A couple of decades ago, my wife and I were heading down to Peru to adopt our daughter. Just before we set out on our journey that would take a month and half to complete, we were at a small prayer meeting in our church when Brian, a man with a prophetic gifting, prayed and prophesied over us.
He saw us taking a big colored doll down for our daughter. But then he gave me a word, which deeply concerned both my wife and I.
He said I see you gathering your treasure, and then he held his hands out, spread his fingers and said it will slip away, pouring out between your fingers like sand.
I asked Brian what he meant. He had no further revelation and simply told us what he saw. It was a disturbing word. Because we respected the man and his prophetic gift we were concerned that the adoption was going to fall apart.
But we believed God had told us to go and decided to continue on our journey.
At a stop over at the airport in Miami, Florida, we saw a brightly colored mini-mouse doll and immediately bought it and boarded the jet for the last leg of our trip to Peru.
Meanwhile, that nagging prophecy about our lost treasure hung over our heads.
When we arrived in the Roman Catholic orphanage in Moquegua, a small city in the heart of Peru’s massive southern Sechura desert, we started the adoption process. It was a slow arduous, procedure as we would complete one legal step and then sit and wait.
At any point, it could fall apart as that prophetic word continued to test us.
I met the English-speaking priest who ministered at the local Catholic church. We talked several times.
One day, he asked me if I wanted to join him on a bit of an archaeological excursion. I had time on my hands and we made the two and a half hour journey to a town on the coast of Peru.
There was a huge expansive beach outside the town that stretched for few miles. It was along this beach that the Spanish had first battled the Incas after landing. On an earlier trip the priest had even found remnants of that fight, including a musket ball.
It was extremely windy and the sand was constantly shifting, exposing different areas.
I could not believe what I saw. The exposed areas were literally littered with ancient debris.
You could not walk a step without seeing something — broken pottery, tools, arrows, jewelry (no gold) and things I had no idea what they were. After about a half hour I returned to our half-ton truck with both my pockets full. I showed the priest what I found and he said we only keep the good stuff and threw out 90% of what I had found.
I went out searching again. A couple of hours later, we headed back to the orphanage. When I showed the nuns all I had gathered, one told me that it was illegal to take it out of Peru.
As I watched my treasure slipping through my hands, I finally understood that the prophetic word was not about our daughter, but actual centuries-old treasure.
What God had spoken to me was true. It was my interpretation that was off.
Sometimes our understanding of Biblical prophecy can also be wrong for much the same reason. We interpret it one way, but this is not what God is saying.
In Zechariah, the prophet looking ahead to the end times wrote:
3 It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. (Zechariah 12:3 NASV)
He talks about Jerusalem being a heavy stone that people will want to dislodge, but will find it difficult to do and those who try will be injured.
Notice how Zechariah specifically mentions that the nations will gather against Jerusalem, not Israel.
As I read this verse over the years, I envisioned armies surrounding Jerusalem. But lately some have wondered if the recent vote in the UN was fulfillment of this prophecy.
When American President Donald Trump announced that the US will be moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, there was a huge international uproar. But all the US did was simply acknowledge the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
To appease the Palestinians, all foreign nations have their embassies in Tel Aviv. Only in Israel, do nations have their embassies located in a city other than the country’s capital.
The UN that is dominated by an anti-Israel sentiment immediately called for a symbolic vote in its general assembly condemning Trump’s decision. And in an overwhelming vote of 128 to nine, voted against the embassy move.
Only nine countries, Israel, US, Togo, Micronesia, Naura, Palau, Guatemala, Marshall Islands, and Honduras supported the move to Jerusalem.
Thirty-five countries abstained, which in this type of vote was basically a vote of support for those opposing the move. Though Mexico abstained, their Ambassador publicly condemned Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in his speech. The delegates of 21 other countries didn’t show up for the vote.
After the vote, President Trump warned that the countries that voted against the US will be remembered when they come asking for future US foreign aid, as they regularly do. They will suffer the consequences of their decision.
Is this what Zechariah saw happening centuries ago?