Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, January 1, 2023
Shavuah Tov,

Biblical Perspective of Current News (part of December, 2022)
by Dr. Raymond Finney

INTRODUCTION: Edmund Burke (Irish-British statesman, economist, and philosopher, 1729-1797) famously said, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” I would modify Burke’s statement by saying, “Those who don’t know Bible prophecy are doomed to plod through life in confusion.”

I read many news articles and commentaries daily, partly to keep abreast of what is happening in the world but mostly to see how God’s prophetic Word is being fulfilled or prepared for fulfillment. I am never disappointed to see the many ways that God’s Word concerning present and future times is true and is  coming to a climax at breakneck speed.

Think of it! We are eyewitnesses to the ancient prophetic Word coming to life during our lifetime. Believers in past centuries, who accepted God’s unprovable Word on faith alone, would envy living today and seeing daily proof that God’s Word is real! To not believe Scriptures takes more faith than to believe.

Those who have believed by faith alone will surely receive an extra blessing (John 20:29): Yeshua said to [Thomas], “Because you have seen Me, you have believed? Blessed are the ones who have not seen and yet have believed!” Following is a small sample of news items and commentaries published last month that may interest you:

►TITLE (DATE): A Man of War: The Lord is His Name (December 2, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): rev310.net ( A Man of War: The Lord is His Name (rev310.net) )

++ AND, TITLE (DATE): A Man of War: The Lord is His Name – Part II (December 7, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): rev310.net ( A Man of War: The Lord is His Name – Part II (rev310.net) )                               

++ AND, TITLE (DATE): A Man of War: The Lord is His Name – Part III (December 15, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): rev310.net ( A Man of War: The Lord is His Name – Part III (rev310.net) )

● SUMMARY: Many Bible teachers only portray Yeshua as gentle, humble, meek, and mild-mannered. He is pictured as holding a baby lamb in one arm and a little child in the other. While it is true that He fits all the preceding descriptions, they do not adequately describe His true character. They forget the times He showed righteous anger by overturning the money changers and sellers of merchandise tables in the Temple or the many times He called out the religious elites for their hypocrisy. Although Yeshua had a compassionate nature, He was far from weak.

● SIGNIFICANCE: These articles, spanning three Web entries, display Yeshua as a strong Leader– a Leader His followers will need in the last days.

►TITLE (DATE): Report finds hundreds of ‘acts of hostility’ targeting Christian churches (December 15, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): WorldNetDaily ( Report finds hundreds of ‘acts of hostility’ targeting Christian churches (wnd.com) )

● SUMMARY: A new report from the Family Research Council reveals that there were more than 400 “acts of hostility” against churches in the United States between the beginning of 2018 and this fall. The attacks occurred in 45 different states and Washington, D.C., and the largest part of those were “pro-abortion acts of hostility.”

● SIGNIFICANCE: Believers are hated now and will be hated in the future, and this report confirms what has been known for generations (John 15:18-19): [Yeshua said] “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world hates you.” That Believers are hated by those of this world (followers of Satan) is strangely reassuring and should be welcomed. Making enemies of followers of Satan means, well, we Believers have chosen to follow the true  God. Unfortunately, persecution of Believers will intensify during the Tribulation.

►TITLE (DATE): DEA declares war on social media fentanyl dealers: Agency reveals secret emoji ‘drug menu’ used to target young buyers– as figures show more Americans died to fentanyl last year than in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq COMBINED (December 15, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): Daily Mail ( Secret emoji ‘drug menu’ used by fentanyl dealers online is revealed by DEA | Daily Mail Online )

● SUMMARY: America’s drug officials are turning their attention toward social media platforms, as they warn fentanyl dealers are now in every teenager’s pocket. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said it is investigating 120 cases of a fentanyl overdose that involve purchases made on Websites. It also warns that emoji code languages are used for young buyers to avoid suspicion from their parents. Fentanyl has single-handedly fueled a new drug epidemic in the US. The synthetic opioid was responsible for 70 percent of drug deaths in 2021 and the number of teen deaths has tripled since the COVID pandemic began.

● SIGNIFICANCE: Rampant drug abuse is an end-time phenomenon. A word in the B’rit Chadashah is not translated well. The word is φαρμακεία (transliterated, pharmakeia || pronounced, far-mak-I-ah). The word is commonly translated “sorcery.” It has nothing to do with magic, though. You can tell from the pharm- root that a better translation relates to drugs– specifically, drug abuse. Three verses in The Revelation deal with end-time drug abuse:

… Revelation 18:23 (prophesying the destruction of Babylon the Great): And the light of a lamp shall never shine in [Babylon the Great] again! …for all the nations were deceived by your sorcery!

… Revelation 9:21: And they did not repent and turn away from their… sorceries….
… Revelation 21:8: [A loud voice from the throne said] “But for the… sorcerers… their lot is in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone [Hell], which is the second death.”

Read Revelation, chapter 18. Could America be Babylon the Great? Americans’ ubiquitous use and misuse of mind-altering drugs is both astounding and disheartening. More Americans died from fentanyl overdose last year than died fighting our recent wars over a span of many years. Drugs pour across America’s wide-open southern border, with virtually no one there to stop the deadly imports from China and Mexico. Mexican drug cartels cause numerous Americans’ deaths, but little is being done to stop these deaths. Are we living in the last days? Is God judging (cursing) America? Will America finally be held accountable for abortions, destruction of the family and marriage, and failure to observe other teachings of the Bible? The Apostle Paul taught that God has a limit to what He will tolerate (Galatians 6:7): Do not be deceived– God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also shall reap.

►TITLE (DATE): 5 Global Flashpoints Which Could Absolutely Explode During The Early Stages Of 2023 (December 13, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): End of the American Dream ( 5 Global Flashpoints Which Could Absolutely Explode During The Early Stages Of 2023 (endoftheamericandream.com) )

● SUMMARY: Will 2023 be a year when extremely destructive conflicts erupt all over the world? We are certainly already living in a time of “wars and rumors of wars,” and tensions are approaching the boiling point in a number of key global flashpoints right now. If several more major conflicts were to suddenly begin next year, we could potentially witness an extended period of geopolitical instability that would be unlike anything that we have ever witnessed. It is easy to start wars, but it is much harder to end them. If you doubt this, look at what is happening in Ukraine. There is no end in sight for that conflict, and there are several other wars that could erupt at any time. The author analyzes five global flashpoints which could explode during the early stages of 2023.

● SIGNIFICANCE: Yeshua and various Bible book authors guarantee that the end of the Age will be filled with global wars. I can think of more flashpoints than mentioned in this article. The author touches on a scenario which worries me the most. If our enemies coordinate their evil intentions (which they seem to be  doing) and all enemies attack simultaneously, we are doomed. That is, say China attacks Taiwan and India (and Australia?), Russia attacks European nations and Israel, North Korea attacks Japan, Iran attacks Israel and OPEC nations, several attack the United States, and so forth, the United States, NATO, and other allies could not repel the attacks. I wonder which side the United Nations would support? Hitler lost World War II, in my opinion, because of his two-front war strategy. Hitler’s insane strategy of attacking the U.S.S.R. to his east after attacking European nations to his west sealed Nazi Germany’s doom.

►TITLE (DATE): Pope Francis’ Prophetic Vision: ‘Omens of Even Greater Destruction and Desolation’ for Mankind (December 13, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): Charisma News ( Pope Francis Prophetic Vision: ‘Omens of Even Greater Destruction and Desolation’ for Mankind — Charisma News )

● SUMMARY: During a recent mass, Pope Francis said he has seen signs of darker and more harrowing times coming for mankind. The Pope says God has given him a vision of “omens of even greater destruction and desolation” than the current difficult times the world is experiencing, including wars, the rising cost of living, poverty, famine and an international energy crisis. Pope Francis said, “It is a bitter time, filled with the rumbling of war, growing injustice, famine, poverty and suffering.” The pontiff added that his vision showed that things will only worsen in the near future.

● SIGNIFICANCE: God may well have given Pope Francis a vision of “omens of even greater destruction and desolation” in the future, but God has given all of us the same message Pope Francis is just learning. For many years, I have read these same “revelations” in Daniel, the minor and major prophets, the Gospels, Paul’s writings, the Revelation, and other Scriptures (2 Peter 1:19-21): Furthermore, we have the reliable prophetic word. You do well by paying attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all understand this: no prophecy of Scripture comes about from a person’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever brought forth by human will; rather, people spoke from God as they were moved by the Ruach ha-Kodesh.

►TITLE (DATE): The Top Ten Bible Prophecy Stories Of 2022 (December 13, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): Prophecy News Watch ( The Top Ten Bible Prophecy Stories Of 2022 (prophecynewswatch.com) )

● SUMMARY: The author selects ten news stories published in 2022, explaining why these stories are especially meaningful and how they further the fulfillment of end-time prophecy.

● SIGNIFICANCE: See preceding paragraph.

►TITLE (DATE): What’s Really Driving Netherlands’ Plan to Shut Down 3,000 Farms? (December 13, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): the Defender ( What’s Really Driving Netherlands’ Plan to Shut Down 3,000 Farms? • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org) )

● SUMMARY: The Dutch government said it plans to purchase and forcibly shut down up to 3,000 farms it deems “peak polluters” in order to cut ammonia and nitrous oxide emissions in half by 2030, as required by European Union  environmental regulations.

● SIGNIFICANCE: While this may seem only one nation’s policy decision, it is part of a much larger global issue. Governments and billionaires are using “Mother Earth” (environmental pollution) and over-population to stop agricultural practices, promote vegan diets over meat-containing diets, and reduce population. Farmland is being purchased– even seized, as in this article– to lie fallow, rather than produce crops. We are heading toward the global famine prophesied as the Third Seal Judgment (Revelation 6:5-6): When the Lamb [Yeshua] opened the third seal, I [the Apostle John] heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” And behold, I saw a black horse. The one riding on it held a balance scale in his hand. Then I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius– but do no harm to the oil and wine!” Explanation: A denarius represented a day’s wage for a first century laborer. In the end-times, a day’s wage will purchase only enough food (a quart of wheat = a loaf of bread) to barely meet the needs of that laborer, but will be insufficient to feed his family or purchase any other necessities. Luxury foods (oil and wine) will still abound, as “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Are you stockpiling food and necessities, as you can afford to do so? Since environmental concerns form the Netherlands’ basis for farm seizure, you may be interested in more than forty dire predictions since 1967 of doom from climate change that did not materialize: Nolte: Climate ‘Experts’ Are 0-41 with Their Doomsday Predictions (breitbart.com) .

►TITLE (DATE): Celebrating 2.5 Billion Seeds Sown (December 13, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): The Gideons International ( Gideons International | Celebrating 2.5 Billion Seeds Sown )

● SUMMARY: The Gideons International officially surpassed 2.5-billion Scriptures distributed worldwide this fall. Today, join The Gidedons in praising God for this milestone! Be grateful for His provision that allows The Gideons and others to continue sharing the Gospel to all nations.

● SIGNIFICANCE: When I was younger, I qualified as a church presenter for The Gideons International (Blount North Camp). The Gideons is a fine organization. I have fond memories of my association with other Gideons. The Gideons International has distributed more than 2.5-billion copies of Scriptures, printed in local languages, to people throughout the world. Congratulations! A number of organizations like The Gideons pave the way for the coming of the Lord, and the Apostle Paul would commend their efforts (2 Timothy 3:16-17): All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness, so that the person belonging to God may be capable, fully equipped for every good deed.

►TITLE (DATE): Over 18,000 World Cup Fans Profess Faith in Christ Through Gospel Campaign of Professional Soccer Player-Turned-Pastor (December 12, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): Christian Headlines ( Over 18,000 World Cup Fans Profess Faith in Christ Through Gospel Campaign of Professional Soccer Player-Turned-Pastor – Milton Quintanilla (christianheadlines.com) )

● SUMMARY: More than 18,000 world cup fans have surrendered their lives to Yeshua, thanks to a digital campaign of a former professional soccer player-turned-pastor. Jesse Bradley, the lead pastor at Grace Community Church in Auburn, Washington, said that thousands have professed faith in the Messiah through his efforts. “We’re able to create content where we share the Gospel. I share my story, and people are making decisions to follow Yeshua.”

● SIGNIFICANCE: As the end draws near, more and more people will accept Yeshua as Savior. I have heard pastors yearn for years for revival. It will come (probably in the early Tribulation). In Revelation, chapter 7, we read that God will seal (set aside) 144,000 Jewish evangelists to spread the Gospel, and “a vast multitude that no one could count– from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” will be saved. In previous RRs, I have detailed accounts from non-Christian lands wherein Yeshua appears in dreams to persons (typically Muslims), and they and their villages accept Yeshua as Savior. Revival and unprecedented conversions are coming. Reports such as these World Cup conversions are merely setting the stage for what God will accomplish in the future. We should recall the Apostle Peter’s assurance (2 Peter 3:9): The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient toward you– not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance.

►TITLE (DATE): Where Is the Entrance to Hell? (December 8, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): Compass International ( Where Is The Entrance To Hell? – Compass International )

● SUMMARY: B’rit Chadashah references to the Tribulation and the Bottomless Pit (the Abyss) are reviewed.

● SIGNIFICANCE: If for no other reason, this article’s review of the miraculous construction of the Great Pyramid of Cheops near Cairo is interesting reading.

►TITLE (DATE): Gog-Magog Coalition Coming Into View: Erdogan Says Turkey Will Be Launching Land Operation In Syria (December 6, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): Harbingers Daily ( Gog-Magog Coalition Coming Into View: Erdogan Says Turkey Will Be Launching Land Operation In Syria | Harbingers Daily )

● SUMMARY: A major leg of the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog coalition is coming into view. The Turkey leg is now on the end-times table of Bible prophecy. Modern-day Turkey covers most of the territory that made up ancient Togarmah. Ezekiel was told to prophesy that the house of Togarmah will be among the horde from the north of Jerusalem that will assault Israel near the time of the Messiah’s return. Many things have been written that analyze developments to Israel’s north. It is as if those with spiritually attuned eyes and ears are being given a play-by-play unfolding of this coalition.

● SIGNIFICANCE: If you read today’s news reports and have fundamental knowledge of end-time prophecy, you can draw no other conclusion than the end of the Age of Grace is at hand– “at the door,” as Yeshua phrased it. The Battle of Gog and Magog is a key component of the end-times scenario. Israel’s invaders from the north will be major combatants, as this article outlines.

►TITLE (DATE): Digital Currency Sooner Than You Think – 90% Of Central Banks Getting Ready (December 3, 2022)

● SOURCE (URL): Prophecy News Watch ( Digital Currency Sooner Than You Think – 90% Of Central Banks Getting Ready (prophecynewswatch.com) )

● SUMMARY: Central bankers and international corporate financiers have long been pretending to hate the very concept of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, while at the same time investing heavily in blockchain technologies and infrastructure. The purpose of the ruse is not clear, but more than likely it was an attempt at mass reverse psychology– “We don’t like crypto and digital currencies because we supposedly have no control over them; free market proponents should embrace them blindly because that is how you will beat us.” In the meantime, while major banking firms are investing billions into various blockchain products, central banks and global institutions like the BIS and IMF have been developing their own systems. In fact, the BIS notes with enthusiasm that around 90% of central banks around the world are already in the process of adopting CBDCs.

● SIGNIFICANCE: The seven-year Tribulation (still in our future) will have three prominent figures of the Unholy Trinity– Satan, Antichrist, and False Prophet. It will be attempted to cause all facets of society to be condensed into one-world (global) entities to permit the Antichrist’s complete control of citizens. One of these controls will be the “Mark of the Beast,” a clever concept whereby the Unholy Trinity will simultaneously control all commerce and undertake surveillance of the citizens’ whereabouts. Cash, checks, and debit/ credit cards will be obsolete, as a swipe of the Mark (right wrist or forehead) will conduct all business activities. We are closer than most people realize to being ready for implementation of the Mark of the Beast. Read Revelation, chapter 13, to learn more about the Mark. Be sure not to accept the Mark, if you are alive at this time, because in so doing you lose your soul to Satan (Revelation 14:9-11): And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast [the Antichrist] and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he shall also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb. The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. Those who worship the beast and its image and those who receive the mark of his name have no rest day or night.”

CONCLUSION: Bible prophecy students emphasize that the end times (in which we presently are living) display two features of God’s prophetic Word– convergence and acceleration:

● Convergence: All prophecy is focusing (converging) on a single event– the return of Yeshua HaMashiach. Previously, signs of His return were vague and  uncertain. With the recent advent of modern, rapid communication, it seems that we receive constant, unmistakable messages– Yeshua  is returning soon! Yeshua taught an important parable regarding convergence– the Parable of the Fig Tree (Matthew 24:32-36). When the “fig tree” leafs out in the Spring, Summer is near. The fig tree represents Israel. The fig tree remained dormant, until Bnei Yisrel returned to the Covenant Land in May, 1948 ending centuries of the Diaspora. Summer (the harvest of souls at Yeshua’s return) is near at this point, and will last as long as member of the generation who witnessed this event still live. Note one verse in this parable (Matthew 24:33): [Yeshua said] “So also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the door.” Yeshua said “all these things” must be seen at one time. We have had wars, famines, and other disasters in the past, but Yeshua did not return. Only recently, have ALL of these things occurred simultaneously, giving promise to Yeshua’s return while the 1948 generation is still alive.

● Acceleration: End-time events are rushing toward fulfillment, as might a flooding river seeking its endpoint. The 2,350-mile Mississippi River begins as a gentle overflow from Lake Itaska, Minnesota. The river courses southwardly to empty into the Gulf of Mexico. Occasionally, the usually peaceful river becomes overfilled, appears  violent, and overflows its banks to flood wide expanses of land. As Yeshua’s return nears, events rush toward their inevitable completion.

Be aware of what is happening around you (Revelation 22:20): The One giving testimony to these things says, “Yes! I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! The Greek word often translated “soon” or “quickly” (ταχύ, pronounced tak-OO) may also be translated “suddenly.” Yeshua has not returned “soon,” but He will return “suddenly” for every person, whether at death or the Rapture.)

Happy New Year! Hopefully, 2023 will be better than 2022. If you are among the blessed, today you will enjoy an old Southern traditional meal of black-eyed peas, leafy greens, and cornbread. This fare, which is one of my all-time favorite meals, supposedly brings good luck and prosperity for the new year. Linda and I will feast today on black-eyed peas, greens (we prefer kale over collards), and cornbread because it is a tremendously delectable meal. No one knows who started this tradition, but Southern Living magazine ( Why We Eat Black-Eyed Peas And Collards On New Year’s (southernliving.com) ) publishes one theory that the custom may have started centuries ago as part of the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. Of course, Jews likely omitted cooking the peas with hog jowl, as is common throughout the South. Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 01-Jan-2023 8th of Tevet, 5783
Ge 47:28- 48:9 2 Sa 14 Ps 86 Lk 9:1-26 (2 Co 9)