The Promised Land: Walls of Jerusalem

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 God 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.

Therefore, please join us as we explore the incredible city of Jerusalem and the archaeological evidence of God’s Word found there, including remains of the old walls of Jerusalem!

Why is Jerusalem Special?

Jerusalem—also known as ‘the City of Peace,’ and ‘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 of God…

The Word mentions the city of Jerusalem by name over 700 times! It is a part of not only dozens of stories throughout the Word, but prophecies regarding the end time. It is where Jesus—Yeshua—died and rose again, and where He shall reign for a thousand years 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 an incredibly great biblical importance.

While many artifacts were found before modern day Israel’s establishment in 1948, archaeology has been a key focus of Israel since that time. This can be seen through the number of archaeological digs which, particularly in Jerusalem, have grown significantly; as have the number of archaeological related colleges, universities, and museums. 

The city of Jerusalem is ancient, with many scholars believing parts of the city to be near 5,000 or even 5,500 years old! As a result it has changed over time, but despite facing wars, earthquakes, and more, Jerusalem has maintained certain familiar aspects. For instance, many of the walls of Jerusalem that survive today would have stood during the time of Jesus, and even, to an extent, the former kings of Israel

At present, these walls are—as they have long been—one of the crowning features of Jerusalem… and are prophesied to remain for Jesus’ triumphal return through the currently sealed Eastern Gate.

The sealed Golden Gate of Jerusalem, also called Mercy Gate, where Jesus entered Jerusalem, with palm tree in the foreground

Jerusalem’s Incredible History

“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 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 God’s recent restoration of the nation of 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. The proof of Israel’s heritage, legacy, and right to the land shown through those layers of history.

For instance, in the 1970s, many of King Hezekiah’s additions to Jerusalem, such as areas of the city walls themselves, were finally found. 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, wars, and rumors of wars, caused many archaeological 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 Jerusalem itself that had scarcely been known since the time of Jesus. One of the most impressive finds being Herodian Street, which runs for 70 meters, or around 230 feet, along the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Further, 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 of Herodian Street itself and the adjacent shops, was impressive not only in terms of scale, but in function and structure. Arches—of which little more than bases now remain—would have caused the street and stalls to appear imposing, while simultaneously making them hard-wearing. Meanwhile, below the arches, 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. In fact, had invading forces—during the destruction of the Second Temple—not pushed massive stones from the uppermost Temple walls onto Herodian Street, it may have remained intact to this day, despite the earthquake following Jesus’ crucifixion.

This destruction of portions of the Temple wall onto Herodian Street created a mass of stones where the street once stood. These stones, at first glance, may not provide us with a great deal of biblical evidence, however, at least one does. This stone, from the southwest corner of the Temple wall, was found on the street below and is engraved with the words, “To the place of trumpeting…” which was the location for announcing the Sabbath and High Holy days via trumpets. A sight and sound that Jesus Himself would have known during His days spent in Jerusalem.

Piece of wall from the southwest corner of Temple Mount.
Image Credit: Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Photo by: David Harris; Cornerstone of southwest Temple wall. Reads, “To the place of trumpeting…”

“…in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”

—Numbers 10:10

How Do the Walls of Jerusalem Connect to Believers Today?

“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

Not every Believer has the opportunity to travel to Israel, yet God’s Word transports us there continually. It connects us to the stories. To the Lord. And it even brings Jew and Gentile together.

Yet, why would we want to learn about Jerusalem’s walls? Why would they be important?

There are many answers for that, some coming directly from the Word of God, and others from Jerusalem…

“…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 honored, condemned, and crucified. It is the city where Jesus will return and reign for one-thousand years!

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… both in their distancing themselves from Him and their return to Him.

The walls of Jerusalem are a part of God’s promises. 

“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

The truth found in the Word about Jerusalem and displayed in the archaeology of her walls is there for all to see. It is a lesson to all who open their hearts to God; realizing that God views Jerusalem as “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

Today, though most of us are separated from the Promised Land by miles, or 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!

It is amazing how the living and active Word of God connects us to Israel! It is a precious gift. However, we are living in a time where God would have us do more than sit in our chairs and read about the Promised Land… we are living in a time where God is restoring Israel. And as His Word says, He is doing some of it through His Gentile Believers. Those who love God and desire to be a part of His prophetic promise! We can build up the land, restoring deserts, cities, and more, just as the Word of the Lord says. We can shine the Light and love of God brightly, so that even those living in Israel can see it. And we can prepare for the return of Jesus to Jerusalem! And through this, not only are others blessed, but we are blessed and the Kingdom is made manifest… it is a beautiful thing!

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