Jerusalem... The Key to Peace. What is needed to turn this key?
A monthly march around the temple mount gates -- is this a sign of the coming peace?
April 19, 2006 - Audio, 14.00 MIN
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This is Dave Billington with this weeks Bible in the News. This Monday a suicide bomber struck in Tel Aviv killing nine civilians, at the same time as Israel's new parliament was to be sworn in. After calls for the ceremony to be canceled it went ahead regardless of the carnage. This is an epitome of the plans of the new government in Israel, who has plans to withdraw from large swathes of the West Bank in Judea and Samaria, regardless of the ongoing attacks and bloodshed. Does this new government have God's blessing? We would say 'no'. As it says in the Proverbs 29:2: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." When will there be righteous government for the nation of Israel?
As recorded in the book of Genesis, almost 4000 years ago, the patriarch Abraham was returning victoriously from a battle, in which his nephew Lot had been taken captive, in the valley of Shaveh - which is the king's dale (the same place in which Absalom set up his pillar), just outside Jerusalem - he had a meeting with the king of Salem, or "king of peace". His name was Melchizedek - a name meaning "king of righteousness". Abram, as his name then was, gave tithes to this great king and was blessed by him. In the text of Genesis then Melchizedek is presented as a righteous ruler, a ruler that was greater than Abraham, as Abraham "gave him tithes of all". We are also told that Melchizedek was a "priest of the most high God".
Later in Abraham's life, he was to return to the virtually the same spot as his meeting with the king and priest Melchizedek, this time with Issac his son. These events are recorded in Genesis 22, where Abraham is commanded by God to take the son of promise and sacrifice him in the land of Moriah. Abraham's faith, in the resurrection of the dead, does not waver and at the last moment the angel of God stops Abraham from performing the sacrifice. God provides a ram for a sacrifice, in the stead of Abraham's son Issac, yet this event only looked forward to the sacrifice of God's own son, who condemned our Adamic nature on the tree, proclaiming God's righteousness. Abraham called the name of the place: "Yahweh-yireh", which the text interprets for us as meaning: "In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen." Seeing there is no neuter in the Hebrew and the verb is masculine, the text should properly read: "In the mount of the LORD he shall be seen."
The name of the holy city comes from both of the visits of Abraham to this place. In his first visit it is called simply "Salem" or "peace", in his second visit: "Yahweh-yireh"; from which comes: Yireh-salem or Jerusalem. There is more to this name however, than a promise of peace, but also the promise of a righteous king, a prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6); for in the mount of the LORD he shall be seen. Psalm 110 speaks of a political restoration of Zion: "The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion; rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." The one ruling and being addressed, in this Psalm, is David's "Adon" or Master, the Messiah and as the Psalm goes on to say: "...a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." He is ruling in Zion as a king/priest -- this is the righteous rulership we wait for to arise in Zion. It is at this time that we will shall see peace.
The Vatican however sees things differently. They say that: "Only a just peace will bring genuine security to all the peoples of the region." This peace is one of two states living side by side with international protection for the "holy places". This is not the peace spoken of in the Bible when Zion's king will reign victorious.
The front cover of this weeks Economist has the heading: "Jerusalem the key to peace." It seems everyone recognizes that Jerusalem is the key to peace, yet they do not recognize the real solution prophesied in the Bible. Inside the Economist in an article entitled: "Jerusalem's holy places -- the heart of holy war." The subhead to this article reads: "A God-given muddle that God alone may be able to sort out." To this we whole heartedly agree--without the "may be"! We do not however agree with the conclusion of the article, that recycles the old mantra proposed in 1948 that Jerusalem must be denationalized - something that the Vatican whole-heartedly supports, as they know that the Catholic dominated countries could easily control things from what would be the governing body of the United Nations. This will not bring peace - only war!
This true time of peace will come, in the words of Psalm 102, "When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory." We now, in this time, can see the LORD building up Zion with our own eyes. In Hosea 3:4-5 we read: "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days." So what we are looking for today is a seeking of the God in Israel, among the nation of Israel.
With me in the studio is John Billington. He has just returned from a trip to the holyland. During that trip, on Rosh Chodesh, or the beginning of the month, he witnessed an amazing walk around the gates of the temple mount.
John, can you briefly describe for us what you saw?
Absolutely, this was not just a normal walk around the temple. These are the religious Zionist that come. They are the young people. They are, for the most part, the teenagers and really, they come from all the little settlements in the mountains of Israel- generally from there and hitch hike in. We are not talking about an hundred, two hundred, three hundred - we are talking about a thousand, two thousand - we are talking about a lot of people and they absolutely crowd out the old city. When we were there you couldn't even see the end of the crowd when you went thru some of the streets.
They start at the western wall and go around all the gates of the temple. It is to remember the temple of old, but it is more than that, it is to look forward to the temple that is going to be built. It is very exciting for them, and it was very exciting for us to see the enthusiasm. As they go round, they play music and they dance and sing all the way thru the old city and around the gates. At every gate they stop and they read psalms and they say prayers, and they look forward to the next temple being built. We actually talked to one of the young guys, his name was Hillel, and he said "we don't have a temple of our own now, but this is the least we can do to show God that we really do want the next temple". And they have huge flags and they wave them around there are loads of them everywhere. The flags say that they want to build the temple soon.
So you brought back a program from the event, with you John, and you were saying that they were saying Psalms at the gates as they went around. Could you tell us what some of the Psalms are?
Yes, actually it would be worth going through in your own time and reading them and it gives you a feel of what was going on and the spirit of the atmosphere.
The first psalm that they read was Psalm 24...
...which is "lift up your heads oh ye gates and the king of glory shall come in ...who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord."
They then moved on to Psalm 83 and then thru the Psalms of Ascent - so they did all of them, Psalm 120 right thru to 134. Now these are spread out between the gates, so it actually takes a long time as they do this walk, but we are talking about thousands of people singing and dancing and just extremely joyful and happy. There was times when they stopped to pray, that some of them, especially in their silent prayers--they have times when it goes absolutely silent and everyone does there own prayer--people were almost breaking down in tears, I mean this is a heartfelt thing that they do. It was truly, truly exciting.
And the songs that they sing are all religious too, we were listening to some of them: "If I forget Jerusalem let my right hand forget it's cunning," and "...the time to favour Zion, yea the set time is come", from Psalm 102 and others and we are actually going to play one for you at the end of the program here.
Yea, it was actually good when we were there we were able to get a little bit of video of it. It was all in Hebrew, so Dave here can translate it for us, so he knows a little bit more than I do of actually what was being said. The program we actually brought back was in Hebrew. But when we were there we were able to talk to people and really get a feel for what was going on and truly they are so looking forward to the Messiah coming and just the feeling in the air... especially we stopped at the east gate outside--they actually close off all the streets, they have police all the way around to stop anybody bothering them and to make sure the march goes forward--and we stopped at the east gate and if you look from the classic view of Olives looking onto it you can see the east gate there--and we stopped outside that gate and they said Psalms about the Messiah coming and prayers about the Messiah and it really shows you exactly what they are looking for and its an amazing group of people. I am going to read for you... theres a verse in 2 Chronicles 6 verse 38 and this is talking about the Jews in their exile but I think the principle definitely applies and its 2 Chronicles chapter 6 verse 38 and it says: "If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee." And that was Solomon's dedication in the temple when it was originally built and I think, that that really gives you a feel for exactly what was going on, and I can't even say it better than that; the feeling in the air, the looking forward to the temple being built, the excitement of everyone, I can't even really paint you the proper picture of them all, thousands of young people dancing through the streets and then to stop and to be serious and say prayers and to read Psalms, it was unbelievable.
So here they are praying toward the temple mount, where the temple used to stand... so would you say John that there is a seeking of the LORD their God in a way and David, their king in the words of Hosea in these young people today in Israel.
There really is a seeking and they are actually very excited to talk about the promises that have been given to them, very, very, excited about the Torah and about what is going on... we actually talked to a one guy who was a tree planter and he said to us exactly those words: "I am seeking at the moment..." he goes, you know, I have questions and I am seeking. And we talked to him a lot about some of the prophecies and that and he was scribbling notes on a little piece envelope. He went home--he actually invited us back to his home--and as soon as we got to his house he introduced us to his family and he went to his bookshelf and took off his Torah and started reading in the corner, because he was so excited to get into the scriptures and to understand what was going on. There really is a feeling of, as you say, of the seeking going on. I mean they really... they really want to, I think, change the way things have been going on in Israel, change all the secular ways and really look at things in a very different light to what it has been.
Thanks John for relating these events to us. This is a surely a great sign of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, and the coming true peace in Jerusalem that the LORD will bring and not man.
So to round of this week, we would like to play you a short audio clip from the march. The words of the song being sung are:
"Build it soon in our days, soon in our days, the building of the olam. (This of course being the temple.)
"And quickly prepare in the midst of her, the throne of David your servant.
"And for Jerusalem your city, with mercy, you will return and dwell in the midst as you have spoken."
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