli′s either don′t care or don′t believe—by their votes, they still have confidence that he is the right man to lead Israel.)

Mr. Gantz will head the Knesset as speaker until they have finalized the votes for the new agreement bill; at which time he will then takeover as Defense Minister, or whatever position he desires. After PM Netanyahu′s eighteen months are over, Mr Gantz is then to head the government as Prime Minister. Mr. Netanyahu would then become the alternate prime minister.

The agreement bill between the two parties (Likud and Blue and White) is favored by a majority of Israelis; but, not necessarily favored by all Israeli political parties. Nor, is it guaranteed to be voted in as law. Today marked victory for allowing changes to the Basic Law that is needed to set up the rotation government. However, there is more voting to follow and some opponents are saying the bill is constitutionally problematic, not to mention their disapproval of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Why would Israeli elections be of particular interest to Bible Prophecy scholars? Those who are watching for the signs of the Rapture (or Caught up) would be looking for an Israeli Prime Minister who would make an agreement with the Anti‐Christ once the Rapture has happened. Would Benjamin Netanyahu make such an agreement?—Highly unlikely. However, there is clear evidence that there are divisive players within the Israeli political system that are only there for one purpose—to bring in a new government and to do that they need PM Netanyahu out. One such man is Yair Lapid, Mr. Gantz′s former political ally. In the past, he has vowed to do anything and everything possible to derail the longest serving Prime Minister Israel has ever had—Benjamin Netanyahu. Recently, he has tweeted, “If, in another year, after the coronavirus {crisis}, we have the possibility of bringing down the government—clearly we will bring it down.”

Would Benny Gantz make a deal with the Anti‐Christ? Quite possibly. He and his political allies were willing to join forces with the anti‐Zionist Joint List, comprised of Arab parties, in order to form a government. What is wrong with that? That would make Israel′s enemies privy to all state and military secrets. Mr. Gantz also campaigned on preventing any West Bank annexation not endorsed by the International Community and/or done in coordination with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

Are you interested in what will happen to Israel after the Rapture? Check out this link.

The Bible says, Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee‐Psalm 122:6.

Source: theguardian.com; jpost.com-Ruthie Blum Editorial; jpost.com-Lapid Ready To Prevent Gantz From Becoming PM; jta.org; jpost.com-Likud And Blue/White Government Passes First Hearing At Knesset; timesofisrael.com.

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Why Does the World look to the IMF?   End of Week 4/17/2020

Picture of two hands holding a heart with the inticials IMF.  The world is in the backround.

There are fifty‐four countries in Africa, forty‐eight in Asia, forty‐four in Europe, thirty‐three in Latin America/Caribbean, two in Northern America and fourteen in Oceania. (This does not include regions that are recognized by the United Nations as not being self‐governing and those few territories that are dependent, or Areas of Special Sovereignty like the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church, which are also considered countries.) What do all these areas have in common? Due to the Corona Virus pandemic, most of these counties are seeking monetary aid. Due to extended government lock‐downs of public gathers, schools and all non essential businesses, multitudes world‐wide are not only out of work, but facing real financial burdens. The citizens are not the only ones that have financial trouble—most countries also are experiencing problems in repaying loans and/or supporting their economies. Where is a nation to go? In short, many have turned to the IMF.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), was established in 1945. WW1 and WW2, brought about anxiety and questions on how to prevent another episode of war. At the close of World War II, the allied nations came together to create new ideas regarding, not only the rebuilding of war torn Europe, but, also how to enhance global cooperation and trade. In our blog of 6/10/19 European Union‐Part 1, we discussed how the EU was born and its role in facilitating trade between, in particular, European Nations. However, before any of that, a system to collect and distribute finances to the war-torn countries was developed. That system was called, the Bretton Woods system. The IMF was created to oversee the promotion of International monetary cooperation, as they saw to the expansion of trade and economic growth between countries, along with discouraging foreign policies that would harm their expansions.

Their strategy required countries agreeing to keep their currencies fixed, although adjustable in exceptional situations, to the U.S. dollar‐the U.S. dollar being fixed to gold. At the beginning, the plan was on track. The U.S. owned about three quarters of the gold world‐wide. Europe and Japan needed the U.S., not only for rebuilding, but also for goods. However, as years went by, those nations began producing products themselves, becoming competition for the U.S. This made it increasingly harder for the U.S. to keep its dollar standard to gold—there was just too much unwanted U.S. currency floating around. In the 1960′s the U.S. Treasury′s Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), along with the Federal Reserve Bank, began to intervene in the foreign‐exchange market. The ESF bought and sold foreign exchange currency to stabilize conditions in the exchange rate market—they called it “currency swaps”. However, by the early 1970′s with the currency swap band aid about to bust, then, U.S. President Richard Nixon, ended the dollar convertibility to gold. This move ended an impending International gold run and ushered in the floating rates era.

Quoting from their website, today′s IMF has the key functions of, “the surveillance of the international monetary system and the monitoring of members′ economic and financial policies, the provision of Fund (IMF) resources to member countries in need, and the delivery of technical assistance and financial services.” They have already stepped up to help during this world crisis by calling for rich nations to stop collecting debt payments from poor countries from May 1 through June 2021. They also are urging other donors to help them replenish their trust′s resources.

So, what does this have to do with Bible Prophecy? With most countries, if not all, being obligated to the IMF, and the IMF dictating to political leaders how to handle the current economic crisis and trying to make ruling on when countries should allow people back to work—or, in other words, when the economy can start up again, it would seem clear that the IMF carries a lot of weigh globally. The old proverb, the borrow is servant to the lender‐Pr 22:7.

Can the Bible be of any assistance in helping us to see where all of this is going? Perhaps. In the Book of Genesis, we learn of an Egyptian leader (who actually was a Jew enslaved and sold to the Egyptians) who was elevated to the position and responsibility of being only second to the Pharaoh himself. This leader exacted a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt for seven years (ref Gen 41:34‐NAS). After the seven years of plenty the region experienced a famine. Now due to the Ruler′s wise overseeing of the Pharaoh′s territories, all countries came to Egypt to buy food (ref Gen 41:57)—for the famine was grievous (ref Gen 47:13).

For the first year the people brought money to buy their food (ref Gen 47:14). But, by the next year they had no money; so, the people exchanged all their cattle for food. The following year, because the famine was so severe, the people willingly gave the Government their property and sold themselves into bondage (ref Gen 47:19). The Ruler then relocated the people to the cities (ref Gen 47:21). This would signify that the people, by this time, had nothing of their own, but received all by the hand of the Government. The only exception was the State Religious Institution—they were allowed to keep their lands (ref Gen 47:21). But, it doesn′t end there. As the famine comes to an end, the Ruler tells the people he has bought them and their land for Pharaoh; then he gives them seed to plant for themselves. They will only be taxed twenty percent of what they grow—the rest they can keep to feed their families (ref Gen 47:23, 24). The people are so thankful they answered, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in (your) sight…and we will be Pharaoh′s slaves” (ref Gen 47:25). The people are so filled with gratitude they were willing to sell themselves—at this point, if asked, they would receive a mark—they would do anything in obligation to the Government.

Make no mistake, the Corona Virus is just that—a pandemic that has changed the lives of most everyone in the world—and unfortunately, it is probably not going to be the last pandemic. None the less, it has put into motion interesting events that may aid the Ruler to come. That Ruler conquers the world peacefully. He does not use an army or force. He is unanimously brought to power by mostly, the political house of the E.U., because that is the only real power left after Russia wages war with the United States.

With what political party do you affiliate? It will make no difference. If you are hungry and your children are crying because they have no food and someone offers you a meal—are you indeed grateful? Would you not do anything to keep those meals coming in? If asked, wouldn′t you take a mark on you right hand or your forehead? Check out this link if you want to learn more about what is about to happen.

The Bible is the Word of Life. It should be used to answer any question you may have about any issue. You just need to study it and seek God for wisdom. It is so sad that not even most pastors or clergy consider the Bible important enough to read. Don't make that mistake—read the Bible faithfully every day, asking the Lord God to open your eyes and your heart. However, when He does—make sure you turn to His ways and forsake your old ways. Eternity is a long time—do you really want to spend it tormented in flames (ref Lk 16:19‐31)?

Source: worldometers.info; federalreservehistory.org; bancroft.berkeley.edu; economictimes.indiatimes.com; foxnews.com; weforum.org; economictimes.indiatimes.com.

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Should Places of Worship Be Closed?   Mid Week 4/8/2020

Picture of a place of worship with a sign saying closed.

While the Corona Virus continues to ravage most every nation on the planet, many governments are not only contending with the virus; but, also battling the religious. Worldwide there is the continued debate over whether to allow the devout to gather or enforce the lock‐down that most countries have in place.

There seems to be enough evidence that the virus infects, among other ways, through person to person in close proximity to one another. That being said, many well known religious sites from the Near East to Europe, to the United States have closed their doors to devout pilgrims. However, some governments have excluded the devout from the public bans allowing them to gather. For example, Pakistan was not quick to ban Friday prayers. At one religious gathering (where over fifty thousand were in attendance from ninety different countries), two Palestinian nationals and some from Malaysia tested positive for the virus upon returning home. There was also a surge of Corona Virus cases within Pakistan after the meeting. Pakistan has not been the only country—there have been others—however, Pakistan has since ordered a lock‐down of its citizens.

In America, where religious freedoms are taken very seriously by some, pastors are refusing to obey the government—perhaps in fear that once they comply with the order—they may never be able to turn back. The religious freedoms of this country, although guaranteed by the United States Bill of Rights, in recent years has for some reason fallen to the decision of the courts. The Judicial branch of government has taken it upon themselves to decree law, instead of ruling by original intent—therefore, many pastors stand in doubt of government intervention even for this pandemic. Non the less, some pastors just believe it is a commandment of God to not forsake assembling together as is the habit of some; but, to encourage one another; and all the more as the day (of the Rapture) draws near‐ref Heb 10:25. What is a devout Christian to do at such a time as this?

The ultra‐Orthodox Jewish communities of New York and New Jersey were also among those who were ignoring the governments bans. Their schools remained open. Prayer quorums, wedding and funerals all continued in their tightly‐knit communities. This produced infection rates that are staggeringly high and deaths far too many. It is said that, most of the cases in the U.S. are in the Tri‐State area, especially in New York City. The Jews have now begun to adhere to self isolation and social distancing.

Israel is another country having to crack down on the devout. Like in America, the ultra‐Orthodox Jewish fraction of Israel does not agree with the government when it comes to Covid‐19, among other issues. In a community of predominantly Haredim, near Tel Aviv, there has been an out break of the virus that is growing four to eight times faster than anywhere else in Israel. This may be due to the fact that they have continued business as usual. Schools were kept open, although classes were modified to be smaller as they tried to adhering to proper social distancing. They, in their usual manner for Passover, went to the markets and continued to prayer meetings without wearing mask—even when testing positive for the virus. With over one thousand people being diagnosed with the illness in that area alone, the police needed to enforced a total lock‐down of the city. They designated over one thousand officers being deployed with the additions of armed troops from the IDF′s Paratrooper Brigade to join them. For the Passover week, road blocks have been placed at the entrances and exits to many cities, especially leading to Jerusalem. The Israeli government does not like being in this position, but due to the pandemic they believe the streets need to be empty over Passover. That may be easier said than done. Passover is one of those feast where the Jew travels to Jerusalem—it′s a commandment. What is a devout Jew to do at such a time as this?

How does this relate to Bible Prophecy? It may be related by way of the Laodicean Church—commonly know as the church of today. A church that God says is neither cold nor hot—it is lukewarm‐ref Rev 3:14‐16. A church with no good points. Whether you believe that natural disasters are acts of God or not, the Bible teaches that there are consequences for disobedience toward Him. It is written, “if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I (Moses) charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you”‐Deut 28:15 (NAS). Certainly, there are many examples in the Bible when Israel, as a nation, was punished for its nonobservance to the One and Only True God. However, what should not be overlooked is the reaction of the devout when these situations occur.

In the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, the leaders assembled the people and called for a fast wherein they confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers; read from the Book of the Law of the Lord and worshiped the Lord their God‐ref Neh 9:1‐3. Ezra accounts a fast that was called, where they afflicted (or humbled) their selves before God, to seek of Him a right way. To those who cherish the old paths, if repentance has not taken place in the heart of a believer from the church—then their prayers were in vain and fasting was only a hypocritical action.

Are the Preachers today reading the Word of God from the pulpit? Are they relaying to their congregations what the Bible teaches about plagues, sin and how to live a godly life? There is a big difference between how todays church defines godly and how God defines it. Todays church thinks they are rich—needing nothing. Not realizing that the true riches come not in material things, but from the wisdom of the Scriptures. How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver, and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her‐Pr 3:14,15 (NAS).

Does the Bible actually address the issue of the kind of pandemic we are now living through? The Scriptures are very clear on what to do when a person is unclean (or has a contagious disease). When a person is thought to have a contagious disease, that person is to be isolated for a determined time, then get re‐checked. Upon re‐examination, if it is determined that the person does indeed have a contagious sickness, like leprosy, then they are to be put out of the camp (or isolated) until they are well. They are not to enter the Temple to pray, lest they would infect others. This was the law concerning leprosy‐ref Lev chapter 13.

During an outbreak of the Spanish Flu in the early nineteen hundreds, the American city, the District of Columbia experienced an outbreak of fifty thousand cases. During this time the city government banned all public gatherings, including churches. One Presbyterian Church explained their cancellation of services in the following way:
“Inasmuch as it has seemed wise to the Commissioners of the District, after careful consideration of the question, to prohibit the gathering of the people on Sunday in their accustomed places of worship, may I suggest that at the usual hour of morning service you gather in your homes and unite in common prayer to the God of Nations and of families, that He will guide us in all wisdom in this time of trial, that our physicians and public officers may be led in their performance of duty and be strengthened by divine help, that the people may be wise and courageous, each in his place. Let us never forget that ‘Help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.’ Behold He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Perhaps this is the answer for all devout.

Source: msn.com; archives.gov; haaretz.com; algemeiner.com; jpost.com; townhall.com; 9marks.org.

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