Friday, January 10, 2020

BIBLE PROPHECY — WAR WITH IRAN?

This week the United States almost went to war with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Has the crisis passed, or is this just the lull before the storm? Does Bible prophecy have any answers for us?

Fortunately, the Bible has a lot to say about End Time events. This is because God wants us to know that He has not been caught by surprise and that He is in control, thus giving us the comfort and hope we will need as events unfold in the world.

IRAN

Iran is a powerful nation of more than 80 million people, possessing a military ranked at number 14 in the world. Compare that with Israel, with a military ranking of 17. While the United States is ranked number 1 in the world, the United States has world-wide responsibilities while Iran, aided by powerful proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, could concentrate their forces in the Middle East. 

It is also reported that Iran has some 2,000 ballistic missiles, some of which can reach out 2,500 miles, putting every American base in the region within range of attack. And that does not even take into consideration terrorist sleeper cells within the United States that could wreak havoc at home. 

Be sure to be at church this Sunday, January 12th, as the topic of my sermon will be what End Time Bible Prophecy has to say about Iran, her allies, and the coming Battle of Gog and Magog. Thankfully, the Bible has a lot to say on this topic. You will not want to miss this very important sermon. Be sure to invite your friends. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there!

THE BATTLE OF GOG AND MAGOG

Whether or not war flares up between the United States and Iran in the immediate future, we do know that the Bible foretells a major war and an invasion of Israel in the End Times. Some of the aggressor nations involved are Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya and Sudan, among others. Everything is now in place for such an invasion, and it could happen almost any time. I will be teaching about this from the Bible on Sunday during my sermon. Don’t miss it!

Yesterday (January 9, 2020) an article was published in Breaking Israel News, an Israeli news site, titled,

End of Days Expert: “Iran Sharpening Swords for Gog and Magog”

The article reports, “Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-times author, stated a disclaimer that it is impossible to definitively state when the War of Gog and Magog begins. ‘That being said, we have been seeing the signs of Gog and Magog for some time now,’ Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. ‘It will come as the result of many disparate seemingly insignificant acts that all culminate in something major. That is the way prophecy and history work.’”

The article continues, “‘All the conditions exist for a no-holds-barred multinational conflict in the Middle East, precisely the type of conflict described by the prophets as preceding the Messiah,’ Rabbi Winston said. ‘You can be sure that Iran is sharpening their swords right now. For peace to exist, both sides have to be afraid of war. You don’t have that here. Iran wants a war to bring a great fiery war to bring Mahdi and to get rid of the ‘Great Satan.’”

Rabbi Winston says, this war would be “precisely the type of conflict described by the prophets as preceding the Messiah.” Both Christians and Jews read the same Bible prophecies and come to the same conclusion — Messiah is coming soon. Jews are looking forward to the advent of the Messiah, while Christians await his second advent.

You will want to read this article from yesterday. Here is the link:


As I mentioned, Christians read the same prophecies as the Jews and come to the same conclusion about the Battle of Gog and Magog and the coming of the Messiah. I am attaching an article for you from a Christian source that says the same thing. You will want to read it:

Why the Russia-Turkey-Iran Alliance Could Be More Disturbing Than You Think


RUSSIA

How could Russia be involved in such an alliance you may ask? As we have discussed from the pulpit a number of times over the years, God did give the Russian people warnings about the coming communist revolution and the subsequent persecution of believers. He also promised eventual deliverance, but further warned that it would be only for a short time.

I am going to quote two such predictions for you, along with a summary of these prophecies by Russian Archbishop Theophan in the 1930s:

Elder Barnabas of the Gethsemane Skete spoke before the Revolution of the disaster coming upon Russia, “Persecutions against the faith will constantly increase. There will be unheard-of grief and darkness, and almost all the churches will be closed. But when it will seem to people that it is impossible to endure any longer, then deliverance will come. There will be a flowering. Churches will even begin to be built. But this will be a flowering before the end” [private letter from N. Kieter].

Schema-monk Aristocleus, not long before his death in August 1918, said that “now we are undergoing the times before Antichrist, but Russia will yet be delivered… There will be an extraordinary outburst and a miracle of God would be manifested. And there will be an entirely different life, but all this will not be for long” [Orth. Russia, 1969, #21, p. 3].

“Archbishop Theophan of Poltava summed up in the 1930’s the prophecies which he had received from such elders as these: ‘You ask me about the near future and about the last times. I do not speak on my own, but give the revelation of the Elders: The coming of Antichrist draws nigh and is very near. The time separating us from him should be counted a matter of years and at most a matter of some decades. But before the coming of Antichrist Russia must yet be restored—to be sure, for a short time’” [The Orthodox Word, 1969, no. 4, p. 194].

Now we can see that the “short time” spoken of by Archbishop Theophan  is ending. How do we know that? 

Russia has become Red China’s closest ally. Red China is a brutal regime with forced abortions and millions in slave labour camps, a savage persecutor of Christians and a serious and growing threat on a world-wide scale. A Christian Russia should be an adversary of such an evil power, not her closest ally!

Russia has also grown very close to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the leading State sponsor of terrorism in the world, a nation that calls the United States and Israel “the Great Satan” and vows to commit genocide by wiping Israel off the map. Russia is selling Iran advanced weapons, including the S 300 surface to air missile system and is helping them to build their economy.

Yesterday The Times of Israel published an important article on Iran titled, 

Senator Graham: Iranian leaders ‘religious Nazis’ who want to ‘kill all Jews’

You will want to read this article. Here is the link:


In addition, Russia has grown very close to Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, the strong man of a resurgent Islamist Turkey who wants to restore the Ottoman Empire, the seat of the Islamic Caliphate until it was abolished after Turkey’s defeat in the First World War.  Vladimir Putin has sold the Turks Russia’s most advanced air defense system — the S 400. Putin met with Erdogan again this week and they are cooperating on a major oil pipeline. Turkey has also just sent troops into Libya — which is, in itself, prophetically significant.

The Book of Ezekiel says that an alliance of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya and other Islamic nations will invade Israel in the End Times, and the book of Revelation speaks of a nation in the East fielding a 200 million man military — something that only Red China has the manpower to do.

How could a “holy” Russia be closely allied with Red China, and closely associated with such rogue regimes as the Islamic Republic of Iran and an expansionist Islamist Turkey? How could a “holy” Russia be part of a Russia-Red China-Islamic Iran axis of evil?

In 2018, Newsweek ran an interesting article that I think goes a long way to answer these questions. I only saw the article in mid-2019. Frankly, I was shocked and sickened when I read it. I only wish that we had learned the truth sooner. I think you should read the article too. It is titled,

Why Do the Russians Trust the Church Set Up By the KGB?

Here is the link;


It seems that the religious revival in post-Soviet Russia may have been more talk than walk. This revival was supposed to have begun in 1988 with the celebration of a Millennium of Christianity in Russia. That was more than three decades ago, and almost three decades since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, yet the percentage of people in Russia today who attend church regularly is far smaller than the percentage that attend church is “post-Christian” America. The article reports,

“Seventy-one percent of Russians polled consider themselves Christian Orthodox, 6 percent of them go to church every week, and 17 percent pray every day, according to a Pew Research Center report titled ‘Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe.’

“By way of comparison, 55 percent of Americans pray every day, the Pew report says. Russian polling agencies' data are not that far off. For example, according to the FOM (Public Opinion Foundation) 2014 survey, 68 percent of respondents call themselves Orthodox, though 61 percent have never received communion and 63 percent go to church once a year or less often.”

Did you get that? —  “68 percent of respondents call themselves Orthodox, though 61 percent have never received communion and 63 percent go to church once a year or less often.” Hardly a revival!

Lest anyone dismiss the Newsweek article because Newsweek has a liberal slant, I am attaching an article from 2019, published by the impeccably conservative Heritage Foundation titled,

How Putin Uses Russian Orthodoxy to Grow His Empire

Here is the link to the article:


It seems that “Orthodoxy” in Russia has far less to do with Christianity than it does with Russian nationalism. The Heritage Foundation article quotes Pew Research, 

“[M]any Orthodox Christians—and not only Russian Orthodox Christians—express pro-Russia views. … Orthodox identity is tightly bound up with national identity, feelings of pride and cultural superiority, support for linkages between national churches and governments, and views of Russia as a bulwark against the West.”

A bulwark against the West? That means against America, against you and me!

That is the problem with “national” Churches. The faith should be for all people, of all races and all nations, for all time. The faith should be universal. National Churches tend to become little more than departments of the civil government (Caesaro-papism) and are too easily controlled and manipulated by the civil authorities to advance government policies and foreign policy goals.

The Bible has a lot to say about the End Time Invasion of Israel by Russia, Iran and their allies and the ensuing war. As Israeli Rabbi Pinchas Winston said, “All the conditions exist for a no-holds-barred multinational conflict in the Middle East, precisely the type of conflict described by the prophets as preceding the Messiah.”

You can learn all about it on Sunday. I hope to see you there!

SUNDAY ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

With all that is happening in the world today in light of Bible Prophecy our adult Christian Education Class has taken on even greater importance. 

To keep up you really need to be a regular part of this class. This Sunday’s class will be especially important. Bring your Bible. Class begins at 8:30 AM. You will be blessed!

THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED RADIO BROADCAST

We will begin a new study series Saturday morning titled, 

The Kingdom of God. What Will it be Like?

Subdeacon Michael and I felt the energy and the leading of the Holy Spirit as we recorded the first episode of this new series. It will be a powerful, encouraging, hope filled and motivating series. Don’t miss it!

THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is heard every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM CST on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha, and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, and can be heard throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? No problem! You can listen live over the Internet. Just go to the KCRO Radio website and click Listen Live:


THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED — PODCASTS

In addition to the radio broadcast every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, each episode of THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is being archived and can be listened to anytime as a Podcast. You can access past radio programs here: 


SUNDAY SERVICES

Sunday Christian Education is at 8:30 AM, followed by Morning Prayer at 9:15 AM, and the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with fellowship and refreshments after Services. 

At Holy Cross Orthodox Church we are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, teaching “the faith which was once delivered” in the first century (Jude 3), and preparing a people for the Coming of the Lord; — and we would like to invite you to worship and learn with us.

Everyone is invited to attend and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you. 

We hope to see you on Sunday!

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558