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Your Questions Answered

Q. Since there will be no lasting peace in Israel until the return of Jesus Christ, why are we to pray for the peace of Jerusalem?
A. The command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem comes from among the Psalms: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you” (Ps. 122:6). There are several reasons for praying for the peace of Jerusalem, other than the obvious one, that the Bible commands us to. First, we must keep in mind the latter part of that verse: “they shall prosper that love you.” This goes hand—in-hand with God’s promise to Abraham: “And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3).

God loves the people of Israel, Jerusalem is the apple of His eye, and it goes far better for those who support Israel than for those who, like her Arab neighbors, would like Israel pushed into the sea. Although it is true that there will be wars in that part of the world until Christ returns, we should pray that at least the periods of peace which do occur might be extended and that warfare would be limited.

The current peace initiatives, however, are a bit frightening for those who are the friends of Israel. Israel has traded “land for peace,” thus placing that tiny land in a more vulnerable position with regard to her neighbors. Such agreements may delay war for a time, but will make it more severe when it does come. And we are told in the Bible that Israel faces at least two more wars before the return of Christ: the invasion from the north, involving Russia and her allies (Ezekiel 38-39), and the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16 & 19).

Israel was warned in the Old Testament to make no treaties with her neighbors (Exodus 23:32-33; Deuteronomy 7:2-3). These warnings have never been rescinded, but unfortunately they have been ignored. In the future, Israel will make a near-fatal mistake when she makes a seven-year treaty with the Antichrist, who breaks that treaty in the middle of the Tribulation period (Dan. 9:26-27).

Finally, a prayer for the continual peace of Jerusalem is in reality a prayer for the triumphant return of Christ, something that we should all look forward to. The raptured and resurrected saints of the Church Age will be part of His army as we help to bring that lasting peace to Jerusalem.

Q. Will you please explain Matt. 7:22-23? With whom is the Lord talking? How does this tie in with some of the miracles we hear about today?
A. First, let us consider the Scripture: “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22-23).

Note that the Lord is talking to His disciples (Matt. 5:1-2) about a special class of people. Matt. 7:21 defines these individuals as being unsaved, and who are going to challenge Christ concerning their right to enter heaven on the basis of their works which they have done—including miracles. Then, verse 23 indicates that Jesus will refuse to accept them on the grounds that He never knew them in spite of their miracle-working.

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and give you a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto you, saying, Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them; You shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proves you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13:1-3).

This passage teaches that some prophets could give a sign or perform a “wonder” (Hebrew for “miracle”). God warns that this might happen, and also that this prophet might tempt the people to depart from Jehovah worship. God warns that such a prophet is not to be listened to, and that he is to be put to death (Deut. 13:5) because he is “evil.”

In the New Testament, the Jews of Jesus’ day recognized that such was so, for they accused Him of doing His miraculous works by the power of the Devil (Matt. 12:24). Paul warns that when the Antichrist makes his appearance, special “power and signs and lying wonders” (miracles) will characterize this man (II Thess. 2:9).

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