“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’
Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, that is built as a city that is compact together,
To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the LORD – An ordinance for Israel – To give thanks to the name of the LORD.
For there thrones were set for judgment, The thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you.
May peace be within your walls, And prosperity within your palaces.’
For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, ‘May peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.” (Psalm 122)
Yesterday, 19 May, 2023, Israel celebrated the 56th anniversary of the historic event of the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli control during the Six-Day War in 1967. Jerusalem is mentioned 763 times in the Older and Newer Testaments of the Bible. It is a city which God chose for Himself to put His name there (1 Kings 11:13, 32, 36; 2 Chronicles 6:6) and one day, it will be replaced by a new Jerusalem, where righteousness will reign (Revelation 3:12; 21:3, 10).
It is symbolic of God’s protection of His people Israel (Psalm 125:2) and of His blessings (Psalm 128:5). A Jewish bridegroom standing under the marriage canopy, recites Psalm 137:5: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember Jerusalem above my chief joy”. It is a place that is to be etched in our thoughts and memories, in our hearts and our minds, so that we will not suffer the consequences of forgetting it.
Jerusalem is a symbol with historical, religious and political significance. History buffs will have no problem exploring all of these aspects. And, despite attempts by nations and international organizations to deny the historical connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people, the fact remains that Jerusalem has always stood as a unifying symbol of Jewish nationhood … and for good reason.
God will make Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62:7). He set her “at the center of the nations, with lands around her” (Ezekiel 5:5) and it will be inhabited for all generations (Joel 3:20). He is “exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion” (Zechariah 1:14) and He will “dwell in the midst of Jerusalem” (Joel 3:17), which will then be called “the City of Truth” (Zechariah 8:3).
The coming of the Messiah was promised to Jerusalem: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9) and God, Himself, will defend it (Zechariah 12:8). Even though Jerusalem failed to understand the time of Her visitation by the Messiah (Luke 19:40-44), the time is coming when her inhabitants “will look on Me [God] whom they have pierced” and will mourn and weep bitterly over Him (Zechariah 12:10). Living waters will flow out of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8) and one day, Jerusalem will dwell in security (Zechariah 14:11). Those nations that will go up against Jerusalem will eventually go up to Jerusalem to “worship the King, the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 14:16).
Hatikva (translated as “The Hope”), is the national anthem of the State of Israel. Its words speak for themselves:
As long as in the heart within,
The Jewish soul yearns,
And toward the eastern edges, onward,
An eye gazes toward Zion.
Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope that is two-thousand years old,
To be a free nation in our land,
The Land of Zion and Jerusalem.
A return to our ancient homeland after two thousand years of diaspora…against all odds. The reunification of Jerusalem, our ancient capital, in 1967…against all odds. So the world thinks. But, the odds were in our favor. God was on our side. Jerusalem Day 2023? Is it any wonder that we chose to celebrate?
Have a simply great week!
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing!