“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” said the psalmist in 137. I’m sitting at the South Wall excavation area near the temple mount in Jerusalem. I hear the Muslim call to prayer as Friday noon approaches. I am looking at stones on the walls, some of them Herodian, which means from Yeshua’s time. Not far from me is a large pile of massive stones right where the Romans threw them in 70 C.E.
As we came up to Jerusalem from Bethlehem yesterday, I remembered Jerusalem. In a way, I had forgotten her. Even after entering Israel, I was in the north. Even from that proximity I could forget her.
I did not feel it–the elation, the joy, the sense of rightness that often comes to me in Israel. I didn’t feel it until we began our ascent.
Then we read and sang psalms of ascent. Then I enjoyed a familiar pleasure from my many tours here. When we ascend to Jerusalem, the driver usually plays a Christian gospel song. It is such a powerful experience for me I sometimes here it in my dreams: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, hark how the angels sing, ‘Hosanna in the highest, hosanna to your king.'”
In a way, the world has forgotten about Jerusalem. The muzzin’s wailing call for all the world to bow to Islam’s god gives the lie to this city’s status. At least one of the Muslim’s praying on Jerusalem’s temple mount right now is a dear friend of mine. Yet still, they should not be praying to Allah from up there.
David bought that temple mount. Solomon built on it. It is Mt. Zion, not the place of Allah.
The muzzin’s wail is testimony to the failed liberal policy of Israel’s secular and left-wing government. It has been forty years since the fateful decision to allow the Muslims to keep ruling on God’s holy mountain. That sacrifice of appeasement has not bought a moment’s peace.
Still, as I ponder this from just below the prostrating crowd, I feel a potential in Jerusalem. Those Muslim prayers will one day be changed. People will sit in these courtyards and hear Levitical choirs, silver trumpets, harps, and lyres. There will be dancing in Zion. Arabs will be here too, not to bow to Allah, but as children of Adonai. They will be joined by all nations coming here to adore Israel’s God.
And there will be one king, Yeshua.
And so, I sit in beautiful but flawed Jerusalem. Its beauty already makes me weep each time I have to leave. How will Messiah improve it? This is what stirs me. Messianic Jerusalem is coming and for now I am content to sit in its mere shadow.