by David A. Reed COMPLETE BOOK ONLINE
Blue Helmets and Bible Prophecy
The Bible speaks of a future time when Jerusalem would become a problem burdening the whole world, and when all the nations of the earth would be united in sending armed forces to Jerusalem to impose a solution. Could today's events be moving in that direction?
The answer should be of the greatest significance for all of us, because the prophecy goes on to say that Almighty God responds by sending his heavenly armies to crush the governments of the nations and to replace their rule with the Kingdom of God.
"Jerusalem will be a heavy stone burdening the world," the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah foretold in the book of the Bible bearing his name. What does the world do about this burdensome problem? "All the nations of the earth unite in an attempt" to impose their solution for Jerusalem; that is the answer God inspired his prophetic penman to write. (Zechariah 12:3 The Living Bible Catholic edition)
Are today's events moving in that direction? Are United Nations peacekeeping forces in blue helmets about to take up positions in Jerusalem?
During the final years of the administration of American President Bill Clinton, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process had made considerable progress toward ending the violence in and around Jerusalem. Just about all the details had been worked out and agreed to by both parties, and a Palestinian state seemed to be only months away. But, then the negotiations broke down over the status of Jerusalem, and violence resumed on a level worse than before. Moreover, that violence spread abroad, as Muslim extremists expressed their rage against Jewish and American interests worldwide, citing the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, as a prime reason for their actions.
Could you imagine Israel and the Palestinians finally reaching a peace accord under the auspices of the United Nations, with U.N. peacekeepers stationed on the scene to enforce the terms of the agreement? Many nations today are pushing for this very thing to happen.
Could you imagine violence increasing after such an arrangement is in place, so that reinforcements are sent in to augment the U.N. presence? Could you imagine those multi-national peacekeepers coming into conflict with Israeli forces at Jerusalem?
Would this fit the biblical scenario? Would God respond by unleashing Armageddon?
The question becomes more pressing, as the words of Jesus of Nazareth are added to the mix. "…when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies…when you see the events taking place…the Kingdom of God is near." (Luke 21:20, 30 The Living Bible Catholic edition)
So, it is not just an ancient Hebrew writer who spoke prophetically of armies moving against Jerusalem in the context of end times prophecies. Such predictions are not found exclusively in the Scriptures of the Jews. The Christian Messiah used similar words in a similar context.
But, how realistic is it to think of the nations uniting to deal with the problem of the status of Jerusalem, and to impose an international solution by military force? Although most people may not be generally aware of it, events have been moving in that direction for decades.
Back in 1947, when the future birth of the state of Israel was a topic for discussion and planning, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed its Resolution 181, which was voted on and approved on November 29 of that year. Section C of Part II of that Resolution was titled "The City of Jerusalem" and, in effect, claimed the authority of the United Nations to determine and establish "the boundaries of the City of Jerusalem." General Assembly Resolution 181, Part III, Section A went on to state that the city must not be part of the state of Israel, nor part of any Arab state. Rather, it must be an "international" city administered by the United Nations.
Representing the nations of the whole world, the General Assembly declared: "The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council shall be designated to discharge the responsibilities of the Administering Authority on behalf of the United Nations."
More recently, the "Quartet" composed of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations drew up a "roadmap for peace" toward the end of the year 2002 and presented it formally to the government of Israel and to the Palestinian Authority in May, 2003. That roadmap envisions, in its final phase of implementation, an international conference to achieve "resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians and Muslims worldwide."
Later chapters of this book will look more closely at this and subsequent resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem passed by both the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations, and at the Quartet's roadmap for peace. But this much is mentioned here to prove that "all the nations of the earth" have already started to "unite in an attempt" to impose their solution for the problem posed by Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:3 The Living Bible Catholic edition)
Besides simply drawing up resolutions on Jerusalem and voting to make them official, the international community seems to be moving in the direction of enforcing those resolutions. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post Internet Edition, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, "the West has been guilty of double standards -- on the one hand saying the UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq must be implemented, on the other hand, sometimes appearing rather quixotic over the implementation of resolutions about Israel and Palestine." (From the article titled, "Foreign Ministry slams British PM's linkage of Iraq, Intifada," by Douglas Davis, March 26, 2003)
The same article quoted British Prime Minister Tony Blair as saying that the American President George W. Bush "believes, like me, that this is a vital interest to resolve because it is probably the issue, more than anything else, that keeps the Arab and Muslim worlds and the Western world apart." Prime Minister Blair spoke those words less than a week after the British armed forces had entered active combat, alongside American forces, with the stated goal of enforcing Security Council resolutions on Iraq.
So, linking "the implementation of resolutions about Israel and Palestine" to the military enforcement of resolutions about Iraq carries ominous implications, and, not surprisingly, the British statements drew strong criticism from the Israeli government.
Farther along in his prophetic writings, Zechariah foretells that the command will go forth to "gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle… Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations." (Zechariah 14:2-3 KJV) And the Christian New Testament features similar prophetic language, this time locating the actual battlefield at the plain of Megiddo, or Armageddon, the site of a massive defeat of Egyptian armies thousands of years earlier. The Apostle John referred to it this way in his inspired Apocalypse: "the spirits of devils…go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth… And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." (Revelation 16:14-16 KJV)
Television news coverage in recent years has made all of us familiar with the sight of white-painted vehicles marked "UN" manned by peacekeeping forces in blue helmets. But the Apocalyptic vision of the Apostle John's Revelation uses less familiar language when describing in greater detail the forces God will use when he intervenes militarily. We speak of armies in terms of armored cavalry, tanks and heavy weaponry; God used the language of the day, borrowing terms from the cavalry John was familiar with:
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army." (Revelation 19:11-19 KJV)
Is the world really moving toward such a head-on conflict with God? Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in the year 2000, with neither side willing to yield on the status of Jerusalem. The violence and terror that followed hit Israel first, but then spread worldwide. Now, fear of terrorism grips the world. Much of the world also lives in fear of the American military response that has already been demonstrated first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. World public opinion rages against these American actions and against the Israeli military moves in Gaza and the West Bank. As tensions rise between Muslim nations and the West, many point to the violence in and around Jerusalem as the root cause.
While radical Islamic leaders enlist followers to 'march on Jerusalem,' other diplomats seek to place Jerusalem under international control, policed by United Nations peacekeeping forces. The government of Israel has been following such talk, of course, and has long been resolved to hold onto Jerusalem at all costs.
The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition carried a story by Gil Hoffman on November 7, 2001, reporting, “The diplomatic plan that Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is formulating with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is intended to prevent the international community from imposing its own plans on Israel, Sharon explained yesterday.” That same report added these details: “Explaining the urgency of the Sharon-Peres diplomatic initiative, the Foreign Minister referred to plans circulating out of the United States, European Union, and United Nations and said that Israel cannot let its actions be driven by the agendas of other bodies with vested interests.” (The Jerusalem Post's internet edition can be found online at www.jpost.com.)
So, Israeli politicians see the possibility of 'the international community imposing' a solution, and they are determined to resist. That is the formula for conflict.
Although foreign armies have surrounded Jerusalem in the past -- even international armies during the crusades -- the problem has always been of a more limited scope. Never before has Jerusalem been a problem for "the world," and never before has there been a fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy that "all the nations of the earth" would unite to impose their solution. (Zech. 12:3 The Living Bible Catholic Edition) Now, today, we see such a problem in place, and we see moves afoot in the world community to impose such a solution. Are we about to see the events Jesus pointed forward to as part of a 'sign' to watch for in the end times?
Jesus said, "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies…Men will faint from terror…When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near…it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth." (Luke 21:20, 26, 28, 35 NIV) Everyone living today has reason to be concerned and to investigate the significance of these events.