It has been quite a year for the Middle East, and September shows no slowing down as far as events that will impact our lives. Consider for a moment that the Arab world has been rocked with instability from the Atlantic Ocean to the Tigris River. In between those bodies of water the “Arab Spring” has knocked down former leaders like bowling pins in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. The remaining rulers of the area are holding on to their power by the skin of their teeth. The world order imposed by the great powers after the great world wars of the 20 th century is collapsing.
In the middle of all this is the Jewish state of Israel, like an island in the middle of a swirling geopolitical typhoon. Picture a postage stamp size country like Israel being surrounded by the current unstable states of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, whose political institutions are under serious assault. Just the other day a mob in Cairo tore the Israeli embassy to shreds as the ambassador hastened to safety. How would you like to live in this challenged neighborhood of nations?
Palestinian state: soon to be a reality?
Now in September comes news that the Palestinians, under Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority, is going to seek the “blessing” of the United Nations by taking their case for nationhood to the General Assembly of the UN. This is a procedural matter, because this organizational body cannot grant nationhood. Only the permanent members of the Security Council can make this decision. The United States will most likely veto the deal at that level. So what’s happening? This is another step in a long-term historical march to further isolate Israel from the world community.
The ever-present and recurring historical question once again pounds away—“Why don’t the Jews just cooperate? They are the irritating element in the global neighborhood! If only they wouldn’t be so different from everyone else!” Let’s not beat around the bush: Anti-Semitism is alive and well in the 21 st century and has been since the days of Esther in Persia straight on through to Germany and to the present day. It’s just that every generation does it a little differently.
Israel and Jerusalem in prophecy
The Jews and their capital city of Jerusalem will continue to remain in the headlines. Did you realize that God predicted thousands of years ago exactly what is going on today? The prophet Zechariah proclaimed, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3 Zechariah 12:2-3 2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 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.
American King James Version×). Yet Israel and its capital remain puzzling to humanity.
Jesus warned His disciples regarding the end of the age: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20 Luke 21:20And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near.
American King James Version×). By coupling the message of Zechariah and Christ together, let’s understand a fundamental principle about this scripture: Jerusalem is the bull’s eye of biblical prophecy! “X” marks the spot, and it hovers over the City of David. Today, Jerusalem has been proclaimed “the eternal and undivided capital of Israel.”
Peace yet to come for Israel and the Middle East
The good news is that God Almighty has a plan for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. That doesn’t mean that there is not some rough sledding along the way. A solution is going to be imposed not only on this troubled region of the world, but the entire world, by Jesus Christ. The book of Zechariah tells us that He will start problem-solving right at the Mount of Olives when He returns to this earth and plants His feet in what is now Israel (Zechariah 14:4 Zechariah 14:4And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
American King James Version×).
Until that day, let’s join David’s plea to, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:6 Psalms 122:6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you.
American King James Version×). As we pray for Israel and Jerusalem, let’s understand that God has a purpose and a plan for all people, including the Arab people. Through the prophet Isaiah, God shares the results of His divine “roadmap to peace” that Jesus Christ is going to bring about. The prophet says, “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria [modern Iraq], and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance’ (Isaiah 19:23-25 Isaiah 19:23-25 23 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the middle of the land: 25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.
American King James Version×).
Until that day, pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
To learn more please read our free booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy .