From Bill Sutter’s Desk Jul/Aug 2005
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces” (Ps. 122:6–7).
Jerusalem. The very word stirs the hearts of Jews and Christians alike. Mentioned more than 700 times in the Old Testament, Jerusalem permeates the soul and religious consciousness of the Jewish people.
For them, this city is like no other. They have studied King David’s struggles to capture it and build the Jewish Temple there. In exile, they longed for Jerusalem and wrote songs and prayers about it. Two major Jewish holidays, passover and Yom Kippur, conclude with the words, Next year in Jerusalem. Synagogues throughout the world are built so people pray facing Jerusalem.
In daily prayers, blessings, weddings, and funerals—in joy and in mourning—Jewish people invoke the name of the holy city. At the Western Wall, the only surviving part of the second Temple the Romans destroyed in A.D. 70, Jewish worshipers pray at all hours of the day and night, in all seasons of the year. Thousands flock there from around the world to mourn the loss of their Temple and pray for the coming of the Messiah. Strategically placed cameras let people everywhere view the Western Wall in real time via the Internet.
For Christians, both the Old and New Testaments and the life of Jesus give Jerusalem great importance. Joseph and Mary presented the infant Jesus to the Lord at the Temple there (Lk. 2:22). They brought Him to Jerusalem as a child to attend festivals, such as passover (Lk. 2:41). Here Jesus preached and healed. Jesus’ last supper was in an “upper room” in Jerusalem. Here, too, was His arrest in Gethsemane, His trial, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
In 1980 Israel’s Knesset passed a law confirming Jerusalem’s status as the nation’s “eternal and indivisible capital.” All branches of Israel’s government (presidential, legislative, judicial, and administrative) are located in Jerusalem. When, as visitors, we stand at the Western Wall during our Up to Jerusalem tour, we readily understand the truth of Ezekiel 5:5: “Thus says the Lord God: ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her.’” We know intuitively that we are standing in God’s geographical center of the world.
Unfortunately, although Jerusalem means “city of peace,” its 4,000-year history is one of almost continuous conflict. No city on Earth has seen more battles than Jerusalem. And it will again become a battlefield in the end-times, when all nations will converge on Jerusalem in a revolt against the Lord.
At The Friends of Israel, we encourage you to follow the Lord’s mandate to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Doing so is a precious privilege that unites us with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who declares of His people, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). Isaiah spoke of a day when prayers for Jerusalem will be answered:
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3).
The Friends of Israel will join a worldwide effort among Bible-believing Christians to set aside Sunday, October 2, 2005, as a special “Day of prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.” A resolution has been adopted to proclaim the first Sunday in October, near the season of Yom Kippur, as an annual day of prayer for God’s blessing on His people and for His will to be done in Israel. We encourage you to join us and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And we urge you to challenge others, including your church, to participate in this important endeavor.