Every day in the news we hear of violence and atrocities in the land of Israel. In modern times this conflict has been ongoing, beginning with the return of Jews to their homeland at the end of the 19th century. It has continued during the British rule in the 1920s, the division of the nation into separate Jewish and Palestinian states in 1948 and the Six-day war of 1967. As rumours are growing that Israel is about to launch an attack on Iran, I invite you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
“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 will also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land be 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 at the bride, so your God rejoices over you. I have set watch-men on your walls, 0 Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the name 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”.
When I visited Israel the Lord began to chasten me in my spirit. This chastening has been a pleasant experience though. The Bible says, ‘Don’t be like a mule or a horse that needs the bit and bridle to pull it into subjection.’ He wants to guide us with his eye. The Holy Spirit was so gentle with me, so revelatory and so repetitive; there was no mistaking what he was saying to me, and I confess that in the last ten years I have sinned before the Lord and before his people. My sin has been one of neglect. When we read about watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, we think first of our own Jerusalem. What is our Jerusalem? London, but we have no right to claim the blessings for our ‘Jerusalem’ until we’ve understood God’s purposes for His Jerusalem. This is what the Holy Spirit chastened me about, and I have responded and repented.
The Jew First
We are not wrong to take these blessings for ourselves but we must remember that they are not ours, they are the blessings of God’s covenant people and that we have been brought into them. The Gospel is given to the Jew first, and the covenants are for the Jew first because God chose the Jews to reach the world – and that includes us
When we read the scriptures we take these passages and apply them to ourselves – and they do apply to us -instead of reading them first in their original context, remembering that God’s purposes to bless the world begins with God’s purpose for Israel.
Watchmen for Jerusalem
When the Bible talks about Israel, it is not a symbol – it means the land of Israel and Jerusalem means the city of Jerusalem. But because we are so far removed from the land of Israel we apply these Scriptures only to ourselves. That is not wrong but in our praying we must begin by being watchmen for Jerusalem.
Our primary concern must be to see the Jewish people come to recognise their Messiah. One Rabbi said in a lecture about Christianity and Judaism that he knows the Messiah will come on the Mount of Olives, and on that day he will stretch his arms out towards Him and ask ‘Is this your first or second visit?’ So sure was he that much of what the Bible teaches about the coming of Messiah has already been fulfilled.
Why is it that God wants to see this happen in Israel and Jerusalem? Look again at Isaiah 62:2-7. This prophecy is going to be fulfilled, because the salvation of Israel is the salvation of the nations.
Pray for Jerusalem
So God said, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray that Jerusalem will become a praise in all the earth. Pray that Jerusalem’s righteousness will go forth as brightness and her salvation as a lamp that burns. In Romans chapter 11 we read that a blindness has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles. And if the hardening and the falling away of Israel were the means by which the Gentiles came into the blessings of the Jews how much more will their fullness be. What is this fullness? It is life from the dead. The restoration of Israel is part of God’s purpose for the end time harvest and end time evangelism for all nations.
Some say that if you going to pray for the peace of Jerusalem what about the Arabs and the Palestinians? And what about the Europeans, the Africans the Americans and the rest of the world? God’s purpose is to take this nation, Israel, and through it bless the whole world. He has already done that through the Bible – which was written by inspired Jewish men of God. Through Jesus who of earthly decent was Jewish, who died on the cross in Jerusalem, and who is coming back again and when he does the first place feet shall touch is the Mount of Olives.
This does not mean that we all need to become Jewish, neither do we need to turn the Jews into gentiles in order for them to be saved.
So, in your watchman hour, pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Father in the name of Jesus, I come before you and I ask your forgiveness for my neglect of something so clearly revealed in scripture and in my enthusiasm to reach the gentile blessings I have at times neglected your heart for Israel. I thank you Lord for your freedom, for your cleansing and I thank you for the release of your blessing through repentance and restoration in Jesus’ name.