Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
In this first segment of our program, we’re continuing our discussion of Dave Hunt’s book, When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ.
Dave, I want to quote from the prophet Zechariah: “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 Jerusalem. And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces.”
In another verse (that’s Zechariah:12:2,3)—and then Zechariah:14:2,3 says, “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle and the city shall be taken then shall the Lord go forth to fight against those nations.”
Now, you call these verses “perhaps the most remarkable in the Bible.” Why is that?
Dave: Did I say that, Tom?
Tom: It’s right here, black on white, Dave. I’ve got the proof.
Dave: Oh, “perhaps among the most remarkable.”
Tom: But it is startling, given the historic setting, and that’s kind of what I’m thinking about.
Dave: Right. Well, when the prophet Zechariah spoke these words under the inspiration of God, Jerusalem was in ruins, having been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Now, to say that one day Jerusalem would be a cup of trembling, isn’t that a little farfetched?
Tom: Well, they couldn’t even rebuild the temple! I mean, the walls were down, there was nothing going on there. The people even became apathetic, so this was hardly a threat to anybody.
Dave: Exactly. So he’s saying, “One day…” And when you go down to verse 3: “In that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone to all the nations—all the nations of the world.” So, what God is saying is, “Jerusalem is in ruins, but let Me tell you something: one day the eyes of the world will be upon Jerusalem in fear and trembling,” knowing that the next world war, when it breaks out, it’s going to break out over Jerusalem. It’s going to be a nuclear holocaust. “You guys, you’ve got to get busy, and somehow solve the problem of Jerusalem.” The problem is the nations of the world, the EU, the UN, and the USA and Russia and so forth, they are determined to impose their own solution in defiance of what God has said.
But anyway, back to this prophecy, Tom. When all the nations around her will be in a siege, both against Judah and against Jerusalem…now that’s an amazing prophecy, because the nations were not at that time, and never were in history, united. I mean, the nations around, the neighbors. What were the enemies? Israel had many enemies from the surrounding neighbors: Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, the Syrians, you name them—they were never united together. They fought one another; they had different religions, and so forth. God is saying…that’s why I say this is a remarkable prophecy, a prophecy for our day, never fulfilled before. No one can deny it, but it is being fulfilled today that all the nations surrounding—the neighbors surrounding Jerusalem would be united in a siege against her. How about that! Well, they are. What unites them? Islam! They had never been united before, okay?
Tom: Dave, and if you go down through church history, as it were, those who would consider themselves to be evangelicals, Bible believers, you know—the reformers, and so on—it was as though they couldn’t handle this verse. I mean, it’s one of the reasons (we’ve talked about this before) that Replacement Theology came into being, because it just didn’t seem that this could actually take place.
Dave: Yeah, so you’re going to have to spiritualize. So, no, “This is really talking about the church,” and “It’s under the siege by the evil forces of Satan opposing the gospel,” and so forth.
Tom: These guys were helping out the Bible, weren’t they?
Dave: Yeah. Now this has literally come to pass in our day. Has literally come to pass in our day! Nobody can argue it, no question about it. Now, I would say that’s a rather remarkable prophecy—all these various elements. Now, why is Jerusalem a cup of trembling? That’s another one. It was in ruins. Because, if you go to verse 6, it says, “In that day [talking about this day now, the last days in which we live] 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 nations round about on the right hand and on the left.”
Now, Tom, you couldn’t have imagined that! It’s in ruins, and all these nations around and Jerusalem—well, it talks about the Princes of Judah—will devour them. You couldn’t have even imagined that—certainly not when Israel declared its independence. Sixty thousand ragged, irregular troops…these are—you could call them farmers and settlers, poorly trained. And in fact in Judgment Day!, we have an endorsement from one of Israel’s most highly regarded retired generals; he trained them—he ought to know. He was back there in those days, and that was one of the assignments he had from David Ben Gurion, he and some other officers. He said they were poorly trained, and they certainly were poorly armed. No one would sell arms to them, not even the United States, Britain, France, and so forth. They had to smuggle arms from Czechoslovakia.
The whole world was sure that six Muslim nations with their regular armies—600,000 men against 60,000, and they’ve got tanks and planes—they are going to make short work of these poor Israelis, and they promised that they would. I mean, in Judgment Day!, we give you many, many quotes: “We will annihilate them, we will wipe them out.” Well, they were backed by Britain. They’ve got British advisors, officers with their units; Britain is arming them, and so forth, and you would think this is some kind of a joke. Well, we know who won!
So this is why Jerusalem, the Princes of Judah, are a source of trembling for the nations around them: because they can’t defeat them. The idea of Israeli defense forces are too good for them, no question about that. So now they’re pretending peace, and the world accepts this, and insists that Israel agree to peace with an enemy that has sworn there will be no peace, no recognition of Israel. “We will never accept Israel’s existence. This is a blotch in the midst of the Arab nation,” they say. Okay? So then, when we come to the next verse, verse 3: “I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the nations.”
Well, Tom, when you think about it, there would have to be some worldwide organization of nations. How could Israel be a burden to all the nations unless, somehow, all the nations have joined together, and they are united somehow, and they are opposed to Israel as well? Is Israel a burden to the UN today? Of course it is! The United Nations has spent one third of its time debating, condemning, you know, arguing…more than 60,000 individual votes cast against Israel; hundreds of condemnations of Israel. So they have spent a third of their time on Israel. They just can’t get rid of this little nation! They ought to be able to wipe them out! Why haven’t the Arabs wiped them out? This is a nation that has one-one-thousandth of the earth’s population—the United Nations has spent one-third of its time!
Okay, is that a fulfillment of prophecy? I would say that it is. “I’m going to make Jerusalem a burdensome…” (and you know the heart of this problem is Jerusalem). “I am going to make Jerusalem a burdensome stone to all the nations.” And then God says, “All that burden themselves with it will be cut in pieces, though all the nations of the earth come against her.”
Now, you read in Zechariah 14 where it says, “God said, I will gather all nations against Jerusalem, and they are all going to come against her, and they are going to be cut in pieces.” This is what the Bible says. Now, President Bush claims to be a Christian—maybe he is, I don’t know. They say he reads his Bible and prays every morning. Well, why doesn’t he read some of these verses? Because he is leading the United States, along with the rest of the world, into destruction!
Tom, if we could look at another verse—I don’t know whether we talked about it in this book—Joel:3:2. It’s very similar to what we’ve just read, what you quoted in Zechariah:14:2,3: God says, “I will….” Anybody out there listening, if you read your Bible and you highlight, or you underline, notice how often God says, “I will.” God is doing something today. Notice this: “I will also gather all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat [that’s right next to Jerusalem there] and will plead with them there [well, it means, ‘I’m going to punish them’] for my people and for my heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”
I guess we’ve talked about that probably on this program before, Tom. They’ve been scattering Israel among the nations for centuries, more than 2,000 years. Anti-Semitism—you see the pictures of Jews with their wheelbarrows or little carts—they are pushing what belongings they’ve got, and they’re fleeing from one country to another. This has been going on for centuries.
But what about “and they parted my land”? Never ever happened in the history of the world until our day, coinciding with all the nations surrounding being united against Jerusalem in a siege.
Tom, I don’t see how anyone could be an atheist, an agnostic! You cannot deny—God said, “I’ll tell you what’s going to happen before it happens, and when it does you’ll have to acknowledge I’m God and this is my Word.”
Okay, so what’s the situation today? Well, we’ve been through it, I think, in the past. I won’t go into the details. But you remember 1917 Balfour Declaration, 1919 Paris Peace Conference (I’ll just move very fast), 1922 Declaration of Principles by the League of Nations, predecessor to the UN, and so forth. And the whole world agreed this place called Palestine belonged to the Jews. That was the land of Israel. It was set aside as the National Jewish homeland because of all these people being chased everywhere, and they were invited to come back and live there, and Britain was given the mandate to see that it happened. And Britain betrayed the Jews, kept the Jews out, even Holocaust survivors within sight of the promised land—driven back by the British navy, put into camps. Britain, in 1944—Germany needed money; Hitler needed money. There were 500,000 Hungarian Jews untouched by the Nazis. He offered to sell them for $2 apiece. (This is history!) No one would take them! Britain said, “There is no room in Palestine for them.”
So all the nations in this world…in Judgment Day! we document it—how many times the United States has betrayed Israel, how the nations of the world have been against Israel, and God keeps record of this, and He’s going to punish them for this! Okay, so Hitler alone is not guilty of the Holocaust.
But anyway, what happened? Well, Britain gave this land away to the Arabs. They gave most of it to Jordan to create the Trans-Jordan, it was called. Everybody has heard of the West Bank, but there is an East Bank. If there is a West Bank, there’s an East Bank, and the East Bank, that was where three-and-a-half of the tribes of Israel had their inheritance that God gave them—that’s Jordan, and they gave that away. They gave it to the Muslims, the Arabs; they called themselves Palestinians. They talk about a Palestinian national home—they got it; it was given to them. An UN Resolution…
Tom: Now, Dave, when you say, “They got it, it was given to them,” that’s not the Palestine they want today, so-called—this is Jordan that they gave them, right?
Dave: Well, it was so-called Palestine. It was Israel, and it was a huge chunk of it, and most Palestinians live there today, but they want everything. They will not allow Israel even to exist. And, you know, there is no Arab map in the world that shows the existence of Israel. You get the logo of the PLO, for example: here’s Palestine—look for Israel. There’s no Israel there. Hamas, the same. They have sworn to exterminate Israel, and then the world says, “Oh, make peace with these people!” Oh, surely we can have them sign another piece of paper, another peace agreement, and that will solve all of this. No, it won’t!
But anyway, Tom—I’m taking too long on this—the problem is, what have they done? They divided the land, just like God said! No conqueror ever divides a land; you keep the land for yourself. Whoa, wait a minute, this land is going to be divided, Joel:3:2.
Okay, what is the documentation for that? Well, I’ve given you some of the history, but UN Resolution 181, November 29, 1947, it is called The Partition of the Land. And the nations of the world, exactly as God said, joined together—United Nations—to divide this land, and Israel ended up with about 13 percent of what they had been promised.
God said, “I am angry. This is My land. You are taking it away from my people!” Well, Tom, you know, every peace proposal since, including President Bush’s so-called “Roadmap to Peace,” what’s the foundation of it?
“Israel, give them more land, give them more land, give them more land!” They just forced Israel to pull out of Gaza. That was Israel; that’s Israeli land! They talk about, “Oh, Israel is occupying Palestinian land.” No, these people who call themselves Palestinians are occupying Israeli land. And I begin to get a little angry, Tom, so if I could take another minute here…
Who are the Palestinians? They are Arabs. Arabs claim descent from Ishmael. Ishmael was the first son of Abraham, not through his wife, Sarah, but through her maid, Hagar. All right, Abraham was what? He was a Chaldean from Iraq, actually, and Hagar was an Egyptian. So you claim descent from Ishmael whose father was an Iraqi—was a Chaldean actually; not the same kind of Iraqis we have today, although there are Chaldeans living over there—I’ve met some of them. But Abraham was a Chaldean, Hagar was an Egyptian. You’ve got a Chaldean father, an Egyptian mother. When they arrive in this place—not Palestine—it’s Canaan, it is already settled by the Canaanites. And you’re descended from Ishmael, and you say you are descended from the original Palestinians? I begin to get really angry, Tom! This is a lie! It is a total fraud, as history says, and the world accepts this lie as the basis for a peace that they are going to force upon Israel, which involves dividing up this land, and God said, “I’m going to punish you for dividing My land!”
So anyway, that’s a little bit of background of prophecy. It gives us confidence, Tom, that when Jesus said, “I will come again,” it gives us confidence that when the Bible talks about the return of Christ, or the Rapture, it’s actually going to happen, because all these other things that the Bible foretold have come to pass exactly on schedule.
Tom: Dave, I want to push on to chapter 4 of your book When Will Jesus Come? and you title chapter 4, “God’s Chosen People.” Now that puts a lot of people off right there. You know, the idea that God—whether they say that “God is no respecter of persons,” the idea that He would set apart some people, or have a special people, it just upsets them. Now, these are people who have not read the Old Testament, the Tanakh, as we mentioned last week.
Dave: Well, but some of them have, Tom, or they claim to.
Tom: But to see God, in effect, choosing these people, the most amazing thing about it is putting up with them—as He puts up with us, okay? It is really, I mean, rebellion after rebellion, idolatry, over and over and over again. But still, He has to have a chosen people for the sake of sending His Messiah.
Dave, let me read from Leviticus:20:24-26: “… I will give it unto you to possess it [this is what you were just talking about]…
Dave: Talking about this land.
Tom: Right. “… a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people. And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” Again, Leviticus:20:24-26.
Dave: Right. Well, Tom, there is no question that the Jews are a separate people. Everybody knows who they are, and they are hated and persecuted, killed like nobody else, which is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. This is what God said would happen. Chosen people—why should there be a chosen people? Why didn’t He choose us? Why does He choose them? Well, He chose a man, Abraham, just like He chose one man, Noah. “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” or we wouldn’t even be here. Our would-be ancestors would all have been destroyed in the flood.
So, as you intimated, the Messiah is going to come. The Messiah must be God, because only God could suffer the penalty for our sins. Only God could pay the infinite penalty, but He must be a man so that He represents mankind, the human race. So here comes God in man, and Isaiah:9:6—many prophecies in the Old Testament indicate that this is God himself.
When Abraham and Isaac are walking up that mountain and Isaac is going to be sacrificed (he doesn’t know that, and that was what Abraham was intending), and he says, “Here’s the wood, and here’s the fire. Where’s the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” Amazing! Jesus said, “He rejoiced to see My day, and saw it and he was glad.”
So God is going to come to this earth as a man. He will be God and man in one person so that He can pay the penalty for our sins. Well, He has to have a genealogy. He doesn’t just come out of nowhere. He has an ancestry, and this is one of the proofs—I mean, the great proof—that Jesus is who He claimed to be, the Messiah. How would you recognize the Messiah? He was born in Bethlehem; He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey on a certain day—the Bible tells you the very day He would do that. He’s going to be hated and despised by His own people, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. He’s going to be crucified, and He is going to rise again, and so forth and so on.
Okay, so this is why a chosen people. Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of these people from whom the Messiah would come. Two hundred and three times in the Bible God is called the God of Israel. Nine times He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You don’t like it? Take that up with God. Don’t blame me and Tom and this radio program for that; we’re reading it from the Bible.