Posted in jerusalem, news, peace, psalm

Unrest in Jerusalem: a month of terror attacks takes its toll

Pixabay photo

Jerusalem and Israel proper is the location where our Holy God has put His name (2 Chronicles 6:6) and set up His people. (Zechariah 2:12).

As a result, the world hates the holy city. The world hates His people. The world hates the tiny nation. Yet God has said that those who harm Zion touch God Himself. (Zechariah 2:8).

But the God-hating world doesn’t care about what God has said. The sinful world hates Sinless God and ignores His warnings…and touches Israel anyway.

Of late there has been an increase in violence in Jerusalem. Usually when I write about any terror attacks in that holy land it means that the Palestinians are lobbing rockets their way. This time is different. The terror attacks are personal and one-on-one: car rammings and stabbings. Here is a report from Tel Aviv by AFP News

As violence grips Jerusalem and other cities, a climate of suspicion has threatened even the most basic interactions between Jews and Israeli Arabs, not to mention Palestinians. Israeli authorities have long sought to stress the diverse nature of their society, with Israeli Arabs and Jews living together. But while some cities are relatively integrated, on the whole the two communities live parallel existences. Arab Israelis account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population. A series of gun, knife and car-ramming attacks against Jews as well as ongoing clashes between security forces and Palestinian protesters has worsened mutual mistrust. In the streets of Jerusalem and other cities, Israelis are frightened by random knife attacks, 

See this live-listing from the IDF blog (Israel Defense Force)

The latest cycle of Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians began on September 14th, and has been ongoing. This violence includes unruly riots, shootings, stabbings, car rammings, hurled IED’s and rock attacks that are taking place throughout the country.
The IDF and its troops continue to work tirelessly with its partners in the Defense Establishment to protect themselves and ensure security for Israel’s civilians, in accordance with government directives. 

Terror attacks by the numbers: 

41 Stabbings
4 Shootings
5 Car Rammings 

For real-time updates, follow our Twitter account:@IDFSpokesperson 

October 23
7:15 A.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Gush Etzion. Assailant shot on site.

October 22
8:00 A.M. – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Beit Shemesh. Assailant shot on site. 

October 21
9:00 P.M. – Five IDF soldiers injured in car ramming attack near Bethlehem. Assailant shot on site.
3:30 P.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack near Jerusalem. Assailant shot on site.
6:20 A.M. – Attempted stabbing attack in Israeli community near Nablus. Assailant shot on site. 

October 20
9:50 P.M. – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Hebron. Two assailants shot on site.
4:30 P.M. – IDF soldier and Israeli civilian injured in car ramming attack at Gush Etzion Junction. Assailant then attempted to stab the wounded but was shot on site.
11:15 A.M. – IDF officer injured in stabbing attack during violent riot near Hebron. Assailant shot on site. 

And so on…

As Mr Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President commented at the outset of this latest surge of violence.

Mr. Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

CBN posted this a few minutes ago:

Israel Ramps Up Security at Rachel’s Tomb amid Terror Surge

JERUSALEM, Israel — Thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem Friday and many more are expected throughout the weekend to mark the anniversary of the biblical matriarch’s death. Israeli authorities will deploy hundreds of extra police and security forces to the site in view of the surge in attacks by Palestinian terrorists. The rise in attacks began on the eve of the Jewish New Year and continued throughout the fall holidays and afterward.

As I said at the beginning of this essay, the world hates Israel and Jewish people because God has set His name upon them. So why, if God loves His people as the Bible claims, does the LORD allow terror and evil to befall His people so often, these people who are the apple of His eye? Because of His promises. Not only did He promise them Land, and His presence among them as ruler, and exaltation, and being set apart and dwelling in safety, He also promised punishment if they failed to worship Him as He commanded. Therefore, the LORD is allowing this violence as part of His ongoing promise of punishment of His people for rejecting His Son, Jesus, the promised Messiah, for their rebelliousness and their faithlessness.

This punishment will continue until it reaches its full expression in the Tribulation. The Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, FMI go here) is about Daniel’s people as it is stated in the Book of Daniel in 9:24.

The Tribulation has nothing to do with the Church. It has everything to do with the pagan world’s rebelliousness in pursuing sin and not God, (Isaiah 24). It will be a time when God will purge the earth of wicked people. It also has everything to do with Israel.

As evil and dark as the Great Tribulation will be, it will also be a time of glorious salvation. (Revelation 7, especially Revelation 7:9). Many will come to redemption, and all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:26-27, Isaiah 45:17).

We are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. When we pray for that peace, we are really praying for the Lord’s return and the end of all hostilities against His people in His land, forever. The hostilities will continue to occur until that Day, the Day of the LORD.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.” (Psalm 122:6).

We pray for His holy city, for the prosperity of a city whose very name means peace. In so praying we are also praying for the holy Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem. As Gill’s Exposition states of the Psalm 122:6 verse,

for Jerusalem, not merely literally considered; though as that was the metropolis of the nation, and many of them the psalmist addresses were inhabitants of it, it became them to seek and pray for the peace of it, their own peace being concerned in it; see Jeremiah 29:7; but for the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem, the church of God, and for the peace of it; that Christ, the Man, the Peace, the Peacemaker

The minds of the Jerusalemites are darkened in understanding about Who Jesus is. The minds of the Palestianians are darkened in understanding about who Allah is. Rather than hate them, because they are not our enemies, we love them in their ignorance and pray for deliverance; deliverance of the city, of the Land, of the people.

The LORD will set the Day in which He will protect His people with His own hand. (Ezekiel 38:17-23). At the final battle called Armageddon, human rule is destroyed forever. (Daniel 2:44). Israel

Pray for the peace that will bring war, and pray for the war that will being peace. Love Jerusalem and share our goods with the poor of that most high city.

For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. (Romans 15:26-27).

Posted in ammon, bible lands, jerusalem, jordan, prophecy

The ascendancy of the ancient biblical powers

S. Lewis Johnson was a pastor, teacher, and theologian who lived from 1915 to 2004. He was a wonderful expositor and blessedly, his sermons are archived and available for free at the SLJ Institute from Believers Chapel, the church he pastored for many years.

In 1967 he began a series expositing the text verse-by-verse from Zechariah. In the second sermon of the series, he said something I appreciated. From his own vantage point, having lived through most of the twentieth century and into the 21st, he saw a lot of history. In 1945, Israel was reborn, an astounding prophetic fulfillment. (Isaiah 66:8). In 1967, the year Pastor Johnson preached this prophecy series, Israel was reunited with Jerusalem after their miraculous win of the Six Day War.

‎In this portion of the Medeba Map (“the Madaba Mosaic Map”), the Greek letters in red above Jerusalem say, “Holy City, Jerusa___”; the final characters are missing. ‎Image by David Bjorgen, from Wikimedia Commons.

Johnson was a young adult when the Second World War broke out. He has seen the ascendancy of Britain and the Allied powers, Europe at its most powerful, and the ancient biblical empires all but forgotten. However after WWII all that changed. Here is Pastor Lewis.

In this particular sermon, Johnson said,

Now, the other astonishing thing, which may have some relation to it, is the reappearance and re-emergence of the ancient biblical powers. I know when I first started studying the Bible twenty-five years ago(in 1942) and read of Egypt, and Ammon, and Moab, and Persia, and Assyria. And noticed the tremendous prominence that they had in the prophetic portions of the word of God, I wondered if it were even conceivable credible if such a thing could really come to pass in our day that these powers should become powers again. And today as we open up the newspapers we read of Syria, of Lebanon; we read of Iran, which is ancient Persia; we read of Iraq, which is more or less Assyria; we read of Jordan, which is more or less Ammon and Moab; we read of Egypt, and of course, now, and perhaps most remarkable of all we read of Israel. Is there a connection between the eclipse of Europe and the re-emergence of the Middle East as significant in world history? … It is remarkable this connection. In other words, God marches on to the consummation of his program and time is his servant.

I don’t have any technical fine points of anything in the discernment department. I don’t have any profound insights for encouraging you. But I hope the mere fact of the pendulum of history marching inexorably toward prophetic fulfillment of all that the great I AM has said and the knowledge that God is supreme master of His own plan encourages you. It does me.

To Your Name Give Glory

1Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

2Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
(Psalm 115:1-3)

Posted in abram, jerusalem, king, melchizedek, priest

Melchizedek: one of the Bible’s most mysterious characters

One of the most mysterious characters in the Bible is Melchizedek. There are only a few bare references, and what we do know according to the Biblical record, only makes us ask more questions than apparently God has granted answers.

  • What does it mean when we read Melchizedek has a priesthood that will last forever?
  • Why did God establish a priesthood superior to the Levitical priesthood, and is it a precursor to the priesthood of Jesus?
  • How did Abram know Melchizedek ?
  • Is the bread and wine that Melchizedek brings to Abram a precursor of the bread and wine ministration Jesus put into effect at the Last supper?
  • Why doesn’t Melchizedek have a genealogy?
  • Is Jesus Melchizedek in a pre-incarnation?

Sigh.

Anyway here is what we do know about Melchizedek.

His name means “King of Righteousness”: he was both king and priest of Salem, an early name for Jerusalem. Melchizedek blessed Abraham. Jesus Christ succeeded to this role and became a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. 

Melchizedek was both king and priest. As a king, Melchizedek entertained Abraham. (Genesis 14:18 See also Heb 7:1.) 

As a priest, Melchizedek blessed Abraham. (Genesis 14:18-19). 

Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek as a priest of the LORD. (Genesis 14:20,22). Melchizedek here points ahead to Jesus Christ, who is also priest and king. 

The status of Melchizedek 

David appropriates Melchizedek’s office and authority for himself and his descendants Ps 110:1-2,4 The word “order” here means “in succession to”, meaning that Christ assumes the status and function of Melchizedek. 

The Davidic Messiah (Christ) inherits the office of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ was at that time being acclaimed as the “Son of David” and by implication here claims to be the Messiah. 

Jesus Christ as high priest after the order of Melchizedek
Heb 5:8-10; 6:19-20 Only the high priest could sacrifice for the sins of the nation in the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. 

The characteristics of the order of Melchizedek according to Hebrews 7:2-3,
Melchizedek’s order of priesthood was one of kingship, peace and righteousness; it did not depend on genealogical descent (unlike the Levitical priesthood); it is eternal, without known beginning or end. (See also Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6; 6:20; 7:21). 

The uniqueness of Jesus Christ’s high priesthood in the order of Melchizedek Heb 7:6-7 Melchizedek was superior to Abraham and therefore to the Levitical priesthood descended from Abraham; Ps 110:4 The priesthood is secured by God’s oath. See also Heb 6:17-20; 7:16,20-22,26-27; 8:1-2. 

Jesus Christ’s high priesthood makes the Levitical priesthood obsolete Heb 8:13 See also Heb 7:11,18-19; 8:7-13

Source: Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

Melchizedek in the Old Testament

Genesis 14. Melchizedek first appears after Abram’s victory over Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:1–12). The king of Sodom and Melchizedek, “king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High” (Gen 14:18 ESV), approaches the victorious patriarch. Melchizedek shows hospitality to Abram and pronounces a poetic blessing upon him. Abram responds by giving him a 10th of his spoils (Gen 14:18–20). 

Genesis provides no additional details about the identity of Melchizedek and doesn’t explain how a Canaanite city-king came to be a priest of God Most High. Further, Melchizedek does not appear in any genealogy. 

McKeown focuses on the function of Melchizedek within the narrative, drawing on the contrasting parallels between the kings of Salem and Sodom. Both kings approach Abram after the battle, but only Melchizedek comes bearing gifts. The first words of the priest-king form a poetic blessing, while the king of Sodom issues a command: “Give me the persons” (Gen 14:21 ESV). Within the broader context of Genesis, Melchizedek reminds the reader that Abram has been blessed by God. The character turns Abram’s victory into “a sign of God’s ability to deliver on the promises that he has made” (McKeown, Genesis, 88). 

Psalm 110. Melchizedek’s only other Old Testament appearance is in Psa 110, a psalm addressed to the king of God’s people. In it, the LORD promises to bring victory in battle and to establish the king as “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psa 110:4 ESV). The psalmist then declares that God will stand at the right hand of the king, using him to bring judgment upon the nations (Psa 110:5–6). 

This eschatological reading of Psa 110 piqued the curiosity of Jews and later Christians, especially in regard to Melchizedek. Hughes illustrates: “Psalm 110 declared that God was going to do something new by bringing into history a priest-king like Melchizedek. His priesthood would last ‘forever.’ He would be appointed directly by God. A divine oath guaranteed it: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind.’ What an intriguing prophecy. God was going to establish a totally new priesthood” (Genesis, 215).

The New Testament. 

The first reference to Melchizedek in the New Testament is a quotation of Psa 110:4 found in Heb 5:6. The writer quotes the passage to affirm that Christ was appointed as heavenly high priest: “And being made perfect, [Christ] became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 5:9–10 ESV). Hebrews 7, a commentary on the Old Testament appearances of Melchizedek, elaborates on this teaching. 

The author of Hebrews then turns to Psa 110, citing God’s promise to appoint a priest “after the order of Melchizedek” as indication of the Levitical priesthood’s imperfection (Heb 7:11 ESV). Christ fulfills the eschatological hope of the psalm not by meeting the legal requirement of descent, but by the eternal quality of His life (Heb 7:13–17). He is a superior high priest, bringing a new covenant which grants salvation to all who believe (7:18–25). 

Melchizedek provides Christians with a template for understanding the heavenly priesthood of Christ. This challenges our attempts to substitute human mediators for the divine, revealing a high priest whose saving work cannot be confined to any one culture or bloodline (Thompson, Hebrews, 164). 

Brockway, D. (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Melchizedek. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Melchizedek blesses Abram

‎Abram’s remarkable victory made him a hero in the land wherein he dwelt. His return from the battle field of Dan was a triumphal march. The king of Sodom came to thank him and bade him keep the grain and treasures which he had regained; but Abram returned everything to the Sodomites, “Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me,” his allies. 

‎Here also occurred that mysterious meeting with Melchizedek, king of Salem, of whom the Bible says, “he was the priest of the most high God.” It would seem, therefore, that God was still worshipped by some people of Canaan. Melchizedek, His minister, came forth from Salem, which may have been Jerusalem; and he bore bread and wine to Abram. The priest king blessed the victor, and Abram gave him a part of all the spoils. Then they separated, apparently forever, two mighty servants of the Lord, who had recognized each other for a moment in passing, and then gone each his way.

When we get to heaven, won’t it be wonderful to seek these answers from the people themselves? If the LORD permits, that is. On the other hand, perhaps some of these questions we find so burning today will wither under the glory of truth shining from the from the face of Jesus. In any case, it will be humbling and thrilling to worship El Elyon alongside such a mighty and worthy king as Melchizedek, whose very name means “Righteousness.”

————————————

Further Reading:

The Priesthood of Melchizedek

Bible Q&A: Who was Melchizedek?

Posted in israel, jerusalem, prophecy, synagogue

Israel in prophecy: Peace talks, Jerusalem divided? ISIS blows up pipeline, Synagogue attack

Israel and especially Jerusalem has been in the news a lot lately. Israel is the ground zero for prophecy. As Joel Rosenberg wrote in his non-fiction book Epicenter, that part of the world is prophetically known as the epicenter because “the eyes of the nations are riveted upon Israel and the Middle East, the epicenter of the momentous events shaking our world and shaping our future.”

For thus says the Lord of host, After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you– that is Israel–touches the apple of His eye. (Zechariah 2:8)

He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. (Deuteronomy 32:10)

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, (Psalm 17:8)

“Israel is very precious to God; and they who vex and harass him are as they who hurt that which God prizes inestimably, and which a mere touch offends and injures.” (Pulpit Commentary)

And yet we know that in the end of time no one on earth will be Israel’s friend. Zechariah 12:3 says that at the time of the very end, all nations will be gathered against her. This is to show that God alone is Israel’s protector. All who try to move Jerusalem, the immovable rock, will injure themselves, the prophecy states.

By these verses and others we can see and know that the hatred against Israel and the Jews is irrational. This is because it is from satan. This rage and hatred of Israel will only become worse as time goes on and God executes His final plans for human history.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
(Psalm 2:1-3)

For the last few weeks tensions and violence in Jerusalem has inched up to the nearly unbearable zone. Fox News has a timeline. Here is an excerpt

Nov. 5: A Hamas militant slams a minivan into crowd waiting for a train in Jerusalem, killing two.

Nov. 8: Israeli police shoot and kill an Arab Israeli protester at a demonstration in northern Israel. Video indicates the man was walking away from the officer when shot.

Nov. 10: Palestinian attackers kill two Israelis in Tel Aviv and the West Bank in separate stabbing attacks.

Nov. 13: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman; the trio agrees on steps to defuse tensions at Jerusalem holy site.

Nov. 14: Israel lifts age restriction at holy site; Friday prayers go off without incident.

Nov. 16: Police say Israeli man stabbed in the back by an “Arab” attacker in Jerusalem and wounded. Assailant escapes.

Nov. 17: Israeli government says it will step up punitive demolitions, gives notices to families of Palestinian attackers

Nov. 18: Two Palestinians storm Jerusalem synagogue, kill four five and wound six.

November 7:
Call to Mobilize Reservists to Secure Jerusalem

Avi Naim, head of the Beit Aryeh council in western Samaria, called to mobilize reserve forces to stabilize the security situation in Jerusalem on Friday, in a special interview with Arutz Sheva. “The situation is explosive and sensitive,” Naim stated. “There is the guiding hand of [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas there, who wants to burn the city [down], and the fact that there are no incidents in Judea-Samaria.” “[Jerusalem] needs reinforcements, and we should call up the reserves, so the [IDF] is seen everywhere and so that we take a firm hand [against terrorists],” he added.

Remember, the end of November was supposed to be a drop-dead date for finalization of peace talks, long-stalled but supposedly resumed in October. The goal in early November was this:

The Palestinians are expected to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council by the end of November or early December that calls for an end to the occupation and the recognition of a Palestinian state along 1967 lines.

Joel 3:2 prophesies judgment upon the nations for the way they treated Israel, which the verses above show God considers His own, near to Him as the apple of His eye. Dividing His land is something He will render wrath for, and dividing Jerusalem is an even worse idea. Yet Luke 21:24 shows us that the Gentiles trample Jerusalem anyway.

They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Revelation 11:2 says it will be for 42 months.

but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

November 8
EU urges two-state capital in Jerusalem as tensions soar
Europe’s top diplomat on Saturday called for a Palestinian state sharing Jerusalem as its capital with Israel, hours after the police killing of an Arab-Israeli further fanned tensions. … “I think Jerusalem can be and should be the capital of two states,” the new EU foreign policy chief told reporters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. The status of Jerusalem is a sensitive issue that has blocked peace efforts for decades.

November 13
Martin Sherman wrote an opinion piece on the Jerusalem Post asking a terrible question,

Into the Fray: On the cusp of carnage?
A perfect storm brewing

A perfect storm is brewing for Israel. On virtually every front, ominous clouds are gathering, and should the menacing maelstroms they portend hit together, it is far from certain that the Jewish state will survive the destructiveness of their combined impact. Since I began writing this Into the Fray series in mid- 2011, I have warned repeatedly of the perils of the government’s policy of counterproductive compromises and concessions. I cautioned that this “cavalcade of capitulation” will elicit nothing from our adversaries other than demands for more – and more far-reaching – concessions, as indeed it has. In my column of December 2, 2011, I wrote: “By adopting a policy of continually trying to avoid confrontations in which it can prevail, Israel may eventually find itself forced to engage in a confrontation in which it cannot.”

Precisely such a perilous predicament is now beginning to develop before our eyes.

Across every border Israel shares with its Arab neighbors, within its own borders, and far removed from them, a formidable range of threats – from damaging economic sanctions and international isolation, through murderous terrorist attacks, jihadi insurgency and domestic insurrection, to the specter of weapons of mass destruction and a nuclear Iran – is coalescing with disturbing speed into a multi-faceted menace that jeopardizes the survival of the Jewish nation-state to a degree arguably unprecedented since its inception.

There is one yet-to-be fulfilled prophetic confrontation that Israel engages in which they cannot and do not win: The Gog-Magog battle of Ezekiel 38-39. In that confrontation, Israel is taken by surprise, and would lose, unless the LORD had directly intervened.

November 15
ISIS Blows Up Egypt-Jordan Gas Pipeline
The pipeline through Sinai exports Egypt’s natural gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Jordan is in the anti-ISIS coalition.

The Islamic State’s Sinai Peninsula terror organization, which was named Ansar Bayt al-Makdas until it swore allegiance to Islamic State (aka ISIS), has blown up the pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Jordan. The pipeline, which is 1,200 km long, and was built at a cost of $1.2 billion, is used for exporting natural gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. In the past, it was repeatedly attacked by Islamist terror groups, until Egypt’s gas exports to Israel were halted. The Islamic State’s Sinai Peninsula notified the press that it would not allow gas to be exported to Jordan unless ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi allowed it. It said that the attack was a response to Jordan’s participation in the military coalition against ISIS.

Speaking of being on the cusp of carnage, though in his opinion piece Mr Sherman was speaking of general war between nations, there was carnage today, sadly and mournfully.

Four Five killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue

Four Israelis were killed and eight more wounded in a frenzied assault by two Palestinian men on Jewish worshippers praying at a Jerusalem synagogue in the most lethal incident in the city in years. The two assailants who launched their attack with meat cleavers and a gun during early morning prayers were then killed by police officers in the ensuing gun battle at the scene of the attack. The deaths occurred as the two men – identified by family members as cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal from the East Jerusalem district of Jabal Mukaber – burst into the Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of West Jerusalem.

Israel vows harsh response to synagogue attack

Israel vowed harsh retaliation Tuesday for a Palestinian attack that left four rabbis hacked or shot to death on the blood-smeared floor of a synagogue in Jerusalem, a major escalation of already-high tensions after weeks of religious violence. The attack during morning prayers in the west Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof was carried out by two Palestinian cousins wielding meat cleavers, knives and a handgun. They were shot to death by police after the deadliest assault in the holy city since 2008. Three of the dead were born in the United States and the fourth was born in England, although all held dual Israeli citizenship. Six others were wounded, including two police officers.

Tuesday’s attack, however, appeared to mark a turning point, with the gruesome scene in a house of worship shocking a nation long accustomed to violence. The government released a photo of a bloody meat cleaver it said came from the crime scene. Government video showed blood-soaked prayer books and prayer shawls on the floor of the synagogue. A pair of glasses lay under a table dripping in blood, and thick streaks of blood lined the floor.

Source

Tears.

How Long, O Lord?
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
13 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
(Psalm 13:1-6)

Posted in end time, gaza, hamas, ISIS, jerusalem, peace

Quick update on Gaza/Isis

Life in Israel today:

Warning sirens have sounded over 4,000 times in Israel over 45 days of fighting with the Gaza Strip.

Israelis take cover as siren sounds warning
of incoming rockets near the Gaza border. Photo by Reuters. Source

Joel C. Rosenberg writes of the war in Gaza against Israel. (Biography source). This is yesterday’s update.

War with Gaza Day #46, by Joel C. Rosenberg
(Jerusalem, Israel) — The last 48 hours have seen a dramatic surge of violence here in Israel, and horrific atrocities throughout the epicenter. At the moment it is 2:15 in the morning here, the beginning of Day #46.

Here is the latest:

–Hamas and its allies have fired more than 320 rockets at Israel since Tuesday night when it broke its 11th ceasefire agreement.
–This represents one of the largest surges of violence in the past 46 days.
–Why such a ferocious barrage by Hamas? Because the Shin Bet and IDF just scored an enormous intelligence and operational coup — IDF airstrikes killed three very senior Hamas military commanders.

There is much more at the link.

Bomb Fired From Gaza Kills Israeli Child, Netanyahu Vows Tough Response

In new violence, a 4-year-old Israeli boy was killed by Palestinian rocket fire, while four Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed a tough response to the killing. In all, more than 2,000 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side have died.

Source

A four-year-old Israeli boy was killed by a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon. The boy, named late Friday as Daniel Tragerman, was at home with his parents and siblings at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region, close to the border with Gaza, when the attack took place.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! (Psalm 122:6)

Why Should we pray for the peace of Jerusalem?

God tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem in Psalm 122:6-9: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’ For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.” From this passage, we see that praying for peace and good to come to God’s holy city benefits those who pray. God promised blessings on those who bless Israel and curses on those who curse her (Genesis 12:3), and since Jerusalem is depicted as the center of Jewish life, it follows that those who pray for her peace and security will be granted peace themselves.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is most appropriate for a city whose name literally means “peaceful” and which is the residence of the God of peace. The phrase “peace be upon Israel” is found also at the end of Psalm 125:5 and 128:6, indicating that it was a common farewell blessing. Further, Jerusalem will be the scene of Christ’s return (Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4), and at that time He will establish permanent peace with its walls. All Christians should be eagerly awaiting His return and praying for the time when the Prince of Peace will reign in Jerusalem.

Jesus also said that we should be peacemakers, which would include praying for peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). And we are commanded to do our best to live at peace with others. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). So, God wants us to seek peace among all people, and that would include praying for peace in Jerusalem, especially because of its special place in His heart.

America is not escaping the terrorists’ notice. While Hamas is busy fighting Israel in Gaza, ISIS has made threats against the US on our soil. Joel Rosenberg again

  • Increasingly, U.S. officials see ISIS preparing to attack Americans directly in the homeland.
  • “ISIS today represents a direct and growing threat to the United States,” reports National Journal.

To conclude, a biblical perspective by Joel Rosenberg,

At the same time, let’s maintain a Biblical perspective on all that’s happening. Bible prophecy warns us that such terrible things are going to happen in the last days before the return of Christ. Indeed, they are signs that the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom is getting closer. Therefore, as we study the Scriptures, let us not lose heart. Rather, let us be motivated to love our neighbors, and love our enemies, and care for the persecuted church in the Middle East and around the world. We may not have the power on our own to stop such evil. But we can help our brothers and sisters to stand firm in the Lord, and be to brave in sharing the Gospel and to show compassion to the helpless, and to be true lights in the darkness.

Posted in covenant, jerusalem, jesus, shekinah

Jerusalem! Part 3, Its Wondrous Spiritual Future

Jerusalem: Introduction
Jerusalem Part 1: The Land
Jerusalem Part 2: The Nation

In this third and final part of looking at the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel, we’ll look at the spiritual aspect of this holy city. We looked at the land itself in part 1, the geography, animals, and plants. In Part 2 we looked at the political entity that is today’s Israel. Now let’s see what God has in store for the city where He placed His name!

I had said in the introduction that in listening to John MacArthur preach through Zechariah, I have been encouraged, astounded, and blessed as the meaning of that tremendous book opens my mind in awe of God. In one of the sermons he preached about “The Future Glory of Jerusalem“, and it swept me away so completely that I decided to do this three-part series. Here is a small snippet of what he preached. I encourage you to listen in its entirety

Let me give you a little fast history, hang on. It first appears in Scripture as the city of Salem, ruled by a man by the name of Melchizedek. In Genesis 14 he is called the king of Salem. Most people assume the name Jerusalem or Salem comes from the Hebrew shalom, which means peace. Twenty centuries before Christ it existed as the city of Salem. The next time we see Jerusalem in history it appears as a Canaanite stronghold with an allegiance to Egypt. Soon after that we see it in reference to Joshua. This is 600 years after the Genesis record or 1400 years before Christ. Joshua in Chapter 10 sets his sights on this city as he conquers Canaan. And in Chapter 15 Joshua says that this territory, including this city, has been given to Judah when the land was divided among the tribes. But even though it was 1400 years before Christ that the city was said to belong to Judah, it wasn’t until 1003 B.C. that David stormed Jerusalem, which was then a fortress of the people called the Jebusites and according to II Samuel 5, David took the city, which was later to bear the name the city of David. The city never really became much under David. It wasn’t until David’s brilliant son, Solomon, that Jerusalem reached its golden age.

And under Solomon the wall was extended, an incredible palace was built, an amazing and marvelous wonder of the world the temple was accomplished, and Jerusalem became something astonishing, something astounding. But after Solomon the ages that flowed on brought no comparable glory to Jerusalem and by 586 B.C. or about 400 years after Solomon, the city was a rubble, destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Nehemiah went back and rebuilt it but it remained rather insignificant from then on. Finally in 70 A.D. after the birth of Jesus Christ some 70 years the city was wiped out again and destroyed by the Roman army, as we saw last week. Jerusalem arose rather meekly from the ashes a little after 70 A.D., but by 132 A.D. whatever was left was crushed by the Emperor Hadrian from Rome. And until modern times even in our modern era Jerusalem has been kicked back and forth between the Turks and the Christian nations, the Moslems and the Christians kicking it back and forth.

And finally in our generation the marvelous rebirth of the state of Israel has occurred, a miracle of sociology, a miracle of the perpetuity of a race of human beings. I dare say nobody has ever met a Jebusite, a Hivite, a Amorite, a Moabite or a Edomite, or any other -ite around the Bible, but we sure have Israelites because God has preserved them in their own land. They’ve come back, but the hold it very tenuously don’t they, surrounded by enemies. In fact surrounded on every side of them that is land they are locked in with literally bloodthirsty enemies and their hold is tenuous and they are always on the edge of war. Incredible as it is from Melchizedek in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis to 1977, the story of Jerusalem weaves its way through history. Cities come and go but not that city, it just continues. The city of Melchizedek, the city of David, the city of Christ, the city of Paul, the city of Salidine, the city of General Allenby, the city of Ben Guion, the city of Moshe Dayan, it is ever the perpetual city and someday it’ll be the city of the seat of David, the Lord Jesus Christ yet again.

This final chapter hasn’t been written. It’s final hero hasn’t arrived yet, but He will. For about 2,000 years now the Jews have been going to the Wailing Wall at one point or another to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to plead with God to send a deliverer and break Gentile power.

When God decides the timing is right for that to happen it will be stupendous! During the Tribulation the glorious city will be trodden into the mud. It will become so perverse that it will be called metaphorical Sodom and Egypt. (Revelation 11:8). Both Sodom and Egypt were known for oppression, perversity, and sin. Armies will circle around the city (Luke 21:20). The Gentiles will trample it. (Luke 21:24). An earthquake will split it into three parts and 7,000 will die (Revelation 11:13, Revelation 16:19). Jerusalem is going to have a rough, rough time.

But we cannot leave it like that.

The Lord chose this city for His name. He endowed it with His presence. (Luke 2:9). He chose to be crucified there. And when he returns, it will be to JERUSALEM!!

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)”.

And He will change the topography of the area to raise up Jerusalem!

It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.
7 It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.

8 And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.
9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The Lord is one,”
And His name one.

10 All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.” (Zechariah 14:6-10).

Ezekiel 47 parallels the scene. It is tremendous. Please go read it. It is too long to put here. But the Middletown Bible Church of Middletown CT has put up a page with a drawing in addition to a biblical essay about Jerusalem’s final position. They write,

“In Zechariah 14:8 we learn that half of this river will empty into the Dead Sea and half of the river will empty into the Mediterranean Sea. This river is also mentioned in Psalm 46:4 (and notice the context in Psalm 46:9-10 which clearly speaks of the kingdom).”

Jerusalem! The LORD is there. (Ezekiel 48:35). How close is the time for Jerusalem to be inhabited safely (Zechariah 14:11) and the glorious city and temple to be glowing with the manifested presence of God who is Jesus in the flesh? I do not know, but when it happens, it will be mercy…He promises mercy…

“Therefore thus said the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, said the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth on Jerusalem. 17Cry yet, saying, Thus said the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:16-17)

IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT!!!!!!!!!!

Posted in anti-semitism, israel, jerusalem, prophecy

Jerusalem! part 2, The Nation. "Israel to define itself as ‘national state of Jewish people’ "

Jerusalem! Introduction

Jerusalem! Part 1, The Land 

Jerusalem! Part 3, Its Glorious Spiritual Future

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jerusalem! It is the eternal city, (Psalm 46:4, Revelation 3:12) God’s city where He has set His name, (1 Kings 11:36, 2 Chronicles 12:13) and is the city in which Immanuel (Matthew 1:23) will dwell in all His glory, (Zechariah 8:3) calling it Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There.(Ezekiel 48:35). It is the nickname He uses when he calls His people. (Zechariah 3:2). It is a place that it figures solely as the most important land, city, and people in the history of the earth. All of history is dwindling down to one focal point: Jerusalem. So let’s take a look at this incredible place.

God chose a people and a land to bring unto Himself. These are the Israelites and His land is Israel. Its city is Jerusalem. He made this promise to Abram in Genesis 12. God was actually delivering three distinct promises to Abram, later re-named Abraham. God made a land promise, a national promise, and a spiritual promise. In part 1 we looked at the land promise. Here is the verse–

“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Is Israel a great nation? Well, yes. It has developed some of the world’s most wonderful technology. It has changed an arid place into a garden, and now most of the world’s fruit is exported from there. It is a military nation, strong and mighty. It is a tiny nation, having given away land during successive political parliaments. It is only the size of Massachusetts, but it is incredible in that it simply did not exist for 1900 years and then one day it did!

NatGeo

However as much as Christians bless the nation, and pray for its deliverance, we have to be realistic. This is from a sermon titled “The Cleansing of Israel,” delivered by John MacArthur in 1977. Not much has changed since then-

“Israel is not a religious nation. I would have to say that I doubt whether been in a more irreligious nation in my life than Israel. It’s an irreligious nation. Their god is the god of armies, the god of strength, the god of surprise, the god of might, the god of racial identity, which is the big thing, but not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and not the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Jerusalem is referred to as Salem in Genesis 14:18, when Abram honored Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the God Most High (unusual that this one is King AND Priest, something banned later in Israel’s history. Priests always came from the tribe of Levi and Kings from the tribe of Judah).

 The meeting of Abraham with Melchizedek

Ezekiel 21:25-27 prophesied the end of the kings and there has been no king rightfully officiating over Israel since King Jehoiachin in about 600BC, shortly after Ezekiel’s pronouncement. There has been no priest in Israel since the last High Priest serving when the Roman army came and overthrew the Temple in 70AD since Phannias ben Samuel and he wasn’t even from a priestly family, he was just a revolutionary. he died during the Roman overthrow.

There is still no king or priest over Israel today. And of course, no prophet since John The Baptist and then Jesus prophesied there. There was not even any nation Israel between 70Ad and 1948. By this standard, the Israel of today is merely a political entity, led by a Prime Minister, a President, and a Parliament (Knesset).

Even during the period between May 1948 and June 1967, Jerusalem was not in Israel’s hands. They won East Jerusalem back during the Six Day War of June 1967, wresting it from the Jordanians who were occupying it. Later that month the Israeli Knesset declared Jerusalem unified. On July 30, 1980, the Knesset passed a law declaring the City of Jerusalem to be ‘eternal and indivisible.’” The United Nations promptly condemned the action.

There is still contention today. For example, what are the city’s borders? You can search for that answer online and you’ll come up with millions of maps with dotted lines, position papers, and news articles, but no borders.

Why won’t the world declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel? No country in the world has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Many do not recognize it as a city that is even belonging to Israel! When others proclaim that Jerusalem shall be their capital, not a murmur is heard from the world.

Why won’t America declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel? We won’t even place an embassy there. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is a public law of the United States passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. It was passed for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999. This law was never enacted, due to opposition from Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. (source). The US position is aligned with the United Nations- to ‘internationalize” Jerusalem, make it be an international city.

Source Times of Israel

Why are there maps emerging one after one that not only fail to draw correct boundaries to Israel, but fail to list it in any way as even existing? This has happened over and over, including just a few days ago. Times of Israel reports, “Official UN workers in Lebanon posed with a map in which Israel did not exist, and the entire area from the Jordan to the sea was titled ”Arab Palestine.” At the launch of German-funded projects in Lebanon earlier in May, Ann Dismorr, director of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) affairs in Lebanon, held the map, which mentioned Jordan, Syria and the other neighboring countries by name — but neglected to name Israel.”

Why does the world insist on calling Israel a state, and not a nation? Or a nation and not a state? Or a nation-state? The roots of the political conflict with Jerusalem and Israel lay in the fact that the Arab world refuses to declare it a national state for the Jewish people. Israel is set to define itself, “Israel’s new government plans to pass a controversial new law defining the country as a “national state of the Jewish people” despite the presence of 1.5 million Arabs within its borders. It will be enshrined in Israel’s Basic Law – the country’s equivalent of a constitution – and lay down that The State of Israel is the National State of the Jewish People,” as the UK Telegraph reports. 

Think about it. Since 1990 there have been 34 new countries to enter the world stage. A bunch of them came about as the Soviet Union dissolved. One of them was Armenia. The rest are listed below. The most recent is Sudan splitting into (Islamic) north Sudan and (Christian) South Sudan. (source)

March 21, 1990 – Namibia became independent of South Africa.
May 22, 1990 – North and South Yemen merged to form a unified Yemen.
October 3, 1990 – East Germany and West Germany merged to form a unified Germany after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
September 17, 1991 – The Marshall Islands was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony.
September 17, 1991 – Micronesia, previously known as the Caroline Islands, became independent from the United States.
January 1, 1993 – The Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent nations when Czechoslovakia dissolved.
May 25, 1993 – Eritrea was a part of Ethiopia but seceded and gained independence.
October 1, 1994 – Palau was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony.
May 20, 2002 – East Timor (Timor-Leste) declared independence from Portugal in 1975 but did not became independent from Indonesia until 2002.
June 3, 2006 – Montenegro was part of Serbia and Montenegro (also known as Yugoslavia) but gained independence after a referendum.
June 5, 2006 – Serbia became its own entity after Montenegro split.
February 17, 2008 – Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.
July 9, 2011 – South Sudan peacefully seceded from Sudan following a January 2011 referendum. Sudan itself was the first to recognize South Sudan and did so one day early, on July 8, 2011.

Have there been successive UN Resolutions condemning their actions? Declaring where they may or may not build apartments? Fighting over which city is allowed to be their capital? Talks and endless talks over unifying territory, or splitting territory? Other nations managing as guardian large swathes of certain other nation’s’ lands? Wars? Of course not.

Only Israel sparks such attention, focus, and hatred.

Though there was a push several years ago for the vaunted ‘two-state solution’ to end the armed conflict over Israel, it subsided in 2008. I watched for years but we heard crickets on the Palestinian-Israeli peace plan. Until now. All of a sudden it revived big time. Secretary of State has rushed to Israel and environs to re-start the talks.

Yesterday the Guardian UK reported, “The British foreign secretary, William Hague, has warned of the risks of failure of the US-sponsored mission to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, suggesting that it was the last attempt possible at reaching a two-state solution to the conflict and there was no realistic “plan B”. Hague spoke in Jerusalem shortly before US secretary of state John Kerry departed at the end of his fourth visit to the area, saying the time was approaching when “hard decisions” needed to be made.”

This current iteration of the two state solution talks is like a cat. A cat will doze for hours, slumbering quietly in the sun. Little snuffles emit from its nose, convincing you it is asleep. Then all of a sudden for no reason it will jump up and RUN LIKE A MANIAC INTO THE NEXT ROOM! It’s like it all of a sudden says “I need to be in there, right now.” That is what the US Secretary of State is like. For at least five years, not a word was said about the Israeli peace talks. Now it is hectic activity as if we’re approaching a cliff. And maybe we are.

The upshot is that Israel, and Jerusalem, is a political entity. It surely is a great nation, but it is without paying homage to her God. God is still with her, and will protect her to the end. She will be ravaged, for it has been the times of the Gentiles since the failure of the last king. Only gentile Kings ruled Israel, such as Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar, etc. Even now she is without a king, only a Prime Minister.

These are the questions. This is today’s Jerusalem, today’s Israel, a politically buffeted nation without a king or a priest or world regard. The world is against it.

Anti-Semitism widespread among European Muslims
“Anti-Semitism in the Muslim World has always been problematic. After all, a 2008 Pew Research Center study shows that almost 100 percent of people in the Arab countries surrounding Israel hold anti-Semitic views. But what is even more problematic is how this anti-Semitism among Muslims has spread to the Western World, especially to children and teenagers. Anti-Semitism is rapidly spreading and becoming mainstream among young Muslims in Europe …”

Source

Last week a Italian journalist Giulio Meotti asked in an Op-Ed,

How Did 150,000,000 Europeans Come to Hate Israel?
The Jewish religion is under attack in Europe”, declared the Conference of European Rabbis president Pinchas Goldschmidt. Many polls (such as the study on behalf of the German Social Democratic Friedrich Ebert Foundation) bring an iconic number measuring the disaster: 150,000,000 Europeans have a delegitimizing and demonizing view of the State of Israel and its citizens. For a large sector of Europe, the cities, skyscrapers, hospitals, cinemas, and schools on that tiny sliver of land named “Israel” are merely real estate that will be restored to Islam once this malefic Jewish form is swept away. This is a popular mobilization against Israel in the “Raus mit Uns” spirit. 150,000,000 Western citizens believe that Zionism is a misconceived project to be brought to an end as soon as possible.”

He ended his piece this way, “Europe’s public opinion has been persuaded to believe that Israel is a state that ought to be dismantled forthwith. Europe’s population count today is 730,000, 000 citizens. What would happen if the anti-Semitic worm infected the mind of all of them? Can Israel really remain immune from that eruption of psychotic anti-Jewish illness?”

Yes. and No. Political Israel’s days are numbered. The world is coming against it as Zechariah showed in the prophecy. The psychotic illness that is Israel hate is satan’s contribution to his plan to thwart God’ The world will gather against Israel and surround Jerusalem. In this regard, the Italian journalist’s questions is consistent with prophecy.

““Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)

“And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.” (Revelation 12:13)

“For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. ” (Zechariah 14:2).

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.” (Luke 21:20).

Things do not look good for the nation Israel and the city Jerusalem. And they aren’t. But the Lord will come and save His nation, His people, and His city. The third part of the series on Jerusalem will look at its glorious future! And it IS glorious! They will go through a dark time, but then things become very bright, as bright as the glory of the LORD himself!

source

Posted in biodiversity, israel, jerusalem

Jerusalem! part 1: The Land. Israel’s biodiversity, geography, & wildlife

Jerusalem! Introduction

Jerusalem! Part 2, The Nation

Jerusalem! Part 3, Its glorious spiritual future
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It all begins and ends with Jerusalem.

Actually let’s back up a bit. It all begins and ends with God.

Before the foundation of the world, God determined in His mind and His heart to select a people for Himself to have fellowship with. (Ephesians 1:4). And so began the creation of worlds, and His creation of people. (Genesis 1). Thereafter, several different dispensations occurred, being the various methods and means God used to enact this fellowship. A dispensation is a period of time in which man is tested in respect to obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. These dispensations in my opinion are used to show man that he cannot attain God’s standard of holiness on his own. I personally believe that in the Millennium when all people enter as either righteous or glorified righteous, Jesus is physically present on earth, and the demons and satan are bound in the abyss (so no temptation), that it will again be revealed that man cannot adhere to God’s holy standards. This is proven by the final battle occurs. (Revelation 20:7-10)

In the Garden of Eden, after man sinned, he was no longer innocent, therefore God’s next method to persuade man to willingly love and serve Him was to appeal to his conscience. This Dispensation of Conscience, which began with man being expelled from the Garden of Eden and ended with the flood, lasted for approximately 1,656 years. “This dispensation is referred to as “The Age of Conscience” because of the fact that man was tested on the basis of obedience to his own conscience – that is, to his knowledge of what was right or wrong. Since there were no “laws” until after the flood, man was free to obey, or disobey, the dictates of his own conscience. Because man’s conscience was awakened in him as a result of his eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, man became conscious of sin and, as a result of this consciousness, became responsible to God for his conduct on the basis of his conscience. God’s purpose during this “Age of Conscience” was to prove to man that, when left to his own choice between right and wrong, nothing but failure can result.” (source)

The Noahic Covenant began the next dispensation, the Age of Government. After that, when the flood

Noah’s Sacrifice by Daniel Maclise, 1806-1870

waters subsided from the earth, we began the Age of Promise. “Man under promise Out of the dispersed descendants of the builders of Babel, God called one man, Abram, with whom He enters into covenant. Some of the promises to Abram and his descendants were purely gracious and unconditional. These either have been or will yet be literally fulfilled. Other promises were conditional upon the faithfulness and obedience of the Israelites. Every one of these conditions was violated, and the dispensation of promise resulted in the failure of Israel and closed in the judgment of bondage in Egypt.”

During this dispensation, the LORD made a promise to Abram, found in Genesis 12.

The LORD chose Israel to be His nation and the Israelites to be His people. Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3).

God was actually delivering three distinct promises to Abram, later re-named Abraham.

He made a land promise, a national promise and a spiritual promise.

1. The Land Promise: “A land that I will show you.”
“He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” (Genesis 15:7). Genesis 15:18-21 describes the boundary of the promised land in terms of the territory of various ancient peoples: “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates – the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” This is the “borders of the Land” (Gevulot Ha-aretz).

This land promise has never been fulfilled. The land that God promised His people the Israelites is very extensive. It would encompass all of today’s Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza, part of Iraq to the Euphrates & Tigris, the Nile Delta of Egypt, and part of Saudi Arabia.

To compare, today the Arab League includes 21 separate Arab states spanning an area of more than 5,000,000 square miles (12.9 million sq. km.) However, there is only one Jewish state consisting of 8,000 square miles (20,715 sq. km.). It is called Israel. It is only slightly larger than Massachusetts.

Ancient maps placed Jerusalem in the center of the page. They knew that Jerusalem is God’s city and is the fulcrum of history, the axle of the wheel, and the center of the world stage. In the Jewish tradition, the Ark in the Temple in Jerusalem, through which God revealed himself to His people, rested on the Foundation stone marking the “navel of world” wiki omphalos. Ezekiel 5:5, “This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations.” We read a similar reference in Ezekiel 38:2, “to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.”

And what of this land? What is it like? It is wonderful! From deserts of the southern Negev to the snow-capped mountains to the north, to the 270 miles of coastline along the Mediterranean and to the frontier at the east, it is a diverse land.

Mountains of Judea, source Wikipedia commons

Northern coast. Source Wikipedia commons

Jordan’s Rift Valley, Source Wikipedia commons
Acacia tree in Negev Desert, Makhtesh Gadol, Wiki photo

The wildlife of Israel includes the flora and fauna of Israel, which is extremely diverse due to the country’s location between the temperate and the tropical zones, bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the west and the desert in the east. (Wiki: Wildlife of Israel)

God called it a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:8). A land with abundant milk means that it had abundant cattle (or goats), and that means abundant grasslands and pastures. I have read in several Jewish commentaries that the honey is not bee nectar but the syrup one extracts from dates or figs. Either way, it evokes the same sense of abundance, this time from vegetation.

According to Israel Birding website, “Israel is situated at an intercontinental junction- a bottleneck for

A Hoopoe, Israel’s national bird

migration routes. An estimated 500 million (!!) birds pass through every spring and autumn, with 530 species in record. This website features Israel’s latest birding news.”

Israel’s climate varies from semi-arid to temperate to subtropical. The region is home to a variety of plants and animals; at least 47,000 living species have been identified, with another 4,000 assumed to exist. 116 species of mammals are native to Israel, as well as 511 bird species, 97 reptile species, and seven amphibian species. There are also an estimated 2,780 plant species. There are insects belonging to roughly 27 orders in Israel, out of about 29 worldwide. (biodiversity in Israel)

From Nature Israel, “From ancient times Israel’s native mammals have had an important role in Jewish culture, featuring in colourful biblical metaphors and prophecies, as symbols of the tribes of Israel or discussed at length in the dietary codes so central to the Jewish culinary tradition. The young David battles a bear and a lion, and Samson struggles with a juvenile lion. Torah scrolls are written on parchment from deer or antelope skins, the Jewish New Year is commemorated by blowing on the ram’s horn and the very Land of Israel itself is described as the “Land of the Gazelle”. Song of Solomon 8:14 mentions the gazelle in terms of its speed.  One of the sons of Zeruiah was compared to the speed of a gazelle in 2 Samuel 2:18.

Sadly the local lions and bears are now extinct, but most of Israel’s native mammals familiar from the bible and folklore remain – the jackal and the gazelle, the rock hyrax and the ibex, the wolf and the leopard, the wild boar and the hare.”

Psalm 104 mentions many different kinds of vegetation, birds, and mammals of Israel.

mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.” (Psalm 104:18). Proverbs 30:24 says the following animals are ‘exceedingly wise’ and the hyrax, or rock badger, is one of those, “the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs;” (Prov 30:26). (Left, rock badger)

Lions and cheetahs are now extinct in Israel, but imagine young David, armed only with a slingshot, guarding his flock against wolves, lions, bears, leopards, and cheetahs. Not to mention hyenas and jackals. Leopards still exist in Israel today, as do other wild felines including caracals (a kind of lynx), bog cats and wild cats.

Bears are mentioned in 2 Kings 2:24 as animals that came out of the woods and tore up 42 youths who were mocking Elisha. Of course the lion is prominent in fact and in metaphor in the Land. Proverbs 30:30 says of the lion, “the lion, which is mightiest among beasts and does not turn back before any;”. Proverbs 28:1b “but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” The LORD used lions as a judgment when Assyrians settled in the Land and did not worship the LORD. (2 Kings 17:25).

The Lord has blessed His land with biodiversity, geographical diversity, a wondrous climate, and beautiful flora and fauna of all kinds. After the restoration when the curse is reversed, it will finally be all that He intends it to be, His city, His dwelling, named “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35. (Jehovah Shammah!)

Posted in jerusalem, prophecy, shammah

Jerusalem! A Three-part Series

Jerusalem! Part 1, The Land

Jerusalem! Part 2, The Nation 

Jerusalem! Part 3, Its glorious spiritual future

I’m listening to John MacArthur preach through Zechariah. Pound for pound, there is more prophecy in Zechariah than any other book in the bible, including Revelation. The book is at turns comforting, inspiring, and difficult to interpret. Overall, I’m fascinated!

When MacArthur got to Zechariah 2, the sermon titled “The Future Glory of Jerusalem”, I became fascinated even further. Jerusalem, and by definition, Israel, is a hugely important topic for every Christian to seek understanding of and wisdom about. Israel is the fulcrum of history, God’s nation, the apple of His eye, and future home of Jesus the King. Christians will be living in New Jerusalem. Thus it is our focus as Christians to understand His plans for this city, as well.

When the LORD dwells in Jerusalem the name of the city shall be Jehovah-Shammah, meaning, “The Lord is there.” (Ezekiel48:35). It never fails to move me to even think of the Lord being there, physically and eternally. Jeremiah 30 is a chapter describing the future restoration of Israel. See here verses 18-22,

“Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its ruins and the palace shall stand where it used to be. 19 Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. 20 Their children shall be as they were of old, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all who oppress them. 21 Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the Lord. 22 And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”,

The Lord is there, Jehovah Shammah!

I decided to write a three part series on Jerusalem and Israel. The first part will be about Jerusalem geographically and its natural history. It is not a dry desert with swirling sands as most people superficially believe and as I once believed. Jerusalem and environs is a fascinating place, with lush animal and bird life, an interesting climate, and is the crux of three continents. It is the belly button of the world.

The second part will look at Jerusalem politically. I’ll look at what prophecy says about it during this time of the last days, what the Times of the Gentiles means, and what is happening now with Secretary of State Kerry and the revived push for “peace and safety.”

Last, will be the best part in the series of all. What of Jerusalem spiritually? What of the future glory of Israel? What does the bible say Jerusalem will look like and what are God’s plans for it?

Stay tuned! This will be exciting look at our spiritual home, Jerusalem, the City of David, the Holy City, Jehovah Shammah!

Posted in israel, jerusalem

Temple Mount firebombing

This morning I read an interesting news item in the daily Israel National News

Unprecedented: Firebombs on Temple Mount
“Jewish Temple groups demand inquiry as videos show policeman’s uniform alight after he was struck by a fire bomb. Jewish Temple organizations demanded Sunday that the Prime Minister immediately establish an official commission of inquiry into Friday’s events on the Temple Mount and the way the Temple Mount police handled them. Friday’s events were worse even than those that took place during the Great Terror War that began in 2000, the groups said. For the first time ever, they said, fire bombs were thrown at police on the Mount, and one policeman caught fire and miraculously suffered only slight wounds.”

Jerusalem has been set apart by our Holy God as his land and His city since the beginning. (Psalm 132:13). It was where Melchizedek, both a priest and a king of “God Most High,” ruled from about 4 millennia ago. (Then called Salem, Genesis 14). It is the place where we read of Abraham binding Isaac for the sacrifice of the son which God commanded. (Genesis 22) it is where the Presence of God dwelt in the Temple. God chose to place His name there (2 Chronicles 6:6).

It is a holy patch of ground. That is the point.

The site has nothing to commend it in human terms. Jerusalem does not lie on any of the ancient important trade routes. There is no natural reason why this city should be one of the most important places in the world for more than four thousand years. A low range of hills are a barrier to winter rains from the Mediterranean Sea just 30 miles to the west. Just to the East, annual rainfall drops nearly to zero in the Judean Wilderness. The elevation to the East drops too- the Dead Sea is 15 miles away and is 1290 feet below sea level.

And yet it is hotly contested.

So the Muslims built a mosque on the patch and claim it is theirs and that the Jews never owned it or have claim to it. It is a contested piece of ground, and the only reason is that it is God’s and satan does not want God to have it.

The city is called the city of Peace, the root of Jerusalem, meaning Shalom. It has never known peace. Things are going to get much darker for Jerusalem before they get better. But it will. It will get better.

“And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’ (Haggai 2:7-9)

“It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and)all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)

No more firebombs on God’s holy ground. That will be a glorious day. And get this:

“They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)

What a glory and a delight when all the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord!