Jerusalem: The City of Peace

Jerusalem Day (Hebrew: יום ירושלים, Yom Yerushalayim) is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, it was attacked en masse by its Arab neighbors. Jordan took over east Jerusalem and the Old City and the Jewish residents who had lived there all their lives were forced out. This Jordanian occupation continued for 19 years until 1967.  In

Jerusalem: 4000 Years History in 5 Minutes
Jerusalem: 4000 Years History in 5 Minutes

May 1967, tensions were again at an all time high between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  Israel knew an attack was imminent and that they may lose unless they had the element of surprise.  So on June 5th, 1967 Israel launched a preemptive strike thus beginning the Six-Day war. On June 7th, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), Israeli paratroopers captured the Old City of Jerusalem. Later that day, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared what is often quoted on Yom Yerushalayim: This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, [the Western Wall] never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour … our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other people’s holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.”

On May 12, 1968, the Israeli government proclaimed a new holiday – Jerusalem Day – to be celebrated on the 28th of Iyar, the Hebrew date

Jerusalem of Gold
Jerusalem of Gold

on which the divided city of Jerusalem became one. (In 1967 this date fell on June 7th.) On March 23, 1998, the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Day Law, making the day a national holiday. On the Hebrew calendar, the 28th day of Iyar is exactly six weeks after the Passover seder, and one week before the eve of Shavuot. In honor of the reunification of ancient Jerusalem, Naomi Shemer wrote the beautiful song, “Jerusalem of Gold to commemorate the event.  It is sometimes called Israel’s “2nd national anthem”.

The Battle for Jerusalem
The Battle for Jerusalem
Jerusalem. Israel has been planning special celebrations for over a year for this very special 50th Anniversary Celebration! Jerusalem Day will begin at sunset tomorrow night, May 23rd and will be celebrated on May 24th. In the USA, the CBN Documentary film will have a special one time only showing on tomorrow night in select IMAX type theaters nationwide. For more info visit the website: InOurHands1967.com
Contrary to what the UN organization, UNESCO, voted recently (that Jewish people have no ties to Jerusalem) the FACTS state that Jewish people have had a presence in Jerusalem for almost FOUR millennia and both the Bible and archaeology prove this fact.  A careful student of the Word of God will realize that God considers Jerusalem both the geographical focus of the earth and the spiritual focus of His plan. The word ‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned 764 times in the Hebrew T’nakh with the first mention being in Joshua 10:1. It is the city mentioned the most in the Bible. The place of Jerusalem, however, is first mentioned in Genesis 14:18 as the meeting place of Abram and Melchizedek, “king of Salem”. The word, ‘Salem’ is also mentioned in Psalm 76:2 and refers to Jerusalem. ‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned 50 more times in the New Testament for a total of 814 times in the entire Bible. (More than any other place!) For the almost 2,000 years of the Diaspora, all Passover Seders have concluded with participants saying, “Next year in Jerusalem” indicating their desire to be back in their home to celebrate Passover.
Edith Samuel in her book, “Your Jewish Lexicon” says, “Peace runs like a golden thread throughout our [referring to the Jewish people] dreams and prayers.” The reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 did not bring peace to the city and today Jerusalem is not at peace. However, the Bible pattern has always been that God gives names according to the the final destiny of the person or place.  I think of God changing Jacob’s name to Israel. God’s Word teaches that the final destiny of Jerusalem will be the city of peace when the Messiah, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), sits on the throne of His father David as the rightful King! However in the meantime, the Bible also commands us to pray for this end in Psalm 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”
In Hebrew:

שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁל֣וֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָ֑ם יִ֝שְׁלָ֗יוּ אֹהֲבָֽיִךְ
(Sha’alu shalom yirushalim)
Etymology of ‘Jerusalem’
The Hebrew root, שלמ according to the book 501 Hebrew Verbs, means literally: “to pay wages, pay for goods, pay back (a debt)”.  For a fuller meaning, you must realize that to repay a debt means to “complete” the payment process.  So the underlying meaning is “completeness and wholeness”.  This helps us to understand the most famous word that is derived from this root: שָלוֹם (shalom) which means ‘peace‘ and is also used as a greeting – both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.  In modern Hebrew, the

term מה שלומך (mah sh’lom-chah) literally means, ‘what is your peace’, but the ‘street meaning’ is “how are you?”. The root is in the word

יְרוּשָׁלִַם – Yerushalim or Jerusalem and hence it being the ‘city of Peace‘. The most famous king that ever sat on Jerusalem’s throne was שְׁלֹמֹה (Sh-lo-mo) or Solomon who brought unprecedented peace to the city.  Solomon’s wife from the Song of Solomon was Shulamit – שּׁוּלַמִּית (see Song. 6:13) Amazingly, all of these words, shalom, Solomon, Shulamit and Jerusalem all contain this same Hebrew root – שלמ meaning they all have a common etymology and a common basic meaning.