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Praying For Jerusalem?

David wrote:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you (Ps 122:6).

And, because of this exhortation, many ritualistic Christians, especially Messianic Jews, pray for the literal peace of that city. Is that right?

Why not pray for the peace of Rome, or London, or Moscow? Why Jerusalem?

The answer is actually a few verses later:

For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, 'Peace be within you.' Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good (Ps 122:8,9).

It's not because of any intrinsic holiness or beauty in Jerusalem's metropolis. It was because of the people of God, and the house of God.

Jerusalem is no more special in God's sight now than any other city on earth. But at that time, during the theocracy of the Old Covenant, it was special, because of the purpose which God was working out.

He had called Israel forth from Egypt, giving her the opportunity to be a model nation, championing spiritual ideals that could create a just and happy society. Because God had revealed His truth to Israel, she was the apple of His eye (Zech 2:8; Deut 32:10).

God's love for Israel as a people is no more special than His love for any other nation. But because He had called them to accept His truth at that time, they were special for that purpose, and so Jerusalem was special too not for its own sake, nor for the people's own sake, but for God's sake and for His truth's sake. God's love was extended for that reason.

That's why His house (first the Tabernacle, and later the Temple) in Jerusalem were so dear to Him.

Had Israel not had His truth, His commandments and instruction, she would have been just like any other nation and you would see no exhortation in the Bible to pray for her.

When Jesus came to Israel and was rejected by most of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation, His truth was offered to all people, irrespective of race and regardless of nationality or geographic location. For a while, God has ceased to show preferential treatment (for spiritual reasons) to Israel, and now offers those whom He has called into His Church His privileges and truth. As Paul explains in Romans 11, God will again work with Israel as a complete nation in the Millennium but for now His spiritual house is not in Jerusalem, but in those who accept the rule of His Spirit within them.

They are the spiritual Jerusalem Jerusalem from above, which is free and "the mother of us all" (Gal 4:26). It is she whom you should pray for God's true spiritual people. They are the city of God now.

In contrast, the physical city of Jerusalem "is in bondage with her children" (Gal 4:25). And "we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free" (Gal 4:31).

The New Testament admonition is to pray for the brethren (Jas 5:16), not ritualistically, but in truth.

Malcolm B Heap

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