King of the Jews
At this time of year multitudes of people who otherwise have little or no thought of God or Christ give lip service to the idea that more than 1,900 years ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem and "there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews?" (Mt 2:1-2). Oddly, many Christians who believe Jesus was born "king of the Jews" attach no literal meaning to that title, especially one that has anything to do with Jews. Prophecies concerning Christ ruling the world from David's throne in Jerusalem are taken as metaphors referring to His present rule from heaven.
Jerusalem was founded by King David 3,000 years ago. No fewer than 40 times the Bible calls Jerusalem "the city of David." There God established David's throne forever, and on that throne the Messiah, King of the Jews, descended from David, must reign over Israel and the world (2 Chr 6:6; 33:7; 2 Sa 7:16; Ps 89:3,4,20,21,29-36, etc.). Jerusalem is named more than 800 times in the Bible and is central to God's plans. He has placed His name there forever.
Knowing that only the Messiah, descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, can defeat him, Satan has inspired 3,000 years of anti-Semitism. Destroying all Jews would have prevented Messiah from being born. Satan lost that round. But if all Jews could be destroyed today, God could not fulfill His promises that Christ would reign as King of the Jews on David's throne at His second coming. God would be a liar and Satan the winner. God's integrity and eternal purposes are linked to Israel's survival!
Yasser Arafat claims that Israel has always belonged to Arabs and that Jerusalem has been an Arab city for thousands of years. In fact, it isn't even mentioned in the Koran. On July 15, 1889, the Pittsburgh Dispatch reported that of Jerusalem's 40,000 residents, 30,000 were Jews and most of the others were Christians. In 1948, when Israel declared its independence, only 3 percent of Palestine was owned by Arabs.
Israel has its Knesset in Jerusalem. But the world won't accept that, and foreign embassies are located elsewhere. In defiance of God and His King (Ps 2), the world has its own plans for Jerusalem.
Here we confront the broader aspects of anti-Semitism's war against God and the King of the Jews: the attempt to control Jerusalem and God's land (Lv 25:23). Incredibly, the United Nations' Security Council has devoted nearly a third of its deliberations and resolutions to Israel, a country with less than one-thousandth of earth's population! The United Nations has never condemned the Arabs for their terrorism but has condemned Israel more than 370 times for defending itself. In March 1999, the European Union notified Israel again that it "does not recognize Israel's sovereignty" over Jerusalem. In a recent papal bull on the Year 2000 Jubilee, Pope John Paul II once again rejected Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
We are seeing the continuing fulfillment of Christ's remarkable prophecy that Jerusalem would be "trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Lk 21:24). The capture by Israelis of East Jerusalem in 1967 seemed to mark the end of the "times of the Gentiles." But in a surprising move, Israel turned the Temple Mount back to the custodial care of King Hussein of Jordan, leaving the very heart of Jerusalem in Gentile hands. In 1994, Yasser Arafat and his PLO took control.
Roman Catholic doctrine that the nation of Israel has been replaced by that Church is spreading increasingly among evangelicals. This replacement of Israel is a subtle form of anti-Semitism. Instead of sending Jews to ovens, their significance and even their existence is denied: by some twist in history, those now commonly called Jews are supposedly not really Jews-the real Jews are Mormons, or British Israelites, or Catholics or Christians.
The shameful horror of anti-Semitism throughout history provides a shocking exposé of the human heart. Satan found multitudes of partners (many who called themselves Christians) only too eager to malign, persecute and even kill God's chosen people. Hitler's "final solution to the Jewish problem" was known to Roosevelt, Churchill and other allied leaders, who did nothing. Even neutral Switzerland and Sweden turned escaping Jews back to Hitler's ovens.
Incredibly, a typical Jordanian textbook equates Zionism with Nazism. Yet Arabs applauded and aided Hitler-and Islam pursues Hitler's "solution" to this day. Hitlerian threats pour continuously from Muslim religious and political leaders on TV and over radios and loudspeakers in mosque and street. The battle between Jahweh, the God of Israel who loves Jews as His chosen people, and Allah, the god of Islam who hates them with a passion, is building to an awesome climax.
It is every Muslim's religious duty to exterminate the Jews. Muslims dream of destroying Israel. They name holidays and streets after murderers of innocent Israeli citizens and hold celebrations honoring terrorists. Islam's leaders have called for a spiritual revival as the key to Israel's destruction-and Islamic fundamentalism, which brazenly employs terrorism worldwide, is now sweeping the world.
All Islamic scholars agree it is the sacred duty of every Muslim in every age to wage jihad (holy war) whenever possible to force the entire world to submit to Islam. There are more than 100 verses in the Koran about fighting and killing in that quest. A Libyan cabinet minister explained, "Violence is the Muslim's most positive form of prayer."
In spite of his rape of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein is beloved by millions of Arabs because his scud missiles heavily damaged Israeli civilian targets and he repeatedly calls for Israel's destruction. When Kaddafi screams, "The battle with Israel will be such that...Israel will cease to exist!" he speaks for every Muslim. Islam's founding prophet, Muhammad, declared, "The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them."
Islam's desire to exterminate Israel is taught from childhood. A Syrian Minister of Education wrote, "The hatred which we indoctrinate into the minds of our children from birth is sacred." A ninth-grade Egyptian textbook declares, "Israel shall not live if the Arabs stand fast in their hatred." And a fifth-grade textbook states, "The Arabs do not cease to act for the extermination of Israel." It is suicidal for Israel to trade strategic land for "peace" with such enemies -but the world forces her.
Muhammad showed Muslims how to make "peace." In a.d. 628 he made a peace treaty with his own Kuraish tribe. Two years later, he suddenly attacked Mecca and slaughtered every male. Arafat has publicly declared, "In the name of Allah...I am not considering it [the Israeli-PLO peace accord] more than the agreement signed between our prophet Muhammad and the Kuraish tribe....Peace for us means the destruction of Israel...." No place for the King of the Jews! This is Islam-take a close look!
Muslim nations are arming themselves with missiles capable of delivering chemical, biological and nuclear warheads. Syria has manufactured thousands of chemical warheads, has huge stores of biological weapons and has tripled its military and air power since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The whole world knows these weapons have one purpose: to destroy Israel. But Israel also has nuclear weapons (soon to be deployed in new efficient submarines) and would use them if needed. Who will bring peace?
Christ warned of such incredible destruction that if He did not intervene to stop it no flesh would be left alive on earth (Mt 24:21-22). That remarkable prophecy anticipated today's modern weapons. No wonder the God of the Bible, who twelve times calls Himself "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," promises repeatedly to defend Israel and Jerusalem in the last days! Having brought Israel to birth in 1948, God will complete His purpose. He declares, "Shall a nation be born...? Shall I bring to the birth,...saith the Lord...and shut the womb?" (Is 66:8-9).
In its mad rebellion against God, the world rejects the "King of the Jews" and His promised rule of international peace from David's throne in Jerusalem, and makes its own plans. The ideal of a humanistic world government has been pursued since Babel. In 1921 the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was established. The next year its journal, Foreign Affairs, stated that there would be "no peace or prosperity for mankind...until some kind of international system is created...." In 1934 H.G. Wells declared, "There must be a common faith and law for mankind....The main battle is an educational battle." Children are being educated to reject God and embrace Antichrist. In 1973, in the Saturday Review of Education, Gloria Steinem, feminist leader, stated that by the year 2000 "we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God."
In May 1947 Winston Churchill declared, "Unless some effective world supergovernment...can be set up and begin to reign, the prospects for peace and human progress are dark and doubtful...." In 1948, in UNESCO: Its Purpose and its Philosophy, Sir Julian Huxley, its first director-general, explained that "The general philosophy of UNESCO should be a scientific world humanism, global in extent and evolutionary in background...to help the emergence of a single world culture...." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently said that the "concept of national sovereignty" is being redefined and would have to be set aside. In 2000, in a step toward a world religion, "the UN will extend its peacekeeping role into spiritual territory" and call for "its first summit for world religious leaders."
No matter the form of government, rulers are selfish and oppressive. That fact has been repeatedly demonstrated worldwide. Africa threw off white colonial rule. But instead of the promised freedom, there was new bondage to black despots. Instead of peace and prosperity, there is growing chaos, poverty, unrest and tribal and ethnic wars, with blacks killing blacks, repeated coups and revolutions that gain nothing.
Communism was once the big hope. The communist revolution in Russia was financed to a large extent by some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in America. Praising its enforced atheism, John Dewey wrote in The New Republic in 1928 that communism would "counteract and transform...the influence of home and Church" and ultimately would fulfill the goals set forth in The Humanist Manifesto.
It sounded so good: equality for all. But those who enforced this "equality" were tyrants looking out for their own selfish interests, who oppressed and stole from the people under them. Corruption flourished in the Soviet Union and China and still does in every communist nation.
The same has always been true of Islam. Muhammad imposed Islam with the sword. As soon as he died, much of Arabia tried to abandon Islam, but was forced back into submission in the Wars of Apostasy in which tens of thousands were killed. Nor did that bring peace. Muhammad's closest companions and relatives fought savage wars for leadership, slaughtering one another for Allah and their dead prophet. Thousands of Muhammad's followers were butchered by one rival faction or another.
Islam hasn't changed. Between 1948 and 1973, there were 80 revolutions in the Arab world, 30 of them successful, including the murder of 22 heads of state. Sunnites, the largest Islamic sect, and Shi'ites, the next largest, still fight one another. In the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, 1,000 tons of poison gas were used and there were more deaths than in World War I. Islam can't even bring peace among Muslims. Yet British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that Islam is synonymous with "peace, tolerance and a force for good." Incredibly, the Crystal Cathedral houses a joint "Christian and Muslim Institute for peace." Peace?
Islamic countries are dictatorships, led by ruthless murderers and international terrorists such as Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Lybia's Kaddafi and Hafez Assad of Syria. In the name of Allah they imprison, torture and kill tens of thousands of their own citizens and train and finance worldwide terrorism. In PLO territories taken over from Israel, as in every Muslim country, there is no freedom of conscience, speech, religion, election or the media.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and she has the problems which democracy breeds. The Holy Land is plagued with drugs, pornography, prostitution, youth rebellion, rape, robbery and murder. Selfishness pits Israeli against Israeli. More than 200,000 Israeli women are victims of domestic violence each year. The savagery in Israeli schools rivals that of the United States. Violent crime among Israeli youth more than doubled from 1993 to 1998. There is hostility between religious and secular Israelis and increasing disillusionment with Judaism, especially among youth.
If Jeremiah were alive today, he would warn Israel once again of coming judgment for its sin. Israel needs to repent to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But what if she were to do so? The rabbis have no forgiveness to offer repentant sinners. They've had neither temple nor sacrifices for sin for 1,900 years-exactly as foretold (Hos 3:4; Lk 21:20-24)!
Why would God prophesy and allow this condition? Only if Jesus is the Messiah who, as the Lamb of God, died for the sins of Jew and Gentile. If His sacrifice on the cross fulfilled all the Old Testament sacrifices, they are no longer needed. That is the only explanation for God having left Israel without temple and sacrifice all these years.
The Hebrew scriptures contain more than 300 prophecies telling when and where the King of the Jews would be born, all about Him, including His rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection. All were fulfilled to the letter in Jesus Christ. If He is not the Messiah, there is no Messiah. On the very day the angel Gabriel foretold to Daniel (Dn 9:25), Jesus rode into Jerusalem, was hailed as the Messiah as Zechariah had prophesied (Zec 9:9), then was crucified for our sins and resurrected as Israel's prophets had foretold. On the cross above His head, Pilate placed this accusation: "this is jesus the king of the jews" (Mt 27:37).
According to undisputable history and Israel's own prophets, it is 1,900 years too late to expect the first coming of the Messiah. Israel's only hope is His second coming. Tragically, it will take Armageddon for Israel to recognize her Messiah. When Jahweh personally appears to rescue Israel from destruction, every Jew alive will see that He is the man who was pierced to the death for their sins and resurrected, the very Messiah promised by their prophets, whom they have rejected. Then all Israel still alive will believe. And the King of the Jews at last "shall reign for ever and ever"! Right now He offers forgiveness, peace, eternal life and a benevolent reign on the throne of every heart that will open to Him.