Pastors Report - 18 Aug 2017
eclipse

Heavenly Signs ... Of the End?

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." (Genesis 1:14)

The Eclipse:

On Monday, 21 August the United States is to witness a most unusual solar eclipse. I say unusual as it will be the first to cross the country from coast to coast in 99 years, and the first-ever total eclipse to be witnessed exclusively within the United States since its founding as a nation. This path of totality – where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's faint atmosphere, the corona, can be seen – will stretch from Oregon in the far west to Charleston, South Carolina on the eastern seaboard. Observers north and south of this 70 mile wide path will still see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers part of the sun's disk, but not the totality.

Although a solar eclipse is predictable down to the second, they have for millennia been regarded as profound occurrences in which the hand of God is evident – warning signs from the Almighty. And well they might – as regardless of the disingenuous answer given to the question found within NASA's FAQ: Are total solar eclipses only visible from Earth? – the totality is very much a spectacle ONLY visible from this uniquely positioned planet within our solar system – where mankind, with his enquiring mind, has been placed to witness it. As the astronomer John Gribbin admits in his book "Alone in the Universe: Why our Planet is Unique":

Just now the Moon is about 400 times smaller than the Sun, but the Sun is 400 times farther away than the Moon, so that they look the same size on the sky. At the present moment of cosmic time, during an eclipse, the disc of the Moon almost exactly covers the disc of the Sun. In the past the Moon would have looked much bigger and would have completely obscured the Sun during eclipses; in the future, the Moon will look much smaller from Earth and a ring of sunlight will be visible even during an eclipse. Nobody has been able to think of a reason why intelligent beings capable of noticing this oddity should have evolved on Earth just at the time that the coincidence was there to be noticed. It worries me, but most people seem to accept it as just one of those things. (https://evolutionnews.org)

Messianic Expectations:

It is little wonder therefore that we find this impending eclipse being heralded by a number of individuals as a specific warning from God and containing messianic expectations. First, David Mead and the eclipse preceding the arrival of planet X – his conclusion only arrived at, "after finding Bible passages":

David Meade, author of 'Planet X – The 2017 Arrival', asserts the planet Nibiru (also known as Planet X) will crash into our own on 23 September 2017. Although scientists deny the planet's existence, Meade is convinced he is right after finding bible passages to support his claims.

Earlier this year Meade asserted that Nibiru would crash into Earth in October, however he has now moved the date forward a few weeks. The Great American Eclipse - the total solar eclipse which will enshroud parts of the US in complete darkness on 21 August - now apparently indicates the planet's arrival. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Here is what Michael Parker – of the "prophecies of the end times" website – had to say:

My recent study regarding the omens that solar eclipses bring as judgment upon gentile nations has brought me to the conclusion that this solar eclipse will be a warning of impending natural catastrophe, and also will involve the warning of a war that the United States and Israel will be entangled in. (http://propheciesoftheendtimes.com)

The “Day of the Lord” as described by numerous major and minor old testament prophets, also include this description of the Sun being darkened. We can therefore with confidence, and from a biblical standpoint, know that a Solar Eclipse signifies a warning from God. (http://propheciesoftheendtimes.com)

And a claim that the rapture of the righteous is about to happen during a time of tribulation on this earth – between the 2017 solar eclipse and another expected in 2024:

The group of self-described 'hardcore Christians' behind the website 'Unsealed' have predicted that the world will end on August 21, 2017 -- when a total solar eclipse is expected to occur across the United States, plunging the entire continent and part of Western Europe into darkness, sparking the end of the world. (https://www.aol.com)

This specific time period is demarcated by two total solar eclipses forming an 'X' right over the chief Gentile and Evangelical nation on earth - the United States. The point on the map where the two eclipses intersect is a region of Illinois known as "Little Egypt" and often just "Egypt". The world may very well be undergoing a replay of the events of Exodus: an end times pharaoh takes the reigns (the antichrist), as God's judgments are poured out on the earth (the Tribulation), and His people leave (Believers leaving for Heaven and Jews leaving for the wilderness). (http://www.unsealed.org)

As we read such accounts, I wonder if we realise just how similar the anticipation of Christ's first appearance was to what appears prophesied to take place in the lead-up to His return? I'm not talking about the appearing itself – the way He came as flesh and blood the first time could not be more different from His prophesied spectacular entry when He comes again. What I am talking about is how the messianic expectations that preceded Christ's first coming were very much a type or forerunner of what appears destined to occur in the next few years.

"Judgement Day" Predicted:

I well remember a few years ago reading a prediction for the return of Christ given by a traditional "christian" evangelical group, who were promoting an argument with utter conviction that can best be summed up something like this (from one of their websites – from which the pages of "proof" have now been removed!) ......

"Years ago we learned from the Bible that the flood occurred in the year 4990 B.C. More recently we learned that Judgment Day is to occur in the year 2011 A.D...... 2011 A.D. is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C.

"Just before the flood Noah was instructed by God that in seven days the flood would begin (Genesis 7:10-16). Using the language of 2 Peter 3:8 that “a day is as a thousand years,” it is like saying through Noah, who was a preacher (2 Peter 2:5): “mankind has seven days or 7,000 years to escape destruction.” Since 2011 A.D. is precisely 7,000 years after Noah preached, God has given mankind a wonderful proof that Judgment Day will occur in the year 2011...."

The entire thing seemed so horribly familiar. Shamefully we have witnessed far too similar reasoning both in and out of what was once the Church of God. And where does such reasoning above lead? ... To the following statement, which was emblazoned in reflective lettering on the sides of a fleet of RV vans in which the group toured USA cities : "Have you heard the Awesome news? - The End of the World is Almost Here! It begins May 21, 2011 - The Bible Guarantees It" -- and gave a prediction that the return of Christ and associated "secret rapture" was to take place on the 21st May that year, and the end of the world and the entire physical universe on 21st October 2011.

Christ's First Coming:

Leaving aside being about 3,000 years off for the date of the flood ... and that the Bible does not predict a secret rapture ... and that the return of Christ does not involve the destruction of the physical universe ... and that the heavenly signs FOLLOW the tribulation (Matthew 24:29) but come BEFORE the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31) ... the point I am making is that predictions such as the ones above should still make us sit up and take notice. It does not matter how way-out or wacky the idea, such messianic ramblings themselves are still significant prophetically. I repeat: a similar wave of messianic fervour was taking place around the time Jesus Christ appeared the first time, and such things appear to be part and parcel of the end-time events we are to watch for this time around as well.

Let's look at some from Christ's day....

Shortly after the crucifixion we are given a glimpse into this messianic zeal when we note the comments made by the leader named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law who had "seen it all" and appeared to view the apostles as just one more crackpot messianic group. He said:...

  • Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.
  • After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.(Acts 5:36-37 NIV)

Also the Roman captain's words to Paul:

  • Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?” (Acts 21:38 NIV)
From Prophecy:

Imagine just how many people Simeon might have talked to about his revelation:

  • And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy [Spirit] was upon him.
  • And it was revealed unto him by the Holy [Spirit] , that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. ( Luke 2:25-26)

Even the Scribes and Chief Priests were under no illusions:

  • And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
  • And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
  • And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. ( Matt 2:4-6)
  • Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? ....
  • They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. ( John 7:40-41,52)

Then we can see how the people around Jesus were expecting the Messiah to appear:

  • The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. ( John 4:25)
  • When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. ( John 6:15)
  • Then said some of them ... Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? ( John 7:25)
  • And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? ( John 7:31)
  • .... Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. ( John 12:13)
Josephus:

Josephus also had something to say of various messianic aspirations that Rome had to deal with around that time:

  • Now it came to pass, while Fadus was procurator of Judea, that a certain magician, whose name was Theudas, persuaded a great part of the people to take their effects with them, and follow him to the river Jordan; for he told them he was a prophet, and that he would, by his own command, divide the river, and afford them an easy passage over it; and many were deluded by his words... (Antiquities 20.5.1)

  • In Sepphoris also, a city of Galilee, there was one Judas (the son of that arch-robber Hezekias, who formerly overran the country, and had been subdued by king Herod); this man got no small multitude together, and brake open the place where the royal armor was laid up, and armed those about him, and attacked those that were so earnest to gain the dominion. (War II,4,1)

  • In Perea also, Simon, one of the servants to the king, relying upon the handsome appearance and tallness of his body, put a diadem upon his own head also... (War II,4,2)

  • At this time it was that a certain shepherd ventured to set himself up for a king; he was called Athrongeus. ... He put a troop of armed men under each of these his brethren, .... and at this time he put a diadem about his head, and continued after that to overrun the country for no little time with his brethren, and became their leader in killing both the Romans and those of the king's party (War II,4,3)

  • ... such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretence of Divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty.(War II,13,4)

  • But there was an Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more mischief than the former; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a prophet also, and got together thirty thousand men that were deluded by him; these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was called the Mount of Olives, and was ready to break into Jerusalem by force (War II,13,5)

  • ... now these impostors and deceivers persuaded the multitude to follow them into the wilderness, and pretended that they would exhibit manifest wonders and signs, that should be performed by the providence of God. And many that were prevailed on by them suffered the punishments of their folly; for Felix brought them back, and then punished them....(Antiquities 20.8.6)

Why Messianic Fervour?

The reason for such chaotic expectations seen around the time of Christ was a MISreading of the biblical prophecies that predicted His arrival as world ruler and the liberator of Israel. Numerous prophecies deal with the Messiah, but at that time they were incorrectly interpreted as a single event because those reading them had no concept of God's overall Plan. They were therefore totally unaware of the 2,000 year gap that had to occur between Him coming first to die for mankind and to establish His Church and then coming the second time to establish Israel as His model nation and restore the Government of God to this entire earth.

In such confusion there was one key prophecy that specifically deals with the timing of the Messiah's appearing. That is the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel chapter nine:

  • Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
  • Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
  • And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(Daniel 9:24-26)

The above prophecy was a key reason for the rise in messianic fervour at the time of Christ. When coupled with the Roman occupation and other events that could be seen around them, it allowed every crackpot with some kind of messianic idea to surface and gain a following.

How Much More Today:

As we approach the end of the age, we should actually expect similar chaos to exist – as people once again misread the prophecies because of a lack of understanding concerning the Plan of God. In fact, two prophesied separate – but related – problems are specifically predicted to arise within this confusion:

First the false prophets themselves – both "deceiving and being deceived" (2Timothy 3:13)

  • For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
  • See, I have told you beforehand.
  • Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. (Matthew 24:24-26 NKJV)

But secondly; this constant "crying wolf" is prophesied to cause a global cynicism against any and every prediction – including the Truth:

  • Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
  • And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (II Peter 3:3-4)

We can already see this cynicism in the vast majority of news articles that have anything to do with prophecy. An entry in Wikipedia entitled, "List of Dates Predicted for Apocalyptic Events" gives a whole myriad of failed predictions over the centuries – with the following for the last five years alone:

  • 2012 May 27 – Ronald Weinland
  • 2012 Jun 30 – José Luis de Jesús
  • 2012 Dec 21 – end of Mayan calendar
  • 2013 Aug 23 – Grigori Rasputin
  • 2014 Apr – 2015 Sep – John Hagee and Mark Biltz
  • 2016 Jul 29 – End Time Prophecies – polar flip
  • 2017 May 13 – Horacio Villegas
Determining The Time:

So how can we claim that what we believe is any different? Why should what we have to say not fail – just as the above? There is one major reason, and should we ever lose sight of this, we too could so easily find ourselves with unfulfilled dates on our hands! That reason is because God allows His Holy Spirit – a Spirit that reveals what is to come (John 16:13) – to lead those that obey Him (Acts 5:32). And part of what Christ expects us to be obedient to in understanding the timing of His Second Coming, is that we concentrate on events – not dates.

Jesus Christ specifically tells us, it is NOT for us "to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power" (Acts 1:7) , We therefore should not be trying continually to set dates. He nevertheless very clearly indeed reminds His true followers to: "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch!! (Mark 13:35-37)

Some try and give the impression that such "watching" is limited merely to us being alert to own spiritual condition. Certainly, that is very much included, and the very PURPOSE of watching is that it should act as a prompt to us to be sure our spiritual lives are in order and that our relationship with the Father is constantly developing, but Christ gives clear instruction to show that, as a catalyst of this process, we do indeed need to be watching for specific events:

  • Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
  • So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (Matthew 24:32-33)

To determine the precise arrival of summer, an event was to be witnessed – when "his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves". In the same way a parallel is drawn with us observing, "these things" being mentioned in Matthew 24. Otherwise why would Christ have detailed these various events, unless we need to be watching for them to unfold?

End Time Deception:

Over and over again in Matthew 24, within the context of Christ's return, one "event" we are instructed to be acutely aware of is deception by man. And the clear implication is that the intensity of such deception is going to markedly increase as the end-time progresses:

  • And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Matthew 24:4)
  • For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:5)
  • And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:11)
  • For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)

One key aspect of this deception is the timing of His return. The implication is for a multitude of conflicting messianic expectations just as occurred when the True Christ, or Messiah, appeared in the first century. And this is why – even though the dates being proclaimed by such people today are almost certainly going to ultimately be proven wrong – the fact they are proclaiming such dates at all – at this crucial point in history – is still, very, very significant. The irony is, that their wacky ideas, dates and failed messianic predictions are actually one of the prophesied end-time events we are instructed to be watching for – encouraging us to draw ever closer to God and His Way so we can be truly ready to serve in His Glorious Kingdom when it does indeed arrive!

  • "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;[not the coming eclipse...but heavenly signs to occur AFTER the tribulation]
  • men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
  • Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
  • Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
  • Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
  • When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
  • So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
  • Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.
  • Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
  • "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
  • For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
  • Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."(Luke 21:25-36)
News Review - 11 Aug 2017
bibleOnTempleMount

A holy shrine for Muslims – or is it?
A symbol of Palestinian identity – or is it?
Israel’s presence there violates international law – or does it?

Jerusalem - City of Myths

When God called us and opened our minds to His truth, the deception was stripped away and the truth revealed. He revealed to us that Satan is the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4) …and that he, Satan, has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9).

How Has Satan Deceived The Whole World?

When we look at the situation in Jerusalem today, the word of God stands confirmed. Lies and deception are a way of life. The slant in the following article is typical of many articles on Jerusalem and the Middle East. As you will see, it follows the “official media line” on the situation in Israel - the poor oppressed Palestinian people suffering under a harsh illegal Israeli occupying government!

“Mass civil disobedience of thousands of Palestinian people has defeated an Israeli attempt to take territory around al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem by installing barricades and metal detectors at entrances.

For two weeks Palestinian worshippers refuse to go through metal detectors, and prayed in the thousands in the streets outside the compound, day and night. The Western media has given scant coverage to this important struggle, nor to the increasing repression which ignited it. Corporate media reporting on Palestine, when it does happen, often obscures the issues. The reality is that Israel’s presence there violates international law.

The compound, known to Muslims as the Holy Sanctuary, includes the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It is one of the holiest shrines for Muslims all over the world, as well as an important symbol of Palestinian identity. The shrine is located in the West Bank, which Israel has illegally occupied for 50 years. No government recognizes Israeli sovereignty there.” (globalresearch.ca)

While the reporter stresses the Palestinian reaction to the Israeli security precautions, he conveniently forgets to mention the reason for the extra security. The fact that guns were smuggled on to the Temple Mount and on 14th July two Israeli policemen were attacked and killed, along with the three gunmen, seems to have escaped his notice!

Spot A Myth

This article is promulgating a massive deception, in fact, several deceptions… yet the truth is available – but sadly ignored by today’s “infotainment” orientated media. What’s happening in Jerusalem takes deception to a whole new level!

Here are 3 myths that shape much of what goes on in Jerusalem:

  1. The Dome of the Rock, al-Aqsa and the whole Temple Mount is one of the holiest shrines to Muslims.
  2. The Temple Mount is an important symbol of Palestinian identity.
  3. Israel has no claim to the Temple Mount.

Let’s examine these three claims, and brand them for what they are: Myths! Or we could be honest and label them for what they really are; straight forward lies and deception! This all goes to show that the whole world HAS been deceived by Satan, the god of this world!

Mega-Myth 1

The dome of the Rock, al-Aqsa and the whole Temple Mount is one of the holiest shrines to Muslims.”

“Upon the 50th anniversary of the Jewish state of Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem, there is no better time to end the propaganda myth that Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims. The Muslim fixation and clamour on Jerusalem is actually a very recent historical development — a product of political conflict, not historical truth. Jerusalem rates not a single mention in the Quran, and Muslims face Mecca in prayer. In the 7th century AD, the Damascus-based Umayyad rulers built up Jerusalem as a counterweight to Mecca. This is when the important Muslim shrines, the Dome of the Rock (691) and the Al-Aqsa mosque (705), were intentionally built on the site of the destroyed biblical Jewish temples — a time-honoured practice to physically signal the predominance of Islam.(jns.org)

In 1917: No Muslim interest in Jerusalem

“Mark Twain, visiting Jerusalem in 1867, described it as a ‘pauper village.’ It did, however, become a majority Jewish city during the nineteenth century. The 1907 Baedekers Travel Guide lists Jerusalem with a population of 40,000 Jews, 13,000 Muslims and 7,000 Christians. So little did Jerusalem mean to the Ottomans that, during the First World War, they abandoned it to the British without a fight and even contemplated entirely destroying the city before pulling out.

Only upon the Arab confrontation with Zionism in the twentieth century did Jerusalem become a passionate Islamic issue. Today, the PA uses Jerusalem as a propaganda instrument, at once inciting violence and orchestrating anti-Israel campaigns.” (israelnationalnews.com)

“This myth of Jerusalem as Islam’s third holiest city based upon the mythical ascension of Mohammed from Al-Aksa to Heaven has grown exponentially in the recent telling since 1967. When you tell a Big Lie and repeat it often, it achieves credibility and legs of its own. In Islam, telling a lie to infidels for the sake of enlarging your own believers’ faith or defeating the infidel is acceptable, even desirable.”
(emetnews.org)

Mega-Myth 2

The Temple Mount is an important symbol of Palestinian identity.”

There has never been a civilization or a nation referred to as ‘Palestine’ and the very notion of a ‘Palestinian Arab Nation’ having ancient attachments to the Holy Land going back to time immemorial is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon the world! There is not, nor has there ever been, a distinct ‘Palestinian’ culture or language.

Further, there has never been a Palestinian state governed BY Arab Palestinians in history, nor was there ever a serious Arab-Palestinian national movement until 1964… three years BEFORE the Arabs of ‘Palestine’ lost the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza as a result of losing the 1967 Six-Day War [which the Arabs started].

Before the 1967 war, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) primary goal was to destroy Israel. Post-1967, their goal became two-tracked: Either (1) destroy Israel outright (the same pre-1967 goal) or (2) the creation of an Arab-Palestinian state to be used as a launching pad from which to destroy Israel. Different strategies - same ultimate goal… a state not along side Israel, but IN PLACE OF Israel. It’s really that simple!(newswithviews.com)

Mega-Myth 3

Israel has no claim to the Temple Mount.”

The exact opposite is true. The Muslims have no claim to the Temple Mount – other than that it was theirs by conquest! While Jerusalem does not even rate a single mention in the Koran, it is recorded in the Holy Bible well over 700 times.

Both the first and second Temples stood on the Temple mount, a fact attested to by the Arabs themselves:

“A 16-page 1925 booklet in English published by the ‘Supreme Moslem Council’ and titled A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, Jerusalem, contains passages that directly endorse the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.” (danielpipes.org)

Interestingly, Islamic sources from the first 50 years or so after Muhammad’s death make clear that Jerusalem had absolutely no holy status for Muslims.”
(templeinstitute.org)

How The Myths Were Made

“The role Jerusalem has in the Hebrew holy works is well known and not open to debate; however, there are varying opinions on the holiness of Jerusalem, specifically Temple Mount to Islam.

Many if not most opinions that counter Islam’s claim point out the Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran and did not occupy any special role in Islam until recent political exigencies transformed Jerusalem into Islam’s third holy site.

Jerusalem’s role as ‘The Third Holiest Site in Islam’ in mainstream Islamic writings does not precede the 1930s. It was created by the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini. The Mufti knew that nationalist slogans alone would not succeed in uniting the masses against arriving Jewish refugees.

He therefore turned the struggle into a religious conflict. He addressed the masses clearly, calling for a holy war. His battle cry was simple and comprehensive: ‘Down with the Infidels!’

From the time Herbert Samuel appointed him to the position of Mufti, Haj Amin worked vigorously to raise Jerusalem’s status as an Islamic holy center. He renovated the mosques on the Temple Mount, while conducting an unceasing campaign regarding the imminent Jewish ‘threat’ to Moslem holy sites.

In the days of Mohammed, who died in 632 of the Common Era, Jerusalem was a Christian city within the Byzantine Empire. Jerusalem was captured by Khalif Omar only in 638, six years after Mohammed’s death. Throughout all this time there were only churches in Jerusalem, and a church stood on the Temple Mount, called the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian, built in the Byzantine architectural style.

The Aksa Mosque was built 20 years after the Dome of the Rock, which was built in 691-692 by Khalif Abd El Malik. The name ‘Omar Mosque’ is therefore false. In or around 711, or about 80 years after Mohammed died, Malik’s son, Abd El-Wahd - who ruled from 705-715 - reconstructed the Christian- Byzantine Church of St Mary and converted it into a mosque. He left the structure as it was, a typical Byzantine ‘basilica’ structure with a row of pillars on either side of the rectangular ‘ship’ in the center. All he added was an onion-like dome on top of the building to make it look like a mosque. He then named it El-Aksa, so it would sound like the one mentioned in the Koran.

Therefore it is crystal clear that Mohammed could never have had this mosque in mind when he compiled the Koran, since it did not exist for another three generations after his death.

Rather, as many scholars long ago established, it is logical that Mohammed intended the mosque in Mecca as the ‘Sacred Mosque,’ and the mosque in Medina as the ‘Furthest Mosque.’ So much for the Moslem claim based on the Aksa Mosque.

With this understood, it is no wonder that Mohammed issued a strict prohibition against facing Jerusalem in prayer, a practice that had been tolerated only for some months in order to lure Jews to convert to Islam. When that effort failed, Mohammed put an abrupt stop to it on February 12, 624. Jerusalem simply never held any sanctity for the Moslems themselves, but only for the Jews in their domain.” (eretzyisroel.org)

1948 – The Jews Are A Nation Again

What follows are excerpts from an article written by Mr Armstrong, first published in the June 1948 issue of the Plain Truth magazine.

Mr Armstrong interviewed the executive director of the World Confederation General Zionists, Itzhak J Karpman. Also present at the interview was the young Jewish labor leader, Hapoel Hatzair. What follows are Mr Karpman’s comments:

What Arabs and Jews Did in World War

Prior to World War I, there was no independent Arab nation! All Arab peoples were under Turkey!’ The Zionist leader was far from finished! ‘After World War I the Arabs got independence – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc. They are still just deserts – and just backward, undeveloped people – but they were made independent! They didn’t contribute anything to the war – but they got independence!

‘The Jews participated, in the war in the US, British, and other armies and played an important part – there was a special Jewish Legion in World War I – and yet all our people got out of it was the right, by 52 nations, to have a national home in Palestine!

‘Now look at World War II. A million and a half Jews participated in Allied armies. The Palestinian Jewish Brigade fought in the desert, and in Italy against Rommel. It was help supplied by Palestine Jews which actually turned the tide of the entire war in the Allies’ favor at El Alamein. One of our greatest war correspondents wrote a book about Jewish participation, called Our Forgotten Ally.

Yes, America and Britain seem to have forgotten their Jewish ally! But now what did the Arabs do? Arab leaders brought the Nazis into Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The British had to force Egypt to change its government from pro-Nazi to King Faruk. No Arab country declared war, or entered the war, against the Nazis until three months before V-E Day – and then only to get a place in the United Nations!

‘Arab leaders from Palestine, Iraq and Syria flew to the side of Hitler in 1941-42 and worked with him and helped him slaughter Jews! The British have brought back to Cairo the Arab Nazi leaders who worked with Hitler in Berlin through the war – but not one of them has been so much as tried!

‘Six million Jews were slaughtered in Europe! My family was all killed …’

‘… and so was mine,’ interjected Hapoel Hatzair.

‘Only one and a quarter million of these European Jews remain alive, and now today everybody is worried about how to feed the Nazis and care for the poor defeated Germans – but these Jews are still homeless, and no nation will admit them! Fifty-two nations gave them the right to enter Palestine, but the Arabs fight us, and the Arabs have oil, and so Britain and America listen to Arabs!

‘After this last World War, the Arabs got additional new independent nations out of it – Iraq [formerly British], Syria and Lebanon [formerly French], and Transjordan [previously under the British and French] – all given independence – and what for? As a reward for helping Nazis during the war!’ The Zionist leader was a little bitter now.

‘But what do the Jews get out of it for helping the Allies defeat Germany? When we have these homeless survivors from Hitler’s race-hatred slaughter in their present pitiful plight, we get the door to our homeland slammed in our faces! After 25 years of the mandate from 52 nations which said it is the Jews’ right to go back to Palestine, that mandate is exercised by the British fighting against any Jews who try to go there – sending these Jews to Cyprus and detention camps, placing them as prisoners behind barbed wires!

The Arabs won six seats in the United Nations. The Jews won nothing for their help in the war. We have no representative – no voice nor approach – in the United Nations councils. Yet they sit in judgment over our fate in Palestine and give us not one voice!

‘Palestine,’ Itzhak J Karpman concluded, ‘is not an independent Arab nation at all, but has been under mandate to Great Britain. In this mandate, those 52 nations promised the Arabs nothing – they promised the Jews a home – and we have not been getting it!’” (The Plain Truth – February 1979)

Jerusalem: The Plain Truth

Those who would get themselves involved with Jerusalem would do well to read chapter 12 in the book of Zechariah. They should be very careful as this warning comes from God Himself:

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth [United Nations] be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

The fate of the nations that come up against Jerusalem is sealed:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem(Zechariah 12:9).

The Warning Went Out

While written over 30 years ago, these words still ring true today!

“…America and other Western powers are being sucked inexorably into the swirling vortex of the Middle East, with all of that region’s unbridgeable divisions and implacable animosities.

In the final analysis, all the strife in the Middle East is centered around the ‘Glorious Land,’ and its legendary city, Jerusalem.

Who will control this much fought over city?

The Jewish state of Israel?

The Arab world — if so, which branch of Islam?

Or will it be established as an international city, as proposed by the Pope?

It is always tempting to try to ‘bring peace’ to the Middle East. Almighty God prophesied, however, that men would fail abysmally in this attempt. Through the prophet Zechariah, God foretold that ‘it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it’ (Zechariah 12:3 RAV [Revised Authorised Version]).

Yes, even if ‘all nations’ - a prophetic term for a powerful United Nations’ police force - should try to bring peace, they will fail.

Not long ago Jordan’s King Hussein remarked: ‘The Almighty in his wisdom, did not make Jerusalem that important and touchy a point in the hearts and souls of all of us — Jews or Christians or Muslims — except to offer us a challenge to learn how to respect each other and live together. Jerusalem must be the essence of peace, a symbol of peace.’

Not many years from now Jerusalem will represent more than the mere aspiration for peace. It will be the very fountainhead of peace, for the benefit of nations around the world.

For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 2:3 last part). ‘Great peace’ will be the result of divine intervention in human nature and affairs, with humans everywhere learning to love and obey God’s law (Psalms 119:165).

Jerusalem will be the capital of the government of the kingdom of God in the coming World Tomorrow. It will no longer be the chief bone of contention between major nations and religions.

But until that happy day dawns, more tragic lessons will have to be written in blood.(The Plain Truth - March 1984)

Audio - 12 Aug 2017

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World Tomorrow
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God's Authority
broadcast 21 May 1979 - played Wales 12 Aug 2017
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Sermon
by Jon Bowles
3 - You shall Not Take God's Name in Vain
given Hailsham 9 June 2007 played Wales 12 Aug 2017
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Transcript - 30 Jul 2017
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