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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Yom Yerushalayim

As people continue to come to terms with the atrocity in Manchester on Monday evening, we remember that mourning the dead, and being concerned for the injured, does not mean that we have to forget the rest of life. One nation that has experienced what may well be said to be more than its fair share of violence, terrorism, mayhem, and murder, is the tiny State of Israel. However, regardless of what else is happening - within its own borders, or anywhere else - Israelis are about to commence the celebration of Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day.

So why is this day so important? What is its significance? It is simply the celebration of a very special day in the history of the modern State of Israel. It was fifty years ago tomorrow that the city of Jerusalem was, during the Six Days' War, united for the first time in some 2,000 years.
Nineteen years earlier, the Declaration of the Independence of the new State of Israel was responded to, by the surrounding Arab nations. The invading armies failed to destroy the fledgling State, but Jerusalem, the Holy City, the city that was (and is) central to the identity of the Jewish people, was divided, and control of the Old City and East Jerusalem where the First and Second Temples once stood, was handed over to Jordan - with residents of the Old City being either murdered or expelled. Many of the ancient Synagogues were destroyed; Jews were forbidden to pray at the Western Wall; and Jewish cemeteries were desecrated

However, after 1967's Six Day War, Jerusalem was transferred to Jewish sovereignty for the first time in 2,000 years! The days before the war were a time of intense Arab hostility, with Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) threatening to completely destroy Israel.  
While Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq amassed troops to attack Israel, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike and miraculously defeated the enemy in just six days. Once again, the Jewish People could freely live in Israel's capital, the city in which God chose to dwell.

The prophetic Word was fulfilled: "You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance - the place, YHWH, You made for Your dwelling, the sanctuary, O YHWH, Your hands established."  (Exodus 15:17). "Thus says YHWH: 'Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be.'" (Jer.30:18).

Jerusalem is, of course, central to the prophecies of the end-times! The Bible says that in the last days, the nations will come against Jerusalem (see Zechariah 12:3; Ezekiel 38–39)Indeed, the stage seems to be set for this very thing to happen, as much of the world community would like to re-divide Jerusalem, giving the part that Jordan briefly controlled to the so-called "Palestinians".

As this 50th anniversary of the reunification of the city is celebrated, let all of us who love the Jewish nation, be faithful, and fervent, in praying for the peace of the city (Ps.122:6). And let those of us who are disciples of Yeshua, accepting Him as HaMashiach, remember that it is to Zion that He will return: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'

Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of YHWH to Zion. 
Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for YHWH has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem." (Is.52:7-9).

L'chaim Yisrael!

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