Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Genesis 50:20 – July 23, 2019

Genesis 50:1-26

Yosef fell on his father’s face, wept over him and kissed him. Then Yosef ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Isra’el. Forty days were spent at this, the normal amount of time for embalming. Then the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.

When the period of mourning was over, Yosef addressed to the household of Pharaoh: “I would like to ask a favor. Tell Pharaoh, ‘My father had me swear an oath. He said, “I am going to die. You are to bury me in my grave, which I dug for myself in the land of Kena‘an.” Therefore, I beg you, let me go up and bury my father; I will return.’” Pharaoh responded, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.”

So Yosef went up to bury his father. With him went all Pharaoh’s servants, the leaders of his household and the leaders of the land of Egypt, along with the entire household of Yosef, his brothers and his father’s household; only their little ones, their flocks and their cattle did they leave in the land of Goshen. Moreover, there went up with him both chariots and horsemen — it was a very large caravan.

10 When they arrived at the threshing-floor in Atad, beyond the Yarden, they raised a loud and bitter lamentation, mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the local inhabitants, the Kena‘ani, saw the mourning on the floor of Atad they said, “How bitterly the Egyptians are mourning!” This is why the place was given the name Avel-Mitzrayim [mourning of Egypt], there beyond the Yarden.

12 His sons did to him as he had ordered them to do — 13 they carried him into the land of Kena‘an and buried him in the cave in the field of Makhpelah, which Avraham had bought, along with the field, as a burial-place belonging to him, from ‘Efron the Hitti, by Mamre.

14 Then, after burying his father, Yosef returned to Egypt, he, his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

15 Realizing that their father was dead, Yosef’s brothers said, “Yosef may hate us now and pay us back in full for all the suffering we caused him.” 16 So they sent a message to Yosef which said, “Your father gave this order before he died: 17 ‘Say to Yosef, “I beg you now, please forgive your brothers’ crime and wickedness in doing you harm.”’ So now, we beg of you, forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Yosef wept when they spoke to him; 18 and his brothers too came, prostrated themselves before him and said, “Here, we are your slaves.” 19 But Yosef said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good — so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved. (vii) 21 So don’t be afraid — I will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he comforted them, speaking kindly to them.

22 Yosef continued living in Egypt, he and his father’s household. Yosef lived 110 years. (Maftir) 23 Yosef lived to see Efrayim’s great-grandchildren, and the children of M’nasheh’s son Makhir were born on Yosef’s knees.

24 Yosef said to his brothers, “I am dying. But God will surely remember you and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.” 25 Then Yosef took an oath from the sons of Isra’el: “God will surely remember you, and you are to carry my bones up from here.” 26 So Yosef died at the age of 110, and they embalmed him and put him in a coffin in Egypt.  (Genesis 50:1-26) Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

 

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“Is It Really Human Beings Doing This?” Muslim Persecution of Christians, January 2019

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Massacres in and Attacks on Churches

Philippines: On Sunday, January 27, Islamic militants bombed a Catholic cathedral during Mass.  At least 20 people were killed and 111 wounded.  Two explosives were detonated about a minute apart in or near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo around 8:45 a.m.  According to one report, “The initial explosion scattered the wooden pews inside the main hall and blasted window glass panels, and the second bomb hurled human remains and debris across a town square fronting the cathedral.”  Photos on social media showed human bodies and remains strewn on the street just outside the cathedral.  The officiating priest, Fr. Ricky Bacolcol, “was still in shock and could not speak about what happened,” to quote a colleague.  After the first bomb detonated, army troops and police posted outside the cathedral rushed in, at which point the second bomb went off.  Fifteen of the slain were civilians, five military men; 90 of the wounded were civilians.  Located in a Muslim-majority area, the cathedral was heavily guarded as it had been hit before: grenades were hurled at it twice in 2010, both times damaging the building; and in 1997, Bishop Benjamin de Jesus was gunned down just outside the cathedral.  The Islamic State claimed this most recent attack, adding that the massacre was carried out by “two knights of martyrdom” against a “crusader temple.”

Egypt: An Islamic terror plot to bomb a packed Christian church on the evening of January 6,  when Coptic Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, was foiled by police.  According to one report,

[F]our explosive devices were planted around the Church of the Virgin Mary and St Mercurius in … Nasr City.  Three were removed safely but the fourth, concealed in a bag, exploded when police bomb disposal technicians attempted to deactivate it. Police Major Mostafa Ebeid was killed in the blast, which wounded two other officers and a bystander. The explosion was the latest in a series of incidents apparently targeting Egypt’s Coptic Christian population, occurring the day before Orthodox Christmas eve….

Separately, between late December and early January, authorities forcefully shut down four more churches in Egypt after angry Muslim mobs rioted in protest of their existence.  In one instance, on Friday, January 11, over one thousand Muslims surrounded and demanded the instant closure of St. George Church in Minya. Not only did authorities comply but they evicted the two priests who were holed up inside the church and hauled them off in a vehicle used for garbage, prompting “an elated response from a jubilating, gloating mob,” which included triumphant cries of “Allahu Akbar”(Allah is greater; a brief video of the mob can be seen here.)  Police “ behaved with the priests as they would with killers,” one human rights lawyer said.  “What happened frightened us,” added another clergyman. “I am a priest and it is possible for the police to cuff me if the extremist neighboring Muslims protest or gathered in front of my church. Things are getting worse, but let us pray to make God keep us in peace.”  The local Coptic Christian bishopric said in a statement,

This is not the first time a place used for worship by Copts in Minya is closed. The common factor among all closures, however, is that they were done to appease fundamentalists and extremists to the detriment of the Copts. It appears to indicate that extremists now hold the upper hand, and appeasing them is the easy way out of problems….  This comes in the wake of declarations by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb in favour of churches, also positive talk and actions by President Abdel-Fattah a-Sisi that every Egyptian has the right to practise his or her religion of choice, and to Pope Tawadros’s efforts on that front.

A January 15 report discussing this attack computes that, “In total, Egyptian authorities have closed four churches within the last four and a half weeks. No formal procedures against the attackers of these churches have begun.”

Cameroon: Muslim militants invaded and ransacked two Christian villages in the middle of the night of January 24.   They destroyed 190 homes, plundered and desecrated four churches, set a Christian hospital on fire, and killed livestock.  “Is it really human beings who are doing this?” a local eyewitness was later quoted as saying.   According to the report,

The attack on Gochi and Toufou [the Christian villages] is the fourth by militants in two weeks. In the previous attacks three people were killed and churches and homes were damaged or destroyed….  Christian villages in the far north of Cameroon are subject to attacks by Boko Haram Islamist militias [as] they attempt to establish an Islamic caliphate from north-eastern Nigeria all the way to northern Cameroon, which is where most Cameroonian Muslims live in what is a predominantly Christian country.

Nigeria:  Militant Muslims have destroyed a total of 1,125 churches belonging to one Christian denomination alone, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, which is primarily based in the Muslim majority northeast of the nation, a January 23 report found. The President of the denomination, Rev. Joel Billi continues making appeals for the local Muslim majority government to expedite the rebuilding of these places of worship: “Why are we flagrantly neglected as if we deserve to be punished? If not for the inadequacy of our security forces and political undertone, Boko Haram would not have overrun us. So, why do we pay for the sin that was not committed by us?”

Ghana:  Irate and machete wielding Muslim youth vandalized a church after its pastor predicted that the Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharunutu would die this year. Afterwards they made a video giving the pastor an ultimatum to withdraw his prophecy or else: “We’re warning you,” said the group leader. “You have only 24 hours to capture yourself in a video to apologise to all Muslims. Don’t bring your fake prophecies on the Muslims or our Chief Imam. If you don’t apologise, we’ll drink your blood.”

Indonesia: A Muslim mob stormed a house church meeting on Sunday, January 13, in the North Sumatran capital of Medan.   Video footage shows a loud and angry throng led by men wearing Muslim skullcaps and women in hijabs surrounding a pastor’s residence, which had allegedly been converted into a place of worship for use by the Bethel Indonesia Church congregation.  The mob shouted at and shoved Christians in attendance before forcing the service to a close.  “We didn’t do things that were prohibited,” wrote one church member on Instagram. “We only wanted to pray, but why was our church attacked this morning? Where is justice in this country? Where is our religious tolerance? God is with us.”  Due to this and similar incidents, Christians are increasingly  “feel[ing] intimidated to worship in their own country,” the report notes, before adding that:

members of the congregation claim that they have obtained some permits for the building to function as a house of worship but are still missing some documents, which they say have been difficult to obtain from government officials, especially during the recent holiday period.  In September, authorities in the East Sumatran city of Jambi sealed three churches, which had been used as places of worship for over a decade, because they lacked official permits. An administrator at one of the churches said they were given no warning prior to the closure and that he suspected the churches were shut due to pressure from certain groups who threatened to protest if they remained open. Officials from one of the churches said their attempts to obtain the proper permits had proven difficult as government officials [in the Muslim majority nation] always denied them.

Algeria: After authorities shut down their church, a 300-strong Christian congregation began to meet and worship in a tent—only to be forced out of and ordered to dismantle it as well on January 28.  The tent was erected on the grounds of Azaghar Church, allowing the congregation to continue worshipping following the forced closure of their church on spurious “health and safety” reasons.  According to one report,

The church … lost the use of its building in October 2018, despite the congregation responding to requests to install fire exits and fire extinguishers.  While conversion from Islam is not a criminal offence in Algeria, those who witness to Muslims potentially face a five-year jail sentence.  The officially recognised church had been open for five years and is a powerful ministry to local Muslims. ….  A number of churches have been shut down since the start of 2018, either for alleged breaches of health and safety, or because authorities claim they are not properly registered.

Violence against Christians and Conversion Pressure

Uganda:  Muslims beat and hospitalized a Christian woman for praying to Christ in her home.  “Today we have come to warn you that you should avoid noisy prayers and the use of Issa [Jesus] in your prayers,” one of the four assailants informed Deborah Gimbo’s after bursting into her home.  They added that a local cleric had said that “people who pray in Jesus’ name should be fought and pressured until they accept only worship of Allah, or else be killed.”  “I cannot stop praying,” she responded, “and more so, Issa [Jesus] is my Lord and Savior, and I will continue praying in His name….  Immediately two of the intruders left the house, and in no time entered the room again with sticks and started beating me. I was hit on my face, and blood started flowing down my face as I started shouting for help.”  Neighbors came to her rescue; she was hospitalized for two days.

Iran:  During their final appeal hearing held on January 15,  two Christians “were asked by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to renounce their faith, but refused to do so,” says one report.  Earlier, on September 22, 2018, the two, Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri, were sentenced to prison on the charge of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.”  The January 15 verdict also “claimed that discussions of Christian doctrine held in house churches were considered attacks on Islam.”  A human rights activist familiar with the case elaborated:

The conviction of Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri for asserting Christian doctrine is not only a grave violation of their right to espouse a religious belief of their choosing, but also criminalises the Christian faith, which the Iranian constitution purports to recognise…. We call for the verdict against Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri to be overturned, and urge the Iranian authorities to ensure due process in cases involving religious minorities. We also continue to urge the Iranian government to cease all forms of harassment and intimidation of peaceable religious communities, and to release all those detained in connection with their religion or belief.

Somalia: “It’s very dangerous for anyone to identify you as a Christian in this country,” an underground pastor going by the pseudonym of John explained in a January 7 report concerning the dangers of being outed as a Christian in the Islamic Horn of Africa. “You will, in fact, be counting your days on Earth.  So we are always silent as long as we meet and share the word of God in private.”  The report elaborates:

Hundreds of Christians in Somalia, typically foreigners from nearby countries who work across the East African nation, fear [that] Muslim extremists — both jihadists in al-Shabab, a group linked to al-Qaida, and rogue elements among their otherwise peaceful neighbors — would kill them if they knew they held Christian services.  Around 99.8 percent of Somalis are Muslim….  In recent years, the situation for Christians in the Horn of Africa has worsened, as illustrated by killings shared on social media. In the region under the control of al-Shabab, the militants hunt for Christians.

Attacks on Muslim Converts to Christianity

Kenya: “Muslim policemen on Saturday (Jan. 19) beat and arrested a Christian man on the outskirts of Nairobi, in retaliation for refusing to recant Christianity,” states one report. “Accompanied by two Muslims of Somali descent who had attacked him previously, the policemen arrived at the home where Hassan (surname withheld for security reasons) lives with his widowed mother, and the officers along with the two others punched, kicked, trampled and struck him with blunt objects…”  According to his mother:

The police arrived and carried Hassan away with blood flowing from his body. My son’s leg is bruised, he has serious chest and back pain, he is unable to walk and some of his teeth were removed.  My family is in danger, where are we going to hide ourselves? I cannot go back to Islam. I am better dying with my family than going back to Islam….I have suffered several persecutions from the Muslims for converting to Christianity….  My stomach is ailing from the attack I suffered few years ago. I cannot stand in an upright position. I and my family have chosen the cause of Christ. No turning back.

Sudan/Egypt:  A January 31 report recounted the persecution experienced by a former Muslim woman turned Christian. Ebtehaj Alsanosi, 42, “had fled to Egypt in 2005 after being jailed five times for her faith in Sudan.”  She eventually married another convert who had also fled Sudan and birthed a daughter.  Her persecutors eventually tracked her down, kidnapping her on the way to market in Egypt:

They called her name, grabbed her, covered her nose and mouth, twisted her hands and sprayed some chemical on her that left her unconscious…They took her to the windowless room in an unknown house where they poured water on her, pulled her hair and tied her hands and legs to a chair, all the while shouting her name. Covering her eyes, they reminded her of her Islamic upbringing in Sudan, and how after her school years she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia. Her Sudanese father, they reminded her, is a sheikh (Islamic teacher) in Saudi Arabia.

“You are disgrace to your Muslim family, you brought shame to the family,” they yelled at her as they beat her. “You are ‘kafira’ [infidel].”  They ordered her to return to her Sudanese family in Saudi Arabia, otherwise, she, her husband, and daughter aged 11 would all be slaughtered.  “I will not go back to Islam—I hate Islam,” she shot back, prompting them to beat her even harder.  One of her abductors then brought “a copy of the Koran and began reciting verses that call for the killing of those who leave Islam”—even as they all shouted “Allahu Akbar”  in between recitals.  “The extremists then untied her, forced her to lie on the floor and ripped her clothes. In spite of her pleas to stop, they raped her in turns.” One of the men said, “This is lesson number one.”  They continued abusing and beating her, asking after each torture session if she was ready to renounce Christ and resubmit to Muhammad, only for her to refuse.  She was eventually struck unconscious, and when she came to, was lying in the middle of a busy street.

A separate January 21 report revealed the sufferings of a Muslim man who also fled from Sudan to Egypt after converting to Christianity.  Osman “left Khartoum in April 2014 after police from Sudan’s Criminal Investigation Department accused him of apostasy, punishable by death in Sudan.”  At one point, “National police arrested him from the streets of Khartoum, covered his eyes with a cloth and took him into secret detention, where they tortured him for three weeks…  He was suspended from the ceiling while agents poured cold water on him, leaving his left hand permanently damaged…”  “[T]hey told me they were going to kill me if I do not return back to Islam,” he explained.  “I fled Sudan for my life after I learned that my life was in danger.”  Before long, however, unknown persons in Cairo began sending him death threats via phone texts.  Most recently, his apartment was raided and his passport stolen, prompting him to go into hiding.   “My life is in great danger as Egypt is becoming an insecure place for me,” Osman was last reported as saying.

Uganda: The story of a mother and daughter who were driven out of their home by their Muslim husband/father after they converted to Christianity appeared in a January 7 report.  According to Adijah, the mother:

All the years that I was a Muslim, I found nothing wrong with it. But last year, when I was listening to a radio program about Jesus, I started thinking about Christianity and why there was so much enmity between Muslims and Christians. I did not know [it then, but it] started my journey to Christianity.  My husband learned that I had accepted Christ when he found a Bible in the house. I pleaded with him to allow me to try out my new faith and see how far I would go, but he was reluctant. Within days, he became hostile towards me and Nuriah [the daughter] who had also started reading the Bible. I was given a one-week ultimatum to decide if I wanted to become a non-Muslim and follow the lost religion of Christianity.

Knowledge of her apostasy from Islam eventually spread throughout the region and extended family and others urged her husband to drive her out: “You are an infidel,” he eventually burst out.  “I do not want to see you here. Pick your clothes and leave with Nuriah because she has also started reading the Bible and singing Christian hymns. See the shame and destruction you have brought to us. Nuriah used to be a good Muslim, but now she hides and goes with you to church.”

The following day before we left [continues Adijah], he had uprooted all the cassava crops I had planted. Shouting at the top of his voice, he threatened to take back everything that he had put under my name so that I will not inherit any property from him. He said these were the dire consequences of forsaking Allah and his prophet and following after other gods.

According to his daughter, Nuriah, “I am ready to become a Christian, but my father might look for me and beat me. I still love my father but he doesn’t want us to worship the way we want. He should not force us into Islam. One of our relatives has informed us that my father is looking for ways to kill us.”  He has since remarried. “I hear that he has looked for a Muslim lady and they are staying together in the same house we used to live,” said his ex-wife. “We live in fear because we don’t know what he is planning to do to us.”   The destitute mother and daughter have experienced much  poverty and turmoil since, and were last reported as taking refuge with a Christian family in another part of the nation.

Separately in Uganda, a former Muslim turned Christian lives in fear for his life after local Muslims razed the church he led to the ground and threatened him with death for apostatizing and causing other Muslims to apostatize from Islam.    “A gang of radical Muslims entered the church compound,” Simon Mustafa Waseke, who became Christian in 2017, recalled, “and pulled down the church building while shouting ‘Allah Akbar [Allah is greater], away with this church and Pastor Mustafa Waseke. No more prayers in this place, or else you will all lose your lives,’ and in no time the church was on its ground.”  A clandestine Christian in touch with the Muslim community informed him that they are plotting his murder:  “Even if am given police protection, I am not sure of the security of my members of the church, who are now very fearful.  I am at a crossroads of not knowing what to do. My church members are scattered like sheep without a shepherd. Soon their faith in Christ will diminish, and they will possibly return to Islam…. The Muslims are now out to kill me and my family—we are having sleepless nights.  How long are we going to hide ourselves from our enemies of Christianity? Please pray for us.”

Pro-Muslim and Anti-Christian Bias in the West

United Kingdom: A Christian man who had been residing in the UK for 15 years was in early January deported back to Pakistan, even though he had been persecuted there.  Asher Samson, 41, “first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home,” notes a report. His former pastor, Rev Lorraine Shorton from Hall Green United Community Church, described his current situation:  “I’ve received some messages from him. He’s very scared, he’s fearful for his life….  He’s in hiding in Pakistan and his family are terribly worried for him….  At the moment he has no funds to live on—he can’t work …. [T]he UK is sending people back to these countries where their lives are in danger. Pakistan is number five on the World Watch List for extremism against Christians and it’s just disgraceful really that we’re sending people potentially to their death…. Pray that the government will see sense.”

Another separate report from January 20 asserts that, when it comes to offering asylum, the UK “appears to discriminate in favour of Muslims” instead of Christian minorities from Muslim nations. Statistics confirm this allegation:  “out of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian, representing just 0.2% of all Syrian refugees accepted by the UK.”

New Zealand:  Of those foreign nationals offered asylum between October 31, 2017 and October 31, 2018, seven were from Iraq, 105 from Afghanistan, and 277 from Syria—yet all were Muslims a report found: “Figures for previous years … are equally bleak. In 2016, only six Christians were among the 377 Syrians granted sanctuary, and in the five weeks up to 10 February 2017 no Christians were among the 45 Syrians, all Muslims, who were allowed to settle. Christians made up 10% of the population of Syria before the war.”  Responding to this disparity, a government spokesman said refugees were considered for resettlement on the basis of “their protection needs and not religious affiliation.”  However, considering that the Islamic State regularly targets people based on their “religious affiliation” suggests that Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities have many more “protection needs” than Muslims.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1)          To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2)          To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or third-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it. (Click to Source)

 
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Report: “11 Christians Killed Every Day for Their Faith”

by Raymond Ibrahim

  • One of the most noteworthy trends concerns the “shocking reality of persecution against women…. In many places, they experience a ‘double persecution’ — one for being a Christian and one for being a woman.”
  • Another trend that should send an alarm is that, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10” — meaning Christians there are now experiencing “extreme persecution.”

Last year, Christians were persecuted more than ever before in the modern era — and this year is expected to be worse: “4,136 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons,” according to Open Doors USA in its recently published World Watch List 2019 (WWL) of the top 50 nations where Christians are persecuted. “On average, that’s 11 Christians killed every day for their faith.” Additionally, “2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned” in 2018, and “1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.”

Whereas 215 million Christians faced persecution in 2018, 245 million will suffer in 2019, according to Open Doors — a 14% increase, that represents 30 million more people abused for their faith. This means that “1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide” (note: all quotations in this article are from the WWL 2019).

One of the most noteworthy trends concerns the “shocking reality of persecution against women.”

“In many places, they experience a ‘double persecution’ — one for being a Christian and one for being a woman. Even in the most restricted circumstances, gender-specific persecution is a key means of destroying the minority Christian community.”

Last year’s WWL provided more specific numbers: “At least six women every day are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage to a Muslim man under the threat of death for their Christian faith…”

Another trend, one that should send an alarm, is that, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10” — meaning Christians there are now experiencing “extreme persecution”:

“Christians have been targeted by Hindu nationalist extremists more each year. Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences. The view of the nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith — including Christianity — is viewed as non-Indian. Additionally, in some regions of the country, converts to Christianity from Hinduism experience extreme persecution, discrimination and violence.”

The most obvious trend remains unchanged:

“Islamic oppression continues to impact millions of Christians. In seven out of the top 10 World Watch List countries, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression. This means, for millions of Christians — particularly those who grew up Muslim or were born into Muslim families — openly following Jesus can have painful consequences. They can be treated as second-class citizens, discriminated against for jobs or even violently attacked.”

Not only is that responsible for the persecution Christians face in seven of the ten worst nations; 38 of the 50 nations making the list are Muslim-majority.

Among the worst persecutors are those that rule according to Sharia. In Afghanistan (ranked #2), “Christianity is not permitted to exist” because it “is an Islamic state by constitution, which means government officials, ethnic group leaders, religious officials and citizens are hostile toward adherents of any other religion.” Similarly, in Somalia, (#3), “The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence.” In Iran (#9), “society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted.”

While the forms persecution and actors behind them vary, many seem connected to Islam. For example, “Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christians continue to live in daily fear they will be accused of blasphemy — which can carry a penalty of death.” In Libya (#4), Yemen (#8), Syria (#11), Iraq (#13) war has given rise to Islamic militancy and general lawlessness, both of which prey on Christian minorities.

In Muslim nations where Christians make up a minority, a significant quantity of churches might be needed to meet their numbers — the visibility of which may offend Muslim sensibilities. Thus in Egypt (#16), where Christians number at least 10% of the population (possibly even double that):

“Severe restrictions on building or securing places for worship prevent Christians from congregating, in addition to hostility and violence toward believers who do gather. In recent years, Islamic extremist groups have targeted Christians and churches in numerous violent and deadly acts of persecution.”

“The spread of radical Islam across sub-Saharan Africa” is another growing and troubling trend. For example,

“Nigeria’s score for violence [99.9%] has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by militant Fulani herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and villages and churches burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens.”

Some WWL’s findings are surprising. Although Orthodox Christians are the majority of its population, the Russian Federation is #41, and the “source of persecution” is, again, “Islamic oppression”: “Christians in parts of Russia dominated by Islam report the highest level of persecution.”

Despite the role of religion, North Korea (#1) remains the worst nation, where “never-ending pressure and violence” is directed against Christians:

“The primary driver of persecution in North Korea is the state. For three generations, everything in the country has focused on idolizing the Kim family. Christians are seen as hostiles to be eradicated.”

As difficult as it is for Christians identified by the Kim regime, there may be some eventual relief for them and those in other communist nations (such as China, #27): cults of personalities might last so long, but in the Arab and Muslim world, where, sadly, there seems to be little or no education to respect religious differences, the weight of the dominant religion continues to permeate all of society. (Click to Source)

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Recovery Room 7 is a community of people with similar backgrounds, where people from all walks of drug & alcohol recovery can meet together, share, socialize, interact, join in fun activities, share meals, pray and learn. It’s a place of joy and awakening to their true purpose in life. Jesus Christ is always present and ready to receive everyone in Recovery Room 7. We will be located in beautiful Northwest Montana. If you would like to donate to get Recovery Room 7 up and running, please go to our PayPal Donation Link here.

 

Locusts May Arrive in Israel in Time to be Served for Passover Seder

A plague of locusts that has been creeping across the Middle East is set to hit Israel just in time for the Passover holiday, commemorating the original pre-Exodus plague in Egypt.

The locusts began swarming on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea and Sudan in December. A desert variety of the insect is always present in these areas but the population remains limited unless certain conditions are present. Overcrowding changes both their behavior and physiology. They develop bright colors and form huge swarms in which they fly long distances to new pastures. Locusts are not harmful to humans but swarms of locusts can be miles long and contain a billion individuals.

“Swarms are often tens of square kilometers in size,” the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) charged with monitoring locust outbreaks explained. The FAO warned that a swarm of just one square kilometer eats the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. “A swarm the size of Bamako (Mali) or Niamey (Niger) can consume what half the population of either country would eat in a single day.”

The FAO reported that in the past two weeks, there has been an escalation in second-generation hatching and hopper band formation along both sides of the Red Sea. One swarm arrived in Iran at the end of January. Ground and air crews are already hard at work in Egypt and Saudi Arabia trying to control the infestation.

The swarms also can travel 93 miles a day making efforts to control an outbreak even more difficult. Officials warned that further rains in the region could lead to an even larger outbreak.

A similar infestation that took place exactly six years ago in southern Israel was successfully controlled. In 1915, a locust swarm in then-Palestine led to regional famine.

Though most insects are not kosher and unfit for Jewish consumption, there are four varieties of the insects that are listed as kosher. Some might even consider it fitting to dine on locusts during the Passover Seder ceremony.

Of these, you may eat the following: locusts of every variety; all varieties of bald locust; crickets of every variety; and all varieties of grasshopper. Leviticus 11:22

The concept is highly appealing since they do not require ritual slaughtering and according to some opinions may even be consumed live. The flesh of locusts is parve and can be served with either dairy or meat.

Rabbi Natan Slifkin, director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History, holds an annual banquet featuring, among other unusual delicacies, locusts dipped in chocolate and caramel. (Click to Source)

Source: Breaking Israel News

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UNITED NATIONS WARNS THAT BILLIONS OF LOCUSTS NOW GATHERING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE RED SEA PREPARING TO SWARM EGYPT AND SAUDI ARABIA

A locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea is spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said. Periods of rain along the Red Sea coastal plains in Eritrea and Sudan have allowed two generations of breeding since October, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms.

February 22, 2019

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that an infestation of desert locusts in Sudan and Eritrea is rapidly spreading along both sides of the Red Sea towards Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Even with all the gruesome weaponry that fallen man has created over the years, few things are creepier or more disturbing than when the insect world comes swarming. When God wanted to get Pharoah’s attention in the Old Testament, He sent plagues of disgusting insects and reptilian creatures. Right now, billions of locusts are descending on Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Kinda funny, though, how these swarms almost always skip right over Israel, isn’t it?

“And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” Revelation 9:3 (KJV)

But in the near future, in the days after the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church, there will be a swarm of locusts in Israel that will come up from the bottomless pit. The Bible says about that time “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” That will happen during the time of Jacob’s trouble.  In the meantime, enjoy this Tribulation preview of locusts in the Middle East.

SPEAK OF THE BIBLE: LOCUST SWARMS IMMINENT IN EGYPT, SAUDI ARABIA

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: According to an agency press release, heavy rains triggered two generations of breeding since October, leading to a substantial increase in the locust population.

“The next three months will be critical in bringing the locust situation under control before the summer breeding starts,” FAO’s Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman said.

Earlier this year, the insects evoked biblical times when they showed up at holy sites in Mecca, covering some areas in darkness and sparking a thunderstorm of hail and fire on social media.

“These locusts are normally present in low numbers in the desert and don’t cause a big problem. But following a large rainfall they can quickly multiply, eventually forming hopper bands or swarms of adults, composed of billions of individual locusts,” Cressman told The Media Line.

ACCORDING TO THE FAO, LOCUST SWARMS CAN EXTEND OUTWARDS SEVERAL HUNDRED SQUARE MILES, CONTAINING ROUGHLY 40-80 MILLION ADULT LOCUSTS IN EACH SQUARE MILE.

What makes these insects so dangerous is their threat to food security, says Cressman.

“A desert locust adult can consume its own weight (roughly 2 grams) in food in a day. The added difficulty is they’re normally in the desert, so they’re eating the vegetation there.

“Once they get into rainfed crops on the edge of the desert, grown by poor farmers, they’re eating an entire livelihood, and then they move into the country and affect national food supplies,” he emphasized.

Therefore, a swarm of about 40 million locusts eats the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 average people. A swarm reaching the size of Paris would eat the same quantity of food in 24 hours as half the population of France, according to the FAO.

“When a locust swarm lands, it can cause crop losses of 80-100 percent,” Dr. Arianna Cease, Director of the Global Locust Initiative at Arizona State University, told The Media Line. “This is particularly devastating for subsistence farmers who depend on their crops to feed their families.” READ MORE

(Click to Source)

Biblical locust invasions spark UN warning for UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt

Massive swarms of locusts are bearing down on Saudi Arabia and Egypt as they spread rapidly along the shores of the Red Sea, the United Nations has warned. Breeding along the coasts of Eritrea and Sudan, the swarms are spreading farther afield, with at least one having crossed over the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia in mid-January and more a week later. Swarms also went north along the Red Sea towards Egypt.

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Swarms of locusts, like these, have descended on Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra area. Getty Images

The UN is calling on countries in the flight path to step up vigilance and take precautions.

Good rains along the Red Sea coastal plains in Eritrea and Sudan have allowed two generations of breeding since October, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms,” the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Friday.

Adult locusts can eat their body weight in fresh vegetation every day and the FAO warned that even a small swarm can eat enough food for 35,000 people in just 24 hours.

A female locust is able to lay around 300 eggs in her short life, meaning swarms can measure miles wide and be made up of hundreds of millions of individuals.They can strip the land bare as they fly through.

Tackling swarms is also made difficult because they are highly mobile and able to fly up to 150 kilometres a day.

The FAO is planning to hold a meeting in Jordan next week to discuss measures to tackle the spread and how to assist affected countries.

The devastating impact locusts can have on crops poses a major threat to food security, especially in already vulnerable areas,” the FAO said.

The issue of higher breeding is not only confined to Eritrea and Sudan. Rains from cyclones Mekunu in May and Luban last October triggered a mass breeding of locusts in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, near the Yemen-Oman border.

Hatching was also recorded around the villages of Thuwal and Masturah, south-west of Medina on the kingdom’s west coast.

The UN agency said a few swarms from two generations of breeding had reached the UAE and as far as southern Iran. However, with no signs of slowing, swarms could reach the India-Pakistan border if unchecked.

The next three months will be critical to bringing the locust situation under control before the summer breeding starts,” said Keith Cressman, the FAO’s senior kocust forecasting officer.

The further spread of the current outbreak depends on two major factors – effective control and monitoring measures in locust breeding areas of Sudan, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia and the surrounding countries, and rainfall intensity between March and May along both sides of the Red Sea and in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula.

Aerial spraying and ground control operations have already taken place across Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt and Eritrea. So far, nearly 85,000 hectares – about eight-and-a-half times the area of Abu Dhabi island – has been treated since December, 30,000 hectares in the past two weeks alone.

A light plane sprays pesticides as a Swarm of locusts hits an area near the Egyptian border. Getty Images
A light plane sprays pesticides as a Swarm of locusts hits an area near the Egyptian border. Getty Images

Control measures are also under way in Iran after at least one swarm arrived on the southern coast at the end of January.

The outlook for February is that breeding will continue along the Red Sea coast, leading to more “hopper bands and adult swarms”.

The FAO warned that “as vegetation dries out, adult groups and a few swarms are likely to move north along the Red Sea coast”.

Such apocalyptic scenes – January 2019 in Makkah – could be increasingly seen in the next few weeks:

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It predicted this would largely have an impact on northern areas around the Nile Valley in northern Sudan, but there was a “moderate risk” that swarms would continue to cross the Red Sea towards Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Mr Cressman told Reuters that the previous major desert locust upsurge was between 2003 and 2005, when more than 12 million hectares – about twice the size of the UAE – were treated in west and north-west Africa. The swarm response cost some $750 million, including food aid to affected areas.

Since then there have been numerous locust outbreaks along the coastal plains on both sides of the Red Sea, but they have mostly been controlled. How will it end this time? (Click to Source)

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The Tower of Syene: A Prophetic Wonder

by: Gary Stearman on January 29, 2019

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It’s not often that one can point to a physical object at a specific geographical location in the contemporary world, and identify it as being the focus of a biblical prophecy that was written long before Christ. Yet, that is exactly what we can do in the case of a remarkable manmade edifice in Egypt that didn’t exist until 1970. It is a 230-foot tower, called the “Lotus Tower,” because it is topped by the five petals of the lotus blossom. The tower was designed as a token of Arab-Russian friendship, its five petals perhaps signifying the five pillars of the Islamic faith. It is only 49 years old, yet Ezekiel referred to it by name … twice.

In the 29th and 30th chapters of his prophecy, “the tower of Syene” is mentioned as a landmark that is specifically related to the fulfillment of latter-day prophecy. In fact, this prophecy is profoundly powerful, sounding the death knell of Egypt.

We have written about the current crisis in Egypt, which began with street riots in 2010, followed by Hosni Mubarak’s resignation early in 2011. This was followed by another coup, the assumption of power by the Muslim Brotherhood and more Islamic riots, finally resulting in the rise to power of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in June of 2014. Egypt, like other countries in the Mideast, continues to experience uprisings and internal dissent. As this is written, war clouds surround Egypt in every direction.

In this context, we have long studied a graphic prophecy in Ezekiel 29 and 30 that summons up the dark vision of Egypt’s future destruction by a great flood, which itself, is linked to a number of end-time prophecies.

A STAFF OF REED 

That Egyptian prophecy directly addresses these developments. In it, Ezekiel states that because of its failure to support Israel, Egypt will at some future point, be grievously judged. That judgment will turn it into a wasteland. This is clearly stated in the opening words of the following prophecy:

“6 And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. 7 When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned  upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand. 8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee. 9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it. 10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. 11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years. 12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries” (Ezek. 29:6-12).

THE DRAGON’S RIVER 

For a time, Egypt joined the legions of Islamic terrorists bent upon the annihilation of Israel. Currently, Sisi’s administration has stabilized the situation. But in the days ahead, such militancy is bound to spread like wildfire, finally arriving at a critical mass, at which time the Brotherhood will believe that it has arrived at a historic moment. Then, it will launch its invasion against Israel.

Many object to interpreting the above passage in Ezekiel 29 as being an end-time prophecy. They say that the context of this chapter took place in the past, during the days of the Babylonian captivity. In fact, it may be partially interpreted in that way. But the very nature of Ezekiel’s words, places the final outcome of the Syene prophecy in the last days. Egypt has never been desolate and uninhabited for any 40-year period, as described above. Presenting its self-evident truth, this prophecy must be contemporary in nature, because when Ezekiel first wrote it, there was no “tower of Syene.” In fact, it didn’t even come into existence until 1970, at the dedication of the Aswan High Dam, spanning the Nile at the location of the first cataract, Egypt’s southern border. The proper noun “Syene,” from the Hebrew S’veneh [vbux], means “opening,” or “key.” This name is said to be the ancient designation for the opening to Egypt, as one approaches from the south, or from the direction of Ethiopia.

From several sources, it is quite easy to confirm that the biblical Syene is really Aswan. One of these is the Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, first published in 1866. It affirms the connection, from the Greek Septuagint: “[Suhnh], Syene, in the inscriptions according to Brugsch [was] the most southerly border town of Egypt in the direction of Cush, i.e. Ethiopia, on the eastern bank of the Nile, some ruins of which are still to be seen in the modern Assuan (Aswan) …” (Vol. 9, Ezekiel 29-48, p. 8).

When Keil and Delitzsch wrote their commentary in 1866, there was not a trace of the prophesied tower at Aswan. And when Ezekiel wrote his prophecy around 570 B.C., there was no tower. In fact, until the huge hydroelectric project was completed there, by the Russians and Egyptians in 1970, there was no tower at Aswan. Today, this dam is the most imposing feature of the area, doomed by biblical prophecy to be wiped out at some point between now and the Tribulation.

Using Russian technology, the Egyptians completed the dam, effectively placing themselves in the position of being able to say, “The river is mine, and I have made it for my own use.”

“2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt: 3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord  GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. 4 But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales. 5 And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven” (Ezek. 29:2-5).

At first glance, this prophecy seems generically directed toward “Pharaoh, king of Egypt.” But upon further examination, its real target is, “… the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers.” This scaly creature seems to represent the remnant of Egypt’s power, lurking behind the scenes since the days of Moses. In Ezekiel 28, the chapter that immediately precedes this one, Satan, as the “anointed cherub,” is shown as defeated. This prophecy in Chapter 29, then, may possibly be taken as an extension of that preceding prophecy.

Here, the fish of the Nile River figuratively stick to the dragon’s scales, as all are hurled from the river onto its banks to rot and dry in the sun. His power is destroyed. The Nile, which annually flooded with clocklike predictability, has ceased its flooding since the construction of the High Dam at Aswan. Total destruction of this dam is the only way it could flood as catastrophically as described in Scripture.

THE RUSSIAN PROJECT 

Interestingly, the huge dam is so massive that experts have pronounced it indestructible … except through the use of nuclear force. This fact alone makes it more than clear that this is a latter-day prophecy. With the foregoing in mind, it is interesting to examine two distinct biblical prophecies. As we shall see, they are related. But they evoke a mystery. They suggest that Egypt will soon experience a massive devastation that is unique to its geography. And apparently, for reasons that shall become clear, this event will predate Gog’s lightning assault upon Israel.

We have written at some length about the first of the two prophecies, found in Ezekiel 29. As it begins, it seems to be directed to a specific Pharaoh, perhaps the one on the throne at the time Ezekiel wrote his prophecy. But as one reads carefully, it becomes clear that “Pharoah” is really a literary title given to the evil spirit of Egypt in general. It is quite easy to see this, since this particular “Pharoah” is a dragon who lives in the Nile River. Taking an expanded look in the verses that follow, the dragon professes ownership of the Nile, even boasting that he has created it. His arrogance is about to be challenged:

“6 And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. 7 When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand. 8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee. 9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it. 10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. 11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years. 12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of  the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries” (Ezek. 29:6-12).

In the last few decades, this arrangement has radically changed. The Russian hydroelectric project was amazing in its scope. It is huge, measuring 360 feet in height, 10,200 feet (almost two miles!) long and 3,200 feet wide at the base. Backed up behind it is the vast Lake Nasser, and the waters of the Nile that pool all the way into Ethiopia. The dam’s dimensions are so massive that it is considered indestructible. Saboteurs using ordinary explosives wouldn’t make a dent. However, experts have said that one or two well-placed nuclear bombs could blow it wide open.

In Ezekiel’s day, Aswan (biblical Syene) was a small village, some 550 miles south of the Great Pyramid, on the bank of the first cataract of the Nile. It was considered the southernmost extent of Egypt. When Ezekiel wrote this prophecy, the entire area was geographically different. Of course, there was no “tower” there! Today, of course, there is the towering High Dam, which this prophecy indirectly names as the source of the great flood that will ravage Egypt.

Ezekiel wrote his prophecy about 2,500 years, before its targeted object even existed, saying that it will break, allowing flood waters to surge almost six hundred miles to the north, where they would empty into the Mediterranean Sea.

If nuclear weapons are used to accomplish this catastrophe, the floodwaters would cover all Egypt with nuclear waste. As we have mentioned in the past, this would account for the virtual abandonment of the country for the forty-year period mentioned by Ezekiel. This has never before happened.

ISRAEL’S EXPERT ASSESSMENT 

In 2002, Israeli Knesset member (MK) Avigdor Lieberman, admittedly a man given to controversial statements, announced that Israel could defeat an invading Egypt by bombing the Aswan High Dam. He knew that this would require the use of nuclear force, since many experts have testified that the dam is too massive to fall to ordinary explosives. Lieberman, who served as Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, and as Minister both of Foreign Affairs and Strategic Affairs, had obviously been briefed upon military alternatives. It appears that he wanted to give Egypt something to think about.

Nor was he alone in his opinion. MK Yigal Allon had publicly made the same statement during the early 1980s. A Labor Party representative, he too, had served as a government minister for seven years. These men were saying what others knew, but refused to speak about openly.

They were simply stating the obvious. If Israel’s existence were threatened by an Egyptian invasion, drastic measures would be brought into play, The Aswan Dam holds back the waters of the enormous Lake Nasser, 340 miles long and 22 miles wide at its widest. If the dam were breached by a nuclear blast, radioactive waters would cover Egypt from Ethiopia’s Blue Nile, through Sudan to the Mediterranean Sea.

Satellite photos reveal a staggering truth about Egypt. Virtually its entire population lives in close proximity to the Nile River, from Aswan all the way down to Cairo and the Mediterranean Sea. Night photos show the Nile as a narrow river of light that fans out at the Nile Delta. Egypt may be the only country on earth so vulnerable to total destruction.

FIRE FALLS UPON SYENE 

Naturally, when we read about the horrific event mentioned above, our first question is: When does this prophecy take place? In the following chapter of his prophecy, Ezekiel answers this question, too.

The following verses link the Tribulation Period (Day of the Lord) and the coming of this dire event. Also, notice again that the “tower of Syene” is mentioned:

“The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 

“Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Woe worth the day, 

“For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen. 

“And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down. 

“Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword. 

“Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD. 

“And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted. 

“And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed” (Ezek. 30:1-8).

The language of this prophecy is unmistakable. A storm is gathering; the Day of the Lord is approaching. Note that not just Egypt, but all of northeast Africa is involved. Today, northeast Africa – Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Chad and Libya – constitute a seething cauldron of Islamic terrorism. These countries surround Egypt, which is, itself, a seat of Islamic power. In spite of an intervening peace treaty, it has never deviated from its desire to eradicate Israel.

In the prophecy above, Ezekiel states that all these countries will suffer judgment … including “Lydia,” representing modern Turkey. But the most devastating judgment of all is reserved for Egypt. Once again, the prophecy evokes the imagery of the “tower of Syene,” which we have pointed out as the Aswan High Dam. It seems to be central to all the judgments mentioned here. Egypt’s Islamic allies will also suffer greatly when the Lord sets His fire in the land of Egypt. It is clear that this fire is the instrument that will unleash the trillions of gallons of radioactive water that washes across Egypt.

Many students of Bible prophecy have asked why Egypt is not listed among the allies that come against Israel in the great invasion described in Ezekiel 38. Certainly, Russia is represented, along with Persia and some of the countries of north Africa. Nations from parts of Europe and Asia are also represented, but Egypt is not among them. Under today’s geopolitical circumstances, Egypt would be at the head of the line in support of such an invasion, as it has been in the past. We would conclude that by the time Gog launches his lightning invasion, Egypt has already been destroyed.

This would explain why Egypt is prophesied to be uninhabitable for a future period of forty years. This also explains why Egypt is missing in the prophesied attack on Israel by the allied forces of Gog, in Ezekiel 38.

Clean-up of the radioactive debris would be a staggering task. This massive project seems to extend into the early years of the Millennium. But somehow, it will be accomplished in the years following the Tribulation, probably supervised by the Lord and His followers. (Click to Source)

 
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Ten Plagues: The Exodus with Great Balls of Fire

POSTED : CELESTE B., DATE : 

 

 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.

He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.

He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?

He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.  Psalm 147

Kindness and Compassion in the Tempest

The Plague of Hail is what precipitated this whole series on the Ten Plagues.  I am so thankful to have spent the time learning the faith lessons embedded within the pages addressing the plagues of Egypt.  On the last two plague animal disease and boils there was not allot of commentary.  Why does the Bible deem it necessary to narrate the devastation? If the Plagues were merely to save the Hebrews one plague could have achieved that outcome.   Some believe that the plagues were punitive.  In the Plague of Hail we actually see the kindness of God shining forth through the raging tempest. Their purpose was to be an unequivocal demonstration of God’s power. For this reason, the plagues became progressively stronger. These faith lessons were teaching Egypt the fallacy of idolatry and the reality of the Creator was the purpose in each successive wave of plague.

Moses never used the pressure of the plagues to obtain concessions from Pharaoh. The plagues’ purpose was to teach Egypt knowledge of God. Moses always removed the plague upon Pharaoh’s request, and Moses did not hold out on removing the plague until Pharaoh conceded to Moses’ requests. Moses wished that Egypt recognized God through wisdom, not coercion. What a faith lessons for us!  How often do we attempt to extract an end goal through pressuring someone through the storms in their life?  God, Moses and Aaron do not use the tactics that will become manifest in the beast system, Anti-Christ, and False Prophet instead kindness and compassion are exemplified especially in this Plague of Hail.

Pharaoh vacillated in an emotional state as the plagues unfolded-stressful pressure from each plague, to repent of his sin, to be a man of his word, but each time Pharaoh conceded to obstinacy.

Moses directs Pharaoh to an analog: God is the source of both nature, and man: God has been compassionate to you, (flexible crops) but at a certain point, this kindness will no longer be extended.  When sin is matured, (stiff crops) there is no turning back, and you will snap as do stiff crops.”

This was Moses’ message to Pharaoh. Man sins by nature, and therefore, God affords man opportunities to correct his ways. But once sin captivates the whole personality and values of any given man or people, God will destroy that person or people. This plague was a warning to Pharaoh – in the form of an analogy.

Man feels he may sin and repent later, but there may not be a later. The opportunity to repent is a Divine gift, and must be seized when presented, lest we lose the chance. There is a point of no return. This is an extremely timely message as we wade deeper into the events of the Revelation and prophecy. 

We learn of the compassion of God on His creations: on mankind. God allows man time to exert his free will to bring himself in line with truth. “Those who He loves, God rebukes”. The plagues were an attempt to remove Egypt’s false ideas, enabling them to embrace God’s absolute truths.

As the lashes of judgment are felt upon our backs let us remember that this is God’s kindness and compassion towards us.  We are firmly in the hand of God’s iron crucible that will burn away the dross of our lives as He prepares us for eternity with Him.

Verse 16 clearly states that, I have let you Pharaoh endure so that you might see My strength and glory.  As we are beset with the troubles of prophecy coming to pass let us see His strength and glory in those dark hours.

Stretch our your Hand Heavenward

Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.  Exodus 9:23

Our Plague of Hail takes place ‘Eth’ was Memphis in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt.  Eth’ has Messianic implications that one can find in the original Hebrew including the first sentence of the Bible.  It means the Beginning and the End, Aleph and Tav, Alpha and Omega.

Stretch your hand towards heaven (firmament not heaven literally)…

He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones And their herds to bolts of lightning.  Psalm 78:48

The Egyptians ignored the warning for the cattle be brought in from the field to a place of shelter.  Once warned the decree was extended; hail would come down also upon man and beast in the field.  The Hebrew text indicates that more than one kind of hail would be active against them.

In many of the plagues God had Aaron stretch forth his hand, but in this Plague of Hail God instructed Moses to stretch forth his hand.

Extend your hand to heaven, unleash My power…  Here is yet another faith lesson for us!  At the bidding of the Lord we must extend our hand, as He directs and extends His hand.  Through that connection the very powers of creation can be released.  We need to remember this in the days to come.

Confrontation

God commanded Moshe to arise early to confront Pharaoh at his place of worship, the Nile. The plague of hail was the first plague, of the third group of plagues in Egypt. This third group included plagues taking effect in the heavens or air: hail, locusts (via the wind), and darkness. Previously God addressed the god’s of the waters and the gods of the lands.  God wished to demonstrate His omnipotence in all areas of the universe.

The Egyptian gods of the heavens were mocked by the inability to stop the raging hail sent by the true God of the heavens. Thus, Nut-the sky goddessIsis-the goddess of life, and Seth-the protector of the crops were affected.” It appears as though the Eternal One was going toe-to-toe with demonic powers and principalities in His plan of redemption for the Hebrew people.

By subjugating all the forces in nature God demonstrated how totally useless the forces of nature were in defense of those who believed in them.

Pharaoh’s heels were dug in and he still believe other gods controlled the earth and him at times so this time I will send all My plagues so that you will know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 

Because you still exalt yourself above My people….You (Pharaoh) are growing haughty in your heart against letting the Hebrews go.  Therefore, at this time- precise hour- I will cause a heavy hail such as had not been seen in Egypt.

As we meander through the verses on the Plague of Hail we should be reminded that in the Old Testament the punishment for idolatry was stoning.  How can an entire idolatrous nation be stoned simultaneously?  Through a Plague of Hail.

Plagues against the Heart

The bible describes this Plague of Hail sent by God as a direct result of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, which had prevented him from obeying God.

For this time I will send all my wonders to your heart, and in your servants and in your people, in order that you shall know that there is none like Me in all the land.  Exodus 9:14

This plague was an educational tool. Some Egyptians did fear God through His education via the plagues. But those who did not give heart to the matter is to teach us that there are none that didn’t fear, but only those who deny realityDidn’t give heart, means that in order to oppose God’s absolute truths, they had to shut their hearts and mindsfrom any investigation. It is not the absence of fear, but a more primary block: they denied any investigation into the plagues.

God warned Pharaoh that He was about to send all My plagues against your heart.

This Plague of Hail is a wonder, is a supernatural event, all subsequent plagues – commencing with this hail – will have new effect. That those who fear God and His Word will be protected while those who do not fear God and His Word will be harmed. 

Snare

The Lord sent thunder and hail …Moshe having informed Pharaoh that tomorrow at this time I will causeto rain down, was specified by a line on the wall.  Naturally, the Egyptians would carefully attend to the exact instant of the arrival of the plague so that they could discredit him.

The Laws of Nature dictate that it takes a few moments for hail to leave the clouds and to reach the ground, even as, it also takes time for thunder to be heard below and for lightning to be seen the instant it leaves its origin.

Thunder is produced first at intersection before electrical discharge.  Lightning is always registered by the visual sense before the aural sense is triggered.   Lag times would be exploited by the Egyptians because neither thunder, nor hail, will reach the ground at a set time.

Here a great miracle took place!  Within the same instant of thunder and hail leaving the clouds, Legend says, that they arrived below with lightning-like speed, so that instead of the natural pattern, whereby the lightning is detected before the thunder-here the thunder, since it was produced first and observed prior to the lightning.

The usual lag time between the speed of light and the speed of sound was suspended.  Consequently, the verse says, the Lord sent the hail.  It does not say that the Lord caused the hail to rain down i.e. to rain down naturally, since it did not travel as natural rain.  By affecting this miracle God provided for the arrival, first of all, of the thunder and hail; and only then did then a fire passed down upon the earth i.e. the fire of lightning.

It was however, necessary to invoke this great wonder only during the initial moments, in order to assure Moshe’s prediction.  It would not have been possible for the thunder and the hail to move at their natural velocities and yet arrive in time.  Subsequent to these initial moments, then, the verse accents the thundering and the hail reaching the ground naturally. Once the miraculous intervention had come to an end the Lord caused hail to rain down upon the land of Egypt. It came down naturally, with a time delay that accorded with the laws of gravity and the laws of motion.

Components of Hail

Within this plague are embedded many components:  huge hailstones, fire burning within each stone v 24, deafening thunder, flaming lightning v 23Psalm 105:23, and heavy rainstorms.  Any one of these would be considered a plague. 

In the Bible all is sometimes used to mean most or a great amount.  It can also refer too many of the components of this plague that are mentioned above.  In a normal year, each, in-and-of-itself would be considered a plague.

God begins to drill down that He alone is Master of the four foundational elements:

  • Thunder represents air,
  • Hail represents water,
  • Flames are the fire,
  • Ground is the earth.

God reverses the order to show His mastery over the world.  This plague unites all the elements to demonstrate that there is no one like Me in the land.  The Egyptians were forced to witness that the forces of nature that they believed were their defense, were useless to all those who believed in them. 

This is a compound miracle.  It is not the typical nature of fire to shoot downward but to rise.  Fire and water are opposites but here they join to serve God, functioning in unison.   

Hastily Assemble the Remnant

Send therefore hastily (haez) means to flee or gather V 19

The Plague of Livestock disease only killed the cattle in the field. Exodus 9:3 Those in shelters did not perish, but in accordance with God’s Will, He allowed a remnant to escape here and also referenced in Ezekiel 9:8.  God warns them to gather the livestock into a fortified location (haez-strong) against the elements.  Pharaoh was warned that while this plague was meant to strike outdoor plants and vegetation (grass of the field), any man or cattle in the field at the time would be stricken by hail.  God’s mercy is great, Therefore, He instruct sinners in the way Psalm 25:8  We often attribute to the strong men advising humanity of their coming actions when they are but mere clay in the hand of the Master to Whom we really should be ascribe these warning to God’s great mercy of instructional warning.

We see that from the beginning God promises with subtle hints of a remnant.  At least in this account, that remnant is hastily assembled.

Perfect Supernatural Storm


“Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. “Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.”‘” The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses…    Exodus 9:18-33

The Legends of the Jews describe the supernatural super-storm:

Your fathers and grandfathers have never seen the likes of it. Because the hail was not in a natural order, nothing like this has ever occurred before.  From before the inception of Egypt as a nation, because of the sins of the fathers, surely there was no reason for such hail to come.

The hail was very strange because of the absence of precipitation in Egypt.  There are other places in the world that naturally hails.  The world had never seen the likes of such a plague and certainly not in Egypt where this kind of meteorological phenomenon was totally unknown.  At the time of the Plague of Hail dew was about the only precipitation that rains upon Egypt.  V18

and the fire went earthward…In Egypt, where there is hardly any precipitation, this hail signified a major change in the environment.  It proved to the Egyptians just this mere signal from above, could jeopardize Egypt’s existence.  Initially, the announcement predicted only hail.  However, the plague also featured a flaming fire amid the hail.  This unusual and dramatic lightning in the midst of the hail further emphasized the cosmic significance of the event.  V23 

Typically, fire and water do not mix.  Commentaries vary on this flaming fiery hail.    One says, the hail was transparent and filled with fire, like a pomegranate whose seeds are visible within.  Thus, the fire appeared as a source and generator of the rain and hail.  While another, compares the hail to a lamp with a flame burning above the layers of the water and oil.  Here, the water is but a support for the oil which feeds the fire.  V24

Alternatively, it can mean My plagues, as in, this last set of three plagues: hail, locusts, darkness.  The word all encompassing catastrophic and long-term effects on the climate, food supply, and atmosphere of Egypt that brought about these last three plagues.  These changes caused the Egyptians to become sick, some with heart disease, and weakened them for a long time after this plague indicating that it did have a cosmic element such as what we will see revisited upon the earth during the Grand Solar Minimum.

Meanwhile, a simultaneous major natural disaster more than 400 miles away, is now also thought to be an aggravating complexity, amplifying the plagues of hail, locusts and darkness to Egypt.

One of the biggest volcanic eruptions in human history occurred when Thera, a volcano that was part of the Mediterranean islands of Santorini, just north of Crete, exploded around 3,500 year ago, spewing billions of tons of volcanic ash into the atmosphere at this same time.

Not to denigrate the wonders of God but to illuminate how the Laws of Nature may have worked in tandem with God’s wonders, Nadine von Blohm, from the Institute for Atmospheric Physics in Germany, has been conducting experiments on how hailstorms form and believes that the volcanic ash could have clashed with thunderstorms above Egypt to produce dramatic hail storms.

God Smites with New Species

When one is in the middle of instructional judgment it is difficult to contemplate upon the goodness of God.  God loves His creation.  God pitied the Egyptians and their cattle and yet they did not take His mercy to heart.   V 25

And hail struck…the hail smote.  From the ancient pages of the text and legends we discover that during the first few moments there had ensured a new species of hail that was propagated at the speed of lightning, followed by normally moving hail that took a definite time interval to reach the ground.

Had there been only this normal type of hail, many human lives would have been saved, since the people would have taken cover in caves or behind boulders or in tents as soon as they saw the tell-tale lightning bolts that usually precede the onset of thunder and rain and hail. But the initial onslaught was anything but normal hail.

Only in our day and time can we appreciate the words a new species of hail.  We live in a day and age where engineers are tearing apart God’s creation and engineering it into a new species.  The following is an excerpt from a government document that has since been purged from the internet.  First let us peek at a few of the Bibliography notations which are very informative:

Fred Hoyle, N.C. Wickramasinghe: Diseases from Space. J.M. Dent, 1979.

Chandra Wickramasinghe: Cosmic dragons: life and death on our planet. 2001

Ruprecht Jaenicke: “Abundance of cellular material and proteins in the atmosphere“.

WD Hamilton and TM Lenton: “Spora and Gaia: how microbes fly with their clouds“. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 1998

Ruprecht Jaenicke, Sabine Matthias-Maser and Sabrine Bruber: “Omnipresence of biological material in the atmosphere”Environ. Chem, 2007

Most Active Ice Nucleators are Biological!

The most active ice nucleators are biological in origin, declare Christner, et al. in their paper recently published in Science(February 29, 2008). “This is important because the formation of ice in clouds is required for snow and most rainfall. Dust and soot particles can serve as ice nuclei, but biological ice nuclei are capable of catalyzing freezing at much warmer temperatures”, the researchers explain. In other words, a mechanism exists whereby snowflakes and other precipitation can form when cloud temperatures in the troposphere are relatively warm. What do Christner, et al., mean by “biological”?

By “biological” Christner, et al., mean “proteins or protenaceous compounds“. (11-13)

Three schools of thought exist on the origin of biological ice-nucleators in the troposphere. The first school, exemplified by researcher David Sands, theorizes that biological ice nucleators originate on Earth as part of what he calls the “bio-precipitation cycle”, i.e., biological ice nucleators are carried up from the Earth. “Bacteria form little groups on the surface of plants. Wind then sweeps the bacteria into the atmosphere, and ice crystals form around them. Water clumps on to the crystals, making them bigger and bigger. The ice crystals turn into rain and fall to the ground. When precipitation occurs, then, the bacteria have the opportunity to make it back down to the ground. If even one bacterium lands on a plant, it can multiply and form groups, thus causing the cycle to repeat to itself.” Sands adds, “We think if (the bacteria) couldn’t cause ice to form, they couldn’t get back down to the ground. As long as it rains, the bacteria grow”.

Schnell and Vali also belong to the first school of thought. In the early and mid-1970s, they noted, “Much of the natural ice nuclei found at the earth’s surface may be of biogenic origin, and the abundance of these nuclei was found to have a clear correlation with climate. Some tentative values were also given for the efflux of nuclei from the surface to the air.  Data were presented which point to regional variations in the concentrations of atmospheric ice nuclei with the pattern of variation paralleling the availability of nuclei at the surface. The correlation between these two patterns suggests that perhaps a dominant fraction of natural atmospheric ice nuclei originates from biological materials”.

The second school of thought exemplified by Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe is that biological ice-nucleator bacteria and other biologic entities in the troposphere and stratosphere come from space. Wickramasinghe notes, “Interstellar dust grains populate the vast open spaces between stars of the Milky Way, showing up as a cosmic fog, dense enough in many directions to blot out the light of distant stars. Remarkably these dust grains can be shown to be of a size that would be typical for a bacterium, a micrometer, or less”.   In addition, he notes, cometary organic molecules arrive [to Earth] plentifully, at an average rate of several tones per day and that investigators have confirmed the existence of microorganisms in the stratosphere. The bacteria, viruses and other organisms reach the troposphere from the stratosphere through a process of sedimentation, he conjectures.

The third school of thought relating to the microbiology of the atmosphere suggests the existence of at least two contemporaneous populations of organisms. One population consists of common Earth bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are carried on a relatively regular basis by phenomena such as blue lightning and fire-associated storms into the atmosphere. The second population consists of bacteria that are of non-terrestrial origin (from space).

Some Implications of Biometeorology

The role of microorganisms in meteorological phenomena and in atmospheric processes has implications for human and veterinary medicine, agriculture, and the effect of the biosphere on climate change. For example, in human, animal, and plant medicine, bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the bioprecipitation cycle may be pathogens that use the cycle to disperse from one place to another. Interestingly, Sir James Murray, MD, published on November 24, 1847, his observations on the potato murrain (fungus) that caused the potato crop failure in Ireland in 1847. He attributed the potato crop failure to electrical agency and excess moisture in the air and clouds. “During the last season,” he wrote, “the clouds were charged with excessive electricity, and yet there was little or no thunder to draw off that excess form the atmosphere. In the damp and variable autumn this surcharge of electrical matter was attracted by the moist, succulent, and pointed leaves of the potato”.

Hoyle and Wickramasinghe are ardent proponents of the theory that diseases that infect humans, animals, and plants originate in space, including the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003. Some of their ideas follow below:

The injection from space of evolved microorganisms that have well-attested terrestrial affinities raises the possibility that pathogenic bacteria and viruses might also be introduced. The annals of medical history detail many examples of plagues and pestilences that can be attributed to space incident microbes in this way. New epidemic diseases have a record of abrupt entrances from time to time, and equally abrupt retreats. The patterns of spread of these disease, as charted by historians, are often difficult to explain simply on the basis of endemic infective agents. Historical epidemics such as the plague of Athens and the plague of Justinian come to mind.”

“In more recent times the influenza pandemic of 1917-1918 bears all the hallmarks of a space incident component: ‘The influenza pandemic of 1918 occurred in three waves. The first appeared in the winter and spring of 1917-1918.  The lethal second wave involved almost the entire world over a very short time.  Its epidemiologic behavior was most unusual. Although person-to-person spread occurred in local areas, the disease appeared on the same day in widely separated parts of the world on the one hand, but, on the other, took days to weeks to spread relatively short distances.”

“Also well documented is that, in the winter of 1918, the disease appeared suddenly in the frozen wastes of Alaska, in villages that had been isolated for several months. Mathematical modeling of epidemics such as the one described invariably involves the ad hoc introduction of many unproven hypotheses—for example, that of the superspreader. In situations where proven infectivity is limited only to close contact, a superspreader is someone who can, on occasion, simultaneously infect a large number of susceptible individuals, thus causing the sporadic emergence of new clusters of disease. The recognition of a possible vertical input of external origin in conspicuously missing in such explanations.” (18-22)

“With respect to the SARS outbreak, a prima facie case for a possible space incidence can already be made. First, the virus is unexpectedly novel, and appeared without warning in mainland China. A small amount of the culprit virus introduced into the stratosphere could make a first tentative fall out East of the great mountain range of the Himalayas, where the stratosphere is thinnest, followed by sporadic deposits in neighboring areas. If the virus is only minimally infective, as it seems to be, the subsequent course of its global progress will depend on stratospheric transport and mixing, leading to a fall out continuing seasonally over a few years. Although all reasonable attempts to contain the infective spread of SARS should be continued, we should remain vigilant for the appearance of new foci (unconnected with infective contacts or with China) almost anywhere on the planet. New cases might continue to appear until the stratospheric supply of the causative agent becomes exhausted.”

Supernatural Hail

There was hail…Although the rain and hail now continued to come down at a normal velocity, requiring a definite span of time to reach the ground, while the associated fire-possibly ionized particles or ball lightning, moved at greater speed, and should therefore have reached the ground ahead of the hail, the narrative stresses to the contrary.  That there was fire flashing amidst the hail and this phenomenal blend of hail and fire came down at the speed of hail, both arriving simultaneously.

Lightning…Just imagine the worse lightning storm that you have witnessed-fire flashing, striking the ground, streaming to the ground,  See Psalms 78:48105:52148:8.

Flashing…This fiery hail includes: fire darting, fire jumping, deadly fire, self-contained fire (fire that grasped itself.  The fire was self-contained within the hailstorm otherwise it would have caused the hail to melt), fire holding itself or in essence cleaving to hail, lightning flashes in quick succession, incessant fire, mass of fire, forked lightning, some say this hail included a meteor shower.  The imagery is very similar to the vision of the Divine Chariot that is flashing fire and brilliance surrounding it in Ezekiel 1:4.  In the Plague of Hail the fire within the hailstones and sparks radiated from it and shone.

Supernatural, God’s thunder. At the command the supernatural thunder of God ceased but reappeared at Mount Sinai at the giving of the Torah.  V9:28

The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  Revelation 8:7

Mingled, very grievous hail such as the likes had never been seen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.  Mingled, in this context means catching hold of itself like a chain, which I find extremely provocative as the hybrid Blockchain comes online in an arid environment similar to Egypt.  Coincidence?  V24

When a subject noun is repeated in Scripture such as: ‘hail, hail’ it does not mean the same thing. Oftentimes, it refers to two distinct and different things, in this case hail. 

In my research on Geo-Engineering a Biblical Approach I discovered that Legend has it that the hailstones were 100 pounds in size traveling at lightning-speed carries enormous power, impacting like bullets propelled out of the barrel of a gun, which are lethal no matter how small they happen to be.  These pellets of hail therefore killed instantaneously, any man or beast they happened to strike.  Hail falling at a normal speed is not dangerous enough to cause a great loss of human life.

What does it mean that the fire was flaming within the hail? Specifically, was it flaming within each hailstone, or was it flaming within the hailstorm as a whole (so between the pieces of hail)?

One commentator notes it was “a miracle within a miracle: the fire and the hail mixed

Malbim understands that it was flaming (fireballs) within the storm as a whole.

Saadya Gaon who renders meant “inside of” b’soch does mean “inside of” and the only question is whether the fire was inside the individual hailstones or inside of the hailstorm. Looking at Psalm 105:the word can either mean ‘inside of’ or ‘among’.

Midrashic interpretation was that each hailstone had fire within it.

R’ Aryeh Kaplan translates instead as “hailstorm”, and one other tweak: “fire” means lightning. We thus have a phenomenon that ever-so-slightly bends the laws of nature, rather than breaks them.

Others say:  sounds like it’s clinging to the hail which sounds like it’s within (or at least touching) hailstones rather than just within the hailstorm.

Accordingly, the verse records that the hail struck throughout the land of Egyptboth man and beast, referring to the hail that struck immediately.  It was followed by the natural hail which smote every grass and broke every tree in the field, the verse conveying that while that hail was sufficiently forceful to affect the vegetation, it could not kill living creatures.

Ipuwer Papyrus Account

The Ipuwer Papyrus is an ancient document that provides a possible independent record of the ten plagues in Egypt. It describes a great disaster that took place in ancient Egypt. The oldest copy dates to around 1400 BC, placing it close to the time of the Exodus (circa 1446 BC). The Ipuwer Papyrus is the sole surviving manuscript of an ancient Egyptian poem officially designated as Papyrus Leiden I-344. The poem is known as “The Admonitions of Ipuwer.” A new edition is available now entitled “The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All.” Dutchman Giovanni Anastasi purchased the Ipuwer Papyrus in 1828, and it is now housed in Leiden, the Netherlands, at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden.

The seventh plague (hail and fire). This hail was unlike any that had been seen before. It was accompanied by a fire which ran along the ground, and everything left out in the open was devastated by the hail and fire. Again, the children of Israel were miraculously protected, and no hail damaged anything in their lands.

The Ipuwer Papyrus says, “Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire” (2:10). “Lower Egypt weeps. . . . The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish” (10:3–6).

“Forsooth, grain has perished on every side” (6:3). “Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax” (5:12).

Plague of Hail Continues

Tomorrow we will finish the account of the Plague of Hail and compare it to prophetic climatic events on earth and the heavenlies.  Until then, be blessed.  (Click to Source)

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Plague of Locusts Attacks Islam’s Holiest Mosque in Mecca

What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten. Joel 1:4 (The Israel Bible™)

Saudi Arabia, in particular the location of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca, has recently been inundated by swarms of locusts, crickets and cockroaches.

Social media users have posted images and uploaded several videos of swarms of locust infesting the Great Mosque of Mecca, the holiest in all of Islam. It is the focus of the hajj, the pilgrimage, which draws millions of Muslims a year to Saudi Arabia.

According to a report on Al-Araby, Mecca’s municipal authorities announced earlier in the week that specialized teams of sanitation workers have been tasked to deal with the infestation.

“We have harnessed all efforts available to speed up the eradication of the insects in the interest of the safety and comfort of guests to God’s house,” said the statement.

In a report on reliefweb.int, a Desert Locust Bulletin from December said that “Favorable ecological conditions and extensive breeding caused a Desert Locust outbreak to develop in the winter breeding areas along the Red Sea coast in Sudan and Eritrea during December.”

The report suggested that the breeding in southeast Egypt, on the Red Sea coast in Saudi Arabia and Oman was smaller than that which plagued Sudan and Eritrea. The swarm was helped by good rains following Cyclone Luban, a very severe tropical storm that affected Yemen, Somalia and Oman in particular, in October 2018.

Is it simply irony that in the weekly Torah portion Jews read about the final five plagues – boils, fiery hail, locusts, darkness and death of first-born males – that God sent to afflict Pharaoh and the Egyptians, a swarm of locusts attacks Islam’s holiest mosque?

A locust will eat its weight in food every day and swarms can strip entire regions bare but, for some (like the Russian fishermen), they are considered a mixed blessing . Locusts are, in fact, edible and considered a delicacy in some countries. While the consumption of most insects is forbidden under kosher laws, the Talmud identifies four species of locust that are kosher and permitted to be eaten by Jews. Since the identity of those species is in dispute, most Jews refrain from indulging. (Click to Source)

 
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Torah Portion – Mikkeitz – At the end – “To Him Be the Glory” – 9 December, 2018

Mikkeitz

At the end

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Genesis 41:1-44:17
1 Kings 3:15-4:1

“To Him Be the Glory”


by Mark Huey

This week’s parashah includes a very important verse that should immediately focus our attention on what God was accomplishing through the life of Joseph, when he is asked to interpret the dreams that Pharaoh has been having:

“Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer’” (Genesis 41:16).

Mikkeitz allows each of us, once again, to witness the sovereign will of the Creator take its course. The sons of Jacob/Israel are once more called upon to be the principal actors in a real life drama that has been preserved for our instruction. Here, the Holy One displays His omniscient will over the affairs of the world. The Lord has a very special assignment for the people of the covenants, and He guarantees that everything that He desires goes according to His script, by deliberately selecting the cast and arranging the unique circumstances. It is abundantly clear from the record left to us in the Scriptures, that our Father wants us to learn not only from the mistakes committed by the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel—but also from the instances when proper decisions were made by them.

The protagonist in this drama is none other than the noble Joseph, who has risen from the depths of ignominious incarceration. Now positioned as the vice regent of Egypt, he finally has a golden opportunity to return the same evil upon his brothers that he received some twenty years earlier when he was sold into slavery. But something is uniquely merciful about the character of Joseph. Even though he paid a costly price for his brother’s evil intentions, he does not harbor any residual bitterness toward them. Instead, he simply takes the circumstances to teach them an indelible lesson. What was it about Joseph that allowed him to extend such grace? What can modern-day Believers learn from Joseph’s example?

Dreamer of Dreams

Joseph learned as a youth that the Creator God is real. From the stories that he certainly heard from his father, he concluded that He was a personal Deity who was intimately concerned about His chosen people and the promises they had been given. His experiences with dreams certainly had an impact on his life. For years, sequestered in dank prisons, he had plenty of time to relive and analyze not only these dreams, but also the consequences of sharing them with his brothers and father. Then, this dreamer of dreams discovered in confinement that he was able to interpret others’ dreams. But before listening to the dreams of others, he immediately proclaims to the cupbearer and baker that interpretations of dreams belong to his God:

“Then they said to him, ‘We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.’ Then Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please’” (Genesis 40:8).

Joseph gives credit where credit is due. He tells the wine steward and the baker that it is only in the power of the Creator to interpret dreams. But he does have the faith to ask about the dreams, and the Lord intervenes. Joseph supernaturally receives and repeats the interpretation without any regard to the pleasant or unpleasant report (Genesis 40:9-23). What he soon discovers is that he is understanding a voice which is giving him the interpretation.

The critical thing that Joseph learned during his years in prison is that dreams and the interpretation of them can cause things to happen. For another two years (Genesis 41:1), he ponders the accuracy of his interpretation until an opportunity to interpret another dream comes forth.

Pharaoh’s Dreams

The next time Joseph is called upon to interpret something, the dreams are from the supreme ruler of Egypt, the Pharaoh himself. Now, the gifted young servant of the prison’s captain of the guard is summoned to hear and interpret the dreams. He already knew that Pharaoh has exacting demands upon his servants. Remember that the baker had been hanged for no stated reason. How was he, a foreign prisoner, going to be received in a society where the Egyptians disdained Semites? Without hesitation, upon being asked whether he can once again interpret a dream (Genesis 41:15), he responds with this concise statement:

“Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer’” (Genesis 41:16).

Joseph’s first response was to give all the glory to the God of his fathers. Joseph knew that the ability to interpret dreams was not something he could just conjure up with some mystical magic. God was pleased by Joseph’s attitude and he was given the proper interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams. At the conclusion of the interpretations an interesting discourse follows:

“‘Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about. Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it. Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.’ Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his servants. Then Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?’ So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.’ Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ And he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt’” (Genesis 41:32-44).

At this critical juncture, Joseph felt the liberty to go beyond just the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream by giving him the solution to contend with the forecasted famine. Something prompted Joseph to go beyond just a strict interpretation. Is it possible that God had allowed Joseph to mature to a point in his walk with Him, that he was able to be a confident voice for Him before world leaders? It is clear from the resulting actions of Pharaoh that the solutions suggested were things that Joseph had been groomed to manage. He had been responsible for Potiphar’s home and his possessions, and had done an admirable job of managing his estate. Next, he had been put in charge of the prisoners during his tenure in jail. Apparently, he was again given favor and the affairs of the prison were maintained in proper order.

Now with the wisdom implanted by the Lord, Joseph is positioned to be elevated to the second highest political rank in Egyptian society (Genesis 41:38-49). This is a remarkable rise to power—simply with the blessings of the Most High working through a unique opportunity to interpret dreams! What should we learn from the example of Joseph’s life?

Dreams and Gifts

Perhaps you are gifted with some spiritual endowment that has been freely given to you by the absolute grace of the Creator. Perhaps you have the gift of prophecy, healing, discernment, wisdom, knowledge, or any of the other gifts that our Father freely bestows upon His children for His work to be accomplished (1 Corinthians 12:28-31; Ephesians 4:11-13). You know what the gift is and have seen it operate through you at times. Just how do you operate with a recognizable supernatural gift? Your challenge is to follow the lead of Joseph.

First, remember that the gift has been given to you for purposes beyond your own personal aggrandizement. Instead, whenever you sense a spiritual gift working through you, be cautioned to give whatever glory is due to the Lord for His work to be accomplished through you. Too many times, men and women given gifts of prophecy or healing take advantage of their gifting and begin to use it for manipulative purposes. Many times this results in people who eventually bring dishonor to our Heavenly Father. Too frequently this impedes, rather than advances, His Kingdom work.

Hopefully, we can all take the life of Joseph and his humble example as the proper way to handle the spiritual giftings that are granted by the Lord to each one of us. We must use such spiritual gifts for the purposes of glorifying God, and ultimately drawing people unto Him. If you are straying in the other direction, beware!

Cry out to Him for mercy! Let Him receive the glory that He alone deserves! Ask the Lord to give you the same understanding that Joseph received. Perhaps as you give God the glory for the gifting you have received, He will give you increased responsibility in handling additional tasks in His Kingdom as others are impacted with the message of the gospel.

On the other hand, the Lord may decide to allow you to take credit for what He is doing through you. Then your reward may be here on Earth, rather than through eternity. Remember this reality: we all get the choice of when and by whom we want to be rewarded. Do you want the recognition of mere mortals, for a short season? Or would you prefer eternal favor? It takes faith to choose the latter option. Perhaps like Joseph, with some time in seclusion seeking the Father, we might be prepared to make the right choices. If nothing else, quietness before the Lord can certainly enhance our ability to more clearly hear His voice. Perhaps that is one of the reasons He has given us a day to rest and focus upon Him. Consider these questions as you ponder on Mikkeitz this Shabbat…   (Click to Source)


NOTES

[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, eds., The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003), 970.

[2] Cf. Isaiah 29:16; Romans 9:21.

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