Catholic Pope Grants PLO Leader Abbas another Audience
The Holy War against the Jewish state.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
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This Friday was the fourth time, since becoming pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 2005, that the leader of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas has met Benedict. In May 2009 Benedict visited Israel, where he gave a large public relations boost for the Arab Palestinian cause and also called for the creation of a Palestinian state. The last pope, John Paul II, reached out to Arafat the leader of the PLO and supported him even when was still considered a terrorist in the 1980's. Arafat became a frequent visitor to the Vatican. The pope and Abbas meeting yesterday did not receive much media coverage and little was reported about it. The main point of the meeting was made quite clear however, by means of a statement issued after the meeting. The central theme was: "...the attainment of the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for an independent State."
What is quite striking is that on the same day, the Catholic vice-president of the United States, Joe Biden, also made an unannounced visit to the Vatican. It was reported by the Catholic News Agency, that journalists covering the Pope's meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also spotted Biden's car at the Vatican. Afterwards Joe Biden had two more meetings in Rome, one with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on the issue of the Middle East. Quite clearly there are behind the scenes meetings involving some key world leaders on the creation of a Palestinian State. The Vatican is very involved.
It should not be surprising that the Vatican would court the PLO or Palestine Liberation Organization, as they themselves have sometimes vocally and at other times quietly pursued the goal of liberating 'Palestine' from the Jews. In fact, from the very beginning they have fought against Zionism. Herzl, the generally recognized founder of political Zionism, wrote the result of his conversation with a papal diplomat: "I believe Rome will be against us, because she does not consider the solution of the Jewish Question in a Jewish state, and perhaps even fears it." In 1917, a Swiss newspaper published an article on the Vatican and Palestine which summed up the situation at that point in time: "The matter preoccupying Vatican policy at present is that the Zionist dream should not be realized, and that instead of becoming a Jewish kingdom, Palestine, will remain a permanent possession of the Christian powers... It already seems almost certain that the Holy Land will be proclaimed international." Well the God of Israel had other plans. The Holy Land was not proclaimed international. Despite all their politicking the Vatican did not get their way.
In 1922 while discussions were underway at the League of Nations on the subject of the British mandate for Palestine, Chaim Weizmann made a very interesting observation: "If the mandate does not go through this time, it never will. The Catholics have been chiefly responsible for uniting the Muslims and the Christians against us, because what the Vatican really wishes to have is something which amounts to power in Palestine, and it has been using various Catholic members of the League, such as Spain, Brazil, Italy, Belgium and France, in order to achieve its object, and this is really the inner meaning of its attacks against us."
The reason for this Roman Catholic hostility to the idea of a Jewish state is a theological one. In the book "The Vatican and Zionism" by Sergio Minerbi, he writes: "...the Holy See's policy toward political Zionism is inseparable from the Catholic Church's religious stand regarding the Jews....For hundreds of years, the Catholic Church has taken the theological position that the Church is the "true Israel" and the exclusive heir of the Bible." On May 14, 1948 David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of the state of Israel and on the same day, the official Vatican newspaper declared: "Modern Zionism is not the true heir of Biblical Israel, but a secular state ... Therefore the Holy Land and its sacred sites belong to Christianity, the True Israel." This is the idea that the Church has superseded the Jewish people and replaced them in God's plan; it is known as replacement theology.
Consider Jeremiah 33:23-26. Does this support this idea of replacement theology?
"Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them."
It is impossible to hold the idea that the Church is the kingdom of God on earth having replaced Israel and yet believe that the kingdom of Israel will be restored again, with Christ and the apostles ruling over the Jewish people in that kingdom. The scripture teaching in both old and new testaments is that; the kingdom of God will be restored to Israel, with the Messiah, The Lord Jesus Christ sitting on David's restored throne in Jerusalem, ruling with the 12 apostles, over the 12 tribes. Consider these Bible passages:
Matthew 19:28 "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Acts 3:1,6 "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God... When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"
Acts 3:19-21"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."
Jeremiah 3:17 "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart."
Jeremiah 32:37-42 "Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them."
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the gospel as announced to Mary by that great angel Gabriel, as recorded in Luke 1:30-33:
"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
We see then, the nations taking counsel together to liberate the land of Israel from the Jews. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to rule the attitude of the nations will be no different: Psalm 2:1-3 "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
Abbas has just signed a reconciliation agreement with the terrorist organization Hamas. The group that recently fired a rocket propelled grenade at a school bus, killing a teenager. The group that still holds Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in conditions contrary to the Geneva Convention. They have not recognized Israel or denounced terror. The PLO has not recognized Israel as a Jewish state. The danger to Israel of a Palestinian Arab state in her strategic heartland is very real--in fact in human terms it is national suicide. Yet the Pope is quite happy to meet with Abbas as a guest of honour at the Vatican and push for him to have a state.
We should expect however that this war to expel the Jews from the Christian "Holy Sites" would have a religious aspect to it from Bible Prophecy. Joel 3 is a chapter speaking of the time of the regathering of Judah and Israel and the gathering of the nations against them. In verse 9 the nations are instructed to "prepare war". The word translated "prepare" is the Hebrew verb to be holy, to sanctify, to separate. Youngs Literal translation brings this meaning out clearly: "Proclaim ye this among nations, Sanctify a war, stir up the mighty ones, Come nigh, come up, let all the men of war." Armageddon is to be a "holy war" a crusade against the restored kingdom of Israel.
When we see the great religious and political powers taking counsel together against God's work in restoring the Jewish people to their homeland, in preparation for the restoration of His kingdom, we realize how close we must be to the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, to occupy David's throne in Zion! This has been David Billington with you, for this week's edition of the Bible in the News, at www.bibleinthenews.com. Come back next week.
Printed: Saturday, June 04, 2011
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