The Steps To Peace

Jerusalem is the City of Peace. There is no other city like it.

"For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has declared it for His dwelling place: 'This My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.'" (Psalm 132:13-14)

The Prophets foretold that the Jewish people would return to the Land and the City promised to them as an everlasting inheritance after seventy years of captivity. Despite the promise it was not an easy process. While rebuilding the City, including the Temple, the Jewish people were met with fierce opposition and hostile confrontations from local Arabs, who had moved in during the Jewish people's absence.

Yet, the situation was worse, much worse.

Zechariah, a prophet of the time, had seen in a vision and heard the report given by those whom the LORD had sent specifically " ... to walk to and fro throughout the earth." The messengers gave the following report:

"We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly." (Zechariah 1:11)

The Earth was resting. The kingdoms of men were at ease. It was a period of calm for the nations. It was a picture of unconcern; everything was "No worries!"  The peoples of the world were relaxing, content with the way things were, satisfied and fulfilled with their achievements, enjoying the rewards of their accomplishments. Normally, this might sound okay, but there were greater issues that needed addressing - justice, righteousness, peace and forgiveness.

At that time, Jerusalem had not been fully restored, nor were all the Jewish people back in the Land. Most were still in captivity, dispersed among the nations. This was not the time for resting. In fact, the report that the earth was at ease, was not good!

What nation was in pursuit of the kingdom of God? Where were those world leaders who were seeking His righteousness? What powerful regime was establishing His justice throughout the earth? What Gentiles were coming to Jerusalem to learn His ways?

"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

"For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.

"The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." (Isaiah 60:1-3)

It was not the appropriate time for resting - Jerusalem, the City of God, and His House were not complete. How was it possible that any nation could be at ease with such a situation? This was not the time for sitting back; on the contrary, the nations should have been pleading with God to fulfil His sure promises concerning Jerusalem, because only then would the entire world enjoy genuine peace.

Hear the word of the LORD through His prophet, Isaiah:

"For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns." (Isaiah 62:1)

It is not complicated; God is focused on His plan and purposes. Jerusalem is the City of Peace and it will be, eventually, regardless, of whether or not world leaders, kings or slaves, rich or poor are actively working with Him, or against Him.

Can someone work against God? Is it possible for a nation to oppose God?

Indeed, this is precisely the position of the nations during the last days, prior to the return of the Messiah, as King.

"For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem ... Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley ..." (Zechariah 14:2-4)

The outcome for those who oppose God will be disastrous ...

"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgement with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land." (Joel 3:1-2)

The Messiah also prophesied that the nations will be judged when He returns, as King. Accordingly, those who have opposed God's purposes for Jerusalem, and His people, Israel, will be sent to the place of everlasting torment.

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy messengers with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

"All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides His sheep from the goats.

"And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'

"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

"When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?

"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his messengers ..." (Matthew 25:31-41)

Both Joel, the prophet, and Matthew, the disciple of Messiah Yeshua, foretell of the same event, namely, the coming of the King, and the subsequent judgement of the nations.

The nations will be gathered against Jerusalem, at which time the King will come, His feet standing on the Mount of Olives, causing the mount to split resulting in a mountain-type valley where the nations (who gathered to battle against Jerusalem) will be gathered before Him who sits on His throne in Jerusalem, even the King of Righteousness.

Note, the judgement of the nations is based on their attitude and actions toward the Jewish people - "the least of these My brethren". The Messiah is a descendant of the great King David, of the tribe of Judah. These are His brethren, according to the flesh, the Jewish people. And, most notably, Joel points to the nations dividing the Land of Israel, and giving it to others to whom it was not promised. The land is an everlasting inheritance of the people of Israel.

There is not one nation which considers its actions and attitudes toward Israel in the light of the promises made to them by the Sovereign LORD, the Covenant-Keeping God. Consequently, the nations are obliviously engaged in activities opposed to God's purposes for Israel, and for Jerusalem, the City of Peace. Observe, how the land of Israel is being divided by the international community which demands that Israel exchange land for peace, and for the purpose of establishing a separate Palestinian State. Similarly, the international community is planning to make Jerusalem a city of the world, rather than the city of God - the throne of His righteousness and peace.

Surely, the steps to peace are not the way of the world, but He whose mercy toward His people, Israel, endures forever will show Himself faithful and knows the path of peace . Blessed be His Name!

May there be many today who turn to Messiah Yeshua the Prince of Peace who alone is the Hope of Israel, his Redeemer and King.

Mark Warren