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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

August 2004

Christians and Israel

The Christian Science Monitor reported recently on the efforts and influence of Christian Zionists:

For Christian Zionists, the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham and the center of His action from now to the Second Coming of Christ and final battle of Armageddon, when the Antichrist will be defeated. But before this can occur, they say, biblical prophecy foretells the return of Jews from other countries; Israel's possession of all the land between the Euphrates and Nile rivers; and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple where a Muslim site, Dome of the Rock, now stands.

These beliefs lead to positions that critics say are uncompromising and ignore the fact that most Israelis want peace. "Pressuring the US government away from peace negotiations and toward an annexationist policy, that has a direct negative impact on the potential for change in the Middle East," says Gershom Gorenberg, a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report newsmagazine. . . .

Other Christians in the Holy Land oppose what they consider a false interpretation of Christianity that is heightening tensions here. "Christian Zionism transforms faith into a political ideology, and one that needs an enemy," says the Rev. Rafik Khoury, of the Catholic Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem. But Christian Zionists argue that Christians' role is to back Israel wholeheartedly and conform to God's message in Genesis: "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee" (Gen. 12:3). ("Mixing prophecy and politics," csmonitor.com, July 7, 2004)

Inspired Commentary

Do the Christian Zionists correctly understand the New Testament? Consider the following:

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:6-8)

The big question is "What about the promises God made to Israel in the Old Testament?" If we conclude that those promises must be fulfilled to the Israel of the flesh, then we must conclude that Jerusalem and the modern Jewish nation will eventually become the center of the final battle of Armageddon. But if we conclude that those promises can legitimately be fulfilled to God's Israel in the Spirit, then we must restudy the book of Revelation to discover how its end-time prophecies apply to Christians. (Steve Wohlberg, Exploding the Israel Deception, p. 30)

The Vatican at the U.N.

The Zenit News Agency (covers news related to the Catholic church) is reporting that the United Nations has boosted the status of the Vatican at the United Nations:

NEW YORK, JULY 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution to reinforce the role and privileges of the Holy See within the organization, maintaining its status of "permanent observer."

The body approved the resolution without a vote Thursday. The measure recognizes the Holy See's right to participate in a more direct manner in U.N. sessions and decisions, as one more member, with no right to vote, as suggested by the Vatican in the writing of the resolution.

"These rights had become a common practice for a long time, but were never registered in writing," said the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore. . . .

The Holy See, which has had a permanent observer at the United Nations for 40 years, "will be able to participate directly in any debate of the Assembly, without having to wait for the approval of regional groups, and will have the right to reply in debates in which it is challenged directly or indirectly," the nuncio added. . . .

"It is a fundamental step that does not close any path for the future," Archbishop Megliore said. "The Holy See has the requirements defined by the U.N. statute to be a member state and, if in the future it wished to be so, this resolution would not impede it from requesting it." The resolution was necessary to clarify the role of a permanent observer since the Holy See is now the only state with this status. Switzerland has become a member state of the United Nations. ("Holy See Gains More Rights as Observer at U.N.," Zenit.org, July 2, 2004)

Inspired Commentary

Some see the beast of Revelation 13 symbolizing the Papacy, and its growing influence as continued healing of the "deadly wound."

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. . . .

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. Rev. 13:1-3, 11, 12

Locust Plague in Africa

A devastating plague of destructive locusts is brewing in Africa. The report mentioned that a previous infestation in 1987-1989 caused about $300 million in damages to food production.

Dakar - In an invasion of north and west Africa that may take on biblical proportions, locusts are swarming across the Sahara desert to threaten the yields from crops already wizened by years of drought in many of the world's poorest countries.

The United Nations's Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] announced July 5 that the first swarms of desert locusts were abandoning their spring breeding areas and heading into Mauritania, Senegal and Mali, with more expected in coming weeks. ("Locusts have a field day in starving Africa," Independent Online (http://iol.co.za), July 19, 2004)

Inspired Commentary

Some have thought that the history of humanity on earth would gradually feature more peace and prosperity. Inspiration says otherwise:

In the last scenes of this earth's history war will rage. There will be pestilence, plague and famine. The waters of the deep will overflow their boundaries. Property and life will be destroyed by fire and flood. We should be preparing for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for them that love Him --Mar 174 (1897) (Last Day Events, p. 24).

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