Jerusalem: The Cup of Trembling :: By Bud Hancock

I have known several hard-core alcoholics during my lifetime.  Most were seemingly normal people when sober, so much so that one would have difficulty determining that they were addicted to alcohol.  When sober, most seemed to have a firm grasp of reality and could usually communicate effectively; but the moment they allowed the bottle to grab them, they became entirely different.  No longer able to grasp reality, they created their own idea of what was real, what was true, and what was normal.  They seemed to step over into an alternate universe simply by relaxing their self-control and allowing alcohol to take over, releasing all their inhibitions.

After interacting with a few of them on numerous occasions while they were seriously inebriated, I wondered if they could be helped while they were sober.  The problem is that, when sober, they could not see the problem they were having with alcohol when they were drunk.  I determined that there was no way to help them until they first saw themselves as others saw them, reeling and staggering while they were under the influence of alcohol; only then could they admit that they had a problem.

There is another addiction that causes drunkenness of a different nature, and it has gotten much worse over the past 50 years.  This addiction, which could easily be called The Jerusalem Addiction, is the powerful influence the City of Jerusalem has on so many men who deem themselves capable of solving the centuries-old conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors.  The intense craving it evokes in so many men — the desire to be the leader that solves the unsolvable problem of establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinian people — is like the craving an alcoholic has for liquor.  Like an alcoholic having gone several days, perhaps several weeks without a drink, sitting alone while all his drinking buddies hit their favorite watering hole, this addiction is equivalent to the pull of the bottle.

For many years, nearly all western leaders, especially the sitting American presidents, have looked longingly at solving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as the most desirable of all diplomatic achievements.  It seems that those whose massive egos demand a regular shot of self-importance simply cannot resist the urge to announce to the world that they will be the ones to solve the seemingly unsolvable problem of securing a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Our current POTUS, Donald J. Trump, is no exception.

Only several months into his administration, Trump is stating that he will be the one to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  POTUS Trump built his reputation in the business world as the consummate deal-maker.  This certainly is no small feat since it requires a solid knowledge of the mindset of the people on the other side of the deal, as well as the laws that could affect the deal.  Add to this knowledge great patience and fortitude and the tenacity to never give up, and one would easily believe that President Trump could be the one to create peace where there has been no peace for nearly 70 years since Israel was reborn as a nation in a single day.

However, a closer examination will reveal that our president may be a little short on some of the requirements to get this deal done.  He appears to have limited knowledge of the real reasons for the generations-old hatred that exists for the Jewish people among the Palestinians and most of the Arab peoples.  This hatred has been around, and has remained active and alive, since the times of Ishmael and Isaac, and Esau and Jacob.  It is highly unlikely to go away simply because a brilliant businessman like Donald Trump decides it needs to go away.  The Palestinian leadership has stated many times that they seek the total destruction of every Jew in the land.  They do not simply want a state of their own beside the state of Israel; they want all the land of Israel with no Jews living there to contaminate it.  They have had multiple opportunities to achieve peace with Israel, but they always manage to back away from every offer made to them.

One of the major sticking points of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be the status of Jerusalem.  Israel has had an archaeologically-proven and a historically proven connection to the City of Jerusalem since the times of King David.  They have been in control of the city since the Six Day War of 1967 when they were victorious over the Arab nations that attacked them.  They will not lightly consider giving up any part of their eternal capital to a Palestinian state, and the Palestinians will not lightly drop their demand for East Jerusalem as their capital.  Whether these sticky issues can be resolved politically is anybody’s guess.

If the negotiations that President Trump intends to initiate result in failure, as have all previous peace negotiations, and peace remains elusive, then what harm would come from the experience? To answer that question, one must understand where God stands on the status of Jerusalem.  God’s Word is quite clear on the subject.  It is recorded in 2 Chronicles 33:4, “Also he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.”

God has determined that Jerusalem is the city — the only city — where He has placed His name.  He will allow no one, neither man nor Satan, to establish another name there.  He is a jealous God and is especially jealous over Jerusalem.  Anyone who knows what God has already decided about Jerusalem would, or should, know better than to become involved in any negotiations that would result in the dividing of Jerusalem.  Anyone who dares to try to divide Jerusalem — whether the American president, the Russian president, the Palestinian Authority president or the Israeli prime minister — has potentially placed himself, and his nation, in God’s crosshairs and is in danger of God’s judgment.

This judgment is best stated in Zechariah 12:1-3: “The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.  Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.  And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

The word “trembling” here is the Hebrew word ra’al; it means a reeling (from intoxication), trembling.  The Lord further describes Jerusalem becoming a burdensome stone that will seriously injure anyone who tries to move it.  These are some serious warnings that should be heeded by anyone who does not want to be found in direct confrontation with Almighty God.


Just as the alcoholic, when inebriated, cannot determine what is real and what is fantasy, so the Jerusalem addict cannot adequately differentiate between what is possible and what is impossible.  The generations-old hatred that Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael; and the Palestinians, the descendants of Edom (Esau), have for Israel is not a problem that can be solved politically.  This hatred is a spiritual problem, resulting from the jealousy that began when God chose Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau.  As it has been stated by Bonnie Harvey of Hebrew Nation Radio:  “There is no political solution to a spiritual problem.”

God, and His Messiah, Jesus Christ, have the answer to this problem; and its solution will bring the glory to God, and to the Messiah, that they alone deserve.  As stated previously, God is a jealous God who will not allow any man to take His glory, nor will He share it with any man.

The elusive peace, at least peace that will last, will only be realized when Jesus returns to this earth, deals with all sin and sinners, and establishes His righteous kingdom.  Until then, any person, no matter how brilliant, no matter how knowledgeable, no matter how tenacious, who decides to involve himself and his nation in seeking a solution other than what God has planned —  especially to the extent that a division of Jerusalem is a part of the deal — is only living in the alternate reality, or fantasyland, that an alcoholic knows so well.  It has been shown that a person under the influence of alcohol sometimes believes himself to be invincible, but his actions will usually prove otherwise.  Likewise, a person under the Jerusalem addiction will likely discover that his deal-making skills are no match for God’s judgment.

It has been written in Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:  they shall prosper that love thee.”  The word peace in this scripture is the Hebrew word shalom (Strong’s 7965).  Shalom is a derivative of the root word shalam (Strong’s 7999) which has as one of its meanings:  “to be completed.” One of the commonly accepted definitions is: “nothing missing, nothing broken,” or complete.  In the context of this scripture, the Word is saying to pray regarding Jerusalem that nothing is missing and nothing is broken — in other words, that Jerusalem is complete, and a dividing of the Holy City is in direct opposition of God’s Word.  The dividing of God’s Holy City as part of a political solution to a spiritual problem is a recipe for God’s judgment and disaster.

Let us pray that our president will seek God’s counsel to understand what God has decided concerning the peace of Jerusalem and Israel.  Otherwise, President Trump and the entire country could be in for some seriously bad times.