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“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord
surrounds His people from this time forth and
Jerusalem is the most contested city on earth even though it has no natural resources, partially straddles a desert and, when the Jews are not in control of it, has descended into a forgotten broken down village. So, the question is; why is it so important to the world and the Jewish people or; wherein lies its significance? Consider the following:
1. Jerusalem the sacred city
God Himself is zealous for it and this means that He is supportive of its Jewish identity and character.
“I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal. I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped-but with evil intent”. (Zechariah 1:14-15)
The city is sacred to God because it is the platform chiefly from which His redemptive purpose for the world has been accomplished. This purpose is intertwined with the historical calling and journey of the Jewish people. God is not a respecter of persons and yet He, when a Jewish Jerusalem is under threat, will be aroused in His anger as a man awakened by bad news from a sleep!
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, “says the Lord. Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord has sent me to you. And the Lord will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation.” (Zechariah 2:10-13)
2. Jerusalem a glorious city
Just as God in Christ imputes perfection/righteousness to us so He sees Jerusalem as something glorious and perfect that, if we have the spiritual eyes to see, will speak to us of God Himself!
“Walk about Zion, and go all around her. Count all he towers; mark well her bulwarks; consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following. For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.” (Psalm 48:12-14)
“For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.” (Psalm 132:13-14)
“The Mighty One, God the Lord, has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.” (Psalm 50:1-2)
Yes indeed, Jerusalem speaks of things glorious and yet to come as it will one day give its name to an eternal city, “The New Jerusalem”, that will descend from heaven and be the home of God’s redeemed people.
“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)
3. Jerusalem a contested city
The hatred of the nations against a Jewish Jerusalem, as we see now embodied in the UNESCO decision to disinvest the Jewish people of it, is an attempt to vanquish God from their consciences and a strategy by the Devil, and those who work with him to resist and frustrate God’s plan of global redemption.
The Bible warns that in the latter time, when the Jews have been restored to the city (Luke 21:24) an international attempt will be made to disinvest the Jews of the city. We are living in this time and our understanding of the significance of the city to God and to the Jewish people constitutes a test as to where our hearts are on this issue. Are we with God or with the nations and the powers of darkness on this issue? The Prophet Zechariah foresaw this battle over the city and wrote of it in these terms:
“Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth will be gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
This quite honestly constitutes a very serious warning to the nations and no doubt even to parts of the global Church that are joining with the nations to wrest Jerusalem from Israeli sovereignty. They will all rupture themselves and be broken beyond repair. Indeed, we have all been warned!
4. Jerusalem a triumphant city
The battle for Jerusalem and thus for the consummation of God’s redemptive plan for all peoples has begun. Jesus is returning triumphantly to a Jewish Jerusalem because it is this city out which God’s salvation plan for the world has arisen (Acts 1:11)(Zechariah 14:3-4). God’s plan will succeed because He will find us faithful and therefore we are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) and give Him no rest “until He established Jerusalem as a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:7). This peace and blessing over Jerusalem is nothing short of salvation peace that God has promised to the city. Our commitment to Jerusalem is ultimately proof of our commitment to God. This is not about the Jewish people ultimately; no it’s about our understanding of God’s purpose for the world through them.
The second Psalm reflects the battle before us but also the triumph of God by it:
“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take
Counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed
Saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast Their cords
“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them
in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and
distress them in His deep displeasure: Yet I have set My King on
My holy hill of Zion.”
“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, You are My
Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for
Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You
shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
It is then with joy that we celebrated in 2017, not only the centenary of the Balfour Declaration that paved the way for the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, but also the partial deliverance of the city in 1917 by General Allenby and then its full deliverance in 1967 by virtue of the Six Days War. When we add to this that the American people, representing the most powerful nation on the earth, voted to relocate their Embassy to Jerusalem and actually did so in 2018 under the Trump Administration then we recognize that these are all important biblical milestones and they remind us that the God we serve is engaged with His world, is true to His Word and faithful to His promises made to Israel in Abraham 4000 years ago!