The war raging between Hamas and Israel is distressing, but peace is coming and Jerusalem will finally live up to its name. Are we prepared for that time?
[Steve Myers] It was early in the morning when we heard the faint sounds of sirens in the distance. We didn't think much of it, didn't really know anything was going on at the time. But later we came to recognize there was danger, Hamas had attacked Israel that very morning, and they were under attack, and as we thought about that, was our life at risk? Was this a fulfillment of prophecy? Certainly, Biblical prophecy speaks of difficult times for Jerusalem, and we were right there in Jerusalem in the heart of Israel. We heard rockets that were going off, not explosions, but defense rockets that were defending the Iron Dome and defending Jerusalem. Little did we know the extent of those attacks that now Israel was at war. We were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in the last day. And as we were doing that, we recognized the danger that Israel was now in.
Now, days before, we had been touring, there was no risk, no difficulties. We had been looking at all the various archeological digs, and we were recognizing some of the amazing things that had happened through the centuries right there in Jerusalem. We looked at the Givati Parking Lot. We looked at the Bethesda Pool where Christ healed the lame man, and you could see all these various layers that dated back all the way to the first temple. And layer after layer of construction and then destruction and then rebuilding, you could see the evidence of all of that, and now here came another time of prophetic fulfillment. Is this a time that is fulfilling prophecy? Well, certainly, Zechariah has something to say about that.
In Zechariah 12:3, he says, "It shall happen in that day," talking about the end times, "that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples. All who would heave it away surely will be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth gather against it." Is this a precursor of what's happening right now in Israel? I think it is. Could it lead to the fulfillment of this prophecy? Certainly, most Arab nations want Israel destroyed. Evidently, Hamas and Hezbollah are actively participating in that. Syria seems possibly to be joining in. What is Iran doing? Could this bring those nations together to seek the destruction of Israel? Christ spoke about this as well in Luke 21:20. He was even more specific about this end time. He says, "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let those who are in the country not enter her for these are the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
Christ wasn't talking about 70 AD. He's talking about the end times. He's talking about that time when Jerusalem will be that heavy stone and all nations will come against her. Certainly, Hamas took Israel by surprise. They weren't expecting it. But with the prophecies that we read in Zechariah, that we read in Daniel, that we read in Revelation, and what Christ spoke about should not catch us by surprise. We need to be prepared. And what can we do? What should we do as the people of God? Well, Christ said, "Watch therefore." Luke 21:36 reminds us of that very thing, "Pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass." That's what Christ said. In order to do that, we must be spiritually prepared. We must be putting on the character of Christ. We must be drawing closer in a relationship with God, the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ in order to stand with Him when He returns.
That must be our perspective. That must be our goal. That must be what we are actively doing as we put on Christ. So peace will come. People say pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Certainly, we pray for that but so much more than peace today. The real way that peace will ultimately come to Jerusalem is by the return of Christ. That's when we'll see the ultimate layer being constructed in the kingdom of God. Isaiah 2 speaks of that very thing. Christ Himself inspired these amazing words that Isaiah prophesied. Notice what Isaiah prophesied. As he mentions this very time, he reminds us of ultimately the government of God that will be on that mountain.
He says, "It will come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains," like those layers we were talking about. "It shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, the house of the God of Jacob.'" That time is coming. It seems that what's happening right now in the Middle East is a precursor to that time, that time that Zechariah spoke about, that time that Jesus Christ prophesied, and ultimately leading to the fulfillment of Psalm 122, where it says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem."
Jerusalem literally means the city of peace. We're not there now, but ultimately Christ will return. The government of God will be established on Earth, and His capital will be the city of peace. Jerusalem and Jesus Christ will rule the nations right from that ultimate city of peace. We look forward to that time.