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About that Vatican Prayer Invitation
Israel - Middle East
Friday, June 13, 2014
Alf Cengia

The pope's invitation to Palestinian and Israeli leaders to come to the Vatican and pray for peace has generated a fair amount of discussion and speculation, especially among prophecy buffs like me.

As much as possible I want to avoid conjectures, because they are just that. I believe eschatology has been marginalized when speculative outcomes have failed to come to fruition. Moreover, I have no special prophetic insights other than my own private musings. Yet there are a few observations we may be able to safely make of Pope Francis' historic Prayer Summit.

Haaretz cites several statements made by church official Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa. At one point he says that:

"The pope does not want to get into the political questions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that we all know about in the smallest of details from A to Z."

One problem with Pizzaballa's claim is that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is plagued by numerous unavoidable details that involve trumped up charges against Israel. They are unavoidable because the world is constantly bombarded by them in various media. If it isn't the Boycott Divest Sanction groups, it is the activist clerics, celebrities, biased journalists and university campuses.

They are singularly intent in reminding us that Israel is occupying Palestinian land; that Palestinians are suffering because they don't have their own state and because of Israeli oppression.

I wrote last week that even the ostensibly well-meaning pope committed a faux pass in singling out Abbas a "man of peace." But why did he leave out Netanyahu? That omission fed pre-existing assumptions.

Likewise, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America claims a desire to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It even sports a caption for its campaign:

"The ELCA is working for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel through our campaign, Peace Not Walls." (Emphasis mine)

This approach is identical to the tactic employed by the Christ at the Checkpoint organizers. In the context of expressing a desire to promote peace, the ELCA chooses to employ the highly inflammable word "Walls."

It follows through with a smorgasbord of familiar bullet point indictments against Israel. The ELCA wants a re-examination of U.S. military aid to Israel to ensure "compliance with U.S. and international human rights law." However nothing is said of the Palestinian leaders' treatment of Palestinians and Christians under their dominion.

The New York Times suggested that there were "some subtle provocations" by Abbas and Peres during the Vatican Prayer Ceremony.

The writers cited Abbas' reference to Jerusalem as "our Holy City" and his use of the term "the Holy Land of Palestine." He prayed for a “sovereign and independent state” and said that Palestinians were “craving for a just peace, dignified living and liberty.” In other words these desires are lacking as the result of Israeli occupation.

Note that Abbas' reference to the term "our Holy City" means exclusively Palestinian. This is perfectly in line with the restriction of non-Muslim access to the Temple Mount. The writers got that one right.

Hamas' Ismail Haniyah didn't get a Vatican Guernsey but he can rest assured that Abbas did his best to represent him. After all, they are working on a Unity Government and both agree on the essential that Israel has no right to exist:

"The PA, it seems, learned that the world would no longer permit it to directly call to kill Israelis, for to do so would cause it to lose American and European funding. So instead of promoting the terror, it glorifies the terrorists; instead of Palestinian children learning that they must kill Israelis, they learn that whoever kills Israelis will become a Palestinian hero."

Of Peres' contribution they came up with a rather innovative interpretation:

'Mr. Peres did not mention rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, but he evoked the attacks with the biblical quotation, “Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”'

How could they be sure that Peres only meant to evoke Gaza attacks? As CAMERA points out, Isaiah 2:4 is sung as a popular Hebrew song. In fact Peres likely had a much broader scope in mind, and one in line with the Isaiah quote.

The Vatican Prayer Summit may have been well-intended, but it was a failure. It will not facilitate change. There will never be any peace in Jerusalem while Israel continues to exist and the Islamic states have any say in the matter.

The exercise merely served as an opulent setting for a further expression of the current political state of affairs. It offered another opportunity for observers to digest and pick apart what was said. It was a showcase that had the media buzzing (for a while) and people like me typing more essays.

Peres typically described Jerusalem as, “the cradle of the three monotheistic religions.” However, two of these three faiths deny Jesus Christ as exclusive Lord, Savior and Son of God.

As one who claims Apostolic Succession I would hope that Pope Francis used that valuable time to witness to Peres and Abbas. Saint Peter and Saint Paul would have made it their primary commission (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 17:22-31).

The pope should have reminded Peres of Hosea 5:15 and linked it to Matthew 23:39. In their affliction Israel will seek God, and they will not see Him until they recognize the Lord. He should have told Abbas that there is no salvation except through Christ, and that every knee will bow to him (Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-12).

In fact we see nothing of these gospel messages from the Vatican in the media. Neither do we see them from the ELCA or main-stream protestant churches. It's not a case of the media ignoring such proclamations. On the contrary, the controversy generated would make great reading.

What we do see is an obsession with Ecumenism and obeisance to the demands of Reconciliation, Inclusivism, Universalism and Cultural Diversity. While the Vatican is at the forefront of the Ecumenist initiative, it has many willing accomplices.

The World's Churches are heading towards an insipid, homogeneous unity, sans the gospel. One might even call it anti-Christianity. Christians who insist on enthroning Christ and biblically derived values will inevitably find themselves more and more ostracized.

Finally, there can be no real peace in this world apart from that which comes from Faith in Jesus Christ.

Cengia" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/content/?Bio_Alf_Page">About Alf Cengia

Last week: Cengia" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=7824">The Burdensome Stumbling Stone



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