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Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Reunification Day

Yom Yerushalayim -

Jerusalem Reunification Day

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Yom Yerushalayim, or Jerusalem Day, is the most recent addition to the Jewish calendar, marking the day when Israeli soldiers victoriously recaptured the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian control during the Arab-Israeli Six Day War (on June 7th, 1967, or Iyyar 28, 5727).

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Jerusalem Day

In light of this momentous occasion, on June 27, 1967, the Israeli Knesset voted to annex Jerusalem as part of the State of Israel.  A "municipal unification" of the two sections of the Old City took place, ending 19 years of separation between predominantly Arab and Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem, and the city came under Jewish rule for the first time in thousands of years.

On May 12, 1968, the Israeli government voted to commemorate Iyyar 28th as "Jerusalem Day," designed to "symbolize the continued historical connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem." In 1980, this date became a legal holiday when the Knesset officially declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (regrettably, most countries do not formally recognize this, but rather retain their diplomatic embassies in Tel-Aviv).


The Observance of Yom Yerushalayim

Since the destruction of Jerusalem was a watershed event in Jewish history that began thousands of years of mourning, the reunification of Jerusalem is considered a joyous celebration that begins the process of reversing thousands of years of destruction and exile. Among the Orthodox, the mourning restrictions imposed during the Count of the Omer are lifted and Hallel (songs of praise) are recited at this time.

The Kotel

See it live!

In Jerusalem itself, thousands of people march around the city and walk through the liberated Old City, where Jews were denied access from 1948-1967. The march ends at the Kotel (Western Wall), one of the remaining retaining walls surrounding the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. At the Kotel, there are speeches and concerts and celebratory dancing to mark the day.

The Importance of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is central to the Jewish heart. When religious Jews pray three times a day, they always turn toward Jerusalem (they also keep a small section of an eastern wall in their house unplastered and unpainted (mizrach) as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the Temple).

Mizrach - East

The Jewish people close the Passover Seder with the words LaShanah Haba'ah Bi Yerushalayim! ("Next Year in Jerusalem"). These same words are invoked to conclude the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. During a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom breaks a glass as a sign of mourning to commemorate the destruction of the two Temples which stood in Jerusalem.

Yeshua called Jerusalem the "City of the great King" (Psalm 48:2; Matt 5:35). It is the place where He was crucified, buried, resurrected, and from whence He ascended to heaven. It is also the birthplace of kehilat Mashiach (i.e., the "church") and the focal point of humanity's eschatological future. One day (soon) Yeshua will physically return to Jerusalem as Mashiach ben David to restore the throne of King David.  At that time, all the New Covenant promises given to ethnic Israel will be literally fulfilled as the Kingdom of God is manifest upon the earth.
 

קֵרַבְתִּי צִדְקָתִי לא תִרְחָק
 וּתְשׁוּעָתִי לא תְאַחֵר
 וְנָתַתִּי בְצִיּוֹן תְּשׁוּעָה
 לְיִשְׂרָאֵל תִּפְאַרְתִּי

ke·rav·ti · tzid·ka·ti · lo · tir·chak
ut·shu·a·ti · lo · te·a·cheir
ve·na·ta·ti · ve··tzi·yon · te·shu·ah
le·yis·ra·el · tif·ar·ti

 

"I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
 and my salvation will not delay;
 I will put salvation in Zion,
 for Israel my glory."
(Isa. 46:13)

25 Reasons why Jerusalem Matters

Spiritually speaking, Jerusalem, and in particular Mount Moriah (i.e., the Temple Mount), is considered the most important place on earth, for the following reasons:

  1. According to the Jewish sages, God began the creation of the universe there, and the bedrock at Moriah is called Even ha-Shetiyah (אֶבֶן הַשֶׁתִייָה), "the Foundation Stone," referring to the creation of the earth on the First Day (Isaiah 28:16).
  2. The dust of Moriah is said to have been used to create Adam (who was later placed in the "garden which lay to the East"). As will be seen, man was created from the place of his atonement.
  3. According to common Jewish tradition, Moriah was the place that Adam first offered sacrifice, as did his sons Cain and Abel. So did Noah and Abraham. King David and Solomon set the altar for the First Temple there. 
  4. It was in Jerusalem that Abraham met with Malki-Tzedek (Gen 14:18; Heb 7:1).
  5. Abraham offered Isaac on Mount Moriah (Gen 22:1-19). This is known as Akedat Yitzchak or "the binding of Isaac" and clearly prefigures the sacrifice of God the Father of Yeshua His Son.
  6. After the Akedah, Isaac is not mentioned again until he met his bride there (Gen 24:63-67). This is a picture of the bride of the Messiah.
  7. Jacob had his dream of the ladder to heaven there (Gen 28:10-22).
  8. Moses foresaw the Holy Temple (Ex. 15:17) and was given its blueprint at Sinai (i.e., the Miskhan or Tabernacle).
  9. According to the Talmud, Jerusalem was named by God. The name has two parts: Yira, which means "to teach," and shalam, which means "peace."  Jerusalem is the place where God would teach humanity the meaning of peace, through the Prince of Peace, Yeshua the Mashiach, and His sacrifice for humanity.
  10. King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel (2 Sam 24:18-25).
  11. Solomon built the First Temple there (1 Kings 6-8; 2 Chron 3:1-2).
  12. Zerubbabel and Nehemiah built the Second Temple there (Neh 4-6). Later, King Herod (37-4 BC) remodeled and enlarged it, but the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD (the massive retaining wall (the Kotel or Wailing Wall) that encompass Mount Moriah is all that remains of the Second Temple).
  13. We are explicitly commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6).
    שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹם ירוּשׁלם יִשְׁלָיוּ אהֲבָיִךְ / sha'alu shalom Yerushalayim...
  14. The Messiah Yeshua called Jerusalem the "City of the Great King" (Matt 5:35) and had special affection for it (Matt 23:37). He attended the festivals there (Luke 2:43, John 2:23), taught there, and performed His sacrificial work there (Matt 16:21).
  15. Yeshua was crucified in Jerusalem, just to the north of Moriah at Golgatha (Matt 27:33). There is also sound archaeological evidence to suppose that the place of the crucifixion of Yeshua was at the summit of Mt. Moriah, probably near the present-day Damascus Gate.
  16. Yeshua was raised from the dead in Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-7).
  17. Yeshua ascended from Mount Olives in Jerusalem (Acts 1:12).
  18. The "church" (kehilat Mashiach) was born in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4,8,12; 2:1-40).
  19. The Apostle Paul kept the Jewish festivals and ceremonial laws in Jerusalem (even after coming to faith in Yeshua as Adonai - see Acts 18:18; 20:6; 21:20-24) and was willing to be killed there for the sake of Messiah (Acts 21:13).
  20. The writer of the book of Hebrews calls Jerusalem "the City of the Living God" -
    הַר צִיּוֹן אֶל־עִיר אֵל חָי (Heb 12:22).
  21. Jerusalem is the place where the Third Temple (tribulation temple) will be built
    (Rev 11; Matt 24).
  22. Jerusalem is the place where Yeshua the Messiah will return in glory
    (Zech 14:4; Acts 1:12; Matt 24).
  23. Jerusalem is the place where the Fourth Temple (millennial temple) will be built (Ezekiel 40-45).
  24. Jerusalem is the name of the coming paradise of God, which descends upon the earth after the millennial reign of Messiah (Rev  3:12, 21:2, 10).
  25. Jerusalem is the most frequently occurring place name in the Scriptures, mentioned over 800 times (Zion is mentioned an additional 152 times). Note that although Scripture sometimes calls all of Jerusalem "Zion," Mount Zion lies about half a mile to the West of Moriah. In ancient times a deep valley separated Mount Zion from Mount Moriah, but today rubble from Jerusalem's many destructions completely fills this valley. Just east of Mount Moriah is the Mount of Olives which is about 300 feet higher than the high points of Mt. Zion or Mt. Moriah. Yeshua ascended to heaven from the summit of the Mt. of Olives according to Acts 1:1-12 and will make his triumphant return to earth from the same location, according to Zechariah 14:4.

     

A famous midrash sums up the sentiment of many Jews regarding Jerusalem and the Holy Temple:

    "As the navel is set in the center of the human body, so is the land of Israel the navel of the world; as Jerusalem is in the center of the land of Israel, so is the sanctuary in the center of Jerusalem; as the holy place is in the center of the sanctuary, and the ark is in the center of the holy place, and the foundation stone is before the holy place, so from it the world was founded." (Adapted from Midrash Tanchuma, Kedoshim)

Jerusalem Seal

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

As believers in the Mashiach Yeshua, we understand that Jerusalem is near and dear to the LORD God of Israel, and we take heed of the commandment given in the Scriptures to pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

Psalm 122:6

sha'alu shelom Yerushalayim, yishlayu ohavayikh

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