Sunday, September 25, 2011

Confrontation at the United Nations

World leaders would like to consider the conflict between Israel and Palestine a political issue, resolved by negotiation. But it is more fundamentally a religious issue. Religious beliefs run deeper in the human heart than any other issue, and are liable to create the greatest conflicts.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—the world’s monotheistic religions—all have the same heritage in Abraham. Judaism and Christianity trace their spiritual heritage through Isaac and Islam through Ishmael. Each has Jerusalem as the centre of their spiritual world.

For Christians, Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection took place in Jerusalem. Jews consider the holy City of David their traditional capital, and for Muslims it is the place where they believe Mohammed rose to heaven. In particular, the temple mount is the most sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

The Dome of the rock is built on the platform that was originally home to previous Jewish temples. Those temples were the centre of worship for the Jews, and they still worship at the western “Wailing Wall” that supports the temple platform.

The name “Dome of the Rock” comes from the sacred place enshrined with in it. Surrounded by a colonnade supporting the dome, is an area of exposed rock from where Mohammed is claimed to have ascended.

The rock also has direct physical attachment for the Jews, as they believe the rock is the place on Mount Moriah where Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac. So for Jews and Muslims, the temple area is a focal confrontational point. For Christians, the halted sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah is a symbol of salvation and resurrection (Genesis 22:13 and Hebrews 11:19).

But even beyond the religious attachments, this confrontation is a symptom of a higher spiritual battle. It is true for nations as well as individuals that the world’s struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

The destruction of Israel has been on Satan’s agenda since the time of Abraham, for which persecution of the Jews for millennia, and Hitler’s intention to eradicate them are evidence. As Israel is the centrepiece of the Bible’s history and end time prophecies, the destruction of Israel would discredit the Bible, and make God both a liar and impotent.

Events in the Middle East continue to be the centre of the world stage. Eventually, all other world events will be seen as simply sideshows. Friday’s events in the United Nations confirm the antagonism of most of the world’s nations toward Israel. This may well be setting the stage for the final confrontations, symbolised in Revelation 12:13–17.

The devil’s final onslaught, through his earthly pawns, may conquer, but will not destroy Israel. Consequently, his rage will turn against Christianity, the remaining testimony to the truth about God. This will finally usher in the return of Jesus Christ, the only source of real and lasting peace.