Peace of Jerusalem

by Scott Huckaby

God's Word tells us that we should, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6). Certainly Jerusalem is not at peace today. God told us that this would be the case in the time period just before Jesus returns: "it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it" (Zechariah 12:3).

The World versus Jerusalem

It seems like the Middle East "peace process" is always in the news. And the main point of contention is Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital along with Israel. People have forgotten that for hundreds of years since the Jews were dispersed by Rome in A.D. 70, Jerusalem was no one's capital. Jerusalem only came into contention when Israel made it their capitol after capturing it in 1967 during one of the many wars started by their Arab neighbors.

As the Zechariah prophecy foretells, most nations today are indeed gathered against Israel. In recent years, it has only been the U.S. wielding its Security Council authority that has kept the U.N. from taking action against Israel. I believe this is one reason the U.S. has had such a blessed existence despite our moral decay. God promised the patriarchs of Israel: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you" (Genesis 12:3).

But U.S. support of Israel is starting to weaken. You can see it in the bias of news reports. Some of these stories seem almost sympathetic of "victimized" Palestinians as if Israel drove them to terrorism. The U.S. government has now joined those nations pressuring Israel to make concessions in the interest of "moving the peace process forward." You never hear condemnation of the Palestinian Authority who has not met one term of the Oslo agreement.

What you see with all the nations gathered against Israel is evidence of spiritual warfare. It is anti-Semitism on a world-wide scale. Even in the institutional Christian church you find the roots of a satanic hatred of the Jew: those who claim that the church has replaced Israel in the promises of God. This is false doctrine not supported by Scripture. Those who hold to this replacement theology will eventually blame the Jews for crucifying Christ. But these miss the whole point, Jesus went to the cross willingly to pay the penalty for the sins of those who put their trust in Him (John 10:17-18).

World Peace

The nations of the world long for peace. They have discovered that by talking and working together, hostilities can often be avoided. The end of the cold war has made this dream seem close at hand and has encouraged the belief that world peace can be achieved through human efforts. Yet peace eludes us.

The conventional wisdom is that if mankind can resolve the conflict over Jerusalem, there is nothing standing in the way of world peace. This attitude is paving the way for a world leader who will bring the promise of peace to Jerusalem. Daniel 9:27 prophecies that this "prince who is to come" will "confirm" a 7-year peace treaty with Israel involving many nations. This prince is also known as the Antichrist and the peace that he promises will only be temporary. The second half of this 7-year period will be so terrible for Israel and the world that Jesus called it a time of "great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21). The 7-year period will begin peaceful but will see the deaths of over half the world's population (Revelation 6:8, 9:15) and end up with Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).

Peace on Earth

When Jesus first came to earth, the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14). So God has already brought peace to the earth, but not in the sense the world sees it. The world's concept of peace is an absence of war but this was not the kind of peace Jesus offered immediately. Jesus came to earth to glorify God (John 12:27-28) and make it possible for mankind to have an eternal relationship with Him (John 3:16). Christ's mission of mercy made it possible for mankind to have peace with God (John 14:27). Those who know Jesus as Savior, have "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).

Peace to the Christian is the inner peace that comes with knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior. True peace is a by-product of being in the will of God and one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Christians can have peace despite their circumstances because they know that "all things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28). The Christian's eternal perspective makes it possible to have a peace of mind that makes no sense to non-believers.

Jesus will indeed bless us with an absence of war but this will not happen until He returns: "He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).

True peace will not come to Jerusalem until Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) returns. So to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as Psalm 122:6 exhorts us is to pray for Christ to return. Indeed, in the Lord's prayer, Jesus said we should pray that God's will be done in His kingdom coming (Matthew 6:10). When Jesus returns, He will set up His kingdom on earth and reign in person for 1000 years until He recreates the world for the eternal state (Revelation 20:4-6).

Have you made peace with God? You can have His peace right now by believing Jesus and trusting in Him for your eternal salvation. If you never have responded to Him, I urge you to pray that God would give you, "the peace... which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).