The Third Factor
July 2000 by Asher Intrater
The effort at the peace talks have come to an end, with no solution. President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak are deeply disappointed. Its possible at this time that there is simply no political solution. The Bible says that Jerusalem will be a stumbling block to all nations. Zechariah 12:2 Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the nations round about... And in that day I will place a burdensome stone to all the nations. The place where the peace talked stumbled was at Jerusalem.
The particular sticking point was, and is, the 200,000 Muslim Arabs living in east Jerusalem. On the one hand, the Jewish people don't want to have Jerusalem divided again. On the other hand, the city is already divided. I think that there could have been much more prayer during these peace talks. This is a crucial issue. There seems to be an irreconcilable clash between the two factors - the Jewish side and the Arab side. Yet we as believers need to see a new factor. On the political side, the Palestinians are concerned for the civil rights of their people. It is true that some 800.000 Palestinian Arabs live without citizenship and without true autonomy. On the Jewish side the primary concern is for security. If there is an autonomous Palestinian State cutting through the center of Israel right into east Jerusalem, there is almost no way to guarantee security. Both of these factors are true, and there seems to be no way to solve them.
For us as believers in Yeshua, however, there is also the factor of religious freedom - particularly the freedom to preach the gospel openly. In both a Jewish religious or Islamic society, this freedom is greatly limited. From the religious angle, there are also two conflicting factors for most Jews and Muslims. For Muslims, Jerusalem is seen as the third most holy site, and of, course the most holy site in Judaism. Because of their religious and emotional commitments, both sides feel that there can be no compromise. They might be willing to compromise on political issues, but not on religious beliefs.
Here again there is also a third factor. Jerusalem is the place where Yeshua was crucified, resurrected, and will soon return. Jerusalem has faith significance as a location, therefore, to anyone in Yeshua. How can we perceive Gods' will for the city of Jerusalem? I see Jerusalem as the city of Yeshua. He is the king and Jerusalem is his capital. Part of the struggle over Jerusalem stems from the person of Yeshua himself. He is both the king of the Jews, and the international Son of God. Therefore, Jerusalem has both a Jewish aspect and an international aspect. The international aspect and the Jewish aspect seem to be clashing. Yet in the person of Yeshua himself that paradox is reconciled. The Jewish solution has been to demand full rights for Jerusalem. The Arab side is to divide the city. According the bible, I see that Jerusalem had to remain in Jewish stewardship, but it also has to be opened up to become an international spiritual, religious and political center.
That blending of the roles, both
Jewish and international, can't be resolved simply between Jews and Arabs.
It will requires a Christian influence. Whether we like it or not the
president of the US plays a role of the representative of the Christian
world. I am not speaking of his personal spirituality, but rather his
position of authority. Whether that president be Clinton or Bush or Gore, we
must pray harder for the president of the US to speak with wisdom and
We are required to pray for all leaders. That includes Clinton, Arafat and Barak. The purpose for praying for political leaders is to give us a peaceable and righteous society. The purpose of that righteous society is to facilitate the preaching the gospel to all men. The issue in the middle east in not just of Israeli security or of the covenant promise of the land or of Palestinian civil rights. It is also an issue of the kingdom of God and the furtherance of the preaching of the gospel.