A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
(note: I originally published this article in 2000, but with the Obama administration’s renewed emphasis on achieving an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, I’ve updated it and offer it for your consideration.)
Right from the beginning, most informed commentators have predicted that the only logical conclusion to the so-called Middle East Peace process would be war. Contrary to what our leaders have told us, the Palestinian goal has never been to accept a two state solution. They’ve already turned that deal down at least twice. No, the goal has been to eliminate the Jewish state altogether. As long as they could win concessions at the bargaining table war could be avoided, but the day would obviously come when no more concessions could be given, and the only option would be to go to war for the rest. That day may have come, and of course the stumbling block is Jerusalem.
I Am Going To Make Jerusalem A Cup That Sends All The Surrounding Peoples Reeling … Zech. 12:2
How have we come to this? Let’s review the real issues. The Koran teaches that any land conquered in the name of Islam will never be lost. The very existence of the nation Israel is a violation of that teaching because the land of Israel, including and especially Jerusalem, was once conquered for Islam. Since 1948 the utter destruction of Israel has been the stated Moslem goal, but half a dozen wars have taught them that Israel was too strong to be destroyed militarily. The brilliance of the “Peace Process” is that it enables the Palestinians to win back much of the land through inexpensive negotiations. This has the effect of simultaneously weakening Israel and giving the Moslem forces time to gain the necessary strength to take the rest.
Land For Peace?
What most people don’t realize is that with the speed of modern aircraft and missiles, conventional warfare requires more geography rather than less to give defenders sufficient time to react to an attack. Taking land from central Israel (the West Bank) means that attack aircraft could traverse the country in about 8 minutes. This is not enough time to react with effective counter measures. Giving up the West Bank would make Israel less secure rather than more.
Also, Israel’s enemies have used the time spent in negotiations to create long-range ballistic missile and biological warfare capabilities in an effort to neutralize Israel’s nuclear threat. A nasty situation all around. Most informed observers believe that as soon as the Moslems have gained everything possible from negotiating and believe they’re strong enough to destroy Israel, they’ll attack. And unless major changes in the Jewish position concerning the sovereignty of Jerusalem are forth coming, the negotiations are effectively over. Whether Israel’s enemies are strong enough yet for a military victory may soon be revealed. Combatants on both Israel’s Northern and Southern borders seem ready to find out.
I Make Known The End From The Beginning … Isaiah 46:10
Over 2500 years ago the Lord informed Ezekiel of a great battle involving a coalition of nations who would align themselves against Israel (Ezek. 38-39). He said this battle would take place in the latter days, after the Jewish people had been gathered in the land from many nations following a great war, and would be a surprise attack on the mountains of Israel (West Bank). But he also said the people would think they were living in safety when the attack came (Ezek. 38:8), a peaceful and unsuspecting nation (Ezek. 38:11). But that doesn’t seem to define their current state.
Recently a little known prophecy from Psalm 83 that might be a bridge between here and Ezekiel 38 has come to the surface. Psalm 83 is a prayer that God would defeat a coalition of nations that could represent Israel’s current next door neighbors, who the Psalmist accuses of conspiring against God’s people, threatening to destroy them as a nation. There is no evidence in the historical record that such a coalition ever rose up against Israel, so Psalm 83 may very well be speaking of an attack that a growing number of strategists expect to come in 2010. If so then it’s obvious Israel will emerge victorious and will fall into the state of complacency suggested by Ezekiel 38:8-11. This would also explain why none of the nations named in Psalm 83 are included among the attackers of Ezekiel 38. (Read about Psalm 83 here)
Who Started This?
The so called Arab-Israeli conflict has actually been brewing for over 4000 years. It began with Isaac and Ishmael, the sons of Abraham, escalated in the time of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac, and continued through out the Old Testament. It became a Moslem-Jewish conflict with the advent of Islam in the 6th century AD. But behind the scenes the real battle has always been a spiritual one, because ever since God chose the Jews as His people, Israel as His land, and Jerusalem as His city, Satan has been working overtime in an effort to take the land away from Him by destroying His people. After all, he thinks Planet Earth is his. So this is not just a political matter or even a religious one. It’s a spiritual matter and will not be resolved until Satan is defeated and the Lord Himself causes every knee to bow and every tongue to confess that He (alone) is Lord (Phil 2:10-11).
Why Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem?
On several occasions I’ve been asked something like, “If this is a great cosmic problem that won’t ever be solved until the 2nd coming, how can our prayers help?” Here are some good reasons why we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
1st, speaking of the Jewish people the Lord said, “Whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye” (Zech. 2:9) and to tribulation survivors He’ll say, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40). I know it breaks His heart to see the way His city has been defiled by hate and bloodshed. As Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision has said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” It’s good for us to be on the Lord’s side.
2nd, He has commanded it and rewards us for obedience. All of Psalm 122 speaks of the special nature of Jerusalem, the one place on Earth God specifically chose for His dwelling, and promises prosperity to those who pray for its peace. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. (Psalm 122:6 KJV)
And 3rd, when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, you’re praying for the Messiah to come and establish His Kingdom. Maybe that’s the best reason of all.
You can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah.