Made Whole Once Again

Yael Eckstein  |  May 15, 2023

Soldiers standing next to the Western Wall after the Six Day War in Israel.
IDF soldiers standing next to the Western Wall after the Six-Day War in Israel. Photo credit: David Rubinger/GPO

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
Our feet are standing
     in your gates, Jerusalem. —
Psalm 122:1-2

This week, Israel celebrates Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, commemorating the reunification of the city, ending 19 years of separation into East and West Jerusalem. This is one of five devotions looking at the spiritual and historical significance of God’s Holy City.

I always love this time of year in Israel. Between the cold and rainy winter and the blistering heat of the summer, the spring months in Israel are the most beautiful. The hills and valleys of Israel are greener than during any other season and the rivers and waterfalls in our gorgeous national parks are full and flowing.

But my favorite part of this time of year are all the special days on the calendar. Between the biblical feasts of Pesach, Passover, and Shavuot (Pentecost)—which are seven weeks apart—there are also two modern holidays observed by the Israeli people.

The first is Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, and a few weeks later is Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, celebrating the reunification of God’s Holy City under Jewish sovereignty following Israel’s miraculous victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.

No matter how many times I watch the footage of the liberation of Jerusalem, I still get emotional. We see and hear Colonel Motta Gur announce plans to enter the Old City of Jerusalem. We witness the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) entering through the Lion’s Gate. And finally, we hear the words spoken by Colonel Gur, that stirred the soul of an entire nation: “The Temple Mount is in our hands.”

Made Whole Once Again

For the first time in more than three thousand years, our original and eternal capital was once again under Jewish sovereignty and made whole once again. Most recently, the Jewish state had yet another reason to celebrate this momentous day, when the United States became the first nation to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On the surface, these two days were established because they mark two incredibly momentous events. But if we look at things through a biblical lens, we understand that Jerusalem Day is really the continuation and culmination of Israel Independence Day.

The founding of the State of Israel in 1948 brought Jewish sovereignty to the land, but Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish nation and home to God’s dwelling-place on earth, was not a part of it. With the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel was made whole once again.

Your Turn:

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