Praying For Jerusalem?
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
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
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