2015: A Year in Review

Welcome to 2015. Where man-buns are a thing and more deaths are caused by taking selfies than shark attacks. Deaths by selfies gone wrong: 12. Death by shark attacks: 8. There have been an estimated 105 billion photos taken by Americans this year and 104.9 billion of them were seflies! We have definitely become a more selfish and self-centered generation this year – with the Kardashians leading the charge on this one! Kim Kardashian (in)famously “broke the internet” this year with her butt. [I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.] But I guess Ariana Grande wanted a piece of the limelight so she took to donut licking to find it. She may have taken it a bit too far when she said she hated America and Americans because her stunt backfired and people began to realize they’d have one less “Problem” without her so she eventually apologized and now all is right with the world.

Yes, 2015 was indeed a busy year. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from this past year.

Politics and the Fight Against Terror
We started off 2015 with the attacks by two brothers with ties to Al-Qaeda, against Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris who had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. They killed 11 people and injured 11 others. A massive manhunt for the two terrorists led to an altercation with police two days later. The terrorists were found hiding in a printworks factory. They emerged from the building firing at police. Both suspects were killed. Meanwhile, two other terrorists with connections to the brothers had taken hostages inside a Jewish supermarket. In total, 17 people were killed in the course of three-days.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress this year in March speaking against the nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama was busy golfing or something and subsequently couldn’t find time to meet with our “strongest ally in the Middle East.”

In May, the U.S. along with several other world leaders struck a nuclear agreement with Iran. Supporters of Israel and common sense all over the world urged their leaders to oppose the deal. In his address to the country, President Obama gave us some information about the really bad deal.

An arms embargo would be in place for 5 years while a ballistic missile embargo would be in place for 8 years. The deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior or acting like a civilized nation. We are hoping this deal will lead to future talks in hopes that they will lessen their violence and take a more constructive path — but we’re not betting on it.

It does not give me pause the others in Tehran or Mr. Assad are praising this deal as victory against America. The facts are the facts. I’m not concerned with what others say about it.

We have huge differences with Iran. Israel has significant concerns with regards to its security. Iran has a military, they deny the holocaust, they have called for their destruction and have missiles pointed at [Israel]. For all the objections of Netanyahu and republicans no one has given me an alternative.

24/7 monitoring of the “known” and “declared” facilities. What if they try to develop a covert program? The benefit of sophisticated monitoring throughout the entire process is that it’s hard to create a covert program. But if they are so determined, the IAEA has the authority to declare they want to inspect the suspicious areas. If Iran wants to object to any inspections, we can override that decisions. This is the most vigorous inspection process ever negotiated. The only argument you could make against it is that Iran is no intent that no inspection team would ever be sufficient. At that point, the only alternative is to go to war with Iran.

We didn’t make the release of hostages part of the deal because we didn’t want Iran thinking they could get more out of this deal by using the hostages as leverage. If we had walked away from the negotiating table we’d still be pushing hard to get them out of prison.

There are quite a few sketch details in this nuclear deal with Iran. I’m sure we will hear about this in 2016.

The world was rocked again when terrorists carried out attacks in the capital of France. Terrorists executed at least 158 people in coordinated attacks around Paris. The terrorists were heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “this is for Syria” before opening fire. French President Francois Hollande closed the French borders and declared a state of emergency. The terrorists involved were killed.

ISIS took more ground in Syria and Northern Iraq. More people were brutally murdered by the terrorist group which also led to the height of the refugee crisis facing the world. For years, Syrians had been fleeing their country because of the devastating civil war taking place. But now with ISIS being added to the mix, the number of refugees was becoming almost overwhelming. The debate reached its height in America this year after it was discovered that at least one of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks had snuck in with the Syrian refugees.

While most American were having Turkey for Thanksgiving, so was Russian President Vladmir Putin. After ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks against Russians and around the world, Putin ordered attacks against the terrorist groups and many Americans day-dreamed about impeaching Barack Mom-Jeans Obama and replacing him with Vladmir I-Wrestle-Bears-With-My-Bare-Hands Putin to be our next President.

And just when we all thought the Greek economy couldn’t get any worse, it did. Throughout the year, we’ve watched as the Greek economy collapsed – again…again.

2015 was also the year of Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Both entered the Presidential race this year and both have lead the ratings as the two front-runners in the GOP party. I think this shows that people are ready for some real change – not more politicians promising the world and then delivering none of it. Although, I still think Ted Cruz is the best candidate. Anyhow, this should make for an interesting election this coming year!

Race Issues
After the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, two weeks of protests erupted in downtown Baltimore. The incident reignited the debate about police brutality and brought the Black Lives Matter movement back to the forefront of American’s minds.

On June 17, a gunman opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine people. In the subsequent investigation, photos of the gunman posing with a Confederate flag emerged which sparked a debate on the Confederate flag. South Carolina representatives voted to remove the Confederate flag.

Rachel Dolezal came under fire this year after city officials investigated her claim that she was African-American only to find out she was actually white. She claimed that she “identified as African-American” because apparently in 2015 we became a society that made it ok to just “feel” whoever we wanted to be. Which leads us to one of the top social stories of the year.

Social Issues
Bruce “Call Me Caitlyn” Jenner made waves in April 2015 when he announced he identified as a woman and would be making the official change from Bruce to Caitlyn.

In a 5-4 decision this June, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states. However, many questioned the validity of the ruling and whether or not the Supreme Court, who cannot make laws but only enforce existing laws, had the authority to make such a decision.

Pope Francis made headlines this year when he visited the United States. He also addressed Congress on his September visit – becoming the first Pope ever to do so. In his speech, he advocated on behalf of the poor and Mother Earth and lambasted greed.

On April 25, the world jumped into action after an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and destroyed thousands of homes. The earthquake triggered a massive landslide on Mount Everest and killed approximately 9,000 people.

But the earthquake in Nepal wasn’t the only reason thousands of people died this year. Planned Parenthood earned themselves national criticism when undercover videos revealed the horrifying truth behind Planned Parenthood. While most of us already knew that Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually care for women or children, it seemed their depravation goes even further than any of us thought possible. Planned Parenthood officials were caught on video selling aborted baby parts for thousands of dollars. It seems that their procedures even took special precautions to ensure the parts were as intact as possible to ensure the highest price. Little was done in response to prevent this from happening again and many even bolstered their support for Planned Parenthood in spite of national criticism. Meanwhile, the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion in a small African village drew public outcry and even received death threats while the villagers in Africa went on with their lives as normal.

Meanwhile, college students across America whined that they needed “safe-spaces” on campuses so that no one would feel marginalized or have their feelings hurt. Because 2015 was the year of the cry-baby. In generations before us, young adults fought wars and built a life for themselves and their families but today, they cry for their blankies and safe-spaces. What is America coming to?!

Mass Shootings
Charleston, Oregon, San Bernardino. This year, it seemed as if there were too many mass shootings. It seemed like every day there were alerts of gunmen on a college campus, or walking down the street, or at their job. While the liberal left were crying for their blankies and more gun control (which is obviously the solution), common-sense thinkers recognized that it won’t take more gun control, it will actually take less government intervention to help keep America safe. Bad guys will find a way to murder and kill. The delay in time it takes a police officer to respond to a 911 call could mean the difference between life and death. And that means that if the bad guys are the only ones with guns, there will be no one to protect innocent civilians – especially with the wave of distrust arising against police officers.

Entertainment
Undefeated UFC champion Ronda Rousey was defeated by New Mexico native Holly Holm and Americans across the nation engaged in a throwdown of their own when that stupid dress came on the scene. You know which one I’m talking about. The gold and white one. Or was it the blue and black one? Either way, people almost died over that controversy.

We also saw, or at least learned, about the Gilmore Girls reunion! Fans all over the world pulled out their “Babette Ate Oatmeal” shirts, drank gallons of coffee, and practiced saying “Oy with the poodles” hundreds of times fast in preparation for the big day. We also saw Star Wars make a HUGE comeback this year. In what is the eighth highest-grossing film of all time, Disney takes us to a galaxy set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet, but, seriously, SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

And then there was the sad news that oldest Duggar son Josh, had not only molested some of his younger sisters and family friends growing up but that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Anna, as well.

New Year, New Start
As 2015 comes to a close, its easy to look back at this last year and see only the negative. But in the midst of the bad there are stories of good. Stories of people helping others. Stories of lives being changed forever. Stories that restore our faith in humanity.

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but just think what would happen in 2016 if we all resolved to be a force for good this year. If we stopped and helped someone in need. If we thought of others first and gave of ourselves. We could be the light in a very dark world. We could give others hope in a world of despair. So let’s charge into 2016 ready to face all the challenges that lay ahead knowing that God is the Light that goes before us!

Be blessed and be a blessing in 2016!

Happy New Year: YHVH’s Timetable

Yes, I said “Happy New Year!” And no, I’m not 4 months behind. According to the Biblical timetable laid out for us in the Torah, the month of Nisan (which usually falls in the March/April period of time) begins the New Year! Leviticus 23:4-6 tells us,

“These are the appointed times of YHVH, set-apart gatherings which you are to proclaim at their appointed times. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to YHVH. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to YHVH – seven days you eat unleavened bread.”

According to YHVH’s timetable, Passover will begin on April 14, 2014 this year and the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the 15th of April because the new moon was spotted March 31, 2014. The focus of this post is not Passover, but rather, the new year…although you can’t talk about one without the other. I will be talking more about Passover in the coming weeks as we get closer to it.

For right now, let’s focus on the New Year. There seems to be conflicting guidance from “Jewish” and “Messianic” sources about when the New Year actually begins. According to both secular and Orthodox Jews, there are up to 4 new years in one year! This is just crazy! Although, if you fail at your new years’ resolution, no need to worry! There’s sure to be another new year right around the corner so you can start over!

Keep in mind that as we go through the Biblical timetable, I will be using the Hebrew names for these months as designated in the Word and will do my best to name the corresponding English month as well.

The first two “new years” I will go through, are lesser known and less commonly “celebrated” in the traditional sense of the word. The first “new year” is 15 Shevat (January/February). This is said to be the new year of trees and separating your fruits for tithing. The second “new year” is 1 Elul (August/September) and is the new year of tithing cattle. The month of Elul is very significant in YHVH’s calendar and we will be discussing this more as we approach this important month.

The third “new year” is where the bulk of the argument about the real New Year comes in. 1 Tishrei (September/October) is the civil new year of Israel. However, 1 Nisan (March/April) is the month designated by YHVH to be the first month. You see, this distorts a very important feast in YHVH’s timetable: Yom Teruach or the Feast of Trumpets.

I will be talking more about Yom Teruach as we approach this appointed time in September/October, but I’ll give you an idea of why this feast is so important. In Biblical times, and even still today, Yom Teruach was nicknamed “the day and the hour which no man knows.” This is because in order to know when this feast begins, the sliver of the new moon must be spotted. Once the new moon sliver is spotted, the Feast of Trumpets immediately begins. While YHVH’s entire timetable is based on the lunar cycle, the other feasts usually begin several days after the new moon is spotted. However, the Feasts of Trumpets is the only one that begins the moment the new moon is spotted. Hence the nickname “the day and the hour which no man knows.”

So when Yeshua said, “The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away. But concerning that day and the hour no one knows, not even the messengers of the heavens, but My Father only. And as the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be,” He was referencing this particular feast…the Feast of Trumpets. There is more to this scripture and the reference to the days of Noah but we can save that for another day.

You can see how this could get confusing, right??? Well, there is definitely a reason for all the confusion.

You see, in Leviticus 23, YHVH lays out his timetable, which include His feasts or His moedim. The Hebrew word moedim can be translated as “feasts, celebrations, or holidays.” But perhaps the most accurate and descriptive translation is “appointed times.” You see, the feasts of YHVH are the appointed times that He has laid aside in order to meet with us. When the King of the Universe says He wants to meet with you, you don’t want to miss it or turn it down. Would you turn down an invitation to the White House? Well….with the political climate the way it is some of you might very well indeed turn down a visit to the White House, but you catch my drift.

My point is that YHVH, our God and King, has said that He wants to meet with us on these days at these times. Why would we turn it down? Simply because we weren’t taught this way of living? Because it goes against our theology? Because it challenges everything we have been taught and believed to this point? So what! Let it go! Would you really miss an opportunity to meet with YHVH because of your stiff neck and your pride? I hope not. Because let me fill you in on the real reason there is so much confusion surrounding the beginning of the new year and YHVH’s timetable in general.

Habakkuk 2:3 tells us that the end time vision seen by Habakkuk is at an appointed time or moedim. It will take time but we are to patiently wait until it is fulfilled.

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, and it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it lingers, wait for it, for it shall certainly come, it shall not delay.”

Genesis 1:14-19 tells us that YHVH established the sun, moon, and stars to be signs that point us toward the appointed times.

 “And Elohim said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years, and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it came to be so. And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars. And Elohim set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And Elohim saw that it was good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the fourth day.”

As we see from these two passages, the moedim or feasts of YHVH are the timetable that YHVH uses. If this is the timetable YHVH uses, that means that all prophetic visions and end time events are dictated by the feasts of YHVH. If you read any verses about end times prophecy and you have an understanding of the feasts of YHVH, a lot of the “mystery” and “unknown” is taken out and it begins to make a whole lot more sense. Go figure!

So we can see why the enemy would have such an interest in keeping us in the dark about these feasts, the heavenly signs, and YHVH’s timetable in general. Daniel 7:25 tells us that the spirit of the anti-Messiah is to change these appointed times and to keep us forever lost to their meaning.

“and it [the anti-Messiah/beast] speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time.”

Think about it. If the people of God are kept in confusion and deceit about when these things will take place, how much easier is it for him to catch us off guard and unprepared? How much easier is it for him to defeat us? Fortunately, we know the end of the story and we know that he is not victorious but that YHVH emerges triumphant and His kingdom is established on earth. This means that there are those who hear the word, repent, and return to the ways of YHVH! So to those who have ears to hear and a heart to understand: the time is now to repent and return to the ways of YHVH! Happy New Year 5775!