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Mideast Update

The Battle For Jerusalem

by Dr. Dan Stolebarger


…Through the eyes of a Believer. Zechariah informs us that, as we approach the end of days, we should not be surprised that Jerusalem will be front and center in the eyes of the entire world.

JERUSALEM

  • The City of the Great King
  • The Golden City
  • The City of David
  • The City of God
  • The City of Truth
  • The Holy City
  • The Place Where God Sees and Grants Peace

Did you know that the Midrash (a commentary on the Hebrew Bible; a body of Rabbinic literature consisting of commentary on and clarification of Biblical texts, first compiled before 500 a.d.) lists over 70 names given to the city of Jerusalem? Listed above are my “Top 7,” inspired by the events that transpired in the Holy City:

Zechariah informs us that, as we approach the end of days, we should not be surprised that Jerusalem will be front and center in the eyes of the entire world. This city will capture the headlines of news stations worldwide. Have you ever wondered why?

Jerusalem has no natural harbor. It isn’t situated on any major trade route, nor is it a gateway city. It’s not a banking or industrial or commercial or medical center. It has no natural resources, no oil! While it’s too hilly for an airport, it also does not command any strategic high ground.

It has nothing at all to commend it except for the fact that God chose it for Himself, and to Satan, that makes it the most desirable piece of real estate on the planet.

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.

Zechariah 12:2–3

As mentioned, once God selected this special place, Satan dropped everything and began to strategize how he might obtain Jerusalem! And so it goes… We are currently being plunged into the Obama/Kerry insane quest for some kind of new revolutionary resolution to the Palestinian/Israeli situation. As the fog begins to lift (or a better analogy might be as the toilet bowl begins to swirl), the hot button issue is now … wait for it … JERUSALEM! Mahmoud Abbas now wants to make it crystal clear, in fact he wants it written in all capital letters using the largest font possible that the capital of the proposed new Palestinian state must be Jerusalem, and if that doesn’t happen, then all offers of peace are off the table!

Here are some simple yet truthful facts behind the Arab quest for their beloved Jerusalem! Did you know that:

  • Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab state since the city’s existence of 4000 years.
  • It has, however, been the capital of the Jewish people whenever they were allowed to live in the Holy Land.
  • Arabs never thought about Jerusalem being their capital until the Jewish people began returning in droves to the city in the early 1900s. Now the Palestinians claim their “incontrovertible” right to make the entire eastern part of Jerusalem their capital.

God’s Intentions for Israel

As you read the Scriptures, have you noticed how God repeated Himself many times through His prophets, saying in the last days He was going to bring the Jewish people back to their homeland? He declares He would save, heal, and deliver them. He would open their eyes. He would forgive their sins. He would heal their backsliding. He would make them strong against their enemies. The reason for this repetition is obvious. God did not want us to miss His intentions for Israel.

Israel plays a central role as the end draws near. God has made unconditional promises and He is not a God who lies… simply put, God KEEPS Covenant!

Without God’s miraculous intervention, without His protection and without His promise to preserve Israel from her enemies, there is absolutely no hope at all. Let’s take a quick look at what the Bible says about God and Israel:

  • Isaiah reminds us that God will never forget Israel and Hosea portrays the passion of Yahweh in regards to His estranged bride.
  • In Jeremiah 31:3, God tells Jeremiah that He loves Israel with an everlasting love!
  • Paul, in the book of Romans, tells us Gentile believers that God is not finished with Israel!

Regarding the issue of the Land, the Bible says in Genesis 15 that the Land is the promise from God to Abraham. In the book of Deuteronomy it states at least twenty-five times that the Land is a gift to the people of Israel from the Lord (Deuteronomy 1:20, 25; 2:29; 3:20; 4:40; 5:16, etc.).

I know man has drawn many lines such as the so-called green line all throughout Israel, but the Bible has no green line and the Biblical relevance of towns that are attempted to being ceded to the PA is criminal! Locations such as Shiloh, Bethel, Shechem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim all are entrenched in Jewish history! Joel does raise a red flag in terms of those who would seek to draw lines and divide the Land!

I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.

Joel 3:2

I am often asked: “Why do you care so much about Israel?” My answer is actually quite simple; I care about Israel (and Jerusalem) because God does! And once again the Bible has much to say about Israel and the Church. Paul reminds the Believer throughout the latter part of the book of Romans that God is NOT finished with Israel and Christians need to understand that we are the wild olive branch that has been grafted in! He goes on to state in Romans:

It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.

Romans 15:27

Part of our debt should be obvious. Through Israel we have been given the sacred Scripture, the Prophets, the Patriarchs, Mary, Joseph, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Twelve Disciples, and the Apostles! Think about it!

Of course, the bedrock passage from Genesis 12 comes into play here as well:

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 12:1–3

Keep this verse in mind when you reflect on the following list of former world dynasties: Ancient Egypt, the Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, Rome, Spain, the British Empire, and Germany—all of these suffered immeasurable losses as they “cursed” Israel. I wonder if we should add Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and maybe the U.S. with its doomed Peace Plan to this list?

Now finally one last word to those who may think I only care for Israel because of eschatological issues…nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I would love for Jesus to return soon; however, there are still many of my friends (both Jew and Gentile) who have yet to give their lives to the Savior. In other words, I do not mind if He tarries!

So, back to Jerusalem, the City of our God! For me, Jerusalem is synonymous with Israel. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for over 4000 years and it cannot be divided.

One would think that a country’s embassy would be in the capital of the country; however, the United States has chosen to host its embassy in Tel Aviv. The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by Congress in 1995, requires the United States to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by December 31, 1999 and that Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of Israel. Even though this bill was passed, the United States Embassy remains in Tel Aviv because this Act also allows for the President to “delay the implementation of the law indefinitely if the move presents national security concerns.” Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have regularly invoked this clause, delaying the move of the embassy to Jerusalem. This writer believes the time has come to make a loud statement concerning Jerusalem! It is time to do what Congress passed over 19 years ago!

Finally, I will close with Bibi Netanyahu’s message from Ammunition Hill regarding Jerusalem:

We will protect Jerusalem, because Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart… On this hill, 45 years ago, the united heart of our people began to beat again, with full power. Our heart will never be divided again.


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