Great Cities of the World
The creativity God gave to humanity is truly remarkable. But, then, the Lord is The Creator … of all things. And he created us in his image. Although we tend to focus on innovation that produces music, paintings, sculptures, and literature (fiction, non-fiction), everyone is gifted in some way or another. Each person has a special intelligence; an aptitude to be or do something better or different than most.
I am particularly impressed with those who design and build (architects, draftsmen, engineers, contractors, and craftsmen) such things as automobiles, ships, trains, airplanes, giant cranes, and intricate equipment and machinery of all kinds. But especially buildings— spectacular skyscrapers, colossal castles, beautiful museums, exquisite galleries, grand theatres, splendid stadiums, luxurious hotels, and just ordinary houses, that one after another grow into great cities all over the earth.
One of my favorite television programs is called Aerial America, which began as a flyover (with a historical narrative) of every state in the United States; and, recently, has morphed into Aerial Cities. There’s nothing like the stunning vista of mountains, valleys, canyons, rivers, lakes, prairies, landmarks, buildings, and entire cities from the air.
Preferring an aisle seat when flying, I, nevertheless, peer left or right through an airplane window to view the city as we approach it. The experience gives visual validation to the maxim: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The geographic size and demographic population of dozens of large cities world-wide is staggering. Because there’s more than one criterion to measure the size of a city, on-line statistical sites vary in their rankings of cities by population. But there seems to be near-unanimous consensus of the largest city in the world. Do you know which one it is?
In answer to that question, the web-site I chose was www.worldatlas.com
Answer: Tokyo, Japan. By far. Population: 38,001,000.
The next largest: Delhi, India, 25,703,168.
Third place: Shanghai, China, 23.740,778.
Sixth place: Mexico City, 20,998,543.
New York City sits in 10th place: 18,593,220. Paris, 25th place at 10,843,285. And London comes in at number 28: 10,313,307.
(Seoul, South Korea … population nearly 10 million)
These and others are considered great cities, at least in terms of the first definition of great as found in Webster’s Dictionary: “Notably large in size.”
Now, some shocking news: with a sudden shift to the final (21st) and most devastating of God’s judgments portrayed in the apocalyptic book of Revelation. I’ve quoted this passage in a few Eye of Prophecy articles, including an article that dealt extensively with the man-made carnage plus God’s wrath poured out on a wicked world—during a seven-year period that will be more devastating than all previous man-made and natural calamities combined: Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (Posted 6-6-15).
“Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And a great earthquake struck—the worse since people were placed on the earth. The great city Babylon (Rome) split into three sections, and the cities of many nations fell into heaps of rubble … And every island disappeared, and the mountains were all leveled. There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing as much as seventy-five pounds fell from the sky on the people below” (Revelation 16:18-21, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).
Can you wrap your mind around what you just read? I hope you can do a better job that I have, as indicated in the following excerpt from the article referenced above (in italics):
Every time I read it, I shake my head in disbelief. I repeat the words, but they still do not compute. My imagination lags far behind the stunning reality of it all.
I went on to say:
Once again, absolutely incredible! Not just cities all over the earth crumbling into rubble, or every single island—think of the Hawaiian Islands—completely disappearing (giant tsunamis that not only inundate but sink the islands), and all the earth’s mountains flattened into level plains. No, that isn’t what causes the unrepentant who are left on the earth to curse God once again. It was the giant hailstones that obviously were even more devastating than the other colossal calamities.
An Intriguing Correlation
Jesus gave a lengthy answer to his disciples’ question, “…What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).
Early in his response, Jesus used the following analogy: “But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Verse 8).
In the 20th century, we experienced the first of the birth pains. Some, like the rebirth of Israel, are exceptionally good. Others, like two World Wars and countless other wars, rumors of war, and international terrorism are not good (to say the least).
In this 21st century, I firmly believe we are in the more to come phase of labor pains. One of the more to come is the completion of the coalition that has recently begun to take shape with what many considered to be an unlikely, if not impossible, alliance between Russia, Iran, and Turkey—the three prominent nations of the Gog/Magog confederation.
(Let’s admit it men, we’ve never worked–labored this hard in our life)
Messiah’s analogy to a woman’s birth pangs is precisely what’s happening in our world. The contractions (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis) are increasing in record numbers and severity. The painful spasms of wars and rumors of war and ethnic rivalries continue with kaleidoscope intensity. But birth pains also signal that something so very good is about to happen. Concerning God’s providential purpose and plan for humanity, it is the birth of the Kingdom of God on earth, headquartered in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, The City That God Loves Above All Cities on Earth
The rebirth of Israel (May 14, 1948) as a sovereign nation was both miraculous and peculiar.
This is how the Lord foretold it through the prophet Isaiah:
“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it? Asks the Lord. No! I would never keep this nation from being born, says your God” (Isaiah 66:7-9, notice that Israel and Jerusalem are inseparable in this birth process).
That’s exactly what has transpired with Israel; she was reborn in record time—one day. Then after her birth, the labor pains began in the form of intense persecution from surrounding Muslim nations resulting in four major wars and subsequent suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, and BDS actions that continue to this day.
This paradoxical birth was extraordinarily evident this past Monday. Some 800 Israeli and United States officials celebrated Israel’s 70th anniversary as a nation. At the same time tens of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza (now in its seventh week of rioting) stormed the fenced border, and certainly not as peaceful protestors. In an acceleration of this rampage, Palestinians hurled firebombs, grenades, and stones at IDF troops. They fired guns toward the IDF and attempted to plant land mines near the fence. Many brought with them cutting tools to breach the fence. And they continue to attach fire bags to kites and fly them into Israel. Thus far, hundreds of acres of Israeli cropland have been destroyed.
Such a peaceful “Right of Return” march!
Sixty Palestinians were killed (most of them Hamas terrorists embedded in the huge crowd of Palestinians estimated at 40,000, with some “civilians” paid by Hamas to breach the fence) by the IDF who has every right to defend their people against the real intention of Hamas. To attack and overrun Israelis—many of whom live only a short distance from the border.
(For the past six weeks, every day that Palestinians march on the border, they burn tires–a literal smokescreen to try to breach the border fence)
The next day (May 15th), even more Palestinians were to march on Israel, as it was Nakba Day (Arabic for day of disaster). In remembrance of the Arab’s painful defeat when five Muslim countries attacked newborn Israel on May 15th, the day after Israel declared statehood.
Instead of the projected 100,000, only about 4,000 Palestinians showed up. Two more Palestinians died while attempting to breach the fence.
What happened? Why the drastic (fortunate) reduction in the number of Palestinians streaming to Israel’s border?
What happened is something the mainstream media has not fully reported; however, a handful of media outlets have. The following excerpts are from a May 16th, 2018 article by Daniel Siryoti posted in on-line news source Israel Hayom (in italics):
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was summoned urgently to Cairo Monday, where Egyptian officials severely admonished him over the terrorist’s group’s insistence on instigating violent demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza Strip border.
General Intelligence Service head Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel leveled scathing criticism at him over Hamas “riot policy.”
…Egyptian officials were stunned by the high number of casualties and angered by information provided by Israel that proved Hamas was paying civilians, including children, to place themselves in harm’s way by approaching the fence and clashing with IDF soldiers so as to allow Hamas operatives to blend into the crowd and try to carry out terrorist attacks….
Quoting the Egyptian official being interviewed, the article’s author writes:
“Kamel kept Haniyeh waiting outside his office. It was humiliating. When Haniyeh was finally called in, you could hear him (Kamel) yelling. Haniyeh didn’t answer back.
“Haniyeh was told, in no uncertain terms, that the blood of the dead was on his and (Hamas military leader) Yahya Sinwar’s head…”
The official said that “Haniyeh was stunned” by the Egyptian rebuke… Egyptian intelligence officers, “made it clear to him (Haniyeh) that the Hamas leadership will be held responsible for any more deaths in border riots. They told him history won’t forgive the Hamas leadership for such senseless deaths.
“Kamel demanded that Haniyeh order his people to cease the border riot campaign immediately. It was a very stern message,” the official said.
…As a result, the Nakba Day demonstrations on the border on Tuesday … were far less violent than expected.
Egypt still has a great deal of influence over Gaza Strip Palestinians and their terrorist organization Hamas, from the days when Egypt controlled Gaza almost exclusively. Despite Egyptian President Abdel el-Sissi and his government’s animosity toward the Muslim Brotherhood—the parent organization of Hamas—Egypt has allowed the Palestinians (under Hamas) to do pretty much want they wanted, in terms of hostility toward Israel. However, Egypt wants the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) Palestinian Authority to resume control of the Gaza Strip, something that could happen were it not for Hamas refusal to give up their weapons. A condition imposed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
(Photo of Mahmoud Abbas to the right and of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to the left. Among other tirades against Israel Haniyeh has said: “Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be removed and uprooted.” Some 4-5 years ago when his one-year old daughter was seriously ill to the point of death, he asked and was given permission by Israeli officials for his daughter to be treated in an Israeli hospital. They saved her life!)
Egypt is currently one of only two Muslim nations (Jordan is the other) that officially recognizes Israel has a sovereign nation. However, most Egyptians continue to loathe the idea of a Jewish State and many still deplore Jews as a people. Which makes Egypt’s ultra-harsh reprimand of Hamas’ leaders dumbfounding. Here we have a Muslim nation (Egypt) supporting the truth espoused by the United States and Israel and a couple of other nations like Australia: it is Hamas who is responsible for the death of their own people. As opposed to Muslim heads of state and several leaders of other nations (particularly in Europe) that are holding Israel exclusively responsible for the Palestinian deaths, because they refuse to accept or they lie about the obvious—this so-called right of return march is anything but peaceful. At the very least, they assert that Israel’s response is disproportionate.
Please see Eye of Prophecy article, The Right of Return … For Palestinian or Jew? Posted (4-7-18) during the first week of this march on Israel, which not only explained the ulterior motive and not so subtle methods of Hamas, but also dealt extensively with the real right of return belonging to the Jews.
Another unexpected event took place this past Wednesday: Hamas official Salah Bardawil admitted that 50 of the 60 Palestinians killed on Monday and Tuesday were members of Hamas. Weeks prior to that, Hamas refused to acknowledge that more than just a handful of those killed or injured up to that time were Hamas operatives. The connection of Egypt’s scathing criticism of Hamas’ top official (Haniyeh) to another Hamas official making this concession is unmistakable; as is the huge reduction of rioters on Tuesday. It’s deductively clear that Hamas made this admission to placate Egypt … by revealing that most of the Palestinians killed were Hamas agents, not Palestinian “civilians.”
At best this concession is a technicality, considering that non-Hamas Palestinians killed had either been paid by Hamas or ideologically and materially support terrorism. On the other hand, it exonerates Israel (not that Israel’s needs acquittal) from biased world-opinion that “innocent, non-violent” Palestinians are being indiscriminately wounded or killed.
The Heart of Israel Has Been Transplanted Back to Jerusalem
Let’s get back to the prophetically fulfilled good news that Israel is 70 years old, a significant generational benchmark of end-times prophecy. And in that context, a liberated, reunified Jerusalem is 50 years old, which is a representation of the 50-year Jubilee of Scripture (See Eye of Prophecy article, Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! Posted 1-23-16).
For nearly two thousand years, exiled Jews all over the world frequently and passionately exclaimed, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Beginning in 1948 and continuing in greater numbers to this day, many Jews are instead saying, “This year in Jerusalem!” (Here we are!) Nearly 6.5 million Jews are now living in the land promised to them by God, himself.
Said U.S. President Donald Trump in a video message played in Jerusalem during Israel’s 70th Birthday celebration on May 14th, this past Monday:
“Today, Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government; it is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli Supreme Court, and Israel’s prime minister and president. Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious. The plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. Today we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy to the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem.”
President Trump went on to say that the embassy opening was, “many, many years ahead of schedule.”
Said Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the ceremony: “What a glorious day for Israel. Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history you have made history. All of us are deeply moved, all of us are deeply grateful. The truth and peace are interconnected. A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish State.”
Although those in attendance were obviously focused on this remarkable historical achievement, they were not oblivious to what was happening at Israel’s border with Gaza. Said U.S. Middle-East Envoy Jared Kushner: “As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
That’s another way of saying that Palestinians in particular and others (Muslims and some national leaders even from Western nations) in general are not facing the reality that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years, long before Muhammad invented Islam as a religion. Let alone the absurd claim that Arabs were in Israel before the Jews. Or ignoring the equally embarrassing evidence that Jerusalem is not mentioned even one time in the Koran, as opposed to over six hundred references to Jerusalem in the Bible.
(See Eye of Prophecy article, The Myth of Al-Aqsa Mosque, posted 4-16-16. It is primarily this myth on which Muslims base their false narrative that Jerusalem belongs to Arabs and Muslims).
(Depiction of Muhammad’s fictitious night journey to heaven from Jerusalem)
Said Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, “America made the first courageous and bold move, and now we expect other states to follow. Do they want to take part in history or miss out? It’s theirs to decide, but Jerusalem is here to stay.”
I do not know whether Naftali Bennett has read Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel’s restoration and Jerusalem’s reunification as Israel’s capital. However, whether observant or secular, nearly all Israelis understand the monumental magnitude of Jerusalem as the physical and spiritual heart of Israel—indeed, of the entire world.
“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns … Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them” (Jeremiah 33:6-9).
The fulfillment of this prophecy and others like it is underway in our generation. Paving the way for an even more spectacular fulfillment of prophecy when Messiah Jesus returns as the King of all kings to rule and reign from Jerusalem.
“For this is what the Lord says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever” (Jeremiah 33:17).
God’s Providential Plan for Jerusalem’s Destiny
The striking significance of Jerusalem as the City of God, as the eternal capital of the Promised Land of Israel, cannot be emphasized enough. Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God for about four hundred years—in the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple on Temple Mount. It is to Jerusalem that Messiah Jesus will return to set up his Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace for 1,000 years, immediately after the Great Tribulation ends. It is in the New Jerusalem where the magnificent Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—will dwell throughout eternity with all those (Jew and Gentile) who have been redeemed by believing and receiving the salvation offered by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the substitutional sacrificial death of God’s Son, Yeshua.
Let’s examine Jerusalem’s prominence as promoted in Scripture in the framework of the following terms: Her Personification, Purpose, Protection, Prosperity, and Peace.
Although there are hundreds of passages in Scripture, by obvious restriction of time/space in this article, each of the listed categories will come with only two or three references.
The Personification of Jerusalem
“Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth….
Never again will you be called, ‘The Forsaken City’ or ‘The Desolate Land.’ Your new name will be ‘The City of God’s Delight’ and ‘The Bride of God,’ for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride…” (Isaiah 62:1-4).
Then later in that chapter:
“They will be called, ‘The Holy People’ and ‘The People Redeemed by the Lord.’ And Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Desirable Place’ and ‘The City No Longer Forsaken’” (Verse 12).
The personification (image, name characterization) of Jerusalem described in the above passage will be even more prominent in the not-so-distant future, exemplified by the presence of God with and love for his people. It is love that a husband has for his bride (but infinitely greater).
“But Judah will be filled with people forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all generations. I will pardon my people’s crimes, which I have not yet pardon; and I, the Lord, will make my home in Jerusalem, with my people” (Joel 3:20-21).
*Note: Pardon for crimes (sins, transgressions against God) for Jews (and Gentiles) individually took place when Israel’s Messiah died for the sins of the whole world, then rose from the dead to seal the New Covenant. God’s discipline of Israel as a nation ended in 1967, when Gentile domination of Israel ceased through the liberation and reunification of the Holy City of Jerusalem in the Holy Land of Israel.
In one of the many Old Testament Messianic passages, we read what the Lord (God the Father) says about His Messiah (God’s Son as established in other passages):
“…He has sent me (Messiah) against the nations which plunder you (Zion … Jerusalem), for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8, NASB, parenthesis mine).
That’s personification at its best … Jerusalem as the apple (pupil) of God’s eye.
The Purpose for Jerusalem
“Rather, you must seek the Lord your God at the place of worship he himself will choose from among all the tribes—the place where his name will be honored” (Deuteronomy 12:5).
As we know, Jerusalem became God’s central choice (eternal capital of Israel) where his name would be honored. Moses’ prophetic admonition (just quoted) was confirmed in the following passage:
“May the God who has chosen the city of Jerusalem as the place to honor his name destroy any king or nation that violates this command and destroys the Temple. I, Darius, have issued this decree. Let it be obeyed with all diligence” (Ezra 6:12).
After King Solomon’s death, Israel’s ten northern tribes rejected Judah’s rightful heir (king) in Jerusalem. However, Jews—both before the Babylonian captivity and afterward—knew full well that Jerusalem was the heart and soul of Israel, where the Lord was to be honored in all the ways the Lord had specified to his people. Such as the requirement that all Jewish men travel to Jerusalem to attend three of the seven Jewish festivals—Passover, Festival of Weeks, and Festival of Shelters (Sukkot).
Astonishingly, here (through the Lord’s providential appointment and divine orchestration) we see a Gentile king issuing a decree for the “Right of Return” of the Jews to Israel … to rebuild the Temple. Sure enough, God’s prophecy through this king came to pass. Both the Babylonian and Roman Empires that destroyed the first and second Temples, were themselves destroyed by other nations.
The Lord’s ultimate purpose (in our near future) for Jerusalem is stunningly foretold by the prophet Micah.
“People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore” (Micah 4:2-3, italics for emphasis).
Do you see the (unmistakable) correlation between the word of the Lord—proclaimed primarily by Messiah Jesus during his Millennial Reign on earth—and no more war? Under his divine leadership, there will be many astounding changes on the earth. But can you think of anything better than NO MORE WAR. Not even any training or preparation for war!
The Protection of Jerusalem
As in the glory days of King David, King Solomon, and a few kings thereafter—like Hezekiah—God will (has once again begun to) protect Israel and Jerusalem to the point of invincibility.
“But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 54:17).
Then in the above captioned chapter we read: “Even the strongest will quake with terror, and princes will flee when they see your battle flags, says the Lord, whose fire burns in Zion, whose flames blaze from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 31:9)
Even before the dynasty of Israel’s kings, God providentially protected his people from their enemies if they trusted and obeyed him. That Mosaic Covenant condition is no longer applicable.
Why is God’s protection and preservation of Israel unconditional in these last days? Because the Lord has unilaterally begun to accomplish His destiny for Israel, by fulfilling the promise set forth in his Covenant with Abraham. The hundreds of years when God withdrew his protection of Israel was for a prophetically set period (See Eye of Prophecy trilogy, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power) and The Omega Generation, posted January-February 2014). That time of Israel’s discipline is over.
Plus, when Israel and Jerusalem experience one last perilous time as Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition commence the last days battle for Jerusalem (toward the end of the Great Tribulation), all Israel will turn their undivided attention and loyalty to and unwavering trust in their Messiah—Jesus of Nazareth who will return to deliver them one final time.
“The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:16).
The Prosperity of Jerusalem (all Israel)
Since her rebirth in 1948 as God’s special possession, the tree of Israel has grown straight and tall and has produced bountiful fruit, just as the Lord said would happen in the last days and beyond.
“I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing. The orchards and fields of my people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety…. And I will make their land famous for its crops, so my people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations … And they will know that they, the people of Israel, are my people, says the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 34:26-30).
Israel’s agricultural accomplishments since 1948 (in a mostly arid land) is stunning … the envy of even the most productive nations on earth. Her irrigation and water/land conservation systems are state of the art. Israel is also exceptionally avant-garde regarding computer, cell-phone, medical, and other sophisticated technology.
The Palestinians falsely claim that Israel belongs to them, the Arabs. Okay, then. Do they really think that they could continue the remarkable success of the Jews in agriculture (and other areas of technology and commerce), let alone improve on it—in direct reversal to the desolation of the land when the Arabs outnumbered the Jews in Israel and oppressed them? The few prosperous Arab/Muslim nations in the world are so for one reason only … Oil. Even then, only a small portion of Arabs in these Gulf-states share in this wealth.
Since Israel was reborn in 1948, the Jews have flourished collectively as a people and nation. Israel now has the sovereign state freedom and authority to determine her own destiny, to include entrepreneurial endeavors that are (in proportion to their population) amazing.
“The time will come, says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:13-15).
(A Terraced Vineyard in Israel)
The Peace of Jerusalem (means peace for the whole world)
From time immemorial, events in and conditions of the world have demonstrated that mankind is not capable of establishing ongoing regional peace and certainly not global peace. Peace has proven as elusive in our generation as it ever has been. Not only in the Middle East, but in every continent on earth. In fact, even harmony within nations is evaporating as fast as a morning fog.
Here in the United States, we need go no further than our country’s boundaries to realize that not since the Civil War has America been so socially, culturally, economically, and politically divided as we are now.
To be sure, we are to strive for peace. Our President’s bold decision to fully and finally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital, attested by his action of moving the U.S. Embassy, is a step in the right direction. (See Eye of Prophecy article, U.S. President Agrees with God … Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital, posted 12-9-17).
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6, NASB). In Hebrew, the first part of that verse reads: Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim.
When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are praying for the (soon) return of Messiah Jesus. Because, ultimately, lasting peace will come only through him as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). And this peace will come only from Jerusalem, the City of God.
In a sweeping announcement of Messiah’s first and second coming, we read these powerful promises:
“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt. I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:9-10).
Things to Ponder
“On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel” (Psalm 87:1).
If the Lord loves Jerusalem more than any city in Israel, we can know for certain that this love is more than any city on earth.
“When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy…” (Psalm 126:1).
Joy and laughter filled the land of Israel when she was reborn as a nation in 1948. Then again in 1967 with the liberation of Jerusalem. And other times of festivities in the 70 years of Israel’s resurrected existence. Then this past Monday’s 70th celebration of Israel’s birthday, combined with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, when this Psalm was quoted by U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. That dream has become reality in Israel!
Soon to come is the reality of Jerusalem’s everlasting elevated position, literally and figuratively, over the entire earth. Earlier we read about cities flattened and mountains leveled by the final judgment of God during the Great Tribulation, in a world intent on defying God and destroying Israel.
“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name along will be worshipped. All the land from Geba, north of Judah, to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become one vast plain. But Jerusalem will be raised up in its original place….” (Zechariah 14:9-10).
Listen to more amazing words of another prophet: “In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship” (Micah 4:1).
This is not virtual streaming on a computer or smart phone screen. This is actual streaming (travel) to Jerusalem which will, by that time, have been literally elevated above all other places.
Jerusalem is forever the heart and soul of Israel, and one day will be for the entire world.
Jerusalem is the center of the universe! It is the City of God!