Bible Society of South Africa

Done and dusted in Israel for ever - 20 March 2024

By Imogen Campbell

Bible text(s)

30Jesus drank the wine and said, “It is finished!”

Then he bowed his head and died.

John 19:30GNBOpen in Bible reader

Israel, the place we know Jesus chose to spend his earthly days, has traditionally stood at the gateway of nations. Steeped in history, it is destined to take centre stage, once again, as the prophetic clock ticks along.

Unsurprisingly, a place so distinguished as to have hosted the God of the universe is bound to attract unwanted attention. The devil, undoubtedly, also has his sights set on Israel. During the infamous temptation of Jesus, Luke 4:9-12 records what transpired: “The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered,’It is said: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

The devil went for the jugular – casting aspersion on Jesus’ very identity at the temple of all places. Interestingly, not much is mentioned of Jesus’ early years, but the narratives that do, prominently feature the temple.

One day, at the end of time, a loud voice from the temple will give us an inkling of the prophetic timetable. Revelation 16:16-17 states: “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ ”

“It is done,” reminds me of Jesus’ words uttered outside Jerusalem: “It is finished.” It echoes the words in the very beginning, too, when Genesis 2:2 states that, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing …”

Clearly, we serve a God who finishes what he started. At the end of time, at a place called Armageddon or Har-Megiddo, an all-encompassing war will be decided. Today, a hilly fortress known as Tel-Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley in Israel has been identified as the likely location. It is controversial and has scholars divided. Time will tell.

Battle-scarred, the Jezreel Valley was the scene of a victory for Barak and Deborah (Judges 4-5). Jael, a woman as prophesied, routed Sisera – the commander of Jabin, the king of Canaan’s army. Despite having had 900 iron chariots, Sisera found them bogged down in unseasonal rain before fleeing straight into Jael’s hands.

Similarly, it was there that Gideon, along with 300 men inflicted defeat on the Midianites. Modus operandi? Trumpets, jars of clay and torches. One day, at the sound of the trumpet, once again, there will be the battle of all battles. This time, the God of Israel will be coming back to his earthly home to finish off his enemies and wrap up some unfinished business with the devil for ever.

Prayer: Your word makes sense of the world we are living in and the challenges we are facing. Thank you, Lord, for not leaving us destitute and without hope. Amen

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