It was in the news that Vatican has tacitly recognized the State of Palestine. Israelwas surprised but the students of prophecy were not. World leaders are coming to a consensus to force the division of Jerusalem as a panacea for peace.
Prophet Joel prophesied about it when he said, “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” Joel 3:2.
Prophet Micah saw it coming when he said, “In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields.” (Micah 2:4).
John the Beloved, in the Island of Patmos, saw a vision where Jerusalem was divided. He wrote, “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’” (Rev.11:1-3).
Let us consider these prophecies more closely.
God said He would enter into judgment with the nations for two major reasons, that is,
(a) Dispersion and invasion of Israel;
(b) Division of the land of Israel and particularly, Jerusalem.
The portions of land in contention.
The time of the fulfillment of this prophecy would be when God would judge the nations “… in the valley of Jehoshaphat.” This judgment was also mentioned in Joel 3:12-15, “’Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the LORD, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come; tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.’ Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the LORD will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The LORD’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel.”
This is obviously referring to the judgments God would plague the earth with in the Great Tribulation. That is when the sun and the moon would become dark and the stars would not shine. So this prophecy has not been fulfilled.
The phrase, “Valley of Jehoshaphat” is significant. Literally it means, “Open valley of God’s judgment.” Some Bible scholars have tried to give this a physical location in Israel, but it is more than a physical location. Read 2 Chron.20. In the wilderness of Tekoa God fought for the Children of Israel. Edom had assembled a confederation of regional armies and came against Israel. Jehoshaphat gathered the people of Judah and they prayed. Jehoshaphat said, “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” (2Chron.20:10-12).
It was a battle against extinction! Israel was powerless, defenseless and faced the risk of total annihilation. They cried unto God and He answered. The invading armies were vanquished without a fight. When God therefore, speaks about the valley of Jehoshaphat, He is speaking of that battle that He will fight for Israel. It is a battle with the threat of extinction, but Israel would conquer although not by her own might. If you would like to study this subject further, you can read our article on the subject, “The Prophecies of Ezekiel – Focusing on Russia.”
Micah saw the days when the land of Israel would be subjected to foreign authority and rulership. “In that day your enemies will make fun of you by singing this song of despair about you: ‘We are finished, completely ruined! God has confiscated our land, taking it from us. He has given our fields to those who betrayed us.’ Others will set your boundaries then, and the LORD’s people will have no say in how the land is divided.” (Micah 2:4-5).
Although this prophecy has its primary application in the captivity of Judah and Samaria, still there is a prophetic application to the present time when the land of Israel is subject to the decisions of the international community. The land of Israel was demarcated by the United Nations; Israel was not consulted. So, this prophecy has both past and future significance. The final fulfillment would be at end time when the UNO, spearheaded by “the Man of Peace” would take decisions about Jerusalem. That decision would be to make Jerusalem an international city, shared between Israel and Arabs.
Some scholars believe that the temple mentioned was a heavenly temple. But, looking at the verses closely we can see that the events of Rev.11:1-14 were happening on earth. Let us check it out.
Verses 1-2: “Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, ‘Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months.’”
In this temple there is a separation between the worshippers and the citizens of other nations. This was the separation that Jesus Christ abolished by His death. “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” (Eph.2:14-16). So, after the death of Jesus Christ the heavenly temple, if any, would not show a discrimination of the Gentile believers.
The KJV (King James Version) renders it this way, … But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not… That means, this outer courtyard is outside the temple, separated from the temple. The Amplified Version renders it this way, “But leave out of your measuring the court outside the sanctuary of God; omit that, for it is given over to the Gentiles (the nations), and they will trample the holy city underfoot for 42 months (three and one-half years).”
In the history of the temples, there was never a time when a particular section of any of the temples was “given to the Gentiles.” The Ezekiel’s Temple which is yet to be built mentioned the outer courtyard but never indicated that it would be “given to the Gentiles.” (Ezek.42:13-14).
The expression, “given over to the Gentiles…” literally means, to grant, give to one asking, let have. This speaks of an agreement which would confer upon the Gentiles entitlement to some part of Jerusalem, especially the area close to the Temple. The outer courtyard mentioned in Rev.11 is most likely the vast expanse of land outside the temple.
The vision shows that the Jews would rebuild their temple in Jerusalem and then the area outside the Temple would be left for the Gentiles. That is to say, a part of Jerusalem would be conceded to the Gentiles, most likely the Muslims. Jewish worship and Islamic worship would be happening side by side.
This event happens on earth, in Israel. The 42 months (3-1/2 years) mentioned is a part of the last 7 years on earth. It is a period when the Antichrist is reigning on earth. It is evident therefore, that this vision was talking about the Great Tribulation temple, where the Antichrist would enter to proclaim himself God. It is a period when the Gentiles have control over Jerusalem and could divide the land without the consent of Israel.
Verse 3-4 informs us that, after the 42 months the 2 witnesses would be killed and their bodies would lie on the earth for 3 days.
The above prophecies suggest that Jerusalem would be declared an international city where the Jews would not have absolute control. Jerusalem would be divided between the Jews and the Arabs.
It is clear therefore, that the current position of Vatican on the State of Palestine is in line with prophecy.
It is probably not a coincidence that Vatican is interested in Jerusalem. Raphael Poch, in his article which was published on www.breakingisraelnews.com, reported, “… the agreement discussed the Vatican’s interests in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, as well as the status of churches, church courts, the taxation of church charities, institutions, lands, and a variety of other cultural and diplomatic issues.”
Vatican is not just interested in Jerusalem, but also seeking for autonomous centres in Palestine. “According to a spokesperson for the Vatican, the agreement ‘deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine’ … For over 16 years Israel and the Vatican have been engaged in ongoing discussions, without conclusions, regarding the status of the Catholic Church in Israel, the issue of sovereignty over 21 sites in the country, as well as a variety of taxation issues.”
While Israel may not agree to give Vatican autonomous centres in Israel, the State of Palestine will. Daniel prophesied and said, “He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.” (Dan.11:45). Whether it would have to do with relocating headquarters or having autonomous centers, Daniel saw that the Antichrist planted his presence in Jerusalem. Bible commentators agree that the phrase, “beautiful Holy Mountain” refers to Jerusalem. So, when Vatican begins to discuss their interests in Jerusalem prophetic watchers would stand at alert.
Canada is probably the only country in the world that has stood out publicly for Israel in recent times. Thanks to the Government of Prime Minister Harper. But the question is; for how long would Canada stick? Supporting Israel would attract international persecutions, economic aggression and targeted terrorist attacks, to name a few. Would the Canadian population stand with the Prime Minister, or will there be internal rejection of such position, which might likely lead to a change of guard in Canada? Obviously, standing with Israel in these times comes with heavy penalties. Eventually, all nations would turn their back against Israel. The deliverance of Israel from Russian and her allied armies would be an act of God. It would trigger a national repentance in Israel. And for Israel, it is not a party time for now. Landmark change is in store for Israel that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. Check out our article titled, “Israel Beware – Judas Type Leadership on the Horizon.”
It cannot be emphasized enough that the return of Jesus Christ is closer than we think. The admonition of Apostle Paul is so appropriate for this time. He wrote to the Corinthians and said, “But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.” (1Cor.7:29-31).
Let this consciousness dawn on everybody that this present world as we know it is passing away. It would be tragic if someone had lived only for the life that exists now only to have his dreams cut short suddenly, without prior preparations. “Be ye also ready.”
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father..." (John 14:12).