|Olmert: Israel must withdraw from most of West Bank and east Jerusalem|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Tuesday, 30 September 2008 06:41|
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made his most courageous statement to date on the Middle East peace process, warning that Israel must disengage from "almost all" territories captured during the Six Day War in return for peace with their Arab neighbours. His comments came on the eve of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year. Olmert, who resigned from his post last week, is once again in charge of a caretaker government until his successor can form a coalition. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who has been nominated to replace Olmert as leader of Kadima, is expected to head a government until the next elections. At the last meeting before his resignation, Olmert had offered 98.1% of Judea and Samaria to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the creation of a Palestinian state. The remainder was to be taken from land within the 1948 armistice lines, which would have seen Israel cede the Jordan valley and land adjacent to the Gaza Strip in exchange for settlements within eastern Jerusalem. According to Army Radio, the deal floundered on the issue of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. Olmert's latest statement is likely to further undermine Israel's sovereignty within the ancient capital city as both sides press for an agreement within the coming months.
Quote: ""(I am saying) what no previous Israeli leader has ever said: we should withdraw from almost all of the territories, including in east Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights," Olmert, who resigned over corruption allegations, told Yedioth Ahronoth. The Israeli daily called it a "legacy interview," published on the eve of the Jewish new year, in which Olmert went further in making offers for peace than he ever did publicly when he was in active office, with greater power to see them carried out.
Olmert's statement is significant. For the first time in history an Israeli leader has openly called for the ceding of Judea and the division of Jerusalem, as prophesied in the Scriptures so long ago (Zechariah 12:2, 14:2, Revelation 11:2). And the fact that this is happening now, after six thousand years of Earth's history, is no less significant. For the Scriptures seem to indicate that after six thousand years of history have run their course, Christ will return to set up His Millennial Kingdom, which is to last for a period of one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). Peter's epistle mentions the Second Coming of Christ. In an attempt to justify the apparent delay in our Lord's return, Peter quotes from the Psalm of Moses to explain God's timing of this event.
2nd Peter 3:8-9
While this verse simply explains that God exists outside of our time frame, many prominent Jewish rabbis and Christian scholars have taught that this measurement can be used to calculate the approximate duration of mankind's rule over this earth. And there are many Scriptures which seem to correlate well with the theory that man would rule over Earth for six thousand years, and that Christ would rule for the seventh period of one thousand years, allowing all of creation to enjoy a Sabbath rest. Sometimes this period of time is alluded to in the Scriptures by sixes and sevens, and in this case we start our count of days from the beginning of creation. Sometimes it is alluded to in just twos and threes, in which case we count from the first coming of the Messiah, two thousand years ago.
In this passage we have one of the first allusions to timing of the Second Coming of Christ. Moses was commanded to sanctify the people for two days, and on the third day God would come down on the mountain in the sight of all the people. Through His atoning death upon the cross, Jesus Christ has sanctified us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5). After two thousand years He is to return in the sight of all the people.
The following passage in Hosea speaks of the diaspora, how the nation of Israel would be scattered among the nations, and how God would bring them back to their land after two days or a period of two thousand years. After two days the nation of Israel would be revived. This has happened in our lifetime. On the third day they would be raised up. This 'raising up' speaks of the spiritual renewal amongst the Jewish people, which would occur after they are brought back to the land as prophesied in Ezekiel 37 in the valley of dry bones, and again just prior to the return of Christ (Zechariah 14). And then they would live in the sight of their Messiah.
The next passage mentions Christ's response to Herod, who sought to put Jesus to death. Christ told the Pharisees to tell Herod that He was casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and the third day He would be finished. Over the last two thousand years people have been saved through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But this work will be finished or complete once Christ returns to set up His Millennial Kingdom.
This passage in John's Gospel speaks of the wedding that was to take place in Cana on the third day. John the Baptist spent the first two days pointing out the virtues of Christ to those who came to him repenting of their sins (John 1:29, 35). The Church has spent the last two thousand years pointing people to the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the third day Christ is to come to receive His Bride.
John 1:29, 35-36, 2:1
The following passage comes from the parable of the good Samaritan, who had found a young Jewish lad that had been brutally attacked and left for dead on the Jericho road. The Samaritan takes the injured man to an inn and instructs the innkeeper to look after him. He pays the innkeeper two day's wages, and promises to pay whatever more is required on his return. Jesus Christ had compassion on us when we were dead in trespasses and in sins (Ephesians 2:1). He came down into this world in order to lift mankind up to the heights of heaven. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. The punishment to procure our peace was laid upon Him, and by His sacrifice we are spiritually healed. Like the good Samaritan in the story, on the third day Christ will come again.
The final passage comes from the Christ's transfiguration on the mount. Jesus Christ said that there were some disciples standing with him who would not taste of death until they had seen Christ coming in His Kingdom. Six days later Christ takes Peter, James and John up into a mountain to pray, and as He is praying His glory is revealed to them. Six thousand years of man's history will run their course. And on the seventh period of one thousand years, Christ will return in His glory, to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
As you can see, whether the rapture happens this October or not, there are many reasons to believe that Christ's return is near. If we count two thousand years from Christ's birth, then His return is actually overdue. But praise God that we know He does not break His promises! He is coming back, and if these Scriptures are anything to go by, it must happen soon. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Jesus Christ loves you so much. He gave His life for yours upon the cross of Calvary two thousand years ago. He promised that if He returned to heaven, He would come back again to take all those who have trusted in Him for salvation to be with Him where He is (John 14:3). We don't know exactly when that will happen, but believe it must be soon. Why don't you turn away from your sins, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today!