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Jerusalem, A Cup of Staggering

Pastoral Reflections

Jerusalem, A Cup of Staggering

Ps. Leslie & Adeline Chua

“"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 (MEV)

The Middle-East is reeling after President Donald Trump announced on 6 December 2017 that the U.S. embassy will be relocating to the city of Jerusalem. The Palestinian political factions reacted immediately by jointly announcing three “days of rage.” They are angry because the United States of America is officially recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This has been a matter of great contention involving not just Israel and the Palestinians, but also the nations around the world.

Since her creation in 1948, Israel has fought five large-scale wars with her Arab neighbours and engaged in constant conflict with the Palestinians. For centuries, the city of Jerusalem has been at the centre of controversy. You might think that this is strange because Jerusalem is not the prettiest place. Neither is the city sitting on any vast reserve of oil. It was not situated on any major crossroads or important trade routes in ancient times. Yet, the city has always been much coveted, and consequently it has seen more wars and conflicts than any other city in the world.

Why?

Some observers point to politics while some to religion. Jerusalem is considered a prize, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. The political and religious angles provide some explanation but still do not adequately provide a satisfying answer.

Jerusalem is an enigma that only the bible can provide the answer.

Mount Zion in Jerusalem is the city of the Great King (Psalm 149:2) This was the site of the temple of God. This is also where our Lord Jesus Christ will establish His throne and reign over all the world when He returns (Zechariah 14:16-17). He will reign from Jerusalem for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3).

The Holy Scripture is clear about the destiny of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. So is Satan. That is the reason he has been trying very hard to destroy both the city and its inhabitants throughout history. Every time it was destroyed, it was rebuilt again. Today, Jerusalem is a vibrant city. But sometime in the future, it will come under attack again from an alliance of nations. The devastation will be unimaginable. According to Zachariah’s prophecy, two-thirds of the population will be decimated. Only one-third will be left (Zechariah 13:8). The city will have been completely destroyed if not for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will personally intervene in this battle to save Israel (Zechariah 14:2-4). Trouble lies ahead for this beloved city of God.

Here is a little interesting bit of recent history. General Edmund Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the control of the Ottoman Empire in 1917. Fifty years later during the Sixth-Day War, Israel captured East Jerusalem where the temple of God originally stood. For the first time in nearly two thousand six hundred years, Israel regained control of the city of Jerusalem, their ancient capital. This was the fulfilment of biblical prophecies. Now, fifty years later in 2017, the United States of America, officially recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. All these years, fifty years apart – 1917, 1967 and 2017 – are Jubilee years. Coincidence? Think again!

This move by America can potentially raise tension and spark a war in the Middle-East. Interestingly, Turkey, Iran and Russia met in the Black Sea Resort of Sochi recently to work out a peace settlement in Syria. Can this partnership turn into an alliance? If it progresses this way, then the stage is being set for the Ezekiel 38-39 war in Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-6). This is the first time these 3 nations are coming together. I am not saying that war is imminent, but the stage is being set.

Christians should not be surprised at the turmoil that surrounds Jerusalem since ancient times. The prophet, Zechariah, had prophesised that God would make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding nations. They would reel and stumble over this city. But God will intervene and save Israel!

Pastors Les & Adeline Chua