The Battle for Jerusalem-Introduction Part 1 (Zechariah chapters 12 & 14)

“A Nation Reborn in a day!”

In 1948, after almost 2,000 years of exile the nation of Israel was reborn in a day! The LORD spoke through Isaiah the prophet concerning this great restoration when He said; “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?” says your God” (Isaiah 66:8-9). There has never been a time in past history when Israel and especially the City of Jerusalem has been so prominent in world affairs. No nation has suffered as much as the nation of Israel, and especially the city of Jerusalem.

“Past history is future history.”

During its long history the city of Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times and captured and recaptured 44 times. Jerusalem surrounded by armies of course is nothing new. However, there have been several historical occurrences which have seen “the abomination of Desolation” on the Temple Mount which all teach something about the ultimate abomination to come at the hands of the Antichrist. There are at least four major historical events that all teach about what will happen at the end of this age when the armies of the Antichrist and the nations attack Jerusalem. In four of these specific historical events we clearly see several “abominations of desolation” committed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. These of course all point to the final abomination of desolation spoken about by the prophet Daniel and by the Lord Jesus Himself.

Pompey 63 BC

When the Roman General Pompey invaded Jerusalem a pitched battle with the Jews occurred for the possession of the Temple Mount. Once Pompey had captured the Temple Mount he entered the Holy of Holies which only the high priest was allowed to enter, thereby desecrating it. This event foreshadowed the Antichrist who will also enter into the Holy of Holies to sit in the Temple to proclaim himself God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) Of course after the time of Caesar Augustus emperor worship was the norm. It was at Pergamum (Istanbul in Turkey today) where Emperor-worship was instituted from within the Roman Empire. Augustus was the first Emperor to be deified. It is no accident the Apostle John wrote his letters to the seven Churches in Turkey. Eschatologically Turkey is the Antichrist nation that will lead the coalition of nations against Israel. It will be an Islamic army but “many nations” will also accompany them. (Ezekiel 38:6).

Antiochus Epiphanes 160BC

Antiochus Epiphanes was a Seleucid Greek General from Syria. His forces attacked and conquered Jerusalem. Daniel the prophet wrote about these events surrounding Antiochus and what he did. He made a decree outlawing Jewish rites and worship, ordering the Jews to worship the Greek god Zeus rather than Yahweh. He wasn’t just trying to Hellenise the Jews but to actually eliminate all traces of Jewish culture. Of course the Jews rebelled against his decrees. In an act of brazen disrespect Antiochus raided the Temple in Jerusalem, stealing its treasures, setting up an altar to Zeus, and sacrificing swine on the altar, committing an “abomination of desolation.” When the            Jews expressed their outrage over the profaning of the Temple, Antiochus responded by slaughtering a great number of the Jewish people and sending others into slavery. He issued even more draconian decrees; performing the rite of circumcision was punishable by death, and Jews everywhere were ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods and eat pig flesh. In 165 BC he was overthrown by the Maccabees who drove out Antiochus’ forces from Israel and reconsecrated the Temple. Today the Jewish people celebrate Hanukah in memory of this event. The prophet Daniel wrote quite extensively about this megalomaniac whose name meant “God Manifest.” He even had coins minted with his image inscribed on them. Antiochus was a major type of the Antichrist to come and what he did in Israel foreshadows what the Antichrist will do. Like Pompey Antiochus also committed an “abomination of desolation” on the Temple Mount.

Titus 70AD

In 70AD the city of Jerusalem fell to the armies of the Roman General Titus. There was a horrific fight on the two colonnades joining the Temple with the Fortress Antonia. Josephus records this event. Ultimately the Roman armies took the Temple Mount. After they had destroyed the Temple completely the Roman soldiers erected pagan emblems to Zeus on the ruins of the Temple Mount and worshipped them declaring Roman domination over the Jewish nation. This event became yet another “abomination of desolation” that both Daniel and the Lord Jesus spoke about. What the Romans did foreshadowed yet again what the Antichrist will do in the future concerning the Temple Mount.

Caliph Abd al-Malik 687-691 AD

After the armies of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, had defeated the Christian Byzantine Empire the Roman Empire was no more. Where the ruin of the Temple Mount was located Caliph Abd al-Malik built the Dome of the Rock Mosque which is still there today. This was another “abomination of desolation” an “abomination” which perpetually sits on the site of the Temple in Jerusalem awaiting the final abomination. Of course today it is still a controversial bit of real estate. (There is evidence that the original site of the Temple Mount is possibly located in a different area of the Temple precinct and if this is discovered it may well see the reconstruction of the Temple). However, the Lord Jesus words still stand today when He said to His wayward people; “Your house is left to you desolate.” Indeed in 70AD “the axe was laid to the root” effectively ending Biblical Mosaic Judaism.

The final “abomination”

When the armies of Antichrist invade Israel they will be Islamic armies but accompanied by “many nations” according to the prophet Ezekiel. In fact all of the armies of those nations who have sought to divide up the Land of Israel will also be there in the valley of Decision. There God will enter into judgement with them because they sought to divide His land and to sell His people out to their enemies. The Islamic Antichrist will set himself up in the Temple to be worshipped as God. He will come in the character of Pompey, Antiochus, Titus and Caliph Abd al-Malik. (Daniel 11:36ff) (2 Thessalonians 2:4) (Revelation 13:8). According to the Word of God this last great Islamic Beast Empire with its horn the Antichrist will sack Jerusalem, desecrate the Temple Mount, plunder the houses, rape the women and take half of the city into exile once again, however, only half of the people will be taken out of the city at this time. That is as far as the Antichrist will get! When it looks like Israel is finished the LORD will go forth to fight against those nations with His supreme commander the Lord Jesus Christ leading the armies of heaven, the glorified saints and the remnant of Israel. (Isaiah 63:1-7) (Zechariah 12:6-9) (Revelation 19:11-21).

“Who rules Jerusalem?”

For much of its history, the armies that encompassed Jerusalem wanted to control the city and not destroy it. Even today there is a struggle for the control of Jerusalem. From the days of the British Mandate (formed by the League of Nations in 1922) to the present, the question “who rules Jerusalem?” has been a hot potato of world politics. The city has been claimed by Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and the oldest portions of the city have long been divided into the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. After the 1948 war which brought independence to Israel, West Jerusalem was captured by Israel, while East Jerusalem was captured by Jordan. In 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem and annexed it, though the international community by enlarge still views it as ‘Palestinian’ land under military occupation. The City of Jerusalem belongs to the LORD who has chosen to put His name there. As He spoke in the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel; “But I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there.” (2 Chronicles 6:6) Jerusalem is the City of God. He has said “This is Jerusalem I have set her at the centre of the nations, with lands around her.” (Ezekiel 5:5) The Land of Israel belongs to the LORD and He has given this to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be an everlasting possession. (Genesis 17:8). The land of Israel was not given to the descendants of Ishmael. Jerusalem is for the Jews and not the Arabs. The Land of Israel was never called Palestine either in the Old Testament or the New Testament for that matter. Even the Lord Jesus Himself referred to the Land as Israel.

History repeats itself

A day is coming when Israel will be invaded by foreign armies and a siege perpetrated against the walls of Jerusalem. Once more these armies will cover the mountains of Israel like locusts. The prophet Joel spoke about an invasion of locusts infesting the land of Israel. In its prophetical and historical context there were four invasions by the Babylonians. Joel mentions four successive plagues of locusts that came one upon another. These ‘locusts’ of course were the Babylonians. However, in its Eschatological context the locusts also describe the satanic hordes of the Antichrist. The prophecy of Joel applied to the Babylonian invasion of Judah and Jerusalem but also described the Ezekiel 38 invasion of Israel in the future just before the Lord Jesus comes back. Both Ezekiel 38 and Joel chapter 3 describes the same future invasion. The prophet Zechariah also describes the same invasion in chapters 12 & 14. He saw in a vision the same end-time siege of Jerusalem that Ezekiel and Joel also saw in a vision.

Middle-East “madness!”

In the book of Ecclesiastes we read; “The hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity (madness) is in their hearts throughout their lives.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) Today in the Middle-east we see a kind of ‘madness.’ The nations of the world are in turmoil! The Lord Jesus spoke about this anxiety and perplexity among the nations in the Last Days when He said; “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25-28). “The roaring of the sea and the waves” is a metaphor for the tossing of the nations. When you consider the nuclear power and chemical weapons in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists you have the recipe for global destruction. This is no joke! Just before the Lord Jesus comes back the nations of the world will be in turmoil and confusion. This is already happening today!

“Unless those days had been cut short”

The Lord Jesus also said that if He did not return the whole world would be destroy itself and He spoke about this when He said; “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:21-22) The prophet Daniel; also spoke about this when he wrote; “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time;” (Daniel 12:1) At the centre of this terrible time of global tribulation will be the nation of Israel and especially the City of Jerusalem. As we will see the LORD speaks about Jerusalem in the Last Days when He says; “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured (ripped or torn apart). And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)

“But he will be saved out of it!”

Erdogan (two-faced) some time ago now said he wants to see Turkey and Israel become friends. These days his rhetoric is calling for all Muslims to rise up against Israel and has called for all Muslims everywhere to “flood” the Temple Mount. Russia continues in its strained relationship with Turkey. ISIS continues to fight and wants to attack Israel. Russia possibly will commit a force of around 150,000 troops to the Middle-East. The Saudi States along with other Muslim nations havew been wanting to raise up a fighting force to engage ISIS. The Middle –East Quartet (includes Russia) are were making moves towards finalizing their ‘two-state’ solution for Israel but now that President trump is in Office things at present are on hold it would seem. The free nations of the world are calling for the United Nations to intervene by sending their armies into the region to fight ISIS. Iran wants to destroy Israel. Russia supports Iran and the Assad regime and is sending weapons to Hezbollah. During the Bush and Obama era the USA (also part of the Quartet) sent millions upon millions of dollars to the so called Free-Syrian Rebels fighting the Assad regime with most of the money ending up in the hands of ISIS anyway. Obama continued to negotiate with Iran over their nuclear programme to the detriment of Israel’s security in the region as well as betraying the freedom and democracy of the west. Saudi Arabia and Iran it would seem are about to go to war? At the centre of all of this is the city of Jerusalem. Ultimately Israel will be blamed for everything that is happening in the Middle-East. The nations will send their armies against the city. It will be “a time of trouble for Jacob but he will be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30; 1-7)

“D-Day” for the nations!

The nations will gather again to attack Israel and on the mountains of Israel millions upon millions of the Antichrist’s forces and their weapons will be destroyed by the Rider on the White horse accompanied by the armies of heaven. It will indeed be D-Day for the armies of the nations! The LORD God of Israel has engineered this situation to bring about Israel’s’ repentance and restoration and to show the nations of the world who is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!

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