On your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
take no rest,
and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it a praise in the earth.
Today, my message is to Christians! If you stumbled upon this blog by accident, you are more than welcome to follow along. If you are not a Christ follower, or even if you are a skeptic, you may listen in on our “family” conversation. However, Christian friends, I’m talking to you today!
Those who studied with me through Why Israel Matters or who are involved in the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative know that Isaiah 62 instructs us as Christians to be watchmen on the wall for Israel. In fact, verses 6-7 tell us to take no rest and give God no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.
Our duty is to pray for Israel. We are to do so persistently until God establishes Jerusalem and makes her a praise in the earth. I have prayed that and taught that for several years now, yet the Lord ignited a new flame in my gut while attending the ICEJ Summer Conference last weekend. So, I want to spread the flame!
The theme of this year’s conference centered around a passage from Psalm 102:
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come….
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
…that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
~Psalm 102:12-13, 18, 21-22
Together with the Isaiah 62 passage, this Psalm came alive to me in a new way! Both passages are very familiar, yet the Holy Spirit pulled back the veil of familiarity to enable me to compile new depths of truth, particularly in light of the Jubilee year of celebration of the reunification of Jerusalem.
Psalm 102 is a prayer of lament, beseeching God to hear prayers and not to hide His face in days of distress. The Psalmist knew that the Lord would arise and have pity on Zion. But that didn’t remove the distress!
Throughout Israel’s history, there has been distress, and throughout history, God has invited His people to pray to Him. But what is astounding to me is the way the Lord continually invites us Gentiles to join in His business with His people! In Isaiah 62, He calls us “watchmen on the walls” for Israel’s sake, and He wants our attention all night and all day. As we put the Lord in remembrance, we are encouraged to bug the living daylights out of Him (I don’t think He’s bugged!) until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her a praise in the earth!
Well, get this: He has established Jerusalem! Though He may not be done fully establishing her, Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli control in 1967, and in 1980, Israel’s Knesset declared Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of Israel! Furthermore, Jerusalem has never been the capital city of any kingdom or nation other than Israel!
To re-cap a bit of history:
- King David reigned from Jerusalem in ancient times, making it the official capital of the kingdom in 1003BC.
- Jerusalem remained the capital for 400 years until conquered by the Babylonians.
- Jerusalem again served as the capital when the Jews returned from captivity in 538BC.
- At the time of Christ, Rome ruled, followed by the Byzantines (until the mid-600’s AD)…both of whom ruled from Caesarea, not Jerusalem.
- Under Muslim Arab rule (638 – 1099AD), Israel was ruled from Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo.
- During the 1250-1516AD rule of the Mamluks, the land was ruled from Damascus.
- In Ottoman times (1517-1917AD) the capital was Constantinople.
- Under British rule (1922-1948), Jerusalem was home to the High Commissioner, but not recognized as a capital city.
- Israel declared statehood in 1948, but was attacked by 5 Arab countries the next day. The city was divided, and the eastern portion (including Temple Mount and the rest of the Old City) was annexed by Jordan, who ruled from their own capital city of Amman. The western sector of Jerusalem became Israel’s capital.
- In 1967, with Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian tanks sitting on her borders, Israel carried out a preemptive strike and the Six Day War ended with Israel taking back all of Jerusalem (as well as other territory), and for the first time since the Romans drove the Jews out of the land, Jerusalem was back in the hands of the Jewish people!
Throughout history, God was establishing Jerusalem, not as just any city, but as the capital city of His empire! After all, He has put His name upon that city…it is His! (2 Kings 21:4, 7, 2 Kings 23:27, 2 Chronicles 6:6) I don’t believe He is done “establishing” just yet, but Jerusalem is now under Israeli control, and despite political incorrectness, Israel has declared Jerusalem to be her capital city!
Now, consider Psalm 102 (above). Indeed, God is enthroned forever and can do as He pleases. But, what pleases Him is when His people hear and follow His instruction. He wants to include us in His business!
Because He is enthroned and can do as He wishes, He has arisen to show favor to Zion! The appointed time has come! But friends, that is where you and I need to understand something! It is time to declare the name of God in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem! God is fulfilling prophecy right before our eyes.
In Isaiah 62, we are told to pray until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. I don’t fully know all that God does with prayer, but when HIS name is declared in Zion, Jerusalem will be a praise in the earth! The appointed time has come, fellow Christians! Rise up in prayer for Israel. From a distant land we can declare His name over the city of Jerusalem. This is our time of obedience to Him. Don’t miss the appointed time!