End Time Prophecy News – The Future of Credit-Card ID Verification

End Time Prophecy News - The Future of Credit-Card ID Verification

As companies change how they verify identities, Europe offers a glimpse of what’s to come

Credit-card companies, banks and vendors are changing how they verify consumers’ identities. Passwords and PINs could become less important. Biometric analysis could become the norm.

The proving ground for the latest in payment technology is Europe, where a new law could encourage greater use of biometrics in a bid to reduce burgeoning payment fraud.

Credit-card companies, banks and vendors are changing how they verify consumers’ identities. Passwords and PINs could become less important. Biometric analysis could become the norm.

The proving ground for the latest in payment technology is Europe, where a new law could encourage greater use of biometrics in a bid to reduce burgeoning payment fraud.

Starting September 2019 in the European Union, a large portion of online payments greater than €30 (currently about $35) will require multifactor authentication. Consumers will need to use two of three things to verify transactions: something they know, like a password; something they have, like a digital device, perhaps a USB token, that identifies them; or something they are: biometric data.

Proofs based on physical characteristics, like fingerprints and faces, are slowly becoming more common. This legislation will likely cause them to surge.

Most consumers using biometrics will likely do so on their phones, many of which already have technology that payment-service providers will use to verify payments—such as Apple Inc.’s Touch ID fingerprint sensors or Face ID facial-recognition software on its iPhones.

Making the payment process frictionless could determine which providers prosper—and which languish.

“We’re helping the industry move toward biometrics as a preferred method,” says Mark Nelsen, senior vice president at Visa Inc. “Customers are getting more comfortable with those solutions, and they’re our preferred method, too.”

Another company hoping to profit from the change is Veridium, a Boston-based biometrics firm.

“We’ve built our company around trying not to change the way you interact with technology too radically,” says Chief Executive James Stickland. “You could plug in Touch ID or Face ID, and that’s great because people are used to it.”

Veridium also provides an authentication technology it calls 4 Fingers TouchlessID that turns smartphones, even older models, into fingerprint scanners.

Ease of use will be paramount to companies in the payment-services and biometrics sector. Vendors and payment-services providers “have to meet requirements on the fraud side and provide a good user experience,” says Frances Zelazny, chief marketing officer at BioCatch, a firm based in Boston. “If they can’t manage their fraud, they’ll go away,” Ms. Zelazny says. “And if they can’t manage their user experience, they’ll go away” because consumers won’t use them.

Behind the scenes, BioCatch and other biometrics companies are working on technology called behavioral biometrics. That technology allows vendors and payment providers to analyze users’ actions and habits to determine whether a transaction should be considered valid. Criteria include whether the transaction is in line with a user’s usual spending pattern, made from a familiar location, or aimed at someone who often receives payments from that user.

“With touch-screen devices, we have a lot of sensors, so we’re able to infer how you swipe, the pressure you put on the screen, how much of your finger you’d leave on the button as you pause before the next one,” says Dr. Neil Costigan, CEO of BehavioSec, a behavioral biometrics firm. “Not so much what you’re doing as how you’re doing it.”

EU guidelines say that payments of €30 to €500 will be exempt from multifactor authentication if they are judged to be sufficiently safe—a determination that behavioral biometrics can help to make. Those technologies can also be used, in certain circumstances, instead of physical biometrics as one of the three proofs required to authenticate a transaction. Smoother, more secure verification processes minimize false alarms when cards are declined, thus reducing abandoned purchases.

Still, biometric solutions face barriers to adoption. Veridium’s Mr. Stickland says: “People’s education is probably the most immature element of utilization. The end user has to be more aware.”

“What concerns us is consumer awareness,” says Visa’s Mr. Nelsen. “We know the consumer has no idea really what this regulation means.” And, he adds, “with hundreds of millions of customers making online payments, and millions of merchants receiving them, older technologies won’t disappear overnight.”

 

Meanwhile, even if customers do take to biometrics, a full rollout of the technology may take some time.

“Part of the challenge has been lethargy. We’ve seen that with chip and PIN in the U.S.,” says Mr. Stickland, referring to the card industry’s ponderous transition away from requiring signature-based payments.

As a result, he says, the move away from plastic cards—and toward mobile-based authentication—is “probably a 10-year journey, not a two-year journey. But I think plastic will be gone altogether in 10 years.”

Passwords, too, will be around for quite some time. Mr. Nelsen says that biometrics systems already in place still use passwords as backups for authentication.

“The only way to get rid of passwords is to have a number of biometrics, so if one fails, you can use another one,” he says. “We’ll start to see more biometrics used to verify identity…. You’ll walk up to the counter, use face recognition to initiate the payment, and that’s it.”

Mr. Frankl-Duval is a Wall Street Journal reporter in London.

www.wsj.com

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Prophecy News – TRUMP U.N. SPEECH SIGNALS DISRUPTIVE MIDEAST PEACE PLAN TO COME

Prophecy News - TRUMP U.N. SPEECH SIGNALS DISRUPTIVE MIDEAST PEACE PLAN TO COME

Trump’s second speech to the international body only briefly touched on Middle East peace. But what he said was telling.

NEW YORK — Months after the UN General Assembly voted to rebuke US President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on Tuesday he warned the world to brace for more policy changes that would rile the status quo of a conflict that has been frozen for decades.

Trump’s second speech to the international body only briefly touched on Middle East peace. But what he said was telling and reflective of recent comments from members of his peace team who are beginning to preview a plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace that will buck conventional norms long governing the process.

The president was channeling Jared Kushner, his son-in-law leading the peace effort, who in an interview with The New York Times earlier this month, said the administration was intentionally slaughtering sacred cows of the conflict in order to disrupt the discussion.

“There were too many false realities that were created – that people worship – that I think needed to be changed,” Kushner said on the anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Similarly, the president in his speech said the aim of peace “is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts.

“America’s policy of principled realism means we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies and so-called experts who have been proven wrong over the years, time and time again,” Trump told the gathering.

This is the administration’s main explanation and defense of Trump’s actions on Jerusalem, as well as its decision to defund the UN agency on Palestinian refugees which – according to the peace team – perpetuates a narrative on the status of refugees unhelpful to the pursuit of peace.

The Palestinians see in these statements tea leaves of a plan that will attempt to redefine the terms of their cause, in which they seek sovereignty and independence from Israel in a two-state solution – a term the administration has yet to use. They are already campaigning against the US proposals, which Trump aides note they have not seen.

While Trump’s comments on the peace plan were brief, they at the very least signal policy growth from a year ago, when he addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time. In that speech, he made no mention of the peace process.

JPOST.com

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Prophecy News – MEGA-PASTOR -TEN COMMANDMENTS NO LONGER APPLICABLE

Prophecy News - MEGA-PASTOR -TEN COMMANDMENTS NO LONGER APPLICABLE

WASHINGTON – A mega-pastor of one of the largest “evangelical” churches in the U.S. is attacking the Old Testament again, this time insisting Jesus rendered the Ten Commandments null and void, issuing one new law “as a replacement for everything.”

Andy Stanley, pastor of the 34,000-member North Point Community Church in suburban Atlanta, who famously advised his flock to “unhitch” from the Old Testament in a sermon last spring, has now penned an article promoting his new book saying laws such as “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and “Thou shalt not kill” are no longer relevant to Christians living in the New Covenant era.

“You’ve heard the story before: A group of Christians puts up a monument of the Ten Commandments in a public space or on government property,” begins Stanley in his article titled, “Why do Christians want to post the Ten Commandments and not the Sermon on the Mount?” “Someone says it violates the separation of church and state. The Christians say taking it down would violate their freedom of speech. There’s some back and forth in court and both sides say some not-so-great things about the other. Rinse and repeat. But how many times have you seen Christians trying to post the text of the sermon on the mount in a public place? Or the all-encompassing commandment Jesus gave us? ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another — John 13:34 The one commandment! Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? But if we’re going to create a monument to stand as a testament to our faith, shouldn’t it at least be a monument of something that actually applies to us?”

Stanley goes on to write that the Ten Commandments are from the Old Covenant, which he says “played a significant role in God’s creation of the nation of Israel. It gave them moral guidelines and helped separate this new nation from their neighbors. This was part of the formal agreement (or covenant) God created with his people, but Jesus’ death and resurrection signaled the end of that covenant and all the rules and regulations associated with it. Jesus didn’t issue his new command as an additional commandment to the existing list of commands. He didn’t say, ‘Here’s the 614th law.’ Jesus issued his new commandment as a replacement for everything in the existing list. Including the big ten. Just as his new covenant replaced the old covenant, Jesus’ new commandment replaced all the old commandments.”

The implications of that unequivocal statement have been staggering to other Christians who point out how the words of Jesus and the apostles seem to contradict them flatly and reject such a conclusion.

In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

gospel-book-196“Andy Stanley is not preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the apostles preached,” says Joseph Farah, author of “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament,” which documents what he characterizes as “the miraculous, supernatural and perfect continuity of the Good News of redemption throughout both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.” “Nor is Stanley preaching the Gospel of personal salvation that Jesus and the apostles preached. Instead, he is preaching replacement theology – completely discarding about three-quarters of the Bible and misinterpreting what’s left.”

Farah calls Stanley’s reductionist gospel “Chick-fil-A theology,” an exegesis based on modern American Christian cultural traditions rather than the Bible.

“Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles,” writes Stanley. “Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another. The new covenant replaced the old one. The covenant established by Jesus retired the covenant God established with the nation of Israel. This is why most Christians don’t mind a little bacon with their eggs. It’s why you can’t get either at Chick-fil-A on Sunday. (If we were still taking our marching orders from the old covenant, they would be closed on Saturday.)”

Writing a response to Stanley’s new assault on the Hebrew Scriptures, Grayson Gilbert, a graduate student pursuing a masters of divinity degree at Moody Bible Institute, disputes that Jesus only left His disciples with one new law to follow. In fact, Jesus issued hundreds of commandments in the gospel accounts, while affirming the Ten Commandments and the law and the prophets in Matthew 22:37-40: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

“Interestingly enough, Stanley bypasses these verses in his discussions, though I have a feeling he would explain them away and disregard that they are drawn from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, which are legal texts in and of themselves given to Israel,” writes Gilbert. “Furthermore, it is plainly stated in the text itself, these are a summation of the law and prophets.”

Stanley blames the Old Testament , not misguided Christianity, for centuries of horrors and abuse of those of different beliefs: “The justifications Christians have used since the fourth century to mistreat people find their roots in old covenant practices and values. Imagine trying to leverage the Sermon on the Mount to start an inquisition, launch a crusade, or incite a pogrom against Jews. But reach back into the old covenant, and there’s plenty to work with.”

“This not only fundamentally misunderstands the nature of God, but essentially claims He has instituted a means of oppression and ill-begotten values in the Old Testament,” writes Grayson. “In other words, the Old Testament is only the foundation of violence, oppression, and so forth, rather than revealing the character and standards of God. Let me be quite frank, Andy is about as close as one can get to saying the God of the Old Testament is different than the New Testament without explicitly stating, ‘The God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament.’”

It’s not the first time Stanley has been accused of the heresy of Marcion, who took just such a position.

Stanley concludes: “While Jesus was foreshadowed in the old covenant, he did not come to extend it. He came to fulfill it, put a bow on it, and establish something entirely new. The “new” Jesus unleashed made the faith of first-century believers formidable. Their apologetic was irrefutable. Their courage, unquestionable. And the results were remarkable. Dear Christian reader: Why? Why? Why would we even be tempted to reach back beyond the cross to borrow from a covenant that was temporary and inferior to the covenant established for us at Calvary?”

“Jesus is One and the Same as the God of the Old Testament,” says Farah. “He is described in John 1 as the Creator, the maker of all things that were made and in as the One and Only Mediator between God and man in 1 Timothy 2:5. It’s not just that Jesus was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, as Stanley says. He was there at the beginning. He tells the Pharisees: ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’ In other words, Jesus referred to Himself as the great ‘I am,’ one in the same as the Father. There is no separation, no disagreement, between the Father and the Son. They are One.”

Stanley’s new book is called, “Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World.” It is currently ranked at Amazon as one of the most popular books in the “church leadership” category. Farah’s new book, prior to release, as one of the most popular in “Old Testament” category.”

“Maybe they are dueling books for a time such as this,” says Farah. “This is a teaching that must be countered by believers.”

Farah has challenged Stanley’s assertions on the irrelevance and inapplicability of the Old Testament in a series of commentaries:

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End Time Prophecy News – Fulfilling Zechariah 8:23 With Torah Books for Non-Jews

Fulfilling Zechariah 8-23 With Torah Books for Non-Jews

“Observe them faithfully, for that will be proof of your wisdom and discernment to other peoples, who on hearing of all these laws will say, ‘Surely, that great nation is a wise and discerning people.’” Deuteronomy 4:6 (The Israel Bible™)

“There is currently a surge in the publication of books that convey Torah teachings to the non-Jewish world, and such literature is being published at an ever-increasing rate, for one good reason.

“There is clearly a massive appetite and yearning among the Nations to understand what the Jews are really about, and to hear from them and understand what the Torah has to say about God’s unfolding plan for the geula – the imminent redemption of the entire world.

“This remarkable phenomenon of the awakening of so many holy souls among the Nations to get closer to God and discover His Torah, is both mysterious and wonderful, and strongly suggests that these stirrings are directed from above and are signs of the arrival of the geula.” So says Nachum Shaw of Promised Land Publishers.

Shaw spoke to Breaking Israel News about his unique publishing house. “To help reveal and spread the wisdom of the Torah and its uplifting and enlightening message to the widest possible readership, both Jewish and non-Jewish, I formed a new publishing house called Promised Land. Promised Land just published five books by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, the world-renowned author of over 25 books on Jewish spiritual teachings.”

Shaw told Breaking Israel News that one of Rabbi Greenbaum’s new books, The House on the Mountain, contains, “Jewish spiritual teachings that are destined to be taught to all the inhabitants of the world. It explains all aspects of Judaism and the central role that the soon to be built Third Temple will have in bringing balance back to nature and our environment, and peace, happiness, spiritual fulfilment and goodness to the whole world, with the coming of Moshiach (Messiah).”

There’s also a fulfillment of a prophecy directed to the Jewish people in this trend of publishing Torah books expressly for non-Jewish readers. “If we look at Exodus 19:6, we are told that the Children of Israel will be to God, “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Yisrael.” Exodus 19:6

“As the Jews’ role is to be priests to the Nations, it follows that spreading Torah literature to the Nations greatly helps the Jewish people to accomplish this role,” Shaw argued.

Connecting these two ideas – the publication of books containing Torah concepts intended for people from the Nations and Redemption – is echoed in the comments of Rabbi Lazer Brody. Rabbi Brody translated The Universal Garden of Emuna, written by Rabbi Shalom Arush. Emuna is the spiritual principle of unshakeable belief that God runs the world. The Universal Garden of Emuna was adapted from a similar book originally written for a Jewish audience.

Speaking to Breaking Israel News, Rabbi Brody invoked a prophetic sentence from the Jewish prayer Aleinu. “We say thrice daily in Aleinu, ‘And all of living flesh shall call Your Name.’ The closer we get to Moshiach, the more humanity will realize that emuna is the only path to peace and happiness. That’s what the world is hungry for.” The Universal Garden of Emuna was written to bring this redemptive message to non-Jews.

Yisrael Rosenberg, author of a forthcoming commentary on the Book of Isaiah which he wrote for Christian readers, meets many Christians who are interested in books like his. Rosenberg told Breaking Israel News, “My personal experience is that many Christians are hungry for knowledge about the Jewish roots of their faith. I wrote my upcoming book, ISAIAH: End Times and Messiah in Judaism ​in response to the interest that many Christians, both clergy and laypeople, have shown for these issues. On one level, I seek to meet the growing demand for the Jewish ‘take’ on faith-related topics.”

Rosenberg echoed Rabbi Brody’s emphasis on emuna when he continued, “On a deeper level, I am convinced that the simple, practical approach to emuna (faith in God) as presented by the 19th-century Hasidic teacher Rabbi Nachman of Breslov could serve as a source of universal teachings that might help non-Jews grow closer to Hashem (God).”

Both Rosenberg and Rabbi Tuly Weisz, director of Israel365 and the publisher of The Israel Bible and Breaking Israel News addressed themselves to what’s behind this trend.

Rosenberg credits the Internet with changing the relationship between Christians and traditional Torah teaching. “One of the key drivers is the Internet, which allows curious people to dig in and find basic information about Judaism, in a way that has never been available before.​ All of humanity is becoming more and more connected with every passing day,” he said.

Rabbi Weisz shared a longer historical perspective. “The big picture goes back 500 years to the Protestant Reformation and even a little bit before, to the invention of the printing press. That was a major transition, where all of a sudden, Christians started reading the Bible. Everyone had a Bible in their home.

“Christians are realizing that the Bible is a work that’s all about the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and it’s taken a long time for this all to crystalize. It’s clarifying and crystalizing in a significant way that there’s a plan for the Jewish people that’s spelled out in the Bible.

“The Bible describes the history of Israel in the past and the present-day situation of the Jewish people in the exile, as well as the future promise of the restoration and the ingathering of the exiles. It was always some kind of mythical, mystical idea that is obviously coming to fruition in front of our eyes, in front of their eyes.

“These are the big factors leading to this growing interest in the Jewish perspective, in the Hebrew Roots of Christianity and in the Torah,” he argued.

Rabbi Weisz continued, “To me what’s so exciting is the passage in Isaiah 2.

And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, The word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. Isaiah 2:3

“That’s like our foundational scripture for Yeshiva for the Nations and The Israel Bible – this idea that in the end of days, the non-Jews are going to say, ‘Teach us the Torah, for from Zion shall come forth the Torah.’

“It’s so exciting to be a part of that. It’s so exciting to see that actually happen. The ingathering of the exiles we’ve seen. The rebirth of the Land we’ve seen. The last promise is this idea that the non-Jews are going to say, “Teach us the Torah.” And that’s particularly what drives me, what drives Yeshiva for the Nations and what drives The Israel Bible.”

Shaw ties it all together. “If we look at Isaiah, we see the prophet talking about the (future) Temple in Jerusalem.

I will bring them to My sacred mount And let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices Shall be welcome on My mizbayach; For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:7

How will this be possible unless the Nations are first introduced to and know what is in God’s Torah? The wide distribution of Torah literature can help to facilitate this knowledge,” he clarified.

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GOD’S WRATH: 69 Major Earthquakes Hit Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ – Is Something Major About to Happen?

'Big One' talk swirls as 69 massive earthquakes hit the Pacific's Ring of Fire in 48 hours . Gods Wrath

Nearly 70 earthquakes hit the Pacific “Ring of Fire” over a 48-hour period. It has prompted fears that the so-called “big one” could shortly hit California. Scientists have warned that a large earthquake in this region could set off a domino effect of other subsequent quakes.

A large swath of earthquakes hit the Pacific’s so-called Ring of Fire earlier this week, prompting some to wonder if it is a precursor to the oft-discussed massive earthquake, colloquially known as “the Big One.”

Sixty-nine earthquakes, including 16 tremors registering 4.5 or above on the Richter scale, recently hit the area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which recorded the events but did not issue a warning.

Several of the quakes registered significant impacts, including one that hit 5.0 and shook the area on Tuesday morning. Fiji appeared to be the most impacted, as five tremors above a 4.5 magnitude hit the small island.

‘BIG ONE’ COMING? EARTHQUAKES OFF THE WEST COAST COULD TRIGGER A GLOBAL EVENT

A string of recent earthquakes off the West Coast of the U.S., ranging from 2.8 to 5.6 on the Richter scale, could help trigger the earthquake colloquially known as “the Big One.”

The map provided by the U.S. Geological Survey highlights 11 recent earthquakes, all occurring on the seabed of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, approximately 6 miles below the surface. The plate, which is described as “small” by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN), is fairly active, moving east-northeast at approximately 1.6 inches per year.

To date, the USGS has not issued any warnings over this spate of earthquakes, given the fairly common nature of the caliber of quakes, Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center told the Daily Mail.

Part of the concern surrounding the plate is that it is not a smooth motion, but rather a motion described as “sticky,” causing strain to build up “until the fault breaks and a few meters of Juan De Fuca slips under North America in a big earthquake.”

PNSN noted that it would take a lot of slip (approximately 10s of meters) over a very large area to generate a M9 (magnitude of 9.0) level earthquake that could hit the region, but
noted that it does occur approximately every 550 years on average.

The cause for concern is what happens when the Juan de Fuca plate eventually submerges under the much larger Pacific plate. For approximately 330 years, the plate has continuously been pushed down, an activity that will eventually lead it to be pushed under the North America plate, causing the region to sink six feet on the minimum and may result in one of the largest earthquakes in human history.

If the entire 650-mile long Cascadia Subduction Zone (which includes the Juan de Fuca plate) were to experience a full rupture, it could not only trigger a 9.0 earthquake, but a tsunami as well.

The Juan De Fuca plate stretches from Northern California to British Columbia and the Cascadia Subduction Zone stretches from N. Vancouver Island to Cape Mendicino, California.

Recent studies have highlighted how vulnerable we are to the proverbial “Big One.” 

Last month, one study detailed that there is a 15- to 20-mile-long stretch of the San Andreas fault ‒ called the Durmid ladder structure ‒ that could result in an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or greater.

“This newly identified Durmid ladder structure is a voluminous, right-reverse fault zone that broadens across Durmid Hill around rotating domains of regularly spaced, left- and right-lateral cross faults,” a research article on the study reads.

The research put the odds at 75 percent that it would occur in both northern and southern California sometime over the next 30 years.

The “Big One” has been warned about several times before, with the USGS writing extensively on the topic, including how to use past earthquakes to better predict the future.

Luckily, the earthquakes did not reach the western coast of the U.S., which partially sits on the Cascadia subduction zone, a fault that stretches from mid-Vancouver Island to Northern California. The recent tremors have sparked concern that “the Big One” could be near, according to The Daily Mail, but the USGS has made no mention of this. 

Of the 69 earthquakes, 53 hit the area on Sunday, followed by the 16 subsequent tremors, impacting Indonesia, Bolivia, Japan and the aforementioned Fiji.

“The Big One”

“The Big One” is often described as an earthquake with a magnitude 8 or above, causing massive destruction to California, which some have said is overdue for an earthquake of this magnitude. California sits on the San Andreas fault, a 750-mile fault that has been responsible for some of the state’s most devastating earthquakes. 

The last earthquake that came close to a 8.0 magnitude in California was the great earthquake of 1906, which hit a magnitude of 7.9 and shook San Francisco to the ground, destroying 80 percent of the city and resulted in 3,000 deaths.

A massive earthquake registering 8.2 was registered on Sunday, hitting 174 miles north-northeast of Ndoi Island, Fiji, according to the the USGS. Luckily, the massive quake did not cause any significant damage, hitting at a depth of 347.7 miles, too deep to cause a tsunami.

“We are monitoring the situation and some places felt it, but it was a very deep earthquake,” Director Apete Soro told Reuters in an interview.

The Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire is a 25,000 mile horseshoe-shaped ring, accounting for approximately 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes, according to the USGS.

The region also contains 452 volcanoes, more than 75 percent of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes.

Though the USGS did not issue a warning, the recent spat of earthquakes in the Ring of Fire could eventually cause some problems for the western part of the U.S. and other close regions. 

Speaking with Vox in February, University of California Santa Cruz professor Emily Brodsky said “earthquakes and volcanoes can interact,” before adding it’s unclear how much the string of earthquakes we’ve seen in recent months are connected. Brodsky also said that having quakes and volcanic eruptions at the same time in an active area is not unusual.

In late July, a string of recent earthquakes off the West Coast of the U.S., ranging from 2.8 to 5.6 on the Richter scale, also raised questions of whether the “Big One” could be near.

FoxNews Chris Ciaccia

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Babylon City of Vatican

One of the portions of the book of Revelation whose meaning is hotly debated is the reference to Mystery Babylon in chapter 17. It appears that this will be the location of the Antichrist’s governmental and spiritual headquarters. But, where exactly is Mystery Babylon located? Will it be headquartered in Jerusalem, New York, Mecca, or Rome? Or, will it be ancient Babylon rebuilt?

Dr. David Reagan and I asked these questions on our television program Christ in Prophecy of Bible prophecy expert Bill Salus, the founder and director of Prophecy Depot Ministries based in La Quinta, California. Bill is a prolific writer and conference speaker, best known for his insightful book about Psalm 83 and the war that is depicted in it.

Arguments Against a Rebuilt Babylon

Bill Salus: David and Nathan, it is good to be with you. I want to personally thank you for your May edition of the Lamplighter magazine where I got my new nickname — the Star Trek Eschatologist. Boy, thanks for that!

Dr. Reagan: Well, I called you that because you boldly go where no one else has gone before when it comes to being an Eschatologist.

Bill Salus: Well, that label has created some repercussions everywhere I go, for now people think I’ve become some kind of pest exterminator! They don’t know what an Eschatologist is, so I’ve got to explain the label to them. Eschatos means “last or final” in the Greek, and ology is “study,” so together Eschatology is the “study of the last and final days.”

Nathan Jones: Alright, Captain Salus, are you ready to embark on another journey?

Bill Salus: Let’s boldly go!

Nathan Jones: Yes, let’s boldly address the subject of Mystery Babylon. Let’s go right to the source text, which is Revelation 17:1-6:

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.

And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.”

Bill, when it comes to Mystery Babylon there are questions like who, and what, and where. Let’s start with the where. Dr. John Walvoord holds to the most popular view in his Bible Knowledge Commentary believing that this Mystery Babylon, this prophetic Harlot, is actually the future rebuilt city of Babylon. Do you agree?

Bill Salus: I confirm that Dr. Walvoord holds the popular view, also held by other Bible experts such as Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Joel Rosenberg, and quite a number of others. Various Bible prophecy teachers adhere to one of several potential candidate cities being Mystery Babylon.

We are told in Revelation 17-18 that Mystery Babylon will be a great city. I remind people that, according to 2 Peter 1:20, no prophecy is subject to private interpretation. So, we have to look at the details of the prophecy. We’ve got to weed through the various interpretations given for the different candidate cities and narrow the list down to the actual one. There are five main candidate cities, and four of them cannot be the right ones.

I’m not advocating that I know for sure which is the correct one, but I think the body of evidence sways towards the direction of Rome. That will be my argument.

There are three primary reasons why I have concerns with Mystery Babylon being a rebuilt Babylon.

Let’s start with reason number one, and let’s focus on “rebuilt.” Unlike the other four candidate cities, Babylon is not a significant city right now. Saddam Hussein tried to rebuild it a little bit. The other candidate cities are already significant cities and so they could easily become that prophesied city, but the bottom line is the Antichrist would have to rebuild Babylon. To this day it’s located in a war-torn area due to schisms between the Shiites and the Sunnis, causing the complete rebuilding of Babylon unlikely. Some of the advocates for a rebuilt Babylon remind us that Dubai was built very rapidly into a city, and so could Babylon, but that seems highly unlikely within the limited Tribulation time-line.

For reason number two, let’s focus on the “Mystery” of Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. By definition, in the Old Testament a mystery was something that was concealed. In the New Testament, it is revealed. An angel reveals this mystery to us in Revelation 17:7-18. He tells us in verse 9 that Mystery Babylon will be “a city that sits on seven hills,” which at the time when John wrote Revelation, was the notorious description of Rome. The Romans even had coinage at the time of the goddess Roma sitting on seven hills.

Verse 15 describes the Harlot’s global reach across many tribes, tongues, peoples and nations. And, most importantly, verse 18 tells something significant. “The woman you saw,” referring to Mystery Babylon in this vision given to John, “is the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” So, let’s break that down. The woman he saw, past tense, sits on the waters, meaning the multiple tribes, tongues and nations. And, the city reigns over the kings of the earth. There could only be one city that held such power at the time John wrote. He would clearly recognize Rome. The text doesn’t say it will be the city that reigns over the kings, it says it is reigning.

Lastly, for reason number three, I find this to be a very disturbing verse for those others who advocate a city other than Rome as Mystery Babylon, and that is Revelation 18:20. “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her! God has judged her for the way she has treated you.” God was referring to the martyrdom of the holy Apostles. That’s two or more apostles plural had to be judged and executed under the present authorities of what this end times Babylon would eventually become. Peter, Paul, Andrew and Jesus’ brother, James — these apostles were killed by the “Babylon” of their time, IE. Rome.

Look at some of these other candidate cities, particularly a rebuilt Babylon in Iraq. Which of the Apostles were killed in Babylon? Was it John? Was it Matthew? No! Not one of them were killed in Babylon.

Dr. Reagan: One argument against Babylon comes from the book of Isaiah. Isaiah prophesied that when Babylon is destroyed by the Medes it will become as Sodom and Gomorrah, never to be rebuilt again. Advocates of Mystery Babylon being a rebuilt Babylon will often claim Babylon wasn’t destroyed in the same way as Sodom. Isaiah doesn’t say that. He said Babylon would become as Sodom and Gomorrah. And, it has become as Sodom and Gomorrah — erased forever.

Nathan Jones: Isaiah 13:20 reads, “It will never be inhabited nor will be settled from generation to generation.” Wouldn’t a rebuilding of Babylon break that prophecy?

Bill Salus: Correct, yes. Isaiah 13 provides another textual argument I have against Mystery Babylon being a rebuilt Babylon.

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Prophecy NEWS. Microchip Implants for Employees? One Company Says Yes

Microchip PLACEMENT ON COMPANY EMPLOYERS vector-cpu-computer-technology-electronic-concept--Stock-Vector-digital

At first blush, it sounds like the talk of a conspiracy theorist: a company implanting microchips under employees’ skin. But it’s not a conspiracy, and employees are lining up for the opportunity.

On Aug. 1, employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger. Once that is done, any task involving RFID technology — swiping into the office building, paying for food in the cafeteria — can be accomplished with a wave of the hand.

The program is not mandatory, but as of Monday, more than 50 out of 80 employees at Three Square’s headquarters in River Falls, Wis., had volunteered.

“It was pretty much 100 percent yes right from the get-go for me,” said Sam Bengtson, a software engineer. “In the next five to 10 years, this is going to be something that isn’t scoffed at so much, or is more normal. So I like to jump on the bandwagon with these kind of things early, just to say that I have it.”

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