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Thursday, February 9 2012
A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace
The Wars of Ancient Israel And Jerusalem
The land of Israel has known war for a very long time. While many regard the relentless state of conflict in Israel as something unique to the present age, it is in reality no different than what it has always been (as we've covered throughout this series). Even Abraham, a peaceful man from Iraq (see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees), guided by genuine righteousness (not self-righteousness), went to war when he was forced to fight - during which the LORD (see The Rock Of The Church) not only blessed him after the victory, but blessed him with the victory. While returning home, Abraham was met by Melchizedek, the King of Jerusalem (who was much more - see A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem), who attributed Abraham's success to "the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand."
"14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 14:15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 14:16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people." (Genesis 14:14-16 KJV)
After liberating the Israelites from an oppressive later Pharaoh (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?), by destroying the Pharaoh's army in battle, the LORD gave the Israelites the Promised Land, but He required them to fight for every inch of it. What in fact they were "given" was military success i.e. "the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand."
"2:24 And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us." (Joshua 2:24 KJV)
Jerusalem became a city of Israel because King David captured it by military action.
"5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.
Does that mean that the LORD is for war? No. The Ten Commandments, if humanity obeyed them, would produce a world of perfect peace - as it is going to do (the famous "swords into plowshares" prophecy, when all the world obeys God's Law - a prophecy that we will get to in a moment). But in the meantime, the LORD favors the one who is righteously and lawfully defending himself, his property, or his country. As we read, when Abraham's nephew Lot was kidnapped and his property looted, Abraham went after the aggressors (at the time, there were no police or army that Abraham could call upon) and the LORD "blessed" him with a victory. When the Israelites took the land of Israel in the time of Moses and Joshua, they were rightfully and lawfully doing so because the Creator and Owner ("...for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof" Psalm 50:12 KJV) authorized and commanded them to do so, by means of force, because the occupiers refused to leave peacefully. The same was true for David's taking of Jerusalem.
In conflict, the LORD takes the side of what is truly right, according to His Law, not the side of mere human dirt-level arrogance and aggression.
The Wars of Present-Day Israel And Jerusalem
Israel was able to become an independent nation in 1948 because Britain successfully fought to free the land of Israel from over 400 years of occupation and rule by the Muslim Ottoman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate). The photograph shows the British Military Cemetery in Jerusalem in which the over 2,200 British troops, who died in that liberation of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in 1917, are buried.
The end of the British Mandate in 1948 coincided with the emergence of a powerful new benefactor for the people of Judah / Israel. The armament demands of the Second World War had turned the U.S. into a war-based nation and economy - what President Dwight Eisenhower called "the military-industrial complex."
Due to a providential combination of a strong Jewish political lobby in the U.S., and the U.S. Government's desire for a dependable (as in dependent - although many debate just which one is now actually making political and military decisions for the other, most of the time) forward base in the Middle East, plus the deep "evangelical" support of Israel, regardless of what Israel does or doesn't do, massive amounts of armaments have been provided by the U.S. to Israel, from 1948 to the present day, subsidized and paid for by the U.S. taxpayer.
In the 1960s, Israel became the only nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East; their nuclear arsenal of an estimated 200 to 400 weapons of mass destruction are now in the air and at sea at all times. If Israel were ever to lose their country to an invader or aggressor, the invader or aggressor's own country would cease to exist also.
Beginning with the War of Independence, the people of Judah / Israel have fought nearly endless (and often even overlapping) wars. While many generally regard Israel to have fought "only" seven major wars since 1948, the list is actually much more lengthy, with a horrendous toll on the nation and its relatively small population - while accounts and official estimates vary, Israel has suffered over 20,000 troops killed and 75,000 wounded since 1948.
A partial list of the wars that Jerusalem has known in only the past few decades:
Israeli War of Independence
"The Law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem ... they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks ... nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more"
When will the wars in Israel end? According to the Word of God, if left to humans, the answer would be never, or until there were no humans at all left alive on Earth to fight. That applies as much to all nations, as it does to Israel. Humans, in their present state, are the same wherever they happen to be.
"13:16 To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 13:16 KJV)
In the days just prior to the return of the Messiah, the war situation for the entire world, but focused on Jerusalem, will become so dire that "except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." That prophecy would seem to imply that an all-out nuclear war was about to happen.
"21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." (Luke 21:20 KJV)
War, all war, everywhere on Earth, will be stopped forever on the day that the Messiah returns to Jerusalem - with overwhelming military force (see The Coming World Dictator).
"19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean [see also Legions Of Men And Angels]. 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING of kings, and LORD of lords.
Then, all of humanity will joyously come to know and love the true LORD God, as they will sing "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
"4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:1-3 KJV)
Fact Finder: What is the true Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God? Will the Messiah of all people rule from Jerusalem, as He brings peace and true freedom to all of humanity?
This Day In History, February 9
474: Zeno was crowned as co-Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.
1267: The Synod of Breslau (at the time, a city in German-occupied Poland) ordered Jews to wear special caps in public.
1540: The first recorded horse race meeting in England was held at Roodeye Fields, Chester.
1667: The Truce of Andrusovo, a treaty between Poland and Russia that briefly ended their war for control of the Ukraine.
1674: King Charles II of England signed the Treaty of Westminster, bringing the war with the Dutch to a conclusion.
1757: The Treaty of Alinagar; it was the prelude to the British seizure of Bengal.
1788: The Habsburg Empire entered the Russo-Turkish War on the side of Russia.
1807: Much to the astonishment of French Christians and Jews alike, a "Sanhedrin" was established at the explicit orders of Napoleon Bonaparte. In return, the 40,000 Jews of France were expected to give up their efforts for a separate state in "Palestine."
1849: Giuseppe Mazzini proclaimed Rome a republic.
1917: During the First World War, the infamous Mata Hari (the stage name of a Dutch "exotic dancer"; her real name was Margaretha Zelle) was arrested by the French as a German spy. She was executed by firing squad in October of that year.
1934: The Balkan Entente was signed; a mutual defense agreement among Greece, Turkey, Romania and Yugoslavia to guarantee the signatories territorial integrity and political independence against attack by another Balkan state (i.e. Bulgaria or Albania). It proved ineffective against German influence during the 1930's and Adolf Hitler's arrogant treaty-ignoring aggression (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) leading up to and during the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1942: The French passenger liner Normandie burned and sank at its pier in New York City.
1966: The National Hockey League (NHL) announced that it was expanding from 6 teams to 12. The original 6 teams (Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, Boston, New York and Chicago) would be joined by the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues.
1978: Canada expelled 13 Soviet "diplomats" after they tried and failed to infiltrate the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
1994: Nelson Mandela became the first black President of South Africa.