Jerusalem, city of our Messiah and eternal capital of Israel — Vivienne Myburgh

Jerusalem – City of our Messiah and Eternal Capital of Israel

Israel will be celebrating Jerusalem Day this Sunday, the 28th of Iyar, 5727, in the Hebrew calendar (May 29 in our calendar). It is the 55th anniversary of the reunification of modern-day Jerusalem.    

During the course of the Six-Day War (June 5 to10 1967), against expectations, east Jerusalem was liberated from the illegal Jordanian occupation and came under Israeli sovereignty for the first time since 1948. 

Israel also captured the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and took back Judea and Samaria (including the eastern part of Jerusalem) during this war of aggression against them. 

Let’s first go back in her history a little… 

Jerusalem was nothing until God chose her, for from that time she became a witness to another world, a spiritual world…to the kingdom of God!

…..“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine….you grew increasingly beautiful – you were fit to be queen. Your fame spread among the nations because of your beauty because it was perfect, due to My having bestowed My splendor on you” says the Lord. — Ezekiel 16:8,14

King David made it his capital more than 3 000 years ago in 1000 BC and his son, Solomon was called to build the temple in his fourth year of reigning over Israel. It took seven years to build the temple, which was the most magnificent and costly building ever constructed. (It would have cost over a trillion dollars in today’s terms).

For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. — Psalm 132:13-14

God had declared Jerusalem to be the place of His holy habitation, a place where He would meet with His people, where heaven and earth would meet! It is quite literally God’s address on the earth and every year the Jerusalem postal service receives hundreds of letters addressed to God. 

Jerusalem has entered her 4th millennium as the religious, cultural and national capital of the Jewish people. 

Christianity is only in its third millennium and Islam, which lays an illegitimate claim to Jerusalem, was only established about 600 years later around 630 AD and has not yet even reached its 2nd millennium.

Jerusalem is the most contested city on the planet. Why would a capital city with less than one million people have the third largest press corps in the world permanently stationed there? More United Nations resolutions are passed regarding her than any other city.

The most contested city in the world

Perhaps the world realises that her destiny somehow determines the destiny of the earth. The prophets and the New Testament Scriptures all confirm that world events will focus on Jerusalem before her Messiah returns.

In the physical sense she does not have many natural resource advantages as she has no big river or port, but no other city has captured the passions of men as she has. More battles have been fought over Jerusalem than over any other city and she has been destroyed and rebuilt more than 14 times…

Jerusalem is mentioned 811 times in the Scriptures and has great prophetic significance. Here life story has been graphically recorded in the Scriptures, often before the events even happened.

One example is found in Isaiah 44:28 — I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; He will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

These words were spoken by the prophet Isaiah around 100 years before King Cyrus was born. Cyrus later gave these exact instructions for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple, near the end of the Jewish exile in Babylon, exactly as the prophets had foretold.

Less than four decades later, in 66AD Jewish zealots rebelled against the Romans and this led to siege by the Roman Emperor Titus and eventually on the 9th of Av, in 70 AD a number of prophecies were fulfilled to the letter concerning Jerusalem, including Yeshua’s words in Mathew 24 verse 2 — “Assuredly I say to you not one stone shall be left here upon another, that should not be thrown down”.

Jerusalem became a Jewish bloodbath and more than 1 million Jews lost their lives. A group of 900 men held out at Masada for three and a half years after the destruction of Jerusalem. A few Jews lived around Jerusalem and 60 years after the destruction of Jerusalem Simon bar Kokhba led a successful uprising against the Roman garrison stationed there. His men retook the city for three years and he was hailed as a messiah. The Romans recaptured the city in 135 AD and this time utterly destroyed it. Emperor Hadrian was determined to erase any memory of Jerusalem and on the 9th of Av that year, the city was ploughed over and a new city called Aelia Capitolina was built on the site. Jews were forbidden to enter the city and a temple to the pagan god Jupiter was erected on Mount Moriah.

Micah had prophesied: “Zion shall be plowed like a field and Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins. And the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest. — Micah 3:12

God placed Jerusalem at the centre of the world! 

“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the centre of the nations, with countries all around her” — Ezekiel 5:5

The nations would witness God’s dealings with Jerusalem, who He says He betrothed to Himself and they would have an opportunity to learn from the example of how He dealt with His beloved people and city.   

Jerusalem was a sad picture for the next 19 centuries as she was trampled underfoot by the gentiles for almost 2 000 years.

In 362 AD Emperor Julian succeeded Constantine and allowed the Jews back and also encouraged them to rebuild the temple where he said he would also worship with them. As builders went to the foundations, an earthquake struck and ignited reservoirs of trapped gases below the surface which destroyed all the building materials. Further attempts to rebuild the temple were also abandoned when his short reign came to an end after 20 months.

In 1096 The Crusaders entered the Holy Land and in 1099 they plundered the city and slaughtered an untold number of Jews and Moslems.

90 years later the Kurdish general Saladin defeated the Crusaders and Islamic rule was established. The Temple Mount area was declared to be the 3rd most holy Islamic site.

Jews were allowed to settle in the area known as the Jewish Quarter and in 1212 a large contingent, including around 300 rabbis arrived from the UK. From this time onwards until 1948 the area was continuously inhabited by Jewish people.

In 1516 Jerusalem was conquered by the rapidly expanding Turkish Ottoman empire under Suliman the Magnificant who rebuild the walls as they stand today and constructed a gate on the eastern side leading to the Temple Mount called the Golden Gate. The site is near or built on the very site of the gate that Yeshua had entered through into the Temple courtyard, riding on a donkey, 1500 years previously.

Suliman had intended to enter through it with great pomp but for some reason suddenly changed his mind and ordered that the gate be sealed and should remain shut. The book of Ezekiel contains a remarkable prophecy about the sealing of the gate.     

Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces east, but it was shut and the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. As for the prince, because he is the prince he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway and go out the same way”. — Ezekiel 44:1-3

All the other gates are in daily use today. Is this one closed until the Messiah enters through it into Jerusalem again?

The Ottoman occupation lasted over 400 years. When Mark Twain visited the land in the 19th Century, he said of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem is mournful and dreary and lifeless. I would not desire to live here.” Rev. Robert Murray also visited in 1839, saying: “Jerusalem is indeed like many heaps. The quantities of rubbish would amaze you, in one place higher than the walls. Judah’s cities are all waste, except Bethlehem.”

 

By this time the holy city, which the Lord had declared to be “His dwelling place forever” had suffered nearly 18 centuries of desolation, war and bloodshed as Gentile invaders, one after the other, had trodden her down. Some asked what had become of the everlasting covenant that the God of Israel had made with Jerusalem?

Isaiah had prophetically spoken about these days… But Zion said; The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have enscribed you on the palms of my hands; Your walls are continually before me — Isaiah 49:14-16

In 1917 the Balfour Declaration was signed after the allied forces liberated Palestine and Jerusalem from the Turkish empire. The British would go on to oversee the area known as the British Mandate of Palestine until 1948 when Ben Gurion declared Israel the State of the Jewish people. 

Read an article regarding an interesting event during these times. https://blog.nli.org.il/en/hoi_france_jerusalem/

Jerusalem was however never forgotten by the Jews in the diaspora and was in their daily prayers and every Passover ended with the words: ” Next year in Jerusalem!”

After Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands in 1967, after almost 2 000 years, the city began to flourish again for the first time in centuries and Israel eventually went on to pass the Jerusalem Law in 1980 which affirmed that Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital of the Jewish people. The Arab nations responded by threatening an oil embargo against the nations who did not withdraw their embassies from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. All 13 foreign embassies based in Jerusalem at the time moved to Tel Aviv. It was a great insult to Israel that the nations did not respect and embrace her beloved capital! 

There was a group of Christians who were living, studying, and ministering in Israel at the time, who felt outraged and felt led to open an international Christian embassy, based in Jerusalem, in solidarity with the State of Israel. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem opened in 1980, with the goal of recognising Jerusalem as the eternal Jewish capital and to be a channel of practical comfort and ministry to her.  

The ICEJ’s mandate is a dual one: 

To be of practical comfort to the people of Israel:  

“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her forced labour has been completed; her iniquity has been pardoned. For she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.” — Isaiah 40:1-2 

To encourage prayer for the peace of Jerusalem:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity. — Psalm 122.

Let us pray for her peace, as her people, who have come back from the nations celebrate her reunification this Sunday, also with the Jerusalem Flag March planned to go through the Old City, but mostly that they find true peace in their Messiah, who is coming soon to rule the nations from Jerusalem and to bring the peace and justice we are so desperately need!

Get involved www.icej.org.za or call 083 306 0009   

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