** UPDATE: Olmert officially resigns **
Thanks for your patience. Lynn and I were traveling all last week and I was unable to post updates.
We were on a cruise from Boston to Montreal with Jack and Kay Arthur and about 350 Precept Ministries leaders and donors, teaching the Bible prophecies of Ezekiel 36 and 37 (the rebirth of Israel and the return of the Jewish people to the Holy Land in the last days) and Ezekiel 38 and 39 (the rise of a Russian dictator who will form an alliance with Iran and other Middle Eastern countries to attack and try to destroy Israel in the last days). It was a wonderful time to be with evangelical Christian leaders who love Israel unconditionally and have demonstrated unwavering support for the Jewish State for decades. It was also a real honor to be able to work side by side with Jack and Kay to equip their team to teach Bible prophecy in light of fast-moving geopolitical events in Russia, Iran and Israel, as well as to brief their team on how more people in the epicenter are coming to faith in Jesus Christ than at any other time in human history.
During the course of the “floating conference,” a number of dramatic events happened. Here are a few that caught my attention and that we discussed at sea:
* Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week offered to give 98.1% of the Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria (commonly known as the “West Bank”) to the Palestinian Authority (PA), despite the fact that the PA leadership has shown little if any capacity to govern effectively and protect the rights and God-given liberties of its own citizens, much less create and maintain real peace with Israel. The PA lost control of Gaza to Hamas, after all; has not been able to regain control of Gaza; and Hamas has fired well over 5,000 rockets, missiles and mortars at southern Israel since Israeli forces withdrew in 2005. How, then, has the PA earned the right to control more land?
* Olmert last week offered to divide the holy city of Jerusalem with the Muslim leadership of the PA, despite the fact that Olmert once vowed as mayor of Jerusalem never to allow the capital to be divided.
* Olmert said last week: “The vision of a greater Israel no longer exists,” referring to the Bible prophecies in Genesis 12, Genesis 17, Genesis 35:6-12, Genesis 38:3-4, Genesis 50:4, Exodus 12:25, Exodus 33:1, Joshua 21:43-45, I Kings 11:32, 2 Chronicles 6:6, Psalm 132:13-14, and Zechariah 3:2 (to name just a few) that indicate the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has promised the holy land to the Jewish people and chosen the city of Jerusalem to be His own special city, the capital of the Jewish nation.
* Olmert also said those who speak of it the Bible prophecies concern a greater Israel are “delusional” or “deluding themselves.”
Olmert believes he is being a bold peace-maker. Actually, he is pouring fuel on the fire of Radical Islam by making the extremists feel that more violence leads to more Israeli concessions.
* Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad immediately predicted Israel won’t survive for long, saying, “while some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired, I say the idea of a Lesser Israel has expired, too.”
* Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah said Hizbullah was responsible for “pounding the last nail in the coffin of ‘Greater Israel’….The victories of 2000 and 2006 destroyed the dream of a vast Israeli power,” he said, referring to Israel’s retreats from southern Lebanon. “Today, we face ‘Mediocre Israel.’”
When he was the Vice Premier of Israel, Ehud Olmert once said “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.” That was a very telling statement. Such immense fatigue has shown through in nearly all of Olmert’s policies. Olmert and his advisors are exhausted by the Arab-Israeli conflict. They do not want to fight. They want to surrender. They want to give up more and more land in hopes of convincing Israel’s enemies that they are men of goodwill. But enemies such as Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah are not exhausted. Indeed, they are energized by Olmert’s statements and actions. They believe that the wind is at their backs and Allah is about to give them a great victory over the Jewish people. Thus, they are feverishly preparing for war.
The question now is whether Olmert’s hand-chosen foreign minister — Tzipi Livni — shares Olmert’s ideological and emotional exhaustion and the policies that emanate from such fatigue now that she has (narrowly) won the Kadima primaries and is in position to become Israel’s next Prime Minister. Does Livni believe that Jews and Christians who believe the God of Israel gave Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the Jewish people are “delusional”? Does she believe the prophetic vision of a “Greater Israel” is dead? Will Livni thus try to give away Judea and Samaria? Will she try to divide Jerusalem? Will she try to give away the strategically vital Golan Heights? Will she try to appease Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas? Or will she confront Israel’s enemies and do everything necessary to neutralize Iran’s nuclear threat?
It is too soon to say.
The first Big Question is: Can Livni can put together a coalition to run the government? If she cannot, new elections are coming and Bibi Netanyahu may defeat her to become the next Prime Minister.
The second Big Question is: If Livni does become PM, will she take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities in the window of time between the U.S. elections in November and the inaugural in January?
Olmert’s resignation and Livni’s emergence creates enormous uncertainty during a very volatile moment in the epicenter. Let us, therefore, continue to pray for peace while we make necessary preparations for war.
** To learn more about The Joshua Fund’s effort to “pray for peace and prepare for war,” please click here **
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