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A New and Ideologically Different Italian Prime Minister is Coming on the Scene
Israel's Independence Day. This year some find it hard to celebrate.
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May 3, 2006 - Audio, 10.00 MIN
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This is Dave Billington with you for this week's Bible in the News. On Tuesday of this week Berlusconi resigned as Italian PM, clearing the way for Romano Prodi to become the next Prime Minister of Italy. What does this have to do with the Bible? Stay tuned to find out.
Today Israel celebrated it's independence day, marking 58 years since the establishment of the modern state. It was a difficult year for many Religious Zionist Israelis to celebrate, as they feel estranged from the state after the destruction in Gush Katif /Gaza and the police violence at Amona. Even though they still see the modern state of Israel as a good thing and a giant step towards the redemption, it has left them questioning the state and even in some cases their religious leaders, who they see as letting them down. We may be seeing the beginning of a teachableness that will be necessary, for the preaching of Elijah the prophet and the restoring of the Father's hearts in the children's. On Israel National Radio one Israeli from Efrat noted there were far less Israeli flags flying in his home town this year than previously. Here a couple of clips from Israel National Radio regarding Yom Ha'atzmaut or Israel Independence Day. (Sound Clip)

Well, back to Europe where we mentioned that Berlusconi has resigned as Italian PM, clearing the way for Romano Prodi to become the next Prime Minister of Italy. Silvio Berlusconi has been one of US President George W Bush's staunchest allies in the US-led war in Iraq, according to the BBC. He has been one of the very few supporters of the Iraqi war in Europe. In July 2004 Italy was the third largest contributor of coalition troops in Iraq, after the USA and Great Britain. Mr Berlusconi went against the Vatican, France, Germany and Russia who all opposed the war in Iraq. The Vatican went the extra mile to try and stop the USA from attacking Iraq; then Pope John Paul sending a personal envoy to Baghdad on February 10th, 2003 and Tariq Aziz, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister making his own diplomatic mission to Rome on February 12th, as reported in the Catholic World News. Aziz was unique among Iraqi leaders in that he was a Chaldean Catholic rather than a Muslim; when visiting the Pope he made a private pilgrimage to Assisi to pray for peace--I guess it didn't help much. This left Mr. Berlusconi at odds with all the major powerbrokers in Europe.

Well now Berlusconi has been voted out of office and Mr. Romano Prodi is going to be taking over. You may recognize the name Romano Prodi, that is because he is the former EU Commission President. Mr. Prodi grew up in Italy and studied at the Catholic University of Milan, where he earned a degree in law. From the University mission statement we find out that on April 13, 2000, Pope John Paul II addressed the university with the following words: "Speaking above all to you, dear teachers of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, I'm impressed to issue the following charge: that you are true and authentic educators; that you are careful to clearly manifest the educational model to which to aspire, making known, as true disciples of Christ, the hope that dwells in each and every one of you. That it will be your goal and your honor to offer the Church and your country, young professionals who are well prepared, citizens that are politically sensitive, and in particular, illuminated and courageous Christians."

Now, what is the "hope" that the Pope speaks of? It is not the "Hope of Israel" spoken of by the Apostle Paul--of that we can be sure! It is of course the Catholic hope, that is that the kingdom of God would rule over the entire world--the "kingdom of God" being the Catholic Church itself. Mr. Prodi has stayed true to his upbringing as shown by his efforts towards European unification, a union which we know from the Bible will become the worlds largest superpower, a superpower that will be smashed by the little stone cut out of the mountains without hands, which the prophet Daniel tells us is the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44,45). Mr. Prodi once stated that: "No-one should prevent a group of member states from achieving closer union!" Mr. Prodi was also behind the negotiations with Russia in 2000, to build the pipeline network that would transport oil and gas from Russia to Europe and for a strategic partnership with Russia. You can read about this in the Milestones Update in the November 2000 Issue of The Bible Magazine available online. Mr. Prodi's "strategic partnership" with Russia and European dependence on Russian oil and gas is leading to Russian control of Europe, as we saw this last winter when Putin turned off the gas tap to Ukraine and all of Western Europe realized their dependence upon Russia for their supply of energy.

The Vatican and Europe will be pleased with Mr. Prodi's win in the Italian election. However, George Bush will not be so enthusiastic; it was convenient to have at least one good ally in Europe. The results of this election could bring a greater rift between Europe and the United States and definitely the end of Italian troops taking part in the ongoing war in Iraq.

From a Bible prophecy standpoint this is exactly what we look for -- a greater rift between Europe, including Russia and the merchants of Tarshish (Ezekiel 38). These merchants are the isles afar off that Jeremiah speaks of in Jeremiah 31:10: "Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock." They are the countries where the message that the Jews must return to their land was proclaimed. These countries are the British Commonwealth nations and the United States, where that message was brought by believers in the prophets and the English Bible they carried with them. At the end of Daniel chapter 11 these two groupings of nations are described as a "king of the north" and a "king of the south"; in the prophecy of Zechariah they are described as two mountains of brass, which the chariots of God charging up from the desert cut between, some of the chariots drive on toward the north and some toward the south. These chariots of God are in motion, showing they are on a divine mission. The result is that they "have quieted my spirit in the north country." Something that will happen after the divine judgments usher in the kingdom age. In Daniel 11:40 we are informed that: "at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him"; this may sound as if it is just one push, however, the Hebrew verb translated "push" is in the Hithpalel verb form. This is a reflexive verb form that often changes the sense of what is being said. For example the verb "to walk" in Hithpalel means "to walk to and fro". The verb here translated push has a similar sense; it means they: "shall engage in butting" as two horned animals would. This is precisely what we have seen between the United States, Britain and their allies contending with Russia and Europe, since September the 11th and the commencement of the war on terror. We also saw similar alliances and pushing back and forth during the first and second world wars. This is the "king of the north" and the "king of the south" engaging in butting, a process which will lead to the "king of the north" coming against him like a whirlwind and his ultimate destruction upon the mountains of Israel.

"The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Daniel 4:32); it is at this time the angels are bringing a very pro-European Union, Catholic man, with strong ties not only throughout Europe, but also with Russia, to lead the nation of Italy. What the effects of this will be exactly we will have to wait and watch to find out. Come back again next week for another edition of The Bible in the News!

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