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The Mountains of Israel, the Focus of the Conflict
Mounting Opposition to Ehud Olmert's Convergence Plan
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June 8, 2006 - Audio, 12.00 MIN
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The Israeli Knesset has approved the 2006 budget 158 days late, with a vote of 53-22 with 45 abstaining. Five of collation Labour party MKs left the plenum in rebellion over the budget--not a good sign for the government as many polititions are saying that the real battle will be the 2007 budget. Throw Olmert's controversial "convergence plan" into the mix and you have a very unstable government. This is David Billington with the weekly Bible in the News.
Opposition continues to mount against Ehud Olmert's convergence plan. Today, June 7, King Abdullah II has warned that his country could never again serve as a "substitute homeland" for Palestinians. A rather odd comment when you consider that about 70% of Jordan's population is of Palestinian origins and Jordan was part of the the "Palestine Mandate" granted to Britain in 1922 by the League of Nations. But not when we remember that in September 1970 there was a civil war in Jordan when Yasser Arafat and the PLO tried to overthrow the Jordanian Hashemite monarchy, a move which failed and led to the expulsion of Arafat and his gang from Jordan. The kingdom of Jordan learned it's lesson dealing with the PLO and obviously does not want a terrorist state on its doorstep--something that Egypt now has with Gaza.

President Bush was not to keen about the convergence plan and the Vatican, the EU and many others are opposed to it. What they all want to see is a negotiated settlement and the establishment of a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria. What the Vatican wants to see is an "Internationalized Jerusalem" such as proposed by the UN in General Assembly Resolution 181 in 1947. A Jerusalem controlled by the United Nations where the Catholic dominated countries of South and Central America and Europe have domination.

The contest continues to be over the city of Jerusalem and the Biblical heartlands of Judea and Samaria--the mountains of Israel. What we must remember is that God is in control of these events and is moving things forward to the establishment of the little stone kingdom upon the mountains of Israel. In the Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come in 1852 John Thomas wrote that: "...I say that before Messiah returns there must be a lifting up of an ensign upon the mountains of Judea. Testimony and reason thereupon show, that there must be a re-settlement of the land by the Jews to a limited extent before the battle of Armageddon."

The core of the early Israelite kingdom from the time of the Judges right through to the end of the kingdom of Judah was the mountainous region of the West Bank. The steep rugged mountains repelled invaders and in the early days provided protection from the Canaanite chariots. When the greater Joshua--Jesus Christ and his saints enter the land of Israel they will come from the wilderness and follow Joshua's path first penetrating the strategic highlands of the West Bank or Judea where the kingdom of God will be reborn with the Jews in that area serving as the nucleus of the kingdom.

Moses after tracing the future of Israel--or history from our perspective, of their dispersions and re-gatherings in Dueteronomy 28 and 30, then goes on (in Deuteronomy 33) to bless the Children of Israel concerning future things.  Of Levi he said: "Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah." The Thummim and the Urim were on the breastplate of the high priest and were the means by which God communicated with his people. For them to be with someone else would involve a transfer of the office of the priesthood. This is exactly what we find prophesied in Psalm 110: "The LORD (Yahweh) said unto my Lord (Adoni), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." To send the rod of strength out of Zion and to rule must involve a political restoration of the kingdom of Israel. The Psalm then goes on to say in verse 4: "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Therefore the "holy one" spoken of by Moses whom the office of the priesthood would be transfered to, is none other than the priest after the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110 that King David calls his Lord.

Back in Deuteronomy 33 at the beginning of the chapter we read: "And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them." Here then is a future promise of the LORD coming from Sinai unto them.  He is not with his people at Sinai, but comes from there unto them. With him however are 10,000 saints. This coming of the LORD with his saints to establish the kingdom was not a new message that Moses was blessing his people with, in fact it was preached before the flood. In the short book of Jude we are informed that: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

There is a parallel passage to Moses' blessing of Israel in the prayer of Habakkuk that re-enforces the future application of the blessing. In Habakkuk 3 the text reads: "O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise." The phrase "God came from Teman" should properly be translated "Eloah (A mighty one) will come from Teman and the Holy One from Mount Paran" as the verb came is imperfect and should be translated in the future tense unless the context demands otherwise--and here it certainly does not. Notice that Habakkuk speaks of the "Holy One" coming from mount Paran. This is the same "Holy One" we have already discussed, to whom the priestly and kingly offices would be transfered. The Messiah son of David.

This Eloah or mighty one will enter the territory of Judah from the wilderness and to do this he will follow the path of Joshua with his ten thousand saints. This territory of Judah is referred to in Zechariah 2:10-12: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again." The cities of Judah are also singled out in Isaiah 40. A prophecy that had a fulfillment in the work of John the Baptist, but will have a future fulfillment also as we will see. "O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" In the next verse we note that it is at a time when he will rule: "Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand , and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him." The time when he will rule in the cities of Judah is the kingdom age. Next he speaks of feeding his flock: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." In Ezekiel 34:13,14 the prophet declares that it is upon the mountains of Israel that their fold will be: "And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel."

It is in the territory of Judah then, that the kingdom of Messiah will first be established in its very beginning. The territory that today is known as the West Bank. It is to these Mountains of Israel that Gog comes down upon in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38, we read in verse 8: "After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them."

We can only expect the controversy over the West Bank and Jerusalem to intensify the nearer we get to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. This is the controversy of Zion. Ehud Olmert may have plans to give away the West Bank, Bush may have his road map, the Vatican has its ideas, but in the end the King of Israel, "Moshiach ben David" will raise his banner over this territory.

We invite you back next week for another edition of the Bible in the News--God Willing!

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