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Jerusalem is Not a Bargaining Chip
The Bible has a lot to say about the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, but I think these two verses may be the most important of all:
- “The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” (Leviticus 25: 23)
- “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” (2 Chronicles 7: 16)
Leviticus 25: 23 has to do with the entire Land of Israel. Yahweh made it clear that it belongs to Him and Him alone. 2 Chronicles 7: 16 has to do with Jerusalem and more precisely the Temple Mount. It demonstrates how important they are to Yahweh. If you believe that the Bible is Yahweh’s word, you can’t read these two verses and conclude that anyone has the right to use any part of Israel, especially Jerusalem, as a bargaining chip in “peace” negotiations. That includes Israeli politicians and foreigners such as Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama.
The wise among us will take Yahweh’s word to heart because He said that tampering with Israel and Jerusalem will lead to catastrophe:
The burden of the word of Yahweh concerning Israel. Thus declares Yahweh 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 Yahweh, “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 Yahweh Sabaoth, their God.’” (Zechariah 12: 1-5)
I was delighted to hear that in an interview with Israel Hayom Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “If the [peace] deal collapses because it hinges on the Jerusalem issue, so be it. It is better not to make any deal than to agree to a bad deal”:
Why has Netanyahu so far avoided publicly endorsing you?
“I’ll start by saying that my relationship with him is excellent. He has remarked, more than once, that he is very pleased with the changes that this city is undergoing. He is a resident of Jerusalem; he knows the city. His wife is here, and his children are growing up here. I enjoy the prime minister’s full support for the welcome changes happening in the city. The secret of the success of these changes is the cooperation between the government and the municipality. This is an opportunity for me to thank him for the support and the resources. He has also said very clearly that he does not endorse Moshe Lion. Will it go any further than that? That is up to him.”
And thus, local and national politics collide. Jerusalem, because of its significance and centrality as Israel’s capital, has never remained solely within the bounds of local politics. Barkat’s and Netanyahu’s joint course began many years ago. Barkat has voiced his faith in Netanyahu’s ability to keep Jerusalem united many times along the way. Now that Netanyahu has relaunched peace talks with the Palestinians, raising once again core issues like the unity of Jerusalem for debate, Barkat continues to give Netanyahu his complete support. As everyone knows, Barkat has been very consistent in his strong opposition to dividing the city or handing over any part of its municipal territory to the Palestinians.
“I am not concerned,” he says. “I know what the prime minister’s position is, and what the government’s position is, and of course what the majority of the public thinks about the centrality and unity of the city under any future deal, if there is such a deal.”
How do you propose handling the Palestinian designs on Jerusalem?
“If the deal collapses because it hinges on the Jerusalem issue, so be it. It is better not to make any deal than to agree to a bad deal,” Barkat says.
Jerusalem is the largest city in Israel. It possesses enormous economic potential, and its main growth engine rests on tourism. Some 4 million foreign tourists visit Jerusalem every year. The prime minister and the mayor have an identical goal: to raise the number of annual tourists to 10 million. Tourism represents the creation of jobs in a variety of areas and helps the city deal with the unflattering statistics indicating high rates of poverty in certain parts — parts in which the state invests very few resources in efforts to improve.
This obviously affects the municipality, which, at the end of the day, ends up bearing the cost of the municipal tax exemptions handed out by the state to a relatively large portion of the population in the city. These exemptions amount to around 550 million shekels ($155 million) in lost municipal revenue annually, and the state does not compensate the municipality for this loss.
“The state decided that certain people, with lower socio-economic status, are exempt from paying municipal tax. I accept that. But the state needs to compensate the city so that it can close the consequent gap,” Barkat says. Even though there is still no state compensation, Barkat boasts a balanced municipal budget.
Barkat is right: any deal that results in the division of Jerusalem is a bad deal from Yahweh’s perspective. It’s regrettable that political power seekers like Kerry and Obama don’t realize just how bad the deal is. They can’t resist the temptation to bargain with things that are not theirs. They do it every day in Washington when they make deals with our hard-earned money. We work to earn it; they take it; and they give it to their supporters to maintain a firm grip on power. In effect, they buy votes with other people’s money. Kerry and Obama haven’t spent a day in prison for their larceny so they must think that they can get away with the same kind of thing in the global arena, and they are showing their true mettle in Israel.
But as I said, Yahweh made it clear that Israel and Jerusalem belong to Him, so this time Kerry and Obama are playing political games with Yahweh. He won’t allow them to succeed. That’s the point He was making in Zechariah 12. You can bet that if the nations of the world coming against Israel had any idea that Yahweh would be there to greet them personally, they would never have been so foolish. But like Pharaoh, they don’t know Yahweh. He will have to introduce Himself to them in the flesh for them to believe that He even exists, so that’s exactly what He will do. Imagine their fear when they learn that their troops have been reduced to ashes and that they are next.
Based on my reading of Scripture, this is what I think will happen:
- In due course, there will be a “peace” deal.
- It will involve Jerusalem.
- It will turn sour.
- Israel will take the blame.
- The nations of the world possibly working together under the auspices of the United Nations will intervene and attack Israel.
- When they reach Jerusalem, they will have their Day of Reckoning because Yahweh will intervene personally to deal with Israel’s enemies.
I don’t know when it will happen, maybe now or maybe later, but this much is certain: Yahweh will completely annihilate those who come against Israel because that’s what He said He will do.
I’m reminded of Joshua 24: 15:
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve Yahweh, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.”
I know whose side I’m on. Do you?
Israeli Soldiers Gathering at the Kotel for a Ceremony
The South Side of the Temple Mount with the Mount of Olives in the Background
The Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem near the Temple Mount
The Plaza Area in Front of the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem
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Arnold Ahlert: A Scandal Bigger Than Benghazi?— In a story that has remained largely under the mainstream media radar, Congress announced late last month that it would finally investigate the Aug. 6, 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan that resulted in 38 deaths, including 22 members of SEAL Team 6, made famous three months earlier when they killed Osama Bin Laden. Grieving family members insist that soldiers in the elite unit were placed in unnecessary danger by the recklessness of the Obama administration, whose actions they characterized as criminal. “We’re going to dive into this,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security.
David G. Savage: White House takes GOP side on potentially far-reaching church-state case— The Obama administration and congressional Republicans have found something to agree on: Town councils should be allowed to open their meetings with a Christian prayer.
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Hosea 11: 11-12
They will come trembling like birds from Egypt and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will settle them in their houses, declares Yahweh. Ephraim surrounds Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is also unruly against God, even against the Holy One who is faithful.
- God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This [Yahweh] is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.” (Exodus 3: 15)
- “Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—this time I will make them know My power and My might; and they shall know that My name is Yahweh.” (Jeremiah 16: 21)
- “Behold, the days are coming,” declares Yahweh, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘Yahweh our righteousness.’” (Jeremiah 23: 5-6)
- Yeshua said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8: 58)
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Blessings in the Book of Revelation is a book that you need to read, especially now. There are blessings throughout the Scriptures but Revelation is the only book in the Bible actually containing a specific blessing for reading it. It’s repeated twice, once at the beginning and again at the end. This is the reason that I believe Revelation should be the first step toward studying biblical prophecy. Though not easy to do, Revelation can be broken down and understood by anyone, not just the academic elite. So, Revelation’s blessings are for everyone. Click here to order the eBook. Click here to order the paperback.
Other Books by Neil Snyder
- Stand! is a suspense novel that exposes the lies, corruption, and greed underlying the theory that man-made CO2 emissions are responsible for global warming. Professor Wes Carlyle and Karen Sterling, his research collaborator, carefully scan the audience for their would-be attacker—a member of the enviro-gestapo who has been following them for days. Wes spots his man in the back of the room leaning against the wall. Suddenly, another man in the audience steps forward and moves toward Karen at a menacing pace. With a vicious stroke, he swings a billy club at her head. Click here to order the eBook. Click here to order the paperback.
- What Will You Do with the Rest of Your Life? deals with a question that every Christian has to consider: what should I do with my life? Click here to order the eBook. Click here to order the paperback.
- Falsely Accused is a true story about a young woman who was accused of committing a double homicide. It’s about a travesty of justice, and it reveals Yahweh intervening in the life of a believer to rescue her from danger in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Everyone will enjoy the book, but young people in particular need to read it because the mistakes made that led to the problem could have been avoided. They were the kinds of mistakes that young people are prone to make. As they say, forewarned is forearmed. Click here to order the eBook. Click here to order the paperback.