Bible prophecy foretells a sequence of mind-shattering events that will culminate in Jesus Christ’s return. Jerusalem as it is today is going to be utterly destroyed!
Note Revelation 11:2, which says that “the holy city shall they [the Gentiles] tread under foot forty and two months.” Jerusalem is going to become rubble under the feet of invading armies! And note the time period: 42 months. Other prophecies describe this same period as 1,260 days (verse 3), and “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14; Daniel 12:7)—or 3½ years.
This is the period of “great tribulation” Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:21. It is the bleak darkness that precedes the dawn of a new age. Jerusalem will become a city of unparalleled glory. Its name will resound throughout the nations and reverberate throughout the cosmos for its greatness. Yet sadly, before that occurs, this city will first be baptized in blood. God prophesies of a cataclysmic clash that leads to its subjugation and ruin.
And events today in the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere show that we have never been closer to these earthshaking prophecies being fulfilled!
Half the City Falls
Much of the world maintains that the Jews must give up East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. The United Nations, Europe, the Palestinians and even some Israeli Jews say they must surrender half of their capital city! Historically, the European Union has openly condemned the Jews for their activity in the city’s eastern part. The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama allowed a United Nations Security Council resolution to pass that declared Israel’s control over even the Old City of Jerusalem illegal. Although his successor, President Donald Trump, has shown support for a united Jerusalem, most of the rest of the world denounces Israel’s claim to East Jerusalem, and their voices are growing louder.
What does this mean? Though the world doesn’t know it, it means that a pivotal end-time prophecy in Zechariah is now in the early stages of being fulfilled!
Here begins this stunning prophecy for the last days: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh …” (Zechariah 14:1). The “day of the Lord” is the final year of that 3½-year period of tribulation that will close the curtain on the present evil world.
Verses 3 and 4 describe when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives in glory. It shows that massive military coalitions will be there to fight against Him. This is corroborated by many other scriptures that we will study later in this chapter.
Now, considering this context—notice carefully verse 2 of Zechariah 14: “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.”
There are three phases to the crisis described in this verse, all linked and closely associated. The verse begins by describing Christ’s war against foreign armies, which, as we will see, occurs at Christ’s return. Then there is a semicolon, after which it describes the city being taken, houses rifled and women ravished. This is only the first stage of Jerusalem’s total destruction. After another semicolon, it then says that half of Jerusalem goes into captivity.
Consider: the last event in this verse will happenfirst. In fact, it could happen at any time!
East Jerusalem today is inhabited mostly by Palestinians. But they don’t control it. The Palestinians, backed by Iran, will almost certainly attack and overrun that area.
Why does Zechariah 14:2 so closely link these three events? I believe there is only one logical answer: The fall of half of Jerusalem will trigger a violent, massive chain reaction that leads to Christ’s Second Coming. Half the city being taken captive is like the first domino to fall leading to Christ returning and battling against all nations in Jerusalem!
You need to watch Jerusalem closely. The current dispute over East Jerusalem is a strong sign that the Day of the Lord is almost here! Very soon we will see half of that city fall. When that occurs, it starts a chain reaction of events—an avalanche of crises—that leads directly to Christ’s Second Coming! This is a sign we can read and understand. We can see where we are in Bible prophecy. This world must heed God’s warning before it is too late!
Judah’s Tragic Mistake
Another prophecy shows that when Jerusalem is under threat, the Jews will make a tragic mistake that hastens their downfall.
“When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13). My free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy shows how this “wound” is the peace process Israel has repeatedly used to try to resolve its problems with the Arabs. And this wound will likely be a primary cause for their losing half of Jerusalem! Soon the Jews will realize this was a terrible blunder. When half of Jerusalem is taken captive, they will see that it all happened as a result of the “peace” process.
What will they then do? They should turn to God for help, recognizing what a disaster it was to trust in men. Instead—tragically—this verse prophesies that they will turn for help to Germany, modern-day Assyria! We already see Israel looking to Germany today in various ways. This will prove to be a fatal error. As God says, no man can heal you or cure you of your wound! Only God can do that.
Judah got into this mess by looking to men. Yet it will try to solve it by looking to men! The people of Jerusalem will never find a cure or be healed until they look to God! This is the lesson God is teaching them—the hard way.
By looking to Germany for help, unsuspecting Israel will bring a united Europe right into the middle of the battle for the Holy City.
The Jews have Jerusalem now, but not for long. Both Muslims and Catholics have long-cherished designs for this city. These two powers are about to clash again—in the final crusade over Jerusalem.
The Bible refers to these two forces as “the king of the north,” led by Germany, and “the king of the south,” led by Iran. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him …” (Daniel 11:40). This push by the king of the south will probably be directly related to Jerusalem. It could well be the Arabs, incited by Iran, conquering half the city! The Palestinians could—and, I believe, will—conquer the Temple Mount and refuse access to anybody else. This would rapidly unite Europe and the Israeli Jews against them. This “push” could also involve cutting off oil—of which Europe receives more than a third of its supply from the Middle East—to punish the king of the north over a dispute about this city.
Look at today’s headlines! Iran continually pushes and provokes, yet it faces few consequences for its behavior. Sometime soon, however, its actions will stir Europe into this blitzkrieg response: “… the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (verse 40).
“Whirlwind” is a very revealing word. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says it means to sweep away in a storm! It can mean “to bristle with terror.” The word whirlwind implies terror! Will this terrifying whirlwind be nuclear? It certainly will be terrorizing—and it is about to explode in the Middle East!
Germany, even now, is readying itself to unleash this whirlwind. Germany has expected to clash with Iran, and it has been working on a strategy for some years now. Though Iran doesn’t realize it, Germany has Iran surrounded, with a presence in Iraq and Sudan, plus military deployments, trading partners and arms manufacturing in Mali, Algeria, Kosovo, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. No one but God’s true Church recognizes it, yet the facts are visible for anyone to see. Germany’s preparations are almost complete.
Soon, in a flash, the German-led European armies will suddenly, brutally, emphatically conquer the king of the south!
Daniel’s prophecy goes on to show how the modern-day resurrection of this ancient empire will exceed the brutality of its predecessors: “… and many countries shall be overthrown …. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (Daniel 11:41-43). The Holy Roman Empire will realize its maniacal ambitions! Many countries will be overthrown and subjugated! This conquest will be shocking, and the world will tremble! The Germans, inflamed with victory, will feel invincible.
What will happen next? It is likely at this point that little Judah will ask the Germans for protection. Verse 41 says about this European power: “He shall enter also into the glorious land”—speaking of Israel. The Hebrew for “enter” indicates a peaceful entry, not forced. The Germans will undoubtedly be invited in as a peacekeeping force. (This is further explained in our free booklet Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany.) The powerful European army, guided by the Roman Catholic Church, will then enter the glorious land.
Jerusalem is the king of the north’s chief concern. Of all the places in which Germany is implementing its strategy, Jerusalem is ultimately the most important. And it is directly in the eye of that whirlwind of warfare.
We have seen this same “peaceful entry” before in history. The Jews would do well to remember the violence and bloodshed wrought by the Crusaders over Jerusalem. Then perhaps they would not invite the Holy Roman Empire to protect them!
Abomination of Desolation
In His most important prophecy, the Olivet prophecy, Jesus Christ specifically warned about these European armies coming to Jerusalem.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20).
By this point, the main power of the Arab world will have been destroyed. Europe’s armies just conquered the king of the south, and people will think they are there to keep peace in Jerusalem. The Holy Roman Empire will undoubtedly make some kind of agreement to protect the city. It will look like the world is about to have peace. But this is a deadly illusion.
Mark’s version of this prophecy says this invading force is “standing where it ought not” (Mark 13:14). They shouldn’t be in Jerusalem at all.
Matthew calls this “peacekeeping” force “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand[ing] in the holy place”—that is, Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15). God labels these armies in His city an abomination!
This verse points back to Daniel 12:11: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away [that is, God’s Work going to a place of safety], and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” That is what makes it so abominable: It is advancing on God’s holy city, and it is going to make it desolate! God gave these prophecies to serve as a warning!
Look again at that verse in Daniel: It says these armies will surround Jerusalem a short 30 days before the 1,260 days of the Great Tribulation (mentioned in Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 11:3).
Christ says this is the number one sign that it is time for God’s people to flee to a place of protection—so it is critical we understand it exactly. “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house” (Matthew 24:16-17; see also Luke 21:21). When European armies surround Jerusalem, God’s people have mere days to escape! They understand prophecy and what is about to occur, so they will flee to a place of safety (Revelation 12:14). God protects those who are loyal and dedicated to doing His Work. They will remain safe there throughout the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.
At that point, the king of the north, having conquered radical Islam and now controlling Jerusalem and the surrounding area, will do something even more shocking:
They will double-cross and conquer the Israeli Jews, America and Britain at the same time!
This is perhaps the most treacherous and destructive betrayal in human history! It is described in Ezekiel 23, and you can read about it in Chapter 10 of my free book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet.
Suddenly, in a moment, the Great Tribulation begins—the worst time of suffering in history.
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. … for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they [Israel] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22-24). “Trodden down” means the people there will be led away as slaves, if they are fortunate enough to live!
As Jerusalem falls, America and Britain will collapse at the same time (Hosea 5:5)—unless they repent before that time. (This is thoroughly explained in our free booklet on Hosea.) These prophecies aren’t simply about treading down a little city in the Middle East. They are foretelling of the “times of the Gentiles,” when the Gentiles rule over all Israel!
The abomination of desolation is an instrument of God’s vengeance in this end time! He is angry with the nations of Israel! “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation” (Isaiah 10:5). Assyria is a destructive nation; destruction is in its heart. God will use that nation—modern-day Germany—to dominate nine other European nations and bring them against Israel.
The crescendo of global tension will continue to build toward its explosive conclusion.
Tidings From the East
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go” (Jeremiah 50:33). Israel and Judah were not oppressed together in their ancient captivity: Israel went into captivity in 721–718 b.c. and Judah followed over a century later, from 604 to 585 b.c. So this is an end-time prophecy: America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East will be oppressed together.
But as this passage shows, God will also bring judgment upon those who oppress His nations. Great destruction will lead to greater destruction.
The unprecedented scale of bloodshed and conquest by the king of the north will greatly disturb and alarm the Asiatic millions in Russia and China. It will cause them to think they are going to be Europe’s next victim. So the Russians and Chinese will not sit idle. The armies of the massively populated Asian bloc will unite to attack Europe!
“A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men” (verse 35). The Chaldeans and Babylon are two more prophetic names for the European beast power. This is talking about how God will correct them for what they will do to Israel! He will accomplish this by using the Asian nations.
Nothing will stop the massive Asiatic army of 200 million soldiers! (Revelation 9:16). Only Russia and China could amass such a gigantic army, along with other Asian nations. They will be the only other world power besides a united Europe. God has reserved them to destroy most of the European power.
When these nations ally themselves, it will be very troubling to the beast power. This colossal Asian army is already coming together—and is making Europe nervous even today!
Here is how Jeremiah describes this Asiatic confederation: “Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon. The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail” (Jeremiah 50:41-43).
This fear and trembling within Europe is also described in Daniel’s prophecy: “But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him …” (Daniel 11:44).
At this point, the European power, guided by the Roman Catholic Church, will try to solve its problems by moving its headquarters to Jerusalem. “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain …” (verse 45). This will be an act of faith by the great religious beast of Revelation 13! But this move will fail. They are still trying to solve their own problems.
This move exposes the real power behind these armies! Satan the devil guides and directs the Holy Roman Empire to do horrible things in that city—because he understands it is the city God has chosen. He is fiercely fighting against God’s universe-sized plans for that city. In fact, Jerusalem is at the heart of Satan’s plan to plunge the world into destruction!
At this point, Christ will gather the armies of these powers—the only two real military powers left: the king of the north and the Russia-China axis. He will dry up the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, “that the way of the kings of east might be prepared” (Revelation 16:12).
Massive armies shall flow into the Middle East and Europe, heading toward Jerusalem. This will make it difficult for the European army to use nuclear power. It makes no sense to bomb yourself.
“And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (verse 16). God gathers them into the plain of Megiddo—located in northern Israel, where there is a huge air base and a gigantic area to assemble armies. Armageddon means armed Megiddo. These armies will meet and be ready to clash in that plain.
This event in Megiddo leads to another chain reaction. They will see Jesus Christ returning to Earth, and both armies will decide to fight Him instead of each other!
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” (Joel 3:1). Judah and Jerusalem (a type of all Israel) are in captivity. “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land” (verse 2).
God says, “I will … gather all nations.” This is the same language used in Zechariah 14:1-2: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh …. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle ….” Jesus Christ will gather the main armies of the Asiatic millions and those of the Holy Roman Empire to Jerusalem. Great military strategists will think they are making all these plans. But in truth, the supreme military strategist behind all these events is God!
Though the armies will gather in the plain of Megiddo, the battle involving “all nations” will take place in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. This deep valley, or ravine, borders Jerusalem on the east, between the city and the Mount of Olives. Today it is more commonly known as the Kidron Valley.
Jehoshaphat means “judgment of the Eternal.” God will judge the rebellious and unrepentant nations of this world for their disobedience!
The world’s armies will converge on Jerusalem to fight Jesus Christ. Revelation 16:14 calls this confrontation “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” It is not the “battle of Armageddon” as some mistakenly assume. That is because it will not take place at Armageddon! It all revolves around Jerusalem.
It is there that Christ will put an end to warfare and bring peace to Earth! (Zechariah 14:3-4).
Verses 12-13 graphically describe this supernatural confrontation at Jerusalem with the world’s armies. They will turn against each other in mistrust and fear as their very flesh decomposes and their eyes melt!
This confrontation will be so violent, blood will flow up to the horses’ bridles! “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” (Revelation 14:19-20). The length of 1,600 furlongs is about 200 miles. The Valley of Jehoshaphat will become a river of blood roughly 4 feet deep and 200 miles long, the length of Megiddo in northern Israel to the southern tip of Jordan! That is more blood than the mind can even imagine, but the Asiatic armies alone have 200 million soldiers.
This is how God will “plead with them”—in the only language they understand! God’s city is going to become one big cemetery—a holocaust not in a museum, but in reality!
Just the mention of these prophecies ought to frighten people into repentance. But men have no idea how hard and rebellious they are!
“And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 31:9). Christ’s fiery furnace will be in Jerusalem! This is where God will refine His created Family.
After the dust settles from this unfathomable conflagration, Christ will establish His government in Jerusalem. Global peace will finally break out!
All these events are linked. It all started with one half of Jerusalem being captured—that was the trigger to the whole ordeal. Then begins a series of crises that step-by-step leads to Christ’s electrifying return to Earth.
Do you realize how close we are to this emotional and violent explosion in Jerusalem? It is shockingly near.
What looks so gloomy and dark in Jerusalem today is almost ready to start this chain reaction. It will lead to the greatest event ever to occur in history, not just the history of this Earth, but the history of the universe: the return of Jesus Christ!
Thank God that glorious event is about to occur! What a momentous time to be alive!