Today is Yom Yerushalayim, celebrated in Israel as a nationalist and religious holy day. Yom Yerushalaim marks the miraculously stunning return in 1967 of the City of Jerusalem to the Jewish people.
The pinnacle of the 1967 Six Day War, Israel’s liberation of Jerusalem was one of those heaven-and-earth shattering events that most Jews alive at the time would always remember. I, for instance, recall where I was (overnight Jewish summer camp) and what I was doing (learning how to use makeup in the girls’ cabin) when news of the miracle broke in the US. Not just Jews, but most Americans, were stunned with awe. They felt they’d witnessed a miracle – at least through black-and-white TV. After 2,000 years, God had just restored the Holy City to His covenant people! Even the highly secular Israeli military leader, Moshe Dayan, was moved to the extent of writing and placing a note of praise in the Western Wall. It simply read: “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23) It summed things up perfectly.
Before the ’67 War, Jordan had illegally occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank for nearly 20 years. (The 1947 UN Partition Plan had called for Jerusalem to be governed internationally.) After the war, the Arab states were furious and immediately demanded that Jerusalem be handed back. In an effort to appease their raging foes, Israel gave control of the Temple Mount back to the Arabs. The Jews demanded nothing, not even a promise of peace, in return. But appeasement did not work. To this day, violence threatens the holy hill, now ruled by the Jordanian Islamic Wafq. But a new day is coming!
How can believers celebrate this inception of the prophetic restoration of Jerusalem for the good of all nations? To start, just by saying the name of the holy city itself we affirm or decree its destiny. Biblically, Yerushalayim means City of Peace. But the word for peace, “shalom,” includes more than merely the absence of conflict. It refers to complete wholeness, with nothing broken or missing. The word suggests an Eden-like condition or state of being. Some scholars actually believe, for good but not yet conclusive reasons, that Jerusalem is globally positioned in the same spot as the Garden of Eden. In any case, to speak “Jerusalem” is in a real sense to speak her ultimate destiny when she is fully restored. Governed by the Prince of Peace, she will be gloriously peaceful and whole, even Eden-like.
Yom Yerushalayim is a perfect day to prayerfully proclaim Jerusalem’s calling according to Scripture. Mentioned over 800 times in the Older and New Covenants, God calls her the City of the Great King, Praise in all the Earth, Center of Worship, Immovable Rock, Holy to Him, Releaser of His Word, City of Righteousness, Place of Comfort, God’s Glory, Joy and Delight, Crown of Splendor – and much more, (See Ps. 48:2, Isa. 60:14, Mat. 5:35, Ps. 102:21, Zech. 12:3, Isa. 4:3, Isa. 2:3, Jer. 33:16, Isa. 40:1-2, Isa. 62: 1-7, Ez. 43:1-2, Ps. 122.)
On Yom Yerushalayim, you can experience the awe of the city’s recapture through the live, riveting recording of the military event on June 7, 1967. Visit http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/1967lib.html. Click near the top of that page where it says, “click here.” For full effect, we suggest you read the English translation of the Hebrew recording first. The translation is on the same Jewish Virtual Library page. Be blessed!
As you celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, remember the day is ultimately about the heart of Jerusalem’s King: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … how often I have longed to gather your children together as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate, for I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed [Welcome] is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (Matthew 23:37-39) So please pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
Happy Yom Yerushalayim as together we help prepare the way, by His Spirit, for the return of the Prince of Shalom!