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Date 12/3/14


Yesterday's Prophecies - Today's Headlines

French parliament votes in favor of symbolic motion to
recognize 'Palestine'

UN Security Council to consider 'Palestine' resolution

UN envoy to request set date to establish Palestinian state in
next round of peace talks
Jordan hopes for December vote on a UN Palestinian
UN assembly urges Israel to renounce nuclear weapons
Netanyahu Fires Centrist Israeli Ministers and Calls for New
Netanyahu: Israel must elect a new, bigger and more stable
Eyeing coalition with haredim, Netanyahu says he opposes
criminal sanctions for IDF draft dodgers
Peres: There will be no peace or security with Netanyahu
Hamas: Collapse of Israeli gov. indicates that we won the war
and Netanyahu was defeated
ICRC: World holds Israel to legal double standard
NGO seeks recognition of West Bank car collision as act of
Firebomb thrown at bus in east Jerusalem, no injuries
Students Urge Gov't: Recognize Abbas's Role in Munich
Roseanne to Cosby: Slam Israel, regain reputation
Jordan sends letter warning Israel over Temple Mount
Israel displeased by Iran's bid to attain key post on UN
Egyptian court sentences 185 to death for attack on police
Egypt's public prosecutor appeals Mubarak verdict
Iran bombs Islamic State targets in Iraq, says Pentagon

US strategy on ISIS suffers series of weaknesses, study finds

ISIS may possesss nuclear material stolen from Iraq, report
ISIS leader's wife, son have been detained in Lebanon
Gunmen attack Lebanese army patrol near border with Syria
ISIS recruits complain of cleaning toilets, iPod woes
Understanding Islamic Terrorism as Religious Sacrifice
Rise of Islamic schooling in Turkey upsets secular parents
At least 39 dead in Monday insurgent attack in north Nigeria
Kenya security chiefs ousted after new Shebab massacre
Hong Kong protest founders to 'surrender'
Gutierrez presses 'millions' to get documents ready for legal
As Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision Nears, NYPD Readies For
US Army Plans to Send Abrams Tanks and Bradleys to Eastern
Mikhail Gorbachev accuses US of stoking 'new Cold War'
Change of leadership in Crimea means property grab
Kerry: Sanctions haven't altered Moscow stance on Ukraine but
hit its economy
Falling oil prices hit Russia much harder than Western
Crumbling oil makes Putin more dangerous: Expert
OPEC: Saudi Prince says Riyadh won't cut oil unless others
Lower oil prices will help U.S. economy, two top Fed officials

Stock markets look much as they did in 2000 and 2007 - Five
reasons why markets are heading for a crash
Downtown Detroit Faces Major Blackout; Hundreds Evacuated
in Frigid Air
Detroit power failure raises alarms across the country
Venezuelan doctor to pay $90,000 fine for false bomb threat
Iranian hackers target major airlines, energy and defence
companies, US cyber security firm Cylance says
Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end
5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Amukta Island, Alaska
Philippines on Alert for Strengthening Typhoon Hagupit
Heavy Rain Prompts Flash Flood, Mud Flow Warnings
Throughout Southern California
Morocco storms kill 11: report
Worldwide Chocolate Shortage Linked to Drought in West
Africa, Indonesia
Glaciers in Antarctica are melting three times faster than
previously thought
New Dutch cull ordered after bird flu confirmed as H5N8
Obama requests $6 billion to help fight Ebola
North Korea accuses US of developing Ebola virus
Possible Ebola patient admitted to Boston hospital for
CDC Report: Abortion Rate Drops to 18 Percent, But 1 in 5
Pregnancies Still End in Abortion
District ordered to pay transgender student $75K
Parents Post Birth Announcement for Son After Sex Change

Vanuatu hangings lead to fears of sorcery violence spreading

across Pacific
India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, aims to rebrand and
promote yoga in India
Critics say Common Core includes collecting psych data on



Pre-Millennium - Pre-Tribulation - PrePARED
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(Featured Article at Bottom)


Gog-Magog Launches 'Wartime Government'

Headquarters In Major (WW-III?) Military Upgrade
Greg Laurie: No Question These Are the End
Times; America's Role as Superpower Will
Diminish as New World Order Forms
Has God Left America's House of Prayer?
How Did Christmas Become A Festival Of
Daily Jot: To survive, we must...
Daily Devotion: The Problem with Self-Esteem
Featured Article: The Cradle, the Cross and the

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Gog-Magog Launches 'Wartime Government'

Headquarters In Major (WW-III?) Military Upgrade

Russia is launching a new national defense facility, which is meant to monitor

threats to national security in peacetime, but would take control of the entire
country in case of war.
The new top-security, fortified facility in Moscow includes several large war
rooms, a brand new supercomputer in the heart of a state-of-the-art data
processing center, underground facilities, secret transport routes for
emergency evacuation and a helicopter pad, which was deployed for the first
time on Nov. 24 on the Moscow River. The Defense Ministry won't disclose
the price tag for the site, but it is estimated at the equivalent of several billion
The new National Defense Control Center (NDCC) is a major upgrade on
what was previously called the Central Command of the General Staff, a unit
tasked with round-the-clock monitoring of military threats against Russia,
particularly ballistic missile launches, and deployment of strategic nuclear

weapons. It was roughly a counterpart to the US National Military Command

Center, the Pentagon's principal command and control site.
The NDCC inherits all those functions, but also has plenty of extra roles as
well. In peacetime, an additional task is to monitor all of Russia's important
military assets, from hardware being produced by defense contractors to the
state of oil refineries, to weather conditions and their effect on transportation
And if Russia does get into a war, the center would act as a major
communication hub and a form of wartime government, delivering reports to
the country's military command and giving orders to all ministries, stateowned companies and other organizations, according to the needs of the
armed forces.
"The creation of NDCC was one of the biggest military projects of the past
few years. The closest analogy in the past in terms of functions and tasks
was the Commander-in-Chief HQ in 1941-45, which centralized all controls of
both the military machine and the economy of the nation in the interests of
the war," Lt. General Mikhail Mizintsev, the NDCC chief, told in an
The military says the upgrade has been long overdue. The national security
situation may be very fluid in modern times, and instead of days the
leadership may have only an hour to take crucial military decisions. The
center's job is to offer the Defense Minister and the President options in case
of emergency, which would be based on facts, figures and accurate
Potentially the biggest part of the upgrade was the creation of communication
and data processing equipment that would give the military computer power
and software needed to factor in hundreds of parameters in their
mathematical models. The Defense Ministry had to use only domesticallyproduced hardware due to security considerations, which limited its options.
According to officials, the result is a very robust computer network with stateof-art data encryption and multiple backup sites spread throughout the
country, which would keep the center functional even if its main facility in
Moscow is damaged by an enemy attack or sabotage.
The center employs over 1,000 officers working on a rotating watch system.
Mizintsev said the armed forces selected their best officer for the posts, many
of which are new for the Russian military and require skills not previously
taught to officers on a regular basis until recently. They have been operating
in trial mode since April.

A thoroughly military facility, the NDCC has an unexpected civilian

component to it. Its location in Moscow is close to two major hospitals,
including the Pirogov trauma center. Both hospitals are quite old and their
original designs didn't provide for dedicated helicopter pads.
The Defense Ministry said the medics can share NDCC's new pad on the
Moscow River for emergency patient transportation. The pad can
accommodate helicopters weighing up to 15 tons, enough to land a Mil Mi-8,
world's most-produced transport helicopter, or a Mil Mi-38, its designated

Greg Laurie: No Question These Are the End Times;

America's Role as Superpower Will Diminish as New
World Order Forms - Stephanie Samuel
Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside,
California and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California, shares the Gospel
with a sold-out crowd of 19,000 for Harvest America at the American Airlines
Center and Victory Park in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 5, 2014.
Harvest Ministries Pastor Greg Laurie said Sunday his study of Bible
prophecy and current events shows America will fade as the world's foremost
superpower in the last days, either because it will join with the antichrist or it
will be diminished by the rapture.
In a November 30 sermon entitled "Israel, Iran, ISIS and Bible Prophecy,"
Laurie preached that Christians are now living in the "last days" before the
fulfillment of various End Times prophecies laid out in the Bible book of
Revelations. Current events such as Israel establishing itself as a nation,
Russia alignment with Iran and the rise of Islamic extremism, he said, are
setting the stage for a predicted conflict in which the world's forces turns
against Israel.
One force that will be missing during that conflict, Laurie says, is the United
States of America. "[As] the forces of antichrist emerge, I believe that
America will fade from the scene." Putting the United States in the context of
Scripture, he explained, "We are not found in the End Times scenario."
Laurie believes that America's absence in the global map described in the

Revelations can be explained by one of two scenarios. "No one can say with
certainty, but it would appear that we're going to fade as a world power
[because] maybe we fall in line as one of the confederated nations under the
antichrist but the version I prefer the most is we would have the rapture and
so many Americans would be taken to heaven that that would be the
explanation for our demise as a nation."
The rapture is an event during which premillennialist Christians believe that
Jesus' followers, dead and alive, will be "caught up" from the earth to be
united with Christ according to 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Premillennialists also believe that Jesus will return to the earth to establish a
time of peace called the Millennial. Laurie said Christ's second coming is
"very, very close."
"The last day's events can be likened as I've said before to a lot of dominos
stacked together ... so it's like a lot of dominos closely stacked together.
There's a chain of events that are going to unfold in rapid succession
beginning with the emergence of the antichrist and ending with the battle of
Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ and once that first domino falls
these things are going to happen like this," Laurie said snapping his fingers.
Premillennialist believe Jesus' second coming will be ushered in by a period
of religious persecution called the Great Tribulation. The California pastor
quoted Bible passages and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to
show that the Great Tribulation is at hand.
"Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was quoted recently stating that the world
is experiencing 'historic defining times that will result in a new world order'
while questioning America's role in the emerging world. Elaborating further
Hagel said 'This is a time of global transformation. We are essentially seeing
a new world order evolving and being built. I don't think we've seen such a
time since right after World War II.'"
He summed, "I don't know what Defense Secretary Hagel meant by that but I
believe a new world order is coming."
As this order forms, Laurie predicted that Russia, Sudan and Iran will come
together to take on Israel.
Referring to Old Testament prophecies, he explained, "[In] Ezekial 39 God
says to Magog in Verse 2, 'I'll turn you and drive you toward the mountains of
Israel, bringing you from the distant north.' Well if you look to the north of
Israel, you find the large nation known as Russia. Is this describing Russia? I
think it very well may be. I don't think anyone can say with absolute certainty
say its Russia but I think you can make a very good case for it being Russia.

But what I find interesting is the allies that march with Magog. There's
Ethiopia, what we call modern-day Sudan, Libya would be Libya and then
there's Iran because Persia is mentioned and Persia is modern-day Iran."
Although U.S. President Barack Obama reopened talks last year with Iran for
the first time since 1979, Laurie believes Iran is a "formidable enemy" that
still wants to destroy Israel despite its new leader. He also noted Iran and
Russia are allies and have an agreement to sell and purchase arms from one
Laurie also analyzed the emergence of Islamic terrorist group ISIS as a sign
of the times: "Originally they were written off as junior varsity and we were
told these guy are not a formidable threat. In fact, former Secretary of
Defense Hagel said they were a formidable threat but some didn't believe
they were and then they emerged as this terrorist army. We've never faced a
terrorist group like this before."
End time prophecies are a controversial topic both inside and outside
Christian circles. Such discussions are regarded with skepticism outside of
the Church after the failed predictions of American preachers such as Harold
Camping and Edgar Whisenant. Inside of the Church, Christians are divided
over the interpretations of Peter's visions and often break into three different
camps: premillennial, postmillennial and amillennial.
Laurie understands his message is controversial but said, "I will not avoid a
political issue because it's controversial. As far as I'm concerned, I want to
know what the Bibles says and that's where I'm going to stand and land
every time."
If anything, the Harvest Ministries leader hopes such discussions it will spur
Christians under the sound of his voice to spread the Gospel and hasten the
"It would appear to me that God is waiting for that last person to believe and
then rapture of the church happens and then it would seem to me looking at
the big picture prophetically that these events that we're talking about today
will start to fall into place," he described in the Sunday sermon.


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times put together like a jigsaw puzzle. The gospel is presented clearly with tender

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the courage to show this DVD rather than the garbage materials of the emergent
church movement." - John Wicklund Board President for Olive Tree Ministries
"I received The End of Times DVD today. It is Superb! For those that don't know much,
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the happenings in Israel today. Particularly effective is the emotional ending showing
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destiny. Many commentators have said Israel is God's hour hand, Jerusalem is the
minute hand, and the Temple Mount is the second hand on God's timepiece. The
video is a great introduction and myth-buster for those who do not know of the
importance of Israel in God's eyes or who believe Israel has as much significance in
today's world as Madagascar or the Canary Islands." - John Wicklund, Chairman Olive
Tree Ministries Board of Directors
Got the DVD today and just finished watching it...outstanding!!! Loved it!!! - G.
Madison - Oklahoma
I watched "Israel God's Timepiece" last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have loved
Israel ever since I read the book "Exodus", when I was in the Army in 1958. I do
everything I can to support Israel and get people involved in what they are going
through, and more than that, to pray for Peace in Jerusalem, according to Psalm 122.
Your DVD was a fitting tribute to this wonderful, spectacular country and God's very
own "baby". Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Very well done. - J. Masters Mississippi
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it is actually the best film we have seen on end time events. - Bill & Brenda Hicks
At first I thought it was going to be another routine message but as it progressed it
became more and more impressive. It was a great message. Congratulations on a very
well presented and produced DVD. - R. Webb - Williamsburg
Another effective witness from Randy and Prophecy Update. The "There will be
Tribulation" video describes the purpose and the sequence of events during the final
seven years prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The linkage to many Old
Testament prophecies clearly show the importance of the nation of Israel to this
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Has God Left America's House of Prayer? - By Daymond Duck


Greek experts say the English word "apostasy" means to withdraw, stand
away from, fall away from, or depart from the faith. Bible prophecy experts
say departing from the faith is a sign that the end of the Church Age has
arrived. They base this on something Paul said:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim.
Apostasy is as old as the church, but professing believers who teach
heresies will be a major problem in the organized church when the Rapture is
In 1893, the U.S. Congress gave a charter to the Episcopal Church to build a
cathedral in Washington, DC. That Cathedral quickly became the location of
religious services of national significance. The funerals of several U.S.
presidents, senators and congressmen have been held there.
That Cathedral also became known as America's "National House of
Prayer." Monthly prayer meetings have been held there including prayer for
our nation during WW II. Special prayer services have been held there
including a prayer service for our nation following the 9/11/2001 terrorist
attack on the United States.
On Nov. 14, 2014, a Muslim prayer service was held at America's "National
House of Prayer." Many prayer carpets were spread in the sanctuary;
hundreds of Muslims turned their back on the cross; hundreds bowed toward
Mecca and said, "There is only one god, he begets not (doesn't have a Son)
and I bear witness that Muhammad is His only servant and Apostle" (Jesus is
not God's Servant and there are not Twelve Apostles).
Christians believe John was an apostle. He wrote five books of the Bible
including these words:
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist,
that denieth the Father and the Son" (1 Jn. 2:22).
The apostle John also said:
"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus
Christ is come in the flesh is of God:And every spirit that confesseth not that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is thatspirit of
antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already
is it in the world" (1 Jn. 4:2-3).

The Muslim denial that God has a Son is a lie and nothing less than the spirit
of Antichrist in America's "National House of Prayer." It is a doctrine of the
devil that was organized and promoted by church leaders who have departed
from the faith. It is no wonder that the Episcopal Church has lost more than
40 percent of its members since the middle 1960s.
I have presented this as an example of a church falling away from the faith to
the group of Bible prophecy lovers that I have the honor of meeting with each
week. I wrote this article to share their responses with those who read this.
One very perceptive lady said, "This tells you the temperature of that church."
She was referring to the fact that Jesus told the church at Laodicea:
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or
hot.So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue
thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:15-16).
The church officials that put that service together are a perfect example of
people that would say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need
of nothing" (Rev. 3:17); people that know not that they are wretched,
miserable, poor, blind and naked; people that know not that they are
spiritually poor; people that know not that their nakedness must be covered
with the righteousness of God's living Son; people that are blind to the fact
that He is the only way to be saved and worshipping Allah condemns
multitudes to hell.
One very perceptive man said, "It reminds me that President Obama said,
'We (the people of the U.S.) are no longer a Christian nation.'"
He is right. America has fundamentally changed and clergy like those
wretched, miserable leaders at the Episcopal Church in Washington, DC are
a major contributing factor. Clergy that should be defending the faith have
been seduced by evil spirits (1 Tim. 4:1). They call Jesus Lord, claim to
preach in His name and claim to do many wonderful things like this odious
event, but Jesus doesn't know them (Matt.7:22-23).
Another very perceptive lady said, "It is obvious that before those church
officials invited the Muslims to blaspheme God He had already left our
National Cathedral."
She is right. God will not share America's "House of Prayer" with Allah. Here
is fundamental change we can believe in: Either Allah goes or God goes and
it is quite possible that God has already left. It is quite possible that future
prayers in that defiled place will not be answered.

During the service a woman shouted out, "Leave our churches alone." She
was escorted out of the church shouting, "Why can't you worship in your
Church officials thought it was okay to allow Muslims to blaspheme Jehovah
during that service in America's "House of Prayer," but it was not okay for a
Christian to stand up for the faith at that time. Can those church officials
honestly claim that they were sharing the gospel with their Muslim guests?
No one can deny that we should have order in the church and everything
should be done for the glory of God. But worshipping Allah wasn't done for
the glory of God. And the problem wasn't the woman who shouted out.
The problem was the religious church leaders who foolishly scheduled a
service and allowed a Muslim imam to come into the church and say that
"God has no son, that Jesus Christ cannot be his son, and there is no god
like Allah."
If those church leaders don't condemn the heresy that occurred in that
church, their hearts are not right with God and they are a part of the spirit of
antichrist that prevailed there.
Oh, I know they said they were trying to promote tolerance among faiths. But
that was only to appear godly and to try to justify their decision to ignore the
Scriptures and compromise the faith. Paul spoke about this:
"This know also, that in the last days . . . . people will have a form of
godliness" (2 Tim. 3:1-6). It is easy to understand why Jesus will spew out
the lukewarm.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck

How Did Christmas Become A Festival Of Greed? - By

Michael Snyder -

For most people, Christmas is all about the presents. But how did such a
supposedly sacred holiday become a festival of greed? Not many people

know the history behind Christmas gift giving, and it will probably shock you.
This year, Americans will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 600
billion dollars on Christmas, but most people have no coherent explanation
for why they are buying all of these gifts. Those that are Christian will tell you
that they are doing it to celebrate the birth of Christ, but as you will see
below, gift giving on this holiday originated long before Christ was born.
Others will tell you that they are just following tradition, but most of them have
absolutely no idea where the tradition of Christmas gift giving originally came
from. And the truth is that most people simply don't care about the history.
They are just excited about all of the stuff that they are going to get on
December 25th. But if you are curious to learn how Christmas became a
festival of greed, just keep reading...
In early America, there was no Christmas gift giving. In fact, the Puritans
greatly disapproved of celebrating the holiday, and in some areas the
celebration of Christmas was actually banned by law.
For example, if you were caught celebrating Christmas in the state of
Massachusetts from 1659 to 1681 you could be fined five shillings...
On May 11, 1659, the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature even went so
far as to officially ban Christmas and gave anyone found celebrating it a fine
of five shillings. The legislature stated the ban was needed "For preventing
disorders arising in severall places within this jurisdiceon, by reason of some
still observing such festivalls as were superstitiously kept in other countrys, to
the great dishonnor of God & offence of others, it is therefore ordered ... that
whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like,
either by for-bearing of labour, feasting, or any other way, upon any such
account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every
such offence five shillings, as a fine to the county."
The ban remained in place for 22 years until it was repealed in 1681 after a
new surge of European immigrants brought a demand for the holiday. Even
though the ban was lifted, Christmas was not warmly embraced by the
puritans and it remained a dull and muted holiday over two centuries later.
But weren't the Puritans Christians?
Didn't they want to honor the Lord Jesus?
Of course they were Christians. They took their faith incredibly seriously. But
they also knew their history a lot better than we do.
Most Christians do not realize this, but Christians did not celebrate anything
in late December for the first 300 years after the time of Jesus. The only
people that celebrated anything at that time were the pagans.

By now, most of you are probably aware of the great Roman celebration
known as Saturnalia. But most people don't know that our tradition of gift
giving can be traced back to that holiday. The following is how Wikipedia
describes this ancient pagan festival...
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held
on the 17th of December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with
festivities through to the 23rd of December. The holiday was celebrated with
a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public
banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival
atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted,
and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called
it "the best of days."
Most people do not realize this, but the priests of Saturn would even carry
wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the pagan Roman
temples. These processions probably looked at least a little bit similar to our
Christmas parades today.
So precisely who was Saturn? Here is more from Wikipedia...

Saturn (Latin: Saturnus) is a god in ancient Roman religion, and a character

in myth. Saturn is a complex figure because of his multiple associations and
long history. He was the first god of the Capitol, known since the most
ancient times as Saturnius Mons, and was seen as a god of generation,
dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. In
later developments he came to be also a god of time. His reign was depicted
as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. The Temple of Saturn in the Roman
Forum housed the state treasury. In December, he was celebrated at what is
perhaps the most famous of the Roman festivals, the Saturnalia, a time of
feasting, role reversals, free speech, gift-giving and revelry. Saturn the planet
and Saturday are both named after the god.
Eventually, the Romans began holding a festival at the end of Saturnalia on
December 25th called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, which means "the birthday of
the unconquered sun". Throughout the empire, the "rebirth of the sun" was
celebrated with great revelry. The winter solstice was past and now the days
were starting to get longer again. It was a seemingly logical time to honor
"the rebirth of the sun god".
When the Roman Empire legalized Christianity in the early 4th century, the
Roman government began to put a lot of pressure on church leaders to fit
into the broader society. So eventually the birthday of the Son of God was
moved to the time when the rest of society was celebrating "the rebirth of the

sun god". December 25th was first celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in
about 336 AD, and in the year 350 AD Pope Julius I officially decreed that
Christians would celebrate that day from then on. At first, the new holiday
was slow to be adopted by Christians and it was not widely observed until
about the year 400.
And of course Jesus was not actually born in late December. The evidence
that we have indicates that he was most probably born in the fall during the
Feast of Tabernacles. The only reason people celebrate the birth of Jesus
on December 25th today is because the Catholics of the 4th century wanted
to appease the pagan Roman government and the pagan culture at large.
Over time, the practice of gift giving during late December faded, and by the
early 19th century the big tradition was actually to open presents on New
Year's Day. But then merchants saw an opportunity. According to historians,
advertisements for "Christmas presents" began appearing in newspapers in
the United States in the 1820s...

Buying gifts to celebrate Christmas is steeped in tradition, dating to the 1820s

when newspapers began to advertise items for Christmas presents,
according to the Connecticut Historical Society.
"This holiday market place is part of the larger birth of the consumer culture
that extends itself to all aspects of our social life," said Leigh Eric Schmidt,
author of "Consumer Rites" (Princeton University Press, 1995).
Schmidt, a professor of religion at Princeton University in New Jersey, said if
the nation had continued the practice of giving gifts only as mementos for
New Year's, Christmas would not have evolved into the huge retail venture it
is today. There would have been more focus on the religious aspects of the
holiday. But all that changed when gift-giving became a way to honor family
And at first, Christmas in America was nothing like the festival of greed that it
is today. Gifts were usually small, modest and personal. The following is one
description of the tradition of Christmas gift giving during that era...
In the 1820s, '30s and '40s merchants had noticed the growing role of gifts in
the celebration of Christmas and New Year. Starting in the mid- to late1850s, imaginative importers, craftspersons and storekeepers consciously
reshaped the holidays to their own ends even as shoppers elevated the place
of Christmas gifts in their home holiday. However, for all the efforts of
businessmen to exploit the season Americans persistently attempted to
separate the influence of commerce from the gifts they gave.

What emerged was a kind of dialogue between consumers and merchants.

Many gift-givers, for instance, ranked handmade gifts over purchased or
totally manufactured ones. Retailers responded by marketing partially
assembled goods to which givers applied the finishing touches. Americans
also moderated the relationship between commerce and giving by wrapping
the gifts they gave. The custom had once been merely to give a gift
unadorned and uncovered, but a present hidden in paper heightened the
effect of the gesture, fixing the act of giving to a moment of revelation.
Wrapping also helped designate an item as a gift. As gifts came increasingly
from stores, factories and homes of cottage labourers, paper and string
helped redefine an object to meet its social use. The commercial work
comprehended the importance of this symbolic transformation of goods.
Grander stores began to wrap gifts purchased from their stock in distinctive,
coloured papers, tinsel cords and bright ribbons, as part of their delivery
services. Thus, while paper might have blurred a present's association with
commerce in some cases, in others it advertised a material status associated
with patronizing the 'right' store.
Over time, Christmas gifts came to be associated with a mythical gift giver in
cultures all over the globe.
Of course in the United States this mythical gift giver is known as "Santa
Claus", but in other areas of the planet the traditions are very different...
Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and
Colombia) holds that while Santa makes the toys, he then gives them to the
Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children's
homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the
iconography of Santa Claus imported from the United States.
In South Tyrol (Italy), Austria, Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Hungary,
Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland, the Christkind (Jezisek in Czech,
Jezuska in Hungarian and Jezisko in Slovak) brings the presents. Greek
children get their presents from Saint Basil on New Year's Eve, the eve of
that saint's liturgical feast. The German St. Nikolaus is not identical with the
Weihnachtsmann (who is the German version of Santa Claus / Father
Christmas). St. Nikolaus wears a bishop's dress and still brings small gifts
(usually candies, nuts, and fruits) on December 6 and is accompanied by
Knecht Ruprecht. Although many parents around the world routinely teach
their children about Santa Claus and other gift bringers, some have come to
reject this practice, considering it deceptive.
This article may upset some people because their Christmas traditions are so
deeply cherished.
But there is no reason to be upset.

If you are going to do something, you should know why you are doing it.
Knowing our history empowers us to take control of our lives and to make
better decisions.
As a Christian, I never knew any of the history behind Christmas when I was
growing up. So I could never explain the reasons for why I was doing the
things that I was doing to others.
And no holiday should ever be a festival of greed.
So whatever you are celebrating this time of the year, make sure it is for the
right reasons and not the wrong ones.

Daily Jot: To survive, we must... - Bill Wilson -

On October 29, 1941, a year after one of the darkest hours of World War II
for Great Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed his alma mater
Harrow School. Here emerged one of the most famous quotes (which oft has
been misquoted): "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never-in
nothing, great or small, large or petty-never give in, except to convictions of
honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently
overwhelming might of the enemy." This quote will hopefully embolden you,
encourage you, strengthen you as it did to Brits and their allies as they fought
one of the gravest evils to darken the steps of mankind. We have a similar
fight ahead.
This nation suffers a character crisis. The preaching of an extra-biblical,
emotional, and self-indulgent gospel from the pulpit, and parenting children
without morality and character has allowed this nation over the years to fall
into a morass. We step up to do what we can; what we think is the best, but
little changes. Even to the point of the last election--throwing out some of the
trouble. Now we have a majority of people who claim they will turn things
around. But, unfortunately, there are many of them who have been brought
up in the same manner that is a reflection of what is not right about our
country. So accountability must be held by each of us--we must never, never,
never give in.
I visited the Senate to sit in on a hearing about sports and domestic violence.

What little confidence I had in our elected leaders was even less after the
hearing. These senators were ill-prepared and lacked understanding of not
only the issue, but business and employment in general. While they were
short on understanding, they were long on grandstanding. This was not a
partisan characteristic. Senators from both sides were demanding that
corporations pay for government programs to end domestic violence-programs with no proven track record. It seemed to me that domestic
violence, which is a complex issue, was being boiled down to a very simple
issue--shameless shakedown and wealth redistribution.
After promising to fight illegal alien amnesty, Speaker of the House John
Boehner wants to put only "symbolic" language disagreeing with the
"president" into legislation. My several emails to "The Speaker" on this very
subject resulted in an email asking me to follow him on social media, and
another thanking me for my continued support. Congress is ignoring its
Constitutional duties. For America to survive, which means for you to survive,
we must instill accountability in our elected officials. We must not give in.
Psalm 94:16-17 says, "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who
will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the Lord had
been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence." Let us be silent no more.
Let us be louder than those who usurp the will of the people and are drunk on
their own power.

Daily Devotion: The Problem with Self-Esteem - Greg

Laurie -

The second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There
is no other commandment greater than these. -Mark 12:30-31
When Scripture says, "Love your neighbor as yourself," it is not saying, "First
learn to love yourself, and then love your neighbor." Rather, it is saying, "It is
obvious you already love yourself. Love your neighbor in the same way." It is
this love of self, this obsession with self, that gets us into trouble. We don't
need a better self-image. We don't need greater self-esteem. And we
certainly don't need more self-love.
But here is what we do need. Jesus said "If anyone desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23).
Notice that He did not say, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him
esteem himself " or "let him love himself." Rather, Jesus said, "Let him deny
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." In the original language,

the word deny means "to repudiate, to disdain, to disown, to forfeit, to totally
disregard." That is not an easy thing to do.
So in reality, the basic problem in our lives is not our spouse. It is not our
boss. It is not our neighbors. It is not our upbringing. It is not low self-esteem.
And it is not a poor self-image. It is the overt love of ourselves. Jesus said,
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and
they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matthew 15:1819).
So here is what it comes down to: the ultimate choice in life is between
pleasing ourselves and pleasing God.



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Featured Article: The Cradle, the Cross and the

Crown - Pete Garcia

As we approach the coming Christmas Season, it is fitting for Christian

households and churches to focus on the first coming of Jesus Christ.
In times past, and perhaps not so much anymore, one could see the manger
scenes in town squares and in front of churches of all
denominations. Christmas cards bearing a Star or three Wisemen are also
passed amongst believers during this season. Preachers preach
predominantly from Matthew 1-2, churches hold cantatas and the sounds of
"peace on earth, good will toward men" fill the ears of believers around the
world. Bethlehem, Israel becomes the focus of world stage once again, as
Christians flock to the Church of the Nativity, which is currently held hostage
by the Palestinian movement.
The Cradle
Perhaps people like to focus on Christ as an innocent baby or focus on the
role of parenthood as Mary and Joseph cared for this child who came about
supernaturally. Even the virgin birth of Christ and the role of Mary figures
large in Catholic circles, while those who are apt to deny it, figures large in
liberal and secular circles. The one thing that could not be said of this
season, is that it is anything less than controversial; as skeptics and atheists
seemingly attempt to wage war against this one particular holiday.
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of
a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that
we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV
When the fullness of time had a phrase so packed with meaning
that it would not be possible to break it all down in the limited space (or
ability) I have at my disposal. But it speaks to the eternal purpose of God's
plan for the redemption of mankind and of all created order. It speaks to the
specific moments on man's timeline, when God would intervene, in a
supernatural and visible way, to put feet to His plan.
Dr. Andy Woods makes much use of this phrase in his teachings, and really
brought to my mind, the preciseness and purpose for why God chose that
particular time frame for Christ's first coming. Consider these points:
1.Since Alexander the Great, Koine Greek became the predominant common
language in the Mediterranean. Koine Greek, is a very precise language
which is perfect for capturing the original intent and meaning of the matter which language they get translated into in the future.
2.The Roman republic form of government ends under Julius Caesar and he
creates a total dynastic dictatorship under what would become the rule of the
Caesars. Christ was born and dies under the reign of a Caesar and will
return one day when another Caesar (Antichrist) who has set his empire up
over the whole world.
3.The Romans perfected the creation of the road networks which spanned
across the boundaries of the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Europe and even up
into Britain.
4.Israel remained under the subjugation of Gentile powers (as described in
Daniel 2:31-45, 7, 8, & 11) which had played out from the time of their exile to
Babylon (605-539BC)
So looking at it from a holistic point of view, there was a common language
(Koine Greek), advanced network for travel (all roads lead to Rome),
dominant pagan world power (fertile fields no doubt) and Israel in the final
years before her diaspora.
Unknown exactly which year Christ was born, or rather, is in much dispute to
the exact year, we know when He was born, the nation of Israel wasn't
expecting it. We know from the world's perspective, the birth of the Christ
was in some backwater province of the Roman Empire and didn't even
register a blip on their geo-geo-political radar. We know Christ lived up unto
the age of 30 virtually as an unknown, before exploding onto the scene to
present the world with 3 years of God in the flesh, ministry. At the end of
that, He managed to make the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots mad
enough to trump up false charges and have Him brought before the
Sanhedrin to be tried as a political prisoner.
The Cross
In Genesis 49, Jacob was blessing his sons, who would become the heads of
the 12 tribes of Israel. When Jacob came to bless Judah, he gave him an
interesting prophecy;
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Also, in Numbers 24:17, the prophet Balaam prophesied that this same
scepter would be accompanied by a Star, by which the wise men (Matt. 2:2)
would know where this One born King of the Jews would be.
"I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;

A Star shall come out of Jacob;

A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab,
And destroy all the sons of tumult
Now, modern Jewish scholars today will refute that Christ is the Messiah.
Their argument is that the 'scepter' departed from Judah back in 605BC
when the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to
Jerusalem. Furthermore, that from then, until 1948, the Jewish nation had
been under some form of Gentile domination. All that is true. But what is
also true, is that the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, allowed
the Jews to have semi-autonomous rule (Zerubbabel, Ezra, Maccabeus) over
themselves, up until King Herod Archelaus was removed from power by
Julius Caesar in 6AD (Josephus, Antiquities 17:13). That's when the Jews
lost any remaining semblance of autonomy, and were subject to a series of
Roman procurators, Pontius Pilate being one.
Since Jews were either not anticipating the coming of their Messiah or had
largely ignored the literal fulfillment of the prophecies pertaining to Christ's
first coming, they thought they had lost their right to wield capital punishment
on Him, which is why they had to turn it over to Pilate for the official
sentence. Now, that didn't stop them previously from trying to stone Him to
death on a couple prior occasions when they were riled up, but He always
managed to allude them. (John 8:58-59, 10:30-33) They (the Sanhedrin)
didn't want to crucify Him on Passover because of the negative publicity, but
again, the timing was such that God orchestrated everything to coincide with
exactly the Passover Feast. (Mark 14:1-2; 1 Cor. 2:6-8)
The victory at the Cross represented something much more significant than a
literal kingdom on earth (which is still yet to come), but that Christ conquered
death and hell. (Rev. 1:18) Because Christ had to be a man to die for the
rest of mankind as our Kinsman Redeemer, Christ willingly endured the joy
set before Him, in order to pay the price for OUR salvation. (Lev. 25; Heb.
12:2; Rev. 5:6-10) It would be equivalent to God rigging a game that placed
all the burden and rules against Himself, so that by His losing, we win. Christ
trading His own perfect holiness, for our sinful and corrupted lives, is oft
referred to as the most lopsided trade in all of recorded history...yet, that is
exactly what transpired. We don't think about it this way, but God the Son,
traded His former estate, to take on forever, that of God in a glorified human
The Crown
I've often heard Amillennialists and Preterists state emphatically, that Christ
will not return to rule and reign on earth, because they say that we are now in
the Kingdom. I couldn't disagree more. The Scriptures tell us, that this

world, is under the sway and control of Satan himself. (Luke 4:5-6; 1 Peter
5:8; 1 John 5:19; Rev. 2:13) As much as these might wish, the Cross didn't
usher in some Edenic age where lambs lay down with wolfs, children play
with cobras, and nations beat their swords into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4, 11:28). Any interpretation that detracts from the actuality that God Himself will
right the wrongs, and restore nature back to its original order. Anything less
than that, is to depart from the plain reading of the text into allegorical folly.
It was to King David that God said,

"And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with
your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons;
and I will establish his kingdom." (1 Chron. 17:11)
God states over and over, that the Kingdom Come is not established by man
or by earthly efforts, but by God Himself. (Dan. 2:44-45; Psalm 2; Rev. 19:1116) There is the idea that the Kingdom is purely spiritual, and is argued that
the Kingdom is now in play, only in the heavenly realms, this by taking
several texts out of context. (Luke 17:20-22; Romans 14:17)
If those who deny the literal coming Millennial Kingdom on earth had their
way, Christ would only come to earth to die, and not to reign; for Christ to be
born 'King of the Jews', but to not actually become "King of the Jews"; for
Him to ride a donkey, but not a white horse; for Christ to be spat on, beaten,
and hang naked upon a cross of shame, but not to return in triumphal glory
coming on the clouds with the armies of heaven behind Him.
If Christ doesn't return, then He remains defeated on the earth that He spoke
into existence, that God's word does not mean what it says, and that God
can break, unbreakable promises.
The reason that men and women promote these heterodox teachings, is
because man made religion, whether it be Roman Catholic or Protestant and
have become too invested in the things of this world. They want life to
continue on or maybe they just see life continuing on and on in some endless
cycle of man rising and falling. (2 Peter 3) They have to depart from a plain
sense reading of the text and insert their own interpretation which supplants
God's promise to return in victory, and claim what is rightfully His. And not
only to claim what is His, but that every knee should bow, whether it is in
heaven, on earth, under the earth, throughout all of creation, and confess
that Jesus Christ is King. (Philippians 2:9-11) Are these folk saying that
Christ is free to rule everywhere, but the earth?
The Christ-rejecting world, as well as those Christians who have fallen into
spiritual slumber, will be astonished in that Day, when Christ comes for His

Church. That Day, opens the window of time, for the Tribulation to begin. It
doesn't begin the Tribulation, but the Church has to be removed prior to the
start of that final week of years, in which at some point afterwards (days,
weeks, months, years), the seven year Tribulation will begin just as it is noted
in Daniel 9:27. The final seven years will be the most horrific, violent, and
devastating period of time humanity has ever seen. (Matt. 24:21-22) God will
accomplish two things by it. First, He disciplines Israel, and second, He
destroys all the Gentile nations round about her, by bringing the whole
Babylonian system crashing to the ground. (Jer. 30:7-11)
It is noted in the Prophets, that THAT DAY will begin in unimaginable
calamity, perhaps masking the Church's departure. The prophet Joel
"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the
coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord". Paul writes that "For you
yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the
night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction
comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall
not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should
overtake you as a thief." 1 Thess. 5:2-4
Make no mistake that the Lord will return and will come in the clouds and in
great power and glory. Christ will come and reclaim that which was lost with
Adam. He has the title deed to the earth. He no longer wears the crown of
thorns, but now wears 'many crowns', meaning He has ALL authority.
When the holy prophet Isaiah saw the throne room, he was undone. When
the holy prophet Daniel sees the throne room, he was shaken. When John
sees the glorified Christ in all His splendor, he falls over as dead. How much
more traumatized will an unrepentant, Christ rejecting world be, when it sees
the sky splitting open and Christ returning in power and glory? The whole
world will mourn. (Rev. 1:7) The world at this moment doesn't care. The
religionists try to minimalize or explain-away His soon coming with fanciful
wordsmithing. Those actively opposed to Christ, who loathe Him and are
filled with vengeance because this age is coming to an end, are ramping up
evil in these final moments...
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness,
godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay
hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the
good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of
God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the
good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment
without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will
manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King

of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in

unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor
and everlasting power. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:11-16

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