A fiery trial is a test from the Lord. It has some basic aims:
Endure the trial. The result of refining gold, of refining something of value (note that that means that you are already of value, but yet should be or could be more valuable still), is an increase in purity: a finer gold is deeper in hue, more durable (resilient), and of much higher value.
Fiery darts (Eph 6:16), on the other hand, originate from the enemy: fiery darts are malevolent temptations. Here is where your shield of faith comes in.
Therefore, expect the Lord to try you, so as to prepare you for battle, before he sends you into enemy fire. Because you will necessary pass through enemy fire to get to the other side; before you can enter and take ownership of the promised land.
The promised land is your chance to co-rule with the Lord during his 1000-year reign, coming sooner than you think. Do you want to co-rule—with righteous judgement and mercy, of course, but rule nonetheless? Then rule now with the Fruits of the Spirit. For you have authority, in Messiah Yeshua. Be prepared to rule even while you are still being tried of your faith, even still as you are being elevated to a higher state.
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.1 Corinthians 13:7
Love your neighbour (despite their sin). Bless those who persecute you.
In the world; not of it. Children of the light; not of the night.
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mar 10:29-30)
If you are being persecuted, then consider it joy because you are both resisting the enemy and paying any penalties now, before the coming kingdom.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:10)
Those who are living an easy life now will have to bare their persecutions during the millennial kingdom, while those suffering now will then be free, whole, and full of light during the Lord’s reign.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Mat 5:44)
Do not be strong but meek, yielding to the Lord.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10)
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
Persecution suffered right now is truly joy. Count it all joy and keep looking up, your redemption draweth nigh.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)
Hang in there. Only one more year to go.
Many economists and financiers are speaking in terms of the worst or the greatest since the 1930s—yes, the Great depression. Public debt is now at greater levels of GDP than in man’s history ever, and with substantial private debt too, we are facing a significant reckoning that will be financial—it is already underway, of course, with this year’s lockdowns devastating economies—as much as spiritual.
Though there will be famine and pestilence, I suspect things may not get quite as bad as the 1930s, only because it won’t be allowed to last as long: I maintain that Messiah will return next Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) and the world—as we know it—to end on November 19, 2021—”that great and terrible day” (Wrath of the Lord)—falling upon the anniversary of that Abomination that maketh Desolate of antiquity.
Recall, also, that Rev 6:6 says:
6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
Apart from unparalleled inflation, at least with respect to food, it suggests that the wealthier folk—”the oil and the wine”—will remain relatively unharmed by the financial misery—untouched by famine—if not unharmed by the political misfortunes.
Nonetheless, bad it will get, and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. (Mat 24:22 KJV)
Without going prep-crazy, it probably is worthwhile having your pantry full of comestibles; just for that rainy day (or year), as it were.
When will it be commensurably amenable to some sort of normal living again, assuming that the world ends but that we spiritually leave it to return again and reign with the Lord? I am going to suggest on Hanukkah, the anniversary of the re-dedication of the profaned Temple, likely to be the date when the Lord will re-dedicate the world under his reign: Sunday, November 28 to Monday, December 6 of next year (2021).
Much of the world is awaking, emerging from spiritual slumber and, with help from the Spirit, extricating itself from worldly quagmire. While I avoid more sensationalist views (and productions), preferring to seek and hear from the humble and the lowly, the times call for an occasional embrace of more polished productions.
While the Antichrist, a persona I consider equivalent to the Old Testament King of the North, is yet to be revealed, the False Prophet—yes, there are many False Prophets and Antichrists—of the Book of Revelation persists in parading, for eyes to see, many years now.
I believe the Church must show love and understanding to all—the Bible calls that mercy—but that should not be confused with acquiescence to, support for, or the embracing of ways of life that directly and perpetually controvert the Word of God. For instance, some of the language used in this video is less than exemplary. But I am willing to suffer such smaller indiscretion (for now) for the sake of spreading the Good News and in the hope of saving even one.
The understanding of faith and works is often misconstrued. We are not so much saved or justified by works. Faith alone saves, but faith—by its very nature—brings good works. Salvation is based on Romans 10:9.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
By confessing AND believing Jesus is Lord and that god raised Him from the Dead, you are saved. But the faith that brings salvation, also brings (good) works as fruits of the Spirit. Salvation is based on Jesus. Reward is based on works.
It is heartening to see more mainstream productions now calling it for what it is, referring to it by its rightful biblical name. But lest we get haughty and supercilious, before we begin to boast, realise that most Protestant churches fare little better. So much so that the same Book of Revelation—the Revelation of Jesus Christ, mind you, given to him by God:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.Revelation 1:1 (KJV)
—opens by rebuke of the Churches of Asia. Our present-day churches reverberate the ills of those seven churches. Let us then reconsider our own ways, to come with appropriate humility before the Lord.
With Israel quickly and firmly re-establishing itself in the Middle East, a nation born in a day, few people, secular or sacred, remain willing to bet against now as the End of Days. There remain a few foolhardy souls, but increasingly everyone is coming to terms with the end of an epoch. This epoch is the end of the 2000-year-long Church Age. But exactly where on the timeline do we stand? Could we be in the Last Hours rather than Last Days? Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, warns that the second advent and Day of the Lord will not come until certain preconditions are met.
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of [b]sin is revealed, the son of perdition.2 Thessalonians 2:3
Israel is a Nation and the Falling Away Is Here. The Psalm 83 War is well underway. Hours or Days?
Israel’s territory immediately west of the Jordan river, known as the West Bank, a part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years (1517-1917), includes the significant historical and cultural centers of East Jerusalem, in which is situated the Old City, but also parts of the littoral western Dead Sea. This region, officially referred to by Israel now as Judea and Samaria, occupies more than one-fifth of the former Mandatory Palestine; then under occupation and administration of Jordan, since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, before its formal annexation in 1950.
Though a small part of the Israeli economy, the West bank represents a sizeable portion of Jordanian Gross National Product. Jordan is obviously keen to hang onto land afforded them from partition of the Ottoman Empire by a Sykes-Picot agreement, between the United Kingdom and France, during WW1.
The Six-Day War changed everything.
Since, the international community has considered East Jerusalem as occupied by Israel. Certainly, Israel gained some long-lost territory as well as an improved hand in negotiations. For afterwards, Israel allowed Jordan to retain authority over the Temple Mount through the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf: a Jordanian-led Islamic trust for administration of the compound, with Israel responsible for security outside it. Importantly, only Muslims would be allowed to pray at the site.
But one or other form of waqf has governed access to the Temple Mount since Muslim reconquest of Jerusalem in 1187.
There are, however, now incredible claims that it was only the rare very recent chance at Arab-Israeli rapprochement, manifest in the 13 August 2020 compact with the United Arab Emirates, that averted annexation of the West Bank by Israel. and all that that might entail in these heady days; an annexation alleged to have otherwise been planned for July 1st.
However incredible that claim may seem (if taken at face value, a crisis averted for now, it seems), the point is that the Middle East is currently at a tipping point not seen since 1967.
The point of the Six-Day War, in 1967, was to recapture the Old City.
The Old City of Jerusalem is currently divided into four regions according to prevailing ethnicity of its inhabitants. The Old City has: a Christian Quarter; an Armenian Quarter; a Muslim Quarter, by far the largest quarter but beyond the main thoroughfares of which it is not considered safe for Jews or Christians to roam; and, of course, a Jewish Quarter.¹ The holiest of holy parts of the Old City (if you will), the Temple Mount, straddles the two eastern Quarters, the Muslim and the Jewish.
Eleven city gates were originally spread about the perimeter of this one-square kilometre of land, only eight of which now remain and one of which is closed. Located above ground level but below the Temple Mount, visible only from without the city, one of these, is The Golden Gate; the gate Jews anticipate as point of entry for the coming Messiah when he enters Jerusalem. Two gates lead into the Old City’s Jewish Quarter itself. Just beyond the Western Wall, a lasting stronghold after Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, is The Dung Gate. In antiquity, refuse was dumped just outside this gate where prevailing winds would carry the odour away from the city.
And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.Nehemiah 2:13 (NKJV)
The other entrance to the Jewish Quarter is the Zion gate, named after the nearby mount.
Israel claims sovereignty over East Jerusalem, affording Palestinians administrative authority over the Old City’s Muslim and Christian Quarters. In 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert circumvented the issue proposing instead a temporary international trusteeship administered by Israel, the Palestinian state, the US, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
In contrast to Jews, most Arabs enter the city through the Damascus Gate straight into the souk (bazaars) and below which stands Hadrian’s Arch, built in 135 AD as main entrance to the city the Roman Emperor called Aelia Capitolina. As the Arch indicates, the Muslim Quarter is home to more than just articles of interest to those of Islamic faith. For all Christians who have visited the Holy City know that The Via Dolorosa, and most of the Way of the Cross, are in the city’s Muslim Quarter. More recently, and rather provocatively, despite its history as a place Jews have lived for decades, there is also a return by some Jews back into this part of the city.
Just up from the Western Wall plaza is the 40-acre plateau dominated by two shrines from the seventh century, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque. This plateau, the Temple Mount or Haram es-Sharif (Arabic: “Noble Enclosure”) confirms Jerusalem as the “Remote Place” of the Koran, third only in importance to Mecca and Medina.³ But Jews remain divided about walking up onto the Temple Mount for fear of defiling the place where forefathers once offered sacrifice, while others avoid so doing for fear of provoking Muslims. Tensions are always—always—high on the Mount.
Nonetheless, one of Christianity’s most holy places does indeed stand within the Christian Quarter. Christian reverence for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as site of death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is however based on the conviction of Helena, mother of fourth-century Roman Emperor Constantine. Unsurprisingly, the site is zealously guarded by different Christian denominations: Greek Orthodox; Roman Catholic; Armenian; and Coptic. Yet just such disputes, in the twelfth-century, led Arab conqueror Saladin to entrust the keys to the Sepulcher to Muslims.
Eight centuries later and the 10-inch metal key is still safeguarded in the house of the Joudeh family. Every morning at dawn, Wajeeh Nuseibeh, who took over the job of doorkeeper from his father 20 years ago, picks up the key and opens the massive wooden church doors. Every night at 8:00 p.m. he returns to shut and lock them.¹
Of the Armenian and smallest of the quartet, established in the fourteenth century, two-thirds is taken up by The St. James Monastery. With room for only one Armenian church, Syrian, Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Anglican denominations all boast churches in this part of the city. Armenians claim a presence in Jerusalem since a first-century battalion fought under Roman emperor Titus, remaining ensconced in Jerusalem for the last 1,700 years and not infrequently caught in its crossfire.¹ Armenians are renowned for so readily adopting Christianity as their official religion in 286 CE, well before even the Romans.
Providing fortifications for the city, at some 40-feet tall, the Old City walls were built between 1537 and 1541 under orders of Ottoman Emperor, Suleiman. The Zion Gate was the last of the gates constructed, in 1540. The Zion Gate provides access to Jewish-Quarter sites like the Tower of David and to the apparent resting place of King David’s himself. Here also is the Cenacle, considered site of the Last Supper.
The present-day Jewish Quarter dates to antiquity, remains of the upper city of the Herodian period (37 BC–70 AD). Testament to Ottoman prohibition of Jewish and Christian buildings reaching higher than Muslim structures, the Jewish Quarter boasts 400-year-old synagogues that sit below street level. More conventionally, however, as the Old City’s second oldest active synagogue, founded in 1267, the Ramban Synagogue stands in honour of Rabbi Moshe Ben-Nahman (Ramban) who helped rejuvenate Jerusalem’s Jewish community after it had been wiped out by Crusaders.¹
Up on the east wall of the Temple Mount, dating to 1541, the Golden Gate is oldest of eight gates of present-day Jerusalem and the only one that opens—if it were open—onto the Temple Mount.² During the First (Solomon’s) Temple period (c.1000–586 BCE), an eastern Gate was also main entrance into the Temple area but it was farther south and at lower level than its rebuilt successor. This lower originary eastern gate was used by Jesus on his original entrance to Jerusalem in 30 AD. The rebuilt eastern Gate was main entrance to the Second Temple area, the gate of the Lord’s triumphal entry on Palm Sunday (c. 33 AD).
Fittingly called also the Gate of Eternal Life, the outer aspect to this Golden Gate, perhaps equally fittingly, faces the Mount of Olives—where Jesus is believed to have given his Sermon on the Mount—and the Jewish cemetery. The gate is, in fact, made of two now sealed archways: the southern Gate of Mercy and the northern Gate of Repentance. Rather than at the pejoratively called “Wailing Wall,” an appellation from outsiders regarding modern-day Western-Wall Jewish prayer and vigil, Jews of yesteryear prayed opposite this eastern gate, facing the Temple. As Paula Lawlor at Magdalene Publishing says, “they began praying at the Gate of Repentance before proceeding to the Gate of Mercy;” moved to repent before asking God for mercy. As Lawlor notes, Christians later named this the Golden Gate, a gate that, according to the Koran, the just will pass through on the Day of Judgment.³
Closed by the Muslims in 810, reopened in 1102 by Crusaders, the Golden gate was walled off by Saladin, first sultan of Egypt, after regaining Jerusalem in 1137. The gate has been closed ever since. Not satisfied, in 1530 the paranoid Ottomans piled great stones atop the gate before placing a cemetery right at its front thinking that the Jewish Messiah would not set foot in a cemetery. Unbeknown to them, however, Muslims were merely fulfilling Hebraic prophesy of more than 1000 years earlier:
And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.Ezekiel 44:2 (NKJV)
Though Suleiman rebuilt the Eastern Gate together with the ruined walls of the Old City, in 1535, he nonetheless sealed the new gate shut. To prevent Messiah from coming, he sealed the Golden Gate—the only one of the eight extant of an original eleven gates that remains walled off.
No man shall enter by it. Because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it.
Articles of Interest
Aelia Capitolina. Land of the Bible. Available at https://www.land-of-the-bible.com/Aelia_Capitolina.
Greenwald, Glenn. “With the World Focused on the Pandemic, Israel Prepares to Annex Large Swaths of the West Bank.” The Intercept. June 19, 2020. Available at https://theintercept.com/2020/06/18/with-the-world-focused-on-the-pandemic-israel-prepares-to-annex-large-swaths-of-the-west-bank/.
The Six-Day War (June 1967). Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2013. Available at https://mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/history/pages/the%20six-day%20war%20-%20june%201967.aspx.
Samuel, Sigal. “How the Six-Day War Transformed Religion: Six perspectives on how the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict changed Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Mormonism.” The Atlantic. June 5, 2017. Available at https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/how-the-six-day-war-changed-religion/528981/.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.