Pro and Con 1405

Posted 7-18-08

7-5-08, Saturn, Mars, Regulus and the Moon, all in a diagonal line

Incoming e-mail, Re: Rapture

You say that the rapture happens in Revelations 4:1. Then please answer a few questions for me that I believe is fair to be ask.

We see in Revelation 7 all of the saints and the twenty four elders gathered around the throne worshiping God.

1 Where are the Pre-Raptured Saints at in Revelation 7?

2 Did the Lord take them off some where and leave them while the rest of the Saints stood around the throne and worshiped Him?

Paul said in 1Corinthians 13:8 Love never fail, but prophesies will fail. (NKJV)

3 What if the Rapture prophesies fail and all of the Church have to go through the Great Tribulations?

4 Would the ones that believe in the pre-Tribulations Rapture be prepared to face the Great Tribulations?

5 If a person is not prepared to face the Great Tribulations then what would be the chances of them falling for the man of sin thinking he is God?
6 What would happen to the people that believe in the Rapture if they should have to go through the Great Tribulations?

7 Could the Rapture believers be the unwise virgins that do not have enough oil in there lamps to go through the Great Tribulations?

8 Could it be the Rapture believers does not have enough faith to go through the Great Tribulations?

God gave everybody a measure of faith and this measure of faith can be used like currency (Talent) to buy other talents.

9 Could faith be the oil the unwise virgins were lacking?

10 If so where will they find enough faith to go through the Great Tribulations before the Lord return?

If these questions can be answered scripturally, then I may be convinced of a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Thank you so much.

My reply

> > 1 Where are the Pre-Raptured Saints at in Revelation 7? > > 2 Did the Lord take them off some where and leave them while the rest of the Saints stood around the throne and worshiped Him?

The Pre-Trib saints are in Heaven in Rev. 4 and 5. Besides the 12 patriarchs and the 12 apostles, including John (i.e., the 24 elders) being proof, Rev. 5:8-10 says of the "saints...they sung a NEW SONG, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book (i.e., the Title Deed of the Earth), and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood OUT OF EVERY KINDRED, AND TONGUE, AND PEOPLE, AND NATION; And hast made us unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall reign on (epi, on or over) the earth."

These saints are the Bride of Christ, the wise virgins who enter into the "chuppah," the bridal chamber in Heaven. They are called to the General Assembly in Heaven on the Day of the Lord, at the same time the Tribulation saints are caught up to the General Assembly in Heaven. The whole body of raptured believers is the Body of Christ, and they are all called to the General Assembly in Heaven on the Day of the Lord, which is also the Day of God's Wrath.

This is the important thing to remember, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST IS CALLED TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN HEAVEN AT THE SAME TIME THAT THE PRE-WRATH-RAPTURE SAINTS ARE CALLED UP TO THE SAME GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN HEAVEN.

Mt 24:31 says, "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a TRUMPET, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of HEAVEN to the other." These are the saints that were caught up to Heaven before the Tribulation began. Mark 13:27 adds, "And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the EARTH (the Rapture of the Tribulation saints) to the uttermost part of HEAVEN" (the Pre-Trib saints that were already in Heaven).

Heb 12:22-25 says, "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we ESCAPE, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven".

Of that Feast of Trumpets, Joel 2:16-18 says, "Gather the people (i.e., rapture the Tribulation saints), sanctify the congregation, ASSEMBLE THE ELDERS, GATHER THE CHILDREN, and those that suck the breasts: LET THE BRIDEGROOM GO FORTH OF HIS CHAMER, AND THE BRIDE OUT OF HER CLOSET (chuppah, 'bride chamber' in the Geneva Bible). Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage (Israel) to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people."

The 24 elders were caught up to Heaven in the Pre-Trib Rapture of Rev. 4:1. Those 12 patriarchs and 12 apostles (including John) were seated on their thrones in Heaven in 4:4. The LITV says, "And around the throne (i.e., of God) I saw twenty four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty four elders sitting, having been clothed in WHITE GARMENTS (their ticket to Heaven in the first Rapture). And they had golden crowns on their heads." These white garments and golden crowns were given to the elders at the Pre-Trib Rapture.

Rev. 5:8-10 says of the "saints. And they sung a new song, saying, THOU ART WORTHY TO TAKE THE BOOK (i.e., the Title Deed of the Earth), AND TO OPEN THE SEALS THEREOF: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood OUT OF EVERY KINDRED, AND TONGUE, AND PEOPLE, AND NATION: AND HAST MADE US UNTO OUR GOD KINGS AND PRIESTS: AND WE SHALL REIGN ON (epi, on or over) THE EARTH."

These Bride saints are in Heaven before Jesus is given the Title Deed of the Earth. They are in Heaven in Rev. 4 and 5, before Jesus breaks the 1st seal in Rev. 6.

By the time the Tribulation saints will be caught up to Heaven, the 6th seal will have already been broken. The Day of God's Wrath will have arrived.

Rev 6:12-17 says, "And I beheld when he had opened the SIXTH SEAL, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth: even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven (i.e., the cloudy heavens) departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME; and who shall be able to stand?"

The first group to be Raptured are made kings and priests. Rev 7:15 tells us about the Tribulation saints. They are not said to be kings or priests. It says, "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and SERVE HIM DAY AND NIGHT IN HIS TEMPLE." Concerning the Tribulation saints, Mt. 24:28 (DRB) says, "Wheresoever the body (i.e., the Body of Christ) shall be (i.e., at the General Assembly in Heaven), there shall the eagles (high flying Tribulation saints) also be gathered together."

Ex 19:4 is a type. It says, "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I BARE YOU ON EAGLE'S WINGS, AND BROUGHT YOU UNTO MYSELF." Isa 40:31 says, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; THEY SHALL MOUNT UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

On the Day of the Lord, which is also the Day of God's Wrath, the day of the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the Marriage of the Lamb, ALL SAINTS ARE GATHERED TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN HEAVEN. The Pre-Trib-Rapture saints are gathered from one end of Heaven to the other. The Pre-Wrath-Rapture saints are gathered from one end of the Earth to the other.

> > 3 What if the Rapture prophesies fail and all of the Church have to go through the Great Tribulations?

THEY CAN'T FAIL. God's prophecies come true 100%. They always have, and always will. Hosea 5:9 says, "AMONG THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL HAVE I MADE KNOWN THAT WHICH SHALL SURELY BE" (aman, permanently). He told what was going to happen in ancient times before it happened so we would know that we can trust him completely when he makes known what will happen in the future. Since he says that the Rapture (Gr. harpazo) will take place, it will take place. He raptured Enoch and Elijah to prove that he could do it.

There are two days of the Son of man, one like the days of Noah, the other like the days of Lot. Luke 17:22 says, "he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see ONE OF THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN, and ye shall not see it."

Enoch, a Gentile, represented the Pre-Trib Rapture. Gen 5:24 says, "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for GOD TOOK HIM." He was caught up to Heaven before the Flood tribulation. Jesus indicated that the first Rapture would be as the days of Noah (Mt. 24:37; Luke 17:26,27). The second Rapture will be as the days of Lot (Luke 17:28,29).

Luke 21:36 tells us to, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS that shall come to pass (including the Tribulation), and to stand before the Son of man."

Elijah, an Israelite, represented the 144,000 Israelites caught up at the second Rapture. 2Ki 2:11 says, "it came to pass, as they (Elijah and Elisha) still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and ELIJAH WENT UP BY A WHIRLWIND INTO HEAVEN."

> > 4 Would the ones that believe in the pre-Tribulations Rapture be prepared to face the Great Tribulations?

Probably not. If the Bride of Christ had to endure the Tribulation, don't you think the Lord would have given us some instructions on how to prepare for it? The absence of any instructions shows you that the Bride of Christ will not be here in those awful times.

> > 7 Could the Rapture believers be the unwise virgins that do not have enough oil in there lamps to go through the Great Tribulations?

No. The Pre-Trib-Rapture believers are the wise virgins that have enough oil of the Holy Spirit in their vessels (bodies). They are wearing white robes, because they have confessed their sins so the faithful and just God will cleanse them of all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). They are the Philadelphians of Rev. 3 for whom the Lord had no words of condemnation.

Rev 3:7-13 says, "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience (lit., patient endurance), I also will keep thee from (ek, out of) the hour of temptation (lit., trial), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

All the Philadelphians are caught up with John when Jesus says, "Come up hither" in Rev. 4:1.

The foolish virgins are the Tribulation saints that will be caught up on the Day of God's Wrath. At the time of the first-trump-Rapture, these foolish Laodicean saints are not wearing white robes, because of unconfessed sin committed after they first accepted Christ.

God warned them. Rev. 3:17-19 says, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold (symbol of deity) tried in the fire (i.e., during the Tribulation), that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (i.e., use I John 1:9).

Rev. 6:17 says, "For THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME; and who shall be able to stand?" In Rev. 7, we find out that the Tribulation saints are raptured after the Day of God's Wrath has arrived, but before the 7 trumpet judgments start to be sounded in Rev. 8.

The Tribulation saints are actually in Heaven before there is silence on Earth and in Heaven while the judge is being seated at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Hab 2:20 says, "the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the EARTH keep SILENCE before him." Rev 8:1 says, "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was SILENCE in HEAVEN about the space of half an hour."

Rev. 7:9-14 says, "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which CAME OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Those of the 1st Rapture will be caught up before the Tribulation begins. Those of the 2nd Rapture will be caught up before God's Wrath falls on Earth.

> > 8 Could it be the Rapture believers does not have enough faith to go through the Great Tribulations?

No. That's backwards. The Pre-Trib Rapture believers have enough faith to not have to go through the refining fires of the Tribulation trial.

> > 9 Could faith be the oil the unwise virgins were lacking?

No. All the virgins have the required faith or they would not be called virgins. They believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that they lack. Unconfessed sin committed after we accept Christ lowers the level of Holy Spirit in our bodies. Confessing those sins causes the Holy Spirit to rise like a fountain of living water within us.

Scripture tells us to not quench the Holy Spirit and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Those that confess their sins are the wise virgins. Those that do not confess their sins are the stubborn foolish virgins. They need to let Jesus wash their feet.

John 13:8-10 says, "Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, IF I WASH THEE NOT, THOU HAST NO PART WITH ME (like the foolish virgins). Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean".

I John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

> > 10 If so where will they find enough faith to go through the Great Tribulations before the Lord return?

Those who see the Rapture take place will fear, and trust in the Lord. Psa. 40:1-3 says, "I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined (bent down) unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit (like Jeremiah), out of the miry clay (body of clay), and set my feet upon a rock (Heaven), and established my goings (plural, i.e., 2 Raptures). And he hath put a NEW SONG in my mouth, even praise unto our God: MANY SHALL SEE IT (the Rapture), and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."

> > If these questions can be answered scripturally, then I may be convinced of a pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Great. Don't just worry about being ready for the Tribulation, Worry about being ready for the Pre-Trib Rapture. It will come. It rained 40 days and nights when Noah was 600 years old, and it had never rained before. It was hard to believe that it would rain, but rain it did. Water covered the highest mountains. As the water raised up the Ark and floated it upward at the end of the 40 days of rain, we may be raised up at the end of a 40-day period running from Sivan 30 to Av 10.

Remember that the 12 spies went up into the Promised Land at the time of firstripe grapes. That was Sivan 30 (July 3, 2008). The spies returned to Moses 40 days later with one huge bunch of grapes slung on a pole carried on the shoulders of 2 men. That bunch of grapes probably stood for the first Rapture.

In Song of Solomon, the Bride of Christ is symbolized. She is said to be a company of two armies. Song 6:10,13 says, "Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners (flags)? Return, return, O Shulamite, return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were THE COMPANY OF TWO ARMIES." However, only the 144,000 Israelites are added to the Bride group that sang the NEW SONG at the first Rapture (Rev. 5:9). No one else can sing the NEW SONG.

Rev. 14:3-5 says, "And they sung as it were a NEW SONG before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and NO MAN could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed FROM THE EARTH. These are they which were not defiled with women; for THEY ARE VIRGINS. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are WITHOUT FAULT before the throne of God."

Song 2:17 says, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the MOUNTAINS (plural) OF BETHER" (which means separation).

Song 7:3 says, "Thy TWO breasts are like TWO young roes that are TWINS".

Song 7:7 says, "thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to CLUSTERS OF GRAPES."

Song 7:9 says, "And the roof of thy mouth like THE BEST WINE (like at the Marriage at Cana of GALILEE (circuit, circle, i.e., HEAVEN, a sphere) for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak" (i.e., when they are resurrected at the time of the Rapture).

The first Rapture may be at the time the spies took Moses the huge bunch of grapes. The Second Rapture will be on the Feast of Trumpets. That is Tishri 1, the time of the vintage. Thus both Raptures may take place during the grape harvest, but in different years.

The end of the 40 days the spies spent in the Promised Land this year will be Av 10 (August 11, 2008). I hope the Rapture will be then. If not, wait for it. It will come and not be late. The Lord drew the blueprints before the world began. The Jews keep Tisha B' Av, the 9th of Av as the day both Solomon's and Herod's Temples burned, but the Bible says it was Av 10. The fire was set on Av 9 in 70 AD, but burned into the sanctuary on Av 10.

Isa 18:3-6 shouts to the entire world, "ALL YE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD, AND DWELLERS ON THE EARTH, SEE YE, when he (i.e., the Lord) lifteth up an ensign (flag) on the mountains (kingdoms); and when he bloweth a TRUMPET (i.e., the 'trump of God'; I Thess. 4:16), hear ye. For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider (lit., see) in my dwelling place (Heaven) like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs (i.e., branches with grapes) with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches (i.e., with no grapes). They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall SUMMER upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." Therefore, the Rapture could be in the summer during grape harvest.

Luke 12:46 says, "The lord of that servant (the unwise one) will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (lit., cut him off), and will appoint him his portion (i.e., the shortened Tribulation) with the unbelievers." Mt. 24:51 adds, "And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion (the shortened Tribulation) with the hypocrites (pretenders): there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

M.t 22:8-14 says, "Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless (i.e., he thought he had it made). Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN."

Right after the Pre-Trib Rapture, Rev 17:14 says of Christ, the Lamb of God, "he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and THEY THAT ARE WITH HIM ARE CALLED AND CHOSEN, AND FAITHFUL." This is at the time when five kingdoms have fallen (Babel I, Babylon II, Media-Persia, Greece and Imperial Rome), "ONE IS (Ecclesiastical Rome, headed up by the Pope), and the other (Babylon III, to be headed up by the False Prophet) is not yet come" (Rev 17:10).

Look at the news. The end draws nigh. Does this Mediterranean Union tie in with the end times?

"Arab countries complicate Med Union plan"
http://euobserver.com/9/26293
ELITSA VUCHEVA, 09.06.2008

"A number of Arab countries are worried that if they join the EU's planned Mediterranean Union together with Israel, it would imply a normalisation of bilateral relations, with the Algerian foreign minister stressing that an overall vision for the project still has to be agreed.

"The Union for the Mediterranean was proposed by France last year to boost ties with the EU's southern neighbours and to include Turkey in a political structure seen as an alternative to EU.

"In March, the bloc's leaders agreed on a final and softer version of the project which would include Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Albania.

"Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Monaco would also take part.

"But Arab countries on Friday (6 June) asked for "clarifications on the consequences" of Israel joining the so-called Mediterranean Union...

"The official Mediterranean Union launch is planned to take place at a summit in Paris on 13 July, when France will hold the EU's rotating presidency.

"However, a number of questions remain unsolved for some of the participants only a month before the start date.

"In addition to Israel's participation, clarifications on other issues including the new union's institutions, financing and decision-making are needed as well, Mr Medelci said.

"Southern Mediterranean countries fear that Brussels will dominate the decision-making process and the "overwhelming majority" of the 11 states participating in Friday's meeting in Algiers remain unconvinced by the term 'union'".

There are two trumps of God that will sound at the Raptures, a First Trump and a Last Trump.. I Thess. 4:16-18 speaks of the first Rapture at the first trump of God. It says, "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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." At the first Rapture, the dead will be raised incorruptible, but the change to immortality will not come until the second Rapture.

1 Cor 15:42 says, "the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption".

The Last Trump will sound at the last Rapture. I Cor. 15:51-53 says, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all (including Paul) be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE SHALL BE CHANGED. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY."

Num 10:2-4 says, "Make thee TWO TRUMPETS of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for THE CALLING OF THE ASSEMBLY, AND FOR THE JOURNEYING OF THE CAMPS. And when they shall blow with them (i.e., with both), ALL THE ASSEMBLY shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with ONE TRUMPET, then the princes (ELDERS), which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee."

The first trump is at the Pre-Trib Rapture, when the 24 elders are called up.. The "last trump" is at the Pre-Wrath Rapture. you can't have a last trump without a first trump.
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Mediterranean Union Launches
by jordan | July 13, 2008
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/mediterranean-union-launches
French President Nikolas Sarkozy has opened the first summit meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean. Similar to the EU but with a looser grouping, the body will focus on energy, security, trade, and immigration between neighboring nations in southern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa....

Israeli and Palestinian leaders earlier expressed optimism about peace talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel and the Palestinians have never been as close to a peace deal as they are now. Agape

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