|Pope to visit Holy Land as 'pilgrim of peace'|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Saturday, 02 May 2009 15:42|
|The Pope has announced that he will be undertaking his forthcoming trip to the Middle East as a "pilgrim of peace". The Roman Pontiff expressed hope that his tour will help to foster unity between Islam, Christianity and Judaism, as he visits the places revered by the 'three great monotheistic religions'. His tour is expected to include stops in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. The Pope's visit will come just weeks after the Vatican announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Arab League, agreeing to increase cooperation between them with a view to "promoting peace and justice in the world", and focusing in particular on the Middle East conflict. The Pope intends to meet with Islamic leaders in the Prince Hussein Mosque in Jordan, before travelling on to Israel, where he is expected to meet Jewish and Palestinian representatives. The last day of his trip will coincide with Western celebrations of Israel's 61st anniversary, on May 15th, and conversely the Palestinian Nakba on the same date. The Pope has stated that he intends to bring a message of "justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love" on his trip. "Reconciliation - difficult but indispensable - is a precondition for a future of overall security and peaceful coexistence, and it can only be achieved through renewed, persevering and sincere efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict". |
Quote: ""In just a few days I will have the privilege of visiting the Holy Land. I go as a pilgrim of peace," the pontiff said of his first papal trip to the Middle East. He said the region "land of our Lord's birth, death and resurrection, a sacred place for the world's three great monotheistic religions — has been plagued by violence and injustice" for 60 years. "This has led to a general atmosphere of mistrust, uncertainty and fear -- often pitting neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother," Benedict said. "As I prepare for this significant journey, I ask in a special way that you join me in prayer for all the peoples of the Holy Land and the region. May they receive the gifts of reconciliation, hope and peace," the pontiff said.
The Bible foretells of a day in which the religions of this world will be united under the authority of one man. The book of Revelation describes this man as having two horns like a lamb, but speaking as a dragon (Revelation 13). It seems that while this man will have all the appearance of innocence, meekness and goodness (like a lamb), the words he will speak will be from Satan himself (or the dragon - Revelation 13:4). I am not saying that this Pope is the false prophet. He isn't performing any miracles, nor is he handing out marks and advocating all men worship the Beast. But there is no doubt that all this talk of peace and reconciliation between religions, particularly in the Holy Land, is preparing the way for his coming. The Bible declares that the false prophet will be given power to perform great and lying wonders, convincing men of his supposed 'Divine authority' (Revelation 13:13-14). Think it could never happen? Christendom is already being conditioned into accepting the idea of miracle-working (false) prophets, through movements such as the Kansas City Prophets and the recent Florida Healing Outpouring, among others. And calling down fire from heaven, a feat which the Bible predicts the false prophet will perform, happened to be one of Todd Bentley's specialities. The Lord Jesus Christ warned us that during the last days many false messiahs and false prophets would arise and would deceive many (Matthew 24:24).
The Pope talks of bringing a message of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love to the Middle East. He talks of becoming a 'pilgrim of peace' to the Holy Land. But one word that the Pope left out is 'righteousness'. And there is a reason for that. The Pope cannot bring righteousness to the Middle East. He can't make the Jews or Arabs good. And if all God could offer mankind was justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love, it would still not be enough to get us into heaven. Why? 'Justice' means getting what we deserve. The Bible declares that our sins demand that we must die. The 'truth' about our sin will condemn us to a lost eternity if we die without Christ. 'Mercy' is withholding what we justly deserve, but mercy cannot make us right with God. 'Forgiveness' means to pardon a sin, but forgiveness is not enough to make us holy in God's sight. It's possible for someone who has been forgiven to continue on in sin. 'Love' could not make us holy in God's sight. God loves sinners but not all will repent of their sins. If we are to make it into heaven, we need righteousness - to be made so that we are as good as God. Praise God that it is possible. "Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other", Psalm 85:10. Righteous means to have a 'right-standing' with God. And God provides this right-standing for all who believe on His Son Jesus Christ for salvation. Have you believed on Jesus Christ for salvation? Turn away from your sins, and trust in Him for salvation today.