As this issue goes to press, the entire world is wondering what is going to happen to Jerusalem. About 2,500 years ago, the prophet Zechariah recorded God's predictions regarding this troubled city:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem .
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be torn in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. -Zechariah 12:2, 3
On the face of it, this prophecy would seem an absurd prediction for our modern day! Here is a city with no natural resources, no harbor, no river - no reason to have any strategic significance. It no longer controls any trade routes or has any apparent reason for geopolitical strategic relevance.
It wouldn't seem that important culturally: only a relatively small portion of Jewish people regard it as significant. Even if all Jews were concerned, it still would not represent a centroid for "all the people of the earth to be gathered together against it."
The Muslims controlled it for a thousand years and they let it crumble into rubble - until they discovered it was significant to the Jews; then, of course, it became critical to Islam.
Christians regard it for historical and Biblical reasons, but not to die for. And yet, the late lights are burning tonight in every headquarters of every capital of every nation that has international relevance, and their leaders are struggling with what to do about the issue of Jerusalem!
The Restoration of the Nation Israel
The centuries of debate concerning the destiny of the Jewish people - and disputes among Biblical scholars on the issue of the eventual restoration of the nation of Israel - should have come to a close with the restoration of the Jewish homeland in 1948. The prophet Isaiah seems to have anticipated this event when he penned:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. -Isaiah 11:11, 12
"The second time?" The first regathering was after the Babylonian Captivity.1 The second regathering began as the 19th century drew to a close with the efforts of Theodr Herzl and others, and finally climaxed with the formal declaration on May 14, 1948, when the world listened on international radio to David Ben Gurion declaring that the name of the new Jewish homeland was "Israel."
(The debates as to whether the Old Testament passages were to be taken seriously or not should have ended on that date.)
The subsequent struggles of this tiny state against seemingly insurmountable armed enemies have, of course, been the legends of modern times.
And the legacy of hatred continues to challenge their very right to exist.
The Peace of Jerusalem
Will there be peace in Jerusalem? Apparently not until the Prince of Peace takes over. Jesus said that,
...Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.-Luke 21:24
The "Times of the Gentiles" began with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and will continue until the Coming World Leader (known popularly as the "Antichrist") makes his appearance and is dealt with. There will be a false peace, however, when this "Prince that shall come" will "enforce a covenant," ostensibly for an anticipated period of seven years.
The "Piece" Process
As we have repeatedly pointed out, the peace process that began at Oslo virtually guarantees a war in the Middle East. The entire charade is based on a false premise: it assumes that the Muslim ambitions can be appeased by reducing the borders of Israel, even though the Muslim leadership has repeatedly - before, during, and after the Oslo Accords - and clearly maintained that they will not rest until the very existence of Israel has been eliminated.
They are insisting on what Israel cannot yield. The legacy of hate that they inculcate their children with continues without any pretense of abatement.
Will God Intervene?
The Bible does indicate that there will come a specific event which will herald God, once again, intervening on behalf of His people Israel: God will intervene to thwart an invasion from the far north. Speaking to the leader of the land of Magog (which we are convinced refers to Russia),3 God says:
And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes...
Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. -Ezekiel 38:16, 23
This passage is well known to Bible prophecy buffs, as it also seems to suggest the use of nuclear weapons.4 The more one knows about the technical details of this passage, and the more one knows about what is presently going on in that region, the more it would seem that this event may be on our near horizon.
Why is God going to intervene? Why does Israel deserve such special attention? The answer is most surprising:
And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.
And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, "These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land."
But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. . . -Ezekiel 36:19-24
It's not for their sakes: it's because God's name is on the commitment. So it is written, so it will be done.
A Most Exciting Time
It is disturbing to realize that the God of the Universe has put His name on a particular piece of real estate. While "the earth is the Lord's and fulness thereof," He has chosen to call a particular parcel of ground His Own. It doesn't belong to the Palestinians; it doesn't belong to the U.N. It doesn't even belong to Israel, except as tenants under conditions of obedience.
When we muck around in the Middle East foreign policies, we are poking our finger in the eye of God! It's His Land, and we need to stand clear of His plans and programs.
And yet, the future scenario has been described, in detail, in His Word. And we are approaching His consummation of all things. Here is the premise that we suggest you challenge - not accept - but check out for yourself:
"We are being plunged into a period of time about which the Bible says more than it does about any other period of time in history - including the time when Jesus walked the shores of Galilee and climbed the mountains of Judea."
To check out this ostensibly preposterous statement, you need to do two things:
1)Find out what the Bible says about the "end times" (not what some popular book suggests, but what the Bible really says).
2)Find out what is really going on in the geopolitical horizon. This isn't easy when you recognize that the mainline media prides itself in shaping an agenda rather than informing a public. (John Loeffler's strategic review of the Middle East, The Struggle For Jerusalem, is an excellent start.)
The turbulence which may lie ahead can be an exciting adventure if you know where you personally stand in regards to it all. It is, indeed, time to do your own homework!
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