Jerusalem, the Intoxicating Drink

A cold and continuous war with occasional hot and deadly eruptions has been going on in the Middle East since 1948. Since the re-institution of its state, Israel has been in continuous conflict with its neighbors.

In a Christian world view, Jerusalem is the epicenter of the World as described in the Bible, and this is evident as religious and secular forces are battling for its control.  All three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, claim a stake in this historic city.  Secular forces including the secular state of Israel and terrorist organizations are also fighting over it.

In the last week, close to one thousand Hamas rockets have been fired indiscriminately over civilians in Israel and Jerusalem. Israel responded by targeting the source of the rockets and military targets in Gaza while trying their best to avoid civilians.

Why is Jerusalem so important that everyone wants a piece of it?  Why is Israel isolated like this?  Even its last ally, the United States is showing cracks in its long support for Israel.

The answer is found in Scripture and it has to do with Israel’s hardening and their rejection of the Messiah.

Jesus lamented in Matt 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!  How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”

As a result of their hardening of heart God proclaims in Zechariah 12:2 “I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink…”  And God continues:  “On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the people.  All who lift it will surely hurt themselves.  And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.”

Jerusalem will become a trap for all those who want to take it from Israel because God promised the father of the Jewish nation, Abraham that “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse” (Gen 12:3).

But divine punishment against Israel for his disobedience will not last forever.  In God’s redemptive plan, the Jewish nation will one day come back to the One Messiah whom they have rejected, Jesus Christ, as explained by Paul in Romans 11:

“25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.

26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

27 And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,

29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,

31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.”

Until the redemption of Israel is here our duty is to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

5 comments on “Jerusalem, the Intoxicating Drink

  1. Chris,
    I’m just wondering–why do you think that the hardening of the Jews’ hearts and rejecting of Messiah is the cause for Jerusalem becoming the heavy stone and the intoxicating drink?

    • Val, I tend to subscribe to a dispensationalist view regarding Israel, as Gabi pointed out, and I tend to believe that the difficulties that Israel has gone through and is going through is a result of their disobedience and rejection of Jesus.

      I see the fight for Jerusalem and the “Holy Land” as fitting in that picture of divine punishment against the Jewish nation. The intoxicating drink and the heavy stone are the metaphors used by Zechariah to point out how all relevant nations will want to go after Jerusalem, but God will save Jerusalem (Israel) in the end.

      So, the gathering of the nations against Jerusalem is the part of the divine punishment for Israel’s hardening, but the heavy stone and the fact that the nations will “hurt themselves” against it is God’s impending salvation of Jerusalem.

      • interesting… I always associated that with the fact the devil is jealous over Jerusalem and wants it for himself…just like he’s always wanted everything that has been God’s. However, you have an interesting point of view–it’s very normal to see in God’s work and plan 2-3 fold purposes in one thing/action, such as in this case–the disciplining of his people and its salvation happening at the same time in the same event.

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