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shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'" (1 Corinthians 1:17-31 KJV)

Many events related to the Middle East and the situation in Jerusalem will have transpired after the writing of this book. It is impossible for a book to be as up to date as the daily newspaper or the news service web sites that are updated hourly or even more frequently. And things do happen fast in times of conflict. But Bible prophecy was written thousands of years in advance, and is completely accurate — because it was written by the One "who from the very beginning foretold the future." (Isaiah 44:7 Jerusalem Bible)

Some events may appear to be pushing things in the direction of fulfillment of Bible prophecy regarding Jerusalem and regarding the return of Christ. Other events may make things seem as a different course will take place. Those who adhere to the Bible and keep their trust in God will be helped by his Holy Spirit to see beyond the confusion of apparently contradictory events. They will be able to see the true import of what is happening.

Political hopes for peace in the Middle East swing from optimistic to pessimistic and back again as fast as the ever changing events unfold on a daily basis. One week things seem to be heading in this direction, and the next week they seem to be heading in the opposite direction. But the consistent fulfillment of Bible prophecy down through history gives us confidence that events will finally move in the in the direction foretold in Scripture. And the observable events in the Middle East during the past hundred years reinforce that belief. The Balfour Declaration set the stage for the return of the Jews to the Promised Land. The restoration of the state of Israel in 1948 fulfilled prophecy and prepared the way for the final fulfillment.

A series of United Nations resolutions since 1947

declaring that Jerusalem must be an international city governed by the U.N. and under United Nations control set the stage for concerted action by all the nations against the state of Israel. And the growing power and authority of the United Nations as a loosely organized the world government with an ever more active military arm during recent decades provides a final element needed to see the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah, chapter twelve.

Following the radical Islamic terrorist attack against America on September 11, 2001, the status of Jerusalem is no longer merely a matter of local concern to the nations of the Middle East. Jerusalem has become a problem for the whole world, and all the nations are maneuvering to enforce their solution.

Jerusalem has become "a heavy stone burdening the world," as the ancient Hebrew prophet wrote, and "all the nations of the earth unite in an attempt" to impose their solution. (Zechariah 12:3 The Living Bible Catholic edition)

Meanwhile, the world around us has fallen in into the condition of the world that provoked the flood of Noah's day, the world that provoked divine intervention at the tower of Babel, and the world that brought down fire and brimstone from Heaven in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The days, months, and years ahead will see the return of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, the sudden rapture of his Church — the body of Christian believers — to join him in Heaven, and then God's final war, the battle of Armageddon.

Although the Bible contains all the details, we may not be able to puzzle them all out ahead of time. Yet, we can discern enough to trust that God knows exactly what will happen, and that he has declared what the final outcome will prove to be. Our job is to trust and obey.

By putting faith in God and his Messiah, we can face the frightening days ahead with joy and gladness instead of fear and terror. Although we may, again, see "Jerusalem surrounded by armies," we can be sure that "the heathen will trample over Jerusalem" only "until their time is up." (Luke 21:20-24 TEV)

Jesus said, "When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your

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