And he carried me away in the spirit, to a great and high mountain and shewed me, that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God: And her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal…and the city was pure gold, like unto pure glass…and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass Rev. 21:10-11, 18,21.
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Happy Jerusalem Day! Fifty-three years ago, (the 28th of Iyar on the Hebrew Calendar 5727), IDF paratroopers liberated the old city of Jerusalem, the heart of the nation. They were the first Jews to approach the Kotel (the Western Wall) in nineteen years, for Jordan had tightly held on to this city, since 1948. The Israeli soldiers prayed and then sang Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold) with a wild abandoned joy.
Mountain air as clear as wine, and the scent of pine
Carried on the evening wind, with the sound of bells
And in the slumber of trees and stones
Captured in her dream is the city which dwells alone
A wall within her heart
Jerusalem of gold, and of copper
Behold I am a harp for all your songs
Your name burns my lips like a seraphim’s kiss
Just three weeks earlier, songwriter Naomi Shemer had composed this song for an Israeli spring music festival. It became an instant hit. All of Israel was singing this melody. She had touched a chord in the hearts of all Israelis with her lyrics and haunting melody. It was as if, in singing this anthem thousands of years of pent up emotions and yearnings to embrace the holy city were released. The hearts of the nation in singing Jerusalem of Gold were crying out for the soul of their identity: Jerusalem!
And then in what can only be called a miracle, liberation came to the ancient city of Jerusalem. It was once again in the hands of her people. Jerusalem was free and the golden city was no longer a memory but home to the Jewish people.
Naomi Shemer, at home, heard this rejoicing on the radio, and quickly penned an additional verse. Her new composition highlighted the victorious blasts of the shofar from the Temple Mount
Back to the wells and to the fountains
Within the ancient walls
The sound of the horn from the Temple’s mountain
Again so loudly calls
From rocky caves this very mourning
A thousand suns will glow
As we shall go down to the Jordan
By way of Jericho.
The 28th of Iyar
Not long after the unification of Jerusalem, the Israeli government proclaimed a new holiday: Yom Yerushalayim Day or “Jerusalem Day.” This holiday was to be celebrated on the 28th of Iyar, the date on the Hebrew calendar when the divided city of Jerusalem became one. For Israelis, Yom Yerushalayim Day is a day of joy. The date it falls on the Hebrew calendar is significant. The number 28 is represented in the Hebrew alphabet by two letters: kaph (20) and heth (8). Together these two letters form the root of the Hebrew word ko’ah meaning strength or power. This word is found in Psalms 29:4, where it is written Kol Adonai ba ko’ah or “the voice of the LORD comes in strength.” For the Jewish nation, the return of Jerusalem meant that the LORD had brought them back to the spiritual center of their land
This date, every year brings an acknowledgment among the Jewish’s people of God’s strength and power in fulfilling His word. Jerusalem had to be liberated on the 28th of Iyar. Any other day would not bring a recognition and thankfulness for God’s mighty power. This is a day when everyone in Jerusalem shouts and declares: “This is the day that the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24).
“Dance of the Flags”
It is on this day, in past years that all of Israel rejoiced. The Israeli Air Force made flights over every major city and town in the nation. Tens of thousands of revelers also gathered from all across the country. They met up and took to the streets of Jerusalem, everyone singing and dancing and proclaiming the unity of Jerusalem. This rejoicing is highlighted by a traditional “Rikudegalim” or “Dance of the flags” which is held with thousands of youths streaming through the gates of the Old City, waving numerous Israeli flags and shouting for joy. The crowds meet and converge at the Western Wall, where they conclude this celebration in one mass demonstration of gladness
This year though because of the Corona virus pandemic all events have been canceled. The Old City is now, silent and empty, much like Naomi Shemer penned: “And in the slumber of trees and stones. Captured in her dream is the city which dwells alone “ Next year in Jerusalem, we will celebrate anew!
A Unified City
God gave John an eternal vision of the New Jerusalem. It will be a city known for its unity. “The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it” and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:24-25).
There are at least three visions today for Jerusalem’s future. The Palestinian Authority calls it “AL Quds” (the Holy, for Mohammed’s so-called ascension into heaven), and re-divide it along the pre 1967 lines. The United Nations and the E.U. desire to internationalize the Old City and create a “two state” solution. Presently, Israel stands resolute: Jerusalem will not be divided.
Jerusalem is at present “a cup of trembling” and “a burdensome stone” (Zec. 12:2-3) for all nations. Zechariah says “They shall be cut to pieces.” It is a city that is far from perfect. Jesus wept over Jerusalem and in the end-times, the anti-Christ will rule here, until the Lord throws him into the Lake of fire and establishes his kingdom.
A City of Peace
God wants to do wonders in Jerusalem and among His people. This pandemic has brought hardships to Israelis and Arabs alike. Tourism is gone, El Al is seeking a bailout and unemployment has reached record levels. This week, the government gave permission for malls, restaurants and bars to open, as long as they abide by the current Corona restrictions. Citizens were granted more freedom to meet, with ten persons permitted to assemble. Continue to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem.”
Israel’s 35th Government Sworn In
Israel’s 35th government was sworn in at the Knesset last Sunday, bringing an end to a 508-day political deadlock during which lawmakers were unable to assemble a coalition. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as prime minister and will head the government for the fifth term of his political career. Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz was sworn in as “alternate prime minister and future prime minister” as well as minister of defense.
In addition to Netanyahu and Gantz, 32 ministers were sworn in, including the first female ultra-Orthodox minister, Omer Yankelevich (Diaspora affairs), and the first Ethiopia-born minister, Pnina Tamano-Shata (immigration and absorption), in Israel’s history. A 35th position, for a minister for minority affairs, has yet to be filled by Blue and White. Totaling 73 lawmakers, the coalition will include 35 MKs from the Likud party, 16 from the Blue and White party, nine from the Shas party, seven from the United Torah Judaism party, two from the Labor party, two from the Derech Eretz party, one from the Jewish Home party and one from the Gesher party.
Speaking at the cabinet’s first meeting, which took place in the Knesset’s immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, Netanyahu told the new ministers that the pandemic tops the government’s agenda.
“The first mission is the coronavirus and the health” crisis, he said. “So long as the virus is here and there is no vaccine, it can come back overnight.” “The fact that we managed to prevent it [from spreading widely] doesn’t mean we can prevent” another wave, said Netanyahu, stressing that the “coronavirus routine” will last for a long time. “I don’t want to say how long,” he said, but added that he hoped to be proven wrong. The second mission, he continued, would be to pass a state budget and revive the economy, which he acknowledged may not quickly be restored to its pre-coronavirus state. (www.timesofisrael.com )
Continue to pray for the government and leadership of Israel that they may flow in unity. Pray Psalm 133.
House of Peace
Peter and Margaret Jones from the U.K. have been faithfully managing the House of Peace for the past four months. They and Dr. Jeanne Garth have kept “the light’s burning,” and the flowers blooming during our absence. The nationwide quarantine severely limited the activities there. No guests were permitted, and the tour groups we regularly hosted were also canceled. Peter and Margaret were able to fly back to the U. K. on May 21st. We salute them for a job well done, and thank them for their many labors and prayers.
The House of Peace is in its 22nd year. It is an on-going work of Global Outpouring (a.k.a. ETH-S Ministries) We find ourselves in need of your gifts and offerings in this season. If you would like to an offering into this ministry, please send it to Global Outpouring Ministries, P.O. Box 447, Jasper, AR 72641 or go to our website at www.eth-s.org and press the donate button. Mark it for the House of Peace. Thank you all for your giving, this Yom Yerushalayim Day.
The information about Jerusalem of Gold is taken from my book “Jerusalem, Lest I Forget Thee”, available on Amazon’s Kindle or from the Engeltal Bookstore, www.eth-s.org .
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace