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A Place for Sharing, Baring and Bearing
Signals to the Wary and Signs to the Penitent
The Australian, May 12,1997; pp. 7,16; May 13, p. 11
The Australian is in this instance to be congratulated for using "the Sydney-based Media East" in giving such fascinating detail on economic aggrandisement in new projects in the lands about Israel, the broader Middle East.
We learn of vast 'Red Sea Riveria' projects (the possibility of misprint for Riviera seems worth thought - the title would, to say the least, be evocative! - Red Sea Riviera), with joint input from Egypt, Israel and Jordan to give the "vibrant sea life" a focus; of petro-chemical and metal works in Iran, together with development in what is called the "world's largest underground gas reserve"; huge increase in Dabai international airport, in the Persian Gulf, the building of hotels in the Dead-Sea coastline and the Jordan Valley, in the "Lowest Park in the World" project ... yes, and of two other interesting foci for thought.
One is this: a 22 km canal intended to increase Egypt's arable land from 6 to 25 per cent, using a new delta west of the Nile valley. Called the Tushki Spillway Canal, it is intended to be "creating a new valley parallel to the Nile valley". With the considerable erosion of the former rich splendour of the Nile Delta already resulting from the Aswan Dam, this reminds one of Isaiah 11:15. The winds of change are indeed working.
More interesting yet, moving further along the Jordan, is the nearby increase intended for the greater Jerusalem area. On p. 7, we read that the Haaretz newspaper scooped a story of intention to extend the authority of the Jerusalem municipality further into the West Bank, in a "wide swath of territory". This could effectively end Palestinian aspiration for East Jerusalem as their capital for a Palestinian State, we are advised, through the topography and Jewish settlements surrounding Jerusalem, their depth and scope. A non-military State for the Palestinians with Gaza and some of the West Bank (perhaps 50%?) is also in the prospect as divulged or alleged in the newspaper. Indeed, The Australian, May 13, p.11 reports that
a) an Israeli official on the topic, declared of the West Bank percentage in view for retention, "It's about 60 per cent, not 45 or 50." Further,
b) a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry reportedly stated that the Interior Ministry and Jerusalem city officials were working on a plan to extend Jerusalem's boundaries into the West bank. It was added that an enlarged corridor of West Bank would be retained connecting Jerusalem to the rest of Israel. This does not seem especially amazing for a capital city.
As pointed out in SMR (pp. 831-836), by small increments large or even spectacular results are being obtained in the Middle East, in the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy of the Lord's restoration of that people after devastating but not terminal castigation.
As to those who help on that process as though they were themselves the disciplinarians of Israel, they do not meet with divine approval: for God is judge Himself, and appoints to the nations what He will (cf. Isaiah 54:7-8, Ezekiel 25:6-7, Obadiah 14-15, Jeremiah 30:15-16, Zechariah 1:14-15, Isaiah 47:6-8). He is not impressed with 'putting the boots in", when His own discipline procedures are from His own hand.
In reality, the USSR featured in grand if morally abysmal style in withholding millions of Jewish people from return to Israel, and is dismembered. The British were grand in the days of their grandeur also in helping the Jews, in 1917 and for many years, but foolish in their ambivalence or worse in 1948 in the positive difficulties they placed in the way of Jews returning by sea-going vessels; and their grandeur also has not increased...
While Prince Charles reportedly toys with or even employs the Koran as news notes from time to time (with sartorial aspects, The Australian p. 12, May 12, 1997), there are far-reaching results, for this is a symptom from the current national neglect of the word of God which was so much displayed for so many centuries, in England. It has many aspects and phases; but this is one.
Elijah's word to the people of Israel so long ago, is still applicable both to small and to great: I Kings 18:21 - " 'How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.' But the people answered him not a word."
That is a form of answer which is habitual with many; fatal for not a few; an end-time special which has had many preliminaries to warn the individual and the nations. The mockery of the God whose Son is His sacrifice for sin for those who receive Him, with the god who has no son, is celestially unacceptable; factually imprecise and spiritually astray. (Cf. SMR pp. 830-835.) The combination of self-contradiction is typical of the Age, which seems to specialise in asking for it, and then getting it.
Another fascinating point is this: in addition to His restoration of Jerusalem and the Jewish people, God is intending to bring back a time when the surrounding peoples also will turn to the Lord - as shown in Isaiah 19:24-25. There is no question of favouritism, simply of divine plan and equity; and of carrying out His word, who means what He says, and has meant, since by His word He created the universe and set man within it (Isaiah 45:9-12).
That is "THE OTHER MIDDLE EAST" structured for a time to come, and not now far distant; though spectacular are the events connecting this time to that (cf. SMR pp. 502-520). Isms will be evacuated in the presence of the Messiah, who both in His Person, with His fulfilled prophecies, and in His works will display, as He did display as Jesus Christ the righteous, the deity in His wonder. But then ? also He will act in His presiding power. (Cf. Psalms 2, 72.)
It is sad how long it takes the inhabitants of the earth to realise this: that from the call of Abraham to the prediction of Christ and of His death date (SMR pp. 886-899,for around A.D. 30), and of its reasons, and of its method (SMR pp. 755-774 et al.), for hundreds of years before He came, to the predictions of the results of that death (cf. SMR pp. 761, 774-876, not least 829-831 et al.), and of its opportunities for all who will turn to Him in faith as the Son of God, God means what He says. He does what He says. Strong is He who executes His word. (Joel 2:11 cf. 2:28-32, Isaiah 49:6-7, 65:10-13 ; cf. SMR pp. 623-631A).
One remembers the lament of Jesus Christ for Jerusalem, one of the most poignant love expressions one could find (Luke 19:42-44); and all that has been suffered. When the Lord "awakes" in His time, to the onslaught to come, there will be deeds comparable to those in Egypt of old, as He delivers (Micah 7:1-16. The impact not only for the Middle East but for the world, to be gained from consideration of this ancient history is exposed in Appendix 2 infra).
This same God is able to deliver individuals who call upon Him - Acts 2:21, 4:11-12. The basis, despite reports on the inclinations of Prince Charles, will not change, whatever may, or may not, become of the Anglican Church in England, or England in the Anglican Church, or any other combination.
The Middle East, then, is a place for Sharing, Baring and Bearing. In the first place, there is now a common Gospel, to be shared with all; there is a region with divine appointment to enable a place for the people of Israel, whilst neighbours also have their place; there is more, far more.
Christ bared the sins of many, as they responded with the same ennui, then passion as is common today with many, exposing their sin; then He bore the sins of many, who believed His report (Isaiah 53:1,10), burying their sin; then He bares His arm before the nations (Ezekiel 36:32-37), and demonstrates that He means what He says, in whatever category His speech may be cast. He, the Creator of the ends of the earth, indeed the heavens and the earth, appoints the Gospel, the land, the mercy, the peace, the terms, the conditions, the covenant; and is not mocked.
The pity is that so many deride the divine surgeon, ignore the celestial majesty and despise the word that nothing can change (Matthew 24:35, 5:17-19, Isaiah 59:21).
It is to their own dereliction they so do, whether in the Middle East, that vast concourse of divine mercy and judgment, or elsewhere; for there is no difference - ALL HAVE SINNED, and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); and to all He appoints one Messiah (Romans 3:27-28, Isaiah 60:3, 49:6, Psalm 72, Jeremiah 23:5), one Christ, one Lamb slain before the foundation of the world in the divine plan of salvation, manifested to the world, and soon to return to this site (Revelation 13:8, Zechariah 14, Acts 3:19-21, Luke 21:24,28, Matthew 24:33-35) on which so many seem to think they can build another Babel, amidst all their talk; and is it not before the God of the Bible, like babble ?
The word of God and the word of men: What is the chaff of human thought to the wheat of the word and expressed will of God! (Jeremiah 23:23-29).