Saturday, January 03, 2009

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

This week Israel has been fighting Hamas, the Islamic terrorist organisation in Gaza, and Hamas has been fighting Israel. The cause of the conflict: Hamas, or people controlled by Hamas, have been firing rockets from Gaza into Israel for years, and are continuing to do so.

Israel is in a difficult position. Hamas has been arming for war, via Egypt, for long enough. Hezbollah, in Lebanon, in the north, has thousands of rockets able to reach Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona. Iran, who has promised to wipe Israel off the map, will have enough material for an atomic weapon any time now.

Israel is a small country, with a piece of land about the size of Wales. She is surrounded by Islamic nations who together have more than six hundred times the amount of land Israel has, much of it undeveloped. The Islamic nations aren't concerned about the land they have: they want the bit that Israel has.

In the Bible, God calls the land of Israel "my land." In the midst of the land is Jerusalem, where God promised to place His name forever. One day the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth to reign and rule, not just as King of the Jews, but as King of kings and Lord of lords. When He comes back, He is coming to Jerusalem. That's why there's all the trouble in the Middle East.

After God brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, He told them that if they were disobedient, He would scatter them through the nations to the four corners of the earth. They were disobedient, and He kept His promise. The same God also promised He would bring them back to the land. He has done that too. The Bible promises in both the Old and New Testaments that after they are returned to the land, they will have a spiritual restoration through the Jewish Messiah.

The last few verses of Matthew 23 tell how Jesus grieved over Jerusalem.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem," He said, "the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

"See! Your house is left unto you desolate;

"for I say to you, you shall see me no more till" - Notice, He didn't say you shall see Me no more; thank God, there's an "until" - "till you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" in Hebrew is Barukh haba baShem Adonai. In modern Hebrew, barukh haba, or if you are particularly Orthodox, barukh haba baShem Adonai, simply means "Welcome."

The enemy of souls doesn't want that spiritual restoration to happen. If it does, then Christ can come.

We are instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.