“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you” Psalm 122:6.
Recently I attended part of the day of prayer for Jerusalem, as of course is also done already for many years by individual believers, churches and other similar events stirring the believers worldwide to take Jerusalem and the people of Israel to their hearts.
The verse quoted here comes from a Psalm written by King David, a psalm which includes the phrase: “because of the house of the Lord our Lord I will seek your good.”
No prayer therefore for the peace and destiny of this city which does not also focus on the ultimate purpose of this city, that it will become one day, again, the residence of the King and Lord, the true son of David in a temple which will yet be built on God’s holy hill – will hit the mark of what is meant by this often used scripture to pray for the ultimate peace of this city.
Not for nothing, Ezekiel ends his majestic chapters about the soon to be built temple of the Lord in Jerusalem – a temple to which He will soon come as stated in Ezekiel 43:2,4 and 5:
“And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory….. And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple,”
that then even the name of the city shall be changed into a new name, namely “The Lord is THERE,” Ezekiel 48:35b.
Yes it is true. The Old Testament prophets singled out Jerusalem to be our main and constant concern as for instance in Psalm 137:4-6:
“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? I f I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth — If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.”
In Isaiah 62:1, 6 and 7:
“For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns…… I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention 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.”
And to quote this Psalm of David, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.” This general injunction to pray for and seek the peace of Jerusalem and the people of Israel without referring to the basic desire and passion of King David in regard to a Temple to be built on God’s holy hill is nearly a misuse, or at least a partial use of this Davidic psalm if it ignores what is so clearly written by the same David in Psalm 132 as the underlining reason for his thirst to see this city become one day the residence of His Lord and Messiah, Himself.
Here is how he expresses this ultimate desire in the wonderful 132nd Psalm:
“Lord, remember David and all his afflictions; how he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Behold, we heard of it in Ephrata; we found it in the fields of the woods. Let us go into His tabernacle; let us worship at His footstool. Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy. For Your servant David’s sake, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed. The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: “I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body. If your sons will keep My covenant and My testimony which I shall teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.” For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. There I will make the horn of David grow; I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon Himself His crown shall flourish.”
As today most nations are not yet under the sway of the Lord’s reign but rather under the constant influence of the Evil One who is called by scripture “the destroyer of the nations” (see Isaiah 14:16) and by Jesus named ‘the Prince of this world” – the nations, especially today have become increasingly an instrument in the Devil’s hands to thwart this eternal plan of God concerning this city and her ultimate destiny. The devil hates this plan and will do as he is busy doing everything to prevent this plan just as the Jebusites on God’s future hill did everything to bar David from coming up to this mountain of the Lord – to build Him His Temple.
This is all very well expressed in Psalm 2 where the nations are seen in the self-endangering role of opposing this plan of God to see His King Messiah on His holy hill of Zion. Psalm 2:6. “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.”
We see this all played out today in front of our eyes – the nations increasingly ganging up against little Israel and her biblical and divinely promised city, leaving the government and people of Israel largely to fend off for themselves against all these increasingly menacing efforts of the nations to deny them their ancient city as they want it to be the future capital of a Palestinian Muslim state which will certainly deny the Jews as is already now the case on the Temple mount to pray on this God for them designated place of prayer. Not even to dream that one day they, the Jewish people, will be allowed by this to be formed independent Palestinian state to build their glorious by Ezekiel described temple for the city to finally come to her ultimate destiny, the resident city of the Lord our God!
So to pray for the peace and destiny of this city without wanting to be political, or choose sides in this conflict is IMPOSSIBLE just as it was impossible for King David to fulfill his heartfelt dream to build His Lord a house on His holy hill without also wanting to go into battle against the enemies of God – the Jebusites who held the hill!
This then is the clear message of the Scriptures, also of this Psalm 2, when God warns the nations who oppose Him and His people in no uncertain terms. Therefore to just pray for the peace of this city without at the same time wanting to take sides as even David did and the Lord himself is willing to do in honor of His Word and promise is a misuse of this very scripture!
Here is what the scriptures tell us about this same David who wrote Psalm 122, Psalm 132 and Psalm 2: “And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. Then the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, “You shall not come in here!” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David). Now David said, “Whoever attacks the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain.” And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and became chief. Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore they called it the City of David. And he built the city around it, from the Millo to the surrounding area. Joab repaired the rest of the city. Then David went on and became great, and the Lord of hosts was with him.” (1 Chronicles 11:4-9). This shows that we cannot pray and seek the good of Jerusalem and Israel and be “unpolitical about it”. It is nonsense. We need to stand with Israel as David did in their battle to see this city become the dwelling place not of ISLAM but of the Lord God Almighty and for that we must be strong like David in the pursuit of this goal, not with carnal weapons but with spiritual weapons to bring down the strongholds of the Evil One.
As the author of Hebrew even in the New Testament writes: By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” Hebrews 11:30-34 Hallelujah!
Just a few words concerning the words of this Psalm 2 when it mentions “the Nations imagine a vain thing” (Psalm 2:1). This is a fair and exact description of what is happening around Jerusalem and God’s holy hill or Temple Mount today: The nations increasingly being persuaded that their only way to see this Middle East conflict solved is to divide the land into two separate states with most of the old city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount becoming part of the future Muslim Palestinian state. Thus the Evil One successfully thwarting the Lord’s plan to take up residence again in this His City, the city of the great King. So angry is God about this ‘vain plan’ of the nations to bring their kind of peace to this city that He will gather all these nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment as Joel writes: “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land” Joel 3:1-2.
So if the Lord our God is against this vain desire of the nations to divide His land by way of a two state solution, then we certainly should stand on ‘daddy’s’ side in this battle as well, and also in this way: Pray for the full peace and destiny of this city taking a stand no less and no more as God Himself, our heavenly Father takes. May it be so!
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
Republished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.
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