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“At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem : .” – Jeremiah 3:17
A TROUBLED PRESENT
The July, 2000 Camp David peace negotiations between Yasser Arafat, representing the Palestinians and Ehud Barak, the Prime Minister of Israel failed. No agreements were concluded on any of the substantive issues, chief of which is the status of the city of Jerusalem. The Israeli position on that item is that Jerusalem is the eternal, undivided capital of Israel.
The Palestinian position is that the pre 1967 6 Day War portion of Jerusalem (east Jerusalem along with the Temple Mount and its immediate precincts), should be returned by Israel to the Palestinian Arabs - to become the capital of the soon to be declared State of Palestine.
The failed talks threaten a return to terrorism by the Palestinians and consequent reprisals by Israel – a tit for tat long drawn out war of attrition, wherein no one wins and all lose. Neither leader desires this to happen, yet neither are able to make the bold concessions which may ensure a lasting peace, for both stand in danger of assassination and at least, political demise.
The Arabs will not let Y Arafat accept less than a return of all the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 War, and the Jews will not let Barak give back more than a token of the captured land, and then only with proven guarantees of ‘accepting’ the State of Israel and providing it with lasting peace and security.
In short, both sides are being asked to accept the reality of the presence of the other as a sovereign State, and to make whatever concessions are necessary to ensure the continuance in peace for the security and prosperity of the other.
In the Hebrew, Jerusalem is Yerushalom meaning ‘City or Vision of Peace or Tranquility’. Yet its 3,000 year history has seldom seen either peace or tranquility - but rather war, destruction, death and trouble.
A CHEQUERED HISTORY
WHY HAS THE CITY, 1. That the LORD chose to place his Name (YAHWEH) there (2 Kings 21:4,7); 2. That housed the glorious temple of Solomon (2 Chronicles chs. 3 to 5); and 3. That became the capital of the Kingdom of God and of Israel under the great king David (1 Chronicles 11:4-9), become a city of division, of war, distress and calamity (2 Chronicles 36:17-19; Luke 21:20-24) .
The answer to that question is as important as the question. The peace predicted in Jerusalem’s very name was not an unconditional, but a conditional peace. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" – (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21). Whereas present Israel wants ‘peace with security’, God wants peace as a result of righteousness, a situation of things that will assuredly come to pass in Messiah’s Day. (Isaiah 32:17).
There can be no peace without righteousness, for individuals or nations, even for God’s chosen nation and His chosen city. The prophet Isaiah ‘saw’ that terrible things were to come upon Judah and Jerusalem for the people’s rebellion and sin and he appealed for repentance and cleansing (Isaiah 1:1-20). Jerusalem and its people have suffered terribly time and time again, down the ages - all because the great lesson of ‘peace with righteousness’ has not been learnt despite much sorrow.
Truly, ‘whoever refuses to learn the lessons of history is condemned to make the same mistakes’.
A GLORIOUS DESTINY
Yet there is a marvellous future in store for Jerusalem It will cease to be a Vision of Peace and become a City of Peace – but only when its people turn back to God – believing Him and obeying Him. This is a work of God which He, through His Son, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, will effect at His coming. (Isaiah 1:25 to 2:4; Romans 11:25-32).
Then Jerusalem will become the glorious capital of the kingdom of God and of Christ, (Jeremiah 3:17), and the peace that God has always desired for Jerusalem and its people, will become a reality. (Jeremiah 29:11; Luke 19:42; Zechariah 14:21).
THE CITY OF THE COMING GREAT KING
Jesus Christ our Lord believed these things for he believed “all that the prophets have spoken”, (Luke 24:25-27). That is why he taught his disciples not to make vows by Jerusalem “for it is the city of the great King,” (Matthew 5:35). After 1. His coming again to earth; 2. the resurrection; 3. the Judgement; and 4. the salvation of Israel, the Master will make Jerusalem “the throne of the LORD”; will cause it to be “safely inhabited”, and will make “all nations to come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts” – (Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 14:11, 17).
WE SHOULD PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM
David, the great King of Israel, was also Israel’s greatest Psalmist. He wrote many of the 150 Psalms, and in them his interest, concern and love for Jerusalem shines through. In Psalm 122 –6 he calls upon his people to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee”. He refers to the city in that Psalm, 10 times. “Peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces” (v.7). David believed earnestly in the Kingdom of God to come. So should we and so should we pray for Jerusalem’s peace, which the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ will bring at His coming.
We should also pray: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
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