Matthew 24:5–8 gives us some important clues for discerning the approach of the end times: “Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” An increase in false messiahs, an increase in warfare, and increases in famines, plagues, and natural disasters—these are signs of the end times. In this passage, though, we are given a warning: we are not to be deceived, because these events are only the beginning of birth pains; the end is still to come.
Apparently, the month-long saga of the Grace-1 is not at all over, and may now seriously escalate even after it was set free from custody. Just as the Iranian supertanker was released from custody off Gibraltar and is preparing to make its way into the Mediterranean, a seizure warrant filed by the US Department of Justice was unsealed in a US district court late Friday.
Documents allege “a scheme to unlawfully access the U.S. financial system to support illicit shipments to Syria from Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the DoJ said in a statement.
The seizure warrant and forfeiture complaint allege the now Iranian-flagged tanker along with its over two million barrels of oil aboard it and $995,000 “are subject to forfeiture,” citing terrorism forfeiture statutes, and bank fraud and money laundering.
“The scheme involves multiple parties affiliated with the IRGC and furthered by the deceptive voyages of the Grace 1,” US Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu said in a press release. “A network of front companies allegedly laundered millions of dollars in support of such shipments.”
The warrant is addressed to “The United States Marshal’s Service and/or any other duly authorized law enforcement officer.”
According to Reuters, the Grace 1 – now renamed the Adrian Darya after Iran began flying its flag over the previously Panamanian-flagged tanker – may not have made it far though it was filmed moving on Friday. “The tanker shifted its position on Friday, but its anchor was still down off Gibraltar and it was unclear if it was ready to set sail soon,” the report said.
Given that no doubt the US warrant means leaders in Tehran will be livid, and now with the possibility that American military assets could potentially make a move to actually board the vessel or perhaps even block its as yet unknown route, this puts the fate of the UK-flagged Stena Impero — still under IRGC control — in jeopardy.
A message to all mariners – if you crew an IRGC or other FTO-affiliated ship, you jeopardize future entry to the U.S. #NotWorthIt https://go.usa.gov/xVCce Iranian Vessel Grace I – United States Department of StateThe United States assesses that the M/T Grace I was assisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by transporting oil from Iran to Syria. This could result in serious consequences for any…state.gov4,1079:22 PM – Aug 15, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy1,859 people are talking about this
It’s expected that Iran will release the detained Stena Impero in a tit-for-tat gesture, as Tehran had initially expressed a desire for, possibly at some point this weekend. The US warrant will definitely delay this and quash any level of good faith signaling between Iran and the UK.
What’s more is it looks like the US is ready to pursue sanctions-busting consequences to the max, down to ship owners and crew: “A message to all mariners – if you crew an IRGC or other FTO-affiliated ship, you jeopardize future entry to the U.S.,” Secretary Mike Pompeo said in a tweet Friday. Source
Are We Living in the Last Days?
Some interpreters point to every earthquake, every political upheaval, and every attack on Israel as a sure sign that the end times are rapidly approaching. While the events may signal the approach of the last days, they are not necessarily indicators that the end times have arrived. The apostle Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of the man and people who actively “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1–9; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Other possible signs would include a rebuilding of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, increased hostility toward Israel, and advances toward a one-world government. The most prominent sign of the end times, however, is the nation of Israel. In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, essentially for the first time since AD 70. God promised Abraham that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-times prophecy because of Israel’s prominence in eschatology (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Revelation 11:8).
With these signs in mind, we can be wise and discerning in regard to the expectation of the end times. We should not, however, interpret any of these singular events as a clear indication of the soon arrival of the end times. God has given us enough information that we can be prepared, and that is what we are called to be as our hearts cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Jesus chastised religious leaders in the first century for not knowing the time of His arrival. Will we make the same mistake today? Christ stated how His second coming would be preceded by global events signifying the end of our age. We may not know the day or the hour, but we can know the season!
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28.)
Education is useless without the bible (Daniel Webster)
“Courage is as “fear that has said its prayers.”
John Wesley who said that what we tolerate in our generation, will be embraced by the next. Wesley is 100% correct! We are living in sick times.
Usually, the Lord doth no great thing for or against his people, without giving warning of it before it comes.
They perverted justice among themselves (v. 7): “You turn judgment to wormwood, that is, you make your administrations of justice bitter and nauseous, and highly displeasing both to God and man.’’ That fruit has become a weed, a weed in the garden; as nothing is more venerable, nothing more valuable, than justice duly administered, so nothing is more hurtful, nothing more abominable, than designedly doing wrong under color and pretense of doing right. Corruptio optimi est pessima —The best, when corrupted, becomes the worst.
It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated.
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