The Capture of Jerusalem
There are many accounts in prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. Many, built on the pre-Christian catastrophe administered to the Jewish nation by Nebuchaddnezzar, apply in prophecy to the Roman overthrow of the city just after the crucifixion of Jesus and the subsequent exile of its people into what has turned out to be a 2000-year foreign captivity.
There is some difficulty in separating the first-century elements of Jerusalem's siezure from those which pertain to the assaults against this city by the Beast of the End. Ezekiel's account concerning 'Gog' is certainly directed at events which will occur during the last days. So too, is the narrative of Daniel, which foresees at least two sieges of the city, and probably three. During the first assault, the city will be taken, but soon abandoned, though not without paying heavy tribute.
"In those times many will rebel against the king of the South; men of violence will also rebel from your own people, thus fulfiling the vision; but they will fail. The king of the north will then come and throw up siege-works to capture a strongly fortified city. The forces of the South will not stand their ground, its picked troups will not be strong enough to resist. The invader will treat him as he pleases, no one will be able to resist him: he will take his stand in the Land of Splendor, destruction in his hands.
He will consider conquering his entire kingdom, but will then make a treaty with him and, to overthrow the kingdom, give him a woman's daughter; but this will not last or be to his advantage. " (Dn.11:14-18).
It is clear in Daniel's account that this first seige of Jerusalem will take place before 'Gog', the Rebel of the Book of Thessalonians comes to power. During the Rebel's reign, his armies will administer two crushing defeats on the southern forces. The second attack will be the worst (the seige which culminates in Armageddon itself) and the extent of it is described by the prophet Zechariah:
"God will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for battle. The city will be taken, the houses plundered, the women ravished. Half the city will go into captivity, but the remnant of the people will not be cut off from the city.
"When the time comes for the End, the king of the South will try conclusions with him; but the king of the North will come storming down on him with chariots, cavalry, and a large fleet. He will invade countries, overrun them and drive on. He will invade the Land of the Splendor, and many will fail; but Edom, Moab, and what remain of the sons of Ammon will escape him." (Dn.11:40-41).
"He will pitch the tents of his royal headquarters between the sea and the mountains of the Holy Splendor. Yet he will come to his end -- there will be no help for him." (Dn.11:44-45).
In between these two, the king of the South will decimate the southern forces in an earlier attack and the accounts seem strongly to suggest a brief occupation of Jerualem on that occasion as well. A follow-up attack will be thwarted by the 'ships of Kittim'.
"He will rouse his strength and his heart against the king of the South with a great army. The king of the south will march to war with a huge and powerful army, but will offer no reseistance, since he will be outwitted by trickery. those who shared his food will ruin him; his army will be swept away, many will fall in the slaughter." (Dn.11:25-26).
"In due time he will make his way southwards again, but this time the outcome will not be as before. The ships of Kittim will oppose him, and he will be worsted. He will reture and take furious action against hte holy covenant and, as before, will favor those who forsake that holy covenant." (Dn.11:29-30)
Looking at the historical template on which Daniel wrote his words, Antiochus, humiliated on the battlefield, abandoned his efforts to seize Jerusalem and retired to his own country. Angered by this bitter defeat at the hands of the Romans, he turned his wrath inward -- toward the holy covenant and the people who adhered to it. The implication, of course is that a similar attack on the people of God can be expected at the true End after the forces of the United States administer their crushing defeat on the Rebel as he tries to recapture Jerusalem.
By focusing so strongly on the fury of the Rebel's attack on the holy people, (Dn.11:30), Daniel seems to portray this sequence as the inception of the fiercest moment of the tribulation and the focal point of Christianity's direct invovlement in it. The template has been defined as scripture, therefore it must be followed as written.
Where Antiochus concentrated on destroying the Jewish religion, the Madman of the last days, when he is forced to abandon Palestine, will refocus his wrath on the Christian communities trapped and scattered throughout his empire. This will involve an enormous number of people.
The attack on the Christian religion is the moment defined in scripture when God will grow angry. This divine retaliation has little to do with the city of Jerusalem per se, which has often been portrayed in scripture as a 'daughter of Babylon' (Is.47:1-9) and a 'daughter of Egypt' (Jer.46:24).
We can be certain that the beast's assault on Christianity will be the true focal point of God's anger because it will include the abolition of the Gospel and the desecration of the perpetual sacrifice, events which prophecy shows are the defining elements which precipitate God's Wrath:
"See how God lays the earth waste, makes it a desert, buckles its surface, scatters its inhabitants...for they have transgressed the law, violated the precept, broken the everlasting covenant. So a curse consumes the earth and its inhabitants suffer the penalty, that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up and few men ae left." (Is.24:1-6).
Then God will take the field; he will fight against these nations as he fights in the day of battle." On that day, his feet will rest on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem from the east. The Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a huge gorge; half the Mount will recede northwards, other half southwards. And the Vale of Hinnom will be filled up from Goah to Jasol; it will be blocked as it was by the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. The Lord your God will come, and all the holy ones with Him." (Zc.14:2-5).
1. 'The Last Days of Babylon, Chapter 13, 'Seige of Jerusalem'
2. 'The Last Days of Babylon, Chapter 20, 'The Tribulation'
3. 'The Last Days of Babylon, Chapter 31, 'Michael the Archangel'
4. History of Jerusalem
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