When Hamas shot a rocket toward Jerusalem, landing in it suburb, it shocked a great many people, not the least were the Israelis themselves.
It was a shocking event for two reasons. First, because this was a new kind of rocket and also because Israel didn’t think Hamas had the range to reach that far into Israel. In the past, all the rockets launched from Gaza were aimed at the southern portion of the nation and were of short range. No rocket had ever been launched at Jerusalem since 1970. Earlier in the day, Hamas launched several rockets toward the city of Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest, and most industrial city. No rocket had ever been launched at Tel Aviv since 1990. While the Tel Aviv population was recovering from their shock at the rocket barrage, then the attack toward Jerusalem happened.
The rocket launched at Jerusalem shocked Israelis and Christians alike secondly because of the symbolism. Jerusalem is God’s city, his very bosom. Whether the Muslims care to acknowledge that verbally or not is irrelevant. Their cries to “Destroy Jerusalem!” are evidence that it is that city and that city alone which provokes their ire. Unconsciously they know that it is holy, and because they are not holy, they want to destroy it in any way they can.
When the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in different nations throughout the Arab Spring of 2011, soon afterwards they began to verbalize their intent to destroy Israel, and especially Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem? Jerusalem is not a financial center. It is not a manufacturing center. It is not a military base. It is not even the largest city in Israel. Compared to other cities in the Middle East, it is almost a backwater. If it is not a plum military target, manufacturing target, or financial target, why do they want to destroy Jerusalem, then?
It is God’s eternal city. It is a city where God Himself has put His name. (2 Kings 21:4). This is significant. There is nothing holier in the universe than the name of God. He says of Himself, “I am the LORD, that is my Name” (Isaiah 42:8). He has concern for His holy name. (Ezekiel 36:21). His name is a strong tower, (Proverbs 18:10). In His name and no other is salvation (Acts 4:12). So when God sets His name, it means something!
For those reasons, the ungodly hate Jerusalem, because it de facto means they hate God. They seek to destroy Him, and since He is not present on earth now (they sought to destroy Jesus when He was here!) they try to do the next best thing- attack the Jews, the Christians, and the holy city where God chose to place His Name.
God’s enemies have always sought to destroy His name, ever since Genesis when satan slyly and craftily deceived Adam and Eve. In the Tribulation they continue attack God, but more pointedly, openly, and vastly. And they go after Jerusalem viciously. (Luke 21:20). What sparks this attack is that Satan is thrown out of heaven, barred from re-entry in Revelation 12:9, and as a result his fury is such that as the bible tells us in Revelation 12:13, 17, he goes after the Jews and the Christians. Satan’s open hatred of God culminates at the end of days in his finally leaving off attacking the Jews (who had fled to Petra and are being supernaturally protected by God) and having killed most of the Christians, prevailed against them, (Revelation 13:7, Dan 7:25), he assembles the armies of Armageddon to make war against the Lamb Himself. (Rev. 17:14)
Satan has always gone after God’s people. Genesis 3 opens with satan’s hatred of God, taken out on His children, and the story of sin ends with it.
Back to today, it should not be surprising to us in the spiritual realms that Jerusalem is attacked with missiles, it is prophesied. God’s word never fails, and we know that we know this will happen.
But it is surprising. Even though we know it will happen, when it does, we still have to absorb all the impacts emotionally, personally, and mentally. We are only human, after all. Knowing it will happen is different from seeing it happen. The illusory protective seal we thought had surrounded Jerusalem, simply because it hadn’t been attacked in 40 years (a generation) was pierced in a moment when the first rocket fell. Now our minds have to deal with a new reality.
It takes a moment to adjust.
What will aid our adjustment more smoothly and more rapidly to this new, dire world we live in, of which doom is deepening by the day, is prayer and praise.
Pray to the Lord for all your needs. Pray for your fleshly provision such as food and clothes and a home, of course. Also, pray for spiritual strength, wisdom, love, patience, insight into His word. Being bathed in prayer and washed in God’s Word will help as our hearts and minds re-align to what is coming upon the world. We need HIM to establish peace within us, and to equip us as soldiers in withstanding the worldly pressures. He is squeezing the world after all, and we are in the world. We’re squeezed too. The difference is when we are squeezed, we have an opportunity to grow and shine brighter as trophies of His glory.
Even those Christians who are unaware of end times events feel the spiritual burden. They know at an intuitive, spiritual level that when Jerusalem was attacked it brought in a new era of worsening geo-political situations. They may not know the details of why it is bad, but they know it is bad. Unfortunately, these Christians are least equipped to withstand the spiritual pressure. Perhaps having been for a lifetime unfamiliar with the Word or having never developed a habit of turning to the Lord in troubling times, they flail about like a fish with no air. Remind them that the air they need is His word and His ways. The world is dying. It has been dying since Genesis 3:7 when Adam and Eve listened to the devil and ate the fruit. Jesus is the cure, but Jesus only resuscitates those who repent. For those who refuse His name and who reject holiness, they will die.
This end of the end times, and soon to be Tribulation, are the death throes of the world. All unrighteousness that dwells within it is speeding up. The long, 6000-year decline of the world and all that is within it is beginning its death rattle, the cancer finally having spread to the essential organs.
If you work in the medical profession, you know how hard it is to watch death come to those whom you have worked hard to save. It is especially hard to watch a child die of a dread disease like cancer or leukemia. When the person’s time is up, it happens fast. We know that death will come, but it is still hard to watch. Compassion is deep in the face of the unavoidable.
In this present age, Christians are all nurses, pleading with people to go to the hospital of the cross to have fixed what ails them. Jesus can heal their spiritual death throes, but many refuse. They have a blinded mind and cannot think straight.
In the adventure non-fiction book by Jon Krakauer Into Thin Air, several groups of mountain climbers were attempting to make the Everest summit in the fateful season of 1996. One climber made the top…but he stayed up too long. On his way down, it began to grow dark and he was trying to make the base camp. He ran out of canned air. Radioing his mates at Camp, they pleaded with him to take an oxygen tank stashed nearby for that very purpose. He found the canister and even held it in his hands, but he was convinced that it was empty. That all of them were empty. They weren’t, but prolonged exposure to thin air made his brain unable to think straight. He died soon after, holding his wasted salvation in his hands.
The lost are like that. Salvation is within their reach, but they do not take the breath of life Jesus is willing to extend. They die on the mountain, not one inch closer to God than when they were in the valley.
Things in the Middle East could die down, of course. I hope they do. But it is equally likely that they won’t. Even if war does not break out today, it will probably break out tomorrow, or next week. The attack on Jerusalem, even though the rocked failed to reach the city center, pierced a bubble and now there is no going back. It is like the dogs of war have been unleashed in the rabid minds of the furiously debased and the thought to wipe Jerusalem from the map will only grow. They will circle now, eager to take what is God’s. But God will stop them.
And the LORD will inherit Judah as His portion in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 2:12; also Zechariah 1:17)
“In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed saying ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:24-25)