2006 In Retrospect
Looking Forward to 2007 and the 40th Anniversary of the Liberation of Jerusalem.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
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"Har HaBayit Be'Yadanu!" The Temple Mount is in our hands. These were the words of the Israeli commander Motta Gur as Israel took control of the Temple Mount in the 6-day war. Later Rabbi Shlomo Goren prayed at the western wall saying: "Blessed are thou Lord, who comforts Zion and builds Jerusalem." 1967 was an amazing time for the building of Jerusalem and returning to lands that had been liberated--it was like a Biblical Jubilee when God said in Leviticus 25:10 that "ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land... ye shall return every man unto his possession".
As we hit 2007 it will be 40 years since Israel took the old city of Jerusalem and the Biblically significant areas of Judea and Samaria in the 1967 war. At the end of last year--2005, in the Dec. 21 edition of Bible in the News, we looked at the Jubilee periods and I would invite you to listen to this again as we enter 2007. The audio is available on the Bible in the News archive page.
As another year comes to a close, we step back and consider the year in retrospect. Overall trends are much more important than isolated events and there are some significant trends as we look at the years "Bible in the News". One such trend is Russia's growing power and dominance through her energy supplies, the Russia of today is not the Russia of a few years ago that everyone felt sorry for. Ezekiel prophesied a "turning back of Gog" before being brought forth to be destroyed on the Mountains of Israel. It seems the turning back period is over for Gog/Russia.
There have been many significant events in Israel this year--the first "Bible in the News" of 2006 was regarding Ariel Sharon's stroke. Then there was the election in which Sharon's new Kadima party came to power under Ehud Olmert, with much fewer seats than expected. The religious settlers have continued to be treated very badly by the state throughout 2006. Many Gaza refugees have still not been provided for after having their homes and businesses destroyed. There have been reports of detentions and jail time without trials. Religious settlers were thrown out of their homes in two separate events in Hebron and there was the brutal beating by police with truncheons of many of the young protesters in the community of Amona, when eight homes were destroyed.
The war in Lebanon is an event we will probably all remember. A government that began the year by vowing to establish Israel's borders and destroy many settlements in Judea and Samaria via the convergence plan has been left floundering. In July 2000 then Israeli prime-minister Ehud Barak offered the PLO most of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip for a PLO state. Arafat turned down the offer. For the last seven years the Israeli government has been trying to find a way to give away these territories to please world opinion. However other than the Gaza Strip they have not been able to. (Rockets are still falling daily from the Gaza Strip into Israel--just this week two boys were wounded by a rocket attack, one of them critically.) The significant Biblical heartlands of Judea and Samaria and all the religious settlements are still in place. The Lebanon war destroyed Olmert's convergence plan for the moment. We look for Jews to stay in the areas of Judea and Samaria, as required by Bible prophecies such as Ezekiel 38. Judea and Samaria being the mountains of Israel in the midst of the land. Some good news this week is that Israel has decided to create a new settlement to be called Maskiot, in the Jordan valley area of the West Bank. The settlement will house Gaza refugees. The US state department and especially the EU were critical over Israel's plans. The EU said: "Such unilateral actions are also illegal under international law and threaten to render the two-state solution physically impossible to implement." The controversy of Zion has been foremost in the news this year and of course in "The Bible in the News" program.
The Vatican continues to have a very powerful effect on national affairs and crises all over the world. The Vatican has diplomatic relations with 172 states, half of which have an ambassador resident in Rome. The Vatican only issues diplomatic passports, so all it's citizens are diplomats. Just today the Iranian Foreign Minister had a personal audience with the Pope, and delivered a letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran has been a significant item in the news throughout the year. Their belligerent attitude and threats to "wipe Israel off the map" have been of note to watchers of Bible prophecy, as in Ezekiel 38 Persia is a member of Gog's entourage. The Vatican has had diplomatic relations with Iran for 50 years, however, they have had diplomatic relations with Israel for only 14 years.
No other religious body in the world, has anything like the political power of the Vatican. The true fellowship of Jesus Christ is to be presented to him as a chaste virgin (2 Corinthians 11:2). A religious body is symbolized here as a woman. There is however a different woman in Revelation 17 that is described as anything but chaste. She is described by John as a: "great whore that sitteth upon many waters". Waters in symbol are clearly defined for us in verse 15 of this chapter: "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." The woman is a impure religious system that sits upon these waters and has influence over them. As we have seen throughout the year, the Catholic Church is the only religious body that has this kind of influence. Whether the Muslim world, the Jewish world or the Christian world she has great power, so that all the nations of the world come before her. The description in Revelation says that with her "the kings of the earth have committed fornication". What an apt description. The prophecy goes on to declare that "the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Her wine is her teaching. The teaching makes the people that drink it intoxicated, so they cannot discern the truth. As we draw near to the return of Christ we need to beware. We need to be watching and keeping our garments--ready for the thief like coming of Jesus the Messiah and soon to be king of Israel.
Come back again next week to www.bibleinthenews.com or biblemagazine.com for more Bible in the News--God willing.
Printed: Thursday, December 28, 2006
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