Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about.... Jerusalem [will be] a burdensome stone for all people....In that day will I make the governors of Judah...like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about....
When the above prophecies were written about 2,500 years ago, Jerusalem lay in ruins. Its history thereafter was repeated destruction, the Jews scattered everywhere and hounded to the death. Yet God brought His despised people back into their own land in 1948. And today, hanging like a millstone around its neck, Jerusalem is the number one problem the UN faces, as the prophets foretold.
Israel is insignificant in size, but formidable. America failed miserably to rescue its hostages in Iran, but Israel recovered hers from the heart of Africa and lost only one man. When Iraq defiantly went about developing nuclear weapons, Israel bombed its facility out of existence. Israel's forces could take over Cairo, Damascus and Beirut. She is indeed like "a torch of fire in a sheaf" capable of "devour[ing] all people round about."
Most of the nations of today's world refuse to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They want it to be under international control. The Vatican has demanded the internationalization of Jerusalem for 48 years. Recently the heads of the Christian community in Jerusalem called for its internationalization. The World Council of Churches demands the same. Amazingly, Israel's leaders have secretly offered to hand over sovereignty of Jerusalem's Old City to the Vatican. Jerusalem is to become the "second Vatican of the world."1
The Bible's more than 800 references to Jerusalem offer the only explanation for its astonishing importance on today's world stage: Jerusalem is "the City of our God" (Ps:48:1,8) chosen by Him to play a special role in human destiny. Moreover, Jerusalem is intended to be the capital of a specific land far larger than Israel occupies today—"from the river of Egypt unto...the river Euphrates" (Gen:15:18)—given by God to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as an "everlasting inheritance" (Gen:13:15; Jer:7:7, etc.).
Even the Koran designates the children of Israel as the "people of the Book" whom Moses led into the promised land and to whom that land belongs (Surah 2:63 ff.; 5:19-24,68,70; 10:91,94; 44:30 ff.; etc.). Nevertheless, Islam insists that Israel belongs to the Arabs. Therefore, the Jewish state must be destroyed! Otherwise, Islam has been proven a false religion. That is the issue. Deceptive peace talk by Arabs serves only to position them better for the annihilation of Israel. Yes, apparent peace will be established, but it will lead to Armageddon.
To defeat this young David militarily from without is clearly a vain hope for the Arab Goliaths who have tried and failed repeatedly. She must be destroyed from within by a "peace offensive." The Arab strategy is clear: make overtures of peace, sign peace accords, and by whatever subterfuge that works gain a foothold within the borders of Israel from which to launch the final attack that will bring about her complete destruction. To imagine that the Arabs have any other intention is to be deceived.
Yet even some evangelicals are under the delusion that current negotiations are bringing real peace. Lately TBN's Paul Crouch and CBN's Pat Robertson have been promoting that fantasy. Supposedly God's peace is being engineered by a Muslim terrorist organization and an unbelieving Israeli leadership which is disobeying God in bartering land He gave to Israel that was never to be given up!
Yasser Arafat knows better. Early in 1994, in a speech at a Johannesburg mosque, he called for continuing jihad (holy war) by the Arabs to retake Jerusalem. Arafat left no doubt as to his meaning: "This agreement [between the PLO and Israel], I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our Prophet Muhammad and Kuraish." After signing a "peace treaty" with his own tribe, the Kuraish, Mohammed broke it on a pretext, killed the Kuraish leaders and conquered Mecca. So Arafat was saying that the PLO's agreement with Israel is only a step toward her conquest and is intended to be broken.
Furthermore, the conquest not only of Israel but of the world is Islam's unchangeable goal. Everyone in the West knows about the Iron and Bamboo Curtains and communism's determination to take over the world. Yet the Islamic Curtain is never mentioned in the media nor is Islam's intention to conquer the world for Allah. There was more freedom of religion in the former Soviet Union and there remains more today in communist China than there is in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Sudan and other Islamic countries. The spread of Islam's mosques throughout the Western world accelerates even while Islam denies the same overt liberty for other religions in territories it controls. It is estimated that fully one-third of the world's population will have embraced this fastest growing religion by the end of this decade.
From the very beginning, Islam has been a religion of conquest. Muhammad himself led 27 invasions of neighboring towns, and during his lifetime his followers engaged in about 50 more. The conquered peoples were given the choice of conversion to Islam or death. At times, a third alternative was granted: the payment of heavy tribute. Islam converted by force the vast regions it now dominates and where conversion of a Muslim to another religion is forbidden. The penalty for conversion is death in Saudi Arabia today.
Islamic terrorists are playing out their special role in Islam's intended conquest of the world. That Islam offers those who die in jihad assurance of Paradise encourages the most effective terrorists, the suicide bombers who conceal on their bodies explosives which they detonate to kill Israelis. "The faces of [these] martyred [heroes] stare down at you from a thousand postered walls in Beirut and Tehran....When an Egyptian soldier named Suleiman Khater went berserk in the Sinai and killed five Israeli tourists, what did Iran do? It declared him a hero, named a street after him and set aside a day honoring him...."2
The late Ayatollah Khomeini explained, "The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for God." In its war against Iraq, Iran cleared minefields by utilizing thousands of young schoolboys to walk along in front of troops and tanks. In 1982, in one minefield alone, about 5,000 children were torn to bits exploding the mines so that the army could move across the cleared path.3
Arab terrorism is passed off as the fault of a tiny minority of fanatics who are out of step with mainstream Islam and the educated Arab world. On the contrary, the Koran says in Surah 5:33 (see also 47:4) that all those who oppose Allah (i.e., non-Muslims) are to be "killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off...." Surah 9:5 says to "slay the [non-Muslims] wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush...."
Nevertheless, the major world media remains pro-Arab and anti-Israel. That bias is demonstrated almost daily. Consider the sanitization of the terrorist organization Hamas after one of its agents blew himself up on a bus in Tel Aviv, killing 22 and wounding many others.4 That afternoon CNN news commentator Hilary Bowker commented that while most people think of a terrorist organization when they hear the word Hamas, "the group actually does quite a bit more than that...." Rosemary Hollis, an "expert" being interviewed, added, "They are part of the community. Many professionals of Hamas...will perform functions ...in the schools, or in the clinics or through the mosques...[for] the poor people."
Other networks continued the whitewash, including America's most watched news program, ABC's "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings. The Jerusalem Post has said, "In turning a massacre of Israelis into pro-Palestinian propaganda, no one is a greater virtuoso than ABC-TV's Peter Jennings."5 There was not a word that anyone had been killed in the bus bombing, which Jennings explained as an act of revenge for an earlier attack upon a mosque by an Israeli. Inexcusably, Jennings failed to distinguish between an impulsive outburst by a deranged individual acting on his own and a carefully planned attack by an organization which has devoted itself to terrorism with the backing of Arab nations. Hamas declares that every Muslim is obliged to aid in Israel's destruction. Jennings described these professional murderers as "devout and politically aware Moslems" and depicted them as heroes. No blame was leveled at Hamas, but Israel was blamed for the death of one of her own soldiers, Nahshon Wachsman, kidnapped by Hamas who, said Jennings, "subsequently died when the Israelis tried to rescue him by force." Shame on Israel for defending herself!
Tom Brokaw was not to be outdone. From Jerusalem he presented a program called "The Story of the Israeli Fathers." It "featured interviews with Nahshon Wachsman's father, Yehuda Wachsman, and Tyassir Natsche, a 'wealthy Arab merchant,' the father of one of Nahshon's kidnappers. [Commented Brokaw], 'Two fathers in the Middle East, both grieving...religious men, joined, for now, only in the deaths of their sons.'"6 One wonders by what rationale the death of the one murdered could be placed on the same level as the death of the one who kidnapped and killed him. What a masterful deception!
Of 21 Arab countries, not one is a democracy. There is no freedom of religion, and other basic rights are often denied. One must be a Muslim, for example, to be a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Christian meetings, public or private, are forbidden. Five Christians from the Philippines were recently imprisoned for holding a home Bible meeting.7 The death penalty for blaspheming Muhammad has been in force in Pakistan since 1991. In the Sudan, Christians are being literally crucified. Yet Muslims living in the West enjoy the freedom of religion, of the press and of speech that is denied to non-Muslims in Arab countries. In America, thousands of its citizens, including Muslims, protested its participation in the Gulf War; but in Saudi Arabia, one of our allies for whose freedom we were fighting, the government warned that anyone protesting the war effort would have a hand and a leg cut off or be executed.8 As Robert Morey explains in Islamic Invasion (see books we offer):
Islamic law does not recognize freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, or freedom of the press...non-Muslims...are routinely denied even the most basic civil rights....
Incarceration without due process; the use of torture; political assassination; the cutting off of hands, feet, ears, tongues, and heads; and the gouging out of eyes—all of these things are part of Islamic law today because they were part of seventh-century Arabian culture....Unless this is firmly grasped ...[Westerners] will never understand why Muslims think and act the way they do....The denial of civil rights to women which is clearly in the text of the Quran itself is reflective of seventh-century Arabian culture and its low view of women.9
Anti-Semitism on the part of non-Muslims, too, is rising worldwide. A safe haven for Jews is needed, as it was in Hitler's day. Yet as then, so now, that refuge is being refused. Israel is running out of housing space and the whole world sides with the terrorists in demanding a stop to construction of Jewish housing in "the occupied territories." Then where are Jewish refugees to be housed—refugees from Russia, for example, where Vladimir Zhirinovsky openly declares, "I'll act as Hitler did...I may have to shoot 100,000," and captures 25 percent of the Russian vote?!
"Occupied territories"? God promised this land to His people. Anyone opposing full possession and enjoyment of Israel's heritage is rebelling against God and comes under the curse which He established: "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee..." (Gen:12:3). Those who believe the Bible are forced to admit that the "promised land" belongs to Abraham's descendants to whom God gave it and must pray for their peaceful enjoyment of that land.
It is not a matter of being "pro-Israel" or "pro-Arab" or "anti" either of these peoples, but of agreeing with God. Tragically, in trying to take back land from Israel, the Arab nations are opposing God and thereby robbing themselves of the blessing He promised to those who would bless Israel. Bluster, anger and terrorism can-not change the facts. God will have His way. Unfortunately, most Israelis them-selves do not believe God.
Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt and is giving back the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians. Early in February 1995, in a brief military ceremony, Israel returned to Jordan 340 square kilometers of land. Radio Jordan announced triumphantly, "Jordan has achieved full sovereignty over lands that Israel had occupied."10 By such deeds, Israel is repudiating the very promises of God who gave her this land "for ever" (Ex 32:11-13; Ex 37:25; Jer:25:4-5, etc.) and forbade her to sell it (Lev:25:23). Instead of looking to God, Israel is seeking "peace" in the most naive of partnerships with its two most implacable enemies in history, the Vatican and Islam.
Amazingly, Israel is proudly trusting in her own capabilities. In the declaration of Israel's rebirth made by David Ben-Gurion, May 14, 1948, no mention was made of the God who had restored her to her land! Itzhak Rabin, Major General and Israeli Chief of Staff at the time of Israel's smashing 1967 victory, boasted, "All this has been done by the Israel defense forces alone, with what we have, without anything or anybody else."11 How different was King David's attitude, who won even greater victories and gave God all the credit. And how much suffering yet lies ahead of modern Israel until she learns to put her trust in the same One and realizes how desperately she needs David's God! Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. TBC
Condensed excerpt from Dave's book, A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy(out of print).