How King Hezekiah Saved Jerusalem Anciently
The world is up in arms over United States President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state of Israel. Leaders all over the world made strong statements against it. Protests filled the streets in several capitals. Palestinian leaders called for a violent uprising. No city stirs passions like Jerusalem!
It is remarkable to see this city continually in the news. But when you understand the Bible’s prophecies, you know why this is the case.
The truth is, no city stirs God’s passions like Jerusalem! This city is extremely important to God—like no city on Earth.
God says Jerusalem will be a “burdensome stone” and “all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces” (Zechariah 12:3). In a sense, you can see this fulfilled to a certain degree today. Every effort to solve the impasse over Jerusalem has ended in failure.
Jerusalem means “city of peace.” Yet if you understand the history of Jerusalem, this could be likened to a sick joke. This city’s history has been filled with rivers of blood. No city has seen more bloodshed! No city has suffered like Jerusalem. It has known almost no peace!
But there is very good news. This blood-soaked city will yet become a city of peace.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It has been right at the heart of the Jews’ presence in that area for thousands of years (“An Unremarkable Declaration”).
Every country has its embassy in the other country’s capital, but they are afraid to do that where Jerusalem is concerned. The last three American presidents had promised to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because that is irrefutably the capital. But they never followed through on their promise because they were intimidated by the Arabs.
However, President Trump has moved forward on that promise. He hasn’t let the Arabs or anyone else intimidate him. He may have to pay a price for that.
Across the world, probably the most common response to his announcement was that it proved America can no longer be the mediator of the Arab-Jew peace process. They said that recognizing Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem betrays a bias against the Palestinians—even though Israel’s hold on West Jerusalem has never been a point of debate. Only Arab leaders who say Israel shouldn’t exist at all dispute the Jews’ claim over the area where the U.S. plans to move its embassy!
So this announcement supposedly destroys the peace process. But the truth is that the peace process has been a farce from the beginning! It has been a deadly “wound” to Israel (Hosea 5:13). You can read more about this in my free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.
Other nations now say the United States cannot mediate in the Middle East. Europeans are putting themselves forward as the natural replacement. This is exactly what Bible prophecy foretold (Donald Trump Brings Bible Prophecy Alive in Jerusalem). And Bible prophecy also tells us the horrifying outcome of Europe’s involvement!
The German media had a lot to say about President Trump’s announcement. “Donald Trump has made a historic mistake,” wrote Spiegel Online. “Peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved by one side dictating the conditions” (Dec. 7, 2017; Trumpet translation throughout). Their general view is that the Jews are occupiers and the Palestinians are victims. Is that an unbiased view?
Anyone who thinks that Germany and Europe would be an impartial mediator in this conflict needs to see reality. There is a strong swell of hatred for the Jews in Europe. Reports of rising anti-Semitism in Germany are routine. On the weekend after President Trump’s announcement, thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin. Polls show a lot of hatred for Jews growing in that nation today. We see that in their stance on Jerusalem.
In an article titled “Jerusalem Dispute: EU Rejects Netanyahu,” Spiegel Online reported, “Benjamin Netanyahu demands that Europeans recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but EU foreign ministers are giving the premier a cool reception in Brussels” (Dec. 11, 2017).
“For 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said at a meeting in Brussels. He said that has been the case since it was “established by King David, [which is] well documented in the history of the Bible ….”
In response to his statement, Spiegel Online quoted a professor of history and culture of ancient Judaism and Christianity saying, “I do not know which edition of the Bible Mr. Netanyahu owns.” This scholar could hardly have made a more ignorant statement! Has he ever even looked at the Bible?
Spiegel went on to say, “Even among Israelite researchers, it is controversial whether David was the king of an empire with temples and palaces or ruled as a clan chief over a few mud-huts. Furthermore, 3,000 years ago there was no Jewish people in the present sense.” That is abysmally wrong! There is abundant archaeological and historical evidence to prove that the biblical account of King David is accurate! What Netanyahu said is true! But sadly, nobody believes the Bible.
The hostility against the Bible and the hostility toward the Jews and their presence in Jerusalem are closely related. And they come from fundamentally the same source.
That hostility is going to erupt into violence. Bible prophecy shows that Jerusalem will be at the center of that explosion—and that this will actually be a trigger for end-time events. (This is also covered in Jerusalem in Prophecy.)
The Trump administration’s announcement regarding Jerusalem could hasten that violence. Read our article Donald Trump Brings Bible Prophecy Alive in Jerusalem to learn more about this. We need to be watching closely for the fulfillment of these urgent end-time prophecies.
Israel is in a precarious position. A shift away from America and toward Europe as a peace broker is not going to make it more secure. It actually signals the beginning of the fall of the Jewish state! The Jews should never place their trust in other nations for their own protection—especially the very people that perpetrated the Holocaust in recent history!
Whom should the Jews look to for protection? There is an example in Israel’s history of how to thrive amid terrible opposition and danger. It is powerful history that the Jews should be looking to today.
How Jerusalem Was Saved Before
The vivid example can be found in the Bible that so many people dismiss. It’s the story of King Hezekiah of Judah—the kingdom from which the modern state of Israel descended. “Jew” is simply a shortened version of “Judah.”
Hezekiah was a king who followed King David’s example, doing what pleased God (2 Chronicles 29:2). 2 Kings 18:5 tells us that Hezekiah “trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.” What a commendation!
Scholars push aside this history, but Hezekiah is no myth. He lived and ruled. In 2009, archaeologists in Jerusalem discovered a bulla, or clay seal, dating to his period and inscribed with these words: “Belonging to Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah.” Trumpet writer Brent Nagtegaal was one of three people involved in the excavation, and another was also a member of our staff.
The head archaeologist who unveiled the find, Dr. Eilat Mazar, called the bulla “the closest as ever that we can get to something that was most likely held by King Hezekiah himself.” This bulla makes the events surrounding Hezekiah’s leadership come alive in a powerful way (The Significance of the Hezekiah Bulla).
What made Hezekiah so unique? One of his most remarkable traits was how he handled threats against the nation. He put his trust in God.
The beautiful temple that Solomon built had fallen into disuse and disrepair. Previous kings had ignored it and allowed it to degenerate into ugliness and ruin. They even permitted idolatry within its hallowed walls. But Hezekiah had the temple cleansed of all filth and idolatry (2 Chronicles 29:4-19). Something was very wrong in Judah, and Hezekiah worked to change that! He worked to restore the rich temple services that King David had established (verses 20-36). He reinstituted holy day observance (2 Chronicles 30).
God was very moved by what this man did. It’s amazing what a king can accomplish when God is behind him. He can change the direction of his nation and even other nations!
But God did test Hezekiah’s faith. Assyria was a fearful superpower at this time. Its king, Sennacherib, launched an invasion against Judah and began conquering its cities. He set his sights on the greatest prize of all: Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:1-2).
One of the cities that Sennacherib had conquered was Lachish (verse 9). The Assyrian king considered this a great accomplishment. He had the scene of its defeat carved into the walls of a room in his palace in Nineveh. This too is history that archaeology has proved true. You can see this carving today: It is housed in the British Museum in London.
Hezekiah was aware of Sennacherib’s conquests, and knew that Jerusalem was his next target. How did he respond? He humbled himself before God! Then he sent his men to the Prophet Isaiah to learn what God would do and how he should approach the imminent invasion (2 Kings 19:1-2).
What a rare approach for a king to take toward God! It is an approach filled with faith. This is a rare occurrence in Judah.
Sennacherib sent men to taunt the Jews and instill as much fear in them as possible. Hezekiah fervently prayed for God to deliver the nation. He showed abundant faith.
God was very pleased with Hezekiah’s response. He sent an encouraging message to Hezekiah through Isaiah (verses 20-34). That message concludes, “Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city [Jerusalem], nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.”
The threat against Jerusalem was every bit as great as the one facing that same city today. But how did that threat end? “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses” (verse 35). God supernaturally wiped out that whole army—185,000 soldiers—in one night!
This is the only way to protect Jerusalem today!
‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem’
This is a powerful example of what God will do for the nation that puts its confidence and faith in Him! It is amazing what could happen to a nation if they would listen to God’s prophet and the message of God.
This lesson even applies in our individual lives. The Jews facing the Assyrians were helpless. “They faced certain defeat—just as you may feel helpless in the face of your troubles today,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote.
“If some of you try to solve your problem or overcome your bad habits or resist sin in nothing more than your own power and strength, you, too, will find yourself outnumbered, overpowered and doomed to defeat! You must learn, as this ancient king did, that God stands ready and willing to fight your battles for you” (Good News, March 1985).
After returning to Assyria, Sennacherib recorded his endeavors to take over all of Judah on a clay prism, the Taylor Prism. It reads: “As for Hezekiah the Judahite who did not submit to my yoke: forty-six of his strong-walled cities … I besieged and took them. … [Hezekiah] himself like a caged bird I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city.” And that is where the account ends. There is no historical record of Sennacherib actually conquering God’s chosen city—and the Bible account explains why! God destroyed his army because one king looked to God in faith.
Hezekiah’s example should intensely resonate with the Jews today, especially as the terrorist threat grows. Look what could happen—what would happen—if they followed that example of faith and looked to God! The Old Testament examples of faithful men and women were recorded for our learning and for us today (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Imagine if leaders of Israel today took Hezekiah’s approach. Would Jerusalem be in the turmoil it is today? Would Jews have to fear Palestinian terrorists? Would they face a double cross from European leaders? Absolutely not.
God would gather Jerusalem together under His wings for protection (Matthew 23:37). He looks after those who look to Him, and rewards those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
And on top of that, God truly loves the city of Jerusalem!
God Has Chosen Jerusalem
Among all the cities on Earth, it is this city that God has chosen—for a spectacular purpose (1 Kings 11:13, 32; Zechariah 3:2). God has been involved with this city from the beginning. In fact, the evidence in the Bible is that God Himself founded it! (This is proven in Jerusalem in Prophecy.)
It was in this city that Abraham sacrificed Isaac (though God didn’t make him go through with it). And it was in this city that God the Father sacrificed His Son Jesus Christ! God’s emotions about Jerusalem run deep.
It was this city that served as the capital of Israel under kings David and Solomon. And if you study into the Bible’s prophecies, you will know that God is going to make this city the capital of the whole world after Christ returns!
Jerusalem will yet dazzle the world with godly brilliance! The entire world will soon be looking to this city for leadership!
In the end, God Himself will establish new Jerusalem on Earth and move His throne room there—and make it the capital of the whole universe!