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Jerusalem, The Navel of the Earth Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

JERUSALEM

The Navel of the Earth

Every synagogue in the world is built facing Jerusalem. Whenever a Jew prays, he faces this Holy City in accordance with the petition of King Solomon:

"And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel when they pray toward this place." (1 Kings 8:30)

Even though the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it is believed that the Divine Presence never left the Western Wall, the wall that was closest to the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant once rested. Even during the Jewish wedding ceremony, at the happiest time of one's life, the groom proclaims that Jerusalem is still his highest joy when he recites:

"If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy." (Psalm 137:5, 6)

The reason for this great love and devotion on the part of the Jewish people is that Jerusalem is believed to be the place through which the lifeblood and nourishment of G-d flows from heaven to the world. It is the navel of the earth, so to speak. In reciting the history of the city of Jerusalem, Leon Uris in his book Jerusalem, says:

"Of all the cities founded by the ancients, Jerusalem alone retains her ancient glory and her special relationship to G-d (p.14)...[David] envisioned it as the center of the earth, a unique and sacred place...the link between man and G-d." (p. 56)

Jerusalem is said to consist of seven hills (Next Year In Jerusalem, Teddy Kolleck, Harvest House, 1995, p. 8), the number of G-d's perfection on earth. The city is divided into two main sections: the Lower City [to the east] and the Upper City [to the west]. The Upper City was formerly known as the Land of Moriah, where G-d led Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham called the place Yehovah Yira, translated, Jehovah will provide (Genesis 22:14). The Lower City was known as Salem translated Peace. Melchizedek, meaning, king of righteousness, was its earliest recorded king and priest (Genesis 14:18). When Joshua entered the Promised Land to conquer it for Israel, the Amorites had united the Upper and Lower Cities. In Hebrew it is called Yerushalayim, a plural word reflecting the fact that it was two cities. Prophetically, it means: Peace will be provided there by the King of Righteousness. G-d inspired David to instruct us to pray for that hidden promise contained in the name Jerusalem:

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem...For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you'. For the sake of the house of the L-rd our G-d, I will seek your prosperity." (Psalm 122:6, 8, and 9)

G-d said that He has put His name on Jerusalem (see also Deuteronomy 12:5; 2 Chronicles 33:4; 1 Kings 9:3, 2 Kings 21:4):

"Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel." (2 Chronicles 6:6)

An amazing phenomena that has become known only in the current century due to the development of aviation, is that the name of G-d literally appears on the physical city of Jerusalem. Shaddai, one of the names of G-d, meaning the "All-sufficient One", is written with three Hebrew letters: ­­shin, dalet, yod. These letters form the acronym Shomer Daltot Yisrael meaning Watchman of Israel's gates or Protector of the doors of Israel. The single letter shin which stands for the word shomer (watchman), however, represents G-d's signature. It appears on every mezuzah placed on the doors of Jewish homes. It is said that G-d looks down from heaven and sees His signature, the Hebrew letter shin, on Jerusalem and on the doors of Jewish homes calling them to His remembrance for protection.

The L-rd, in speaking of Jerusalem, told the prophet Haggai: "in this place I will give peace" (Haggai 2:8). This scripture, it is said, instructs us that Jerusalem is the key to peace. Because G-d put His name on it and promised that Jerusalem is the key to G-d's peace, Satan desperately wants to either take it for himself or destroy it. Zechariah records that this ancient contention over Jerusalem will one day erupt into an earthly war:

"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it." (Zechariah 12:2, 3)

Consequently, Jerusalem has seen more wars than any other city on the face of the earth:

"Jerusalem has known the hosts of thirty-six wars. She has been reduced to ashes seventeen times. She has risen eighteen. She has been sanctified by blood and martyrdom. She knew the hoofbeat of Assyrian war chariot, chilled to the besieging battering machines of Rome, heard the hissing arcs of Saladin's sabers and the rattle of crusader mail...and the tattoo of Israeli paratroop gunfire. She has seen more passion and love and more human savagery than any other place in the world." (Jerusalem, Leon Uris, p.9)

In fact, the Bible teaches that the Battle of Armageddon, the final war of all wars, will be fought over Jerusalem, the city of G-d. That is why the political situation of the nation of Israel serves as a barometer to measure how close we are to the coming of the L-rd.

In the same way that Jerusalem was chosen by G-d, the site for the Temple was also chosen by G-d Himself:

"Then Solomon began to build the temple of the L-rd in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the L-rd had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David." (2 Chronicles 3:1)

G-d stated His purpose for this Temple:

"And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8)

The Hebrew translation actually says:

"...that I may dwell inside them."

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, in his book, Jerusalem, The Eye of the Universe, says:

"Through this Tabernacle, G-d's presence would dwell in the heart of each and every Jew."(p. 19)

G-d required all Israelite men to go to Jerusalem three times a year for the three major feasts: Passover, Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Sacrifices could only be made at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Israelites were, therefore, compelled to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year as well as at other times to offer sacrifices for their sins. Jerusalem served as the place where they received spiritual renewal, regeneration, and teaching.

Every Jew that does not live in Israel is living in exile, in galut. Galut refers not only to political exile, but also to spiritual alienation from G-d. G-d's punishment for Israel's rebellion was to be banished from the Land. In Israel, the nation is called Ha Eretz which means The Land. To be in G-d's blessing is to be in or restored to The Land:

"I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered..." (Ezekiel 20:41)

Today, G-d is sending fishermen to the nations (Jeremiah 16:16) to tell the Jewish people to return to The Land, their land of blessing. If they do not listen, G-d will then send the hunters to hunt them down throughout the world wherever they have been scattered. Those who revolt and rebel against the L-rd will not be permitted to return to Israel:

"Although I will bring them [the rebellious] out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel." (Ezekiel 20:38)

Jews living in the Diaspora (all lands where the Israelites have been scattered) express their desire to once again be in G-d's blessing, living in the land of Israel when they exclaim at the conclusion of each Passover:

"NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!"

Rabbi Kaplan says that this exclamation is a prayer tied to the coming of the Messiah:

"...nothing less than a prayer for the inception of the Messianic Age." (P. 71)

The stone on which Jacob rested his head when he dreamt he saw a stairway reaching into heaven (Genesis 28:12) is believed to be the Evven Shetiya or Foundation Stone on which the Ark of the Covenant rested in the Holy of Holies. Jacob called it the gate of heaven (Genesis 28:17). Author Aryeh Kaplan states that this has an important implication:

"Just as things can go in through a gate [prayer], so can they emerge [prophecy]. Thus, all spiritual sustenance and blessing come only through Jerusalem, as it is written, 'G-d will bless you from Zion' (Psalm 128:5). It is taught that G-d first sends a blessing to Jerusalem, and from there it flows to the entire world." (P. 42)

The sages taught that the Evven Shetiya was actually the Foundation Stone of the entire universe because it was the point at which G-d began creation. This, Kaplan explains, is why there is so much interest in Jerusalem, not only by the Jews, but by the rest of the world as well:

"Jerusalem, and particularly the Foundation Stone, is therefore a place of gathering, first only for the Jewish people, but ultimately for all mankind. As all men return to their spiritual source, they tend to strengthen the spiritual concentration in this place." (P. 81)

Kaplan states that when prayers are directed toward the Foundation Stone, they are directed toward G-d. For those who know that the Messiah has already come, the Evven Shetiya takes on a special significance:

"See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed." (Isaiah 28:16)

Yeshua (Jesus) said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:

"The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the L-rd's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes." (Matthew 21:42 quoting 118:22, 23)

"He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." (Matthew 21:44)

G-d's purpose in having a Temple was to fellowship with man. Men could pray to G-d through the Gate of Heaven which is the Foundation Stone, Yeshua (Jesus). Likewise, G-d would speak to man through this same Gate of Heaven:

"Yeshua (Jesus) answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)

At the beginning of the Millennium, the prophet Ezekiel declares that a new name will be bestowed upon Jerusalem by the mouth of the L-rd: Jehovah Shammah, meaning:

THE L-RD IS THERE

"You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the L-rd delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your G-d rejoice over you." (Isaiah 62:4, 5)

ARE YOU OBEYING G-D'S WORD BY PRAYING FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM? G-D WILL BLESS YOU FROM ZION." (Psalm 128:5)

 
 
 
 
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