Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.(Jeremiah 30:6-11)
Human history is heading for a climax, and Israel, the miracle nation, is at the heart of the final scene of the drama. What is the climax of history?
According to the Hebrew Prophets it is the return of the exiled nation from the ends of the earth, back to the land God promised to Abraham,Isaac and Jacob in the face of withering hostility from the surrounding nations (Edom, the Islamic Arab world). When the siege almost succeeds and the bloodlust of the haters of Israel is nearly satisfied, the Messiah intervenes, and saves Israel, defeating her enemies and judging the world.
But there is a pre-condition which must occur immediately before God intervenes. Israel must “confess her offense”(singular) to the LORD, before he remembers his covenant and restores them.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.(Leviticus 26:40-42)
But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.(Deuteronomy 4:29-31)
What will it take to get through to secular, modern Israel, to confess their national sin, committed two thousand years ago? Nothing less than a tribulation.
Zechariah is one of the many prophets who saw the end in a vision;
The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. 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 against Jerusalem.(Zechariah 12:1-2)
The city of Jerusalem is at the center of the controversy of the end. Jewish possession of Jerusalem in modern times has only been a reality since 1967. The fact that the Jews hold Jerusalem makes her neighbors crazy. The “cup of trembling” is a reference to a national judgment, God causes the leaders of the nation to melt into confusion, suspicion, fear and terrible mental judgment, causing them to self destruct.
“All the people round about”, refers to Israel’s present near neighbors.Iraq,Jordan Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia are all drinking the “cup of trembling”,going mad, hating and undermining themselves because they hate Israel, and resent her hold on Jerusalem, and even her very existence.
“They shall be in the siege against Judah and Jerusalem…”,Israel’s neighbors have successfully lobbied the Western nations to participate in a BDS (Boycott,Divest, and Sanction) which has isolated and alienated Israel.
The U.N.(United Nations) allows every nation to take a turn on the UN Security council except Israel. The largest voting bloc in the U.N. is the organization of Islamic conference, 57 Islamic states which vote as a bloc, usually against Israel. Saudi Arabia recently took a seat on the UN Human Rights council, the same week in which they hung a 15 year old boy on national television.UNESCo recently declared the second and third holiest sites of the Jewish State to be ISLAMIC holy places.
The nations of the world seem to be coming into a consensus, which is antisemitic. As Europe allows itself to be inundated with Moslems, AntiSemitic sentiment is becoming more widespread and acceptable.
Furthermore, God will make Jerusalem a “burdensome stone” to all of the nations.The issue of Jerusalem, its status, population, demographics and the religious significance of her holy sites will not for long be merely a squabble among Israel and her neighbors, God will cause all of the nations to have to consider the troubles of it, and much debate, and even blood and treasure will be spent trying to solve the problem.
The Prophet predicts that many will undertake to solve the problem of the “burdensome stone”,in order to remove it from the path of human progress. But Zechariah predicted that those world leaders who tried to lift the stone would literally be “Lacerated”, i.e. “cut to the bone”.I can think of several U.S. Presidencies which have been shipwrecked after otherwise stellar careers, because they thought they could merely “solve” the problem of Jerusalem.
This would be the case, even though”All the nations of the earth be gathered together against “ Jerusalem and Judea. This scripture would not be possible to fulfill to the letter, until fairly recently, because it has only been since 1947 that there has been a congress of all of the nations of the world which meets regularly to discuss , and vote for or against the various nations of the world. Though Israel has only one thousandth of the population of the world, about a third of the time at the U.N. is spent arguing, discussing , denouncing and sanctioning Israel, Jerusalem and Judea.
This problem will escalate to the point that Jerusalem will literally be over-run and plundered, according to Zechariah;
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.(Zechariah 14:1-4)
This plundering and capture of Jerusalem is what will bring the Messiah back to the earth, and bring about the judgment of the nations of the earth who oppose Israel. He will come back to his people when they are at their lowest and most vulnerable point, as the Song of Moses predicted-
For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.(Deuteronomy 32:36)
But remember, that He put a precondition- Israel must confess her national sin, and we will see how that is predicted to happen, in the next article.