SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 08/07

The Middle East

JERUSALEM:   Its Capture & Final Deliverance

Reading: Selections from Zechariah chapters 12,13 & 14

The Middle East is in turmoil and world leaders are in great suspense and fear. Fear, not so much of military conflict - which when it starts will be swift and decisive; but of the global economic repercussions. Fear that the oil wells (which supply most of the world's oil) will be blown up, causing untold damage to the environment and world trade. The Bible is not silent on the matter of growing crisis in the Middle East. Indeed thousands of years ago Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel foretold current events with an accuracy only the ignorant or foolish will deny. This morning I will point out a few Bible prophecies concerning the Middle East and Jerusalem.

2. JERUSALEM, the City of the Most High
The Bible predicted some 2500 years ago that the city of Jerusalem would be a 'cup of trembling,' an 'awkward boulder,' a 'fiery torch' amidst the nations. Though the name Jerusalem means 'foundation of peace,'   it is currently a city of bloodshed and war. Only when the Messiah returns will it live up to its name. So when we 'pray for the peace of Jerusalem' (Psalm 22:6), we are, in effect, praying for the Messiah's return.

Zech.12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
2: Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto 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...
6: In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

The prophecy continues, telling first of the crucifixion of Israel's Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), then the cruel scattering and persecution of the Jews. Next comes the great home-coming and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land. The prophecy then goes on to tell of a national revival in Israel which is compared to a smith purifying silver and gold! When that process is complete, Israel will call on the Name of the LORD; (the word translated LORD is Yahweh, which most Israelis never use, considering it sacriligeous to utter God's name). See SBS article the Sacred Name.
Zech.13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
8: And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
9: And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

The Bible records that when the chosen people of Israel rejected Yeshua, the Son of God, they called a terrible curse upon themselves: 'His blood be upon us and upon our children' (Matthew 27:25). A more tragic decision could hardly have been made by any nation. It opened the floodgates of woe for Israel. Not many years later the holy city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army, the Temple was burned to the ground and the people of Israel were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Then followed a period of spiritual blindness for Israel; during which the Almighty gave the Gentile nations the opportunity to accept the Everlasting Gospel. This period is called the Time of the Gentiles. But alas! the Gentile nations proved no better that the Jews. If anything, they were worse. Gentiles nations have also rejected God's Word, God's law and God's Son; and were the Saviour here on earth today the Gentiles would be the first to cry 'crucify him!'

The Blindness of Israel
Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
8: (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

Beware You Gentiles!
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in..

We are told in the New Testament that when the Time of the Gentiles is passed, (and that time has come) Israel's blindness will be removed and the nation will recognise the truth it had rejected so long, long ago. Read Romans chapter 11 where these amazing events are foretold.

Israel's Coming Revival
The prophet Zechariah confirms this end-time revival in Israel when, under inspiration, he writes:
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

The Apostle Paul continues:
Romans 11:26 all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

No one need be in any doubt but that Israel's enemies want to rid the Middle East of all Jews: especially those Israelis who base their right to the land of Palestine on the oft-repeated promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And yet, astonishing as this may sound, according to the Bible the Creator of this world did give the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - and to their descendants - forever!

Genesis 6:8 And I will bring you unto the land, concerning which I did swear to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob and I will give it to you for an heritage: I am the Lord.
Genesis 35:12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee (Israel) I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
Deut.19:8 And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers.

Believe it or not, the feud between Israel and its Arab neighbours is the oldest feud in history. It goes back to the tents of Abraham; to the contempt Hagar, the Egyptian maid, had for Abraham's wife Sarah; and to the subsequent hatred of Ishmael (Hagar's son) for Isaac the child of promise. That feud is about to be settled once and for all - soon! Watch for these events:

Zech.14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2: For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Rev.11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

This capture and trampling of Jerusalem for three and a half years (42 months, or 1260 days) will be the last time the holy city will be subjected to Gentile rule. Many a time has Jerusalem come under Gentile domination. But this will be the very last time. Indeed just when everything looks forever lost, just when the unbelieving Gentile nations suppose they have gained a permanent victory over Israel, just when the mockery of God's people and His truth is at a climax, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) will return to liberate Jerusalem.

Zech.14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4: And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst 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.
5:... and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
6: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
7: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
8: And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
9: And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

When the Messiah liberates Jerusalem from Gentile rule, the 1000 Year Reign of Peace will begin. Jerusalem will then become the capital city of the world and from its sacred courts the law of the Most High will go forth to all nations.

Isaiah 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2: And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3: And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

The Sacred Feasts of the God of Israel
At long last, man's rebellion will be curtailed and all the nations of the world will celebrate the Feast Days of the God of Israel, those eternal Memorials of Salvation!

Zech.14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

To help you understand what is taking place in the Middle East I will briefly summarise:

Sermons, even the very best, are pointless if their lessons cannot be personally applied. What is the personal lesson in this sermon for all of us? The answer is plain: We must not fight the God of Israel, His Word, His law, His Son or His People; because we can never win. Instead, we must repent of our sins, put our faith in the Holy One of Israel, obey His law and live. That is the path to eternal life. All other roads lead to eternal death!

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
July 1998 ... Reformatted November 1999