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The old man could hardly believe his eyes. He was standing on holy ground and his eyes were beholding the dream of his life, the sacred City of David, Zion, Jerusalem.
Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was now seventy years old. His grandparents had left Russia during the pogroms and his parents and siblings fled Cologne, Germany two days after Kristallnacht.
The answer to decades of prayer, he had made Aaliyah and before him was Eretz Yisrael!
The Psalmist wrote,
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised In the city of our God, In His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, The joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, The city of the great King. God is in her palaces; He is known as her refuge…As we have heard, So we have seen In the city of the Lord of hosts, In the city of our God: God will establish it forever (Psalm 48:1-3, 8 NKJV).
The old man’s heart burst with joy, tears ran down his face. His heart felt at home in a way he had never known. It seemed all of his life, deep in his heart, there had been a longing. He was finally home!
Wednesday, June 7th, Israel celebrates the 50th anniversary of acquiring full control of her capitol city, Jerusalem.
A brief historical lesson is in order for full understanding of the significance of this celebration.
3 Things You Need to Know About Jerusalem
1. The nation of Israel had ceased to exist and the capitol city, Jerusalem, was conquered and totally destroyed by Rome.
Emperor Nero sent Vespasian, a highly decorated General, and his army to subdue a rebellion in Judea that had erupted in 66 AD.
He successfully put down the rebellion in Galilee then marched across the Jordan and quieted the revolt in Idumea. He prepared to march his forces around the Dead Sea and north to Jerusalem.
However, Emperor Nero died before he could mount the siege of Jerusalem.
The Roman Senate called Vespasian back to Rome to be their next Emperor. He appointed his son, Titus, to complete the siege on Jerusalem.
He completed the task and destroyed the city in 70 AD. However, that was not the end of the Jew’s rebellion against their oppressor, Rome.
Emperor Hadrian had to deal with the Bar Kokhbah revolt sixty years after the victory of Titus.
When he first became Emperor in 118 AD, he was somewhat sympathetic to the Jewish people. He allowed them to resettle in Jerusalem and even granted permission to rebuild the Temple of Solomon.
However, he soon reversed his decision and even began deporting Jewish families to northern Africa.
The Jewish people organized a guerrilla forces and began making surprise attacks on the Romans. 132 AD Jerusalem was still in ruins.
Emperor Hadrian came and rebuilt the city and named it, Aelia Capitolina Jupiter, after himself and his favorite deity.
He built a new temple for the worship of Jupiter, on top of the ruins of the Holy Temple that had been destroyed by Titus. That became more than the Jewish people could stand and Shimon Bar-Kokhba organized an even stronger rebellion against the Roman oppression.
The Bar Kokhba rebellion was suppressed on the 9th of AV, 135 AD.
Hadrian burned all copies of the Torah, forbid any Jewish worship and banished all Jews from living in Israel. He renamed the land Syria Palaestina.
2. Two thousand years later, May 14, 1948 through multiple miracles of the Living God, Israel was reborn as a nation; fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Isaiah.
“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she brought forth her sons” (Isaiah 66:8).
Invitations were sent to three hundred and fifty people inviting them to a meet at 4:00 PM with the Jewish People’s Council at the Tel Aviv Museum on May 14, 1948.
The invitation made it clear the information was top secret. However, the word was leaked and people began to gather in the streets and sing Hatikvah.
Exactly at 4:00 PM the thirty-two minute ceremony began. They must complete the event before Shabbat. David Ben-Gurion, stepped to the microphone and read the prepared declaration.
ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) – the Land of Israel, Palestine] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom. … This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.
ACCORDINGLY WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.
As he concluded the declaration canon and guns could be heard in the distance and four hours later Egypt bombed Tel Aviv. 12:00 Midnight May 15, 1948 Israel officially became a nation.
Eleven minutes later, President of the United States, Harry Truman, declared the United States officially recognizes the new nation.
That night Syria began an invasion of the new nation and the next morning, May 15, 1948, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt attacked; five powerful Arab nations against 45,000 Israeli Defense Forces.
Although outnumbered, literally 100 to 1, Israel defeated their enemies, fulfilling God’s promise in Leviticus 26:8 – “Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.”
Israel’s war of independence was formally brought to an end when the five Arab nations signed an armistice in February 1949.
3. Although Israel had won her war of independence, she did not have full control of her capitol city.
East Jerusalem, the ancient part of the city and the Temple Mount, was still under the control of the Arab forces. It would be nineteen long years after the re-birth of the nation that Jerusalem would be united in a miracle victory.
Embarrassed by their defeat in Israel’s War of Independence, the Arabs had made a pact they would drive Israel into the sea.
May 15, 1967, on Israel’s Day of Independence, Egypt began amassing troops in the Sinai, Israel’s southern border.
May 30, 1967, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon moved troops to the northern and eastern borders of Israel, making a total of 465,000 soldiers, 2800 tanks and 800 airplanes surrounding the tiny nation.
Iraq joined the Arab coalition on June 4th.
Consequently, realizing the element of surprise was critical, Prime Minister Eshkol ordered the Israeli Air Force to attack the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian Air Forces, on the morning of June 5th while they were still on the ground.
At the end of the first day, virtually all of Egypt’s air force was destroyed or out of service and half of Syria’s were destroyed.
Within 48 hours Israel had conquered the West Bank and on June 7th, 10:08 AM, IDF Paratroopers had seized control of the Old City of Jerusalem and were at the holy Western Wall of the Temple Mount.
Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan, and IDF Chief of Staff, Yitzhak Rabin quickly made their way to the Western Wall and joined the Israeli paratroopers in recognizing this great victory.
IDF Chaplain, Brigadier General Rabbi Shlomo Goren, leader of the paratroopers that day, blew the shofar, then led the soldiers prayer.
The war hardened troopers openly wept as they prayed at that holy site. For the first time in 1900 years Jerusalem was united as the capitol of the Jewish people.
Why are these events important to you?
Because, history is being rewritten and every day the news media is presenting inaccurate and disinformation about Israel and the history of Middle East.
Look at these historical facts and ask yourself, if you knew them previously or if you have heard something dramatically different.
1. The Middle East territory was promised by God to Abraham around 2000 BC.
The Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, signed June 28, 1919, contained the Balfour Agreement that guaranteed a homeland to the Jewish people.
The land designated for the Jewish people in the agreement matches the biblical dimensions.
June 30, 1922, the US Senate and Congress passed a bill endorsing the Balfour Agreement and on July 24, 1922, the League of Nations (precursor to the United Nations) passed a mandate declaring recognition of the homeland for the Jewish people.
September 21, 1922, President Harding signed the bill endorsing the homeland.
2. There has never been a Palestinian State.
The term Palestine was first used in 135 AD by Emperor Hadrian after he put down the Bar Kakhba Revolt. He wanted no reference to Judea or the nation of Israel.
If ever there were a Palestinian people, it is the Jews, not the Arabs.
Under the British Mandate Palestinians were Jewish people and Arabs living in the Holy Land. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in Cairo, Egypt in 1964.
Notice that this was long before Israel possessed any of what has been termed “occupied territories.”
The PLO charter says, Article 19: “…the establishment of Israel is fundamentally null and void (and remains so) whatever time has elapsed.” Article 22: “(T)he liberation of Palestine will liquidate the Zionist and imperialist presence…”
The effort to establish a Palestinian state inside the nation of Israel is nothing less than a replay of the Sudetenland ploy used by Hitler to seize all of Czechoslovakia.
That is the ultimate goal of the PLO. Seize all of the land and drive Israel into the sea.
3. Jerusalem has been the capitol city of the Jewish people since 1002 BC when King David conquered the city and made it his capitol.
He called it “The City of David.”
In 1867, Charles Warren, uncovered the Gihon Spring and crawled through Hezekiah’s Tunnel and discovered sections of the ancient city.
Over the last 150 years new discoveries have continued to confirm this is indeed the ancient city of David.
2005, Dr. Eliat Mazar discovered what is believed to be the palace of King David. Several official seals have been found bearing Hebrew names including one with the name of King Zedekiah and two others with the names of two of the four ministers of Judah who plotted to kill the prophet Jeremiah.
The sacred writings of Islam have no reference to Jerusalem as a holy city for the Muslims.
In fact, all of the early Muslim sources make it clear it is not holy and some writers even call the veneration of Jerusalem the “Judaizing of Islam.”
The original text of Muhammad’s ascent into heaven has no mention of the rock on the temple mount.
This clearly makes the Dome of the Rock and Aqsa Mosque of no great significance as a Muslim holy site. All of this has been historical rewrite by Islam in an effort to deny Israel her right to the land and her capitol city.
The claims to Jerusalem by the Palestinians and Arabs are a political ploy to destroy the Jewish people and to drive Israel into the sea.
King David prayed, “Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me under the shadow of your wings from the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me” (Psalm 17:8-9 NKJV).
God made an eternal covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and promised King David his throne is eternal.
God has not changed His mind.
He promised to regather His people to their homeland. He keeps His promises!