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World Tomorrow
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The Way Out Of Troubles - part 2
broadcast around 1980 - played UK 19 Jul 2014
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Bible Study
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1 Corinthians 3 and 4
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Pastors Report - 18 Jul 2014
pigUncleanFood

Did Jesus Declare "All Foods Clean"?

The New International Version, amongst others, translates a passage in Mark 7:19 as: "In saying this, Jesus declared all foods 'clean'." However, what Christ really declares in this passage has much to say to those who ignore God's Word in order to follow their own agenda.

Modern Translations:

Mr Armstrong was very clear when he commented on the plethora of modern translations that were appearing in the 70s and 80s — such as the New International Version (NIV) that was fully published in 1978. In a sermon given on 15th March 1980 he gave the following warning:

"... I always use the King James or the so-called Authorized Bible because more people use it than any other; and I think they understand me better if I use that than one of the modern translations. But any numbers of modern translations have come out in the last three or four years, and some of them are absolutely no good at all; and I want to advise you against some of these real new modern editions...." (Times and Seasons Sermon - March 15, 1980 )

Though he did not say so, it is highly likely he was referring to the NIV: From the higher textural criticism arrogantly applied by Westcott and Hort in 1881 to produce their "New Testament in the Original Greek" ... to the clear antinomian (no-law), evangelical bias of those involved in the project ... to the thought by thought/ phrase by phrase interpretation then applied to all passages — great caution is required whenever the NIV is referred to. Even the former Anglican Bishop of Durham, N T Wright — commenting on the NIV's "paraphrasing and interpretative glosses" — warns the following:

"... the translators had had another principle, considerably higher than the stated one: to make sure that Paul should say what broadly Protestant and evangelical tradition said he said .... I do know that if a church only, or mainly, relies on the NIV it will, quite simply, never understand what Paul was talking about..."(Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision - N T Wright)

Although, on occasions, some passages of scripture can be made a little clearer, to use this translation to establish doctrine is highly dangerous.

An Apostate's Tool:

Is it any wonder then, that a key plank in the apostasy's agenda was to move the entire organisation of God's Church to a full acceptance of this alternative "translation"? Having decided what the scriptures really "should" say, the "paraphrasing and interpretative glosses" then bends these passages in the required direction — often regardless of context or clarity that may be found in parallel accounts — or even, in some cases, the Hebrew or Greek words used! Sometimes the change can be so very subtle: a word added here, a short phrase there. Note carefully how the addition of the word "just" into Jeremiah 7:22 completely reverses the meaning of the passage. In the NIV the verse becomes;

  • "For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Jeremiah 7:22)

Whereas the King James Version of 1611 accurately reflects the original Hebrew, making sense of the fact it was these ceremonial, sacrificial laws and not God's Moral Law — summarised by the Ten Commandments — which were the "works of the law" then "added because of transgressions" (Galatians 3:19) :

  • For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
  • But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. (Jeremiah 7:21-22)

It is not that the King James Version does not have its own problems — it does — but the translators of 1611 had one fearful advantage: They had to be accurate on pain of death — literally! This added incentive is sadly missing in the more modern translations, compiled by less than God-fearing men and women, who so often merrily read their own bias into the prose with impunity.

Original Greek:

And this is what appears to have happened with Mark 7:19. The NIV and several other translations ADD the words, "in saying this, Jesus declared..." and then twist the sense into a parenthetical comment on clean and unclean meats: “For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods 'clean'.)" (Mark 7:19 NIV) But is that really what is being dealt with? Is the original even talking about "meat" at all?

The context of this passage is bread, NOT meat. It then proceeds to deal with food in general, but nothing whatsoever to do with which meats are clean or unclean.

  • Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
  • And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread [Greek 'artos' = leavened flour and water] .... (Mark 7:1-2)

In addition to the Greek word 'artos' (leavened bread) used in verse 1, the Greek word 'broma', (used in verse 19), simply means food. If flesh had been specifically intended, an entirely different Greek word, 'kreas' would have been used. We can see this in the following passages:

  • It is good neither to eat flesh [Greek: kreas = meat], nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. (Romans 14:21)
  • Wherefore, if meat [Greek: broma = food] make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh [Greek: kreas = meat] while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (1 Corinthians 8:13)

So there is no indication within the Greek that this passage is dealing with anything other than the general subject of food. The word for flesh simply does not appear.

Other Passages:

When Jesus Christ was confronted by Satan, notice how He relied on the words of the Hebrew scriptures to parry and counter the succession of ungodly ideas and suggestions the Devil threw at Him. Repeatedly Christ counter-attacked by saying: "It is written" — leaving us an example of how we need to do the same — using God's Word as the very sword of the Holy Spirit within us — to literally live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)

That Word makes it very clear indeed that clean and unclean animals were recognised as such millennia before Sinai. They were certainly not an afterthought, merely added alongside the sacrificial rituals at the time of Moses. We can see this when we read the account of Noah:

  • Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
  • And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 7:2; 8:20)

To see that this knowledge of what was created to be eaten and what was not remains to guide us today, we need go no further than the Sermon on the Mount. Clean and unclean meats are very much part of what was both taught in the Law (Leviticus 23) and also re-emphasised by God's prophets — both during their day and for the future Millennial rule (Isaiah 66:17). And Jesus Christ Himself makes it abundantly clear that such passages are still very much in operation:

  • Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to [fill to the brim].
  • For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be [brought to pass].
  • Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least [by those] in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

Then, as if that were not enough, we can also see how the apostle Peter had absolutely no doubt that he was still expected to be obedient to God's health laws years after the incident recorded in Mark 7 — when God specifically uses his clarity of understanding to graphically teach him that he "should not call any man common or unclean." (Acts 10:28) ...

  • But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. (Acts 10:14)
  • But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. (Acts 11:8)
Note The Context:

So what is Jesus talking about in Mark chapter seven? The first two verses introduce the core question being addressed:

  • Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
  • And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.(Mark 7:1,2)

The subject matter was not clean/unclean meats at all, but "unwashen hands"

  • For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft [Greek: with the fist - a ritualised washing to the elbow], eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
  • And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
  • Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?(Mark 7:3-5)

This washing was not merely making sure hands are washed clean before dipping them into a communal food bowl — a basic hygienic practice and a form of love and respect towards your neighbour sharing the food bowl — but a Pharisaic ritual before taking ANY food.

God's Commands:

The Pharisees insisted on washing up to each elbow in a prescribed manner of ritual purity based on the religious traditions of the Jewish oral law — seen today in the various traditional rituals of the Jewish Talmud.

  • He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
  • Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
  • For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
  • And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.(Mark 7:6-9)

The disciples were being criticized for not following the proper procedure of ceremonial hand-washing prescribed by the Pharisaical religious traditions — traditions that often countered the commands of God found in the Hebrew scriptures (verse 9). Christ then gives an example — How the Pharisees were content to set aside one of the Ten Commandments — Honour thy father and thy mother — while justifying the unrighteous action via their own, humanly devised, ritualistic rules and regulations.

  • For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
  • But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
  • And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
  • Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:10-13)

So how could Christ condemn the Pharisees for setting God's commands to one side in verse 9 — then abolish the food laws commands a few moments later? Wouldn't that make Him a hypocrite?

The Parable:

He then issues a parable to those standing around Him:

  • And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
  • There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
  • If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.(Mark 7:14-16)

Remember, the primary purpose of parables is to HIDE meaning, not as many mistakenly assume, to clarify (Matthew 13:10-13) Only later — in private, with His disciples — did He then begin to explain the parable:

  • And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
  • And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
  • Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? (Mark 7:17-19)

The subject matter is still eating with ceremonially unwashed hands, but is now being contrasted with moral defilement. The parallel account in Matthew makes this continuation of thought very clear:

  • Then answered Peter [who even years later in Acts 10 would still never entertain the idea of consuming unclean food] and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
  • And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
  • Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
  • But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
  • For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
  • These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. (Matthew 15:15-20)
Verse 19 Explained:

Remembering that the “defilement” being addressed is not unclean meat – but specks of dirt that may still be there from not washing hands ceremonially up to the elbows — we should now be able to clearly grasp the intended meaning of verse 19:

  • Because it entereth not into his heart.... The heart — symbolically representing our mental and emotional core — is the source of all we think and do. It cannot be defiled merely by eating and drinking, because food and drink do not go into it: This is true even of food that may have been contaminated with dirt from soiled hands.
  • but into the belly..... Food of all kinds is taken in at the mouth, goes down the throat, is received by the stomach, and then passes through the gut. This is true even of contaminated food.
  • and goeth into the draught.... The original - translated as the old English word "draught" in the KJV - is the Greek word: "aphedron" (Strongs 856) "a place where the human waste discharges are dumped — a privy, sink, toilet". Even if the food has been adversely affected by soiled hands, the results go nowhere near the mental faculty of the heart at all, but are safely eliminated.
  • purging all meats... This natural elimination process takes care of any specks of dirt that may remain. It separates the useful from the useless or anything damaging in the food so that whatever remains can do its job.
The Profound Meaning:

The only way anyone can make the passage found in Mark 7:19 even hint that Christ was overturning the clear instructions found in passages such as Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, is to deliberately twist the original wording to their own set agenda. God's physical health Laws are there for our good — to clearly define which animals He created to eat and which He did not. The information merely forms part of the instruction book God has left us. It is not to avoid moral defilement that we don't eat unclean meats – it is because God indicates they are not to be regarded as food. And we LISTEN to what He has to say in an attitude of love and willing obedience, because we have respect for His understanding which is vastly greater than our own. And this brings us to the REAL purpose of the passage:

  • And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
  • For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
  • Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
  • All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:20-23)

The irony is, in mistranslating verse 19 to an antinomian agenda, or to use such a lawless mistranslation in an apostate way to overthrow the faith of some — is to do precisely what Jesus Christ condemns in this incident with unwashed hands. For the "evil thoughts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, blasphemy, pride, foolishness" involved in such actions do not come from the pages of a book or the columns of an apostate magazine article, but "cometh out of the man, ... from within, out of the heart of men." It is coming from a spirit of this world that “is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7) … “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2)

End-time Problem:

Today in the western world there seems to be an obsession with food. New TV shows devoted to the subject are created on a regular basis — with dishes that are unclean in a plethora of ways featured continually. Vegetarianism is frequently mentioned but God and His Laws of health are nowhere to be found. With evolution being almost universally accepted, it is concluded that our bodies can and will adapt to virtually anything we care to throw at them and in them! Sadly we see our hospitals vainly attempting to treat the inevitable result of this ignorance - and in many cases downright hostility to any hint of their Creator telling them what they should or should not eat. This antagonism towards a higher authority undoubtedly plays a large part in the mistranslation of Mark 7:19 — and also for Christ's prophesied reaction on His return against those “whose God is their belly” (Philippians 3:19) :

  • For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
  • For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
  • They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 66:15-17)

God is the one who created our digestive system. He also created both plants and animals of all kinds — some to be eaten and some for entirely different purposes, knowing what will benefit us and what will cause damage. In the case of plants, we have been allowed to determine for ourselves those that are suitable foods, those that are medicinal and those that are largely toxic. But in the case of animals, for whatever reason He needed to specify which should be eaten and which should not. It is not a moral topic. It is a health issue — but one that CAN have moral overtones if what then comes out of our hearts and mouths is arrogant and insolent against God's clear direction. Prior to our calling and conversion, many of us no doubt ate unclean food from ignorance, but as Mr Armstrong says when he concludes the article: "To Your Good Health – Is All Animal Flesh Good For Food?":

It may not be spiritual sin to eat biblically unclean foods. Yet, if one deliberately does it out of lust of appetite, that breaks the tenth command and becomes sin. But in all events wrong food injures the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It defiles the BODY if not the man, and if we continue to defile our bodies God will destroy us (I Corinthians 3:17). (Is All Animal Flesh Good For Food? - PT Feb 1980)

News Review - 18 Jul 2014
noPalastinianState

As the Egyptian brokered Hamas/Israel ceasefire fails… as Hamas rocket attacks on Israel continue… Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu makes a statement…

“No Sovereign Palestinian State In The West Bank – Ever!”

In the last few days, events in Israel have become even more complicated. After close on 1,000 Hamas rockets targeted Israel, and Israeli Air Force strikes hit Gaza, Egypt proposed a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. Israel accepted – and ceased all air attacks on Gaza. Hamas rejected the ceasefire – and continued to fire rockets at Israel. Here is how events unfolded…

“Egypt has proposed a ceasefire to end a week of cross-border fire between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The initiative urges a ceasefire starting imminently followed by a series of meetings in Cairo with high-level delegations from both sides. However an official from Hamas, which controls Gaza, said a full deal would have to come first, before a ceasefire. A senior Israeli official told the BBC that Hamas was ‘much weaker’ after air strikes destroyed many of its rockets and manufacturing facilities. US President Barack Obama welcomed the Egyptian proposal, and said the deaths of Palestinian civilians was a ‘tragedy’. ‘We’re going to continue to do everything we can to facilitate a return to the 2012 ceasefire,’ he said, adding that the ‘that the status quo is unsustainable’.” (bbc.co.uk)

Cease-Fire: Israel Accepts – Hamas Rejects

Tuesday 15th July, 9:00 am:

“IAF (Israeli Air Force) to stop striking Gaza at 9:00 am – despite Hamas’s refusal to adhere to the terms and conditions. The Security Cabinet has agreed to Egypt’s proposal for a cease-fire with Hamas, beginning at 9:00 am – despite the fact that Hamas categorically rejected the offer on Monday night. ‘The cabinet has decided to accept the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire starting 9 am today,’ Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Twitter. The decision came as a surprise to both ministers and political analysts, after Hamas categorically rejected the notion of a ceasefire just hours before. ‘A ceasefire without reaching an agreement is rejected. In times of war, you don’t cease fire and then negotiate,’ Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told AFP.” (israelnationalnews.com)

Hamas… In A No-Win Situation

“This is the darkest hour for the Hamas leadership in Gaza and abroad. If they accept the Egyptian proposal, they will be perceived as having been heavily defeated in the latest round of conflict with Israel; a defeat that is close to a humiliation.

That’s because the conditions in the Egyptian proposal do not include any of the demands that Hamas has been repeating day and night in the last few days …there is no mention in the proposal of Hamas’s oft-repeated demand for the release of the dozens of its operatives …there is also no concrete commitment regarding the opening of the Rafah border crossing or the payments of the salaries of Hamas’s 40,000 clerks in Gaza. And there is no mention whatsoever of the situation in the West Bank.

All these demands were raised by the Hamas military wing two days after Israel began Operation Protective Edge, and repeated interminably ever since. But that language is almost a direct repetition of the November 2012 ceasefire terms that brought Operation Pillar of Defense to a close. Time and again, Hamas’s leaders have been stressing in recent days that ‘there will be no return to the 2012 ceasefire terms’.

Hamas’s problem is that if it rejects the Egyptian proposal it will find itself unprecedentedly isolated in the international community and the Arab world. Cairo will accuse it of torpedoing the opportunity for calm, and Jerusalem will have the legitimacy to mount a ground offensive into Gaza.

Thus the options open to Haniyeh, the military wing in Gaza, and political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar range from ‘bad to worse’.” (timesofisrael.com)

For Israel It Appears To Be All Good News!

If Hamas were to end hostilities, then the rockets cease to fall on Israel. If Hamas reject the truce, then Israel will have all the legitimacy to continue the war against Hamas.

Over 35 Rockets Rain on Israel After Egyptian ‘Truce’. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a message to Hamas Tuesday in a press conference, according to which the IDF operation in Gaza will continue and be widened, unless Hamas stops firing at Israel.

‘If Hamas rejects the ceasefire, we will have international legitimacy to restore the necessary quiet,’ he said, some three hours after the hour set for the ceasefire passed, only to be followed by more rockets from Hamas. ‘The goal of the operation was and remains to restore quiet while delivering a harsh blow to Hamas. We have hit them very hard and we foiled attempts to terrorize Israel’s population.’

‘We heeded the Egyptian offer in order to give a chance to demilitarization of the Gaza Strip by diplomatic means. If Hamas rejects this – and it looks that way – Israel will have all the legitimacy to restore quiet,’ he added.

Meanwhile, an IDF spokesperson indicated that – truce or not – the IDF may enter Gaza after the attack on the Eshkol region. ‘We are prepared to enter Gaza,’ he said. He added that the cease-fire agreement only stipulated that Israel would hold back fire if Hamas followed suit. ‘All the options and related programs from Operation Protective Edge are still relevant,’ he added.” (israelnationalnews.com)

Gaza fires more rockets – Israel restarts air strikes

Tuesday 15th July, 3:00 pm:

Israel has resumed its air strikes on Gaza after its brief ceasefire was met with continuing rocket fire. Israel had earlier accepted an Egyptian truce proposal for the conflict and stopped operations on Tuesday morning. However, the armed wing of Hamas, which controls Gaza, rejected the initiative as a ‘surrender’. The Israel Defense Forces said about 50 rockets had been fired into Israel during the six hours it had halted air strikes on Tuesday. The armed wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, dismissed the initiative, saying its battle with Israel would ‘increase in ferocity and intensity.” (bbc.co.uk)

Palestine Under ‘International Protection’?

So the unilateral ceasefire lasted a mere 6 hours! Meanwhile, whilst Hamas keeps firing rockets at Israel, Palestinian Authority President Abbas takes a different line of attack. If the United Nations were to become involved in the crisis, then the situation would become even more complicated.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to ask the United Nations to put the state of Palestine under ‘international protection’ in light of the worsening violence in the Gaza Strip, the PLO said Sunday. ‘President Abbas will present a letter to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to officially put the State of Palestine under the UN international protection system and to form a legal committee for immediate follow-up,’ it said in a statement.” (news.yahoo.com)

Prime Minister Netanyahu Finally Speaks His Mind

For many years, Israel did not spell out exactly where it was going politically. In his latest press conference, Friday 11th July, Prime Minister Netanyahu makes Israel’s position very clear – yet few seem to have noticed! It certainly went unnoticed by the Western media!

David Horvitz, reporting in the Times of Israel, writes:

“At his Friday press conference, the prime minister ruled out full Palestinian sovereignty, derided the US approach to Israeli security, and set out his Middle East overview with unprecedented candor. His remarks were not widely reported; they should be.

Does Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really support a two-state solution, or is his rhetoric to this effect disingenuous? Did he genuinely seek an accommodation with the Palestinians during the nine months of US-brokered negotiations that collapsed in April, or was he just stringing the Americans and the Palestinians along, while his heart is truly with the settlement enterprise?

These are fundamental questions — questions you’d think Israelis and the watching world would long since have been able to answer, especially given that Netanyahu is Israel’s second-longest serving prime minister ever. In fact, though, while many pundits claim to have definitive answers, most Israelis would acknowledge that they’ve never been entirely sure how Netanyahu sees a potential resolution of the Palestinian conflict, which concessions he’s truly ready to make, what his long-term vision looks like.

But now we know!

The uncertainties were swept aside on Friday afternoon [11th July], when the prime minister, for the first time in ages, gave a press conference on Day Four of Operation Protective Edge. He spoke only in Hebrew, and we are in the middle of a mini-war, so his non-directly war-related remarks didn’t get widely reported. But those remarks should not be overlooked even in the midst of a bitter conflict with Gaza’s Islamist rulers; especially in the midst of a bitter conflict with Gaza’s Islamist rulers. The prime minister spoke his mind as rarely, if ever, before. He set out his world view with the confidence of a leader who sees vindication in the chaos all around. He answered those fundamental questions.

Netanyahu began his appearance, typically, by reading some prepared remarks. But then, most atypically, he took a series of questions. And while he initially stuck to responses tied to the war against Hamas, its goals, and the terms under which it might be halted, he then moved — unasked — into territory he does not usually chart in public, and certainly not with such candor.

For some, his overall outlook will seem bleak and depressing; for others, savvy and pragmatic. One thing’s for sure: Nobody will ever be able to claim in the future that he didn’t tell us what he really thinks.

He made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank.

He indicated that he sees Israel standing almost alone on the frontlines against vicious Islamic radicalism, while the rest of the as-yet free world does its best not to notice the march of extremism. And he more than intimated that he considers the current American, John Kerry-led diplomatic team to be, let’s be polite, naive.

Perhaps most reporters switched off after he’d delivered his headlines, making plain that ‘no international pressure will prevent us from acting with all force against a terrorist organization (Hamas) that seeks to destroy us,’ and that Operation Protective Edge would go on until guaranteed calm was restored to Israel. If they did, they shouldn’t have.

Netanyahu has stressed often in the past that he doesn’t want Israel to become a bi-national state — implying that he favors some kind of accommodation with and separation from the Palestinians.

But on Friday he made explicit that this could not extend to full Palestinian sovereignty.

Why? Because, given the march of Islamic extremism across the Middle East, he said, Israel simply cannot afford to give up control over the territory immediately to its east, including the eastern border — that is, the border between Israel and Jordan, and the West Bank and Jordan.

The priority right now, Netanyahu stressed, was to ‘take care of Hamas.’ But the wider lesson of the current escalation was that Israel had to ensure that ‘we don’t get another Gaza in Judea and Samaria.’ Amid the current conflict, he elaborated, ‘I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.’

Not relinquishing security control west of the Jordan, it should be emphasized, means not giving a Palestinian entity full sovereignty there. It means not acceding to Mahmoud Abbas’s demands, to Barack Obama’s demands, to the international community’s demands.

This is not merely demanding a demilitarized Palestine; it is insisting upon ongoing Israeli security oversight inside and at the borders of the West Bank. That sentence, quite simply, spells the end to the notion of Netanyahu consenting to the establishment of a Palestinian state. A less-than-sovereign entity? Maybe, though this will never satisfy the Palestinians or the international community.

A fully sovereign Palestine? Out of the question.

He wasn’t saying that he doesn’t support a two-state solution. He was saying that it’s impossible.

This was not a new, dramatic change of stance by the prime minister. It was a new, dramatic exposition of his long-held stance.

Naming both US Secretary of State John Kerry and his security adviser General John Allen — who was charged by the secretary to draw up security proposals that the US argued could enable Israel to withdraw from most of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley — Netanyahu hammered home the point: Never mind what the naive outsiders recommend, ‘I told John Kerry and General Allen, the Americans’ expert, “We live here, I live here, I know what we need to do to ensure the security of Israel’s people”.’

Earlier this spring, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon sparked a storm in Israel-US ties when he told a private gathering that the US-Kerry-Allen security proposals weren’t worth the paper they were written on. Netanyahu on Friday said the same, and more, in public.

It had been a mistake for Israel to withdraw from Gaza, he added — reminding us that he’d opposed the 2005 disengagement — because Hamas had since established a terrorist bunker in the Strip. And what Hamas had been doing in Gaza — tunneling into and rocketing at the enemy — would be replicated in the West Bank were Israel so foolish as to give the Islamists the opportunity.

‘If we were to pull out of Judea and Samaria, like they tell us to,’ he said bitterly — leaving it to us to fill in who the many and various foolish ‘theys’ are — ‘there’d be a possibility of thousands of tunnels’ being dug by terrorists to attack Israel, he said. There were 1,200 tunnels dug in the 14-kilometer border strip between Egypt and Gaza alone, he almost wailed, which Egypt had sealed. ‘At present we have a problem with the territory called Gaza,’ the prime minister said.

But the West Bank is 20 times the size of Gaza. Israel, he said flatly, was not prepared ‘to create another 20 Gazas’ in the West Bank.

Beyond Israel’s direct current confrontation with Hamas, and the eternal Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu also addressed the rise of Islamic extremism across the Middle East — covering the incapacity of affected states to resist it, and Israel’s unique determination and capacity to stand firm. He said Israel finds itself in a region ‘that is being seized by Islamic extremism. It is bringing down countries, many countries. It is knocking on our door, in the north and south.’

But while other states were collapsing, said Netanyahu, Israel was not — because of the strength of its leadership, its army and its people. ‘We will defend ourselves on every front, defensively and offensively,’ he vowed.

And in a passage that was primarily directed at Israel’s Islamist enemies, but might equally be internalized by those he plainly regards as Israel’s muddle-headed self-styled friends, he added: ‘Nobody should mess with us’.” (timesofisrael.com)

Middle East In Turmoil

Israel, as well as several other Middle Eastern nations, is very concerned about the actions of the ISIS group. Israel warns that it finds itself in a region “that is being seized by Islamic extremism. It is bringing down countries, many countries. It is knocking on our door, in the North and South. .” (timesofisrael.com)

Bible prophecy indicates that Israel will be in control of their nation right up until the European army comes down, surrounds Jerusalem, and stops the daily sacrifices (Daniel 11:40-41 and Daniel 12:11).

Mr Armstrong explains the relevance of the prophecy in Daniel chapter 11 in the booklet: ‘Middle East in Prophecy’ originally published in 1948!

“THE MIDDLE EAST is seething with crisis after crisis. Few people realize the true significance of this turmoil. They seem to have no conception of the danger it threatens – eventual danger to the whole world.

It’s time we woke up to the facts! It’s time we knew what prophecy reveals. It’s time we knew the background – the vital factors that have led up to this world danger – the significance of this series of crises!

There is only one way to know the answer. The God who made the world – who makes and unmakes nations – He reveals the future before it happens so we can know and take warning!

The time has now come to reveal a most amazing prophecy!

What is the real significance of this seething unrest? To understand it, we must study a marvelous prophecy, never before understood – a prophecy that has been closed and sealed until now – a prophecy that foretold, 2,500 years ago, this very series of crises and the war that shall finally draw in all the nations of the world!

It is one of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible. It is most specific, describing historical events, up to the present, in more detail than any other prophecy. It is the longest prophecy in the Bible. It is found in Daniel, chapter 11. It describes the impending war!(The Middle East In Prophecy)

Transcript - 18 Jul 2014
Mr Armstrong

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