The Burden of Jerusalem
Vol: 58 Issue: 31 Monday, July 31, 2006
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)
For most of Israel’s existence, it seemed unlikely that ‘all the people of the earth’ would gather against it over the issue of Jerusalem. Oh, it is clear enough that antisemitism is alive and well on Planet Earth and that the one universal constant in human history is hatred of the Jews for the offense of BEING Jews.
It is even clear why. God said that is how it would be, as part of His overall plan for Israel’s national redemption on the last day.
“Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;” (Jeremiah 25:18)
Israel’s history throughout the Church Age until the final generation was predicted in a single sentence by the prophet Jeremiah.
“I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them:” (25:18)
But Isaiah prophesied that, in the last days, “I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by My Name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:5-7)
Israel is universally hated, not for anything the Jews have actually done to anybody, but for whom they claim to be; “God’s Chosen People.”
Even those who don’t believe in God hate the Jews for their claimed ‘special relationship’ but nobody hates them more than those who claim to the title of ‘Christian’.
It is no wonder that Jews fear and distrust Christians. For two thousand years, they were persecuted and executed under the shadow of the Cross. Throughout the Middle Ages, they were persecuted as ‘Christ-killers’. The Nazis claimed the Holocaust as a holy Christian mission to rid the world of Jews.
Any other ethnic group, whether Arab, European, African, Indian, etc., can shed their ethnic identity.
But Jews can’t. And if they could, the rest of the world won’t let them. Jews have been born, lived and died in every country on earth, but their country of birth was never more than a temporary ‘host’ country.
The first country on the face of the earth to extend full citizenship rights to Jews was the United States of America. In every other country where Jews ever lived, they were merely ‘German Jews’ or ‘Iraqi Jews’ or ‘British Jews’; subject to periodic pogroms, deportations or forced conversions.
But those who revile the Jews for claiming the title of ‘God’s Chosen People’ don’t understand what God chose the Jews FOR.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)
The Apostle Paul makes it clear that God chose to impose spiritual blindness on Israel for the sake of the Gentiles. Consider this. Had the Jews accepted Christ at His First Advent, then the Church would never have existed.
As already noted, people who deny Christ will justify their antisemitism using the same libel.
Why do I say it is a ‘libel’ — a historical untruth? After all, when Pilate washed his hands of responsibility for the execution of Jesus, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person: see ye to it,” the Jewish mob chanted in reply, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” (Mathew 27:24-25)
Jesus was tried and convicted by the Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, in an illegal trial in which no fewer than 13 Jewish laws were broken. Since the Jews, being an occupied province of Rome, were not sovereign, their courts could not order an execution. Which is why they took it to Pilate in the first place.
So, if the Jews themselves, following an illegal trial, had Jesus murdered at the hands of an unwilling occupation authority who would have preferred to have released Him, why is it a ‘libel’ to call Jews ‘Christ-killers?’
Jesus told His disciples, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17-18) No man COULD have taken Jesus’ life. Not Pilate, not the Jews, not Satan or his legions.
In the Temptation in the Wilderness, Satan quoted Psalms 91:11-12, which says, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
If Jesus alone had the power lay down His life, and that no man could ‘take’ it, then the crime cannot be laid to any human being’s charge. Indeed, at the Cross, Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
If Jesus pronounced their forgiveness at the Cross for participating in a pre-ordained and necessary sacrifice in which Jesus VOLUNTARILY laid down His life as a propitiation for all sin, how then, can the modern Jews be responsible for the sins of their fathers?
Especially when the One against Whom they sinned had already forgiven them at the Cross for their participation?
In John 16:1-2, Jesus tells His disciples (all Jews of Israel), “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
What an incredible prophecy! Not only were the Jews put out of the synagogues at some point in history in virtually every country they had adopted, the persecution of the Jews was always for the specific crime of being the ‘killers of Christ’.
History is filled with stories of pogroms, confiscations, expulsions, attempted genocide and persecutions against Jews, all in the Name of Christ. In every case, it was presented as a case of ‘doing God a service’ by avenging Christ’s murder.
To the world, the existence of Israel is a thorn in its collective side. Because Israel is a thorn in the side of the god of this world. He has thrown everything he could at the Jew for two thousand years, trying to wipe him from the face of the earth and break God’s prophetic promise of Israel’s national redemption in the last days.
The survival of the Jew, and the restoration of Israel to the land is proof positive that God remains on the Throne, that His Word will NOT return to Him void, and that all the chaos and terror of the world notwithstanding, all continues to go according to His plan.
And, that these ARE the last days.
“But these things have I told you, that WHEN THE TIME SHALL COME, ye may remember that I told you of them.” (John 16:4)
The global outrage being turned on Israel for the weekend airstrike against Qana amply demonstrates the depth and breadth of global antisemistism. Consider the known facts:
Israel has video of Hezbollah terrorists firing rockets from Qana, near the building that they struck. Before they struck Qana, they dropped warning leaflets to the civilian population.
The building itself did not collapse until some eight hours after Israel’s initial strike. And all the victims were found underneath the collapsed building. The victims were all women and children.
No men of fighting age were killed. More than 1600 rockets were fired into Israel by Hezbollah in the last three weeks, and Sunday’s barrage was the most intense Israel has been subjected to so far.
And the most salient fact of all:
Israel is responding to an unprovoked attack in which its territory was invaded, its citizens killed and two of its soldiers kidnapped as hostages in an act the United Nations international conventions define as a war crime.
The world’s reaction? Lebanon’s Prime Minister publicly thanked Hezbollah for its war on Israel. The United Nations condemned Israel, despite the obvious fact that Hezbollah pointed Israeli warplanes like a gun at a building it had crammed with women and children.
SOMETHING caused the building to fall on those people eight hours after Israel struck it. And something or someone kept those in the basement from fleeing until it collapsed on them. Nobody except Israel has even considered the only viable explanation that fits the known facts.
That Hezbollah murdered those women and children in order to pressure Israel into a ceasefire.
Such is the world’s hatred of Israel that Hezbollah gets a complete pass, whereas Israel is universally blamed as if it deliberatedly targeted civilians. While Hezbollah continues to target ONLY civilians. What global animosity exists for Hezbollah is reserved for the non-Jewish blood on their hands.
The US justifies its position against Hezbollah by pointing out that it has more American blood on its hands than any other terror group except al-Qaeda. Israeli blood shed by Hezbollah, in American eyes, isn’t even adequate justification for ISRAELI to attack Hezbollah.
Fatah’s hands are dripping with Jewish blood. Fatah was founded by Yasser Arafat. But Fatah and its leader, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, is completely supported by Washington.
Jesus forgave the Jews for their participation in His Death, because ‘they knew not what’ they were doing.
Had Jesus not been handed over to the Romans for crucifixion by the Jews, then His blood would not have been shed for the sins of all mankind. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (John 1:11)
Think about those who participated in His Death. The Jews who condemned Him. The soldiers Who scourged Him. The crowds who reviled and spit on Him. The entire plan was ordained before the world began, but the plan required the participation of human beings.
Consequently, as He hung on the Cross, He looked over the crowd of people who HAD to be there, and He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
God chose them to do His dirty work. Then He forgave them for it. But the world never did.
Zechariah’s incredible prophecy, made over 2,500 years ago, is that all the peoples of the world will one day gather against her over the issue of ownership of Jerusalem.
Since Jerusalem is a Jewish city, with a Jewish name, founded by the Jewish King David, prophesying that its ownership would even be in question defies logical explanation, let alone that the whole world would gather together to support the other side’s claim.
There is a legendary story told of Frederick the Great, who, in a crisis of faith, cried out for someone to provide him with concrete evidence of the existence of God.
One of his counsellors reportedly replied;”Have you considered the Jew, your Majesty?”
The Bible says that God Himself will redeem the Jewish people. “And so ALL Israel shall be saved,” writes the Apostle Paul. (Romans 11:26)
I confess I don’t know how He will accomplish it, or exactly what ‘ALL Israel’ entails, but the promise is that it will be accomplished ‘after the fullness of the Gentiles be come in’ (Romans 11:25).
Since I expect to be Raptured after the full complement of the Gentiles who will come to Christ have come to Christ, it doesn’t really make much difference to me. I just know I have God’s Word on it.
That’s good enough for me.
Until then, I will continue to pray for Israel and her people that God will grant them victory over their enemies. Until He comes.