Chapter 4

The Holy City’s Modern History

From the booklet The Eternal Has Chosen Jerusalem
By Gerald Flurry

God had prophesied anciently that the people of Judah would be invaded, conquered and removed from their Promised Land for a period of 2,520 years (Leviticus 26:14-39; Herbert W. Armstrong explained this prophecy in The United States and Britain in Prophecy; we will send you a free copy upon your request). The clock on that prophecy started ticking in 604 b.c., when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered the kingdom of Judah—in a siege that ended in Jerusalem’s final destruction in 585 b.c.

Thus, for 2½ millennia, command of Jerusalem shifted unhappily from empire to empire, kingdom to kingdom—Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Hasmonean, Roman, Islamic, Catholic, Ottoman and others.

“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 12:2). Throughout Jerusalem’s history up to the present day, every kingdom and nation that has ruled this city has experienced grievous problems.

This was especially true for the 1,900 years of Gentile rule that began in a.d. 70 with the city’s utter destruction.

“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” (verse 3). God warned that Jerusalem would be a nightmare for those governors, administrators, overseers, peacemakers and diplomats who became entangled with it—not to mention the people who called it their home. Yet the battle for control of the city has raged incessantly, and continues still.

‘Christian’ Jerusalem

After the nightmares of a.d. 70, the Jews again rebelled in a.d. 132–135 during what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt. Rome deployed 12 legions to smash the uprising and, with it, all Jewish hopes for controlling the city again. Jerusalem was again razed and purged entirely of Jewish presence. Roman Emperor Hadrian constructed a new pagan city there and named it Aelia Capitolina.

On October 28 of a.d. 312, however, an incredible change took place that transformed not only the Roman Empire but also the city of Jerusalem. This was the date of the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

This battle took place near Rome between two rival Roman emperors, Constantine and Maxentius, over command of the western half of the empire. Constantine’s forces killed Maxentius and won a commanding victory. The outcome ensured Constantine’s undisputed rule—but it did even more than that.

After the battle, Emperor Constantine made an unprecedented move. At that time, the Roman Empire was the chief persecutor of Christians. But Constantine sought a meeting with Miltiades, the bishop of Rome—an office that had become generally accepted as leader of Christianity in the western portion of the empire and was unofficially known as the pope. At this meeting, Constantine explained to the wary bishop that the cause for his victory was divine inspiration. Just before the battle, he had seen a vision of a flaming cross in the sky, above which appeared the words in hoc signo vinces—“in this sign conquer.” Moved by the vision, Constantine had ordered the standards and shields of his army to be emblazoned with crosses, and had fought the battle in the name of the Christian God. Thus he attributed his victory over Maxentius to God Himself. And there, in front of Miltiades, Constantine professed his newfound faith: “Christianity”!

This was a monumental change! Constantine recognized and gave his blessing to this church—which was in fact a false version of Christianity (you can read all about this in my free book The True History of God’s True Church). In a.d. 313, he issued the Edict of Milan granting all Christians full freedom to practice their religion. He encouraged all Roman citizens to follow his example and become Christian—though pagan worship continued to be tolerated until the end of the century. He moved the bishop of Rome into the luxurious Lateran Palace. He also appointed many so-called Christians into high government offices and funded construction on many new church buildings. He devoted state support to this church in ways that significantly increased its power. By a.d. 324, Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire.

A year later, Constantine’s mother Helena traveled to Jerusalem and founded the Church of the Holy Sepulchre upon what she believed to be the location of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. This church building, rather than the more ancient City of David or Temple Mount, became the focus for Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem and later the rallying point for the Crusades.

Under Constantine’s rule, Jews continued to be barred from Jerusalem. The only exception was once per year, the ninth of Ab, when they were permitted to commemorate the temple’s destruction.

Over the next three centuries, the Roman Empire became increasingly “Christian.” This culminated in the rule of the sixth-century Emperor Justinian, who is known for building the last church in Jerusalem. But in a.d. 614, Persian invaders combined with Jewish forces to kill almost 34,000 Christians and temporarily end Christian rule in the city.

Persian rule there was short-lived. About that time, a man named Mohammed, a descendant of Ishmael, founded a new religion, Islam, that united the Arab world. Soon after Mohammed’s death, Muslims stormed out of the deserts of Arabia and conquered a great portion of Middle Eastern land from the ruling Byzantine and Persian empires—including, in a.d. 637, Jerusalem.

Six centuries of Islamic supremacy followed, in which its dominion expanded through Europe, North Africa and Central Asia. During this “golden age of Islam,” the Holy Land and Jerusalem became the source of ferocious conflict.

The Pope’s Call to Arms

On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban ii trumpeted a call to arms that summoned the faithful to a “holy war.” At the Council of Clermont in southern France, he delivered a rousing speech to thousands of followers. Robert the Monk recorded his words:

“From the confines of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople a grievous report has gone forth and has repeatedly been brought to our ears; namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race wholly alienated from God, a generation that set not their heart aright and whose spirit was not steadfast with God, violently invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by pillage and fire. … Let the holy sepulcher of our Lord and Savior, which is possessed by unclean nations, especially arouse you, and the holy places which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with the filth of the unclean. … This royal city [Jerusalem], however, situated at the center of the Earth, is now held captive by the enemies of Christ and is subjected, by those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathen. She seeks, therefore, and desires to be liberated and ceases not to implore you to come to her aid.”

In their book Crusades, Terry Jones and Alan Ereira wrote, “By summoning an army under the banner of the cross, the pope was extending the church’s mantle over all Christendom. This was the idea at the very heart of the revolutionary papacy; in place of separate local churches at the center of discreet communities, there was to be one overarching church, ruled by one overarching pope. The crusade was to be its expression and its instrument.”

The desire to rule all Christianity was at the heart of the papacy. Catholic leaders do not believe in a democratic philosophy: They have often “converted” people by the sword! This history is extremely relevant considering biblical prophecy that the Catholic Church will at last succeed in drawing its Protestant daughters back under its authority (Isaiah 47). Both history and prophecy show it will mostly accomplish this long-held ambition through bloodshed.

The focal point around which the pope concentrated this martial spirit was the Holy City. “Urban’s army would also rescue Jerusalem, the spiritual (and therefore the physical) center of the universe,” Jones and Ereira continued. “He hoped that the redeemed Jerusalem would be directly ruled by the church. Every man who enrolled for the struggle must mark himself out by wearing a cross and, most important, vow to continue on his way until he reached Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem was the prize. This rallying cry unleashed a savage Catholic army—historians believe 60,000 to 100,000 “Christian” soldiers strong—that marched 3,000 miles to answer the call of this crusade.

The pope convinced people that spilling blood to liberate Jerusalem was not only righteous—it was the way to have sin forgiven, and the path to paradise! In his decree calling for military aid, Pope Urban wrote, “Whoever for devotion alone, not to gain honor or money, goes to Jerusalem to liberate the church of God can substitute this journey for all penance.” Jones and Ereira summarized this thought: “[I]f you killed the enemies of Christ, killing did not require penance—it was the penance. Holy slaughter could be as effective a devotional activity as prayer, or fasting, or pilgrimage ….”

Any Bible student ought to know that only God can offer paradise and forgive sins. But that is the big problem with most Christians: They don’t believe and obey the Bible! The whole world, including the religious world, is deceived (Revelation 12:9). Tragedies and horrors like the Crusades will continue until we confront our own deception.

That toxic notion—that fighting and killing for the pope was the way to salvation—set the Crusades in motion. This succession of indescribably brutal wars between Catholics and Muslims created rivers of blood. And it was all done in the name of God. Of course, the Muslims responded with massive slaughters against the Crusaders, also in the name of God. Does it make any sense for God to be fighting on both sides? Or are these warring factions just giving our God of love a bloody reputation?

Jerusalem is regarded as holy by both religions. Catholics indeed consider it the “center of the universe.” For centuries they have believed that conquering Jerusalem makes them righteous—and they still believe so today. Catholicism views war as an instrument to achieve their religious goals. Their fruits prove that, and by their fruits, you shall know them (Matthew 7:20).

‘Liberating’ Jerusalem

Historian John Julius Norwich wrote, “[O]n Friday, 15 July 1099, amid scenes of hideous carnage, the soldiers of Christ battered their way into Jerusalem, where they celebrated their victory by slaughtering all the Muslims in the city and burning all the Jews alive in the main synagogue.” When the Catholic soldiers invaded, they slaughtered some 70,000 Muslim and Jewish inhabitants like pigs.

Jones and Ereira wrote, “One of the crusaders reports picking his way through a mess of blood and bodies more than knee-deep” (emphasis mine throughout). And all this savagery presumably made Catholics more righteous! A warrior who burned Arab babies in the Crusade was thought to be gaining eternal glory! Does this really make sense to a sound mind?

So gruesome was the battle for Jerusalem, wrote Norwich, that afterward some of the Crusaders, “sickened by the atrocities they had seen committed in Christ’s name,” couldn’t bear to remain in the city they had dedicated their lives to conquering! Haunted by the unspeakable carnage they had committed, many had to leave.

Did you ever wonder how the Catholics reconcile that “holy” slaughter with the Bible, which states, “Thou shalt not kill”? Or how they can read the Sermon on the Mount and still lead the religious world in spilling rivers of blood? Were these killers true Christians? A true Christian is one who follows Christ. In the Gospels, Christ tells us to love our enemies, even die for them—not kill them! But at that time, it was Catholic dogma coming from the pope that ruled Christendom, not the words of the Bible.

These are called the Christian Crusades. That label is a deception; they were primarily Catholic Crusades. Other Christian religions have their problems, but let’s not blame them for what the Catholics did. For nearly 2,000 years, the Roman Catholic Church has been one of history’s most militant institutions. Has it ever truly repented of this condemning history? The answer is no. Yet this world is unwilling to hold it accountable. People seem almost unaware of these monstrous crimes.

In A History of the Crusades, Steven Runciman wrote, “The Crusades were the popes work.” The Crusade philosophy has made Catholic popes the bloodiest religious leaders in history! Two hundred years of Catholic crusading left the blood of several hundred thousand to several million people soaking into the Holy Land!

It is important to study the Crusades because they reveal the Roman Catholic Church’s hunger for Jerusalem and the barbaric measures it will take to control this city! And the Bible reveals that the Catholic Church will initiate one final crusade over Jerusalem before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! (more on this in Chapter 6).

Still, most people try to hide from this frightening reality. That is the main reason why the worst Catholic crusade is yet to come. Mankind refuses to believe the truth and believe God.

This subject is too important to let our emotions stand in the way. The last crusade will be the supreme inquisition of all history! We must understand the blood-soaked history of the Crusades and let it be a warning!

‘Next Year in Jerusalem’

Catholics ruled Jerusalem until their armies were defeated by the famed Muslim general Saladin a century later. For the next 330 years, control of the city shifted between a few competing powers, nearly always accompanied by violence and carnage. Amid almost incessant clashes, the city’s population fluctuated from tens of thousands to, in the darkest of times, no more than several hundred.

In the 15th century, a new power burst onto the scene: the Ottoman Turks. Their empire engulfed areas to the north and finally swallowed up Jerusalem. Turkish rule there lasted 400 years from 1517 to 1917. During these years, there was no independent Arab state, and the Arabs resented the Turks’ strong-arm rule. The Holy Land was unproductive and Jerusalem a backwater.

However, this period also saw the rise of the printing press and the widespread reading of the Bible. As a result, knowledge of the Holy Land as the home of the ancient Israelites spread. Since a.d. 70, the Jews had been a persecuted people, living precariously among strange religions of other lands, but these scattered Jews had never abandoned hope of returning to their ancient homeland. “Next year in Jerusalem” was a common saying and prayer throughout their centuries of exile.

In partial reaction to anti-Semitic persecution, in the 1890s a movement emerged known as ZionismZion being the biblical name for the Holy Land. It aimed to achieve a publicly recognized, legal home for the Jews in their historic homeland. The Zionists pleaded for help from Britain while private financiers helped Jews buy tracts of land in the region from the Turks.

This brings us up to the troubled 20th century when the players in today’s drama surrounding Jerusalem really emerge. The time for God’s prophecy to Judah of 2,520 years of punishment would be complete. But beyond that, the stage was set for a showdown, a revival of an ancient family dispute.

Prophecy Precisely Fulfilled!

That prophecy in Leviticus 26 was directed not only to the Jewish people, who constitute the modern descendants of the ancient tribe of Judah, but also to the other tribes of Israel, particularly the birthright nations. These were the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, which descended from Joseph, and to whom the patriarch Jacob specifically bequeathed the birthright blessings (1 Chronicles 5:1-2; Genesis 48:15-20; 49:22-26)—which included possession of the land of Palestine. Judah has been protected often by both birthright nations to this very day.

From 604 b.c. when Babylon began to enslave Judah, 2,520 years brings us to a.d. 1917.

At that time, Jerusalem was still under the rule of the Turks, and the world was engulfed in the inferno of the Great War. Turkey had sided with the Axis powers against the British- and French-led Allies. The British Army swept through the region in what it called its “Jerusalem Operations” against Ottoman forces. After rapid preliminary successes, the British, commanded by Gen. Edmund Allenby, began fighting over Jerusalem itself on November 17, 1917.

In his booklet Proof of the Bible (free upon request), Mr. Armstrong explained: “When it comes to translating time and getting down to an exact day of the year 2,520 years after Nebuchadnezzar came down to Jerusalem and Palestine was surrendered to him, the Bible gives us the date in terms of the Hebrew calendar. That calendar is set up according to the new moons, with every month being 30 or 29 days. Today we’re living under what we call the Roman calendar or, as it was slightly altered by Pope Gregory, the Gregorian calendar. Actually, it is a pagan Roman calendar. The Roman calendar is all that most of us know because we’ve been born in a world that uses that calendar and no other.

“A certain date according to the Hebrew calendar will coincide with a certain date on the Roman calendar one year, but the next year will be about 11 days earlier, or maybe about 18 days later in the year, because the Hebrew calendar—sometimes called the sacred calendar, which came from God—goes according to the moon and runs in 19-year cycles. The Roman calendar by contrast was concocted by men who tried to make it come out right every year, and they’ve never been able to make it do that!

“So, when it comes to translating a certain prophesied date recorded in the Hebrew calendar (in this case the 24th day of the ninth month—see Haggai 2:20-22) to a date in 1917 according to the Roman calendar, it takes some effort to figure. I found the Hebrew date corresponded to December 9, 1917, which was 2,520 years from the time Nebuchadnezzar accepted the formal surrender of the Jews in 604 b.c.

“I looked and found that the Turks, who are Gentiles even though they, in part, descend from Esau, Jacob’s brother, possessed Palestine in 1917. Esau, remember, anciently possessed the birthright from Abraham through Isaac, but sold it for a bowl of red soup when he was hungry. The Turks surrendered Palestine to the British, on, what date? I had heard, and it had been published, that the date was December 11, 1917. December 11, 1917, I found, on further investigation, was merely the date on which General Allenby and his army made their triumphal march into the city of Jerusalem. But it was two days before, on December 9, that the Turks made the surrender.

“That prophecy was fulfilled down to the very day, December 9. And it was on the equivalent date, in 604 b.c., 2,520 years before, six centuries before the birth of Christ, that the Jews formally surrendered Jerusalem and Palestine to the Gentiles from Babylon. God Almighty has been able to keep His prophecies.”

What stunning testimony of God’s omnipotence and the reliability of His Word!

The Birth of the Modern Jewish State

Though the British gaining control of Jerusalem fulfilled Bible prophecy, it did not mean that the struggle involved in possessing the land would end. In fact, Jerusalem would prove to be “a burdensome stone” even for Britain.

The seeds for future conflict had been sown in the midst of the war. The Arabs of the larger Middle East, eager to free themselves from Turkish rule, had joined in alliance with Britain in exchange for Britain’s promise to recognize Arab independence in much of the region. The Arabs helped immensely in the victory over Turkey. At war’s end, however, Britain revealed a secret agreement it had made with France regarding the partition of Ottoman territory: the Sykes–Picot Agreement. Contrary to Britain’s promise to the Arabs, this agreement kept the area under British and French rulership, meaning the Arabs would live on the land, but without the full dominion they had sought.

Also contrary to that agreement, a separate agreement had been made between the British Empire and the Jews known as the Balfour Declaration. This November 1917 document stated that the British government favored the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the land of Palestine.

At the 1922 San Remo conference and the League of Nations a year later, world powers agreed with Britain that the Jews had a historic right to the land, and enshrined the idea of a Jewish homeland in Palestine into international law. In addition, Arabs received massive tracts of land in modern-day Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula.

Large numbers of Jews began migrating to the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Vexed Arabs mounted a resistance movement and also moved there. To appease the Arabs, Britain sought to restrict Jewish immigration. The Zionists protested. An Arab terror campaign against the Jews ensued. Violence increased. Still, during this period, the city’s population more than tripled—from 52,000 to 165,000.

The British, unhappily cumbered by this “burdensome stone,” finally gave up trying to resolve these tensions and, in 1947, turned over control to the United Nations.

By this time, public support for a Jewish state was strong. The world had just emerged from the Second World War, and the extent of its horrors had been revealed and broadly publicized. Millions of Jews had been displaced from their homes, herded up, imprisoned, even exterminated. In the aftermath of hostilities, some 1.5 to 2 million Jews refused to return to the countries from which they had been exiled—their communities had been destroyed; the anti-Semitism they had experienced had traumatized them; they feared for their lives. In some of these countries, pogroms against Jews continued even after the war. Much of the world became sympathetic to the idea of providing the Jews an independent state in their historic homeland.

The United Nations sought to accommodate the competing claims to that territory by creating two independent states, one Jewish and one Arab, with international control over Jerusalem. Jewish leaders accepted the plan. Arab leaders rejected it.

Nevertheless, after a bitter struggle, the UN proceeded, and the land of Israel was declared a nation. When British forces pulled out of the area on May 14, 1948, the Jews celebrated their dream come true: a nation of their own!

Many end-time Bible prophecies refer to the Jews as a state—just like America and other modern nations. The Jews were prophesied to have a nation in this end time. So it had to happen!

The Arabs, too, would have had their independent state in that territory. But rather than embrace the UN’s offer, they directed their energies to preventing the Jewish state from happening.

Thus, the very next day, May 15, a league of Arab nations jointly invaded Israel! Arabs and Jews were at war!

Jerusalem Divided

Initially, the fledgling Jewish nation had no professional army. For some years, militia groups had been formed to protect Jewish settlements. Suddenly these militias were compelled to combine into a unified defense force. The Jews were determined fighters. This was their first sovereign nation in 2,000 years. Only death could make them surrender their new and only homeland.

Though the Jews fought with stunning success, their poverty of resources put them at an immediate disadvantage to Arab invasion. With Egypt attacking from the south, Jordan and Iraq from the east, and Syria and other forces in the north, the Arabs targeted many Jewish settlements and gained control over significant territory. But after three weeks, a truce was mandated by the international community. Israel used the time to hastily rearm and train its ill-prepared and weary troops.

Soon the Arabs resumed hostilities, but now the Jews were better braced to repel their offensive, which continued for several months. By the time fighting ceased in early 1949 and an armistice was declared, Israel had enlarged its borders to nearly 50 percent beyond the UN-allotted territory. Many of the Jews acknowledged that it was a miracle from God!

This war divided Jerusalem in two. The Jews controlled the west and Jordan the east—including the Old City portion of Jerusalem. Barbed wire and concrete barriers were erected straight through the heart of the city. Nevertheless, the Jews declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

Soon after, the Jordanians formally annexed East Jerusalem and began upgrading the Muslim fixtures in the Old City. Contrary to the UN-imposed armistice, they denied Jews access to their holy sites, destroyed dozens of synagogues, and desecrated the 3,000-year-old Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery. Such indignities continued for nearly two decades.

In its May 1963 issue, Herbert W. Armstrong’s newsmagazine the Plain Truth made this interesting statement: “Old Jerusalem is today almost entirely in the hands of the kingdom of Jordan. But this prophecy unveils a struggle for the possession of Jerusalem by Judah—the Jews.” The prophecy to which they referred was Zechariah 12:2, which in the Hebrew Bible reads, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of staggering Unto all the peoples round about, And upon Judah also shall it fall to be in the siege against Jerusalem” (Jewish Publication Society).

Zechariah 14 contains an important related prophecy. In the context of events surrounding Jesus Christ’s return, verse 2 has this striking detail: “half of the city [Jerusalem] shall go forth into captivity.” This is clearly before Christ returns. And many other prophecies show that Jerusalem will be entirely captured in the Great Tribulation (e.g. Revelation 11:2; Luke 21:20). So this indicates that just before the Tribulation, half of Jerusalem will be conquered by non-Jewish forces. In fact, the context indicates that this will be the spark igniting a chain of events leading to the Second Coming. (We will study this prophecy in more detail in Chapter 6.)

If half of Jerusalem being captured is that trigger event, that must mean the whole city will be controlled by the Jews prior to that time. This verse indirectly prophesies that the Jews would conquer all of Jerusalem!

Based on these and other scriptures, Mr. Armstrong forecast in the early 1960s that the Jews would take over the entirety of Jerusalem, particularly the Old City.

War and Reunification

Tension between Jews and Arabs grew so intense that by 1967 nearly every nation in the world believed the Arabs were about to attack again; some nations were urging them to do so.

On May 1, 1967, Mr. Armstrong, returning from a trip to Amman and Jerusalem, said in a recorded public address: “Any day, now, you may expect the Israelis of the country that calls itself ‘Israel’ to flood over with a military invasion into the Jordanian half of the divided city of Jerusalem. … Once the Israelis do take over the Jordan sector of Jerusalem, instantly the United Nations and the major individual powers, the United States, ussr, Britain, France, probably will stop further occupation of Arab countries by the Jews. … But the Jews will undoubtedly be allowed to hold the old city of Jerusalem.

Two weeks later, Egyptian troops poured into the Sinai and ordered UN forces out, and Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Then Iraq and Egypt began massing troops in Jordan, at Jordan’s invitation. War seemed imminent.

The Jews felt compelled to strike first. On June 5, they launched a massive surprise attack. Jewish warplanes flew into Egypt and destroyed 300 Egyptian combat fighters in three hours.

The next day, Jordan attacked West Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers rebuffed the offensive and captured East Jerusalem—and all the West Bank along with it! They had regained sovereignty over the holy sites within the city and beyond.

The war was an intense but short six days, during which the Jews also conquered the Sinai Peninsula, the Suez Canal and the Golan Heights. Again, a series of miracles by God saved the Jewish nation.

Zechariah’s prophecy was fulfilled: Jerusalem was reunified.

As we will see in the next chapter, this enabled God to undertake some special activity in the city necessary to prepare it for when His Son would return.

However, portents of the complete fulfillment of what Zechariah foretold—beginning with the fall of half the city and its return to non-Jewish control—were evident. Though the Jews were jubilant about their victory, conflict and turbulence surrounding the Holy City and the Jewish-controlled territory never abated for long in the years that followed.

Prelude to Triumph

In 1973, the Arabs again attacked—this time on the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The Jews, with much aid from America, won the war in three weeks. Egypt was beaten, but not humiliated. Once again biblical Judah had been miraculously saved.

Soon after, something dramatic changed in Israel. In 1977, Menachem Begin became prime minister. U.S. President Jimmy Carter persuaded him to give the Sinai back to Egypt. This was the beginning of the Israeli-Arab peace process and a turning point for the Jewish state.

For some years that followed, Israel displayed terrible weakness in its dealings with the Palestinians living in Israel by trusting in men rather than in God. They gave up considerable land for empty promises of peace. It started in 1993 on the White House lawn with a handshake between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat—the number one terrorist in the world at that time! There Israel surrendered bits of their hard-won, strategically important land in hopes that the Arabs could be bargained into abandoning their goal of destroying Israel.

Since then the Jews have also given Gaza, Jericho, Bethlehem and other West Bank areas—many important biblical sites—to the Palestinians with encouragement and coercion from America and Britain. It seems the world has forgotten that those areas were won in a war where the Arabs were trying to annihilate the Jews! This land-for-peace process is almost unheard of in history. Such a lack of faith is why all the adults of ancient Israel had to die in the Sinai wilderness.

Throughout this terribly misnamed “peace” process—Israel giving up land and seeing no appreciable drop in violence—Palestinian leaders have consistently told politicians and media that they want peaceful coexistence with Israel while simultaneously promising to their own people that they will destroy Israel.

In more recent years, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has taken a more pragmatic approach, recognizing that it does no good to negotiate with a power that seeks its destruction. However, God prophesies in Hosea 5:13 of a deadly “wound” that will lead to Judah’s ruin and which the Israelis will recognize too late! As I explain in Chapter 2 of Jerusalem in Prophecy, that “wound” is the peace process (request a free copy). Based on this prophecy, I believe it likely that these ill-advised efforts will be revived, further weakening Israel.

Meanwhile, violence continues to plague Jerusalem. Hostility between Jews and Arabs is intensifying, and terrorists launch attacks with agonizing regularity. This miserable status quo exposes mankind’s absolute inability to solve things by peaceful means. And the prophecy of half of Jerusalem being taken captive could come to fruition at virtually any moment.

While the realization of Zechariah 14:2 will involve some sickening atrocities and bloodshed, it is directly connected with and will lead swiftly to the most spectacular, sensational event in all of human history!

Continue Reading: Chapter 5: Preparing for the Messiah