By Jeffery Berg
In Matthew 23:37-39, the Lord Jesus made a very grim prediction of the future events of the Holy City, Jerusalem. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house (the Temple) is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Not long after Jesus made this statement, the Romans torched the second Temple in 70 c.e., Jerusalem was toppled, and its inhabitants driven into the Diaspora (Dispersion). To this day the book of Lamentations is read on Tisha B’ Av, the anniversary of the destruction of both Temples. The book of Lamentations in Hebrew is entitled, “Eycha,” with a gutteral “ch.” Eycha means “How?” It is an exclamation of grief! Another way of looking at it is, “How could this happen??” This is the first word of the book. “How doth the city (Jerusalem) sit solitary that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princes among the provinces, how is she become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheecks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends hath dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.”(Lamentations, Eycha, 1:1,2). How?? This is the question Jewish people who yearn for this beloved city have been asking to this day. In the article I want to address the eternal question, How?? Did God forsake His city? What is the present role of the city in God’s prophetic plan?
For over 2,000 years the city of Jerusalem, known as “The City of Gold, The City of the Great King,” has not had its Temple or control of the Temple Mount since 70 c.e. The city and the nation have been occupied by the Romans, the Turks, and others until 1948. Even when Israel became a nation again in 1948, Israel was only in control of the western half of the city. In the six day war of 1967, Jerusalem became reunited as one city for the first time in all those years. Remember, Israel is a sovereign nation. Israel exercised its sovereignty and proclaimed the united Jerusalem the nation’s capital. The United States and the other world powers have not recognized Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. These nations are still pulling the puppet strings on what Israel can and cannot do with Jerusalem. The Bible holds the unconditional promise of the Abrahamic Covenant that the Land, including all disputed territories and Jerusalem, belong to the Jewish people. In the end, God will have the last say and judge the nations of the world in their treatment of Israel. Read Joel chapter three and Matthew 25:31-46.
The first question we need to ask is: “Did God forsake His city?”
In God’s eternal plan, His heart has always been upon His glorious city. The Torah says, “A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:12). In Psalm 48:8, there is another emphasis on God’s promise for His city. “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of Hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it forever.” Psalm 125:1 also gives assurance. “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, (Jerusalem), which cannot be removed, but abideth forever.” We as Christians believe our salvation is secure, we will never loose it. The writer of this Psalm highly emphasizes that our salvation is as secure as Jerusalem is in God’s hands. We must believe that the Bible, The Word of God, is our authority. Despite what we have read about in history for the past 2,000 years concerning Jerusalem’s difficult past, God continues to work out His plan for His city.
Since Jerusalem is “The City of The Great King,” why would God allow His city to be overrun by various nations (the Goyim) and tyrants all these years? Even though united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, why do the Goyim of the world cast judgment on the decisions made by its city leaders? Messiah Jesus answers these age old questions in Luke 21:24. “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations (the scattering): and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The “Times of the Gentiles,” is the period in which Jerusalem would be under the dominion of the Goyim, Gentile nations. Please read Ezekiel 30:3 where “The times of the Gentiles” is mentioned. Many Bible scholars, Christian and Jewish, believe this Gentile dominion over Jerusalem goes back to the time of the destruction of the first Temple in 586 B.C.E. This is where our article begins, with Lamentations 1:1. The prophet Daniel describes it best with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image and Daniel’s vision of the beasts in chapters 2 and 7 of the book of Daniel. The “Times of the Gentiles” will end with the coming of the Messiah to establish His reign in Jerusalem. He will usher in the Kingdom of Israel in all its glory that will last for 1,000 years. Moshiach will be coming to judge the nations who have tormented Israel all these years. This will be HaShem’s “War on Terror.” No nation or international leader will be able to tell Jesus, “Use restraint” or “That was a disproportionate response.” The “high towers” of the mosques will be coming down, (Isaiah 2:15). One of the best depictions of Messiah’s coming to judge the Goyim and bring in Israel’s redemption is in Isaiah 63:1-6 and Revelation 14:14-20. As Messiah brings in the long awaited redemption for Israel, the saved remnant respond in Isaiah 64 to His Holy “Kashrut,” “Kosher-Cleansing.” “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6). The Holy Spirit opens their eyes and hearts to the Heavenly Redeemer, Yeshua, Jesus. The national blindness is unshackled! It is soley God alone that does it out of His eternal chesed, covenant love, for His people. The redemption has to occur in order for the regathering to happen.
Jerusalem’s regathering: There are several passages that can be brought out to show God’s faithfulness in regathering Jerusalem. “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation, (Yeshua-Jesus), thereof as a lamp that burneth.” (Isaiah 62:1). “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6,7). “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice with joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne on her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:10-13). Messiah Jesus will be reigning from the Throne of David, and Jerusalem will be the focal point of the earth. Psalm 122:6 will finally be fulfilled, “Pray for the peace, (shalom), of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Jerusalem’s shalom will be fulfilled. The Heavenly Davidic Throne will be seated in Jerusalem, and the Land shall be married, or be made whole, with Messiah reigning. (Isaiah 62:4).
As we observe what is going on in Jerusalem today, there are a lot of plans and schemes by world leaders. They would like to see Jerusalem divided once again in order to make it a capital for a national Palestine. If there is a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, the Arab world would like sole control of the Temple Mount and use it as a jewel for Islam. On Israel’s side, there is a strong Zionistic voice that is pleading with the government, “Don’t give it away!” This voice is being heard from Jewish people around the world and from devoted Christian Zionists who love the Jewish people and the Land. Revelation chapter 12 is important to read in order to understand the spiritual warfare that is taking place concerning the Land and the City of God. Remember, the Dragon would like to devour “The Woman, Israel” and take The City. For Christians, there is an important prayer command to obey:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee.”