“Jerusalem, Rejoice” by Stan Goodenough

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD. “Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!” (Zechariah 2:10-13)

Congratulations, Nation of Israel, on the 42nd anniversary of the restoration of Jerusalem to Jewish rule. As I write this, the sounds of your celebrations drift up to me from inside the Old City. Fireworks will soon light up those ancient walls, and music will echo across the capital late into the night.

For thousands of years your forefathers longed, prayed and wept, faithfully nurturing their love for this city and daily expressing their belief in their ultimate and permanent return to Jerusalem.

For centuries, Zion lay desolate, like the land around her unwanted and uncared for, waiting for the return of the only people who ever treasured her and under whose hand she had once blossomed and thrived. She waited, too, as she still waits, for the day when the glory of the God of Israel will once more be manifested in her midst, and the nations of the world will come up to worship the King.

Sixty-one years ago, as your people lay besieged inside the Jewish Quarter, starving, cut off from the rest of the nation, fearful for their lives, hundreds of your sons and daughters risked and gave their lives to break through the enemy lines and save you. Eventually, painfully, you lost that battle.

Forty-two years ago, after 19 years of being so near and yet so far from the heart of the city, more of your sons risked – and many gave – their lives. And this time they secured your freedom.

And since 1967 Jerusalem – for so long love deprived -has been blooming and thriving once more. Under your proudly-waving blue and white flag, millions of people from around the world have been welcomed, and peoples of all faiths enjoy the freedom to make pilgrimage and to worship here.

The city appears in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The New Testament mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion seven times.

(It is mentioned not once in the Islamic Quran.)

Nonetheless, the non-Jewish world is united in the arrogant presumption that it has the right to dictate Jerusalem’s future. United Nations, European Union and dozens of diplomats’ cars drive all over the place (often paying little heed to Israel’s traffic laws) challenging the Jews’ right to the city. Relentlessly they plot its redivision and the handing over of half of it to the Muslim Arabs, who insist they have the right to it as the capital of their “Palestine” and whose leaders vow to sacrifice untold numbers of “martyrs” to “redeem” Jerusalem “in blood and fire.”

They will never succeed.

Jerusalem is the capital city of the State of Israel and the historic and biblical capital of the Jewish people. It has never, ever in the history of mankind, been the capital of any other nation or state.

Speaking today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared: “United Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided.”

Amen.

Yes rejoice, Israel. Celebrate, Jerusalem! All those who love Zion rejoice with you.

May God bless Israel, May God bless Jerusalem, and may His glory soon be seen again in this place.

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