(In loving memory of my longtime friend, the Rev. Wade Sandridge, who in the autumn of 2005, while visiting in Jerusalem, Israel, and only hours after ministering at the Pool of Bethesda, went home to be with the Lord.)
Jerusalem has been called "The Golden City" or "City of Peace." Its name means "possession of peace." Psalm 122:6-8 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall proper that love thee." Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, peace be within thee.
Verses 2 and 3 mention: "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together." Forty-five hundred years ago, the Jebusites built the city's first walls. Jerusalem was then called Jebus. In 1,000 BC, Jebus was captured by David's army (2 Samuel 5:5-9 and 1 Chronicles 11:3-8); and because of those defensive walls, they vanquished the inhabitants by going under the city through the passage that transported the water supply. Joab became chief and captain and "went up first" after discovering this waterway now known as Hezekiah's conduit.
Enduring more than 3,000 years of history, Jerusalem has been conquered almost 40 times and destroyed on 18 separate occasions. Famous influential and conquering leaders were: David, Solomon, Alexander the Great, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Caesar, Titus, Maccabeus, Epiphanies, Suleiman the Magnificent, Napoleon and the 12th century Christian Crusaders. Jeremiah, the "weeping prophet" (chapter 1:14-19) foretells of disaster from the north. All of these invaders "came" and "others" will follow from the north. Read the prophet Ezekiel's predictions in chapters 38 and 39.
"And Jesus said unto them (disciples), see ye not all these things? Verily, I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:2). This happened in 70 AC under the Roman ruler Titus when the city was destroyed by his army. In June 1967, the Israelis captured Jerusalem from the Jordanians during the six-day war. For the first time since 70 AD, it was now under Israel's territorial domain after almost 2,000 years of various influences and cultures.
There are seven working gates in modern day "old Jerusalem." They are: The Dung Gate, Damascus Gate, The New Gate, Lion's Gate, Herod's Gate, Jaffa Gate and Zion Gate. An eighth is known as the Golden Gate, which was sealed shut by the Moslems to prevent the prophesied Messiah from returning. It is also known as the Eastern Gate. Christ will return. That gate will open for the "Prince of Peace."
In the book of Revelations, chapters 21 and 22, John saw "The holy city, new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." There are 12 gates of "pear" mentioned: "On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates and on the west three gates" (Revelation 21:13). "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your gates and sing!"
Presently, there are four quarters in Jerusalem which are separately occupied by Christians, Armenians, Israelis and Moslems. Different holy sites pertain to these four religious groups. The Western Wall or "wailing" wall is where the Jews pray for, among other things, "the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 137:5-6).
In chapters 12-14, the prophet Zechariah envisions Armageddon, and the return of Christ. Jerusalem is "a cup of trembling and a troublesome stone." Galatians 4:25 declares that "Jerusalem which is 'now,' is in bondage with her children." In today's headlines, we see and hear of more than 50 nations who wish to "wipe Israel off the face of the earth." The next verse of Paul's epistle to the Galatians explains: "Jerusalem which is above is 'free.' It is the mother of us all." Adam called his wife, Eve; "the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20).
Christ "is" the "second man" and the "Last Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). The word of God proclaims Zion or "the new Jerusalem," as the "glorious church without spot or wrinkle" (Ephesians 5:27). It is the "Lamb's wife" or "bride" of Christ and the "mother of us all." Every truly born again, saintly believer genuinely saved and washed by the blood of the lamb, will be part of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 19:7-8). "Hosanna, to the highest. Hosanna, to your king!"
"Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion" (Isaiah 52:1-2).
"Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and by ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in. Who is this king of glory? The lord strong and mighty, the lord mighty in battle" (Psalm 24:7-8).
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 601).
"Risen up, my love, my fair one, and come away; Arise my love, my fair one, and come away" (Son of Solomon 2:10 and 13).
Please pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "Shalom!" Look up, for your redemption draweth night! ..."
(Sources: The Gates of Jerusalem, A History of the Holy City," Questar DVD collection and the 1611 KJV.)
(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)