It’s Not too Late to Congratulate Jerusalem!

Hi friends!  Do you realize we’re in the midst of a jubilee year for Jerusalem?  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please see Israel’s Jubilee Years.  Indeed, “liberty is proclaimed throughout the land” on a 50-year schedule, just as the Bible describes in  Leviticus 25:8-11!  Interestingly, on our Gregorian calendar, those years happen to end in “7,” the number of perfection (God’s perfection!).

2017 is the 50th anniversary of the 6-Day War in which Israel re-captured the Old City of Jerusalem, including Temple Mount, and reunited Israel for the very first time since 70 AD when the Romans wiped out the city and drove Jews from Israel.  The victory also ensured freedom of access for all faiths to Jerusalem’s holy sites.  It is an incredibly significant year in Israel’s history.

While the 6-Day War victory was officially celebrated in June (on the actual anniversary of the victory), Israel continues to celebrate the Jubilee Year. As Christians who stand with Israel, it is fitting for us to congratulate Jerusalem in commemoration of her Jubilee celebration.

Did you know you can actually send your own personal congratulations to the people of Israel?  Christians from around the world are sending words of congratulations and encouragement, and all messages are being compiled in a special Jerusalem Jubilee Book that will be presented to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Be one of millions of Christians who stand with Israel in this very simple and tangible way.  Send your congratulations!

I will bless those who bless you!  (Genesis 12:3)
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good!  (Psalm 122:9)

Longing for Zion

Image result for psalm 84:1

Oh, the Lord’s timing is incredible!  I want to extend our brief study on the City of David one more day because, literally, just yesterday I received an email from ICEJ containing a recent article regarding the longing for Zion.

If you have followed the past two days, you know that Zion is another name for the City of David.  You also know that ancient Jerusalem was not within today’s Old City, but was actually down the hill to the south.  Ancient Jerusalem was the City of David and the people longed to be in the courts of the Lord!

That feeds right into the article I want to share today!  Take two minutes to discover the Jubilee Years God has used to cause Jerusalem to rise, and why Jewish people throughout history have longed for Jerusalem!

Longing for Zion

One final note:  “Jerusalem” in English is “Yerushalayim” in Hebrew.  When you see a Hebrew word ending in “-im,” you know it is plural.  So, what can we draw from that?  Are there two Jerusalems…one in the City of David and one in the current Old City?  Yes…and no!  Indeed, there are two Jerusalems, but I don’t believe the plurality refers to ancient Jerusalem and modern-day Jerusalem.

I believe it refers to the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem!  Revelation 21:1-2 describes a new heaven and a new earth, and the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  That city is being prepared for those of us who will spend eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

A new Jerusalem…a new Zion!  I long for Zion, too.  Don’t you?

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

City of David: A Jubilee Discovery…and Today’s Significance

Years of jubilee were declared by the Lord in Leviticus 25, to commemorate special times of rejoicing.  (See yesterday’s post for a further insight into years of jubilee.)  Rejoicing is warranted because God is faithful to His promises!

One of those promises, which seemed totally impossible for about 2,000 years, is that the Jews will be back in their land, living in security during the last days.  Security began to build when Israel declared independence in 1948 and re-captured and re-unified the City of Jerusalem in 1967.

Model City, looking north

City of David appears in the lower right quadrant (model of City of Jerusalem)

However, Israel experienced at least 2 Jubilee Years prior to 1967, which we discovered yesterday.  One of those was the discovery of the City of David in 1867 by British archaeologist, Charles Warren.

In March, CBN produced a piece that describes that discovery and its significance as a “jubilee” event.  They recount the story much better than me, so I hope you will take 5 minutes to enjoy the video or the written account you will find here:

Prophecy Fulfilled: City of David ‘Shakes off the Dust’

347 - Walls of City of David

Part of a wall at the City of David

God is faithful to His people…and He is faithful to you and me!  I pray you are encouraged as you see and hear the account of the rediscovery of the City of David.  It is an incredible place and has the fingerprints of the God of Israel all over it!

Israel’s Jubilee Years

We recently celebrated Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) and referenced this as a year of jubilee for Israel.  But what exactly is a Jubilee Year?  Let’s go to Leviticus 25:8-11 for insight:

“You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years…. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you…

Context is important, so let’s be faithful Bible students.  The Lord is speaking to Moses regarding Sabbaths and special days that Israel is to observe.  Here, He is talking specifically about the Day of Atonement and the proclamation of liberty. In the following verses, the Lord exhorts Israel to keep His statutes in order to dwell securely in the land.  (Read about the Principle of Righteousness)

Dwelling in the land is a big deal, as God promised the inheritance of the land we call Israel to the Jewish people (via the Abrahamic Covenant).  Furthermore, Jerusalem has long been the religious and political capital of Israel, yet it has been conquered by others who occupied, though never named it as a capital city. Thus, the idea of Jubilee years has to do with 50 year spans in which the Jews should celebrate liberation, and be reminded of God’s great promises.

This year is the 50th anniversary (a year of jubilee) of the reunification of Jerusalem, and its return to Israeli control, as a result of the Six Day War victory in 1967.  What a celebration the nation of Israel enjoyed!

God’s Word promises that Israel will live securely in the land in the last days (Ezekiel 34:27-28, Ezekiel 38:8-11).  After the Romans wrested control of Jerusalem from Israel in 70 AD, it appeared God’s promise had failed.  So much for jubilees to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness.

But that all changed, and it happened in a series of Jubilee years, beginning in 1867.  Let’s look at those years:

  •  1867: After years of lying desolate, no one seemed to have any interest in the land currently known as Israel.  But in 1867, Captain Charles Warren of the British Royal Engineers, made a key discovery.  The Ottoman’s prohibited excavation of Temple Mount, but Warren encovered a massive fortification south of Temple Mount.  For nearly 2,000 years no one knew where the ancient City of David was, and most assumed it to be within the Old City of Jerusalem.  That discovery confirmed the Biblical record that this was the place from which King David ruled (prior to Solomon’s building of the Temple on Temple Mount).  Indeed, the God of Israel is faithful!  (We’ll take a more in-depth look at current excavations at the City of David tomorrow, so come back for that!)
  • 1917: One hundred years ago, Jerusalem was controlled by the Ottoman empire.  The British fought various battles and eventually secured Jerusalem.  In December of that year, British General Edmund Allenby (a devout Christian), entered Jaffa Gate on foot, rather than horseback or vehicle, in honor and reverence of the Old City.  Meanwhile, in a letter from UK’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild (a leader in the Jewish community) called for a national home for the Jewish people, to be established in Palestine (Israel).  That led to a formal declaration promising to support “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”  Is it coincidence that this occurred 50 years following the discovery of the City of David and its significance to the promises of God?  I don’t think so!
  • 1967: The ultimate jubilee…to date!  Jerusalem is reunified and reestablished as the capital city of Israel!  God’s promises seemed totally unachievable after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the subsequent 2,000 years of Gentile rule in the Jewish city.  But rejoice in this Jubilee Year!  God has proven Himself faithful once again!

Despite the fact that Jerusalem has been trampled by Gentiles (Luke 21:24), ultimately the Lord will be faithful to preserve the City of Jerusalem for His people.  In fact, it will be in Jerusalem that every nation will go up year after year to worship the King!  (Zechariah 14:16)  Oh, praise His name this Jubilee Year!