Looking back, and looking forward to Zion!

A stronghold overtaken - Sixth in a series

By choice and by destiny, Jerusalem was the first victory for King David and became his home. He began to build and repair Zion, surrounded and helped by his "Mighty Men." (see 1 Ch, chapters 11-12)

Yet, some Jebusites remained in Jerusalem, as we know from the account in 1 Chronicles 21, when David had sinned against the Lord by taking a census. A threshing floor owned by a Jebusite was purchased by David as a place to sacrifice to the Lord. When the Jebusite saw the Lord's angel, he gladly sold the property to David, and it became the site for the temple.

Jebus, a former name for Jerusalem, means threshing. The city was at one time also called Salem or peace and was reputed to be the residence of Melchizedek, the king-priest to whom Abraham tithed.*

In the topography and history of Zion and Jerusalem, the two are not the same in specific aspects, yet they are together in our common usage. In the Old Testament there is often a blurring of the two, for example, Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem… (Ps 51:18) In the New, there is a blurring of the earthly and heavenly cities, But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering… (Heb 12:22)

Thus it is: to Christians, Zion is a heavenly home and to the Jews today, it is Jerusalem about which they lament as they did when exiles in Babylon, If I forget thee, O Jerusalem! let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. (Psalms 137:5) Somehow, these two must be brought together.

During a six-day war in 1967, the Jews fought in hand-to-hand combat and took Jerusalem's Old City, the walled area under Arab rule, and later proclaimed Jerusalem the capital of its modern state. The following year the government proclaimed a new holiday—Jerusalem Day— and in 2017 its jubilee was celebrated.

Many people consider such Zionists to be unreasonable, and view Jerusalem as an international city. These forces are joined and aligned against the nation of Israel today.

Recently (Spring 2017) Israel determined to withhold $1 million in payments to the United Nations after a UNESCO resolution declared the country's claim to Jerusalem "null and void." President Trump had planned to move the U.S. embassy there, but later delayed the transition.

The Jews will persist in their view of Jerusalem as their capital; Scripture states that in the last days, this city will be the world’s bellwether for God’s final judgments. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zec 12:3)

Some facts (and if these are of interest, read more here.)

  • Years that Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish People: (3,000).
  • Number of times Jerusalem is mentioned in the Hebrew bible: (657).
  • City to which all Jews are required to make pilgrimage: (Jerusalem).
  • Years that Jerusalem has been the capital of any Muslim or Arab people: (0).
  • Number of times Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran: (0).
  • City to which all Muslims are enjoined to make pilgrimage: (Mecca).
  • Family considered the Guardian of Muslim Holy Places: the Al-Saudis, Rulers of Saudi Arabia. Number of times leading members of this family prayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem when Jordan controlled the city: (0).
  • Number of synagogues in the Jewish Quarter at the time of Jordanian conquest in 1948: (58).
  • Number of synagogues in the Jewish Quarter destroyed or desecrated by the Jordanians: (58).

It was always Jerusalem

As noted above, the place where Abraham in obedience sought to sacrifice his only son was the area where the Temple was built. Also, Jerusalem was the site of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit came like a mighty, rushing wind, and lit upon the believers like tongues of fire (Acts 2:3); and it was where repentance and remission of sins were first preached in Christ’s name among all nations. (Luke 24:45-49) In these facts we see the continuity of God’s vision for Zion.

Though Jerusalem has its ups and downs, is won and lost, beautified and desecrated, ultimately the Zion of God will be established. A timeline shows she was destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times, she yet stands. She will come under attack in a final war (Zec 14:1-4) but will she not be rescued? (Rev 20:4-9)

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. (Ps. 48:2) Of Jerusalem it is written, This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it... (Psalms 132:14). Or, was that not written of our heavenly home? (Rev 21:2)

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. (Gal 4:22-26)

*Jewish commentators affirm that Salem is Jerusalem, on the ground that Jerusalem is so called in Psalm 76:2.  - Smith's Bible Dictionary

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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