Muslims Saved in a Sandstorm

By Suzette Gutierrez-Cachila                                                                                                             Reblogged from http://www.gospelherald.com/reporter/suzette-gutierrez-cachila

A group of Arab Muslims who were chasing after Christians said a dust storm suddenly formed on the road, forcing them to stop the chase, when Jesus appeared to them and spoke with a “mighty voice.”

Haroon (not his real name) said he and 19 other Islamist militants were informed that a group of Christians would be holding a baptism service. They boarded their vehicles and rushed to the site with the intention of killing everyone there. Their purpose, said Haroon, was to instill fear among Christians around the world and to make them stop sharing the good news to the Muslims in their country, according to Bibles For Mideast. However, when they arrived, they saw that the Christians were leaving. They were already on the bus and on their way back to the church. Instead of giving up the pursuit, the militants chased after the bus and began shooting at it.

Rizwan, who was among those baptized that day at the Arabian Sea, recounted how everyone on the bus thought they would die that day.

“Maybe it was the militants plan to kill us in the sea during the baptism service. But somehow we finished our service earlier and tried to return back,” he said. When their bus driver increased speed, the militants also drove faster and continued to shoot at them, Rizwan said. Then, without warning, a dust storm formed “within seconds” and concealed the bus from the militants’ view. Rizwan said they felt as if Jesus himself appeared in the dust storm to block the road and protect them from the militants, who eventually stopped chasing and shooting at them. They all praised God and made it back to the church safely. What they didn’t know was that Jesus appeared to the militants.

Haroon said as the dust storm raged on, the militants had to stop their vehicles because they couldn’t see a thing. “We were unable to move forward,” he said. “We all got down from our cars and continue shooting through the dust storm.” Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the dust storm. Haroon said he looked “angry” and his eyes “were like blazing fire.” “Why are you persecuting me; it’s hard for you to kick against the pricks,” Jesus said to them in a mighty voice.

His voice was so powerful that when he spoke, a strong wind literally swept the militants off their feet and blew their guns away. Haroon said the whole thing was a “terrible experience.” As they struggled to get up, they realized they couldn’t talk. They felt afraid, yet they felt peace at the same time, an experience that was totally new to all of them.Haroon said Jesus told them that he “came to the world not to destroy anyone; but to save,” and he told them to “Go in peace.” Then he disappeared, and the dust storm also disappeared.

 All of them, save for two, praised God, but they argued among themselves about whether what they saw was from God or not.

After the incident, Haroon’s group was no longer assigned to “militant activities.” Although the experience made him curious about Jesus, Haroon did not put his faith in Christ until a few days later when their family was around a bonfire in the desert. A deadly snake bit his sister Hajira. When she was rushed to the hospital, doctors said she would die. While Hajira was asleep, an angel appeared to her and told her about Jesus, “the Savior and the Healer.” She shared the story to Haroon when she woke up, and they prayed and asked Jesus to save them.

 They were both surprised when Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, who was among the group of Christians Haroon and the other militants wanted to kill, walked into the room. He said an angel told him to visit them and even gave him their names.

Pastor Paul shared the gospel to them, and Haroon and his sister confessed their sins and gave their lives to Christ. Pastor Paul also prayed for Hajira, who was completely healed from the snake bite.

When their father learned about what happened to Hajira, he also surrendered his life to Jesus. Not only did Haroon’s entire family get saved; 17 of the militants in their group also got saved. They are now praying for the other two to know Christ.

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Is Micah 5:2 a Messianic Prophecy?

Reblogged from https://www.gotquestions.org/Micah-5-2-Messianic.html

Micah 5:2 predicts, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” The verse clearly speaks of a coming king in Israel, but does it predict the coming of the Messiah?

Micah 5:2 makes a couple of predictions. First, the birthplace of this future “ruler of Israel” would be Bethlehem Ephrathah. Since there were two locations known as Bethlehem at the time of Micah’s writing, the addition of Ephrathah is significant. It specifies the Bethlehem in Judah, the portion of Israel in which the capital, Jerusalem, was located. Bethlehem was considered “little,” or insignificant, among the cities of Judah, yet would serve as the birthplace of this future ruler.

Second, the coming ruler of Jewish background was one “whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.” What else could this refer to other than the Messiah? Only the Messiah fits the description of a ruler in Israel whose origin was from times past. In fact, “from ancient days” is sometimes synonymous with “eternal” (as in Habakkuk 1:12). Only the Jewish Messiah could be a ruler in Israel from eternity past.

This interpretation is strengthened by the fact that the Jewish religious leaders in the first century identified Micah 5:2 as a Messianic prophecy. In Matthew 2, wise men from the East visited King Herod in Jerusalem and asked where the king of the Jews had been born. Herod assembled all the chief priests and scribes, and “he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea,’” basing their answer on Micah 5:2.

Only Jesus Christ fits the Messianic claims of Micah 5:2. He was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah (Matthew 2Luke 2:1-20). Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the ruler of Israel (John 4:25-26). He also fits the description as being “from ancient times” or eternal (John 1:1Colossians 1:16-17). No other ruler in Israel fits these requirements. Dozens of other direct prophecies in the Old Testament (some scholars cite hundreds) fit Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death.

Jesus told the Jews that the Law and the Prophets provided a clear witness that He was who He claimed to be. “These are the Scriptures that testify about me,” He said (John 5:39). Still today, those who investigate the prophecy of Micah 5:2 and other Messianic passages find compelling evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

Why Donald Trump Is Catching Hell For Planning To Move US Embassy To Jerusalem

By  Michael L. Brown

Reblogged from https://askdrbrown.org/library/why-donald-trump-catching-hell-planning-move-our-embassy

There is no controversy like the controversy that surrounds the city of Jerusalem, the most divided city on the earth and the most coveted city on the earth. The Bible predicted this more than 2,500 years ago, describing the day when Jerusalem would be a “a cup that brings dizziness to all the surrounding nations” (Zech. 12:2, NET), even declaring that one day, the whole would be in uproar over Jerusalem.Stop and think about it for a moment.

 Why does the whole world get so exercised over Jerusalem? Is there any other city on the planet that evokes such intense emotions and polar views? And why does every nation put its embassies in the city that the host country identifies as its capital, except for the city of Jerusalem, identified as Israel’s capital in 1950? Why do virtually all embassies remain in Tel Aviv? There is something of spiritual significance to this ancient city that simply cannot be denied.

 The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, “passed by overwhelming bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate,” states that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” Then why didn’t presidents Bush or Obama move the embassy? As explained by Rabbi Shraga Simmons, “since the congressional act allows the President to implement a waiver at six-month intervals, that’s exactly what has happened every six months since 1995.”

 Now that Donald Trump has insisted that he will, in fact, relocate our embassy – in accordance with the 1995 act – the controversy is hitting the fan. In the words of Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, imam of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, moving the embassy would be as good as a “declaration of war.” Consider the opposition to Trump’s appointee for Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a strong supporter of Israel who speaks of our embassy’s imminent relocation. As he said openly and proudly after his nomination, “I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

 According to a December 16 email from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, known as “America’s rabbi,” Friedman is a “brilliant choice for Ambassador to Israel. One of America’s most respected and accomplished attorneys, David is regarded in the highest esteem by the New York Jewish community as an exemplar of the American and Jewish virtues of education, erudition, philanthropy, and communal commitment.” He continued, “David has vast exposure to, and knowledge of, the Jewish State and its history and enjoys the confidence and respect of Israel’s leaders. A man of humility and openness, he has a gift for listening, showing respect and deference to all whom he meets.” In sharp contrast, as noted on the Elder of Zion website, last Friday’s New York Times “had four articles against Donald Trump’s choice to be the US ambassador to Israel.  “Yes – four articles in one day. Two ‘news’ articles, one editorial, and one op-ed.” As Noah Pollack reported on The Washington Free Beacon, “The NYT Is Having a Meltdown Over Trump’s Israel Nominee.”

 Pollack writes, “David Friedman is a prominent and successful attorney in New York who has spent 20 years representing Donald Trump, among other clients. He is also a proud Jew who holds unapologetic pro-Israel views that are heretical in Times-world, and he has also expressed acid disdain for the kind of Jewish anti-Israel activism regularly glorified in the pages of the Times. “So he must be destroyed–and to destroy him he must be lied about. Which is what the Times did.” Pollack does not specifically mention Friedman’s strong support for relocating our embassy, since there are other, controversial pro-Israel positions that Friedman supports, including the building of settlements in territories under Palestinian control and scepticism about a two-state solution.

 But you can be assured that a big part of the ruckus over Friedman’s appointment is his affirmation that the American embassy will be moved.

 That’s why a headline on the Independent discussing Friedman’s nomination focused on this issue alone, noting that, “Moving US embassy to Jerusalem would be ‘declaration of war’.”  And that’s why New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman stated to Chris Cuomo on CNN that “moving the American embassy — and this is an evergreen, everyone running for President tosses this out, no one actually does it — moving the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, in the absence of an agreed upon solution between Israelis and Palestinians, I would call that the ‘Full Employment for Iran Act.'”  Yes, according to Friedman, it would also alienate the Sunni Arab regimes, meaning that this move would provoke the Shiite Muslims in Iran and the Sunni Muslims in countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Jerusalem, the city of controversy indeed!

 Thomas Friedman then reiterated to Cuomo and co-host Alisyn Camerota: “This is such madness that it’s — it’s just — I can’t believe we’re talking about it.”

 Yet Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior adviser, has reiterated that the incoming president really does plan to make this move, calling it a “big priority” for him.  And how revealing that Thomas Friedman noted that “everyone running for President tosses this out” but “no one actually does it,” whereas Trump is threatening actually to do it. This is the very reason many people voted for him: They expect him to be a doer, not just a talker.

 Should Trump succeed in relocating our embassy to Jerusalem, I predict three things:

 1) all hell will break loose against him, with constant, worldwide controversy over the move);

 2) God will bless our president for doing it; and

 3) God will bless America for doing it.

The True Date of Jesus’ Birth

Rabbi Jonathon Cahn

Jonathan Cahn likes to teach in the Socratic Method, presenting questions in the form of a mystery and then launching an investigation that eventually turns up answers.

The Messianic rabbi best known for his books, “The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah,” is now out with a new documentary film called “The Mishkan Clue.” In it he sets out to solve two mysteries – the time of Jesus’ birth (was it really on Dec. 25?) and why it matters.

He provides a clue to the answer in his title – with the meaning of the Hebrew word “mishkan” – but more on that later.

Cahn goes on an Indiana Jones-style quest to solve the 2,000-year-old mystery of when Jesus was born. The first day he rules out is Dec. 25.

December is probably the least likely time for a Jewish couple from Nazareth to be travelling to Bethlehem for the Roman census while the woman, Mary, was pregnant.

Not only would the weather be too cold and rainy that time of year for shepherds to be “out in their fields,” as the gospels say, but the Romans would not have held their census during the winter because it required families to travel back to the father’s hometown to register. Joseph’s family hailed from Bethlehem.

In the Church record, it’s hard to find a credible reference to Dec. 25 as Christ’s birth date prior to the fourth century time of Emperor Constantine. More than likely, this date was picked to line up with the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, which was celebrated with a pagan sacrifice to Saturn and a public banquet, followed by gift-giving and a carnival-like atmosphere.

Another theory is that Jesus may have been born on Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, which would fit nicely with Him being the Light of the world. But Hanukkah is a newer, minor Jewish holiday and comes with the same pitfall used to debunk the Dec. 25 date – it’s too cold for shepherds to be out in the fields at night gazing at the stars.

One other popular theory is that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkoth, also called the “Feast of Booths,” which occurs in late September or early October each year on the Hebrew calendar. Proponents of this theory say Jesus was born in a sukkah or booth and that this temporary shelter was later referred to as a manger.

While this is “well meaning” and “sounds nice,” Cahn says it would have been impossible for several reasons. First, Jesus was born in a manger, not a sukkah, and a manger is a type of feeding trough.

Also, the spiritual meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles lines up with the end times and the closing of an era, not the opening or beginning of an era, Cahn says, and Messiah’s birth, death, resurrection and second coming must come in the proper chronological order.

Tabernacles “is all about the closing of the age. It’s the wrong order,” Cahn says.

Plus, the Tabernacles theory puts Mary and Joseph in the wrong place. Jewish families travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

“He was born in Bethlehem not Jerusalem. It would have caused revolution to require travel (for the census) at a time when Jews were supposed to be in Jerusalem,” Cahn said.

Not to mention, they would have had to have travelled back home during the onset of winter, again not convenient or comfortable for a pregnant woman.

So Cahn rules out winter and autumn for the birth of Jesus.

But what about summer? That would have been difficult during Israel’s brutally hot, dry summers but perhaps doable for a woman with child. The only problem is there is no major Jewish feast day in the summer.

“There are no holy days to fulfill, which is how God works,” Cahn said. Passover lines up with Jesus’ death, He rose on the Feast of First Fruits, he created the Church with the sending of his Holy Spirit on Shavuot or Pentecost, and the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah foretells the Messiah’s second coming.

“There must be a time when travel is practical and comfortable, when shepherds would be out with their flocks and a pregnant woman could travel,” Cahn says.

The Lamb is Born

That leaves only one option – spring. In Israel, this would have been known as the “lambing” season.

“Only in the lambing season do shepherds watch their flocks by night,” Cahn said, as described in the gospels.

This would have been in late March and into April when shepherds were out watching for lambs to be born in the fields.

“So here they are out looking for lambs to be born and who do they find? The Lamb of God,” he said.

But is there a Holy Day in the Spring?

There certainly was, but it’s been downplayed over the years. It’s called Nisan 1, the historical first day on the Hebraic calendar. It falls in early April on the Gregorian calendar.

The birth, death, resurrection, and second coming of Jesus fulfill the Jewish holy days, in the proper order, Cahn said, starting with Nisan 1 for his birth.

But it gets even better if you look deeper.

“Messiah fulfills the feasts but he also fulfills the theme of the feast,” Cahn said. “Is there a day on the Hebrew calendar that would fulfill the theme of the Messiah’s birth?”

If there is, it would have to be Nisan 1. It represents a new beginning.

“Nissan 1 is the calendar changer. It breaks the calendar,” he said. “Every calendar changed based on the birth of Messiah, from B.C. to A.D. So it would put us back to Nisan 1.”

But because the early Christian Church changed from being Jerusalem-centric to Rome-centric, all of this history was lost to the Western believers in Jesus.

Besides linking Christ’s birth to an existing Roman holiday, Saturnalia, the 25th of December also linked it to the Roman New Year just one week later on Jan. 1.

“They saw the birth of the Messiah and they linked it to another day on their calendar that was similar. New Year’s Day, the Roman New Year,” Cahn said.

A Clue from the Talmud and Early Church Father

Building his case further for Nisan 1 as Jesus’ birthday, Cahn looks to an unlikely source — the Talmud, which contains ancient biblical interpretations by Jewish rabbis. According to Talmudic teachings, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all were born and died during the month of Nissan. Isaac in particular was a type of the coming Messiah.

“The first commandment was to begin everything in Nisan. It’s been forgotten by modern Judaism,” Cahn said. “It’s the real New Year. Not Rosh Hashana.”

In Exodus 12:1-2 it says about the month of Nisan: “God said to Moses and Aaron in the Land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be for you the beginning of the months; it shall be for you the first of the months of the year.’” In fact, the title “First of the Months” (“Rosh Hodashim” in Hebrew) is reserved in the Torah for the month of Nisan.

 In his quest for still more evidence that Nisan 1 was the birth date of Jesus, Cahn moves to the writings of the early Christian church father Hippolytus of Rome, who lived and taught in the third century, having been martyred in 235 A.D.

His writings are among the first that refer to Dec. 25 as the birth of Christ. But because one page of Hippolytus’ writings still mentions springtime as the proper birth date, some historians have speculated that his writings were later doctored to reflect the new Dec. 25 date with the caveat that the one reference to spring somehow got past the censors.

“There is one manuscript left that actually gives us two different dates,” Cahn said. “One says Messiah was born in the springtime. They forgot to put the Whiteout.”

In fact, the statue of Hippolytus in Rome today still mentions April 2 as the month of Christ’s birth.

The Final Clue

But beyond the physical, historical importance of nailing down the accurate birth date for the most important man in the history of the world, there is a spiritual reason that Cahn brings to our attention in “The Mishkan Clue.”

Yes, there’s more to this story than just setting the record straight.

It has to do with the Hebrew words “Mishkan” and “Goel.”

God’s instructions for the “goel” redeemer were given in the Torah. When a man died his next closest male kin was allowed to marry the widow. He may “redeem” her if he is not already married. This was the case when the widow Ruth was wedded to Boaz, her “kinsman redeemer” by whom she had a son. Boaz is a type of the Father God who brings the childless widow a redeemer. Boaz is the new father who brings a son.

“There is going to be one more Goel redemption,” Cahn says. “This time the Goel is going to be God. God is going to intervene in the line of Judah, the line of man. He comes to the virgin Merriam. God marries the creation. He fathers the Child.”

And that offspring is the Messiah. That matches up with the type of the Messiah in the book of Ruth, whose son is conceived in Bethlehem at the end of the wheat harvest. Go forward nine months and that ends up in the month of Nisan for his birth.

The last “clue” to Jesus’ birth lies in the mishkan and ties in with John 1:14 “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

In Hebrew, the translation for the word dwelling is something similar to a tent or “tabernacle,” which was a temporary dwelling place for God’s glory. The incarnation, God coming in the form of a temporary human body, also fits the theme of a tent, as Peter explain in his letter 2 Peter 1:13-14: “Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.”

“He pitched his tent among us or tabernacled with us,” Cahn said of the Messiah. “It wasn’t a sukkah it was a tent, a mishkan. The glory of God was in that tabernacle. Messiah’s incarnation is foreshadowed in God’s glory coming into the tent…the tabernacle.

The bottom line is that, through a deeper understanding of the birth of Messiah, Christians can experience the new birth every day, not just once a year, Cahn said.

“The real point is…It’s about God joining himself to your life,” Cahn says. “Being intimately joined with God through his Messiah. Every day in Christ should be like Nisan 1. A new birth. A new beginning. You cannot have life without that union. You cannot have new life. Your soul is waiting to get close with God. We need to get rid of the distractions. Nisan 1 is the day that everything is made new again. Your life was meant to be like this tabernacle, filled with the glory of God. In that place is the fullness of your healing, in that place comes your emotional healing, your joy, your shalom, your destiny.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/clue-to-christs-birth-date-revealed/#rhRKf1uA4t5rlEKe.99

The Church’s Prophetic Future

We know that the Church ultimately has a glorious  eternal future but most Christians do not seem to know what it might look like in the prophetic future. Many Christians believe that the Church will be in heaven, but I believe that one thing is absolutely certain, and that is that it will not remain the same as it is today. In the days that lie ahead it will undergo many remarkable and dramatic changes. God has forecast an amazing future for His redeemed community, but as we look into that future as portrayed in the Bible, we can clearly see the amazing transformations that will happen to the Church. I personally believe that the Church of the prophetic future will be transformed almost beyond recognition. It will be so glorious, powerful and authoritative that it will truly astound  the whole world. It will be comprised of an amazing army of  Messianic Jews and Gentiles who will become united to proclaim and announce the glorious Kingdom of God.

 Too many Churches and Christians  today have a very restricted view of the prophetic future. The reality and soon coming of the Kingdom of God on earth  is rarely ever mentioned, preached or considered in any detail.  Even among those who believe in the Kingdom of God have considered the reality that is will be established on the earth.Sadly most Christians seem to believe that the Church of the future will be in heaven, living in glorious mansions and spending eternity playing golden harps and continuously singing songs of worship. These Christians seem to give little credence to the prophecies that clearly indicate that the Messiah will be crowned king of kings and will rule over the nations on earth from His place on the throne of David in Jerusalem. In Ephesians we are given a glimpse of this glorious Church of the last days.

 Ephesians 5:27

“He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.”                                                                                                                                 (NLT)

The Church has always been notoriously slow to change anything. The hymn writer said “Like a mighty army moves the church of God.” But actually the Church has been moving more like a lazy tortoise. However,  the greatest changes in world history are scheduled to happen in the near future and everything will change whether we like it or not when the dispensation changes from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age. We need to be among those who through correct understanding of the Word of God and acute spiritual perception and anticipation are prematurely experiencing the essence of the world that is yet to come.

 Hebrews 6:4-5

“…those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and (experienced) the power of the age to come .”                                                                                                                                            (NLT)  Emphasis added

 Romans 8:23 

“…we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory.”                                                                                                                                            NLT

 1 Corinthians 10:11

 “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”                                                                                                                                    NKJV