Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jerusalem: The Epicenter

Today's headlines tell the story:

"Fayyad: EU decision - first step towards statehood".

"U.S.: Only Israel, Palestinians should decide Jerusalem's future".

"EU decision shuns obstacles to peace".

"Share Jerusalem With the Palestinians, European Union Tells Israel".

Below are some quotes from these various articles, to further this point regarding Jerusalem as the epicenter of all Middle East peace negotiations:

“If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states,” it says".

"The Sweden-led attempt to announce a significant shift in E.U. policy regarding Jerusalem is an early flexing of muscles of the 27-member union days after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which seeks to give the E.U. a more united and bigger voice on the international stage."

"Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also issued a statement, saying that he "completely rejects the decision of the EU to support the division of Jerusalem," calling it a real danger for the future of Jerusalem and predicting that such a division would never work. Barkat noted that the recent celebration of the 20th anniversary of the reunification of Berlin reminds us that "no divided city in the history of the world has functioned properly."

The last article quoted above included a nice summary of Jerusalem and the basis of the big conflict over the city's fate:

"Competing claims

The Israeli-Jewish claim to Jerusalem dates back some 3,000 years, to the reign of the biblical King David from the city. Throughout the Babylonian exile and the later one that followed the Roman conquest and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, Jewish prayers have centered on a yearning for Jerusalem.

When Israel was reestablished in 1948, the new state had control over western parts of the city while the rest was occupied by Jordan, whose administration was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan. Nineteen years later, Israel captured the territory during the Six Day War, and in 1980 enacted a law declaring “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution rejecting the move – the U.S. abstained in the 14-0 vote – and all but a handful of governments relocated their embassies from the city, mostly to Tel Aviv. The remaining few have done so in the years since.

The U.S. Congress in 1995 passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and stating that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”

But Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, citing national security interests, all exercised a built-in waiver, for consecutive six-monthly periods.

The Islamic claim to Jerusalem is based on the belief that Mohammed rode on his magical winged steed, al-Buraq, from “the sacred mosque” in Arabia to “the farthest mosque” during his “night journey” (Sura 17, the Koran).

Scholars say the “farthest mosque” later became identified with Jerusalem, and specifically the location today of the al-Aqsa mosque – on the site of the first and second Jewish Temples.

Apart from the reference to the “farthest mosque,” there is no mention in the Koran to Jerusalem. By contrast, Jerusalem appears more than 600 times in the Old Testament, and a further 150-plus times in the New Testament.

Critics of the Palestinians’ political claim to the city note that no nation or ethnic group in history, other than the Jews, named Jerusalem as its capital.

They also point out that the founding covenant of the Palestine Liberation Organization, adopted in 1964, does not refer once to Jerusalem.

“Despite the many conquerors of Jerusalem throughout history – Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Seleucids, Romans, Muslims, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottoman Turks, British, and Jordanians – the Jewish people constantly remain the only people to claim Jerusalem as their capital for thousands of years,” Barkat, the Jerusalem mayor, wrote in his letter to the E.U.’s foreign representative."


What this all shows is simple and prophetic. It all boils down to the fate of Jerusalem. Until 1967, when Israel reclaimed the entire city during battle, Jerusalem was barely noticed and it certainly wasn't on the world stage. Since that time, Jerusalem has been front and center in the "final status" negotiations for the mythical "Middle East peace process". This relatively small, seemingly insignificant city (at least in modern day times) has indeed become the centerpiece in these negotiations.

But the Bible told us that this would happen. The Bible told us that Jerusalem would be the focus of the world's attention in the last days, and it most definitely is. The Bible also told us that those nations who attempt to "move" or divide Jerusalem would be "Injured" or "cut into pieces". Yet, that is exactly what the nations are doing - moving rapidly into the exact scenario that God warned against. It's all right there in Zechariah 12, and it couldn't be more clear.

Jerusalem: "A cup that sends all the surrounding people reeling." Indeed it is. Who could have guessed this, over 2,500 years ago?

God. He warned us but apparently no one is listening.

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