Did Shimon Peres make a deal with the Vatican? By Barry Chamish
Consider the evidence:
ON SEPT. 10, '93, just three days before the signing of the Declaration of Principles in Washington, the Italian news magazine La Stampa reported that part of the peace deal was an unwritten understanding that the Vatican would receive political authority over the Old City of Jerusalem by the end of the millennium. The newspaper reported that Shimon Peres had promised the pope to hand over the holy sites of Jerusalem the previous May and that Arafat had accepted the agreement. Barry Chamish
IIN MARCH '94, the Israeli newsmagazine Shishi published an interview with Mark Halter, a French intellectual and close friend of Shimon Peres. He said he delivered a letter from Peres to the Pope the previous May, within which Peres offered the Vatican hegemony over the Old City of Jerusalem. The article detailed Peres's offer which essentially turned Jerusalem into an international city overseen by the Holy See.
IN MARCH '95, the radio station Arutz Sheva announced that it had seen a cable sent by the Israeli Embassy in Rome to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem outlining the handover of the Old City of Jerusalem to the Vatican. Two days later Haaretz published the cable on its front page. The Foreign Ministry explained that the cable was genuine but someone had whited out the word "not." ie We will not transfer authority to the Vatican. Incredibly, numerous Bnei Brak rabbis who had cancelled Passover meetings with Peres over the issue of the cable accepted the explanation and re-invited him to their homes.
The Foreign Ministry's Legal Affairs Spokesperson, Esther Samilag, publicly complained about "various capitulations" to the Vatican. She was immediately transferred to a post at the Israeli Embassy in Katmandu, Nepal.
MK Avraham Shapira announced in the Knesset that he had information that all Vatican property in Jerusalem was to become tax exempt and that large tracts of real estate on Mount Zion were given to the pope in perpetuity.
Jerusalem's late Deputy Mayor Shmuel Meir announced that he had received "information that properties promised to the Vatican would be granted extra-territorial status."
Beilin was forced to answer the accusations. He admitted, "Included in the Vatican Agreement is the issue of papal properties in Israel that will be resolved by a committee of experts that has already been formed." If so, this committee has not since released any proof of its existence.
With all this in mind, how do we interpret the Vatican's current position on Jerusalem?
Archbishop Renato Martino
In ATICAN CITY ON JUN 14, 1997 Archbishop Renato Martino, apostolic nuncio and Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke June 9 on the status of Jerusalem at the New York headquarters of the Path to Peace Foundation. The archbishop addressed members of this foundation as well as U.S. members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. He began by briefly summarizing the "well-known and long-standing position of the Holy See with regard to Jerusalem. He stated that Jerusalem "for us, of course, along with the rest of the Holy Land, is that special link between heaven and earth, that place where God walked and ultimately died among men. And of course we recognize that others revere Jerusalem as the city of David and the prophets and the city known to Mohammed.... It is a spiritual treasure for all of humanity, and it is a city of two peoples, Arabs and Jews, and of the three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam." Archbishop Martino added that "in recent years it has been increasingly difficult to break through the political and media-imposed stranglehold on the question of Jerusalem." he recounted Jerusalem's recent history, recalling in particular the UN's General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 calling for Jerusalem to be considered a 'corpus separatum' under the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations," a resolution which Israel accepted. He pointed out that, in addressing the gridlock which has resulted from the 1967 Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, "the Holy See has therefore advocated the granting to Jerusalem of an 'internationally guaranteed special statute. That is the phrase used by Pope John Paul II in his 1984 Apostolic Letter 'Redemption is Anno'." This statute "asks that regardless of how the problem of sovereignty is resolved and who is called to exercise it, there should be a supra-national and international entity endowed with means adequate to insure the preservation of the special characteristics of the City, its Holy Places, the freedom to visit them, its religious and ethnic communities, a guarantee of their essential liberties, and its city plan'."
The apostolic nuncio recalled the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel in 1993, when both signed the 'Fundamental Agreement." He noted Article 4 of this agreement where "both the Holy See and Israel affirm their continuing commitment to the 'Status quo' in the Christian Holy Places."
He also spoke of the problems sparked by Israel's recent authorization of "a project for the construction of settlements in occupied territory in East Jerusalem" for which "there was wide-spread international condemnation." This issue, he reminded those present, was brought before the UN Security Council on March 7 and March 21 of this year, but without resolution "because the sole country on the Security Council which opposed the Resolution was the United States."
An Emergency Session of the General Assembly, "organized only nine other times in the history of the United Nations" was held on April 24-25. The Holy See delegation was contacted and asked for suggestions for a Resolution, Archbishop Martino said. And he recounted the meetings, rough drafts of proposals and negotiations which followed.
The approved texts of the eventual Resolution, he underlined, contained "those points championed by the Holy See.... The General Assembly has here called for 'internationally guaranteed provisions' - the equivalent of the 'internationally guaranteed special status' called for by Pope John Paul II. This is particularly noteworthy because in this case, the Arab delegations all voted for this Resolution and therefore for this provision."
"The Holy Places within Jerusalem," concluded Archbishop Martino, "are not merely museum relics to be opened and closed by the dominant political authority, no matter who that might be at any given moment. They are living shrines precious to the hearts and faith of believers."
Could that supra-national entity which will oversee the international city of Jerusalem be the Vatican just as Peres promised? And how do we react to Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert's recent announcement that he will begin negotiations with the Vatican, but "only over holy sites?"
Today, I don't believe that Israel will do right by its people. The Pope is coming in May 2014, he is contriving a long list of nefarious demands.
Barry's article above indirectly addresses prophecy with the term "the until the fulfillness of the Gentiles be come in".
Watchman comments on the "times of the Gentiles: In attempting to define the expression "the times of the Gentiles," it becomes important to determine what relation, if any, there is between this term and that found in where it is stated: "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." The tendency on the part of many postmillennial and amillennial writers is to equate this with the times of the Gentiles, making them both refer to the same period of time.
The eleventh chapter of Romans deals with the subject of Israel's future. The chapter is introduced with the question, "Hath God cast away his people?" The point of view is taken that Israel, for the moment, has been set aside and that Gentiles are in the place of primary blessing. The theme of the chapter , however, is that the time will come when Gentile blessing will cease and Israel again will be blessed of God. The argument is summarized in : "Now if the fall of them [Israel] be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?" In other words, the present "fullness" of the Gentiles is contrasted with the future "fullness" of Israel.
It is with this background that we come to , where it is stated, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own, conceits: that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." It is clear from the passage that the contrast is between the culmination of present state of the Gentiles and the future state of Israel.
By the way, the word fullness in the Greek is pleroma.
The time element, however, is clearly indicated by the word "until." This definitely introduces a time factor, contrasting the present situation to that which will follow when the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
When the two concepts, "the times of the Gentiles" and "the fullness of the Gentiles" are compared, it becomes evident that the times of the Gentiles is primarily a political term and has to do with the political overlordship of Jerusalem (hence the importance of Barry's article). By contrast, the term "the fullness of the Gentiles" refers to the present age in which Gentiles predominate in the church and far exceed Israel in present spiritual blessing. It becomes clear, therefore, that, while the two concepts may be contemporaneous at least for much of their fulfillment, the termini of the two periods are somewhat different. The times of the Gentiles will end only when Israel will permanently gain political control of Jerusalem at the second advent of Christ, whereas the fullness of the Gentiles will be completed when God's present task of winning Jew and Gentile to Christ is completed.
The final decision presupposes a system of theology, and the interpretation necessarily depends upon it. Accordingly, amillenarians and postmillenarians usually make the two periods end at the same time, namely, at the second coming of Christ. Premillenarians, and the Watchman is one,distinguish the rapture occurring before the time of tribulation from the second coming of Christ to the earth which follows the tribulation, bring the period of the fullness of the Gentiles to a close at the rapture of the church.Obviously, because the passages in themselves are not completely definitive, any expositor necessarily has to refer by way of reference to his larger scheme of prophecy and its fulfillment and interpret the passages accordingly. However, in the nature of the fact that the close of the inter advent period will bring terrible judgment upon the Gentile world, it is reasonable to assume that the period of Gentile blessing will end before the period of Gentile judgment comes. In any event, it is safe to say that the two terms do not mean precisely the same thing and do not have the same characteristics, and it is better, therefore, to interpret the two terms in the light of their context.
TERMINI OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES
As already indicated, the time period involved in the times of the Gentiles varies greatly with many expositors. Generally speaking, most expositors bring the times of the Gentiles to a close with the second coming of Christ, and the variety of opinions concentrate more upon the time of its beginning. Because the expression is cast in the context of a future time when Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies and destroyed, a prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 70, many have concluded that the times of the Gentiles will begin at that time.
A close examination of the passage in below, however, does not indicate that the times of the Gentiles began with the destruction of Jerusalem.
1And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
5And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
7And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
8And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
9But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
10Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
11And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
12But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
13And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
18But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
19In your patience possess ye your souls.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
25And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
37And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.
38And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
The passage above deals only with the time of conclusion of the times of the Gentiles, not its beginning. For this reason, a sound judgment in the matter must be based upon the total teaching of the Bible concerning the relationship between Gentiles and the people of Israel.
Here, many expositors find the answer in the prophecies of the book of Daniel which trace the course of Gentile power from Nebuchadnezzar, 600 B.C., to the coming of the Son of Man from heaven which, according to the premillennial interpretation, is fulfilled by the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth to reign. Both from the prophecies of Daniel and the New Testament, however, it is clear that Gentile dominion does not end until the second coming of of Jesus Christ to the earth. The tensions between Israel and the Gentile world cannot be finally resolved until Jesus Christ Himself returns to reign. This, accordingly, casts its light upon the interpretation of .
With this as a background, the question now can fairly be faced. Is the present occupation of Jerusalem by Israel the terminus ad quem indicated in ? Has, as a matter of fact, the predicted sway of Gentiles over Israel ceased?
A careful survey of the Scriptures indicates that the present occupation of Jerusalem by Israel must necessarily be temporary. Gentiles are still in a dominant position in world politics and the fullness of the Gentiles has not yet been brought in. The rapture of the church has not taken place.
According to the premillennial interpretation of the end of the age, there is a period still ahead, anticipated in , in which a future ruler in the Mediterranean area will make a covenant with the people of Israel for seven years. If this futuristic interpretation is correct, Israel, in the nature of this covenant, will still be under Gentile supervision in the broad sense of the term. As commonly interpreted, the period of peace introduced by the covenant will terminate after it has run half its course and the period of great tribulation will follow. According to the predictions of Christ Himself, Israel will then be forced to flee to the mountains () and Jerusalem will again come under the tramp of Gentile feet. It is also clear from that Jerusalem will become the bone of contention, a stumbling stone and the source of a great battle just before the second coming of Christ.
In view of these prophecies, it can hardly be said that Jerusalem, today, is delivered forever from the overlordship of Gentile political power. The fact is that the entire Holy Land will be overrun by the Gentile forces in the final great world conflict. Under these circumstances, it may be concluded that it is hasty to assume that the times of the Gentiles have been completed. If the term itself refers to the entire period of Gentile overlordship over Israel, it can hardly be construed as being completed in contemporary events.
Jesus Comes Back As "The Lion of Judah"
The study of the Scriptures, however, does support the idea that the present re-occupation of Jerusalem by Israel is a matter of tremendous Biblical and prophetic importance. This is not that the times of political overlordship are ended, but it does provide the necessary interlude of Jewish possession to make possible the situation described at the end of the age where Israel, for a time at least, is at peace under covenant relationship with her Gentile neighbors and able to have a temple in which sacrifices once again are offered as indicated in . The presence of the Jews in Jerusalem, their ancient city, may be the last preparatory step prior to the important sequence of events that lead to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Christians who believe that the rapture of the church will occur before these events find their ultimate fulfillment have additional reason to hope that the coming of the Lord is indeed near.