Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

There are several amazing prophecies in the Bible’s book of Zechariah. At the very end of the book, we see a scenario in which the nations of the world come against “Jerusalem.”

Why?

I submit that this occurs for one reason: the Jews control the Holy City, today.

For thousands of years, no one came against Jerusalem. It was just there. In 1949, though, the Israelis took control of the western side of the city. Nineteen years later, they took the Old City.

The world has hated them ever since.

When people ask me what I think the trigger or catalyst will be for the Bible’s stated consummation of history, I answer that it will be the status of Jerusalem. Zechariah recorded that the nations of the world would want it. Israel has it.

Whether you believe in Bible prophecy or not, you must admit—if you know history at all—that the positioning of Israel, in the context of the international community’s wishes (Palestine!), is quite striking.

It is something, I would suggest, for the individual to meditate on, for sure.

On our recent trip to Israel, Jonathan took note of a hilarious oddity we saw as we emerged from the shopping bazaars of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Fastened overhead was a sign that one might hardly take notice of in, say, Mobile, Alabama. The nod to Dixie is something we are familiar with, those of us who live in the South.

Yet anomalies like this—numerous in our world—pale in comparison to the state of Israel itself. For many, this “resurrection” of an ancient people, the Jews, is a coincidence (as I’ve read in a popular study Bible).

It certainly is not a coincidence, but it is an oddity. Israel is an anomaly in our world, and our suffering world can actually find a ray of hope if they look to the Jewish state, which, by historical standards, should not exist.

But the prophets spoke of a return. There is never going to be a return of Babylon. Or the Aztecs.

This anomaly on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean is at the end of the day a marvelous display of God’s power and provision, directly through the fulfillment of predictive prophecy.

Think about that.

Dixie-land in the Promised Land

For a long time, there has been a controversy in the Christian world about Jews, and their place in God’s economy. While I think His obvious love for them is plainly eternal and has never been revoked, there are many in the Church today (particularly in America) who embrace what has been called “Replacement Theology.”

This idea basically states that because the ancient Jews rejected God and followed after foreign gods, He transferred His famous Old Testament blessings and promises from them to…the Church.

Too many even believe that the OT itself is now outdated and irrelevant; whole denominations give it minimal if any study. Oddly, one organization famous for passing out copies of the Bible, excludes almost all the OT.

In the run-up to Hitler, the German Church severely curtailed the teaching and study of the Old Testament, or Hebrew Scriptures. This was a key puzzle piece for the Austrian corporal, as he put into practice his grotesque plans for the Jewish people.

Yet in the Old Testament itself are numerous prophecies that attest to the fact that God Himself has never forsaken the Jews, and never will.

In Jeremiah 51:5, He declares:

“For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”

In one fell swoop, God is telling us that Replacement Theology is false. He acknowledges that the ancient Jews allowed sin in the land, and then He also quite clearly states that that corporate sin was not enough to revoke His unconditional covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15).

God loves all people. All means all. Included in that list is the nation He has brought back in our time. The Jews—Israel—are under the watchful care of the One who created them.

God’s love for the Jewish people—which I enjoy watching—is sure and permanent.

Try replacing that.

The Bible is filled with lots and lots of marvelous prophecies. It is almost a shame that we focus mostly on a few of them (the rise of the antichrist in the last days, etc.).

One of my favorites is found in Jeremiah 29:13:

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

The occasion of this prophecy—which is deeply personal for each of us—was a letter from the prophet Jeremiah, to the Jewish captives in Babylon. They had been conquered and driven from their land, but God was reminding them through Jeremiah that not only had He not forgotten them, but He told them specifically that after they had been exiled for 70 years, He would suddenly return them to the land of their forefathers; this prediction occurs in verse 10.

But tucked into this grand promise is the one in verse 13. You see, no matter who you are or where you live, the Lord of History is accessible. He was telling the Hebrews that eventually they would seek Him and find Him, yet the promise is applicable for individuals too, in all times and places.

Perhaps you are from another faith tradition, or no faith at all. In this age of global communication, perhaps this will be read by a Sikh, a Muslim, an atheist.

We bluster at each other, sometimes, and declare that the other is dangerous, or simply misguided.

I am simply saying to you, though, that through the astonishing fulfillment of Bible prophecy, you can find the One you long to find.

There are almost countless remarkable prophecies in the Bible, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But it would be easy to put Jeremiah 29:13 near the top, don’t you think? It is a promise, a prophecy, from God Himself that you can claim for yourself.

How about it? Are you looking for faith in many places? Do you have questions about the Bible and its prophecies? If so, let me know. I’m very discreet. God is even more discreet. With Him you can share the secrets of your heart, and find Him.