Why is it necessary to pray for the 'peace of Jerusalem'
WHY IT IS NECESSARY TO PRAY FOR THE ‘PEACE OF JERUSALEM’
Isaiah 62:1-7: “For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
It was recently the ‘National Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem’. Why is it necessary to pray for ‘the Peace of Jerusalem’?
Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is no ordinary city! Jerusalem is mentioned 814 times in the King James Version of the bible; Zion (another name for Jerusalem) is mentioned 162 times in the King James Version of the bible. Therefore Jerusalem is referred to 976 times in the King James Version of the bible – this shows how seriously G-D views Jerusalem.
· In Psalm 122:6: G-D directs us to: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.””
o In fact, Jerusalem is the only city mentioned in the bible that we are commanded to pray for.
Jerusalem is always in the news and there is much contention over Jerusalem as all three major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, view Jerusalem as a holy city and each lays claim to it.
Before I look at the question “Why pray for the Peace of Jerusalem”, I want to show you from scripturethat the land in which Jerusalem is situated – Israel – belongs to the Jewish people.
o 2 Chronicles 7:19-20: "But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them;”
o Isaiah 14:24-25: “The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, "Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand: That I will break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot.”
o Jeremiah 2:7: “I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination.”
o Jeremiah 16:18: “And first I will repay double for their iniquity and their sin, because they have defiled My land;”
o Ezekiel 36:5: “therefore thus says the Lord God: "Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with whole-hearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country."”
o Ezekiel 38:16: “You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes."
o Joel 1:6: “For a nation has come up against My land,”
o Joel 3:2: “I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.”
· Because Israel is G-D’S land, He can give it to anyone He wants……AND G-D GAVE ISRAEL TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE.
o Psalm 105:8-11: “He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment of your inheritance,"
· In fact, through Ezekiel the prophet, G-D clearly says in Ezekiel chapter 37 that Israel is the Jewish homeland.
o Firstly, let us establish who Ezekiel is speaking about: Ezekiel 37:11: “Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.”
o In Ezekiel 37:14, G-D says: “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it," says the Lord.'"
· G-D then takes it further and says that the Jewish people will permanently and forever dwell in their land, Israel.
o Amos 9:14-15: “I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. 15 I will plant them in THEIRland, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them," Says the LORD your God.”
I believe that this clears up any doubt as to who G-D gave Israel to.
1) WHY PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM?
· G-D Himself directs us to pray for Jerusalem.
o Psalm 122:6: G-D directs us to pray for the ‘Peace of Jerusalem’: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.””
o Jerusalem is the only city, mentioned by name in the bible, where G-D promises prosperity and peace for those who pray for her
· G-D has raised up watchmen to specifically pray for Jerusalem - Isaiah 62:6: “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night
o G-D wants us to nag him when it comes to Jerusalem; Isaiah 62:7: “You who make mention of the Lord, keep not silent, and give Him no rest, till He establishes, and till he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
· G-D is zealous for Jerusalem.
o Zechariah 8:1-2: “Again the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; With great fervour I am zealous for her.'
2) WHY IS G-D SO ZEALOUS, SO PASSIONATE ABOUT JERUSALEM?
· Firstly, Jerusalem is the city in which G-D’s plan for the redemption of mankind came about; for it is in Jerusalem that Jesus was crucified, taking mankind’s sin upon Himself; it was in Jerusalem that Jesus died and rose again guaranteeing those who have committed their lives to Him everlasting life in heaven.
· Secondly, it was from Jerusalem that Jesus ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.
· Thirdly, It is to Jerusalem that G-D is bringing his Jewish remnant.
o Zechariah 8:7-8: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; 8 I will bring them back, And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.'”
· Fourthly, and the best of all, it is to Jerusalem that Jesus will return to glory.
o Zechariah 8:3: “Thus says the LORD: 'I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.”
o Zechariah 14:4, 5: “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east…thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You.”
· Finally it is in Jerusalem that Jesus will set up His Kingdom and rule the nations with a rod of iron – Revelations 2:27.
3) WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF JERUSALEM HOLD?
· All nations will gather against Jerusalem.
o Zechariah 12:2-3: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
· The LORD fights against those nations
o Zechariah 14:3: “Then the Lord will go forth, and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.”
o Zechariah 12:8-9: “In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
· A huge earthquake will hit Jerusalem.
o Zechariah 14:3-4: “Then the Lord will go forth, and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
o Zechariah 14:8: “And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur.”
· The Messiah, Jesus, will return to Jerusalem in glory.
o Zechariah 14:-5: “Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You.”
· Jesus will set up His kingdom and Jerusalem will be made a praise in the earth.
o Isaiah 62:7: “You who make mention of the Lord, keep not silent, and give Him no rest, till He establishes, and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
4) WHAT MUST WE PRAY REGARDING JERUSALEM
· Pray for the ‘Peace of Jerusalem’.
o What is the ‘Peace of Jerusalem’?
§ Let me start at what it isn’t. It isn’t a peace that will happen in our lifetime - in fact there will never be a peace between the Jews and the Arabs until the false seven year peace treaty is signed - The Bible warns us to beware of any type of peace treaty made between Israel and any other country. It is written that this particular peace treaty will be a sign of the end.
§ There have been many attempted peace agreements made over the past years and even presently, President Obama is trying everything he can to get a peace treaty signed between Israel and the Palestinians; yet have you noticed how something always seems to happen just when it seems as if a peace treaty is going to be signed?
o The ‘Peace of Jerusalem’ refers to the peace that will come about when Jesus returns, sets up His kingdom and will rule the nations with “a rod of iron” FROM Jerusalem.
· Pray that Jerusalem will remain as Israel’s UNDIVIDED capital.
· Pray that the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Israel and Jerusalem.
· Pray that no land will be given back for peace.
o God warns Israel against this in Exodus 23:32-33: “You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you."
·Pray Psalm 129:5-6: “Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back. 6 Let them be as the grass on the housetops, Which withers before it grows up,”
NO OTHER CITY WILL HAVE PEACE UNTIL JERUSALEM HAS PEACE
· Why will no other city will have peace until Jerusalem has peace?
o Because true peace, both for Israel and the world will only come about once Jesus has set up His Kingdom.
·There is a stern warning for those who forget or don’t care about Jerusalem.
o Psalm 137:4-6: “How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth-- If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.”
IN FACT, EVERY YEAR PEOPLE WILL GO UP TO JERUSALEM TO WORSHIP THE LORD
·Zechariah 8:20-22: “"Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Peoples shall yet come, Inhabitants of many cities; The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, "Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, And seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also." Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the LORD.'”
So as we, together with thousands of believers around the world, pray for the ‘Peace of Jerusalem, let us be ‘the watchmen on the walls’ who constantly remind G-D to “establish, and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”