Welcome to the ‘Neighborhood’
Vol: 37 Issue: 20 Wednesday, October 20, 2004
In December, 2003, the European Union unveiled a new strategy dubbed “The European Neighborhood Policy” — creating yet a fifth tier of membership within the Union.
Currently, the 28-state European Community consists of ten Full Members, six Associate Members, seven Associate Parters, and five Observers.
According to the European Neighborhood Policy [ENP]’s website, the mission of the ENP is to “prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and to offer them the chance to participate in various EU activities, through greater political, security, economic and cultural co-operation. ENP will also help address one of the strategic objectives the European Union set in the European Security Strategy in December 2003, that of building security in our neighbourhood.”
The ENP has invited Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and the Ukraine. Oh, notes the ENP website, “also the Palestinian Authority.”
Take another look at the list again. There is one country that sticks out even more egregiously than the country the ENP website calls the “West Bank and Gaza Strip (no official name, but current denomination).”
Called an ‘action plan’, the ENP requires each country to meet certain political and econoic prerequisites. In October, Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko swept the elections in what the EU determined was ‘less than free and fair’.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, reports one EU news report, one EU diplomat said that Belarus “can forget about the neighborhood policy” now.
The Russians aren’t too happy with the idea of the EU extending its influence into Moscow’s traditional sphere of influence in places like the Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and the former Soviet republics in the Caucasus. But it is also eager to sign up for the economic benefits offered by joining the ‘neighborhood’ — but Moscow is seeking yet a sixth tier of membership.
According to the Moscow Times, Russia wants only “a bilateral relationship with the EU … and a free hand to try to reintegrate its near abroad,” said Michael Emerson, senior research fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.
The EU has drafted a “strategic partnership” in four areas: trade and EU investments in Russian transport, telecommunications and energy projects; cooperation in law enforcement and nonproliferation issues; settling border disputes with new EU members Estonia and Latvia; and negotiations for visa-free travel for Russians in Western Europe.
The “strategic partnership” aims to boost European investments in Russia’s energy sector. The EU already accounts for 58% of the Russian energy export market.
The European Commission is slated to meet this week to decide whether to approve the action plans for admission into the ENP of the first wave of countries and, of course, the Palestinian Authority.
The other countries involved, in addition to Israel, are Jordan, Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia, and Ukraine. Diplomatic officials said the Israeli action plan is the only one in doubt.
The action plan currently under discussion has two “baskets,” one political and the other economic. The political basket deals with formalizing a dialogue on issues such as the peace process, terrorism, small arms, non-proliferation, and human rights.
This would effectively institutionalize a role for the EU on Israel’s internal political issues. Nonetheless, of all the countries slated for inclusion in the ENP, no country wants entry more than the Israelis.
Through entry to the ENP, Israel hopes to gain entrance to a number of institutions and programs that are currently closed to non-EU members, such as the European Space Agency and the European Environment Agency.
In months of negotiations, the sides have looked for a “balance” between the baskets, meaning that if Europe wants to institutionalize a political role in different regional issues, it will have to compensate Israel by giving it entrance to various economic, scientific, and technological programs currently closed to it.
Opposing Israel’s admission are France, Belgium, and Britain. They fear it would be interpreted in the Arab world as ‘anti-Palestinian’ if Israel is included in the neighborhood.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier wrapped up his three-day visit to Israel with a lecture at Tel Aviv University Tuesday on Tuesday. He explained the EU’s ‘vision’ of Middle East peace as one in which there is coexistence between Israel and a democratic, viable Palestinian state, with recognized borders and its capital in east Jerusalem.
Barnier also said such a state must “demonstrate a will” to give Israel the security guarantees it needs.
“History has taught us that we don’t chose our enemies,” Barnier said, “but with them we have to make peace. I know what the conventional wisdom here is about the head of the PA, and what is said about those who meet with him. But our opinion is that nothing will happen without Yasser Arafat, or against [his will], and that keeping him a prisoner reduces the chances of bringing him to take the steps that everyone expects of him.”
Barnier also said that France and the European Union will support Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan — on the condition that it will be done in cooperation with the Palestinians, and is part of the road map.
Since Sharon has already rejected both conditions, the French were, in effect drawing a line in the sand.
There is a lot going on behind the scenes right now in Europe — taking place at breakneck speed from the standpoint of ordinary diplomacy. And it continues to follow the outline given by Scripture for the last days.
Europe is expanding its influence outward, moving into the political vacuum created by the sudden loss in American prestige brought about by four years of partisan infighting that turned a first term president fighting a global war into a lame duck presidency of four years’ duration.
The ten toes of Daniel’s vision, (the ten Full Members) pretty much rule the entire geographic region that made up the old Roman Empire, from the Middle East to the steppes of Russia, from the United Kingdom to Baltic Sea.
The Russians are looking for ways to develop an economic partnership with the EU on a unilateral basis — meaning Russia will not be ‘part’ of the EU — as Ezekiel 38-39 outlined 2500 years in advance.
Daniel says that somehow, the leader of this revived Roman Empire will introduce what appears to be a workable peace deal between Israel and her enemies, based on a pre-existing seven-year ‘land for peace formula’.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week. . .” (Daniel 9:27)
(He can’t ‘confirm’ an agreement unless it already existed, anymore than you can ‘confirm’ a dentist’s appointment unless you had already made one.)
Of the antichrist who will lead the revived Roman Empire through its final seven years of existence, Daniel tells us;
“Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to RULE OVER MANY, and shall DIVIDE THE LAND FOR GAIN.” Daniel 11:39)
I want you to stop and think about this for a minute. The whole of the Big Picture as it is lining up. . .
The Apostle Peter said;
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:2-3)
So much is happening so quickly — and the Rapture hasn’t yet happened — that even some Christians are beginning to take that attitude. Things DO seem to continue as they were from the beginning. The sun rises every morning. It sets each night.
For some, it is beginning to look like the Tribulation is already here. Maybe that whole pre-trib Rapture thing really IS some cosmic ‘great escape’ theory, instead of sound doctrine. If the Rapture hasn’t happened yet, maybe the post-trib view is right after all.
The Lord, speaking through Peter, anticipated that attitude and addresses it in the next couple of verses;
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. ” (3:5-7)
The Word that was ignored by everyone except Noah didn’t make that Word invalid. The rains still came. Noah and his family were saved — regardless of popular opinion that he was nuts.
That same Word says the Church will be Raptured so that the ‘Restrainer” of 2nd Thessalonians 2:7 can be ‘taken out of the way’ in order that “that Wicked be revealed’ (2:8)
God’s Word says the Holy Spirit will indwell the Church until Jesus returns. Jesus tells us through the Apostle John of a miracle that takes place during the Tribulation.
Revelation Chapter 7 details the ‘sealing’ of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:3)
This ‘sealing’ of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists is so important that God devotes an entire chapter to it. It is important because the ONLY ones who have ‘it’ during this period are those Jews chosen to be sealed.
This ‘sealing’ is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:27)
“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2nd Corinthians 1:22)
“In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. (Ephesians 1:13)
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
If the Church goes through the Tribulation Period and is raptured at some point in the middle, or at the end, it can only mean one thing.
It means that the Comforter, (the Holy Spirit – John 14:26) must be withdrawn from the Church during a time Jesus said would be so terrible that, if allowed to run its full course, ‘there should be no flesh saved’.
John 16:7 would have to be revised to read:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you UNTIL YOU NEED HIM THE MOST. THEN YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.” (allcaps mine)
Jesus promised; “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you FOREVER.” (John 14:16)
Jesus said the Comforter He would send us in the Church Age would abide with me FOREVER. ‘Forever’ is a long time, and makes no allowances for a seven-year separation.
Recapping, then, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit must be ‘taken out of the way’ BEFORE that ‘Wicked’ be revealed. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is promised to Church Age believers ‘forever’ . The Apostle Paul says that indwelling is “whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
The Apostles, as Jesus ascended to the heavens from their sight, were told by two men “in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
Paul tells us that “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18)
Daniel’s feet and toes of iron and clay are trudging through the Middle East, increasing their influence and expanding their empire to rival that of ancient Rome. The whole world stands against Israel over the issue of who will control Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
Jesus told us that when these things BEGIN to come to pass, our redemption draws near. (Luke 21:28)
We can already see the antichrist’s shadow on the wall of the EU Parliament Building in Brussels. Scripture says he won’t be revealed until after the Comforter has been ‘taken out of the way’ with the Rapture of the Church.
The time is short. The fields are white with the harvest. And the stakes are enormous. Both for the lost — and for those of us who know the truth.
“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)
There is much to do — and not much time left in which to do it.