The concept of time—particularly eternity stretching infinitely in all directions—is one that we, God’s creation, can scarcely grasp. Yet, since the beginning of time on earth, what He has done, where we have gone, and our interactions with Him have been recorded in the Word.
Our existence began in the Garden of Eden and since then, creation has been wandering, searching for things we cannot see. Because of this, we might suppose that many of the events in the Word are merely a result of our endless seeking.
However, it is important to realize that nothing within the Word is without purpose… if an event is mentioned, it is important… if an aspect of God is mentioned, it is important… and if a place is mentioned… well, it is important. And Jerusalem—the capital city of the Promised Land mentioned hundreds of times; where temples for God were built and where kings and the King of kings walked—is no exception.
Jerusalem, a city sometimes known as the ‘City of Peace’ or even, ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ has thousands of years of history and entertains millions of visitors a year. It is known worldwide, fought for to this day, and is continually at the center of news articles and broadcasts. Yet, the true importance of Jerusalem is found in the Word…
The Word mentions the city of Jerusalem by name over 800 times! It is a part of not only dozens of stories throughout the Word, but prophecies of the end time. It is where Jesus—Yeshua—died and rose again, and where He shall reign when He returns…
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
if I do not exalt Jerusalem
above my chief joy.”—Psalm 137:5-6
Given Jerusalem’s age and importance, it is no surprise that of all the cities in Israel, Jerusalem has the widest range and quantity of artifacts—as well as perhaps the greatest biblical importance.
While many artifacts were found before modern day Israel’s recreation in the mid-20th century, archaeology—specifically archaeology focused on the Word—has been paramount in the attentions of the nation. The proof of her heritage, legacy, and right to the land is resting in the layers of history. Additionally, the number of digs, particularly in Jerusalem, have grown astronomically; as have the number of archaeological colleges, universities, and museums.
The city of Jerusalem, of course, has changed over time, yet, certain things remain in the face of wars, earthquakes, and everything else she has faced. For instance, many of the walls of Jerusalem survive today as they would have during the time of Jesus, and even, to an extent, the former kings of Israel…
And presently they are—as they would have been thousands of years ago—one of the crowning features of the city… prophesied to remain, as Jesus is to return by the currently sealed Eastern gate.
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
they shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
and give Him no rest till He establishes
and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”—Isaiah 62:6-7
Without the walls of Jerusalem it would be much like any other city in appearance. Without them, so much of the history could have been lost, as well as the beautiful realization you experience when you walk the streets; that Jesus Himself walked past those walls, touching many of the stones that stand today. Yet, many of the walls were built over or damaged in the centuries prior to, and even after, Jesus’ life… seemingly lost to time until the recent return of the nation, Israel.
Since Israel once again became a nation a little over 70 years ago, various layers of the Old City portion of Jerusalem have been uncovered after centuries of obscurity…
For instance, in the 1970s, many of King Hezekiah’s additions to Jerusalem, such as areas of the city walls themselves not previously discovered, were uncovered. Meanwhile, around this same time, excavations along the southwest corner of the Temple Mount uncovered thousands of years of history and stones. Still, despite amazing finds, scarce funding—as well as wars and rumors of wars—caused many digs in Israel to be halted for over a decade.
In the mid-1990s, the excavations that had begun near the southwest corner of the Temple Mount were reopened, uncovering aspects of the Temple Mount and city that had scarcely been known since the time of Jesus. Herodian Street, which ran for 70 meters along the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, was exposed; and between the street and the Temple Mount were found a row of shops, ones which Jesus may have passed on His way to and from the Temple throughout his years on earth.
This uncovered area was impressive not only in terms of scale, but in function. Arches—of which little more than bases remain—would have given the street and stalls an imposing and stable nature. Meanwhile, below, stones paving the streets were thick and included an excellent drainage system which meant that even when weather was foul, the shops were in little danger of flooding. Indeed, had invading forces—during the destruction of the Second Temple—not pushed massive stones from the uppermost Temple walls onto the street, it may have remained intact to this day despite the earthquake following Jesus’ crucifixion.
The most famous stone from the southwest corner of the Temple wall to be found in the street below was engraved with the words, “To the place of trumpeting…”—the location for the announcing of the Sabbath and High Holy days via trumpets… a sound and sight that Jesus Himself would have known during His days spent in Jerusalem.
“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” —Isaiah 2:3
What Do the Walls of Jerusalem Have to Do with US?
Few of us ever have the opportunity to travel to Israel, yet, the Word transports us there continually. Further still, it is one of the connecting factors of all who believe in God, both Jew and Gentile.
Yet, why would we want to know about Jerusalem’s walls? Why would they be important?
There are many answers for that, some coming directly from the Word, and others coming directly from the city…
“…I have chosen Jerusalem… that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually”—2 Chronicles 6:6; 7:16
“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”—Isaiah 49:16
God chose Jerusalem to be His city. Yet, more than that He chose it to be the place from where our redemption would come—for it is the city where Jesus was condemned and crucified.
The stones of Jerusalem’s walls tell the story of God’s connection to the city. They show generations of God’s children following after Him… they show their distancing themselves and their return to Him.
The truth found in the Word about the city and in the archaeology of her walls is there for all to see, and a lesson to all who open their hearts to God’s resting place and the apple of His eye.
“For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: ‘This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.’”—Psalm 132:13-14
“…this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.”—Ezekiel 43:7
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you [Jerusalem] touches the apple of His eye.’”—Zechariah 2:8
Today, while we are separated from the Promised Land by miles and in many cases, even oceans, we are still connected to the land through the Word, through artifacts, through knowing that Jesus will reign there, and of course, through the promises of God Himself!
Yet, we can do more than simply sit in our chairs and read of God’s Promised Land. We can build up the land, bringing it to life as the prophets of the Word foretold; making the desert bloom, restoring the people, and preparing for the return of Jesus to Jerusalem!