Oh, Jerusalem! What a Surprise Is in Store for You!
The people shall dwell in it; and no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.|
Friday, July 14, 2006 -- Headlines in a local paper tell of Israel striking Labanon -- an opening paragraph reads, "Israeli forces unleashed a furious military campaign on Lebanon's main airport, highways, military bases and other targets Thursday, retaliating for scores of Hezbollah guerrilla rockets that hit Israel and reached as far as Haifa, its third-largest city, for the first time."
It needs to be kept in mind that in the Mid East among the Arab peoples there is a strong anti-Israeli attitude and there are those who take the position that Israel does not have a right to exist! But the good news is that God has a plan in which Israel figures significantly!
Monday, May 5, 2003 -- Less than a week ago (April 30) it was reported that U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, delivered what has been referred to as a Mideast "road map" to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This is a "peace plan" intended to resolve the Mideast crisis. It was also reported that this was "...hammered out by the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia." The plan calls for the following things to be done:"...an immediate cease-fire, a crackdown on Palestinian militias, an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian towns and the dismantling of Jewish settlements erected since 2001."It is further noted that, "A Palestinian state with provisional borders could be established by year's end, with full statehood posssibly achieved within three years, according to the timetable." It is clear that Israel would have to transfer West Bank territory and Gaza to the Palestinians. What is not clear is the position the Bush administration is taking on Jerusalem in all this transaction, and whether it will be a part of this process. As usual, what God has revealed about Jerusalem, and by implication, a lot of surrounding territory is in sharp conflict with what political leaders have come up with concerning the boundaries of Israeli turf!
Do you suppose world leaders, including the president of the United States, have heard of something called the "covenant" which God made with Abraham, and later renewed with Isaac and Jacob? This involves a lot geographic territory -- but then, when have world leaders ever been really concerned about what God has planned for this earth in the future? See more about this very special covenant in details given below with references as to where the FACTS are given in that body of special revelation God has given to us. No where is there any indication that the original covenant has been cancelled by God and should be considered null and void -- that being the case, world leaders and citizens of all nations are in for quite a surprise one of these days
Saturday, March 30, 2002 -- more suicide bombings in Israel -- Israelis moved in with armored equipment and have isolated Yassar Arafat to a single floor in his headquarters with electricity cut off and no water -- interesting what President Bush has to say -- and the U.S. and the U.N. Security Council saying Israel must withdraw, etc. Still think somehow the Jews aren't hated by just about everyone? And just below you will read an interesting statement God has to say about Jerusalem and what He will do with it for a time before its glorious status is established!
Anymore it's almost a rare day if Jerusalem doesn't make news headlines. Even as this is being written, the headlines today (02-03-27) revealed another suicide bombing in a hotel in which at least 15 persons were killed and a large number injured! That has been the pattern for a long time as conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians continue unabated amidst pleas for negotiated peace settlements.
One would have to search for a long time before finding a piece of real estate that has seen more conflict and bloodshed over centuries of time than has Jerusalem. In fact Jerusalem likely qualifies for a record entry in Guiness Book of World Records for more conflict and bloodshed per square foot than any other location on the surface of planet Earth!
But there is something else that sets Jerusalem apart from all other cities that have ever existed in the history of the human race and that is the attention given to it by Almighty God. No other city in existence now or in the past has played such a prominent role in the purposes of God. And certainly no other city will experience in the future anything comparable to what God has planned for Jerusalem! You can mention large cities existing today which are many times larger and are instantly recognized when names are mentioned -- New York, London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, etc. But God has no plans for these that even remotely resembles what He has in mind for Jerusalem. Rank them on a totem pole and no matter what position they may occupy, there is only one which will be at the very top every time -- Jerusalem!
Starting with David at sometime around the 10th century BC Jerusalem became a city of prominence and even more so with the building of the magnificent temple under the rule of David's son, Solomon.
For a few centuries a successive line of kings ruled in Jerusalem until destruction of the city and the temple at the hands of the Babylonians in about 586 BC.
Eventually Jerusalem was rebuilt and another temple was built. But time after time Jerusalem became a place of conflict which continued as the centuries passed.
The time came when Jerusalem took on significant identity with the three major monotheistic religious expressions in the world -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Much conflict which has raged since the official recognition of the nation of Israel in 1948 has been due to sharp differences between the Israelis and the Arab nations which completely surround and outnumber them -- religiously, a conflict between Judaism and Islam!
To get an idea of the present situation in terms of numbers and land presently possessed consider the following:
Arab population is 203,245,085 and the Israeli population is 5,842,000.
Arabs occupy 2,165,254 square miles of territory while the Israelis occupy 8,019 square miles of territory.
Israelis are outnumbered by Arab "neighbors" who are basically hostile almost 35 to 1 and the "neighbors" possess 270 times as much land as do the Israelis!
U.S. census estimates world population at 5.9 billion people -- Jewish population throughout the world is 13 million -- 1 of 453 people in the world is Jewish.
However, to get an accurate perspective beyond what the situation is at the present time, one must review the covenant God made with Abraham regarding territory, and then note God's future plans for Jerusalem and the Israelite people.
God promised a large territory to Abraham and his descendants and also noted that He would "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." (Genesis 12:3).
The territory promised by God to Abraham and his descendants is many times larger than what is occupied by the present day nation of Israel. Boundaries as mentioned at one point by God are more than a little bit mind staggering -- "…from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates…" (Genesis 15:18-21 -- see also Genesis 12:1-3,7; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21) Note in Genesis 17:18-21 that the descendants of Abraham through Isaac (the Israelites) are the beneficiaries of a special covenant which includes a large amount of territory. But no special covenant nor territory is promised to the descendants of Ishmael (the Arab peoples). God only said that He would bless Ishmael, make him fruitful, multiply him and make him a great nation, but there is no identifiable real estate mentioned in connection with that promise of numerous descendants.
Specifically the city of Jerusalem is mentioned in connection with the descendants of Isaac being in control but not the descendants of Ishmael!
Now then consider what God says about Jerusalem and the glory and prestige which the city will ultimately have which no other city in the history of the human race has ever possessed in the past nor will possess in the future.
God makes the astounding claim that for a time He will make Jerusalem a city of unprecedented turmoil. Consider this statement:
The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it."
Zechariah 12:1-3 NKJV
Statements made later in Zechariah 12 indicate a time of gathering of hostile nations against Jerusalem. There will be a time of mourning and eventually the Israelites will come to acceptance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Of the survivors among the nations which originally came in hostility against Jerusalem we are informed that they shall go up from year to year to worship the King Who is also identified as the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 14:16). Christians who accept the fact that God has specific plans for Jerusalem, the land and the people of Israel, do not hesitate in recognizing the Lord of hosts to be none other than Jesus Christ.
But wait -- there are more great things in store for Jerusalem which will make the likes of New York, London, Paris and others look like two bit shanty towns by way of comparison!
the Lord will again choose Jerusalem
Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, "Where are you going?" And he said to me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length." And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, "Run, speak to this young man, saying: 'Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. 'For I,' says the LORD, 'will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.'" "Up, up! Flee from the land of the north," says the LORD; "for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven," says the LORD. "Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon." For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the LORD. "Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem."
Zechariah 2:1-12 NKJV
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth
Again the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.' "Thus says the LORD: 'I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.'.... "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.'
Zechariah 8:1-3,7,8 NKJV
Note: The Christian understands this statement "...in truth and righteousness" to apply to knowing Jesus Christ -- did not Jesus suggest this in His prayer to the Father as He said, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3).
even strong nations will seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem
"For thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,' says the LORD of hosts, 'And I would not relent, so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear..... "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, "Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also." Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.' "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."' "
Zechariah 8:14,15,20-23 NKJV
the Lord shall be King over all the earth and Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited
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. And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be; "the LORD is one," and His name one. 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 Hananeel to the king's winepresses. The people shall dwell in it; and no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
Zechariah 14:8-11 NKJV
the enemy will be cast out and the Lord will be in the midst of Jerusalem
Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments, he has cast out your enemy. the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you in His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:14-17 NKJV
the word of the Lord will shall go forth from Jerusalem
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; 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 any more.
Micah 4:1-3 NKJV
Surprise! Jerusalem shall be holy!
The LORD also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. "So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again."
Joel 3:16,17 NKJV
someday the nations will know that God has sanctified Israel!
"Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."' "
Ezekiel 37:21-28 NKJV
God will be hallowed in Israel in the sight of many nations
"I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward. The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name; after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their own land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,' says the Lord GOD."
Ezekiel 39:21-29 NKJV
peace extended to Jerusalem and one will be comforted in Jerusalem
"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory." For thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. then you shall feed; on her sides shall you be carried, and be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem." When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants, and His indignation to His enemies.
Isaiah 66:10-14 NKJV
Be aware that there are those within the ranks of professing Christianity who will say that what you have just read doesn't apply to Jerusalem in a "literal" sense, nor that covenant God made with Abraham just doesn't really have anything to do with present day Israel, etc. If you listen to some of these people and take them seriously, you'll end up with a god who is in an advanced state of Alzheimer's -- in other words, a god whose brain is badly messed up, and who has no purpose nor a plan of any kind --- and the way some are presenting this god, he/she/it has no morals whatsoever!
It's simply a matter of time until God reveals that He means everything He has said and will follow through on all that He has promised regarding the future of a people known as Israelites!
Now then try the following on for size before leaving:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces."
Psalm 122:6,7 NKJV
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Isaiah 62:6,7 NKJV
Good Friday, March 29, 2002
An observation by
Clayton D. Harriger, Pastor
Elder in full connection
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The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
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