Psalm 48:8 As we have heard,
so have we seen
in the city of the Lord Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure for ever.
The first part of this Psalm has been pleasantly set to music, and the whole thing is a meditation on Jerusalem, in particular its relationship to God. Back when it was written, Jerusalem and the temple within it was almost a substitute for God Himself, it was such a strong symbol. However, that unintentional idolatry was destroyed when the Babylonians destroyed both the city walls and the temple itself. The walls and the temple were rebuilt in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, and then the temple was again rebuilt by Herod, who was an evil man and wasn’t even Jewish. By that time the association of the temple with God Himself was so weakened that the Court of the Gentiles was used as a bustling market, and Jesus expressed God’s feelings about that. (Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-17) After that, in AD 70, the Romans again destroyed the temple. I think it is significant that the famous “Wailing Wall” is part of the temple of Solomon, rather than either of the later temples. Right now, of course, the Temple Mount itself is occupied by a mosque, but continuing archaeology in the area around it confirms the Biblical and historical account to a remarkable degree. Jerusalem continues to have massive symbolism, as the New Testament, and especially Revelation, testifies. That said, we must never descend into the idolatry of conflating the city with God, or even the purposes of God. The city is certainly involved in those purposes, yes, but we are never to place the city above God Himself, as some seem in danger of doing.
I have never been to geographic Israel, though I have been part of spiritual Israel for many years. I would dearly love to go, but the Lord hasn’t opened the way for that yet. At the very least, I know I will be in the New Jerusalem spoken of in Revelation. I have long taken pride at having been born in 1948, the same year as the modern nation of Israel, and it was an unexpected joy and honor to be adopted by the Messianic fellowship when I was in seminary. It floored them that I knew some Hebrew folk songs better than they did! I do believe in and pray for a massive ingathering of Jews before the Lord’s return, and in no way do I think the Church has somehow “replaced” Israel in God’s plan. However, I don’t think God loves Gentiles less than He loves Jews, and my particular calling is to the Japanese people. I am to continue to strive to bring as many of them as possible with me to the Heavenly Jerusalem, for the glory of God.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me flow with Your Spirit on Your schedule, whatever that means. I would love to visit geographic Israel, but I leave that in Your hands. Thank You for my place in Your kingdom that exceeds all geographic boundaries. May I be Your ambassador to all I encounter, for Your glory. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Thank You. Praise God!