Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jerusalem – A Cup of Trembling and a Burdensome Stone

Zechariah 12 contains some of the most often quoted verses by prophecy teachers today.

Zechariah 12:2-3 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. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

The Lord is declaring His intent to make Jerusalem “a cup of trembling” to ALL the people round about and a “burdensome stone” for ALL people; and just to clarify “all people,” He states “all the people of the earth.” At the time that Zechariah is prophesying, Jerusalem is widely known as the capital of Israel and intimately connected to the glory of the God of Israel. The Hebrew for “a cup of trembling” is a reference to reeling and shaking from intoxication. The Hebrew for “a burdensome stone” is reference to a weight that is troublesome, painful and hard to bear.

This prophecy, as well as the many others that speak of the establishment of Israel as a nation of prominence among the nations, seemed impossible to believe for hundreds of years. Headlines today, however, scream loud and clear the truth of God’s word. Jerusalem today is surely “a cup of trembling unto all the people round about” and “a burdensome stone for all people.” Point is made that it is the Lord Who is going to put Israel in this position among the nations.

It’s interesting to me that Jerusalem and Judah are singled out. Much of the rest of Israel today is occupied by the “Palestinians,” but they aren’t satisfied with that; they want all of Israel. Chunk by precious chunk the Jewish people are ceding their God-given land in hopes of a peace that they will never have until Jesus the Messiah returns to establish His Kingdom. They’ve even been deceived into referencing themselves as occupiers.

The Lord is very clear; it doesn’t matter how large a group of multi-national forces may gather against Israel. Those nations/forces will end up being “cut in pieces,” and haven’t Israel’s victories in face of overwhelming odds proven this truth over and over again. Frankly, I think this truth will also continue to be proven regarding those nations that may not be participating in direct battle with Israel, but are acting with disregard to Israel’s well being in other ways.

It’s interesting to have the present day perspective of how Jerusalem and the nation of Israel have been positioned exactly as prophesied by Zechariah. The Jewish people are more secular than religious, and the Islamic world is determined to destroy the nation. I’m sure Satan thinks he has been very clever in his game of deceit and in assisting in the establishment of the Islam. Prophecy declares the truth of Who has been in control all along. Our amazing God has sovereignly used the actions of evil men (and spirits) to bring about His purposes—and will continue to do so until He has determined it is time for sin to be no more and His kingdom established for eternity.

Verse 4 is another seemingly impossible prophecy.

Zechariah 12:4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.

“that day” – The day when the nations are gathered together against Jerusalem and Judah

I don’t see how one can make application of this verse to the siege of the Romans in the first century; Israel was overwhelmingly defeated. This seems to be much more descriptive of miraculous military victories in our day and in the days yet to come in connection with the forces of Gog and again with the forces of Antichrist at Armageddon. I wouldn’t even have made the connection to current times, except that I’ve heard accounts of miracles on the battlefield beginning with the War of Independence that seem to be directly connected to this verse.

The following in reference to the War of Independence in 1948 is from www.christiantrumpetsounding.com/nation_of_miracles.htm.

“To liberate the airport at Lydda the tactics of Gideon were employed. Seven thousand Arab troops were ready to attack. Sixteen Israelis dressed as Arabs infiltrated into the city of Lydda. Like Gideon’s band of 300 they made such a commotion during the night that the Arabs, totally confused, fired upon each other. Finally the majority fled back across the border.”

Regarding the 6-Day War in 1967 at www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/122435.

“The Israeli soldiers didn’t have to parachute out of the Nord airplanes which took them to the Tiran Straits. They landed like spoiled tourists in the airport, because the Egyptian regiment which was on guard there fled before the Israeli troops were visible on the horizon. After landing, I was sent with another reserves soldier, an electrician, to patrol the area. When we had distanced ourselves two kilometers, an Egyptian half track appeared before us filled with soldiers and mounted with machine guns on every side. We had only light weapons with a few bullets that couldn’t stop the half track for a second. We couldn’t turn back, so we stood there in despair, waited for the first shot, and for lack of a better idea, aimed our guns at them. 

But the shots didn’t come. 

The half track came to a halt, and we decided to cautiously approach it. We found 18 armed soldiers inside sitting with guns in hand, with a petrified look on their faces. They looked at us with great fear as though begging for mercy. I shouted ‘Hands up!’ As we were marching them and I had returned to a state of calm, I asked the Egyptian sergeant next to me, ‘Tell me, why didn’t you shoot at us?’ He answered, ‘I don’t know. My arms froze – they became paralyzed. My whole body was paralyzed, and I don’t know why.’ 
It turned out that these soldiers didn’t know that the Straits of Tiran were already in Israeli hands; why didn’t they eliminate us? I don’t have an answer. How can one say that G-d didn’t help us.”

These are just two of many more such as those reported by Michael Greenspan in his series, “Against All Odds: In Search of a Miracle.”

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