In light of the recent turmoil over Jerusalem, and President Trump’s statement to move the American embassy to the city, it is worth noting the prophecies uttered 2500 years ago by the prophet Zechariah. “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.
Here’s the question: “why is a city as small as Jerusalem, within such a small nation, such a constant point of contention for the mid-east, and the globe? There simply is no rational that explains the incessant turmoil that surrounds Jerusalem apart from the Biblical narrative that includes the prophecies uttered over her. The conflict is deeply rooted in a spiritual reality.
God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 was an eternal covenant that promised Abraham’s descendants the land forever. Since then they have been driven from the land because of their disobedience, yet God promised they would return to the land, that they would be given a new heart (Ezekiel 36:13-14, 26-28), and that all of Israel would encounter salvation (Romans 11:26). The fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel regarding the possession of the land is a tremendous encouragement to us as Gentile believers, as the fulfillment is a physical prophetic ‘sign’ (symbol) that our election is secure and our salvation is sure; Paul builds this case beautfully in Romans. God is true to His promises. The salvific reality that we believers celebrate is that we (Jews and Gentiles) are one through the blood of Jesus, yet functionally we remain distinct. This distinction remains throughout the Old and the New Testament.
Jerusalem was King David’s city, a prophetic Messianic sign that it would one day be the city of the Great King. We tend to get tripped up by the the prophecies over Jerusalem and the land of Israel, as the physicality of them seem ‘unspiritual’ to us. God created our physical world, loves his physical creation, and has used physical ‘props’ throughout history to communicate much to mankind. The many prophecies uttered regarding the first coming of Jesus were fulfilled both physically and literally. It would only follow that the end time prophecies regrading Israel and the coming of His Son would be fulfilled in a similar manner.
The Balfour declaration in 1917, (instituted in 1948) sovereignly occurred to get Israel back in the land, yet they will be pillaged one more time, and driven out of the land one more time as Jesus prophesied in Luke 21:24. After they have been driven out, they will again return to the land, aided by repentant Gentile nations (Isa 60:1-14), and “they will look upon the One that they have pierced and mourn for Him as one mourning for an only lost son” (Zech 12:10). They will finally accept Jesus as their Messiah.
God has a zeal for Jerusalem (Zech 1:14). In many ways the drama of the end times will be ‘Jeruselelm-centric’. Jerusalem will be the location of the return of Jesus when He comes for all His people (Jew and Gentile). Scripture tells us, that at His return, Israel will be in a tough spot, as Jerusalem will be surrounded and decimated by her enemies (Zech 14), yet Jesus will return in unstoppable power and rescue her before she is totally destroyed. Satan also has a zeal for Jerusalem, as he is highly motivated in keeping Jesus from returning to rescue Jerusalem. Jesus’ victory seals satan’s demise. This epic battle rages, yet we know who will win!
It is interesting that Jerusalem is the only city the Bible tells us to pray for (Ps 122, Isa 62:1-8). We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That is certainly true for the church today, as we are called to engage in intercession for what’s on God’s heart. We know that the nations of the world are on His heart. We know that according to Acts 2, God will yet pour out His Spirit on all flesh. We know that people from every tribe, tongue and nation will one day worship Jesus (Rev 7). These are prophetic realities that we are to intercede for. Yet, according to the scriptures, Jerusalem is also still on God’s heart, and always will be. It still is the city of the Great King. And so, we His followers, also pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Today many politicians are making statements condemning President Trump for what they feel was a very foolish move, ostensibly ostracizing him from any future potential in brokering peace in the mid-east; yet the Bible clearly indicates that turmoil over Jerusalem is inevitable. God has a plan for the city, and no nation, government, or military machine will dislodge that plan. The turmoil only gives evidence of the spiritual battle that is at play behind the scenes. President Trump may not have any idea what is really at stake eschatologically regarding Jerusalem. God will use Kings and governments to bring about His purposes, while still holding them accountable for any evils they perpetrate, and this includes President Trump. In Isaiah 44 God called Cyrus, a pagan Persian King, His shepherd, as God used him to expedite the return of His people back to the land of Judah after the Babylonian exile. I’m not sure what God will call President Trump one day, but I am sure that God will use Him, as well as many other kings and presidents, to bring about His glorious plan for Israel, and her capital, Jerusalem.