Thursday, by a vote of 138-9, the United Nations declared Palestine a (nonmember observer) state with East Jerusalem as its capital (read official UN document). Forty-one nations abstained from voting. The official tally — as published by the United Nations — is as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States.
Abstain: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Estonia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malawi, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, United Kingdom, Vanuatu.
Absent: Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar, Ukraine.
Perhaps you are asking, “What is the big deal?” The red flag is in Joel 3:
For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather all the nations
And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.
Then I will enter into judgment with them there
On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
And they have divided up My land.
If you are a Bible-believer (Jew or gentile), you MUST come to terms with the truth that Israel is God’s land and he gave it to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac. (I did a quick search for “my land” on Bible Gateway and got seven — yes, seven — “My land” where God is speaking.)
While the Land has been divided throughout history under various circumstances, we have a unique situation that begs our attention. The world has voted to divide Jerusalem, to give to Palestine the portion of Jerusalem that Israel reclaimed from Jordan in 1967. (That includes all of Old City Jerusalem as well as the archaeological park City of David, original, Biblical Jerusalem).
I focus on Jerusalem because the Land is divided already. It was divided in 1947 by the UN (though Jerusalem was to stay intact as an international city). The Arabs rejected the offer and started a war that divided Jerusalem. Israel recaptured and reunited the city in 1967 (a war provoked by the mustering of Arab armies looking to take all of Israel and initiated by Israel’s successful preemptive strikes).
God is clear. There are consequences for dividing the Land and for exploiting and persecuting the Jews (that goes for the Church, too, by the way).
A terrible cup and a heavy stone
The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel.
Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the LORD of hosts, their God.’ –Zechariah 12:1-5 NASB
A Jewish Bible teacher who I encountered on a Jerusalem street and gave directions to told me — as we walked toward his destination — that we were at the start of Zechariah 12. This was in 2010, BEFORE the Gaza flotilla incident stoked anti-Israel sentiment throughout the world.
The thought of that exchange still gets me excited… because I was affirmed and encouraged in knowing my Jewish brothers who study Tanakh (the Scriptures) are reading the signs of the times.
Now, are we really seeing the beginning of Zechariah 12? We are seeing the set up for it.
I take the Word literally where there is no indication in the text of simile or metaphor or allegory. When God said, “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession,” Abraham wasn’t thinking spiritual Israel nor that everlasting was some pie-in-the-sky promise. No. This was a literal promise of literal land to literal offspring, and Abraham’s believing everything literally was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness by God.
That said, there is no military siege against Jerusalem or Israel… yet. But Jerusalem has been a cup that staggers the surrounding nations. It has been that for millennia. It is a heavy stone that injures people when they strain to pick it up. That has been true since before Nebuchadnezzar. Yerushalayim — which means “teaching of peace” — “has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times,” according to Wikipedia.
The reason Zechariah 12 excites is further down in the passage:
“When that day comes, I will seek to destroy all nations attacking Yerushalayim; and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced.” They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son. –Zechariah 12:9-10 CJB
As God Himself is defending Israel from the attacking nations, Israel will pray and they will recognize their Messiah. The national blindness of Israel to the truth of Yeshua’s messiahship will be lifted … and all Israel will be saved (Romans 11).
In Zechariah 12 we see Israel being saved and restored (Zech. 13:1). We also see the rebelling nations destroyed by God himself. There are more details in Zechariah 14, which gives us YHWH himself landing on the Mount of Olives to rule the whole world.
What we could be seeing with this UN vote is the beginning of the hardening of hearts in the nations toward Israel and toward God.
Intercession is a must
The LORD has called me to Jerusalem to intercede for His people until Zechariah 12:10 is fulfilled. My intercession is the blog — explaining the Word and world events as led by the Holy Spirit — and prayer and worship before His throne.
Ridings told of a vision that echoes Joel 3. He saw the nations sliding down a mountain side, approaching a watershed. Some nations slide into a shallow valley that eventually climbed again. Other nations slide into a deep, dark pit filled with economic turmoil and lawlessness.
This is why you must pray for your nation. The decision cast by your UN ambassador affects all of your nation. There will be grace for those who trust in ADONAI (just as there was for Israel as the plagues of Egypt swirled about them). Still, God said He would heal the nation of those faithful Believers who would cry out to Him.
Above all, cry for mercy and ask God what His will is for this time.