A Heavy Stone (12:1-3)
(Verses 1-3) “The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, “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. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”
“The Burden of the word of the LORD.”
(Verse 1) “The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him”
The Bible clearly shows us that the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob carries the burden of His people Israel on His heart continuously. He is burdened because they have rejected the fountain of living water and have made for themselves cisterns that hold no water, namely the Holy Spirit, the Water of Life. As the prophet Jeremiah writes; “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) Apostasy and backsliding always start when the LORD’s people forsake Him and His word. Up until 70AD Judaism, although spiritually corrupted, was still Biblical Mosaic Judaism in its foundational structure. The Glory of the LORD had long departed from Israel and the final nail in the coffin of their spiritual bankruptcy was their rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In rejecting Him they were forsaking the only true fountain and source of spiritual life and power.
Virtually another religion
After 70 AD, with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, Biblical Mosaic Judaism ceased to exist. A Jewish Rabbi named Yochanan ben Zakkai, who survived the destruction of the Temple, became the core founder of a new religion called Rabbinic Judaism. Israel no longer had a temple or a high priest. The High Priest was replaced by the Rabbi and the temple replaced by the synagogue. It was a bastardized version of Biblical Mosaic Judaism just like Roman Catholicism is a bastardized version of Biblical Christianity. Jeremiah was prophesying that a day would come when Biblical Mosaic Judaism would no longer exist and consequently replaced by virtually another religion. Israel to this day continues to hew out for themselves broken cisterns that cannot hold the living water of the Holy Spirit. Rabbinic Judaism practiced today in Israel is spiritually bankrupt and an invention of men and not Biblical Judaism. God only sanctioned Biblical Mosaic Judaism as set forth in Torah.
“A Cup of reeling”
(Verse 2) “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.”
Today most of the leaders of the nations to a greater or lesser degree want to see the end of Israel. This tiny bit of real estate that the LORD Himself has set at the centre of the world has become a thorn in the flesh of the nations. Israel has received more calls for boycotts over the years than any other country in the world and even today there are many who are calling Israel an Apartheid state. Whether it is the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, the United States or the whole Islamic world they are constantly agitated by Israel. Even though Turkey, the Antichrist nation, seems to want some kind of relationship with Israel you cannot deny the radical anti-Semitic statements by Erdogan, not to mention Iran’s agenda to wipe Israel off of the map. Of course with the nuclear deals that were brokered by the Obama administration when he was in Office clearly showed where he stood on their supposedly support of Israel. The big question the major political leaders ask is “what do we do with Israel?” Already the Middle-East quartet, with their two-state solution from hell, is still kept burning on the back burner with Israel still on the agenda. Indeed the LORD says; “Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” (Psalm 2:1-3)
“Let the nations be warned!”
What the nations of the world do not realise is that to go against Israel is to go against the LORD and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact the LORD goes on to say; “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ”Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 2:7-12)
“At the centre of the storm”
What the leaders of the nations do not realise is that they are in rebellion against God “who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.” In all of this the LORD will have the last laugh! He will send confusion and disunity to the armies of those nations as He did to the Assyrians who attacked Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah. The prophecy of Zechariah 12 & 14 specifically refers to the last siege of Jerusalem to occur in this present age. Jerusalem is at the centre of the storm! In the final analysis the nations of the whole world will have to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! They will have to heed God’s advice and “do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and they perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled.” Israel is God’s prophetic time-clock for the nations!
“Fear and trepidation”
On the day the Lord Jesus comes back to judge the nations men will cry out in agony and with fear and trepidation as we read in God’s word; “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17) Have you ever seen an angry lamb?
(Verse 3) “It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy (immovable) stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”
In 1948, after almost 2,000 years of their exile, the LORD started to bring His people home to the Land of Israel He had given to them to be as “an everlasting possession.” The prophet Ezekiel saw this in the vision of the valley of dry bones which he was told were “the whole house of Israel.” Now the holocaust was a terrible, horrific and tragic event that even superseded the massacres that Israel had previously experienced at the hands of foreign invaders down through history. However, we are told by the prophet Zechariah that what has happened to Israel in the past will happen again. In chapter 13 of the prophet Zechariah we are told that this invasion of Jerusalem will see two thirds of Jewry perish in the Land of Israel but a third who will be purified, spared and reconciled to the LORD. Zechariah writes; “It will come about in all the land,” Declares the Lord, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”(Zechariah 13:8-9) In Zechariah chapter 14 the prophet also wrote; “Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.” (Zechariah 14:1-2)
History will be repeated
What happened to Jerusalem 586 BC at the hands of the Babylonians and at the hands of the Romans in 70AD under Titus and then in 135AD during the Bar Kokhba rebellion in the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian will happen again to Jerusalem at the end of this present age. History will be repeated. However, this time Jerusalem will not be destroyed because the LORD will intervene to rescue the surviving remnant left in the city. Not all of the Jews will be exiled as previously occurred in their past history. We must always remember that God keeps His covenant promises to His people because He has shed blood when cutting His covenants with His people. It is the blood of the Messiah that guarantees the redemption of the faithful remnant in Israel and by extension the Body of the Messiah, the faithful Church.
The Last Invasion
This last invasion of Israel in this present age will be such a time of devastation for Israel that they will be in dire straits as they face what will seem to be a final solution, a holocaust far worse than they experienced at the hands of the Nazis under Adolph Hitler. What Adolph Hitler did will be perpetrated upon the Jewish people by the Antichrist. (Daniel 7:21) (Daniel 8:12) (Daniel 12:7) (Revelation 13:7) Israel will go into the Time of Jacob’s Trouble but be saved out of it as a nation. The rescue will come! This will also see the rapture and resurrection of the faithful Church.
“He will be saved out of it!”
Jeremiah the prophet also spoke about this time when he wrote concerning the very last days; “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book. For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’ ”Now these are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah: “For thus says the Lord, I have heard a sound of terror, Of dread, and there is no peace. ‘Ask now, and see If a male can give birth. Why do I see every man With his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? ‘Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it. ‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.” (Jeremiah 30:1-8) The reference to King David is to the Lord Jesus who will reign from Jerusalem over the surviving nations when He returns in great splendour and glory. Kind David of course is a major type of Jesus in the Old Testament. This scripture will be completely fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom.
“Torn or ripped apart!”
Now notice also in verse three of Zechariah chapter 12 what the LORD says about the nations that seek to remove Israel as a nation, to destroy their identity and divide up the land; “I will make Jerusalem a heavy (immovable) stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. The LORD will take care of this situation personally! The idea of being “severely injured” in the Hebrew text literally reads “to be torn or ripped apart.” This will happen to all of those nations that have sent their armies to attack Jerusalem and to divide up the Land of Israel. Today it is the Quartet with their two-state solution from hell. The armies of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and even the United States will have their armies in the valley of Jehoshaphat, not to mention all of the Muslim nations also gathered in the valley of decision. For years the nations of Europe have demeaned the Jewish people. The Human Rights organization within the United Nations has lambasted Israel for years. Now Europe is being torn and ripped apart by the Islamic refugee crisis which in reality is an Islamic Invasion of Europe, not to mention the economic strife this invasion has brought to the nations of Europe. Even in Asian countries today such as Korea and China the economy is on a downward spiral.
The Islamic Caliphate
Erdogan of Turkey wants to re-establish the Turkish Ottoman Empire with a global Caliphate with himself the next Caliph of Islam. Many leading global Islamic Imams are calling him the next Caliph of the Islamic world and one Muslim cleric virtually deifying Erdogan. By his own admission Erdogan through public statements and rhetoric has soundly condemned Israel and on one occasion even called for their genocide. Of course perpetrating genocide is nothing new to the Turks. You have the Armenian Holocaust where it is reported over 1.5 million Armenian Christians were butchered by the Ottoman Turks. One graphic black and white photograph from that time shows young Armenian girls stripped totally naked and crucified in a row of crosses. Erdogan cannot hide his contempt for Israel and is very reluctant to see the situation with the Armenians as genocide. Any so called ‘peace’ negotiations he makes towards Israel will be false. All Muslims are past masters at practicing Taqiyyah (the art of lying approved by Allah their god). No doubts Erdogan is a stern-faced king of fierce countenance and a master at intrigue. Turkey has experienced acts of terror on their own soil and in the Valley of Jehoshaphat the armies of Turkey will be annihilated on the mountains of Israel along with their Turkish Antichrist. The armies of Iran will also be there along with many other armies all hell-bent on destroying Jerusalem.
“David their King”
When it looks like Israel is finished the LORD will send them David their King from heaven to rescue them from all of their enemies and from the hands of all who hate them. King David of course is not David but the Lord Jesus Christ who, as to his human ancestry is a King in the line of King David. Even though the Lord Jesus now reigns in the heavenly realms He is still to physically reign from Jerusalem. The Old Testament prophets are clear about this. On the Day of Pentecost the fallen tabernacle of David was restored spiritually and the Church was born, and it was a Jewish Church. Having said this in no way negates the fact that the Lord Jesus has to literally reign from the city of Jerusalem to fulfil God’s promises to Israel. This invasion by foreign armies will be the Time of Jacob’s Trouble according to the prophet Jeremiah. It will not only see Israel in turmoil and conflict but also the nations of the world as well. Even the faithful Church will be hard-pressed to survive this terrible time of tribulation that is soon going to engulf the whole world.
“He will be saved out of it!”
The Lord Jesus spoke about this time 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) Daniel also prophesied about the same period of time when he wrote; “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:1-2) The context is the very last days just prior to the return of the Lord. The elect will also need to be rescued and they will be taken up to meet the Lord at His Second Coming and then accompany Him back to earth to reign with Him. Indeed this last invasion of Israel by foreign armies will see the final abomination of desolation perpetrated in the Temple and it will usher in a time of trouble, stress and tribulation for the whole world that will ultimately bring it to the precipice of total annihilation. However, for the sake of the elect (faithful Jews and Christians) and for the sake of His covenant promises to the people Israel those days will be cut short! Indeed it will be “a time of trouble for Jacob but he will be saved out of it!”