Updated: May 9, 2022
"Because Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt… therefore, return them peaceably now.” - King of Ammon - Judges 11:13 The parallels between the modern Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the period of the Judges are striking. Both accounts include a strongly contested repatriation of Jacob's long lost Jewish homeland followed by generational conflict with local people groups. There is nothing new under the sun. The modern dispute over the land is just the latest iteration of an ancient conflict that dates all the way back to God's covenant with Abraham. In His covenant, God promised the land to the Jewish people as an eternal possession. And because God's Word is bound up in covenant, there will be contention. The herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they contended with him. - Genesis 26:20 Today, the surrounding nations continue to use the same rhetoric and geopolitical strategies as they have in the past. This ongoing contention, which will only be resolved at the Day of the Lord, is what the prophet Isaiah calls the strife, or controversy, of Zion.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together… - Psalm 2:1-2 Since the repatriation of the Jewish homeland in 1948, the controversy of Zion has once again become the source of reeling for the nations in the Mideast region. But the frenzy over Jerusalem hasn't stopped there. The ripple effects are being felt increasingly around the globe. Case in point, the UN General Assembly has consistently adopted more resolutions against Israel than any other nation. In 2020, seventeen out of twenty-three total UN resolutions (74%) targeted the Jewish state, while Iran was the recepient of just one. In 2021, Israel was targeted in fourteen out of eighteen total resolutions (78%), while Iran again only received one. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” - Psalm 83:4 Throughout history, Satan has used the nations to wage war on the covenant. From Gaza, the Philistines would launch their attacks on the Israelites. Today, the same city is used as the central command post for the terrorist organization Hamas. “We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.” - Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas
The Assyrian empire, headquartered in Nineveh, is remembered for deporting the ten northern tribes of Israel as well as coming very close to conquering Jerusalem. Known today as Mosul, Nineveh was the capital of the Islamic State until 2017. It remains a hotbed for ISIS activity today. “The Islamic State pounds the Zionist entity with rockets and will continue hitting their fortresses… With all our strength we will push them back.” - ISIS The book of Esther records the attempted genocide against the Jews by the Persian government. Although Persia has undergone a name change since then (now the Islamic Republic of Iran), the hatred remains the same. “The Zionist Regime that is a usurper and illegitimate regime and a cancerous tumor should be wiped off the map." - Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
He who sits in the heavens laughs… “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” - Psalm 2:4-6 Satan's desire to sit on the throne that God has promised to His Son is the only explanation for the uproar over Jerusalem. This is because thwarting God's covenantal promise is the only path to victory that Satan has. In fact, the course of human history is barreling towards a day when the issue of covenant will sweep the entire planet into an unparalleled time of trouble. The Great Tribulation, or the time of Jacob's trouble, will be a time of testing for the nations to gauge their response to God's covenant. Therefore he (the antichrist) will be… enraged at the holy covenant and take action… he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. - Daniel 11:30 While it may seem difficult to believe that the entire world will be drawn into a conflict over the issue of the Jew and the land, we'd do well to remember that it was only very recently that one man's attempt to annihilate the Jewish race drew the entire globe into the deadliest conflict in human history.
For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the controversy of Zion. - Isaiah 34:8 On the Day of the Lord, Jesus will gather all the nations together in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Jerusalem) to judge them on how they responded to His covenant and to His people. This is what Scripture calls the valley of decision. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel… Joel 3:2 Then He will separate those who sought to harm His people from those who sought to harbor and care for them. Interestingly, Scripture makes no mention of a third group. This is an issue that will require a decision from everyone. And He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left… - Matthew 25:33 As this age moves forward, the controversy over Zion will inevitably become more divisive. So if you aren't sure where you stand on the issue, I'd like to invite you to prayerfully engage with it. The Lord has a Day appointed. Which side will you find yourself on in the valley of decision? Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision…
Jacob's Refuge is a diverse group of Christians looking for others who will stand with the Jewish people in our communities. To learn more, please visit us on the web at https://www.jacobsrefuge.com/.