It was on this day, in 1099, that European Crusaders captured the city of Jerusalem from the Muslim Turks in a very bloody battle. History records that tens of thousands of Muslims, Jews and some Christians were slaughtered by the Crusaders. Records indicate that, as these armies made their way through the city streets, in some cases they literally waded through blood. One account describes how hundreds of Jews were locked inside a synagogue which was set on fire – all in the name of Christ.
Suffice it to say, the city of Jerusalem is stained with the blood of countless numbers of people throughout the centuries and, unfortunately, the Bible tells us that the bloodletting is not over just yet. The Prophet Zechariah wrote:
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
The prophet Joel said:
“Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow—for their wickedness is great.” (Joel 3:12-13)
And in the book of Revelation it says:
“So, the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.” (Revelation 14:19-20)
All of this is to say that, before the Lord returns, Jerusalem will witness more war and more bloodshed. And why Jerusalem? The Bible tells us that Jerusalem is where the Lord has set His name. Jerusalem is where He told Israel to build His house and that is where His presence kissed the earth to dwell among His people. And because He set His name there, the Adversary desires to imprint his name and influence in an effort to undermine the purposes of the Almighty. He wants to be worshipped as God in the place where people have, for millennia, come to worship the God of Israel.
In spite of his best efforts, in the end, the Adversary will fail. Because, before all is said and done, the Lord Himself will come and defend Jerusalem and its inhabitants. At that time, it will be said:
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is in her palaces; He is known as her refuge.” (Psalm 48:1-3)
There is fast approaching a day when the Messiah will sit upon His throne and judge in righteousness and justice. In that day, the Torah will go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Understanding that His return is drawing nearer should bring us all to this realization: we need to be working very hard to draw closer to Him. The relationship that we’ve had with Him up until this point may not be adequate to sustain us in the days that are coming. Therefore, we need to expunge all things that are not pleasing to Him from our life. In that day, we will all stand before Him and give an account, and so, to be found blameless we must depend upon His mercy and forgiveness. At the same time, we must lay aside the sin that so easily besets us.
Let our prayer, today, be that the Father will continue to be merciful to us, and that He would expose to us those things that we must overcome in order to be more like Him. Let us continue to walk upright before Him so that we will not be found wanting in that day when the King of Kings reigns from Jerusalem.