The Middle East, the War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East – Program 3

By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2002
What makes Jerusalem a center of so much controversy and violence? Can we expect to see an end to the fight over Jerusalem?


Why is Jerusalem so Important Politically?


Today, Dr. John Ankerberg examines The War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East. John’s guest is news correspondent Jimmy DeYoung, who lives in Israel. Today, he reports on what has been taking place in the last two months. Will a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs last? Will Yasser Arafat and other Arab leaders be willing to publicly denounce those involved in terrorist activities? Will Israel be willing to stop settlement activity in occupied territories, and be willing to give up land for peace? Who will govern the city of Jerusalem in the future, and what will happen in the Middle East if the peace plan fails? We invite you to join us for this special report.

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. Today my guest is Middle East journalist Jimmy DeYoung, who has resided in Jerusalem since 1991. He started covering events in Jerusalem just three days prior to the Gulf Crisis where he was just in time to experience 39 SCUD attacks. He also happens to be a Christian and a biblical scholar who holds a Ph.D. I’ve asked him to come and give us a personal perspective on what’s been taking place in Israel and the Middle East, and then to relate those events to the overall picture of biblical prophecy.
Jimmy, I’m glad you’re here, and I want to talk about Jerusalem. Four questions: 1.) Why is Jerusalem such an important place in the world politically? 2.) Why is it at the center of future prophetic events in the Bible? 3.) Why does the Bible say the last great war will be fought over Jerusalem? 4.) Do you think events are headed that way? Start us off.
DeYoung: Jerusalem is the center of the earth. Ezekiel 5:5. It is the capital of a land bridge between three continents; we’re talking about Africa, Asia, and Europe. It has always been, throughout history, a major location that all the leaders of the world wanted to have some type of relationship with. I mean, you could go back to what happened when Nebuchadnezzar came from Egypt going back from Babylon. He passed through Jerusalem. He saw a temple. He saw them worshiping a God he did not recognize. Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire; he visited Jerusalem. It was very key in his thinking as it relates to controlling that whole region of the world and at that time, then the whole population of the world.
Now, there were other leaders throughout history. The Brits were there; the Turks, for example, controlled for 500 years the area of Jerusalem, and then when they were defeated by the Brits back in 1917, General Allenby, who took the surrender from the Turkish Empire, then gave control of Jerusalem to the British Empire and they kept it, of course, until 1948, when the United Nations gave Israel the right to once again establish a nation there and have Jerusalem as its capital.
But politically, all of these nations, all of these world empires, all of these world leaders, have had a relationship with Jerusalem. Of course, starting in the seventh century, Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic faith, wanted to have a relationship with Jerusalem. It is now the third most holy site in the Islamic faith. Now, that didn’t happen until about 200 years ago, and politically, it moved into the third most sacred spot in all the world: Mecca, Medina in Saudi Arabia, the most sacred spots for the Islamic faith; then they included Jerusalem because of the Jewish presence there and thus it becomes very, very political key to all that’s going to happen, especially in the last days.
Ankerberg: Yes. Talk to us about why the Bible, or where the Bible talks about Jerusalem as being the center point in the last days. It talks about it being a stone of trembling. It talks about nations approaching it in a drunken fashion. Tell us what that means.
DeYoung: That’s found in Zechariah, and in fact, the entire book of Zechariah, the fourteen chapters, uses the word Jerusalem 52 times. It does talk about Jerusalem in chapter 12, verse 2, becoming “a cup of trembling.” In Proverbs it says that when the juice of the vine is in the cup and it starts to move, it’s intoxicating. Don’t touch it. Well, I think what it’s referring to is that in the last days, Jerusalem becomes a cup of trembling to those who try to control it.
Let me give a perfect example. In 1994, right after the peace treaty signing between Jordan and Israel, I was covering that peace treaty signing, and then President Clinton’s visit to the city of Jerusalem. He was in a news conference there at the King David Hotel and he made the statement, I heard the statement when he said, “I would like to go into the Old City. I’ve never been there. I’d like to go on the Temple Mount.” Mayor Ehud Olmert, who is the mayor of Jerusalem, said, “Mr. President, I would be honored to be your personal guide.” When he said that, Yasser Arafat went livid! And there are seven gates going to the Temple Mount. He put armed guards behind every one of those gates, locked those gates, and he made this statement. He said, “Nobody comes onto this Temple Mount unless I give permission!” Here, this backwater terrorist threatens the most powerful man from the most powerful nation in all of the world and says he can’t come on the Temple Mount. In fact, he shut down the visit of President Clinton to the Temple Mount.
So, they’ll become intoxicated with power. You know, the first temple stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for 400 years. The second temple stood there for about 600 years. A total of 1,000 years. That Dome of the Rock, that gold-domed building which is not a mosque, it’s a commemorative building, but it has stood on the spot where those first and second temples stood for 1,300 and some years, longer than both of the temples standing there in Jerusalem. Thus, they have become intoxicated with power.
The Bible also, in Zechariah 1, God says, “I am jealous for Jerusalem.” That word, if you really look at the nuances from the Hebrew, “aggressively possessive” for Jerusalem. He said, “I have chosen it.” “I am going to rest,” Psalm 132, “I am going to rest among my people forever in Jerusalem.”
And the Bible tells us in Zechariah 6:12 that Jesus, the Messiah, will come and build a temple in Jerusalem to rule and reign from. And so all of these things are factored in.
There’s an interesting ancient orthodox Jewish tradition that the Temple Mount is the foundation stone. I had a rabbi tell me that one day. I said, “What are you talking about?”
He said, “Where man receives his redemption.” Now, the orthodox Jew—don’t misunderstand what I’m saying—what the orthodox Jew says is “at the altar, at the temple” is where he gets his redemption. Where a man receives his redemption is the location of his creation. Jerusalem, the center of the earth. Key to God’s plans for the future; thus, the political significance of it in the last days.
Ankerberg: Yes. Talk about how the Palestinian Arabs see Jerusalem, what they’re saying about the city of Jerusalem, and what the Israeli government is saying about the city of Jerusalem.
DeYoung: Palestinians want to have Jerusalem as the capital of their Palestinian state. Now, they say they had a state; they have a right to renew that state, and they want Jerusalem as the capital of that Palestinian state. David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, said, “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
Back in 1996, I was approached by a committee who said, “We have an idea for a celebration this year.”
I said, “What’s it going to be called?”
“Jerusalem: The Third Millennium.”
I said, “Well, what’s the whole thrust?” They had called me in to do some advising for them. I said, “What’s the thrust of the celebration?”
They said, “We’re going to celebrate King David [this was in ‘96] naming Jerusalem the capital, the political capital of the Jewish people.” That’s 2 Samuel 5. Chapter 6, when he brings the Ark of the Covenant from Kirjath-jearim, about 15 miles towards Tel Aviv on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, into Jerusalem, that became the spiritual capital of the Jewish people as well, and so they were going to have a celebration. And so I said, “Well, I don’t like this ‘Jerusalem: The Third Millennium.’ How about ‘Jerusalem 3000’?” They took that title and that’s what they did. They celebrated that the Jews have been there for 3000 years. It has been their political capital, their spiritual capital.
Ben-Gurion said, “There will always be an eternal capital for the Jewish people in Jerusalem.” And all the prime ministers since then have agreed, once, of course, it was reunited 35 years ago, back in 1967. Not too long ago we just celebrated that 35th anniversary. That’s a wonderful story. If you want me to relate that, I can tell you about some of the conversations.
Ankerberg: Sure.
DeYoung: Well, Uzi Narkiss, for example. He was the commanding officer that had bivouacked for about three weeks on the Mount of Olives. Interesting, the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force was a man named Yitzhak Rabin, and they made a decision to take the city of Jerusalem, the Old City. After bivouacking for these three weeks, they broke out of the top of the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, up to the Lion Gate. Inside the Lion Gate they made a left turn. They went rushing up onto the Temple Mount. For the first time in 2,000 years, they were back to the most sacred spot in all of creation for them! Now, if you pick up a dictionary and you look for the definition of a mean, tough military man, you see a picture of an Israeli Defense Force paratrooper. Those were the guys that stormed that Temple Mount, and crying like babies as they came to this spot and realized they were home again.
A couple of days later, a friend of mine, his name is Gershon Salomon, went up there. He was one of those paratroopers. He went up. And the official Jordanian guide ushered him around. He said, “I guess you people are here to rebuild the Temple.”
Gershon said, “Well, yes, indeed. That’s what we’re thinking about.” And so this Jordanian, Islamic guide showed him where they believe the Temple stood and all that was up there.
Of course, that was not the time to rebuild the Temple, but nine days later, Yitzhak Rabin, Uzi Narkiss, former president of Israel Moshe Dayan, who was the Minister of Defense at the time, they all decided to give custodial responsibility to the Islamic peoples to that Temple Mount. They thought that would appease the Arab world. And you don’t make concessions to appease the Arab world, you stand strong and true to what you believe, and that is honored by the Islamic world today.
Ankerberg: We’re going to take a break and we’re going to come back. Then I want to ask you this question: Can you see why Jerusalem would be the flashpoint that would start the final war of the world that the Bible talks about? I think I can see a couple reasons but I’d sure like to hear your opinion because you live there. We’ll talk about that when we come right back.

Ankerberg: Alright we’re back, and we’re talking with journalist Jimmy DeYoung, who lives in Israel, actually lives in the city of Jerusalem. Jimmy, in talking about what the Bible says about Jerusalem, it says the final war is going to be fought over Jerusalem. Just from our limited perspective–and then add to that the biblical perspective of the Antichrist coming in and all the things the Bible says are going to happen in the last days.
But from our perspective right now, why could Jerusalem, the city of Jerusalem over the Middle East, be the flashpoint that would bring the world to war?
DeYoung: Jerusalem. Just that phrase, that word, is magic. People want to control the city of Jerusalem. There is talk about internationalizing the city. In fact, I was talking with a rabbi. In fact, he is key in the preparations to build the Temple that will stand on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Nachman Kahane is his name. And he said one day to me, “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we just have the three faiths—the Islamic faith, the Jewish faith, and the Christian faith—form some kind of a commission and administer the Temple Mount, the city of Jerusalem? He, earlier on, made the statement, the Pope, when he was there and I was covering that when the Pope was in Israel and went on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and talked about all the ramifications of that. And they talked about “this is the center of the earth. It’s the key to everything we want to do.”
So, no matter who you are, where you may be involved in the political apparatus of this world, Jerusalem has a magic to it. I don’t know, to me it’s a very beautiful city. It’s kind of a dirty city in some locations. It’s kind of a plain city. I’ve visited Austria and Europe; I’ve visited other parts of the world. You have, too, John, where you see God’s grandeur just simply beautiful. Jerusalem is not that. It’s beautiful because of what God has chosen for it to be in the future. And I think that has generated a motivation or a desire for the peoples of this world, the leadership of this world, to have control of the city of Jerusalem.
It is key politically because it is a land bridge between the three continents, as I’ve mentioned. But other than that, only God’s plan and its ultimate goal is what’s causing this to happen. And I do believe that there is an unseen battle between “good” and “evil” going on. Ephesians 6:12 says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers of darkness [evil] in the heavenlies.” And I believe Satan is dispatching, as we look at Daniel chapter 10, dispatching evil angels to take control of, or at least put heavy influence on, world leaders to have this city that He has chosen to rest among His people forever.
Ankerberg: Well, we keep talking about we’re going to have this peace settlement or this conference coming up somewhere in the summer with the United States, the European Union, Russia, the United Nations, and supposedly coming up with some kind of plan for Israel. The problem is, down the line, from Oslo all the way, all the peace plans that have been mentioned, the discussion about “Jerusalem,” who’s going to control it, is always left for further discussion up ahead. But I haven’t heard anybody—now, I’m asking you because you live there—have you heard anybody come up with a plan that the other side is saying, “Oh, yeah, I’d be willing to let the other guys share a little bit of Jerusalem”?
DeYoung: Not a soul! And you talk about the two main parties, the two players in this whole situation now. The Israelis, I mentioned earlier that they have said, “Never again will Jerusalem be divided.” Then you talk about Yasser Arafat who says, “We’ll take a million martyrs into Jerusalem and we’re not going to be satisfied until our Palestinian flag flies over every mosque, every synagogue, and every church in Jerusalem.” And he’s not talking about just the Old City, he’s talking about the entire city of Jerusalem, the entire 8½ square miles that is such an interesting city.
And so, no matter how much they talk about peace, that was one of the problems. And in fact, the Oslo Accords was basically back in 1993 dead in the water from the outset because it was such a nebulous agreement that they signed. No details at all involved in the situation. No security people had been involved in the discussions to come together. And the concept of, “What are we going to do with Jerusalem?” never entered their mind. That had to be discussed later on. And in fact, even now, Prime Minister Sharon says, “No. We’re not going to talk about Jerusalem.” We’ll put that on the back burner. We’ll deal with Jerusalem down the line when we see if at least we can coexist under some of the other responsibilities that we have: violence being shut down; terrorism being destroyed; weapons being confiscated, etc.
So, Jerusalem is going to be that thorn in the flesh as far as all peacemakers are concerned in the future.
Ankerberg: So we’ve got no consensus on who’s going to govern the city of Jerusalem. So that could be a flashpoint all by itself.
DeYoung: Yes, it could.
Ankerberg: But add to that, inside of Israel you’ve got a Temple Movement that’s going on to rebuild the third Temple. Talk about what’s going on there. Share with the people, because a lot of our folks don’t know how far advanced those plans are, the preparations are, the spirit that’s going on inside of Israel. But then tell us what the problem is.
DeYoung: You know, John, earlier in the ’90’s I did a documentary, 55-minute documentary that CBS Television eventually purchased to use for a prime time special, on the preparations to build the third Temple. I had it finished and I was so proud of it. And I walked into the Prime Minister’s office and I saw the advisor to the Prime Minister on Christian Affairs, and I said, “Hey, Harry! I’ve got this documentary on the rebuilding of the third Temple.”
He said, “So.”
He didn’t even want to talk about it. He’s the advisor to the Prime Minister on Christian Affairs! “Talk to me, Harry, about this.” The Israeli government doesn’t even want to deal with this.
But there is this movement that you’re talking about, a group of people. Do you remember Rabbi Meir Kahane? He was the rabbi that was killed in New York City by the Egyptian who had a connection to the group who eventually flew the planes into the Twin Towers. Kahane came into my office one day when I was vice president of a broadcasting company in New York City. We set across the table from each other. I told him that I was a Christian; this was a Christian station. We did Jewish programming; quite unique in all the world. And he was going to come on the air. And in our course of conversation he said, “You know, I have one driving desire.”
I said, “What’s that, Rabbi?”
He said, “That’s to build the third Temple.”
I said, “Why?”
He said, “Because the day the third Temple is built, Messiah comes!”
I leaned across the table and said, “The second time, Rabbi.”
He was assassinated, but his brother, Nachman Kahane is the guru of the preparations to build a third Temple. This man has written 29 scholarly textbooks on the subject of how you build the Temple. Basically, it started as a home Bible study there in the Jewish quarter in his home. I had coffee with him one day. Or, I don’t drink coffee, I had tea with him one day, actually, in his apartment where he talked about opening up the Torah and talking about what the Bible says should be for the Jewish people, a Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. How he started training the men, 28,000 priests, needed to operate a Temple in Jerusalem. I said one day, “Rabbi, are all these men here?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “What about their clothing?”
“We have all of their garments prepared.”
“What about the implements, the mizraq, they put the blood in for the sacrifice?”
“It’s all prepared.”
Even, you can walk into the Jewish quarter, the Cardo, they have on display there the Menorah made out a hundred pounds of pure gold! It’s the first time they’ve had a Menorah in the city of Jerusalem since 70 A.D. when they destroyed the Temple under the Roman army.
But the harps, they have 4,000 harps or are in the process of making 4,000 harps that will be played when the Temple stands, according to what King David dictated. Everything is prepared. There’s only one little sticky problem. That’s that gold-domed building that’s standing on the spot where the Temple has stood in the past and is supposed to stand in the future.
But the preparation is ready for that Temple to go up, and that’s going to be a flashpoint as well, John. Even among the Jewish leadership today, they don’t want to think about that. There’s a God-consciousness. They believe they’re living in the age of the Messiah, but they don’t want to talk about going up on that Temple Mount and erecting a Temple up there.
Ankerberg: For the person that’s listening in, why does God give us this information about Jerusalem, about Israel, about the nations that are going to come up against Israel? What is God’s plan? What is He doing? Where is history headed and what should the people hold on to? What can they believe in when they look at world events?
DeYoung: You know, you can go to the Word of God and you can go to Zechariah 14 and the Revelation 19. It says that in the last days—and we see this starting to come about—in the last days “all the armies of the world will gather at Jerusalem.” That’ll be the beginning of that “mother of all battles,” as Saddam Hussein called it and you referred to it a moment ago. It’s really a campaign of Armageddon instead of the Battle of Armageddon. It starts in Jerusalem and ultimately will move to the Jezreel Valley.
But as you read this and as you see all the players moving into position on the world stage, as you watch the look and the focus at Jerusalem itself, as you hear the Mufti of Jerusalem say, “There’s no evidence there was ever the presence of the Jews up here!” You understand all of this is coming together to fulfill that last scenario. Then you realize, “Well, the Creator of all of the universe, the Savior of all of the world, wrote this down so that we can see what would be happening just before He comes.” That evidence helps us to be secure in the fact that He’s still in charge.
But also, it gives us the assurance of the other truth in the Word of God where it says, “I sent my Son to give you eternal life. You see, I know how history is going to unfold. I pre-wrote history. But I’ve also give you your Savior, Jesus Christ. Admit you’re a sinner. Believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of my Son, accept Him, I’ll give you eternal life. But you better do it quick because My plans are moving really right on time and it could be at any moment.”
Ankerberg: Alright. Next week we’re going to get to a topic that many of you want us to get to and that is, the peace plans that are on the table. All kinds of different peace plans. We’re supposed to have a great big summit on peace. And I want to ask you, what’s going on behind the scenes? Where is this going? You’ve also witnessed many of the peace plans that have taken place in Israel with Jordan, with other countries around it. A lot of those have failed. I want you to tell us your impressions of what happened. Why did they fail? Where are we going? Will peace actually lead to war? We’ll talk about that next week. I hope you’ll join us.

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