Jerusalem: Your Thermometer for Measuring Crises
Jerusalem means “city of peace.” In reality, this city drips with blood. Replete with axe murders, rampaging bulldozers, shootings, beatings, violent protests and the constant threat of terrorist attacks, Jerusalem is more a crucible of death than a sanctuary of peace.
If it were any other city, such woes might be overlooked, particularly amid the thunder of global crises and personal tribulation. But this is Jerusalem!
Passages in both the Old and New Testament show that Jerusalem is the center around which world events orbit in the months and days leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. To those who understand this prophetic reality, Jerusalem is more than just another city blistered by chaos: It’s a thermometer for measuring—and anticipating—end-time events.
Zechariah 14:1-2 is a seminal passage outlining the events in Jerusalem immediately preceding Jesus’s return.
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh …. 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.
In this vision, Zechariah explains that immediately prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the entire city of Jerusalem “shall be taken” by a conquering force—which other scriptures reveal to be a German-led European empire.
But notice: The event that causes the whole of Jerusalem to be overrun by European armies is a violent conflict inside Jerusalem that ends in “half of the city [going] forth into captivity.” First, half of Jerusalem is taken, then the whole city is conquered. As Trumpet columnist Stephen Flurry wrote recently, “What this prophecy indicates is that a Hamas-dominated Palestinian insurgence, backed by Iran, will take half the city of Jerusalem captive.” If you haven’t already, study this prophecy in detail by reading Jerusalem in Prophecy, specifically Chapter 3.
“When half of Jerusalem falls,” editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in March 2006, “it starts a chain reaction of events—an avalanche of crises—that leads directly to Christ’s Second Coming!” This is why—even during economic, political, social and even personal calamity—we must not take our eyes off Jerusalem.
Events in that city are the thermometer that measures how close we are to the most awesome event in human history: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
Tension between Palestinians and Jews increased substantially in the wake of the Gaza war in January. It has intensified further since the election of the right-wing administrations of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel, and Nir Barkat as mayor of Jerusalem. Many right-wing Jewish movements, invigorated by the new government’s refusal to cave in to Palestinian ambition, are experiencing a renaissance.
This is not to imply that the Palestinian cause is flailing. In fact, it too is gaining steam, thanks to increasing direct and indirect support from the international community—most notably from the American administration of Barack Obama.
Jerusalem, especially East Jerusalem, is quickly deteriorating into a war zone!
Consider these events from the past two weeks. On April 2 in the West Bank near East Jerusalem in the town of Bat Ayin, a Palestinian brandishing a pickax hacked a 13-year-old Israeli boy to death and wounded his 7-year-old friend. Islamic terrorist groups Islamic Jihad and the Imad Mughniyeh Group claimed responsibility for the murder, warning ominously that it was merely a “natural response to the crimes of the occupation.”
The same day, at about 2 a.m. in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, seven Jewish settlers broke into the home of Nasser Jaber, a Palestinian businessman who had moved out of the home while renovations were being done. They replaced the locks and took over the home. Even now, days later, a tense stand-off continues, with the settlers (who claim they own the house) abiding by a court ruling that upholds their inhabiting the home as a “status quo.”
The demolition of Palestinian homes is increasingly becoming a flashpoint in Israeli-Arab relations. Decades of illegal construction by Palestinian Arabs have produced literally tens of thousands of structures throughout Jerusalem. Under the direction of Mayor Barkat, who supports keeping Jerusalem united and seeks to rejuvenate tourism in the city, Jerusalem authorities recently sent eviction notices to 90 families in East Jerusalem near the Old City, warning that because their homes had been built without proper council approval, they would be demolished.
Then on Tuesday of last week, a Palestinian man driving a car tried to run over Israeli police officers. The police, who were monitoring the demolition of the Jerusalem home of the Palestinian terrorist who killed three Israelis in a bulldozer rampage last July, shot the man dead. Afterward, a scuffle erupted between police officers and dozens of angry Palestinians who sympathized with both the driver of the vehicle and the terrorist whose house was being bulldozed.
The next day, a spokesman from Hamas’s military wing delivered a prophetically electrifying response to Israel’s efforts to defend itself against illegal Arab intrusions. Hamas official Abu Ubayda “threatened Israel of an ‘explosion’ if it continues to consolidate control of Jerusalem,” the Ma’an News Agency reported. Ubayda also warned that “the Judaization of Jerusalem and threat to the iconic al-Aqsa Mosque could provoke reprisals.”
Jerusalem’s cobbled streets are rumbling, tension is mounting, war is brewing. This is sobering. But it is also incredibly exciting.
It wasn’t long ago that those who believed in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ were ridiculed as wacky conspiracy theorists. Today, world conditions are so extreme and foreboding, even some in the mainstream are beginning to wonder—quietly, secretly—if Christ’s return might be imminent after all. The question of Christ’s return is even being publicly tackled in some popular newsmagazines. The lead article in the latest Newsmax, for example, is titled, “Jesus—Will He ever Return?” The quip reads: “In these deeply troubled times, the question rises to the fore: Is Jesus Christ about to come back?”
If you asked that question 20, 10, even 5 years ago, you would probably have been ridiculed or ignored. Not today! World conditions are now so dire that popular newsmagazines are willing to investigate that question. For many, it’s not so crazy to wonder, Is Jesus Christ about to return?
The answer to that question is revealed by events currently unfolding in Jerusalem!
The Bible says that when Christ returns to this Earth, He will return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4). Logically, Jesus’s focus right now is on ensuring Jerusalem, His landing pad, is ready for His return. In a spectacular way, conditions in Jerusalem today—politically, demographically, economically, even archeologically—are aligning exactly as Christ described in the Bible 2,000 years ago!
We need to watch Jerusalem, this remarkable thermometer of end-time events, more closely than ever. Even now, events in that city indicate that the Messiah’s return is imminent, and that the time rapidly approaches when He will transform Jerusalem into exactly what its name means: a city of PEACE!