Table of Contents
- What is Jerusalem Day?
- What Was the Six-Day War?
- How Did Israel Lose Jerusalem?
- The Reclaiming of Jerusalem… Again
- Why is Jerusalem Day Important? It’s Prophetically Significant.
Jerusalem Day is celebrated every year in Israel, but why? What is Jerusalem Day’s historical and prophetic significance, and why is it important to both Israel and Believers?
What is Jerusalem Day?
Jerusalem Day is an Israeli holiday that falls on the anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) in the 1967 Six-Day War. It is usually celebrated on or around the 28th of the Hebrew month Iyar (April or May on the Gregorian calendar).
The historical and current significance of Jerusalem Day serves as a unique bond unifying Israelis, Jews, and even Christians worldwide, commemorating and celebrating this prophetically significant day.
What Was the Six-Day War?
The Six-Day War began on June 5, 1967, and lasted until June 10, 1967. Israel was attacked by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. They wanted to extinguish the Jewish state. Yet miraculously, by the end, Israel’s victory included the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jerusalem, and Golan Heights.
It was then, for the first time in 2,000 years, since before the Roman conquest, Jerusalem was now under Israeli rule—a fulfillment of prophecy and cause of celebration!
How Did Israel Lose Jerusalem?
Jerusalem is often connected with King David. In 2 Samuel 5:6-10, it describes King David’s capture of the city, which is why Jerusalem is also referred to as the City of David. This happened between 1000 and 1040 B.C.
Israel first lost Jerusalem in 586 B.C. when the Babylonians destroyed the city and sent Jews into exile. However, over Jerusalem’s long history, the city has been attacked more than 50 times, captured and recaptured more than 40 times, and besieged more than 20 times.
The History of Jerusalem | An Ancient City
The Melchizedek Connection
Before King David’s rule, the Bible references Jerusalem. It is first mentioned as Salem, where Melchizedek served as both king and priest to the Most High God (Genesis 14:18-20).
- “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.”—Genesis 14:18-20 (emphasis added)
Melchizedek served the Lord in Salem before God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. Scholars and archaeological evidence point to Salem being Jerusalem. If this is accurate, then the Temple (known as Temple Zero) where Melchizedek served, worshiped, and honored the Most High God has an incredibly long history and is significant.
Though there are no exact dates regarding Melchizedek, we can narrow down the time frame when he would have served as king and priest.
Dates surrounding Abraham vary in estimation, but most have him being born between 2200 and 1800 B.C. We also know that when Abraham first met Melchizedek, he was called Abram (see Genesis 14:18-20 above). Abram became Abraham at 99 years old.
So then, we know that the two men met less than 99 years after Abraham’s birth. Therefore, Melchizedek served in Salem by or before 1700 B.C.
The conclusion: God has been worshiped in Jerusalem for nearly 4,000 years!
Jerusalem | The Place God Puts His Name
God said that He put His name in Jerusalem.
- “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem… He also built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, ‘In Jerusalem, I will put My name… In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever…’”—2 Kings 21:1, 4, 7 (emphasis added)
God repeats this point in scripture…
- Ezra 6:12
- 2 Chronicles 6:6; 33:4
- 1 Kings 11:36, 14:21
Jerusalem is clearly an important location to God. By what does He mean He will put His name in Jerusalem?
Understand the Hebraic alphabet.
There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The 21st letter is shin or sheen. In Hebraic understanding, the name of God was not to be spoken or written. Yet it was represented in the letter shin, which means Shaddai, one of the names of God. El Shaddai means…
- The God who is more than enough
- God Almighty
- The All-Sufficient One
The letter shin is shaped like a “W” and is also the shape of a human heart. Could this be a reminder to love the Lord our God with all our hearts? Could it be a declaration that God has His heart set on the City of Jerusalem?
Even as we worship, we lift our hands over our heads and point toward the sky. Our shape resembles the letter shin.
Furthermore, the 3 valleys that converge in Jerusalem form the letter shin.
- The Valley of Ben Hinnom
- Tyropoeon Valley
- Kidron Valley
The City of Jerusalem is geographically, historically, and prophetically significant. Yet through it all, Israel would find herself claiming the city, being exiled from it, reclaiming it, and being exiled from it again. This would last until the mid-20th century when God again allowed them to return, preparing for Israel’s prophetic restoration and fullness for the return of our Messiah!
The Reclaiming of Jerusalem… Again
After numerous cycles of claiming Jerusalem, being exiled, reclaiming it, and being exiled again, Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948. They became a refuge for many after the Holocaust.
24 Hours after Statehood, Israel Was at War
But not even 24 hours after this official proclamation, Israel had to defend herself from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq in what is now known as Israel’s War of Independence. With a small, inadequately equipped IDF—Israel Defense Forces—protecting the nation seemed impossible. But despite fifteen months of fierce fighting, God miraculously stepped in, protecting His people.
At the end of the fighting, the United Nations oversaw negotiations; Israel was left with a far less favorable outcome than was due…
- The Gaza Strip was under Egyptian governance.
- The West Bank became Judea and Samaria and was under Jordanian authority, which also controlled the eastern portion of Jerusalem, including all of the Old City.
Israel retained only the western portion of Jerusalem.
The Six-Day War
Jerusalem was disjointed between 1949 and 1967, and Israel continually battled for peace. However, when surrounding nations conspired against Israel, she responded before her enemies could gain an advantage.
On June 5, 1967, Israel initiated a necessary preemptive strike that destroyed Egypt’s military airplanes while they were still on the ground. It was strategic and necessary, yet it did have ramifications.
Jordan had a military pact with Egypt. Egypt had been actively building an army near Israel’s borders, blocking Israel’s southern shipping, and promising to destroy Israel completely. Egypt, therefore, was responsible for Israel’s need to take action. But Syria and Iraq were also ready to battle Israel. And, just as Egypt in May of 1967 promised the annihilation of Israel, Syria and Iraq promised the same thing.
Isreal Was Outnumbered
They lacked the arms their aggressors possessed, though their attack on Egypt’s grounded planes was helpful. Yet with the rest of Egypt’s army, along with 3 other nations, there seemed to be little hope.
- Israel had less than half the number of soldiers as her enemies.
- Israel had far fewer airplanes, tanks, and other forms of weaponry.
- Israel had enemies on every side except at sea.
And no one—not the United States, the United Nations, or any other country—was ready or willing to help. Only with the help of God could Israel overcome!
God Came through for His People
And, just as God had come to the aid of His people many times before, He would come through again.
Egypt, even days before the war started, began to make mistakes…
- They appointed new, unqualified leaders for command of the border and other strategic positions.
- They held a party for all military leaders away from their most important military zones, leaving no commanders available when Israel attacked Egypt’s grounded planes.
- They had turned off their air defense system the same morning Israel attacked.
- They changed their decoder, allowing the coded warning message from Jordan to be unreadable because the person receiving the message had wrong decoding code.
Each error Egypt made was an obvious result of God’s hand. Both Syria and Jordan quickly attacked Israel in response to Israel’s preemptive strike. Still, by the afternoon, hundreds of their airplanes were destroyed, while Israel had lost only a limited number of their own.
Air attacks were not an option, so Egypt began attacking on the ground. However, after Israel counterattacked, pushing into the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, Egypt’s field marshal called a general retreat. Meanwhile, due to false information of Egypt’s victory—sent through Egypt’s very own radio broadcasts from Cairo and other Egyptian sources—Jordanian soldiers started to release artillery fire into the Israeli-controlled portion of Jerusalem. It was because of Jordan’s actions, which had been propelled by their belief in lies, that IDF soldiers decided to enter East Jerusalem, recapturing it and the surrounding land.
Israel Possessed Jerusalem Once Again!
The battle was fierce, but after only 2 days of fighting, Israel again possessed Jerusalem! This is why we celebrate Jerusalem Day!
They celebrated with prayer, weeping, and thankfulness at the Western Wall. They were thankful God heard their prayers and kept His promises, giving them a miraculous victory. And it was not only the God-fearing Jews who prayed, wept, and thanked God for His gift that day. Many IDF soldiers did not actively follow God or did not follow Him at all, and still, they honored God. They realized that it was God who gave them victory!
Through the mighty hand of God and all the fighting that followed, Israel soon reclaimed East Jerusalem and the land beside it.
Since then, however, the Temple Mount, the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, etc., have all been relinquished by Israel in various ways in attempts to keep the peace. Yet, no matter our opinions of those decisions, there is no denying that God’s hand was upon Israel during the Six-Day War, which the people would later commemorate during Jerusalem Day. All glory and honor go to God!
Why is Jerusalem Day Important? It’s Prophetically Significant.
The events of the Six-Day War were miraculous. They are a picture of God’s goodness and ever-present hand during the battles. We can’t deny that God moved in this war. God was the reason for ultimate victory!
But there is a prophetic significance to this day that we now celebrate as Jerusalem Day.
The significance is hidden in the Bible and what God says about Israel and Jerusalem.
- The Jewish people return to the land.
- End-time prophecies center on Jerusalem.
- Jerusalem was the birthplace of the Church.
- Jerusalem is where Christ made His triumphal entry and was crucified.
- God wrote His name in the city.
Is there political significance to Israel possessing Jerusalem? Of course.
But even greater is the prophetic significance. This is why this day is important for both Israel and Believers—the Church. If you read your Bible and study the prophecies within it, you’ll discover more and more about God’s heart toward Israel and Jerusalem and His strong arm to make prophecies come to pass. All these and more provide Jerusalem and the victory of the Six-Day War with unique importance.
- “This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”—Psalm 118:23
Jerusalem Day is important to Israel and us as Believers because it is God who gave the victory. It is God who fulfilled prophecy by returning Jerusalem to the children of Israel. It is God who chose the perfect moment to make a way where there was no way!
- “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together, where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the Testimony of Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. For thrones are set there for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.” —Psalm 122:1-5
This Jerusalem Day…
- Let us honor God.
- Let us remember God’s miraculous hand in the Six-Day War.
- Let us respect our biblical call to bless Israel.
- Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.’ 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.”—Psalm 122:6-9