With the new U.S. administration, Jerusalem is back at the top of the news. Not that it hasn’t been simmering for decades. Zechariah 12 predicted that someday it would be a “cup of trembling” and a “burdensome stone for all people:” No doubt that the modern situation in the Middle East fits that description.
The same chapter indicates that the God of Israel will come to the rescue. Israel’s very existence testifies to His involvement with many miracles recorded in their defense.
We have watched the fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3 with seemingly “…all the people of the earth gathered together against it.”
The pope continues to be a major player in the drama. He recently welcomed Palestinian President Abbas to the Vatican to inaugurate a Palestinian embassy to the Holy See. The pope took the occasion to stress “…the sacred nature of Jerusalem.” Behind that statement is a long history of Vatican pressure to “internationally guarantee” the status of Jerusalem to “safeguard its sacred character.”
That, of course, is the heart of the matter: by whose definition of “sacred?” Both Jews and Muslims claim exclusive “sacredness.” Jews have a track record of honoring the devotion by permitting Christians to visit their sacred sites, allowing tourism and pilgrimages.
Even Muslims are generously allowed wide access to their Dome of the Rock. The rub comes when Islam declares that no one else can be allowed there once they come to power.
The world is getting tired of the hassle. Internationalizing the city would necessarily involve the United Nations where the Muslims have a powerful lobby and voting power. Here the pope is presuming a global power strong enough to defeat everyone else’s demands. Sounds like the anti-Christ. Some have suggested that a pope will eventually be the anti-Christ’s false prophet.
In the past, some have proposed, in exasperation, that the Jews should just give up and move to someplace like Argentina where they could carve out a nation in peace. Of course, that is not on God’s agenda. He frequently states in the Bible that the land is His and Jerusalem is His special treasure. Zechariah goes on to describe how God will fight against the nations who are gathered against Jerusalem.
For soul winners, the clear message of the times is that the hour is late. We need to be focused on the Great Commission while the Middle East situation simmers. We are instructed to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” in Psalms 122:6. The rest of the verse is a promise: “They shall prosper that love thee.”
As long as Jerusalem is at peace, we are more likely to have freedom to get the gospel out. When war erupts, it may hinder our freedom to extend the Kingdom.
The newest Crusaders comic, Unthinkable, based on John McTernan’s book, As America Has Done To Israel, proves how jealous God is over Jerusalem and “His Land” surrounding it. We must also pray for our leaders that they will hold fast to loyalty to Israel, lest we get more of the curse than we already have.
Meanwhile, the gospel in Chick literature continues to guide unbelievers into the Kingdom.