Wednesday, May 9, 2018

ISRAEL ON WAR FOOTING---big bite with three fronts!

Dear friends and readers,

ISRAEL is in big time preparation for war footing on at least three fronts as I type this. No one knows for certain what may happen but things do seem to be coming to a head rapidly and it is important to understand why.

A lot of speculation is being made about a possible war that seems to be spoken of in Psalm 83. Some people decry this as having been done centuries ago. Others believe this is a war for the near future. I will not be dogmatic about this but I am in the "FUTURE CAMP"!

PSALM 83 begins with the writer "ASAPH" crying out to God. He recites Israel's enemies "making a tumult" and clearly states that these enemies hate Israel's God. Question? Who's is the largest group on the planet, not to mention preeminent in the Middle East who hates the God of Israel? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (name changed by God Himself to ISRAEL), the God of creation called by many names including (to name but a few 1). YHWH 2). ELOHIM 3). EL SHADDAI ?

The answer, Extreme elements within ISLAM!

NOTE: There is a great misconception by many even within the church that the name ALLAH (god of Islam) and ELOHIM (God of the Judaic/ Christian Bible) are one in the same. That is simply not true. While this article is not about that specific subject, please know that this misconception has been fostered by people to encourage the thinking that Islam is somehow the future replacement for Christianity and that someday all Christians will be made to convert. Please do not be sucked into that vortex of misinformation. It is nothing more that false propaganda coming at us like waves of the ocean in an attempt to deceive believers who are really not serious students of the Bible. Allah is NOT ELOHIM!

The group worldwide who claim ALLAH as its god is Islam, the adherents of which are Muslim. It is the shadowy underbelly of ISLAM, that are now referred to as radical Islamic terrorists. Not all Muslims fall into this terrorist category and worldwide the number of radicalized Muslims is actually a small percentage of the whole. BUT, after Christianity with nearly 2 1/2 billion followers, Islam is the second largest religion with an estimated 1.8 billion and nearly 50 countries of the world (out of about 200 total nations) have populations which are largely Muslim. If only 1/2 of 1
% of 1.8 Billion Muslims are radicalized that would mean that somewhere in the world, multiple MILLIONS of people have as its agenda, wiping out Israel, killing all Jews, hating the United States and all it stands for not to mention every other democratic form of government on the planet.

To be certain not all Muslim people have hate filled hearts and minds but for those who do hate Israel and her God, they are thriving in an atmosphere sucked dry of freedom, tolerance and diversity. We call them today the fundamentalist terror loving faction of Islam. We have to be careful these days because we might accidentally say something that could hurt the feelings of these killers, murderers who have, according to Psalm 83,  taken crafty counsel against the Jewish people. It is they whom have said, "come, and let us cut them off from being a nation---that the name of Israel may be remembered no more".

Why do we have to be careful of telling it the way it really is? Because this generation have somehow fallen prey to the unbiblical notion that political correctness is the way to handle all human hatred, genocidal thinking, intolerance and even antisemitism. In reality the Bible calls for frank truth. And it should never be a matter of confusion that Biblical "GRACE" is the same as political correctness (PC) because it is not. Frankly most PC is based upon lies, falsehoods and a desire to deceive while making people feel good about things the Bible clearly claims are NOT good for humans to participate in. But PC on a much broader scale is the subject of another article.

The scriptures in Psalm 83 describe the folks who will be active in this war against Israel. They are the descendants of "Edom, the Ishmaelites, of Gebal, Ammon and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of tyre; And also Assyria has joined with them as they have helped the children of Lot"!

ASAPH goes join to ask God to destroy these people. "To make them like whirling dust". "To pursue them with tempest and frighten them with storm. To be confounded and dismayed forever, to be put to shame and PERISH"! I know that Psalm 83 is still future because these people have NOT perished and still inhabit vast portion of countries throughout the Middle East and perhaps also parts of northern Africa and Eastern Europe.

The final outcome of this future war will be devastating for the participants. But how can we understand the not understandable? How can we possible recognize peoples represented by such ancient names and lineages? SPECIAL NOTE: Much argument has ensued over the centuries regarding the actual migration of ancient people groups and few historians absolutely agree. Please know that when I list migrations and end destinations it is based upon my own studies and should not be taken as absolute because no one on this planet, least of all myself, has any more than a rudimentary grasp of this subject because of constant movement, desire to settle new areas, marriage, inter marriage and so forth.

It is actually easier to track the destinations of Noah's 3 sons because there are several Biblical references. I will not spend too much time on this but it is interesting. Noah's 3 sons were 1) Eldest--SHEM from who it is believed the following areas were eventually populated; Arabia, Assyria, the Lydian's, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria and in total at least parts of 26 nations including West Asia. SHEM was believed to be "DUSKY" in complexion 2). Noah's middle son was JAPHETH from whom sprang (among others) Greece, Rome, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, India, Persia, Germany and Afghanistan. JAPHETH was believed to be "fair skinned". 3). Noah's youngest son was HAM (the one who sinned by uncovering his fathers nakedness), and he is described in Psalm 105:23 as the probable founder of Egypt. It is believed that 30 nations sprang from HAM and his descendants.  Genesis 9:18 describes HAM as the father of CANAAN. It is thought by many that Ham had a complexion that was very dark and that his descendants settled the areas that would have been to the western and southwestern directions from ancient Israel including Sudan, Ethiopia (ancient Cush) and Libya (ancient Put).

Not so easy to track the migrations of later generations including the sons of Abraham. We know for certain that Abrahams second son Isaac was the father of Jacob (who's name was changed by God to Israel). All of the 12 tribes---(plus the 2 sons of Joseph) and clans of Israel sprang from this Lineage.

However Abraham also has a first son by the name of ISHMAEL from his mother HAGAR (an Egyptian woman) who was a handmaid to Abraham's first wife Sarah. Ishmael was loved dearly by Abraham but was eventually displaced by Abraham's second son ISAAC who received the Covenant promises of God. Both sons received blessings from the Lord. ISAAC as the seed from whom Messiah would eventually spring plus specified lands of the Middle East. ISHMAEL from whom would come 12 princes (tribes or people groups). It is believed by many followers of Islam that their prophet Muhammed was a descendant of the line from ISHMAEL. However generally speaking almost all of the modern day Islamic leaders regardless of country claim some heredity from Muhammed.

It is commonly believed among many scholars that the following areas were settled at least in part by the sons and grandsons of ISHMAEL. Psalm 83 mentions these folks. EDOM or Edomites were descended from Esau, the elder brother of Jacob both of whom were the sons of Isaac and Rebecca and the grandsons of Abraham and Sarah. This is where the line parts because Jacob became ISRAEL and Esau became the father of several people groups including the Edomites. In later generations these family members became bitter enemies and remain so to this very day. It's kind of like the old family feud between the HATFIELDS and the McCOYS only on nuclear steroids, and has lasted for thousands of years.

Esau was red haired and the word EDOM means red. Today these folks at least in main part dwell south and east of the Jordan river. Also it is believed that their descendants dwell in the Negev desert in southern Israel and parts of Egypt. Interestingly, there have been many ISIS members hanging around the southern Negev and have launched a few missiles into Israel. Edomites also dwell between the Dead Sea and the Gulf Of Aqaba.

The next group mentioned in Psalm 83 is AMMON or the Ammonites. They are descended from Ben Ammi who was the son of Lots younger daughter who had an incestuous one night relationship with her father lot (reported to have been dead drunk at the time). Modern day Ammonites dwell in the city of Ammon Jordan which is Jordan's capital and surrounding areas. Next is Moab or the Moabites.  Many of these people today also live east of the Jordan River. MOAB was the son of Lots eldest daughter who also got daddy drunk and had a incestuous one nighter with him. It is interesting because the sons of both of Lots daughters were conceived in sin and have become extremely bitter enemies with Israel to this very day. The ancient Ammonites worshiped some very bad news false gods among whom was "chemosh---also called dagon" who demanded human sacrifice including babies and children.

Next on the Psalm 83 list are the HAGRITES, all of whom were descended from Hagar the mother of   Ishmael. It is believed that their line also produced the ancient Philistine people who were bitter enemies of Israel. NOTE: Some folks today try and connect the ancient Philistines (who lived in the general area of GAZA) with todays Palestinian people who also in large part live in GAZA. It is not true and this myth was literally invented and perpetuated by the late Yasser Arafat. Todays HAGRITES are far flung and live in areas like Egypt, Northern Iraq and surrounding areas. Next is GEBEL who are most likely todays residents of Lebanon.

There are some other sub groups mentioned in Psalm 83 but to nail this down, the peoples forming a possible future confederacy against Israel are from the Middle East including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Negev Desert and portions of 50 countries with heavily Muslim populations.

No one but God Himself knows how all this will play out or exactly when. But think of this; Today Israel is on an extreme war footing because they have been the victims of hatred and threats of total annihilation from Iran (ancient Persia). Iran supports Hezbollah who currently has about 150,000 rockets pointed at Israeli cities from with Lebanon. Iran is also doing everything possible to develop military infrastructure in Syria with the goal of attacking Israel on multiple fronts. Plus Iran also supports and supplies Hamas, another terrorist group currently in political authority within Gaza. Then we have Turkey, Russia and Iran in an unholy military alliance working inside Syria, the capital of which is Damascus (only 50 miles north east of the northern Israeli boarder on the Golan Heights).

Russia, Turkey and Iran form a probably building block to the eventual invasion of Gog from the land of Magog extensively written about in Ezekiel 38-39. Israel is nearly 100% surrounded today by enemies seeking her total and complete destruction. Israel is a nuclear power, in other words they have ballistic missiles.

What do you think would or could happen if Israel suddenly found herself on the loosing end of a brutal area wide war with all these enemies attacking her simultaneously? It was reported as far back as the Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir that Israel had developed something called the "SAMSON OPTION", which basically was a last ditch nuclear effort in the case of Israel becoming inundated with enemies to the point of being over powered.

Do you think Israel would choose annihilation or would she strike back with massive weaponry? Remember that Iran is behind much of this and is a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran has chosen SYRIA during it's extremely destructive civil war to launch attacks against Israel and is attempting to build forward military bases from which to do so.

Which of course makes me wonder about another Biblical prophecy Isaiah 17, which is the total and complete destruction of the ancient city of Damascus in Syria. A city so large at this moment that it boasts a population of 1.7 million people. Also a city run by another totalitarian tyrant, President Bashar Al-Assad, yet another Middle East dictator who hates Israel with a passion! What other than a nuclear strike could totally destroy a city of that size?

Well, at least for now this is all speculation. But this could all get out of control PRONTO!!!

Stay tuned folks because things are definitely heating up in the Middle east. Not to mention other worldwide extreme threats with China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan to mention only a few REALLY REALLY hot spots.

As I complete this article, Israel and Iran are trading multiple missile attacks on each others military installations. WILL THE OTHER SHOE DROP?

Time for the church to pray big time
God bless,
Pastor Rance.



Monday, April 23, 2018

SEVEN (7), WHAT DOES IT MEAN IN THE BIBLE?

Dear friends and readers,

I wrote an exhaustive article regarding Biblical numerology on June 13, 2017 and you can find it listed in the archives of another of my blogs at lastdaysreview.blogspot.com

The title was "BIBLICAL NUMEROLOGY AND MYSTICISM? TAKE YOUR PICK BUT DO IT CAREFULLY!" In that article I drew a distinction between worldly mysticism which often includes a system of occultism built around numbers---and very real Biblical numerology that is frequently referred to as "GEMATRIA". Gematria is the word that describes the calculation of letters in specific words to determine a numerical evaluation.

This article is back by popular demand since many readers of the Bible do understand that numbers play an important part in scripture. For example, numbers such as 1, 3, 6 (or in some cases 666), 7, 17, 40 and 70 (plus several others) are repeated in verifiable cycles throughout the Bible.

Todays article will zero in on the number 7 which appears 700 times throughout scripture. Coincidence??? No, actually there is a verifiable pattern that is fascinating to behold.

Lets begin with a passage from Joshua 6:4 ""----SEVEN Kohanim carrying SEVEN rams horns preceding Aaron. On the SEVENTH day, march around the city SEVEN times, with the Kohanim blowing the horns". This is a passage describing the prelude to the destruction of the ancient city of Jericho." This is the 6th chapter of Joshua when Israel was in the good graces of God but interestingly it was in the SEVENTH chapter that things changed drastically and God's anger arose against Israel and they were defeated at the battle of Ai. This 6 and 7 combination is reminiscent of God creating the heavens and earth on 6 days and resting on the SEVENTH day--listed in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Also in the 10 Commandments of Exodus chapter 20, the SEVENTH day is decreed by God as being Holy as the Sabbath day of rest. Interestingly the Sabbath is listed as the 8th commandment which according to Gematria is the number (8) of new beginnings.

Methinks God has a plan! Exodus 25 lists the furnishings for the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the number of branches on the Menorah are SEVEN. This Menorah has been a symbol of Judaism for over 3000 years and is still one of the symbols of modern Israel to this very day. Isaiah 42:6 states that the Jewish people are to be the light unto the nations and the Menorah represents that light.

There were SEVEN patriarchs and matriarchs from whom God chose to create the Jewish people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca (Rivka), Rachel and Leah. There are 613 Biblical Commandments listed for the Jewish people, divisible by SEVEN=87. A common thought is that the "laws of Noah" listed SEVEN things that gentiles should live by; 1). No worship of false idols 2). No cursing God 3). No murder 4). No sexual immorality 5). No stealing 6). No eating uncooked flesh 7). Ruling through justice. These were later refined during the New Testament era when a council of the Apostles was held in Jerusalem (Acts15:20) as 4 rules for gentiles to live by 1). No idol worship 2). No sexual immorality 3). Don't eat anything that has been strangled 4). Don't eat blood. These things were directed to the new gentile followers of Christ and the three things left off the list were 1). No cursing God 2). Ruling through justice 3). No stealing, all of which Christ Himself taught on and therefor were already common practices among believers.

Leviticus 24 lists PASSOVER as a SEVEN day feast while living in booths (sukkah) rather than houses. Exodus 12 proclaims that during this time unleavened bread shall be consumed for SEVEN days. Many Jewish people symbolically invite into their Sukkoths, SEVEN Biblical figures. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and King David.

From Passover to Feast Of Weeks (Shavout) is exactly SEVEN weeks. Throughout history including today, each and every calendar week is SEVEN days long. In ancient times farmers were required to bring SEVEN kinds of produce to the Temple during Feast Of Weeks (Deuteronomy 8:8); 1).Wheat 2). Barley 3). Grapes 4). Figs 5). Pomegranates 6). Olives 7). Dates. Also today many people believe we are in the last days and the total population of the world is just over SEVEN billion.

Leviticus 25 decrees that the Sabbatical year (SHMITA) is every SEVEN years. Every SEVEN sabbatical cycles ends at the completion of the 49th year and the 50th year is a Jubilee year. The Jubilee is the 10th day of the SEVENTH month on the Jewish religious calendar which is month of Tishri (except during leap years).

During ancient (and some modern) Jewish weddings the brides walks circles around the groom SEVEN times. SEVEN blessings are said under the marriage canopy. Frequently in ancient times the wedding was followed by SEVEN feast days.

Mourning a close relative is called "Sitting Sheva" and is done for SEVEN days.

In the Old Testament God lists the SEVEN things that He hates in Proverbs 6:16 1). A proud look 2). A lying tongue 3). Hands that shed innocent blood 4). A heart that devises wicked plans 5). Feet that are swift in running to evil 6). A false witness who speaks lies 7). One who sows discord among the brethren.

Isaiah 11 speaks of SEVEN spirits of God 1). Rest 2). Wisdom 3). Understanding 4). Counsel 5). Might 6). Knowledge 7). Fear of the Lord.

The SEVEN decreed feasts (or days of repentance) are 1). Passover 2). Unleavened Bread 3). First Fruits 4). Pentecost 5). Trumpets 6). Day of Atonement 7). Tabernacles.

In the New Testament the book of Matthew speaks SEVEN parables. The book of John lists the SEVEN I AM statement of Christ. Also in John are listed the SEVEN signs Jesus performed 1). Water to wine 2). Healing an officials son 3). Healing a paralytic 4). Feeding 5000 people 5). Walking on water 6). Healing a man born blind 7). Raising Lazarus from the dead.

Matthew 18 mandates that we forgive SEVEN times SEVENTY times. Matthew 23 has Jesus pronouncement of SEVEN woes on the teachers of the law. The book of Revelation displays SEVEN stars in Jesus right hand. SEVEN horns and SEVEN eyes on the Lamb of God. SEVEN letters to SEVEN churches. A SEVEN sealed scroll. SEVEN angels with SEVEN trumpets. The SEVENTH trumpet. SEVEN seals. SEVEN trumpets. SEVEN bowls of judgement. SEVEN thunders. SEVEN spirits to judge the earth.

For those who ask, "what makes you think the Bible is real and written by God through His holy prophets"? They could begin by reading this article.        

With our Great and Holy God, nothing is left to chance. Every single word of the Bible is true. There are no conflicts, only misunderstandings by men who believe they know more than God. Without the Bible we have zero moral ground upon which to stand. Without it mankind is lost forever. The Word of God cannot be separated FROM GOD! They are one. "Hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is one". Deuteronomy 6:4 and Mark 12:29.

This same God loves us so much that He understands that we humans with our finite little minds could never ever fathom all that He, the Creator of the Universe is. He therefore demonstrates Himself to us as three separate and distinct personalities, all contained within ONE GOD. He is the Father, He is the Son, He is the Holy Spirit.

Amen for that because otherwise we would all be in big trouble.

God bless you all today,
Pastor Rance.
OH, and a small P.S. A remarkable scripture appears in the book of Hosea chapter 6 verses 1-3 which of course was written to Israel but how interesting it is! It will be fun for you to figure it out.

"Come and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn but He will heal us; He has stricken but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know. let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord"!
















Monday, February 12, 2018

ISRAEL, Apple of God's eye---what does that mean?

Dear friends and readers,

Sometimes we in Christianity use Biblical terms so much that they become rote. One such example for some folks is a reference to "THE APPLE OF GOD's EYE". So the question becomes, what does that really mean and is it all that important?

The premier reference to that phrase is found in the Biblical book of Zechariah chapter 2 verse 8. The context is having to do with the City of Jerusalem. It is about to be measured by possible angels to determine the width and the length of the city. I say possible because "A MAN" with a measuring line in his hand (verse1) is referred to but also the prophet is being spoken to by at least one and possibly two angels. Skipping ahead to verse 8 we find the old Biblical crux of the biscuit. "For thus says the Lord of Hosts: He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you (JERUSALEM---my emphasis added); For he who touches you touches the apple of His eye"!



Do you remember flinching when drops are placed into your eye? Or as a child playing, when one of the other kids finger came dangerously close to your eye? You, as did I probably jerked away violently because the very center of the eye is one of the most tender, sensitive areas of the human body. It is simply not pleasant to have it touched. So why is it that God uses the eye as a figure of extreme sensitivity while referring to the Holy City of Jerusalem?

There are actually several Biblical references to the eye and many of them use the term "THE APPLE" of the eye. The Hebrew word behind the phrase THE APPLE is a translation of the word "ISHON" which itself is related to the word "ISH", meaning man. The etymological development of "ISHON" then becomes "the little eye of the man". THE APPLE is an ancient metaphor which means the PUPIL of the eye. The very center and therefore the most protected.



For my many years in law enforcement and also while working with horses and other livestock, I quickly learned that the very best place to look for either a blessing or a threat was to look directly into the eye of whomever I was dealing with at the time. The eye gives away intent. It is also a mirror of sorts because at close range when the light is directed toward you, one can see a tiny reflection of himself in another persons eye. Also of great interest to me is that there are tiny pinpoints of light in most peoples eyes. I have had the distinctly sad displeasure on many occasions to be with both people and animals when they breathed their last. I did not have to call a doctor to check for a pulse to know a person had passed beyond deaths threshold. I knew immediately when the light went out of the eye and it became dull in appearance. It has been said that the eye is the window to the soul and although that specific phrase is not found in the Bible, Matthew chapter 6 verses 22-23 are extremely illuminating (no pun intended), "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" That statement is ended Biblically by a hyphen not a question mark. It is a statement of fact.



As one of the five senses, the eye captures photos literally of every single thing a person sees. I am sure you have noticed that years after a particular event, a memory will suddenly come flooding back upon you and in most cases you can see that memory in livid original color. That's why as a pastor, I remind folks to be very careful of what they allow their children to watch on television because those memories will be with that child all the days of their lives. There are many memories in my own life from earlier years particularly in Law Enforcement that I sincerely wish I could forget. But they are always there, lurking just below the surface of my immediate awareness.

In the case of King David in writing Psalm 17:8, he is crying out to God for help in desperate times. He asks "Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings from the wicked who oppress me, from the deadly enemies who surround me". David wanted to be nearest to the most tender part of God even though he knew God the Father is Spirit. He asked to be in the apple of Gods eye rather than his heart which most other people would have chosen.

And even though God is Spirit He still has ultimate power, a fact of which King David was well aware. That is also why he asked God to cover him with the shadow of His wings. I remember reading a particularly sad story years ago about a huge forest fire. After the fire, inspectors came across  the thoroughly scorched body of a female bird with her wings spread in death. They heard small sounds and discovered several chicks still alive and well under their mothers wings. She had protected them unto her own death with the shadow of her wings. Basically that is exactly what our Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross of Calvary. He shed His own blood to cover the sins of mankind and metaphorically speaking, the shadow of His wings covers His followers.



We have a Jewish King (the ancient forefather in human form of Jesus Himself) crying out to God for protection and the safest place for him to be was the exact center, the pupil, the APPLE of God's eye. In the case of Jerusalem, God is telling us a very important thing that the world would do well to remember. Jerusalem is so utterly and entirely important to God, that anyone who touches it is like sticking their finger directly into the center of God's eye.

The lesson in this for all of us is that God's people, the Jews as the chosen of God and also members of the church (both Jew and gentile) who are seriously in repentance and followers of Christ, are literally as sensitive to God as is the very center, the apple of His eye.

As we are going through our normal trials and tribulations here on earth, when we begin to doubt, feel anxiety, fear, frustration, anger and generally feel alone, there is a God available to us who feels about His people as equally protective as the Apple of His own eye.



Have there been times as a believer that you turn every which way to try and resolve a problem and only then turn to God in prayer? I have, I will gladly admit it because we all need those kinds of reminders. God is there ALWAYS, His Son paid the ultimate price for our sins and for our very lives. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to guide, to protect and convict us when necessary.

The world thinks about alien forces from outer space and is constantly asking "are we alone"?

Followers of Christ KNOW we are not alone. The God of Creation who invented both time and outer space is with us and keeps us in the apple of His eye and under the shadow of His wings. But it is a good idea to ask Him---FIRST!


God bless you all today,
Pastor Rance.



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

ISRAEL, is it really from God? A confused and conflicted church.

Dear friends and readers,

What is your position on Israel---as a follower of Christ?

ISRAEL is an enigma among many Christians today. What a shame because it should not be. On the other hand in the beginning of the first century, Acts chapter 2 tells the story of the fledgeling church immediately after the resurrection of Christ. Verse 1 tells the story for all to see. "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they we're all with one accord in one place".

Today roughly 2000 years later, NO ONE could accuse the church of being "WITH ONE ACCORD".  Denominationalism has taken over. In fact worldwide among an estimated 2.2 Billion believers, there are over 30,000 denominations ranging in size from huge to infinitesimal. But they are certainly not in one accord on many issues, the most prominent of which is ISRAEL!

But first let's set the prophetic stage by reviewing what God has to say about Israel; Genesis 12:3. The scene is one in which Abram (later called Abraham) is spoken to by God Himself. "I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed".  It should be noted that some versions of the Bible say "I will curse those who MAKE LIGHT OF YOU"! One way or another whether folks curse Israel of even make light of her they are stepping directly into the path of a divine curse by the Creator of the Universe. Heavy stuff to be certain.

Just as a reminder, Abraham had a son named Isaac who in turn had a son named Jacob who was later renamed ISRAEL by God. And then Israel became the father of 12 sons who became the fathers of the nation of Israel. To  both of Abrahams sons, Isaac and Israel,  God repeated both his promise of blessings and His grant deed to the land that Israel would eventually possess. I am sometimes asked where in the Bible do these promises occur? For your study and benefit I have listed them as follows; Genesis 13:14-17, 15:1-7, 17:1-8 and 15-19, 22:16-18, 26:2-5 and 24, 28:13-15, 31:13, 35:9-12. And God made an unconditional promise of blessing through Abrahams seed 1). To the nation of Israel to inherit a specific territory forever (Genesis 12:2, 15:18-21, 17:7-8). 2). To the gentile nations (Genesis 12:3). 3). To the church as in Christ ( Galatians 3:16, 28-29).

Abraham did in fact have another son by the name of ISHMAEL who Abraham loved very much. He also received Covenant promises from God but those promises were completely separate and distinct from Promises and Covenants made with Isaac and Israel. Our subject matter today is only the Covenant promises made in regards to the nascent nation of Israel.

If you believe in the Bible as all true Christians should, these promises are eternal and without dispute. But somehow along the way, massive numbers of Christians belonging to several large denominations have gone off the Biblical rail in regards to Israel.

All of the following major denominations have come out against Israel (and in many cases boycott) in the strongest terms. Despite the fact that Israel is mentioned in the Bible 2591 times. 1). United Church of Christ. 2). United Methodist. 3). Presbyterian Church USA. 4). British Methodist Church. 5). United church of Canada. 6). South African Council of Churches. 7). Malaysian Council of Churches. 8). Church of Sweden. 9). World Council of Churches Central Committee. And although this is no reflection upon individual churches within the Catholic Church, Frequently some of  the statements and stances taken by the current Pope towards Israel seem to be extremely anti semitic.

To put that in perspective for you, 31% of the entire worlds population (6.9 Billion or more) are among people who claim to be Christians. A large percentage of those are represented by anti semitic denominations who have blatantly disregarded scripture, the promises and covenants of God and for political gain or purpose have turned against Israel and sided with the so called Palestinian people.

I mentioned earlier that the name of Israel is listed in scripture 2591 times. Guess how many times PALESTINIAN is mentioned? ZERO! Although to be honest there is some contention about that. The pro Palestinian crowd likes to say that "Palestinian" is mentioned in Joel chapter 3 verse 4. Truthfully not so for the following reasons; Joel chapter 3 verse 4 does use the Hebrew word "PLESHETH" however that word has been mistranslated to "Palestinian" when in reality the actual word is translated as "Philistia or Philistine (Strongs # 6429). The Philistine people dwelt in the ancient area of Syria and were alternately enemies and on a very few occasions a tiny bit friendly towards Israel. Mostly enemy. The Philistine people are no more. They disappeared from the pages of history eons ago. NO TRACE LEFT of that blood line.

You may remember the name YASSAR ARAFAT? Until his death at the age of 75 on November 11, 2004, he was the President of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It was this man who dialed up an entirely false narrative and lineage for the current occupants of the West Bank and Gaza and insisted to the United Nations and the world at large that they are direct descendants of the original Philistine peoples. A false narrative in every single aspect. But people being people have a tendency to believe whoever it is that is last speaking and speaking the loudest. The reason Arafat promoted this lie is because if he could get the world to swallow it, he could make the case that the PALESTINIAN peoples ancestors pre dated the Israelis in the promised land. You know there is an old truth that bears telling; A truth that is only 99% truth is all lie! There is no relationship between the current Palestinian people and the ancient Philistines.

Also a subject of extreme contention is the ancient City of Jerusalem. The center of the city is the ancient Temple Mount upon which sat both the first and second Jewish Temples. 2 Samuel 24:24 records the fact that King David purchased the threshing floor that later became the Temple Mount from a man named "ARAUNAH" for 50 Shekels of silver. That was in the 10th century B.C.  His son King Solomon began building the first Temple on that spot and it was completed in 957 B.C.

Why is this important? Because other claims of the Palestinian leadership and many other Muslims of the Middle East is that Jerusalem and specifically the Temple Mount were owned by Muslims before Jews and in many cases they flatly deny any Jewish or Israeli history on that spot at all. However there is a small problem; Namely about 1500 years. The Prophet Muhammed (founder of the Muslim or Islamic religion) was not born until 570 A.D. and his life spanned only 62 years until his death on June 8 in the year 632 A.D.. The oldest standing shrine venerated by the Muslim peoples was in fact built upon the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the 7th century A.D. a very long time after King David purchased the ground. That building still stands and is called the Dome of the Rock, a shrine but not a Mosque. Many people believe that the Dome is situated exactly over the original Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple but I disagree with that for a variety or reasons. A subject for another article. One way or another Israel occupied the Holy Land and in particular Jerusalem centuries before Muhammed ever existed or founded the religion of Islam.

The City of Jerusalem is the capital of the modern nation of Israel as it was in ancient Israel. Not only the Bible but well established historical records confirm that statement as fact. Today the Palestinian leadership is trying to claim East Jerusalem as their capital. Within that area is located the Temple Mount and Israel will never give that land up. EVER! Nor should they. For the record, I do have sympathy for the so called Palestinian peoples. They were shafted big time but not by Israel, They were shafted by the other Arab and Muslim peoples of the Middle East and to this day are being used as political pawns by the enemies of Israel. They are being ruled by the leaders of HAMAS in Gaza and FATAH in the West Bank. Fatah still operates under the old PLO charter but now refers to itself as the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (PA). Both of these organizations and their leadership have as a part of their original charters, the goal of the total and complete destruction of Israel. The people themselves have been brain washed by hatred and bigotry against a people (Jews in general) who have only one stated goal; To live in peace! You may want to notice that Israel does not call or consider her soldiers an offensive army. It is the IDF (Israeli DEFENSE force). It is reported that Israel has nuclear weapons. Have you ever one time seen or heard of Israel threatening any other nations with her armaments? No! They seek only peace with their neighbors.

I would like to see the Palestinian people have a homeland But not within the boarders of the land promised to Israel by God many centuries ago. I have written extensively about that in other articles so will not belabor the point now.

The fact that the Temple Mount and by extension, all of Jerusalem is so hotly contested today is one of the surest indicators that the world really is approaching if not already in the "END TIMES". This should be no surprise to any Christian who actually reads their Bible. God clearly declared through the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 12:2) "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem". That siege is on the horizon and has already begun politically. There are currently 193 member nations of the United Nations General Assembly. Plus two observer nations. 1). The Palestinian Authority 2). The Holy See.
What is the Holy See you say? Many people do not know that the VATICAN (Headquarters of the Catholic church---the Holy See) is in fact an independent nation tucked into a large enclave within the city limits of Rome.

Of the total 193 voting nations, 128 of them just two weeks ago voted against the United States moving it's Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Why? Because these nations do not want to give recognition to Israel that her ancient capital of Jerusalem is still her capital today. At this very moment there is such an uproar and furor over this issue that I believe Zechariah's prophecy is playing itself out before the eyes of the world. This is extremely serious stuff folks. Zechariah goes on in verse 3 to state "And it shall happen in that day that I (GOD) 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". Right now the United States and a few other nations are standing with Israel and in support of their capital city of Jerusalem. But that will change at some point in the future. Now please pay close attention to Zechariah chapter 12 verse 9; "IT SHALL BE IN THAT DAY THAT I (GOD) WILL SEEK TO DESTROY ALL THE NATIONS THAT COME AGAINST JERUSALEM"!

Scary and yet the peoples of the earth seemingly have no idea that the Creator of the Universe will do exactly as He has proclaimed. Which brings me back to the subject of the confused and conflicted church worldwide. Not the entire church because there most certainly are denominations and individual pastors who understand the importance of Israel and Jerusalem in the mind and heart of God. Many of these are called "Evangelical Christians". This is a trans-denominational, very large (and growing) group of churches, pastors and individual believers who understand that the Bible is accurate and that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. Also most Evangelicals do support Israel and Jerusalem as it's capital city.

For those who are members of denominations who do not support Israel, I can only say that you have been duped by false teachers. You are in big trouble. In my opinion you cannot claim to love Jesus Christ who is the Messiah of Israel and at the same time reject His natural brothers and sisters the Jewish people. You can in compassion try and help the Palestinian people but you cannot do so at the expense of Israel.

In closing this article I want to most emphatically point out a scripture to you in Matthew chapter 7 verses 21-23 (Jesus speaking) "Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day , Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; Depart from Me, You who practice lawlessness!"

The MANY who practice lawlessness obviously feel that they are followers of Christ. They most probably attend church, pay their tithes, help in the homeless shelters or do works of the Spirit and yet Jesus says He does not know them. While I am not the judge, it makes me wonder about what the Lord thinks about people who claim to follow Him but despise His place of birth, His natural brothers and sisters and His Holy City of Jerusalem as far as being the Capital of Israel is concerned. I can only urge everyone reading this article to take a serious look at scripture and ask yourself a question? Is it better for me to listen to false doctrinal narrative from my denominational leaders or to listen to the Voice of God Himself?

By reading this article you have been advised. There is an old saying that goes like this; "A little bit of knowledge can be the most dangerous thing in the world". Before you act or continue to act against Israel and Jerusalem please take the time to become well informed regarding what God has to say about these subjects. Your eternal destination could well hang in the balance.

God bless,
Pastor Rance.






Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 A YEAR WITH PROMISE, BUT WHAT KIND?

Dear friends and readers,

As we close out last year and jump into 2018, many questions spring to mind about world events—many of which seem to be spinning ever rapidly out of control. On the surface, particulary in the United States things seem to be looking up as the new President is obviously trying to fulfill campaign promises. New tax laws, role back of silly regulations and a veritable smorgasbord of things WAY past due! That in itself is a breath of political fresh air. On the other hand this president is a polarizing force to reckon with and his enemies will always be his enemies. I am not a political writer and try my best to stay out of the fray in that regard. There have been past Presidents that I flatly did not like but I did always consider that part of my responsibility as a Christian was to pray for them and their families. No matter what political party is in office, that has to be the toughest job on planet earth. No matter what you might do as President at least half the people will love you and the other half hate you. But my article today has more to do with this President and his stance as a friend to the nation of Israel. And in my opinion, a friend he most definetely is. 

I have to admit that I was extremely skeptical that Trump would EVER really move the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem even though it was his promise to do so. My skepticism was rooted firmly in the reality that all of the past 4 Presidents made that same promise but failed to do so. Every six months each of them found reason to demure. So, why now would that change?

The obvious answer is that it was not in God’s timing and after all, it is He who is really pulling the strings of power here on earth. Many people, including those “of the book—the Bible” (both Jew and Gentile believer) have a tendency to look at personalities when in fact there is a cosmic plan in motion and that plan was sealed as an irrivocable deal by the one true God, long before He chose Abraham and subsequently his son Isaac and then Jacob to be the fathers of the Israelite people. This article is not about explaining the Covenants that God made with these men because they are easily looked up in any Bible, particularly the book of Genesis. My theme today is vastly different because I look at what is happening today in the world as moves on a gigantic heavenly chess board. 

But first a reminder; The New Testament clearly tells us that it is God Himself who puts leaders in office (Romans 13:1). While not clearly stated, that obvious fact is also clearly seen in the Old Testament as well. Do not mistake that to mean that God intentionally inflicted harm on entire nations through the hands of a leader or king who chose to be evil. Case in point; Israels first King, Saul was in fact chosen by God through the prophet Samuel. But Saul CHOSE to rebell and disobey God. Mankind, no matter the social station has a right to choose his or her own path. They can choose to be good or can choose to be evil. By the way, if you are a follower of Christ who is reading this, I sincerely hope you have not been tought that the words “OLD TESTAMENT” in any way infer that the tenets of that book are somehow passed away. The OLD TESTAMENT contains very many Biblical prophecies yet to be fulfilled. Not to mention a wealth of phenominal knowledge and wisdom from directly "on High"! Also we have the statement by Christ Himself that He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17-22).  And both Jesus and some of His disciples quoted Old Testament scripture.

A case in point; I once knew a newly self minted pastor who tought his people to completely disregard the OLD TESTAMENT based solely on one NEW TESTAMENT scripture. The one in the book of (Mark 9:7) in which God is heard speaking and says “this is my beloved Son, hear Him”. Not only was this new pastor wrong and leading his people astray but he effectively chopped the foundation completely away from the New Testament. When a foundation is destroyed the building upon which it stands can no longer effectively stand! 

In regard to Israel, the capital of that august nation is now and has always been Jerusalem regardless of what is now seen as being politically correct. In fact there are a few facts that some folks in the church may not be aware of; For hundreds of years, Jerusalem was considered to be a back water little city characterized by almost zero infrastructure, bad roads and surrounded by miles upon miles of maleria infested swamps. With few exceptions over the generations (almost exclusively holy wars between Christian and Arab armies such as during the various crusades), NO ONE WANTED IT!!! It was only when the Jews began returning to the land they were promised by God that folks began to sit up and lust after the land and Jerusalem because?? What was the defining difference? History will clearly show that when the Jewish people were installed in their ancestral land, the land itself began to bloom and produce a bounty, the envy of all who witnessed it happening. Take away the Jewish people from the land and it ALWAYS fell back into swanp land unfit for human habitation. And, oh yes we could talk about the Jewish people being a stubborn and stiff necked lot at times and it was God Himself who punished them in those cases. But God never ever withdrew His covenents with His chosen people and the fact is that every single nation who ever tried to take that land away for themselves—themselves parished. That story is repeated constantly throughout history. Don’t think so?

Ask yourself a question? What ever happened to ALL of the following empires? And what did each and every one have in common? 1). Ancient Egypt  2). The Philistines  3). Assyrian Empire  4). Babylonian Empire  5). Persian Empire  6). Greek Empire  7). Roman Empire  8). Byzantine Empire  9). Crusaders  10). Spanish Empire  11). Nazi Germany  12). Soviet Union  13). and although still a vibrant nation, was it not after the British Empire sided with the Arabs against the Jews during WWII that nearly 3/4 of their worldwide holdings evaporated? What all those empires had in common was a plan in one form or another to either take the holy land away from the Jewish people of subjugate them through conquest. Where are everyone of those empires now? GONE!

And what happened to all the VASTLY SUPERIOR armies that tried to destroy Israel in her wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973? All soundly defeated by tiny little Israel. Not that Israel did not pay a price for victory because they certainly did. Each and every time. But the fact is that no one will ever destroy Israel or the Jewish people because “GOD SAID SO” (Genesis 12:3 ands Galatians 3:8).


In the closing chapter of 2017, within the United Nations, 128 countries voted against the United States because finally an American President had the Chutzpah to  recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And I think a few other countries will eventually come around and also move their Embassies to the Holy City of God. In line with the United States the nation of Guatemala recently made that very same declaration. Will it be without cost? No, in fact I have no doubt that war will once again break out over this issue. It is only a matter of time if you think about it. Israel is currently surrounded by enemies. Hezbollah, Hamas, Both jordan and Egypt who both have extremely strained peace pacts with Israel and both are under constant threat of themselves being taken over by Islamic extremist factions. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not much better off. They are riding a very sharp edged fence between appeasing their own Arab populations——many of whom are extremist Muslims with terrorist aspirations,  and trying to be a friend to the United States and at the least maintain an uneasy peace with Israel.

Both China and Russia are trying desperately to supplant the United States as the predominant world power. North Korea is threatening to nuke the United States, there are extremely unstable areas and governments all over northern Africa replete with forms of famine and pestilence. There is no organized government in Liberia. Syria is still melting down from vicious civil war. Iran is currently on the one hand, sponsoring terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas with an agenda of totally destroying Israel. And on the other hand trying to fend off hundreds and thousands of their own population who are rising up to demand basic human rights.  Turkey has in the past two years gone from a relative democracy to a total dictatorship with Islamic fundamentalist agendas and is beginning to threaten Israel and the west. 

But hey, other than that all is well on terrafirma!

I have no idea how all this will play itself out but my opinion is that war is coming during 2018. And also perhaps one of the biggest financial melt downs of all times. At the very moment the world is on the brink of terrible catastrophe. 

I sincerely hope that I am wrong. But stay tuned because at no time since WWII has the entire world been this unstable. 

I can only urge all Christians to do two things; PRAY and LOOK UP for our redemption draws nigh.

God bless,
Pastor Rance.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

So really? Donald Trump is a modern day King Cyrus?

Dear friends and readers,

Peace and grace to all of you this Christmas and Chanukah season,

As I research various articles, I look for central themes that keep popping up.When something big is thought to be either already in place or coming soon, invariably it will be discussed more and more in a variety of news formats and printed literature.

Just such a BIGGIE is popping up among both Christian writers and renowned Rabbinical authorities.
The subject matter involved is whether or not prophetically speaking, the election of President Donald Trump somehow signals a form of new advent of the famous King Cyrus. You will notice I did not say "reincarnation", something also speculated upon in some quarters but a subject matter that is decidedly UNBiblical in nature.

As we discuss this I will remind my readers that I do not publish articles that are in the least bit political in nature. That does not mean however that I do not discuss particular political figures but while doing so I make a sincere attempt not to malign these people or take sides in political arguments. In fact if I had to describe myself in political terms it would be as an avowed "Independent conservative". I reserve the right to exercise my vote for the best person for the job, regardless of whether they have an "R" or a "D" or any other initial preceding their names.

Having said that, I have noticed that several writers are attempting to compare the once great King Cyrus to the current occupant of the White House. Cyrus was a Persian King of great renown. It was King Cyrus, basically a secular leader who decreed that the building of the second Jewish Temple should proceed. You may recall that the first Temple was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Fast forward to Cyrus time and Nebuchadnezzar's home turf is now under Persian control with Cyrus as the "Grand Poobah" of the entire region, and a huge one at that. Cyrus felt some compassion for the Jews who had been displaced from Jerusalem and in fact the entire Holy land.

Interestingly, Cyrus was spoken about in the Bible by name long before he lived. By whom? By God Himself! In the book of Isaiah chapter 45 verses 1-8 the prophet speaking for God says" Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, who's right hand I have held---and then in verses 3-4 God says why He has named Cyrus in His holy word "---That you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. FOR JACOB MY SERVANTS SAKE, AND ISRAEL MY ELECT, I HAVE EVEN CALLED YOU BY YOUR NAME---"! (My italics added for emphasis).

Abraham had a son called Isaac who in turn had a son called Jacob. Jacob's name was changed by God to ISRAEL and he became the father of the 10 tribes of Israel who were later lead out of bondage in Egypt by Moses. When God used the prophet Isaiah to prophetically call Cyrus by name, it was 150 years before Cyrus was born. (Is it really possible for anyone to doubt the Bible after something like that???). King Cyrus was about 50 years old when he made the decree to once again begin building the walls of Jerusalem and the Temple. That means God called him by name a full two hundred years before the event took place. Obviously a man called by God to perform a task of immense importance to Israel.

Now we have President Trump. A most unlikely man to run for President of the ONLY NATION ON EARTH capable of positively effecting the modern day nation of Israel. Not only an unusual man to run but one who every single pundit on the planet loudly proclaimed did not have a chance of winning. But win he did---BIG TIME! And now he is the one American President who had the Chutzpah to proclaim that Jerusalem is Israel's capital city. 4 previous American Presidents had the opportunity to do so every six months for several years but deferred. Why? Because it was not God's timing for them to do so.

Remember your Biblical numerology? the number 7 is the number of completion. President Harry S. Truman (against ALL advice of his government at the time) recognized the new State of Israel shortly  after it was announced by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion on May 14, 1948. Truman was the first world leader to do so. The amount of years between Truman's recognition and Trump's recognition is 69 years on the Gregorian calendar. But and this is a big but. The Jewish calendar is different than the traditional Gregorian calendar. The Jewish month of Nissan (falling between March and Aril) is the beginning of the Jewish calendar. But the month of Tishrei (falling between October and September) is the official beginning the the Jewish New Year. Confusing? Probably. The issue is whether or not on the Jewish calendar, President Trumps proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, falls in the 70th Jewish year after President Truman's proclamation recognizing Israel's return from the scrap heap of history on May 14, 1948? There is only one nation to ever do so by the way---ISRAEL! I will leave it to the mathematicians out there to figure out the fine point of that particular argument.

The study of Biblical numerology is fascinating; For example, what if it really is 70 years between Truman's and Trump's proclamation regarding Israel? Is there any significance to the fact that undeniably 2018 is the 70th anniversary year since Israel became a Nation again after roughly 2000 years of anonymity? Is there any significance to the fact that the newly regathered, nascent Sanhedrin (religious ruling body of the Jewish people), have declared that the Jubilee year spans 2017-2018? FYI, Jubilee cycles are 50 years long and broken down into 7 year periods for a total of 50. Is there even a scintilla of significance to the  established fact that President Trump on his day of inauguration was exactly 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old? What do you think?

Frankly several authors have drawn all kinds of other similarities between King Cyrus and President Trump. In fact (if you believe in such a thing) the scholars who specialize in "THE BIBLE CODES" claim they have discovered evidence that links Cyrus to Trump. Those are the very same guys who say they found imbedded in the scriptures, references to President Trump being elected. I have done some study in the Bible Codes although I am far from an expert on the subject. My own investigation has lead me to firmly believe that the codes are real but normally I do not teach about them because it is such a complex subject that you almost have to be an expert on the issue to speak about it with any degree of clarity. But I don't discount them either.

I can however speak with absolute authority in regards to what the Bible says about leadership. So can you. Romans chapter 13 verse 1-2 makes it abundantly clear. "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves"!

Do you love President Trump or do you hate him? Same question for President Obama before him? Like them or hate them, they were in fact appointed by God. The reasons may not make sense to us here on this earth but I have zero doubt there is a grand scheme working it's way through the cosmos and that it originated in the throne room of God. Far better to pray for our leaders whether we personally like them or not.

So, what do you think? Is President Trump a modern day King Cyrus? A leader who against all odds is a friend to Israel? A friend with enough guts to put it to both word and deed? Is it possible that God will use this man to somehow assist Israel in it's growing quest to build a third Temple?

No proclamations here my friends but certainly worthy of thought, wouldn't you say?

Have a great day in Jesus,
AND a fascinating time studying Biblical prophecy!

Pastor Rance.









Thursday, November 9, 2017

Middle East briefing for 2018

Dear friends and readers,

The mysteries of the ages!  Does God give advance warning to certain men regarding horrible future circumstances?  We can begin with Amos 3:7  "Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets"!  Obviously God does give us a heads up about some future events.  So, is there anything on the immediate horizon to indicate that prophecy is about it be fulfilled?  But first let's see who is qualified to receive Godly insight.

2 Corinthians 12:2-3 contains a bit of information from the Apostle Paul that has stumped people for centuries.  He states "I know a man in Christ, who 14 years ago---whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows---such a one was caught up to the third heaven.  And I know such a man---whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows---how he was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.  Of such a man I will boast; Yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities".

Was Paul speaking of himself or did he really know someone else who had this remarkable thing happen to them?

Paul is not alone, although he is in extremely famous company;  The Prophet Daniel was also given a vision but told in chapter 12 verse 4,  "But you Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end;  And many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase".  Then there is the Apostle John who wrote in the book of Revelation (Revelation 22:10) that the vision he had received was NOT to be sealed because the time was already at hand.  So, do only the great and Biblically mighty men of God receive advance knowledge of some future event or have there been others?

Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11-13 is the Apostle Paul telling the Ephesian church about Jesus.   He states "And He Himself (Jesus) gave some to be Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, and some to be Pastors and Teachers".  And then goes on to say that these gifts were given for the benefit of the church and those in it.  This was speaking of future events and the giving of future spiritual gifts so we know that there must have been other Prophets over the centuries.  Personally I have always maintained a skeptical attitude toward people carrying business cards identifying themselves as Apostles or Prophets but that does not mean they do not exist.

The reason that I belabor this point is because, like Paul (not putting myself upon that lofty platform), I too know a man.  I will not name this guy because he is still alive and wants no notoriety.  Neither does he care to receive harsh criticism that would certainly come his way if he identified what he had seen in a vision.  Roughly 35 years ago while transitioning from one career to another, this man had an incredible experience similar to the above stated Biblical giants but he did not see any angels, hear any voices or receive any instructions from "on High"!  What I can tell you is that this is a regular guy--nothing special, with no history of embellishment and at the time of his "vision" he knew only that Jesus Christ was Lord.  He had not read the Bible, he knew absolutely nothing about Israel (other than the fact that it existed), nothing about Biblical prophecy and in fact did not even attend a church.

During a short period back in the early 80's (2-3 days) he began to see an in color vision of absolutely horrifying worldwide destruction.   Abject fear and horrible terror permeated this otherwise normal guy.  When I say saw, it was for this man as though he were looking from the outside in, toward some virtual worldwide event with horrible, violent circumstances.  At the end of whatever it was that he saw, he relates that it was like someone drew down the shade on a window.  One moment this vision was there in living breathing color and the next it was----GONE!  The vision was as though he was looking at it from afar, rather than being a part of it.  When it literally disappeared from both his sight and his mind,  the only things he could remember were that it was huge and horribly destructive in nature, he remembered the absolute fear he had felt and he remembered one other thing.  The year of the happening.  2018.

This man relates that he did not feel he was able to share anything about this for roughly 35 years until October 2017.  He received no heavenly instructions to do any big publications or write a book or anything of that nature.  And I do not believe that he will.  But this man has literally been waiting all these years, knowing that 2018 will bring horrible changes to this world like has never been seen before.  He has no real idea what that might represent and even though this man has now been walking solidly with the Lord for many years, every attempt to ask the Lord to reopen this vision to him has been met with silence.  Just waiting, waiting for a very large shoe to drop. When asked if he believes what he saw might represent the rapture, his answer was a qualified no.  Although from my perspective, I suppose it could represent what might happen after the fact.  To a world that has just suffered the loss of as many as a billion people or so.  Who knows---just a thought!

So, we must ask ourselves a question?  Did this person really see what he claims?  After all he wants no notoriety whatsoever so what does he have to gain?    Or was this the result of some really bad dream brought about by too much pizza the night before?  Once again, who knows?  But, I for one have paid attention.  You might want to as well.  Or simply dismiss the entire thing as a guy slightly off his rocker for 3 days.  But of one fact I am certain.  2018 is now just 2 months away.  I am not sure if I am looking forward to it or feeling more than a bit of  trepidation.  Actually both! And another pressing question.  Is it possible that others may have seen these things for the future as well?

As a writer of Biblical prophecy, I can see that next year could very well bring some unpleasant surprises but I fall drastically short of making any predictions.   With that statement, lets take a look at what is happening in the Middle East and to some extent around the world and then you can decide for yourselves what potential scenarios exist if any.  Please remember that I am not a prophet so my opinion is simply that, nothing more.

1).   First, right here in the good ole US of A. The current President is extremely popular with a huge cross section of conservative voters and thoroughly hated by most of those on the left.  In addition he also has a great many opponents in his own political party.  I mention that because it seems no matter what the guy does domestically, he is fighting an uphill battle every step of the way.  On the one hand he wants to balance the budget but on the other has promised massive build ups in both infrastructure and military assets.  With a 20 Trillion dollar national debt, you cannot have both.  A huge build up  also means adding a huge amount to an already dangerously high debt ceiling.  Economists have been predicting a massive financial crisis in the USA for several years now and those who are making those claims are even more concerned by the day.  If the  "house of financial cards"  falls it will take down the economies of many other nations of the world.  Do you remember what happened shortly after 9-11?  Wall Street was so impacted that the nation barely escaped financial ruin through only one terror attack albeit a huge one.

The nation is swimming in another type of debt as well.  Billions upon billions of dollars annually in trade deficits with several very large countries.  The Government is trying to correct that but the fact is these efforts could easily ignite massive trade wars on a number of fronts.

2).  We (the entire world)  are closer to a nuclear holocaust than anytime since the Bay of Pigs in the term of the late President John F. Kennedy.  North Korea has verifiable nuclear assets and continues to  make threats.  Just one nuclear device launched in any direction could easily set off a regional conflict which could spread into a worldwide conflagration.  Iran is doing it's best to "hoodwink" the world while still trying to develop a nuclear arsenal and they work very closely with the North Koreans.

3).  China is trying desperately to achieve worldwide financial domination including replacing the dollar as the worlds currency with the Yen.  China is also pushing for physical dominance in the North China sea which threatens the  sovereignty of Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and others.

4).  Russia under President Vlademir Putin is once again in the ascendancy and has global aspirations as a replacement for the United States as world leader.  In my opinion Putin is trying to rebuild the old Soviet Union but this time under the flag of Mother Russia and eventually headed by a new era replacement for the Czar---namely himself.  Both the USA and Russia have tested new long range intercontinental ballistic missiles this past year.  Once again we are on the edge of absolute brinkmanship on nuclear steroids.

5).  Both India and Pakistan are nuclear nations who are located side by side and who are mortal enemies.  Pakistan could easily be taken over by military coup or those with extremist ideology which would put nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists.

6).  After over 13 years the United States is still embroiled in a no-win war in Afghanistan which could easily boil over into Pakistan and India on the East and even more so into China with a massive influx of war torn refugees.  Also Westward into Iran and Northward into several of the former Soviet "Stans" .  It would appear that the US is once again building up troop strength in that area of the world.  To what end?

7).  North Korea and South Korea are on the brink of war and have been since the armistice was declared invalid by the north in 1953.  Any kind of war between these two nations will absolutely spill over and involve the United States, China and Russia.  Catastrophe in the making.  Only a matter of time.

8).  Several nations on the African continent are once again at war or threatening to do so.  Drought, Plague and famine are once again threatening millions of people.

9).  Israel, the only Democracy in the entire Middle East is surrounded by extremely violent enemies.  Hezbollah located in Lebanon has over 120,000 missiles pointed at Israeli cities.  Both Hezbollah and Hamas on the Gaza strip are proxy armies of Iran.  Turkey to the north was a long time ally of Israel and a Democratic modern nation.  Now in just a couple of short years Turkey has been taken over as a dictatorship run by Muslim extremists with pure hated for Israel.  This is a powder keg ready to explode and one tiny spark is all it will take.

10). Saudi Arabia and Jordan are both royal kingdoms and both live in daily fear of overthrow by religious extremists.   At this moment Saudi Arabia has begun purges of wealthy aristocrats and even a few members of the Royal family.  Another powder keg and no one really understands why this is happening other than the fact that it destabilizes the Middle East to an even greater extent.  Yemen and Libya are not really legal forms of Government and are literally havens for every type of violent terrorist on the planet.  The Sinai peninsula is heavily occupied by remnants of ISIS, which  although loosing tactical ground in the Middle East is waging a deadly war on European nations plus the USA using proxies and homegrown terrorists.

11).  Syria is run by a tyrant and is awash with civil war creating death and destruction for untold millions of people with more reduced to incredible levels of poverty and homelessness.  Forced to leave their ancestral homes and countries to become an unending flow of refugees.  Not to mention more Christian martyrs than since the Roman Empire specialized in Gladiators and Colosseum entertainment with Christians being burned alive and fed to lions.  The evil government in Syria is being propped up by the Russian Government and that of Iran with ever increasing aid from Turkey.  The unholy alliance if three.  The very same three who will one day invade Israel.

12).  The war of Gog from the land of Magog (Ezekiel chapters 38-39) is in the forming stages as we speak.  A huge invasion army led by Russia and Iran and probably other groups located in and around both Turkey and Africa who will one day invade Israel.  Russia, and Turkey and Iran who have throughout history been violent enemies are now coming together in the Middle East and have forces very close to Israel's Northern boarder with Syria near the Golan Heights.

13).  In other areas of the world instability is a key words such as in Argentina which is a huge oil exporter, another Democracy recently taken over by extremist Socialist ideology and a virulent dictatorship.

Frankly this list is an abbreviated form of a world on the brink of war that could spill over and make both WWI and WWII look like child's play.  And in just one and one half months we begin the first half of 2018.  What will it portend for everyone on planet earth?

Is the fact that 2018 is the 70th year of Israel's independence an important factor?  Or will Jesus words be important (Matthew chapter 24 verses 34-35)  "Assuredly I say to you this generation  (believed to be the one that saw Israel once again become a nation),  will by no means pass away till all these things take place".  Is there any connection to His statements about "this generation" and Psalm 90:10 ?  "The days of our lives are 70 years---".  Let's see now, the year Israel became a nation---1948 plus 70 years?  Ah yes, that would also be 2018.  Please know that these are the questions I am asking myself, they are not statements of fact.

And what of the "man I know" who had that vision over 35 years ago?  Has he waited all those years in vain?  Or will 2018 signal unspeakable violence and terror for mankind?  Frankly I sincerely hope not but I am also looking at the world map and do not like what I see.   Nor the various circumstances, any one of which could ignite a raging fire from which it might not be possible to pull back.

Finally, I am normally a very positive guy.  My cup is the one that is 100% full. At the same time I do believe that worldwide circumstances are racing toward problems so severe that it will usher in the events necessary for the anti christ to step onto the world stage.  I don't know if 2018 will be that year but I am frankly, full of suspicions.

God bless,
Pastor Rance.