Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, issued a strong warning to the Nation of Israel in a recent interview with the Arab satellite television / news network Al-Jazeera. Erdogan brashly espoused that Israel was “playing with fire” by engaging in behavior on the Temple Mount that amounted to “subversiveness and treachery.” Erdogan is referring to the Israeli reaction to a series of attacks upon Jewish visitors to the Western Wall and Temple Mount area. Jerusalem police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld has reported that in one instance “dozens of Arab youths camped out in al-Aksa Mosque on Sunday night, where they stockpiled firebombs, rocks and fireworks to prepare for a full-scale riot on the first day of the Jewish festival [of Succot].” In another recent incident Palestinian rioters who could not find any Jewish visitors to attack on the Temple Mount started throwing rocks and firecrackers at Israeli police and other visitors entering the Mugrabi Gate. Yet, when Israeli police responded to arrest the attackers, the President of Turkey brazenly claimed “…Israel needs to take a different approach. It’s playing with fire, and it will pay a price in different places and in different ways, because people’s thresholds are limited.”
This seems to be very similar the kind of situation the prophet Zephaniah spoke of. Zephaniah predicted that in “the day of the LORD” God would punish those who “leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit” (Zephaniah 1:9). Zephaniah continues to add the location of the violence as taking place near the “Fish Gate” and the “Second Quarter” (Zephaniah 1:10). Interestingly, “the Fish Gate” connects what is now the Old City nearest to the north-western corner of the Temple Mount, with the Muslim controlled section of Jerusalem. Also very interesting is that the Second Quarter of the city was in Zephaniah’s time a reference to the district of Jerusalem northwest of the Temple area (cf. 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chron. 34:22). This is also the quarter under Muslim control in our time. Therefore, Zephaniah seems to be prophetically making a reference to the unrest that we see occurring in this section of Jerusalem which will continue to escalate until the time Zephaniah describes as “the day of the LORD” which is a reference to an eschatological day in which God would judge the people of Judah and Jerusalem. This judgment will take place during the first part of the period we refer to as the Tribulation. Therefore, while it is shocking and horrific that Israel would be under such violent attacks and condemnation by various world leaders, we should not be surprised since this is exactly the type of activity that will spiral out of control during the Tribulation period. As that terrible time draws ever closer, sadly, we can only expect such violence to continue to escalate. — PNL
PRAY: As believers, we must pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6); that God would protect her from her enemies and that such violent attacks would immediately cease. We must also especially pray for those believing, Messianic, Jews to have a great influence upon their countrymen to convince them of the truth of the Gospel that they too would be spared of God’s wrath before the day of the LORD comes upon the world (1 Thessalonians 5:9).