Last night in the U.S. House of Representatives, the House Rules Committee narrowly voted 7-6 to send the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 to the full House for a vote tonight. This act provides for an increase in the U.S. federal debt limit and suspends it until January of 2025.
According to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this measure could reduce the federal spending deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Yet, the COB estimated that the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 bill, passed by the House last month, would have reduced the deficit by $4.8 trillion over the next decade.
In Turkey this past weekend, Recep Tayyip Erdogan secured the victory in the presidential election runoff vote. It followed a first round of voting on May 14, when a candidate needed 50% or more of the votes to win. Erdogan received 49.52% of the votes, so a second round of voting was necessary.
In the second round, with over 99% of the ballots counted, Erdogan received 52.14% of the votes; while his opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, received 47.86% of the votes. The narrow margin of victory, just over 3%, appears to reflect a significant national divide in Turkish satisfaction with Erdogan’s leadership.
Erdogan has been Turkey’s leader for 20 years. He was the prime minister from 2003 to 2014, and he has been the president from 2014 to 2023. This recent victory adds another 5-year term to his presidency.
Following the election, statements of congratulations came from several foreign leaders. These included leaders from Russia, the United States, Qatar, Libya, Algeria, Hungary, Iran and the Palestinian Authority.
Turkey’s currency, the lira, tumbled to new lows against the U.S. dollar yesterday, the day after Erdogan’s re-election. Presumably, this will present a difficult challenge during his new term as president.
Happy Memorial Day! I have a great deal of respect, admiration and appreciation for all of those who have fought, and often paid the ultimate sacrifice, for our independence and freedom in the U.S.
Vietnam Memorial Wall
On June 6, 1984, President Ronald Reagan gave an important address at the ceremony commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings or D-Day. He had flown to Normandy to give his outstanding speech. It lasted almost 13½ minutes and can be seen and heard below.
Today is the Christian celebration of Pentecost, exactly seven weeks following Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday). At the first Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the disciples of Jesus (Yeshua) were filled, supernaturally, with the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) and spoke in other “tongues.” Other God-fearing Jews, who had gathered there from many other nations, heard these men declaring the wonders of God in their own languages (2:5,6,11).
The first Pentecost corresponded to the Jewish celebration of Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-22). On this day, a firstfruits of the wheat harvest was offered to God.
In most years (with last year and this year being exceptions), most calendars usually list Shavuot a few days before Pentecost due to the way the fifty days are counted from Passover week, referred to as the “counting of the omer.” I believe the fifty-day calculation is made erroneously by most, as explained in this email response:
On the day of Pentecost, Jews “from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) had returned to Jerusalem (following the commandment of Deuteronomy 16:16), indicating that they already had been widely dispersed among the nations by that time. Today, the dispersion is even greater.
After Pentecost, the apostles performed many wonders and miraculous signs (Acts 2:43). They were the “firstfruits” of all who would receive many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who is filled by the Spirit of God can receive some of these gifts from God as well. Each of us is nothing, but God can make something out of nothing with the Power of His Holy Spirit.
They asked why a loving God would allow such a traumatic event to come upon mankind. Perhap it is because many will be saved out of it. They do not feel that we are in the tribulation time period. However, they feel it is so close that we can almost hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen over the horizon.
I definitely do believe in a main Rapture event, which I am convinced will be a Pre-Wrath Rapture. Reasons why I disagree with the Pre-tribulation view of the Rapture and embrace the Pre-wrath view of the Rapture are explained in the first six email responses that I have written in Rapture Questions & Responses.
Those who believe in a Pre-tribulation Rapture feel that the whole “tribulation” period (final 7 years of this age) will consist of the wrath of God. Yet, in the book of Revelation the word “wrath” does not appear until Revelation 6:16,17, following the Sixth Seal disturbances.
The impending wrath will be a response by God to a plea from the souls of those who had been killed following the opening of the Fifth Seal. Their appeal is for God to avenge their blood (Revelation 6:9,10). This will result in God’s day of vengeance, which will consist of God’s wrath and will be preceded by a Pre-Wrath Rapture.
Also, I believe that, in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, the one holding back the “secret power of lawlessness” and the “lawless one” (that is, the Antichrist) is the archangel Michael, not Christian believers or the Holy Spirit of God. My explanation for this is in the restrainer section.
Most people who believe in an “imminent” Pre-tribulation Rapture feel that the Gog/Magog attack on Israel (described in Ezekiel 38 & Ezekiel 39) probably will take place at or near the beginning of the final 7 years. I feel that this attack will begin sometime during the final 3½ years, with the final battle taking place when Jesus returns. Details about this can be found in my Gog/Magog attack section of this commentary:
The Popocatépetl Volcano is the second highest peak and one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico. It is located 43 miles southeast of Mexico City, the most populous city in North America. Nearly 25 million people live within a 60-mile radius of the volcano.
Almost a week ago, the volcano began emitting ash, which caused schools to be temporarily closed in 11 nearby towns. Soon thereafter, incandescent fragments were observed coming out of the volcano. Warnings went out about the dangerous health effects of inhaling volcanic ash, especially by children, older adults and people with respiratory diseases.
The alert level in Mexico City was raised to Yellow Alert Phase 3, and airports in the capital city and in Puebla were shut down temporarily. Since then, numerous flights have been delayed and canceled. If the volcano’s explosive activity escalates to intermediate to high danger, the alert level will be raised to Red Alert, which would necessitate an evacuation order.
Guam, one of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean, is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Typhoon Mawar has been approaching Guam for a few days, getting stronger as it goes. It is the first typhoon of the 2023 Pacific typhoon season.
Yesterday, the typhoon’s sustained wind speed increased to 155 mph, the equivalent of a strong Category 4 Atlantic hurricane. It is the strongest storm to hit Guam in over 2 decades.
Today, the center of the eye of the storm passed just north of Guam. The typhoon itself more than completely covered the island of Guam. There were maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, a moderate Category 4 storm, with gusts up to 165 mph.
There continue to be flash flood and coastal flood warnings throughout the island. Devastating impacts to the island’s residents, infrastructure and landscape are expected.
According to a statement on Facebook, almost all of the Guam Power Authority circuits have been impacted by the strong typhoon. At one point today, only about 1,000 of the 52,000 customers still had electricity.
President Biden and Speaker McCarthy held another round of debt ceiling talks this afternoon at the White House. It was their first discussion since Biden returned from the G7 summit meeting in Japan. No one else was present for the discussion, which lasted about 90 minutes.
Following the meeting, McCarthy told members of the media outside the White House, “I felt we had a productive discussion. We don’t have an agreement yet, but I did feel the discussion was productive in areas that we have differences of opinion.” More discussions will take place this week.
Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Yellen said that the government is unlikely to make it to June 15 without running out of money to meet its obligations. Earlier today, in a letter that she wrote to McCarthy, she reiterated her deadline of June 1 for Congress to raise the debt ceiling. She said it is “highly likely” that the government could run out of money to pay off its bills in 10 days.
The most significant last days’ prophecies surround Israel and the Jews, which is why they are under attack. What is wrong with the Hebrew Roots Movement and Dual Covenant Theology? Why are most churches silent on these issues?
Some Christians believe that “all Israel will be saved,” as noted by the apostle Paul. However, this refers specifically to those in Israel in the future after Jesus returns and they recognize Him as Lord and Messiah. Then He will take away their sins:
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)
This was clearly indicated by the ancient prophets, for a future time, after the Redeemer Lord Jesus returns. God will forgive Israel’s sins and remember them no more, giving them eternal life and salvation:
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD. “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from that time on and forever,” says the LORD. (Isaiah 59:20,21)
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Today is Armed Forces Day in the United States. Each year, it takes place on the third Saturday in May. It also is the last day of Armed Forces Week.
This day was created by President Harry Truman and first was observed on May 20, 1950. It’s purpose was to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank military members for their patriotic service in support of the U.S. republic and national interests and as an undeniable fact of American life.
This day also honors Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches. These include the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard.
Recently, President Biden had been engaged in debt ceiling negotiations with members of Congress, but no agreements had been reached. He departed to Japan a few days ago for a G7 summit meeting. Before leaving, he appointed a team from his administration to continue negotiations directly with Speaker McCarthy and other House Republicans about raising the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.
Biden indicated he felt confident that Congress would take necessary action to avoid a default on the national debt for the first time in history. Treasury Secretary Yellen has warned that if Congress allows the U.S. to default on its financial responsibility, the consequences would be an “economic and financial catastrophe” for both the domestic and international markets. This could happen as soon as early next month, and most Americans are very apprehensive that it might.
Today, after no consensus was reached, debt ceiling negotiations were stalled. House Republicans have attempted to push back against very high amounts of government spending, primarily during 2021 and 2022. However, Biden and Democrats have been steadfast in insisting that the debt ceiling must be raised without including conditions that would allow spending to be reduced.
Talks resumed tonight, but they ended soon after they began. More talks should happen this weekend and next week. Yet, even if a bill emerges, it still would need to be passed in both the House and the Senate before June 1.
In Jerusalem this afternoon, thousands of Israelis took part in the annual flag march. It was a celebration of Jerusalem Day. It commemorates the reunification of East Jerusalem (including the Old City) with West Jerusalem following the Six-Day War of 1967.
Men and women took separate routes during the march. Men entered the Old City via the Damascus Gate in the north, while women entered through the Jaffa Gate on the east side of the city. The two groups met at the Western Wall near the Temple Mount.
There was an awareness that Palestinian attacks could happen during the march. Therefore, about 2,500 Israeli police officers were positioned all along the march route. Fortunately, no violence broke out.
There is a quick and easy way to check one’s internet speed in Mbps (Megabits per second). Going to https://fast.com will show the internet speed, in a few seconds, in the middle of the screen. Then, clicking on the “Show more info” button will provide additional information at the bottom.
The president and congressional leaders met again this afternoon for less than an hour at the White House. It was part of ongoing talks on raising the U.S. debt limit. If this does not occur before next month, a catastrophic default and very possibly an economic recession could take place.
Those at the meeting included President Biden, Vice President Harris, House Speaker McCarthy, House Minority Leader Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senate Minority Leader McConnell. Prior to the meeting, McCarthy indicated that he felt the Democrats would not be agreeing to a deal.
Republicans want the debt ceiling to be raised to avoid a default. Also, due to excessive federal spending over the past few years, they also want spending cuts to be part of the agreement. The House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 bill last month, but the Senate has not agreed to pass it.
Democrats also want the debt ceiling to be raised, but generally they do not want that agreement to including any spending cuts. They feel that any possible cuts should be part of separate negotions.
Biden was scheduled to take a week-long trip to Asia. Although he still plans to leave tomorrow for Japan, he will not be visiting Papua New Guinea and Australia. While he is gone, he has appointed some people from his administration to negotiate directly with McCarthy and other House Republicans. After Biden returns in a few days, more debt ceiling talks are expected to take place next week.
This is Peace Officers Memorial Day. It is a day each year to pay tribute to local, state and federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty. This holiday was enacted after President John F. Kennedy signed a congressional bill in 1962 designating May 15 each year to honor peace officers.
At Olive Tree Ministries this weekend, Jan Markell introduced a discussion between Pastor Jack Hibbs and Dr. David Reagan, founder of Lamb & Lion Ministries. They talked about world events, the church and pulpit today, and the vital importance of the hope Bible prophecy offers.
The pastors of many churches do not focus on, or even mention, prophetic messages in the Bible. In many cases, this is not a topic that many seminaries provide much information about. Since there are various prophetic viewpoints about the end times, they prefer not to get tied in to one particular perspective, and it is too complex to cover them all. Many pastors simply do not want to relay the negative news about certain prophetic issues to their congregations.
There are many clear prophecies in the Old Testament about the first coming of Jesus Christ. All of them were fulfilled, as described in the New Testament. There also are numerous prophecies in the Old and New Testaments about Jesus’ second coming.
We now are in the season when many events, including in Israel, have been foreshadowing the prophecies describing the end of the age. Many of the prophecies are converging for the first time, and they should provide a blessed hope in Christian believers for the return of the Lord Jesus back to this earth. For those who never have read through the entire Bible, now would be a very good time to do so.
In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)
“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the LORD. “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 2:10-12)
At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:17)
Last night, thousands of migrants jammed into border entries attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico. This followed the ending of the Title 42 expulsion program, which had been in place for over 3 years.
During that time, more than 2.7 million migrants were expelled back into Mexico. Many of them were those who were crossing repeatly.
During the same period, about 2.8 million migrants ineligible for expulsion were allowed into the U.S. under Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. They were able to pursue their immigration claims in court, a process which can take months or years.
This week, before Title 42 ended, record numbers of migrants attempted to enter the U.S. They had heard that it would be more difficult to enter the country after May 11, so they rushed to cross over before the deadline. Daily apprehensions rose above 10,000, and the detention capacity of migrants has maxed out.
The chaos has severely strained U.S. border authorities and border cities. President Biden has acknowledged that the border is “going to be chaotic for a while.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, migrants appearing at the southern U.S. border were processed and given a chance to claim asylum. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, Title 42 expulsion was implemented to allow border officials to expel migrants that they encountered at the border immediately back into Mexico. It was an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.
At one minute before midnight EDT tonight, Title 42 is scheduled to end. Last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations will continue to be used to facilitate and accelerate removals of migrants entering the U.S. illegally. The DHS also said that, beginning in Guatemala and Colombia, it would establish regional centers where migrants can apply for asylum or other means of immigrating to the U.S.
A U.N. figure last month indicated that up to 660,000 migrants were moving across Mexico toward its border with the U.S. This month, the number of migrants at the border, who will attempt to enter the four U.S. border states as soon as Title 42 ends tonight, has grown precipitously. Without adequate securing of the border, the innumerable problems associated with countless migrants illegally entering the U.S. are expected to escalate substantially and become chaotic over upcoming weeks and months.
Yesterday in the White House, President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy had their second debt ceiling meeting. The first meeting was back in February. Also present in the room were Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senate Minority Leader McConnell and House Minority Leader Jeffries. They have indicated that they are planning to meet again on Friday, two days from now.
Following the conversation, which lasted about an hour, McCarthy expressed concern that Biden would not give him any possibie spending cut proposals. McCarthy told reporters, “I didn’t see any new movement. I’ve done everything in my power to make sure [the country] will not default. We have passed a bill to raise the debt limit. Now, I haven’t seen that in the Senate, so I don’t know.”
Schumer indicated that the Senate staff will “start sitting down as early as tonight, certainly tomorrow, to see where we can come to agreement on the budget and appropriations process.” Speaking of McCarthy’s House bill, the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, Schumer added, “His bill doesn’t have a single Democrat in support, and it gets us nowhere because you have to negotiate to get this done. Take default off the table and let’s resume negotiations in the appropriations process.”
On May 1, Treasury Secretary Yellen warned federal lawmakers that without congressional action to lift or suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, the country will run out of money to pay its bills as soon as the first week of June. If the debt limit is not raised, there is heightened fear that the U.S. would have its first-ever debt default, which most likely would have dangerous financial and economic consequences for this country.
Russia always has celebrations and parades on this date. Due to continuing attacks on Ukraine for well over a year, though, there has been concern in Russia that some of the Victory Day events could be targets for Ukrainian attacks. There also were recent drone attacks in Moscow, which Russia blames on Ukraine; however, Ukraine denies involvement.
This morning, Russia fired more cruise missiles at Kyiv, Ukraine. Also, the main Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square took place today. However, there was heightened security in the area. President Vladimir Putin gave a fiery 10-minute speech in front of the Kremlin. He roared against the “Western global elites” and stated that civilization is at “a decisive turning point.”
At Olive Tree Ministries this weekend, Jan Markell spent the hour with Pastor Mark Henry and author and journalist William Koenig. There is a sense that the world is on the brink of something stunning. The book of Daniel says much is sealed until the end and yet today, much is being revealed.
They talked about how those nations that bless Israel will be blessed, but those that curse Israel will be cursed (Numbers 24:9b). Examples were given of disasters that occurred in the U.S. when presidents attempted to convince Israel leaders to give up portions of Israel’s land to Palestinians. They also noted how there are many churches in the U.S. that have adopted a Replacement Theology view and promote anti-semitic policies.
It was explained how America changed on January 28, 2020. They discussed how we may be headed toward a financial crisis similar to 2008. Many things appear to be headed in that direction, probably sooner than later. The best things to do right now are to have a stronger personal relationship with Jesus than we ever have before, put our complete trust and faith in Him, and read the Bible, the word of God, often. Jesus said:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
The longest living monarch or the United Kingdom was Queen Elicabeth II. She served as queen for 70 years, from 1952 until she died in 2022.
Her oldest son, Charles III, was born in 1948. When his mother ascended to the throne in 1952, Charles became the heir apparent. He was made Prince of Wales in 1958. On the day of his mother’s death, Sep. 8, 2022, Charles III became King of the United Kingdom at age 73. He became the oldest person to accede to the British throne.
Today, the official coronation of King Charles took place at Westminster Abbey. At ages 74 and 75, he and his wife, Camilla, were crowned King and Queen of the United Kingtom. The Archbishop of Canterbury crowned Charles as King and then Camilla as Queen.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. However, this was not Mexico’s Independence Day.
Mexico’s independence from Spain was an armed conflict that lasted from 1808 to 1821. On September 16, 1810, Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidaldo y Costilla rang the church bell in Dolores, Mexico. That gave the call to arms that triggered the war of independence.
A law formalizing the annual observance of the National Day of Prayer was enacted in 1952. As such, this is the 71st anniversary of this noteworthy day, on which the president is required by law (36 U.S.C. § 119) to sign a proclamation each year encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
For the past three years, due to the COVID pandemic, there were less gatherings of people on this day to pray. Hopefully, there will be a notable increase of these gatherings this year.
The most recent interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve was on Mar. 22. The increase was one-quarter of a percentage point (0.25% point). Following their meeting yesterday and today, the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate by another 0.25% point.
This is the fastest pace that the federal interest rate has been raised in 40 years. Today’s hike now pushes the benchmark fed funds rate to 5%-5.25%, up from a nearly zero just 12 months ago and its highest level since September 2007. This could be the last interest rate hike for 2023, but possibly not.
I listened quite a bit to American Family Radio (https://afr.net) this past weekend, as I often do. One program that I often find interesting is “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” with Dr. Frank Turek. Sunday’s program was a repeat of one of his programs from a few days ago.
Frank interviewed the author Steve Deace, the writer of the novel A Nefarious Plot. A film, Nefarious, has been made from the book and was released earlier this month on April 14. The movie shows examples of spiritual warfare. Frank and Steve discussed the good, the scary and the downright strange occurrences that took place while working on the book’s film adaptation.
Steve initially had no thought of having a movie made about the content of the novel, but interesting things happened that motivated him to do so. However, along the way, a series of completely unexpected and bizarre events occurred in Steve’s life and in the lives of those who made the movie, including car accidents happening to eight members of the movie crew. Clear examples of incredible spiritual warfare took place.
In effect, spiritual warfare can be seen on the movie screen, and spiritual warfare happened to those who were bringing the movie to the screen. Even more amazing is that very strange and potentially deadly events have continued to crop up after the movie’s initial premiere on April 14.
What Satan means for evil, God can use for good. Since God has a plan for everything, those uncanny events can be understood as “God-incidences” rather than “coincidences.” All things work together for the glory of God and for those called according to His purpose. In spite of all of the events that could have brought this film to a halt, Nefarious finally is being shown in theaters and is a film that both Christians and non-Christians are guaranteed to find mesmerizing and gripping.
The podcast of this program can be heard below. The discussion between Turek and Deace lasts just under 36 minutes.
Today, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen warned federal lawmakers that without congressional action to lift or suspend the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, the country will be unable to pay its obligations as soon as the first week of June. This follows a similar warning made by Yellen to Congress on Jan. 14.
Yellen previously had warned Congress in January that the United States had reached its $31.4 trillion debt limit and that the Treasury Department would have to take “extraordinary measures” to buy time for Congress to act. Since then, the Treasury has collected the tax filings of millions of Americans, allowing the Treasury to better predict when it will be unable to pay its bills.
Yellen stated in a new letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, “After reviewing recent federal tax receipts, our best estimate is that we will be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations by early June, and potentially as early as June 1, if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit before that time.” Financial analysts previously had predicted the so-called "X-date" for lawmakers to lift the borrowing limit would be sometime in July, or possibly as late as September.
Last week, House Republicans passed a debt ceiling bill, the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which included some spending cuts. Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, generally are insisting that the nation’s borrowing limit must be raised without any attached conditions.
Previously, Senate Leader Schumer said that the measure is “dead on arrival” in the Senate. However, the Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on raising the debt ceiling later this week. Even if the Senate were to pass the House bill, though, President Biden has insisted that, without any changes, he would veto it if it reaches his desk. If the debt limit is not raised, there is heightened fear that the U.S. would have its first-ever debt default, which most likely would have dangerous financial and economic consequences.
At Olive Tree Ministries this weekend, Jan Markell spent the hour with Dr. Mark Hitchcock. They talked about a new film: Praying for Armageddon. The film claims that evangelicals are trying to hasten the apocalypse on earth and to bring on Armageddon.
Jan and Mark looked at life on earth after the Rapture event. She said that her heart breaks for those who will be left behind. Mark pointed out that there is no true believer in Jesus Christ who is wanting this world to be plunged into judgment. No follower of Jesus Christ is praying for Armageddon, but we are looking foward to the return of Jesus and praying for people to be saved and delivered. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of true Christian believers feel this way.
Those who falsely believe that Christians want to hasten the coming of the apocalypse appear to be oblivious of the devastating adversities that the Great Reset, initiated by the World Economic Forum, will bring upon a large portion of the world’s population:
elimination of national sovereignty and independence
destruction and replacement of the free enterprise economic system
elimination of private property
owning nothing and “being happy”
abolishment of Christianity
bringing about a cashless society
implementing universal income
It definitely is true that world events are leading up to disastrous and calamitous things that will happen on the earth. Many of these are described in the biblical book of Revelation. As such, it is extremely important for Christians to relate information about this to unbelievers and to encourage them to accept and embrace Jesus, the physical manifestation of God, as their Lord and Savior unto eternal salvation.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 9:13; Joel 2:32a)
Earlier this week, the U.S. House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023. The bill, which passed with a Republican majority, combines an increase in the debt ceiling with cuts in federal spending.
The next steps are for discussions to take place between Speaker McCarthy and President Biden and also among members of the Senate. Republicans in the Senate say that the House bill should serve to jumpstart these negotiations. McCarthy and Biden met in February, but they have not had a discussion about it since then.
The Senate has received the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 from the House. However, Senate Democrats generally are insisting that the nation’s borrowing limit must be raised without any attached conditions. In effect, if a potentially catastrophic default on the U.S. debt takes place in June or later, it will be a result of the refusal of Democrats to negotiate some cuts in federal spending that could be made.
Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to raise the federal government’s debt limit and to make some spending cuts. The vote for the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 resulted in a narrow win of 217 to 215, with all Democrats and four Republicans voting against the bill. Still, it is considered to be a significant victory for Reputlican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Prior to the vote, Republican representatives had meetings with Speaker McCarthy. Many of those who initially were dissenters of the bill changed their views and, ultimately, voted for the legislation. It would raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion or through the end of March 2024, whichever occurs first. It also would limit discretionary federal spending to fiscal 2022 levels.
The majority agreement among Republicans is that the debt ceiling needs to be raised. Otherwise, the federal government is at risk of defaulting on its debt, which never has happened in U.S. history. However, at the same time, they feel it is very important for the government to make significant cuts in its spending, which is a very important undertaking.
Even though the legislation passed the House, it is doubtful that it will successfully pass in the Democratic majority Senate. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that when the bill is sent to the Senate, it will be “dead on arrival.” Democrats want the debt ceiling to be raised, but they are unwilling to agree to reasonable spending cuts. President Biden has said that, if the the proposed bill reaches his desk, he will veto it. So far, President Biden has refused to negotiate with Speaker McCarthy on spending cuts.
Today is the 75th anniversary of Israel Independence Day or, in Hebrew, Yom Ha’atzmaut. It began yesterday evening at sundown and will continue through today until sundown.
On the Gregorian calendar, Israel’s declaration of independence took place on May 14, 1948. On the Hebraic calendar, this was on 5 Iyar. This date occurs at different times on the Gregoria calendar each year.
The new State of Israel was recognized by the United States, the Soviet Union and many other countries. However, it was not recognized by the surrounding Arab states, which officially declared war on the new state.
At Olive Tree Ministries this weekend, Jan Markell spent the hour with Michele Bachmann. It is possible that the global government could be established on the back of the World Health Organization and the United Nations. A global digital ID would be at the center of this.
This could be decided May 21-30, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland. Listen and learn about this one-world push, which is outlined in the Bible, and what we might be able to do to stop this effort.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12,13)
Today is the 73rd anniversary of “Earth Day.” It was founded, in 1970, by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin). In school at the time, I remember the first Earth Day well. We had a big rally, and then we were released from classes early and encouraged to clean up the school grounds.
I do not see this day as a celebration of “Mother Earth” or “Mother Nature” but, rather, as an acclamation and exaltation of God. He conceived of, brought into existence and energized into motion everything in the universe. Without Him, nothing that exists would exist, including this awesome and amazing planet Earth.
The annual Lyrids meteor shower is taking place this month: April 15-29. The Lyrids are caused by Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.
According to NASA, this is one of the oldest-known meteor showers on record. The first sighting dates back to 687 BC in China.
The peak nights to watch the shower are this coming weekend: April 22 and 23. A new moon taking place last night, giving the darkest sky, means that the sky will be darker than normal for the next few nights. This enhances the chance of seeing meteors.
The best viewing of the Lyrids, named after the constellation Lyra, will be from the Northern Hemisphere. In the U.S., it should be best to look toward the northeastern sky, preferrably in a location away from city lights and with a sky free of clouds.
This morning, SpaceX launched its unmanned 500-foot-tall Starship, by far the world’s biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. The first launch attempt of the rocket three days ago, on April 17, was aborted due to a frozen valve.
The gigantic rocket lifted off a few minutes after the launch window opened at 8:28 a.m. CDT (9:28 a.m. EDT). This was at the company’s flight test facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on the Gulf coast. The rocket, loaded with nearly 10 million pounds of liquid oxygen and explosive liquid natural gas fuel, flew upward for a few minutes.
However, about 24.2 miles above the ground, just before the Starship spacecraft separated from the Super Heavy rocket booster, it began to tumble. The mission ended in a big blast and a huge ball of fire, with all of the debris falling into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion took place about four minutes after liftoff. SpaceX commentators kiddingly called it “a rapid unscheduled disassembly.”
SpaceX will need a new launch license from the FAA to make another attempt. The next test launch is expected to take place in a few months.
Today (Nisan 27 on the Hebrew calendar) is Yom HaShoah, which began at sunset last evening. It also is known as Holocaust Remembrance Day or Holocaust Day.
This day commemorates the Holocaust, which was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the regime of Nazi Germany, along with its allies and collaborators. It was an evolving process that took place throughout Europe from 1933 to 1945.
In Israel, there are 161,400 Holocaust survivors living there. The average age of those Holocaust survivors is 85. There also are about 30,000 over age 90 and 462 over age 100. The youngest Holocaust survivors are aged 76.
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. His reign ended in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution took place, and he died in 1980. His oldest son, Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran, became the final heir apparent to the throne of the Imperial State of Iran when his father was overthrown.
Reza Pahlavi now lives in the U.S. He has been a prominent critic of Iran’s Islamic Republic government. He believes that Iran should be a secular, parliamentary democracy.
The former Iranian crown prince now is making his first trip to Israel, in the midst of very tense Iranian-Israeli relations. He plans to hold meetings with officials and leaders about politics, the Iranian diaspora and water and agricultural technology. He also wants to observe Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins at sunset this evening and continues through tomorrow, April 18.
He wants the Israeli people to understand that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not represent the Iranian people. In a Twitter post announcing his trip, he said, “The ancient bond between our people can be rekindled for the benefit of both nations. I’m going to Israel to play my role in building toward that brighter future.”
In most years, around 10,000 Christian worshipers attend the Holy Fire ceremony. However, this year Israeli police allowed only 1,800 people into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with another 1,200 people outside. The police enforced this as a safety regulation due to recent deadly attacks and clashes in Israel.
At Olive Tree Ministries this weekend, Jan Markell spent the hour with Jeff Kinley. They discussed portions of the biblical account of Noah and the flood (Genesis 6 through Genesis 8). Noah’s Ark is a type of Christ in the sense that they both saved the righteous. Similarly, the Rapture event will do the same. How do these present days reflect the days of Noah? The story of Noah is like a shadow of what is going to happen in the last days (Matthew 24:37-39).
The sin in the world at the time of Noah was overwhelming. It is similar to that now, but it is prophesied in the Bible to be a great deal more horrific at the end of the age.
There are consequences for the gravity of depravity. God is getting ready to judge again in the Tribulation outlined in Revelation. When the flood came in the time of Noah, the people were caught unaware. Similarly, people will be caught unaware in the day that Jesus returns.
The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. (Genesis 6:5,6)
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:37-44)
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26,27)
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Today is al-Quds Day. Each year, it is held on the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. This year, the last day of Ramadan is next week on April 21.
The Islamic Republic of Iran established this day in 1979 to oppose Israel’s sovereignty and Zionism in Jerusalem and to express solidarity with the Palestinian people. Demonstrations are held around the world in over 80 Islamic and non-Islamic countries.
Iran commemorates the day with anti-Israel speeches, events and threats to “liberate” Jerusalem from Israeli control. Mass rallies often include incitement against Israel, including the burning of Israeli and US flags and chants of “death to Israel” and “death to America.” There often are cyber attacks against Israeli targets.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has warned that if Iran is able to become a nuclear nation, it could result in other Middle East nations acquiring nuclear weapons. He stressed the importance of the U.S. and Israel preventing this from happening.
It is possible that a momentous collision between Israel and Iran may be approaching. Major General Yaakov Amidror, former national security advisor in Israel, indicated today that war between Israel and Iran is increasingly likely. He also warned that Israel should be preparing for such a conflict without the support of the U.S.
Amidror said, “We need to prepare for war. It’s possible that we will reach a point where we have to attack Iran even without American assistance.”
Earlier this week, the U.S. did send a nuclear-powered guided missile submarine to the Middle East. This was an endeavor to “help ensure regional maritime security and stability” amid increasing tensions with Iran. However, the U.S. is dealing with and focused on increasing problems of its own outside of the Middle East.
Recently, during the days of Passover observation, rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and Syria. All of these regions contain Islamic groups that are considered to be proxies and surrogates of Iran.
Presently in the U.S., the cost of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp is 63¢. Due to rising inflation, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for mailing service prices to be changed.
If the request is approved, the changes will go into effect on July 9, 2023. Among other changes, the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp will be increased from 63¢ to 66¢.
The USPS has requested the following price changes:
Over two weeks ago, on Mar. 26, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. It happened a day after Gallant made a public appeal for Netanyahu not to follow through with a proposed overhaul of the Israel’s judicial system.
Later that day, it was reported that there would be a postponement of the judicial overhaul legislation by the Israeli government. The measure will be delayed until the Knesset reconvenes in a few weeks and has further discussions about the legislation.
At a press conference last night, Netanyahu announced that he had reversed his decision to fire Gallant. “I have decided to put the arguments behind us,” Netanyahu said. He added, “Gallant remains in his position and we will continue to work together for the security of the citizens of Israel.”
Mr. Gallant welcomed the news, posting a picture of both of them on Twitter. He included the message, “We will continue together with full strength for the sake of Israel’s security.”
This morning, I went to a couple of stores and got 45.30 oz. (2.83 lb.) of 50%-off Easter candy. Almost all of the Easter candy already had been removed, although it had not been replaced with anything else. Candy isn’t much of a “thing” for me anymore, so it probably will take me awhile to eat whatever I don’t give away.
This is the Feast of Firstfruits or Resurrection Day. It is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Eventually, all who believe in His blood atonement for their sins will do the same.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
The majority of these resurrections, I believe, will take place at the main Rapture event. These glorified saints never will need to fear God’s severe judgment, and they will be exempt from His righteous wrath.
During the week of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, the Feast of Firstfruits fell on the date of Aviv 17 on the Hebraic calendar (as described in the prophecy fulfillment section of my Good Thursday commentary). It was the same date that Noah’s ark landed and rested on Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4). On that day, Noah and his family were safe and secure from harm, with no further chance of sinking or drowning.
Someone looking at my Holy Week chart questioned me about this. Here is my response:
The attacks on Israel are increasing, following last week’s rocket attacks from Lebanon and Gaza Strip, an attack in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist ramming into civilians with his vehicle, and the killing of two British-Israeli sisters in the West Bank. Last night and early this morning, rockets were fired from Syria into Israel. The Israel military has responded by attacking targets in Syria from where the rockets were fired. Also, tensions between Muslims and Jews, near the al-Aqsa Mosque, are continuing.
It also is being reported that Iran is planning to attack Israeli-owned trading vessels. In response, the U.S. military announced that it had dispatched the USS Florida, a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine, to the Middle East to “help ensure regional maritime security and stability.”
The months-long violence in Israel has escalated this week, especially since the beginning of Passover a few days ago. Many are considering the possibility that certain prophetic endtime events could take place soon.
Several people have suggested that I post a link to a section in my End of the Age: 2024 – 2027? commentary containing prophetic signs that are expected to happen at the beginning of the final 3½ years of this age. That section, near the end of the commentary, is here: onset of the Great Tribulation.
Yesterday afternoon, there was a rare rocket attack from Lebanon into northern Israel. Dozens of rockets were fired into Israel, which has not happened all at once since 2006. There also were rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Israel retaliated by attacking targets in southern Lebanon.
As of today, Israel has placed the blame on the Hamas terror group for both rocket attacks into Israel. Israel then made further attacks on Palestinian militant targets in southern Lebanon and Gaza. Also, in Israel’s West Bank today, two British-Israeli sisters, aged 16 and 20, were shot and killed, presumably by Palestinian terrorists. Their mother was seriously wounded. Furthermore, several pedestrians on a sidewalk in Tel Aviv were slammed and injured by a vehicle driven by a suspected terrorist.
Furthermore, there has been a phone conversation between Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi. A Turkish presidential office announced, “The call addressed the Turkiye-Iran relations and regional developments, including the Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque. President [Erdogan] highlighted the importance of the unity of the Islamic world against Israel’s increasing inhumane attacks in Palestine, especially on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” In addition, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said today, “The Zionists are bewildered by the wave of convergence in the Islamic world as well as the outlook of the internal collapse of the regime.”
The violence in and around Israel the past few days stems from Israeli police raids at the al-Aqsa mosque this week during the eve and day of Passover. Many are expecting the violence to escalate this weekend. On April 9, tens of thousands of people of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian faiths, from around the world, will be gathering in Jerusalem. For Christians, this will be a celebration of Easter Sunday. Potentially, significant violence could arise in and around Jerusalem at that time and during the remainder of the week following Passover.
Just as lambs were slain on the first and subsequent Passovers, the Lamb of God, Yeshua/Jesus, also died on Passover. His shed blood atoned for the sins of all who will accept His unique sacrifice on their behalf. According to John the Baptist and the apostle Paul,
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7b)
His death, of the righteous for the unrighteous, is the only thing that can bring us to God the Father. According to the apostle Peter,
Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18)
There are clear links between the life, death, resurrection and future return of Yeshua/Jesus and the feasts and holy days of Israel. (See more in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 of my online book.) More connections also can be found in my Good Thursday commentary.
Indeed, Yeshua/Jesus our Passover Lamb was slain, and He lay in the tomb during the first few days and nights of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Fortunately for us, He did not remain there; He rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits = Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday).
He is in heaven now waiting to return to earth, at which time He will sit on his throne in Jerusalem. There, He will rule and reign as King over all the earth. I hardly can wait.
This afternoon, during the first full day of Passover, dozens of rockets were fired across the border from Lebanon into northern Israel. Air raid sirens were sounding loudly. It is suspected that the rockets were launched either by a Lebanon-based Palestinian militant group or by the Iran-backed terror group, Hezbollah.
Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that in response to the rocket fire, Israel struck targets in southern Lebanon. In addition, several rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian militants.
Rocket fire from Lebanon is rare. This was one of the largest cross-border rocket barrages since 2006. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon described the situation as “extremely serious.” There is a major concern that a broader regional conflict is on the way.
The rocket fire followed a second night of violence around the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Last night, many worshipers locked themselves inside the mosque. When Israeli officers broke into one of the mosque’s prayer halls, worshipers threw stones and firecrackers at them. Israeli police responded with the use of stun grenades, rubber bullets and batons to disperse many of the worshipers.
The mosque is located on the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews. Israeli authorities allow free access to the mosque. However, many Muslim visitors repeatedly have attempted to stay there overnight since Ramadan began on March 22. This is permitted by Israeli police only during the final 10 days of the month-long holiday of Ramadan.
The main U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is located in Washington D.C. They produce and distribute information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government. They also provide for public access to Federal Government information at no charge.
Benjamin Franklin, who lived from 1706 to 1790, was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. At the GPO website, there is an interesting and informative section that Ben Franklin would have liked. It is a free resource that is designed to inform students, parents and educators about the Federal Government.
I’ve always been fascinated with the general map of the states within the U.S. When I was very young, I learned the locations of all 50 states, as well as all of the state capitals.
In the Games section of Ben’s Guide, I clicked on Place the States. It didn’t take me long to drag all of the states to their proper places, and I remembered all of their capital cities. I think that all Americans, age 9 and older, should be able to do that.
On March 30, former president Donald Trump was indicted by a New York grand jury in Manhattan, NY. It was the first time in U.S. history that a former or a current president had been charged criminally.
Yesterday, Trump traveled by plane from Florida to New York. His motorcade took him to Trump Tower in Manhattan, where he spent the night. This afternoon, Trump was arraigned in a criminal court in Manhattan. He pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.
Hours before Donald Trump turned himself in at the New York courthouse, hundreds of his supporters and opponents had swarmed into a nearby park. On one side of the park, people whistled, shouted, and held placards voicing their support for Trump, who has announced that he plans to run for U.S. President in 2024. On the other side of the park, separated by a metal barrier, were counter-protestors who initially appeared to outnumber the former President’s supporters. Many held homemade placards celebrating Trump’s indictment.
Following the arraignment, Trump left New York and flew back to Florida. Tonight, he gave a 30-minute address to at least a thousand people in Mar-a-Lago. He countered the charges against him and called them “election interference,” spoke out against the present Democratic administration and the Manhattan district attorney for being partisan, and encouraged the consolidation of his base.
After using a simple calculator for less than a week after I purchased it, it stopped working. A description of the calculator says, “With the calculator using classic solar diode power, you will never have to worry about replacing the batteries.”
However, it would not work under a bright light, nor even outside in direct sunlight, no matter how many times I pressed the “ON” button. Therefore, I assumed that there was something wrong inside of the calculator.
I still had the receipt, which I pulled out of the trash can; so I planned to take it back and exchange it for another one. However, I was just curious to know if possibly it might work if I took it apart and put it back together again.
I got my container of tiny screwdrivers and found one that fit into the screws on the back panel. After lifting off the panel, I gently lifted up the thin strip behind the buttons, which caused many of the buttons to fall out. Then I put all of them back in place, pressed the strip tightly against the backs of the buttons, and carefully replaced the back panel.
Since then, it has worked great. In fact, it not only works under bright light but it even works in a dark room at night with no lights on. I’m not sure what I did that fixed it, but I’m glad it works fine now.
A very large crowd of people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. They tossed palm branches onto the road in front of Him. They praised Him as they walked along with Him, and they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9;Mark 11:9;Psalm 118:25,26).
This took place on 10th day of Aviv, the day that each Israeli family in Egypt was to select a Passover lamb (Exodus 12:3). Four days later, on the 14th day of Aviv, was when the lambs would be slaughtered (Exodus 12:6). Likewise, four days after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Sunday, He was slaughtered on Good Thursday. Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb for Israel and for the rest of humanity.