It was on this day, in 1267, that Moses Ben Nahman, better known as the sage Nachmanides, arrived in Jerusalem to establish a Jewish community there. After the defeat of the Bar Kohkba rebellion in 135 AD, the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem and built a smaller city on the site called Aeila Capitolina. From that point forward, Jews were barred from residing in the city. It wasn’t until 637 AD that a Jewish community was reestablished, continuing to exist until Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders in 1099.
A Jewish community was established again in 1187 AD, but was forced to dissolve in 1260 AD when the Tartars overran the city. Seven years later, Nachmanides arrived and renewed the Jewish community which continued into the modern era. With the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1967, the Old City of Jerusalem came under the control of the Jewish people, after 2,000 years of Gentile control, and exactly 700 years after the arrival of Nachmanides.
So, why is this so interesting to us? It just goes to show how many times Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt, and how many times the Jewish people have been sent into exile, only to return and re-establish a community in their ancient homeland. Today, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and has recently been recognized as such by several nations, including the United States. According to Scripture, that simple fact — that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel — incites her enemies, who also happen to be the enemies of God. The fact that Israel exists provokes these nations to plan another assault on the ancient homeland of the Jews. In fact, the prophets foretell of another all-out attempt to destroy Jerusalem and its inhabitants in the last days. Before that can happen, though, Jerusalem’s King will come and, once and for all, destroy Israel’s enemies and establish Jerusalem as the seat of His Kingdom. The psalmist said:
“You shall arise, and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come. For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.” (Psalm 102:13-16)
We believe the time to favor Zion is soon approaching, if it is not already here. We can know this is so, if for no other reason than observing how the hearts of God’s people’s are being drawn to the land of Israel in a miraculous way. As a matter of fact, many pilgrims to the Holy Land are, for one reason or another, compelled to collect stones and dust from different sites around the country, thus literally fulfilling the statement, “Your servants take pleasure in her stones and favor the dust.” Most who journey to Israel are drawn to Jerusalem and, it stands to reason that they would be: from that city, the Messiah will reign over His people and rule all nations. Thus, we yearn for the day when the King returns and establishes Jerusalem as the place of His habitation.
Today, He dwells in our hearts but one day He will dwell in Jerusalem, making that city the epicenter of all things. So, as things develop in this world, we look to future the and the realization that, one day, we will all be in Jerusalem — Jews and non-Jews — and will see the King face to face. Until then, keep your eyes fixed upon Him and continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.