Jerusalem Day

 

 

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
Our feet have been standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem is built
As a city that is compact together …

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.”
                    (Ps. 122:1-6)

History

Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967. It is celebrated on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar. This year, on May 23-24, Jerusalem will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.

In 1947, under the UN Partition Plan, the establishment of two states was proposed: a Jewish state and an Arab state. Jerusalem was to be declared an international city, neither exclusively Arab nor Jewish. This status was to last for ten years, and then a referendum was to be held among Jerusalem residents to decide which country Jerusalem would join. The Jewish leadership accepted this plan, including the special status of Jerusalem, but the Arabs rejected the proposal.

In 1948, as soon as the independence of Israel was declared, it was attacked by its Arab neighbors. By the end of this war – the Independence War – the Old City and East Jerusalem were left occupied by Jordan. Therefore, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan.

The situation changed in 1967 as a result of the Six-Day War. On June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem. Later that day, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared the words that are often quoted during Yom Yerushalayim:

This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace.

The Six-Day War ended with a ceasefire on June 11, 1967.

Abraham Had Two Sons . . .

There will be many celebratory events held throughout the city on Jerusalem Day. Yet, with all the coming festivities and joy of this day, there is still a wound in my heart – because there is still a wound in the heart of my city.

The King James translation of the verse from Psalm 122 – the verse I used as an epigraph to this article – is the verse that is often quoted on Jerusalem day. However, translating the Hebrew verb “hubra” with “compact”, does not really express the intense meaning of the original text: Jerusalem is a city that is tied, connected, bound together; “bound firmly together”, I found in one of the translations.  At least this is God’s design for His city. Unfortunately, this is not our reality. Who knows better than we, Jews and Arabs living in a conflict-torn Jerusalem of today, that our city is not “bound firmly together”.  Anyone who has ever been to Jerusalem knows very well that there is a highway number 1 winding through the city and dividing it into two parts: West and East Jerusalem.

I am not involved in politics, and I am not planning to discuss politics on this blog,   and I can assure you, this is not about politics – it’s about God’s Word and God’s plan, and therefore my heart is pained every time I hear this Psalm. Jerusalem has to be a city bound firmly together. Abraham had two sons[1], and both sons have a part to play in Abraham’s family and in God’s plan. Neither can be excluded, whether from the family or from the plan – both are essential. Certainly, they will not play the same part:  the sons were very different and their destinies were also very different. However, the family picture will not be complete until they are both represented. We live together in this city, and Jerusalem day has to be a celebration for all Jerusalem residents. Both sons need to be present in the family picture. Then, and only then, will this picture become complete.

 

Jesus’ Tears

During last month, marking all the special days that our country observes in April/May, I already spoke about Jesus’ tears over Jerusalem in Luke 19: “He saw the city and wept over it”. This episode is crucial for those who want to understand His heart and His love for His people. I’ve shared with you that years ago, my book about God’s tears over Israel’s suffering (“If you are the Son of God…”) started from the realization (revelation) of this simple and obvious fact, that I had never before considered: In the entire New Testament, Jesus weeps only twice – once here over Jerusalem, and once over Lazarus (“Jesus wept”). There are no accidents in the Word of God: Through the tears of Jesus, repeated twice, the election and destiny of Israel is reflected in the election and destiny of Lazarus.  Although Jesus knows that, in a short time Lazarus will be resurrected, He weeps at the tomb over the pain His beloved friend has had to endure on the path to his resurrection. He weeps over this seemingly insurmountable contradiction of the two realities: the inner and outer, the invisible and visible, God’s and man’s. In God’s invisible, spiritual reality Lazarus is chosen and beloved, but here in the visible, physical, human reality he is abandoned and rejected by the Lord, and not only that, he is dead.

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem with the same tears of love and compassion that He wept over Lazarus. He weeps over the same contradiction of the two realities: in the visible, physical, human reality Israel will seem abandoned and rejected by the Lord – while in God’s invisible, spiritual reality she remains chosen and beloved. Abraham having two sons, both a natural one and a supernatural one, was also a prophetic picture of God having two sons: the natural son and the supernatural Son – and God loves both sons dearly.

 

For Jerusalem

                     See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;

                       Your walls are continually before Me.

Is. 49.16

 

When the tumult was stilled across the land,

Silent tears the only trace of her wails,

Your walls, forever engraved on My hand,

Prepared to be pierced by the nails.

Muffled cries break through the morning calm:

Blood streamed down that Passover Eve;

And the nail that was thrust into My living palm

An eternal imprint would leave…

In the sun’s blackened glare, sightless man could not see,

To the blind to perceive was not given,

That in pounding that nail to the cross first through Me,

Into your walls it was driven.

 

*       *       *

Having now risen, I still bear the stain

Of those marks bestowed then by mankind;

On the palms of My hands your walls yet remain:

With those old rusty scars you’re aligned.

Full of envy and spite, and indifferent to them,

No wounds the blind world recalls,

Driving those same ancient nails, O Jerusalem,

Fearlessly into your walls.

And once again, they know not what they do

To Me, Who sees all whence I stand:

Every time that they target your walls, they renew

The pain in the palm of My hand.

 

[1] Gal.4:22

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

You might also be interested in:

Abraham In Egypt (lech Lecha...

By Julia Blum

Lech Lecha – God’s...

By Julia Blum

Join the conversation (15 comments)

Leave a Reply

  1. Fiona da Rocha

    Hello Julia,
    Thank you for you for sharing your thoughts and emotions over Yerushalim; I am going through a study of Isaiah and everyday, my hear weeps over the lack of true understanding of the importance of Israel, amongst some of the Christian Community, despite the clarity with which our Father and Yeshua spoke and wept over the Land and People…

    This post had the same affect, but I know that Hashem is Sovereign and has plans that do not depend on us …Hallelujah! However, if we have not understood that Hashem and His People are one, and that our attitude towards His People has a bearing in eternity (not on our Salvation, but when we realise that everything in Eternity reflects what He has instituted through His People) , How we will be ‘cut to the heart’!!! To finally understand that all we have done to His People, we have done to Him!!!

    This life is but a preparation of our hearts,minds and attitudes towards all that He has prepared for us in Eternity….reading Isaiah and your post is a sobering emphasis..

  2. Felix Twum Antwi

    Dear Julia,
    I equally share your pain over Jerusalem; and it grieves my heart knowing that the Arab mosque is standing exactly where the first and the second temples were standing.
    This is no politics, this is for real and it’s worth saying.
    Probably one of the reason why Jesus wept over Jerusalem, because in Luke 21:6, He predicted that the temple would be grounded to “ground zero” and He sounded like as if there ain’t going to be a trace of any temple.
    Again, as He weeps these are His exact words “if you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Lk. 19:42-44)
    Today, what do we see? The children of Jacob praying at the bottom of Mount Moriah where their great grand father Abraham ascended to sacrificed and worshipped?
    And we call the Holy place “wailing Wall”.
    Why WAILING? This is my question to you now, dear Julia.
    Thanks
    Felix Twum Antwi.

  3. Jeanette

    Shalom………Shalom………Shalom……..The first I have to say ” Thank you to our Father in Jesus Christ, His our Creator,amen. I’m Jeanette from Australia originally I’m Indonesian were our country is majority Moslem. I’m a Christian I was grow up in Pentecost Church in Indonesia.And I’m interested about Israel/ Jews and we call Jahudi as well. I like the story of them I was respected. Israel was the children’s of God/Israel was God promised. Amen. Most of the time I pray for Israel . As the God was spoke in the Bible ” Who’s bless Israel I will bless them, who’s curse Israel ,I will curse them. From those words I believed that Israel Nations is God belove sons. Amen. Hallelujah.

    1. Julia Blum

      Shalom Jeanette, welcome to these pages. Thank you for interest and thank you for your prayers for Israel. I hope, you will find this blog educational and helpful.

  4. Dorothy Healy

    Indeed, Markham, He means ALL NATIONS! The vexing issue over the land, and especially over Jerusalem, will only be resolved when Israel rises into her true spiritual identity and destiny, and that will only happen when the LORD removes the veil from her eyes. The day will come when the whole world comes to the realization that their greatest blessing will flow out of honouring Israel as she embraces her Messiah, and takes hold of her true destiny. Profound indeed! As Gay says, we, the church, should be in much prayer for HIS original chosen people. I believe our prayer is vital in the outworking of the LORD’s plan of salvation for ALL nations. The world thinks this is a political issue – it is not! The ’67 six-day war was a miracle indeed.

    1. Julia Blum

      I couldn’t agree more, Dorothy: even though the world sees and perceives it as politics, it’s not a political issue – it’s about God’s word and God’s plan. That’s why the battle is so fierce – and that’s why we know that the victory will be His.

  5. Kate Hawkins

    Blessings Julia!

    Great insight… more & more connections..
    How blessed are we to learn these levels, layer upon layer
    of the depth of His Word.

    Jerusalem, Jerusalem!
    Lift up your gates and sing
    Hosanna, in the highest
    Hosanna to the King…

    ‘See ‘ you Mon night ( Aussie time )
    Bless,
    Kate

    1. Julia Blum

      You are so right Kate, I am also always amazed by these endless layers and incredible depth of His word! Thank you for your kind words!

  6. Markham.Adams

    when YHWH promised Abraham that “all nations” will be Blessed, YHWH indeed means All Nations

  7. David Meyer

    Hi Julia,

    So beautiful and compassionate. Todah Rabba

  8. Gay Ford

    Wow! How beautiful are these precious words of enlightenment that HE has given to you as they are also shared with us! I get it as well as now Know even more how to Pray for both Jews and us grafted in Gentiles! This just makes the Word of G- d come more Alive for HIS Glory and our understanding! This was always HIS plan! But how much more should we as the children of The Gentile race be Praying for HIS own children chosen from Abraham the Jewish race!! If HE blinded your eyes for HIS timing for us heathens, How Much More should we be in Prayer as well as Praying for HIS original chosen people HE called to go and show Who HE is! Now may we come together !! My cry as well S my plea! I have cried out Ps. 122 for years as well as taught my Church that we must! When we read Rm. 11 and the Covenant there how can we know as well as believe if HE does Not Keep HIS Covenant with you HIS Jews, why do we think HE will with us Gentiles!
    Thank you for helping us to understand these Greater Hebrew Words to grow closer to WHO HE is in HIS Word from Genesis to Revelation……..the Whole Word of our Creator G- d!! Again, Thank you as you are very Precious in HIS Sight!! Gay Ford

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you so much Gay, I am always touched and blessed by your excitement!

  9. Nick

    Great blog points Julia! I think you are right on!
    Thanks,
    Nick

  10. Muzaffar Nazish

    Hi Julia,

    Greatly appreciated and enjoyed, very profound and insightful. I always enjoy reading your blogs.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Muzaffar, really appreciate it!