Israel Trip 005
4-7-19 I Samuel 24:1
As you go to the North-West corner of the Dead Sea, you come to a place called Qumran. Has anyone heard of the Dead Seas Scrolls? Most people have heard of them. Basically, what happened in 1947 roughly, and that is a very interesting year because what country would become an independent country in 1948? Israel. God allowed a lot of things to take place in that general time period. But you basically have Bedouins or shepherds, they were there in the Qumran area. They were kind of going in and out of caves. As the story goes, one of them took a rock and threw it into a cave. There are several caves in Qumran. They have got them labeled Cave 1, Cave 2, Cave 3, etc.…As this Bedouin threw a rock into a cave there in Qumran, he heard pottery glass or pottery breaking and what was discovered in that pottery was what I used to call the discovery of the century. However, I do not now call it the discovery of the century. I now call it the discovery of the millennium. It was unbelievable what was discovered through this. And what was found among other things is many, many copies of what we call the Old Testament kept and translated faithfully by a group of people called the Essenes. The Essenes were kind of a break away community that thought Jerusalem was going corrupt. And so they set up their own system there in Qumran. They were kind of what we call separatists or a break away community. And they discovered many copies of Hebrew Bible or what we call the Old Testament, except one book. They did not find any translations of the Book of Esther. Now, why wouldn’t they find translations of the Book of Esther? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the Book of Esther, unlike the other books of the Old Testament, does not use the name God. So that may be one reason why they did not have any value for the Book of Esther. So other than that, they found multiple copies of Old Testament books.
Multiple copies of the Book of Genesis, these folks really like the Book of Deuteronomy, multiple copies of the Book of Deuteronomy and probably the most valuable thing that was discovered there is a complete, not a fragment, not a part, not a section, but a complete all sixty-six chapters, you know the chapter divisions of course they didn’t have, those were added later by Protestants, but a complete scroll, a complete copy of what we call the Book of Isaiah. And you say well why is that such a big deal? Let me explain why this is such a big deal and why it’s the providence of God and the sovereignty of God that allowed this discovery. Prior to this discovery at Qumran the oldest copy that we had of Isaiah was A.D. 900 so that takes you into the tenth century A.D. That’s the oldest manuscript of Isaiah that we had.
And that poses a problem because when did the prophet Isaiah write? Well he wrote all the way back in the eighth century, the seventh to the eighth century B.C. So Isaiah’s ministry spans from about 739 B.C. to 696 B.C. and the oldest copy that we had prior to the discovery an Qumran was a manuscript from A.D. 900. That’s a big chunk of time, isn’t it. How in the world would we ever know that Isaiah, written in the seventh to eighth century B.C. was faithfully transmitted to the copy of the manuscript of Isaiah that we had at the time, prior to the discovery at Qumran in A.D. 900? I mean, we’re spanning from the eighth century B. C. to the tenth century A.D. So why would we trust that as a reliable copy.
Well, we sort of had to do it by faith and we do know a little something about the discipline of the copyists. They’re called the Masoretes, he says were well disciplined and treated the text with the greatest imaginable reverence and devised a complicated system of safeguards against scribal slips. I mean, think of all the opportunities there would be to mess something up over that long period of time in terms of transmission. They counted, for example, the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurs in each book. They pointed out the middle letter of the Pentateuch, the middle letter of the whole Hebrew Bible, and made even more details calculations than these. “Everything countable seems to be counted” says Wheeler Robinson “and they made up mnemonics by which the various totals might be readily remembered.”
So we were basically trusting the fact that these scribes knew what they were doing and were very, very careful in their copying through the centuries and therefore this copy of Isaiah that we had in A.D. 900 was essentially a faithful copy of what Isaiah originally said in the Book of Isaiah, going back to the eighth century B.C.
But you see what was discovered an Qumran was stunning, they found in it a completed copy of the Isaiah scroll, (watch this now) going back all the way to 125 B.C. That’s a thousand years. So we had this A.D. 900 copy and now all of a sudden we have this completed scroll of Isaiah, all sixty-six chapters spanning all the way back to B.C. 125. That’s a thousand year gap. In other words, the discovery allowed us to go back a thousand years. And so what did they do? Well, they compared the 125 B.C. newly discovered copy of Isaiah to the A.D. 900 existing manuscript of Isaiah, thinking that they were going to find all of these mistakes, all of these slips of the pen, all of these errors. And they went back and they carefully compared the two and guess what their discovery discovered? They discovered that the two were basically identical. The only places, I think there’s eight places where there is even a difference and those had to do with really minor things, such as cosmetic things, stylistic things, conjunctions, slips of the pen, etc.
And now for the first time we’ve got a manuscript of not just part of Isaiah but the whole Book that’s more than one thousand years older than the manuscript previously possessed. And upon comparing the two things the scholars were completely stunned to discover the similarity in identity between the two. And that’s why I believe this was a discovery of the millennium because what it demonstrates is what you’re holding in your hand, particularly with the prophet Isaiah, is in fact the very Word of God. There is no room anymore to second guess whether we have accurate translations of the original. And it’s one of those things that the Lord, in His sovereignty, allowed the human race to discover, I think primarily to demonstrate to people that when you study this Book you’re studying God’s Word. You’re not studying mistakes, you’re not studying errors, you’re not studying scribal slips, or slipups, you’re studying virtually exactly what Isaiah originally said.
And therefore we have great respect for the Masoretes and the copyists and the scribes because of what they dutifully gave themselves to, to transmit to us the Bible. And it was Dr. David Hocking that did the teaching for us while we were at Qumran and he put it this way: when you’re standing here at Qumran you’re literally standing on holy ground. I mean, it’s awesome to think about it. And you see, a lot of people when they hear about the Dead Sea Scrolls, even people go to Qumran and they look at this cave and they look at that cave and they go to the bookstore and the gift shop and it’s kind of a tourist attraction and they don’t really understand exactly what they have there and what God allowed humanity to have.
So the reality of the situation is there’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever for doubting God’s Word, saying to yourself well, I can’t trust this because maybe the scribes didn’t translate it accurately. So this is such an important discovery and this poor Bedouin had no idea what he’d discovered. I think he sold it for very cheap and this discovery is so valuable that they moved the Isaiah scroll from Qumran to Jerusalem in a place called the Shrine of the Book and there’s my wife and our tour as we went to Jerusalem to the Shrine of the Book. You notice how it’s kind of… the roof of the museum is sort of built like the case that this Bedouin discovered the Isaiah scroll within. And there bottom left in the glass case you see the Isaiah scroll; it kind of goes all the way around and you can actually walk around and see it. And they used to have the original Isaiah scroll in that case but when that area came under attack in the Six Day War they didn’t want to risk something that valuable being damaged so they have it housed elsewhere, I think in the same building but not in that case. But that case is sort of what it represents is a copy of that Isaiah scroll that was discovered at Qumran.
So it’s a stunning thing and that’s one of the significances of Qumran. And once again God is providentially reaching His hand into history to show us exactly what we have in His Word in an age of skepticism where everybody is challenging God’s Word, doubting God’s Word, and just prior to the miraculous rebirth of national Israel you have this stunning discovery known as the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran. There’s other things in it that are very interesting but I think that’s probably the most significant aspect of Qumran.
And now leaving Qumran, still on the Dead Sea, we come to a place called Engedi and that’s why I had you open up to 1 Samuel 24:1. There is kind of a trail that you can take into that area to a waterfall and that’s sort of a special waterfall because my wife and I on our honeymoon twenty years ago got our picture taken by that very waterfall. And so there we are twenty years later, she looks exactly the same, I look a little older and you say well why aren’t you smiling. Well the reason I’m not smiling is I took a little bit of a spill on the trail and really did a number on my right arm, which you can’t see, it’s behind my wife there, blooding myself up a little bit. That was the only thing that broke my fall was my arm. But other than that it was a very romantic place to return to. There’s a picture of Angela, my daughter there in Engedi.
Engedi is known as an area of palms and vines, heavily cultivated. Josephus refers to Engedi as a beautiful place of palm groves. It has an elevation to get up there of about 2,000 feet. It receives several casual mentions in the Bible; it’s mentioned for example in Joshua 15:62. [Joshua 15:62, “and Nibshan and the City of Salt and Engedi; six cities with their villages.”]
It’s mentioned in 2 Chronicles 20:2 where it say during the reign of Jehoshaphat the children of Ammon, Moab and Mt. Seir attempted to invade Judah by way of Engedi (you’ll see that in 2 Chronicles 20:2) but were easily defeated. [2 Chronicles 20:2, “Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).”]
You might remember that I told you about a prophecy concerning the Dead Sea, there’s going to be a river that’s going to flow from the temple area in Jerusalem, Ezekiel 40-48 predicts a millennial temple. And there’s going to come from that temple a millennial river and that river is actually going to flow into the Dead Sea and what’s going to happen to the Dead Sea? It’s not going to be dead anymore, it’s going to team with life and it’s going to team with fish to such a degree that it says in Ezekiel 47:10 that fishermen are going to cast their nets as far as (in the Dad Sea) Engedi. So Engedi is actually going to play (apparently) a millennial role. And the reason why Engedi is so well-known in the Scripture is it’s a favorite site for David. It’s a place where David would go and sort of retreat to and it was a stronghold where David fled from Saul.
And as I’m walking through there I’m thinking to myself, I’m glad David was short to make it through all that rocky area without having a fall and all those kinds of things that us tall people go through. But if you look at 1 Samuel 24:1, actually go back to 1 Samuel 23:29, it says, “David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.” And then if you go into the next chapter it says, “Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, ‘Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.’” [1 Samuel 24:1]
So this is the place where it’s acknowledge that David fled to as he fled from Saul. And in fact, David, it’s interesting how David had an opportunity to kill Saul. Did you know that? In fact, he had that opportunity twice; he had that opportunity in Engedi, 1 Samuel 24. And then just a chapter or two later he had the same opportunity in 1 Samuel 26. And so I believe that the Holy Spirit has given us this picture of the interim period when David was anointed and fleeing and Saul was still on the throne as a picture of Jesus and His present position today.
And let me sort of explain that. I’ve used this before in the kingdom series that we’re doing Wednesday nights. David was anointed as the King of Israel in 1 Samuel 16 but did he begin to reign over Israel at that point? He did not, so he was anointed without a throne. He actually doesn’t reign over Israel until Saul is deposed. Saul, as you know, commits suicide and is finally out of the picture and then David arises to the throne in 2 Samuel 2 and 2 Samuel 5. And that’s when David made Jerusalem, formerly part of the nation of Israel, annexed the city of Jerusalem which prior to that point in time was not even a Jewish city. More on that a little bit later.
So you have a picture given by the Holy Spirit of a man who’s anointed, 1 Samuel 16, but not yet reigning. And why was David not yet reigning? Because there was an illegitimate usurper on the throne, a man named Saul, who should have never made king to begin with because Saul came from which tribe? Benjamin, and the kings were supposed to come from which tribe? Judah. So the nation, because of his appearance (because they were walking by sight, he was tall, not that tall people are bad) but they’re walking by sight and not by faith, installed this man as king and they really didn’t wait on God. And so they took a man from the wrong tribe and made him the king.
And over in 1 Samuel 16:13-14 it says this: “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him” that’s David, “in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. So David is anointed. And then what happens to Saul, verse 14, “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.” So here you have a situation where David is the anointed king and Saul has no anointing at all; in fact, he’s being heavily influenced by demons. And, you know, Saul, who never should have been made the king to begin with, is still on the throne illegitimately and governing the nation of Israel without the anointing of God. And the more Saul saw that he didn’t have the anointing anymore, and in fact it was possessed by David, what did that do to Saul. It made him very jealous and so he sets out during this interim time period to kill David multiple times.
And it’s very interesting that in Engedi David has an opportunity to kill Paul but he does not do it because he will not touch the Lord’s anointed. David was the type of person that wasn’t going to put himself into a place of authority. He was going to wait on the Lord to put him into that place of authority, although there in Engedi he very easily could have killed Saul and usurp the throne by force. And why is God allowing this time period to play out? Because Israel was having to make a choice as to who they’re going to follow. If you follow Saul, the existing king, you’re walking by sight. See that? That’s why when you go through the Samuel books there’s so much information on Saul’s appearance, Saul’s good looks, Saul’s height in contrast to David’s somewhat smaller stature ruddy appearance etc.
So obviously if you’re going to follow David you’re going to have to walk by faith, you’re going to have to trust that he’s the anointed king even though he’s not yet reigning. And tragically what happened is the majority of the population followed Saul and a very minority of the population follows David. And that smaller group is referred to as David’s mighty men. That’s why they’re so special in the Book of 1 Samuel in particular; these are people that trusted and walked by faith rather than by sight, contrary to the patter of the nation of Israel.
So if you can understand that you can clearly understand what’s happening to humanity at the present time; the exact same thing! Jesus has been anointed King, right? That happened at His resurrection, it happened at His ascension and you’ll see His anointing clearly described through a couple of Psalms, Psalm 16 and Psalm 110, in Acts 2:33-35.
Yet even though Jesus has been anointed as king is He reigning over this earth as King? He’s not! He will not actually reign over this earth as king until the tribulation period ends and He returns and takes His seat on David’s throne, Matthew 15:31. [Matthew 25:1, “So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”] So in the interim what’s happening in between Christ’s anointing and actual inauguration as king is you have a usurper on the throne. Who’s the usurper? Not Saul but Satan, Satan shouldn’t be there because God intended for humanity to be governed by the first Adam. Remember? And in Genesis 3 he turned the keys over to Satan and that’s why Satan when he tempts Jesus in the Judean wilderness in Luke 4 says worship me and I will give you the kingdoms of this world, they will all be yours and they have been given to me, the kingdoms and I can give them to whoever I want.
[Luke 4:5, “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.  Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”]
Well, who gave them to Satan? The first Adam did. And so we have an interim period where Jesus is anointed but is not yet reigning and consequently the world is just following the course of the satanically controlled world system. Satan continues on as the one who… the whole world it says lies in his lap, 1 John 5:19. [1 John 5:19, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”]
So you ask yourself a question, why is God allowing this interim time period to happen? Because just as in the days of David and Saul God is forcing humans, humanity, to make a choice, the exact same choice. He wants people to walk by faith with Christ but the only way they can do that is if they embrace Him by faith because He’s not yet running the world, Jesus. So David’s mighty men is sort of a type, if you will, of the Christian in the world today. If you walk by sight you follow what you can see, the world system orchestrated by Satan. So everybody today in this interim time period is forced to make a decision—are you going to embrace Christ by faith or are you going to walk by way of sight? And just like in David’s day the majority followed Saul, the minority followed David,.
It’s the same way today. What’s the majority of the world’s population doing? They’re following Satan; they’re walking by sight. A small minority is embracing Christ by way of faith. And that’s why Jesus said in Matthew 7:13 and 14, broad is the road that leads to destruction, many there are that go that way, narrow is the road that leads to life, few are they which find it. [Matthew 7:13, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”]
So I don’t know, Engedi to me is sort of a special place where this interim time period was played out where David had an opportunity to kill Saul but did not and he waited upon the Lord for Saul to be evicted, just like Jesus, at the right hand of the Father is waiting on God’s timing for Satan to be evicted. That’s why it says of Jesus, “Sit at My right hand,” Psalm 110:1, “Sit at My right hand” and what’s the next word, “until I make your enemies your footstool.”
So David was waiting for God to depose Saul; Jesus is waiting for God the Father to depose Satan. And one of these days Jesus is going to be enthroned on David’s throne on earth in Jerusalem and just as all of David’s mighty men were rewarded at that point (who had walked by faith) those that have trusted in Christ as their Savior will be rewarded at that point as well because they will have walked by faith and the majority of the world’s population along with Satan will be deposed. So Engedi is a special place where this whole typology is being carried out. And that’s one of the reasons I believe the Holy Spirit has given us this type.
Well, we’re leaving Engedi and going to Jerusalem; you might want to go back to Genesis 14 for just a moment, verses 18-20. Jerusalem is pretty easy to locate on a map, all you do is go to the tip of the Dead Sea and hang a left and you’ll eventually run into Jerusalem. And Jerusalem is mentioned for the very first time in the Bible in Genesis 14, it’s where this very strange character named Melchizedek came from, and notice what Genesis 14:18 says, “And Melchizedek king of” which city, “Salem” doesn’t that sound a little bit like Jerusalem. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.” [19,”He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;  And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ He gave him a tenth of all.”]
So notice that there’s a man, not a lot of information is given about him in the Old Testament, but he’s king and priest. Do you see that, verse 18, and he came from Jerusalem. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.” And then earlier in the verse it calls Melchizedek “king of Salem,” priest and king. Now as you go through the Old Testament you’ll discover that priests were not kings and kings were not priests. In fact, if you mixed those two offices you were in a lot of trouble with the Lord. In fact, this was one of the reasons that Saul’s kingdom started to deteriorate, because he got tired of waiting on the Lord on a particular occasion and he usurped the priestly function. And you recall that he was confronted by Samuel for doing this. And he was told that his empire, his kingdom, would be torn away—because those are two different offices. You don’t mix those two.
It’s evidence in the fact that the priests come from which tribe? Levi! The kings come from which tribe? Judah! So people want to talk about separation between church and state, I mean, I don’t really like how the left abuses that phrase today but there is a doctrine of separation of church and state rightly interpreted between the kings and the priests going all the way back to the Old Testament. And then there was another king named Uzziah and I think that his story, if I remember right, is in 2 Chronicles 26, but he did the same thing. He didn’t learn from history. He usurps things that the priests are supposed to do in terms of offerings and incense and things like that. And when you read, I believe it’s 2 Chronicles 26, when he did that he immediately was smote with leprosy by God. And he spent his waning days as a leper.
[2 Chronicles 26:17, “Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the Lord, valiant men.  They opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the Lord God.”  But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the altar of incense.  Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the Lord had smitten him.  King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the Lord. And Jotham his son was over the king’s house judging the people of the land.”]
So God didn’t like it when these two offices were mixed. And here what’s interesting is here is a man coming from Jerusalem that has the title “priest” and has the title “king” simultaneously so we take Melchizedek as a historical figure but he at least prefigures or is some kind of type of Christ that’s coming. Some have argued that Melchizedek perhaps is Christ here, as what’s called a Theophany or a Christophany, or a preincarnate appearance of Jesus. I’m not entirely sure if that’s true, maybe it is but he’s definitely a type of the coming Messiah. And he comes from this place called Salem which we today take as Jerusalem, and so that’s your first reference to Jerusalem, I think, in the entire Bible. And then over in the Book of Joshua, chapter 15, verse 63 you learn that it was a Jebusite stronghold, Jerusalem was. [Joshua 15:63, “Now as for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the sons of Judah could not drive them out; so the Jebusites live with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem until this day.”]
So Jerusalem wasn’t even a Jewish city even during the days of the conquest in the days of Joshua. And Jerusalem doesn’t become an Israeli city until which king? David, and in 2 Samuel 5, I made reference to 2 Samuel 5 I think a little earlier, when David actually begins to reign. That’s when Jerusalem becomes an Israeli city, a city of Israel and that happened in 1000 B.C. three thousand years ago. And Jerusalem has never been the capital city of any other nation, other than Israel. I mean, it’s true it was a Jebusite stronghold that the Jebusites, best we can tell, were not an official formal nation the way the nation of Israel was.
And so in your Bible there are a thousand references, did you know that? To the city of Jerusalem, probably around 800 in the Old Testament, 200 in the New Testament. And yet Muslims believe that Jerusalem is a holy city to them because they believe that’s where Mohammed allegedly ascended back to Allah on a stead, you know what the stead’s name is, I can’t make this stuff up folks, a stead is named Barak, isn’t that interesting. I don’t know how far I want to push that.
And they have this belief, even though their Qur’an never mentions Jerusalem at all, and I wish I had a picture of this but when you have Muslims praying there in the Temple Mount area their backsides, their rear ends in other words, are facing the temple Mount they’re faces are facing where? Mecca! And so if this site is so precious to them why do they have their backs to it as they’re praying. I mean, they’re real holy sites are Mecca and Medina, it’s not until the Jews got into that area and made it prosperous that suddenly the Muslims sort of had a switch in their thinking and they made it a holy site. So it is the third most precious holy site today (in their minds anyway) but I think it’s hard to document that historically. This is kind of a recent innovation that they’ve come up with and compare that to the Scripture where clearly Jerusalem is a holy site because it’s mentioned a thousand times in the Bible and it doesn’t have a single reference in the Qur’an, except to this furthest mosque, it uses the expression furthest mosque where Mohammed allegedly ascended and went back to Allah on a steed named Barak. So Jerusalem is very significant to us because it’s the only city in human history chosen by God. God chose Jerusalem.
Notice, if you will, Psalm 78:68-69. It says, “But chose” that’s God, “ the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion” now Zion is sort of a synonym for which city? Jerusalem, “which He loved.  And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has founded forever.” So God very specifically chose Jerusalem. Jerusalem may not be on your personal radar screen or my personal radar screen, we might not even figure out what all the commotion is about but if you look at it from the lens of God you can very clearly see that Jerusalem is God’s city. God chose that city. In fact, when you go to Psalm 137, which I think was probably the last or the latest Psalm written, it was written as the nation of Israel went into Babylon in captivity, and it was there they sat by the rivers of Babylon and wept.
If you look at Psalm 137:5, this is as the nation of Israel has been evicted from their land and they’re living three hundred miles to the east, God says in this Psalm, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill.” Verse 6, “May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember You, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above” not just my joy but my what? “my chief joy,” so if God says gosh, if we ever forget Jerusalem let “my right hand forget her skill.” Your right hand and its skill is your livelihood, it’s your ability to work a trade and earn a living for your family. Let me homeless is what he’s saying, let me be a beggar if I ever forget Jerusalem.
And so Jerusalem is a big, big deal to God. And as Christians, as believers, did you notice we’re to pray for the city’s peace. We’re told in Psalm 122:6 to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Now is that part of your prayer life? Psalm 122:6 tells us to do that. I hear the pages flipping which always makes me happy to hear your Bible pages ruffling in a church. [Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.’” Hey, do you want to prosper? I want to prosper. Well, then love Jerusalem, and we’re to pray for its peace.
And in Luke 19:41 you see Jesus on Palm Sunday presenting His Messianic credentials to the nation of Israel and He sees the wayward condition of Jerusalem and He starts to weep. Palm Sunday! Now Palm Sunday that’s coming up, isn’t it? I don’t think that’s week, that’s next week isn’t it?
Luke 19:41 says, “When He approached Jerusalem, He” that’s Jesus, “saw the city and wept over it,” because of its wayward condition. And this is part of the ministry of the two witnesses that we’ve studied in the Book of Revelation. The reason they’re clothed in sackcloth is because Jerusalem has become, Revelation 11:8, like Sodom and Egypt. [Revelation 11:8, “And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.”]
So what happened forty years after Jesus made this statement? Well, you know the events of A.D. 70, Rome came in and basically pushed the Jews out of Jerusalem, out of the land of Israel except for that rebel group in Masada, that three years later (roughly) engaged in that mass suicide and Jerusalem was destroyed by General Titus of Rome. The temple was destroyed, it was taken apart brick by brick. And so the nation of Israel has gone into what we call the diaspora, the worldwide dispersion, and they’ve been in dispersion for two thousand years and only in recent times have they begun to come back into their land, beginning in 1948. And even in 1948 the nation of Israel really didn’t have control over the city of Jerusalem. In fact, they didn’t even have control over that yellow area there that we as Christians call Judea and Samaria. The world system refers to that area as the West Bank.
Now think about this for a minute. Is that yellow area on the west side of the nation of Israel or the east side? It looks to me like it’s on the East side. So when you use the expression West Bank that the world system constantly uses you’re describing something politically from the Jordanian point of view. Do you see that? Words mean things. So there’s some words I don’t think we should use. I don’t think we should ever refer to that area as the West Bank, that’s a non-Israeli perspective; in fact, that’s probably better referred to as the East Bank. And beyond that your Bible never uses the expression West Bank, it uses the expression Judea and Samaria.
And while I’m on words we shouldn’t use I think we ought to just throw the word, take the word Palestine and throw it right into the garbage can where it belongs because the word Palestine is not found in the Bible either. Palestine is a term created by Emperor Hadrian of Rome following A.D. 70; in the second century he came up with this term because he basically was doing what the Muslims want to do to that area, they want to de-Judaize the land and they want to pretend like the Jews were never in that land. So that’s what Hadrian wanted to do and he basically called that area Palestine and he named it after one of their ancient enemies, the Philistines.
So the Bible never uses the phrase West Bank. It does use the phrase Judea and Samaria, that’s the proper designation for it. And the Bible never uses the word Palestine and you say well if I’m not going to call that land Palestine what do you think I should call it? You call it exactly what our Lord called it. Over in Matthew 2:21, I’m not sure if this is the words of Christ or the words of Matthew, probably better said the words of Matthew, it says, “So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.” That’s what you call that land, you call it the land of Israel.
There’s all sorts of propaganda that goes on when you visit this part of the world. Bethlehem is under Palestinian control today because of the Oslo agreements back in the 1990’s and as you walk out of Bethlehem, my wife and I saw it, and this time we didn’t see it because I think we went out a different way and we should have taken a picture of it, but there’s a sign that everybody has to see when you walk out, and it says: Welcome to the land where Jesus was born, Palestine. Jesus was the first Palestinian and we were the very first people here to greet Him.
Well, what do you call that? You call that political propaganda; if you say something lone enough people will eventually believe it. And you know how in Google you put something into your search engine and it’s not quite right, it says if you Google this did you mean this, you know how it does that on Google? You put in your search item and it says well really what you’re probably looking for is this, that appears down on the screen a little bit. Well, there’s a whole T-shirt that’s made and it reads this way: “Google Israel, what you really meant to say is Palestine.” And they sell these T-shirts. And what is that? That’s basically political propaganda.
So the nation of Israel is in their land in 1948, they don’t have control over Judea and Samaria yet, they don’t even have control over Jerusalem yet, and then something happens called the Six Day War. Ever heard of that? Where it was a war that we would call a self-defensive war, a war of non-aggression by Israel started by basically her neighbors. And everybody thought that the nation of Israel was probably going to be eradicated of eliminated at that point. And it goes on for six days, there’s a book on it out called Six Days in June, it’s an older book sort of documenting the miraculous survival of Israel during this time period. And not only does Israel survive, but when the dust clears what does she have control over? Judea and Samaria and also the city of Jerusalem.
And the world community wasn’t very happy about that, let me tell you, because over the next fifty years the world community contested that Jerusalem even belonged to the nation of Israel, when in fact when you read your Bible you learn that Jerusalem has been the uncontested capital of the city of Jerusalem going back three thousand years to whose dynasty? The Davidic dynasty. But the world community doesn’t look at it that way; they look at Jerusalem as really not belonging to Israel. In fact, there’s a Supreme Court case called Zimbo-todsky v Carey as in John Carey, 2015, and here’s the ruling in the case? “Congress” see Congress passed legislation saying well let’s just acknowledge Jerusalem as part of Israel. Well, I think at the time the Obama administration and then later the Bush administration really wasn’t comfortable with that because they thought that would disrupt the peace process. And so they said we’re not going to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel and so this whole issue came to the Supreme Court and our own Supreme Court in one of the worst rulings I can think of besides the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision, ruled this way: Congress may not require the State Department to indicate in passports that Jerusalem is part of Israel.”
So my friend, Randy Price, who I was just with this last week, and I think it was his passport, or his wife’s passport, his daughter’s passport it says “she’s a resident of Jerusalem but not a citizen of Israel, simultaneously.” Born in Jerusalem, and what’s the rest of it? [someone answers, can’t hear] That’s right, it asks what country she was born in and she was born in Jerusalem, when it should have said she was born in Israel, because if you’re born in Jerusalem you’re automatically born in Israel. So that’s our own State Department at work and our own Supreme Court.
Then comes along this guy known for his casino’s and foul mouth, a guy that nobody ever thought would be elected President, including Yours Truly, he gets elected President and he moves the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And I say to myself, I can’t believe this is happening. Isn’t that like God, to take the least qualified person to do something awesome? I mean, you’ve got this foul mouth womanizing… I voted for the President so don’t think I’m maligning him, I’m just saying he’s not exactly a role model for the moral majority. Let’s just put it that way. And he gets in office and he moves the capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and in the process, not our capital, our embassy, excuse me, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and in the process settles a controversy that’s been going on for fifty years, that yes, we as the United States are going to recognize Jerusalem as belonging to Israel. That’s the significance of that embassy move. And then what do all the other countries of the world start doing? Well, with the Big Kahuna is going to do it, if the top dog is going to do it then we’re going to do it too. And so Trump, I believe, whatever you think about him, has been raised up by God I think to do some really neat things.
And I think Donald Trump kind of fits into America’s prophetic destiny in the sense that America is special in the sense that she has typically taken the side of Israel. In fact, you can trace that all the way back to George Washington. You can go to what’s called the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, (and I’ve been there) and that’s a synagogue that George Washington visited when he was our first President and he wrote a letter to them the same day he worshipped with them in their synagogue explaining to them that the Jews are always going to have a home in the United States of America and they’re not going to be persecuted and they’re going to have the right to worship as they want, which has not been something they’ve enjoyed in their history.
Then you have a guy like Harry Truman, 1948, you know what Truman’s nickname was? The Cussing Baptist! And he was among the first, when Israel declared her independence in 1948 that recognized the new State of Israel. Now why did he do that. Well, he was raised as a Baptist and he remembered all this stuff from his Sunday School about Israel and the significance of Israel and what the Bible says about Israel.
And then later on, around 1973 you’ve got Tricky Dick, Richard Milhous Nixon, who received a phone call from Golda Meir in the middle of the night in what’s called the Yom Kippur War, 1973, where she says we need help, we’re being beaten here as Israel was involved in another war or self-defense in 1973. And she had originally placed the call to Henry Kissinger and Henry Kissinger in the midst of the administration his response was well “let the Jews bleed for a while.” So Golda Meir just got tired of it, and by the way, she already had her suicide pills ready to go because they thought it was over. She places the call to Nixon.
Nixon picks up the phone in the middle of the night and he remembers a story that his mother told him as a child, you know his mother (you may know this, you may not know this) he comes from a very devout Quaker background, and she would read to him at night and she was reading to him out of the Book of Esther, I think, as the story goes, I haven it documented in my book, The Middle East Meltdown, if you’re interested. And then she stopped sort of in the middle of reading to him and says, “Richard, if you’re ever in a place of influence in your life,” you know the story of the Book of Esther, right, Israel’s survival, Purim against Haman and all that kind of stuff, she says “if you’re ever in a position of authority in your life I want you to use that authority to help the nation of Israel.” So when he picks up the phone and receives this call from Golda Meir that’s the story that comes to his mind. AND he says to Golda Meir for the first time I realized why I’ve become President of the United States.
Now I think that was the sovereignty of God that put him in that position when you study Richard Nixon’s political career because nobody thought…first of all he lost the Presidency to who? It was Kennedy, wasn’t it, 1960, then he ran for Governor of California and lost, then he made his famous statement, you know, you’re not going to have Nixon to kick around anymore. And then all of a sudden he runs again and miraculously becomes President of the United States. And this was, I think a bit prior to… maybe simultaneously, I may have my dates not exactly right, Watergate and things going on, but when you look at all the politics of it you start to see what it means in Daniel 2 where it says God sets one man in authority and puts down another.
I don’t know what you believe or how you interpret these events, I believe God put Nixon in that position to help Golda Meir in the midst of the Yom Kippur War and that’s why he sent armaments and things to help and that kind of turned the tide. And Golda Meir said Richard Nixon will always be my President. And if you go to Israel today Richard Nixon is thought of very highly amongst the Jewish people, even though in America everybody focuses on some of his moral failings and you know, the Oliver Stone movie kind of portrayed Nixon as an anti-Semitic. How could he be anti-Semitic when he did this magnanimous thing to help Israel in her time of need.
You’ve got George Washington, you’ve got Harry Truman, you’ve “Tricky Dick” Richard Millhouse Nixon, then you’ve got the foul-mouthed Casino owner, who does this thing and he moves… all these other Presidents, whether it’s Obama, Bush, whatever, they all promise that they’d move the embassy, none of them did it! Clinton promised it and he didn’t do it, and all of a sudden Donald Trump actually does it. And in the process he recognizes that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.
Now here’s something else that’s interesting, I don’t know how far I want to go out on a ledge with some of this stuff. How many years is it between 1967 when Israel got Jerusalem back but it wasn’t recognized, 1967 and then when Donald Trump did this in 2017. Can anybody do the math on that? What’s 1967 subtracted from 2017? Isn’t that fifty years? Now isn’t there a little something in our Bible about the year of Jubilee, on the fiftieth year debts are erased, and Clinton promised to move the embassy, he didn’t! Obama promised to move the embassy, he didn’t! Bush promised to move the embassy, he didn’t! Why not? Maybe because that fifty year cycle hadn’t expired yet. Trump does it on the 50th year. Anyway, I just submit that for your consideration.
So what is going to happen in the end time, Zechariah 12:3, Zechariah 14:2, predicts that the nations will surround the city of Jerusalem and come against it. [Zechariah 12:3, “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.” Zechariah 14:2, “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.”]
That’s not hard to imagine when you look at the mindset of the world community towards the city of Jerusalem. And we know it’s going to end on a good note because Jesus, Yeshua, is going to return and protect the Jewish people and He is going to set up His capital city of the thousand year kingdom in the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2-3, Zechariah 14:16-18
[Isaiah 2:2-3, “Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.  “And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Zechariah 14:16-18, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
Revelation 20:9 refers to the capital city of the millennial kingdom as the beloved city, that’s got to be Jerusalem because Jerusalem is the city God loves and has chosen. [Revelation 20:9, “And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”
Psalm 78:68, “But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.”
Psalm 87:2, “The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.”]
So all of that was supposed to be background for some of the things I was going to show you in the city of Jerusalem. So next week we’ll be looking at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, a new excavation called the southern steps in the temple area in Jerusalem and then also we’ll be looking at the western wall. But I didn’t want to just throw the word Jerusalem at you without giving you this background. So this morning we’ve looked at, I guess three things, Qumran, En-gedi and then just some general comments about the city of Jerusalem. So we’ll pick this up next time. Shall we pray.
Father, we’re grateful for Your Word, we’re grateful for Your hand in history, grateful for Your faithfulness to this ancient city, its past, its present and its future. We’re grateful for the great plans You’ve had for us, grateful for America and the roll that You’ve allowed her to play to the out-working of Your purposes. Be with us as we continue to study these important things. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory, we ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said, Amen. Happy intermission.