Below is a commentary by author Jack Kelly (website and article here), in which he explains the history and significance of Jerusalem - through God's eyes.
It is amazing to me, that this relatively small city would receive so much attention by the world's leaders, as peace-plans in the Middle-East continue in a seemingly never ending process. The fact that this scenario was predicted over 2,500 years ago is striking. Imagine predicting (today) what city in the world will be a "burdensome stone" for the world in the year 4500. Hard to imagine. But thats exactly what God's prophets predicted and, like all prophecy, it is happening just as written.
The following is a very timely and informative summary of Jerusalem - as seen by man and as seen by God:
Leave Jerusalem Alone
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley
250 Israeli Rabbis Sign Letter to Obama: “Hands off Jerusalem”
In a reference to the upcoming “nine days” which culminate in Tisha B’Av, the rabbis tell US Pres. Obama that “during these days, in which the Jewish people mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and mark the disgraceful memory of its destroyers, we are certain that you, Mr. Barack Obama, do not want to enter that disreputable list of those who raise their hand to strike Jerusalem and those who live in it.”
The rabbinical letter ends with a clear request: “If you, Mr. Obama, wish to leave any chance at all for peace and quiet in the Middle East, take your hands off the Holy City of Jerusalem right now!”
Two hundred and fifty rabbis have signed the appeal, and efforts are being made to collect the signatures of every rabbi in Israel before the letter is sent to Washington. (Source: A7News)
Tisha B’Av is a particularly sad day for Jews. Both the first and Second Temples were destroyed on that day, and down through history a number of other religious and national catastrophes have occurred on the 9th of Av as well. The nine days mentioned above refer to the first nine days of Av, a time of national mourning for these events that culminates on the 9th, Tisha B’Av. This year Tisha B’Av falls on July 30 so the nine days of mourning began on July 22.
The chain of events that resulted in this letter began in 1948 when Jordan attacked the newly created state of Israel and captured the Eastern part of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. All of the city had been given to Israel by the UN. 19 years later Israel got it back in the 6 Day War and annexed it, reuniting the city. Since then several hundred thousand Jews have made Eastern Jerusalem and its suburbs their home. But the international community has never accepted the legality of the annexation. It calls the neighborhoods they live in “settlements” and the so-called Road Map agreement forbids additional settlement construction until Jerusalem’s final status has been negotiated. Will it remain undivided as Israel’s capitol, or will it be divided again with the Eastern part becoming the capitol of a future Palestinian state?
Israelis are united in their view that all of Jerusalem is legally theirs and it must never be divided again. That’s why PM Netanyahu has flatly rejected the world’s demand that he deny permission for an empty building in East Jerusalem already under Jewish ownership to be converted into apartments. This construction project, financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located mere yards from Israel’s national police headquarters and other government ministries, and only a few blocks from the country’s prestigious Hebrew University.
Here’s How It All Began
The Jewish claim to Jerusalem is over 3,000 years old. While the Jews were still in the wilderness, God told them he was going to name a place for them to worship Him after they entered the Promised Land. (Deut. 12:5) But it wasn’t until David was King, several hundred years later, that God chose Jerusalem to be that place.
“Since the day I brought my people out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, nor have I chosen anyone to be the leader over my people Israel. But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there, and I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.” (2 chronicles 6:5-6)
Once God had selected a location, Satan wanted it as well. He had already duped Adam and Eve into forfeiting their dominion over earth to him. But unless he has possession of Jerusalem, he doesn’t really have possession of Earth. Three times the Lord Himself called Satan the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). And Paul said he’s the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan needs Jerusalem to perfect his claim to planet Earth. This is why the final battle for control of Earth will be fought over Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has no natural harbor. It isn’t situated astride any major trade route. Nor is it a gateway city. It’s not a banking or industrial or commercial or medical or hi-tech center. It has no natural resources. While it’s too hilly for an airport it doesn’t command any strategic high ground. It has nothing at all to commend it except for the fact the God chose it for Himself. And to Satan that makes it the most desirable piece of real estate on the planet.
Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians as part of God’s judgment against them for their idolatry, but even as He was sending them away He promised He’d bring them back.
This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11)
He fulfilled this promise in what came to be known as the first regathering of Israel. But even before the first one, God had Isaiah promise there would also be a second regathering, because once more Israel would be scattered and again Jerusalem would be destroyed. The second destruction began in 69-70 AD when Jerusalem was burned to the ground and by 135AD the nation had ceased to exist altogether.
This time there was no predetermined date known to man when Israel would rise again and as the centuries passed most Gentiles assumed that God had abandoned His people and transferred His blessings to the Church, even though the prophets had said otherwise. But at the end of the 19th Century the hearts of Jews around the world were stirred and the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy began to look like a real possibility after all.
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11-12)
Even though the Zionist movement began on the eve of the 20th Century, and the Balfor Declaration laid the ground work for a Jewish homeland in 1917, this second regathering officially began in 1948 and continues to this day. Immediately Satan called his troops to battle and before the ink was dry on the UN declaration that made Israel a nation again, they were at war. By the time it was over, half the Holy City had been captured. 19 years later in June of 1967 Israel reunited Jerusalem in the Six Day War.
Who’s Behind This?
As you can see, the fight for Jerusalem isn’t really between Arab and Israeli, or even between Molsem and Jew. Satan has simply stirred Israel’s enemies up for his own purposes, and as the Jews inch closer and closer to renewing their covenant with God and making Jerusalem the one place on Earth to worship Him again, Satan will make Israel’s enemies become more and more determined to stop them. He won’t give up until he has the whole world united against Jerusalem. But as we’ll see, it’s a losing strategy.
“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
Zechariah saw Israel’s victory over its neighbors happening in 2 stages. First, the nations surrounding Jerusalem will rise up against it, but they’ll be sent reeling. This will be accomplished in two fierce battles, one foretold in Psalm 83 and the other in Ezekiel 38-39. God will deliver a supernatural victory in Ezekiel’s battle to open Israel’s eyes and draw them back to Him and the land He gave them.
Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. (Ezekiel 39:28)
Then at the very end of the age, the anti-Christ will mobilize all the nations of Earth and gather them against Jerusalem for one final push. It too will end in failure.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (Rev. 19:11-16,19-21)
But In The Mean Time
The world is already pushing against Israel in a way never seen before. The US has demanded that this building in East Jerusalem not be renovated. The EU has condemned all “settlement” construction. Javier Solana wants the UN to set a date for unilaterally imposing the two state solution, dividing Jerusalem again. All the world powers have united against Israel in this matter. And this is just the beginning. But here’s the Lord’s response.
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. (Isaiah 40:15-17)
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11)
This is what the LORD says: I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain. (Zechariah 8:3)
No other city has been so clearly and so decisively claimed by God as His own, so this isn’t about religion and it isn’t about politics. It’s about whether we’re on God’s side or on Satan’s. Those who set about to divide the only city on Earth God has claimed for Himself are taking a stand against Him personally (Psalm 2:2). and aligning themselves with Satan. And it’s not like there’s the slightest chance of succeeding. These men with their great armies who think they can push God and His people around haven’t got a clue as to how outmatched they are.
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:4-6)
From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth - He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. (Psalm 33:13-16)
Nor is there any chance that God will change His mind or forget His promise to His people,
This is what the LORD says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
or give up and go away.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. (Isaiah 62:1-2)
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is There .” (Jehovah Shammah) (Ezekiel 48:35)
From all this it seems pretty clear that Jerusalem belongs to God forever, and there’s no chance that anyone trying to say otherwise will prevail. Indications this week are that the US may moderate its position where Israel is concerned, and may adopt the Bush Administration position that trying to forbid construction that only accommodates natural growth is not practical.
Some are saying that Mr. Obama is beginning to realize that his appeal to the Moslem world hasn’t changed anything, so he’s decided “to avoid a situation where he gets nothing from Arab leaders and yet is at odds with the Jews.” Time will tell, but if true, this is good news for America. After all, aren’t we in enough trouble with God already? 07-25-09