Jerusalem in the ‘End Times’

editor - 8 December 2017

There is a lot of talk about the end times, or ‘last days’, that have been prophesied in the Bible. The term ‘end days’ in the Bible does not mean the end of the earth or the end of the world. It means the end of a phase of world history (the Greek word is ‘aeon’ meaning ‘vital force’, ‘generation’ or ‘period of time’). In Matthew 24, the disciples ask Jesus “what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”. Jesus answers by telling them about all the things that will happen before ‘the end’. He talks about ‘birth pains’ (verse 8), wars, famines, earthquakes and other signs of the ‘end’. In all of this, He speaks in the context of the prophecies of the Old Testament which are full of God’s promises to send the Messiah to usher in the kingdom. Jesus did not, as some claim, reject or annul the prophecies of the Old Testament. On the contrary, He ‘confirmed’ all of God’s promises (Romans 15:8), including the promises through the prophets of the Old Testament to establish His kingdom on earth.

One of the mistakes that we have made as Christians is that we have been taught that the Jewish people and the land promised to them, no longer matter to God. We have been taught that Jesus has fulfilled all prophecies, that the true kingdom is heavenly and has nothing more to do with the earth, and that there is no further fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. This has caused us to look upon Jerusalem with pride and contempt. We have viewed the restoration of the Jews to the city as a purely political phenomenon, devoid of spiritual meaning.

Yet God is calling the church of the end times to put on eye salve (Revelation 3), so that we may truly understand the signs of the coming of Jesus.

There are many prophecies in the Bible concerning Jerusalem. Zechariah 12 verse 2: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling”. Verse 3: “On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all nations”. So we see that all the nations will have problems with Jerusalem, they will be sent crazy by Jerusalem.

Which ‘day’ is the Holy Spirit through Zechariah referring to? The day ‘when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her’. That has never been the case in world history. Yes, some individual nations have come against Jerusalem. But never ‘all the nations of the earth’. And today that is exactly what we see. Jerusalem is the only city in the world that is the subject of endless resolutions in the United Nations. It is the only city in the world where all nations refuse to allow the nation ruling it (Israel) to nominate it as the capital of that nation. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason for this. Why should the world care if Israel has its capital in Jerusalem? In which other country does the UN decide where the capital city should be? So far not even Trump dares to move his embassy to Jerusalem because he knows how much political backlash that will cause. There is something irrational and ‘crazy’ about the way the nations are so obsessed with this city. Indeed, Jerusalem has become an ‘immovable rock’ to the nations.

Jerusalem will also, however, be the key to world peace in the future. Isaiah 2 – “This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it”. And in verse 3: “the law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes from many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

So there we have it – on the one hand, a huge conflict, about Jerusalem. And on the other hand a vision of future peace and safety, when Jerusalem will be the centre and source of world peace.

World peace is what the United Nations was set up to do. The only thing is – it will be Jesus who will bring peace, not the United Nations! Not Putin, and not even Trump can bring about peace. Of course, our governments should strive to bring peace (indeed Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers”). But we should not pretend that the nations can create peace. Real peace will only come when the Prince of Peace, the Messiah, comes.

In Genesis 11, we read that the nations tried to build a tower to reach the heavens, “to make a name for themselves”. God was angry because He is a jealous God. He will be angry today with the nations that seek to make a name for themselves. His is the only name that will be lifted high on the earth.

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