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    And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for
    all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces,
    though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

    Zechariah 12:3

The most explosive, fought-over, disputed piece of real estate in the
world is about to get even hotter.

Israel’s top rabbis tabled discussion recently of a proposal to build
a synagogue on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The hill where two holy Jewish temples once stood is now the site of
the Dome of the Rock shrine and the Al Aqsa Mosque, said by Muslims to
be the third holiest place in Islam.

Ikrema Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, warned that building a
synagogue on the hill would set off major chaos in the region and start
a war “that only God knows where it would lead.”

If Jerusalem is a burdensome stone for the whole world, as the
prophet Zechariah wrote, then the Temple Mount is the most likely place
where the stones start getting thrown.

The Jews argue with one another over whether they should be permitted
to enter the Temple Mount without fearing stumbling into the “holy of
holies” without proper ritual purity. The Arabs are unequivocal that the
Jews should not be permitted, claiming this as their turf inside the
Jews’ own holiest site.

Last week thousands of Jews gathered at the Western Wall, the last
remaining part of the Second Temple compound, destroyed by the Romans in
70 AD. The First Temple, King Solomon’s, was destroyed in 586 BC. Jewish
tradition has it that the structures both fell, more than 600 years
apart, on the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av.

Jews chanted from the Book of Lamentations. A group called Women in
Green, which opposes any concessions to the Arabs, led a march around
the walls of the Old City. Clashes broke out between Jews and Muslims
near the Temple Mount.

No wonder Bill Clinton had so much trouble establishing the framework
for a Middle East peace treaty at Camp David recently. He’s lucky,
according to Zechariah, that he didn’t get torn to pieces for this
involvement. The stumbling block to peace in the Middle East has been,
is and will remain the fate of Jerusalem. The Jews will never give it up
without a fight — and neither will the Arabs. Common sense tells us
that — as does the Bible.

But that doesn’t stop the politicians from trying.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak warned Saturday that a compromise
over Jerusalem would lead to uncontrollable violence in the Middle East
and said no Arab or Muslim can relinquish rights to east Jerusalem and
its holy sites.

“Any compromise over Jerusalem will cause the region to explode in a
way that cannot be put under control and terrorism will rise again,”
Mubarak said. “No single person in the Arab or Islamic world can
squander east Jerusalem or Al Aqsa mosque. In this context, even
(Yasser) Arafat himself will not dare to sign a deal to give up these
Muslim sanctities.”

But there is danger in no compromise, too.

Palestinians have announced plans to declare an independent state
Sept. 13, with east Jerusalem as the capital. Even the most conciliatory
Jews in Israel agree that Jerusalem must remain the state’s “eternal”
capital.

Things are going to get worse in the Middle East — a lot worse –
before they get better. According to Zechariah, again, Jerusalem will be
divided.

“A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among
you,” it says in Zechariah 14:1,2. “I will gather all the nations to
Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses
ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but
the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.”

Interesting, given the division of the city is one of the “solutions”
being proposed by world leaders.

And then what?

“Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he
fights in the day of battle,” Zechariah continues. “On that day his feet
will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of
Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley,
with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will
flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as
you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then
the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day
there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day,
without daytime or nighttime — a day known to the LORD. When evening
comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from
Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in
summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On
that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.”

Fantasy? Fairy tale? Or could it be that this Bible, containing so
much wisdom, so much truth and so much fulfilled prophecy, is giving us
a clear picture of our immediate future?

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