Jerusalem: A cup of trembling

Illustration of Jerusalem by Elhanan ben-Avraham

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about… 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.”- Zechariah 12:2-3

Is it any surprise to see the nations of the world in an uproar over Jerusalem? It is a city that lay essentially in ruin for two millennia, unworthy of international attention, and making little noise or news. Now the nations of the world, including the United Nations, regularly debate the fate of this city, while the Muslim nations even threaten warfare of their Jihad.

Today rather than a backwater town of poverty and desolation as described by Mark Twain on his visit here in 1867, Jerusalem has become a vibrant and modern city at the hand of the Jewish people since its capture in 1967. The holy places of the three major religions have now found honor and preservation and freedom under their custodianship, and archaeological discoveries are lovingly uncovered nearly daily testifying to Jewish history and presence, and preserved in the exquisite Israel Museum.

But last week the president of the United States declared America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which has ignited a firestorm of objection around the world, from Rome to Mecca to Tehran. Never mind that nothing whatsoever has changed from the day before the declaration, and the Israeli parliament and supreme court and administrative buildings remain where they have been since the state’s founding in 1948, the declaration has stirred the already simmering and irrational pot. Even Christians of the Middle East have condemned the statement that the Jews may have any right to Jerusalem, including Christians in the town of Bethlehem where Jesus the Jew was born.

The Prophets of the Bible have previsioned such a state of affairs. This same city from which came forth the Torah, and in which the Messiah was crucified and rose in resurrection, and his disciples brought that word to the world, is mentioned countless times in the Scriptures as sacred to G-d, both in the past, present, and future. Jerusalem is never once mentioned in the Quran, written many centuries after the life of Yeshua, and millennia after Moses. Jerusalem is called the city and capital of David the Jew, going back to the 10th Century BC, and remains at the center of the biblical accounts throughout, right to the final book of Revelation.

After two destructions by foreign invaders, and two exiles from the Holy City, the Jewish people have once again returned to the city of their origins to restore its fortunes, just as written in the Prophet Joel, chapter 3:

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat (Hebrew: Yah has judged), 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.”

There is little doubt that the parting of the Holy Land is central to all nations in their political programs to solve the longstanding great controversy. But the prophets Joel, Zechariah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Micah and others foresee a day of reckoning over Jerusalem, when the preserved of Israel will be made into a sharp threshing instrument, and they will look upon him whose feet shall stand once again upon the Mount of Olives, which is in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built upon a threshing floor purchased by King David, and remains to this day a threshing floor separating chaff from wheat, and all false doctrine from the reality of Truth*. It is a place of threshing for individuals and nations, a burdensome stone of stumbling for many, and one that cannot long be ignored.

*Isaiah 41:14-16; 17:13; 29:5; Micah 4:13; Ezekiel 36; Zechariah 12-14; Jeremiah 24:6; 32:40-42; Revelation 11.

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Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published five illustrated books of poetry, painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, and most recently produced THE JERUSALEM ILLUSTRATED BIBLE, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.