Jerusalem — a Cup of Staggering and a Heavy Stone

“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.”

[Zechariah 12:2-3]

Once again conflict in Israel escalated this week, as Islamic Jihadist fired over 700 rockets into Israel, forcing Israeli military retaliation in the Gaza Strip. Although there is a temporary cease fire, both sides have suffered significant casualties and tensions remain high in the land.

The world has witnessed conflict in Israel from its modern inception in 1948. Time and time again, the Muslim majority nations surrounding Israel are fueled with and everlasting contempt for the Jewish people and the land. This should come as no surprise from a prophetic standpoint, because the word of God clearly says that there will be conflict in Israel until the return of King Jesus to utterly destroy the enemies of Israel.

Jerusalem herself is called a cup of staggering and a heavy stone for all the surrounding nations, as they remain drunk on the irrational hatred of the Jewish people and obsesses with wiping Israel off the map, while claiming the Holy Land in what the Muslims consider holy war — or jihad.

The terrorist organization, Hamas, is behind this most recent assault on the Israeli people. Hamas is the proxy military arm of Iran in the Gaza Strip. While Hamas invokes terror and breathes murderous threats toward Israel, tensions in the region have also increased between Iran and the United States.

As tensions mount, it is important to be reminded of what God’s word says about His covenant with Israel and why the Promised Land to Israel has become such a stumbling stone for the surrounding Muslim nations.

The LORD made Covenant with Isaac, Not Ishmael

Both Jews and Arabs claim Abraham as their patriarch of faith and therefore claim the covenant promises that God made to Abraham. But the Bible clearly distinguishes His relationship between Abraham’s two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. The Arab people are descended from Ishmael and Esau (Edom), while the Jewish people are descended from Isaac and Jacob (Israel). Consider what the LORD said to Abraham when establishing His everlasting covenant with him and his descendants.

“And God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’ 17Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ 18And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before you!’ 19God said, ‘No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him20As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.’”

[Genesis 17:15-21]

The LORD made Covenant with Jacob, not Esau

If that wasn’t clear enough, the LORD made sure He reaffirmed His everlasting covenant with Isaac’s younger son, Jacob, not his twin brother Esau. Esau’s descendants became the Edomites, who have remained bitter enemies of Israel to this day. Jacob’s descendants are the people of Israel — the Jewish people. God’s covenant promises primarily involved blessing, protection, the land of Canaan (see Genesis 15) and the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

“And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

“And God said to him (Jacob), “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. 12The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”

[Genesis 28:13-14, 35:11-12]

According the Bible, this bitter dispute over the Holy Land of Israel will never cease until the end of this age, when Jerusalem will be surrounded once again by her enemies, the people of Israel will be under great distress and in perilous trouble, and the Messiah — King Jesus — will return a second time in glory to deliver and save Israel out of her worst moment.

The everlasting contempt that the Muslim majority nations have for Israel will not go away. It must run its course. There will never be peace in the Middle East until the Prince of Peace returns to establish His kingdom once and for all.

All Israel will be Saved

The escalating tensions and hostility in Israel are but labor pains, reminding us of what it coming. There may be great distress coming for God’s people, like a woman giving birth, but the joy of the child will remove all memory of the pain to be endured.

The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 11:25-26, that once the fullness of the Gentiles have come in, all Israel will be saved in the end, when Jesus comes in power and great glory.

I will leave you with Zechariah’s prophecy, which speaks of this coming day of divine deliverance and final judgment of the enemies of God’s people.

“And the LORD will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah. 8On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them. 9And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

[Zechariah 12:7-10]

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