On 9 Av 586 BCE/BC, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the First Temple. Nearly 50 years ago, on June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), during the Six-Day War, Israel regained control of biblical east Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Israel, for the first time in more than 2,500 years, was in complete control of the entire city. Within a few days, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan gave control of the Temple Mount back to the Moslems, while maintaining Israeli sovereignty over it. Thirteen years later, Israel adopted its “Basic Law: Jerusalem“, declaring, “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel”.
If the above had happened in any other nation, it wouldn’t have garnered much attention from the rest of the world. But it didn’t happen in just any other nation. It happened in the nation of Israel. Because of this, the entire world is in an uproar.
On November 29, 1947 — six months before the declaration of the State of Israel — the United Nations passed Resolution 181 (II). One of the main points of this resolution was the establishment of Jerusalem as a “corpus separatum” (“body of separate covenant”). This means, basically, that the UN separated the city of Jerusalem from the rest of the world and created a separate covenant for it. This has never been done before in all of history. In 1950 the UN adopted the “Statute for the City of Jerusalem“ setting forth the regulations for the administration of the city of Jerusalem by the United Nations. It would be an international city; it would not be linked to, or controlled by, any nation or government except the United Nations.
Why would the world be so concerned with an ancient city like Jerusalem? It is located approximately 27 miles inland from the coast. It has no natural resources. Most of it is built upon the ruins of previous structures. What makes it so important that the United Nations would set it apart from any other city or nation in the entire world?
The interesting aspect is that Jerusalem has never been important to the nations unless it was important to Israel. When Israel started to return to the Land in large numbers during the late 1800’s, the nations began to stir. It was just a little more than 50 years later that the UN adopted its “Statute for the City of Jerusalem“.
The importance of Jerusalem lies in its spiritual aspect, not its physical makeup. It is a city that lives and responds to the Holy One of Israel. God declares to Ezekiel how He had mercy on Jerusalem, how He blessed her and made a covenant with her (Ezekiel 16:6-14). Jeremiah laments of her misery and suffering after God judged her (Lamentations 1:1-22). Yet God declared that He will not forget Jerusalem; He will establish an everlasting covenant with her (Ezekiel 16:60-63). Jerusalem is the center of the earth, according to the LORD (Ezekiel 5:5). Its very existence continually proves that there is a God and that He will judge every man and hold him accountable for his deeds.
God has declared that Jerusalem is the place from which He will reign: “At that time, they shall call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of LORD'”” (Jeremiah 3:17a). The LORD said He was “exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion” (Zechariah 1.14). Many of the prophets spoke of the LORD’s return to Jerusalem. The LORD declared through Zechariah, “’I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it’, declares the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 1.16a; see also Zechariah 2.12; 8.3). More than 4,000 years ago Abraham understood the importance of the city when he declared that Mount Moriah, in the midst of Jerusalem, would be the place where God will be seen” (Genesis 22:14).
Yet God also declared that Jerusalem would be a problem for the nations of the world: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3). The LORD also gave warning of His judgment against those who come against Jerusalem: “And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:9); “Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.” (Zechariah 14:12).
Jerusalem is important to the Holy One of Israel. It is the place that He has chosen to dwell in the midst of His creation. It is also the place where He will judge the nations.
Does this scenario sound familiar? It should. It is happening in our very day. Literally all of the nations of the world are gathering against Israel. The line has been drawn in the sand. It is the people of the God of Israel standing against all the nations of the world. Whose side will you be on? This is not the time to be straddling the fence. Now is the time to make a stand. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for through her peace will come the peace of the world. Enter into the battle, put on the full armor of God. Stand and see the salvation of the LORD.
Written by Lee Underwood (originally published in The Tzemach Letter – March/April 2002)