Places of the Word Throughout Time
The concept of time, particularly eternity stretching infinitely in all directions, is one which we—God’s creation—can scarcely grasp. Yet, since the beginning of time on earth, what He has done, where we have gone, and our interactions with Him have been recorded in the Word.
Our existence began in the Garden of Eden. Since then, creation has been wandering—searching for things we cannot see. Still, it is important to realize that nothing within the Word is without purpose. If an event is mentioned, it’s important. If an aspect of God is mentioned, it’s important. If a place is mentioned… well, it’s important. And Jerusalem—the capital city of the Promised Land, where the Temples for God were built, and where kings, and the King of Kings, walked—is no exception.
Jerusalem, sometimes referred to as the ‘City of Peace’ or even as ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ is a city with thousands of years of history and known worldwide. Yet, its importance in the Word is remarkably strong—for, where else in the annals of history has Jerusalem been mentioned by name over 800 times?
“If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
if I do not exalt Jerusalem
above my chief joy.”—Psalm 137:5-6
Artifacts of Jerusalem—Her Walls:
Given Jerusalem’s age and importance, it is no surprise that of all the cities in Israel, Jerusalem has the widest range and quantity of artifacts—as well as perhaps the greatest biblical importance.
While many artifacts were found before modern Israel became whole, since Israel’s recreation in the mid-20th century, archaeology—specifically archaeology focused on the Word—has been paramount in the attentions of the nation. Additionally, the number of digs, particularly in Jerusalem, have grown astronomically—as have the number of archaeological colleges, universities, and museums.
Jerusalem has changed over time, yet certain things remain. For instance, many of the walls of Jerusalem survive today as they would have during the time of Jesus—even the former kings of Israel, to an extent…and presently they are, as they would have been thousands of years ago, one of the crowning features of the city.
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
they shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
and give Him no rest till He establishes
and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”—Isaiah 62:6-7
Without the walls of Jerusalem, it would be much like any other city in appearance. Without them, so much of the history could have been lost—as well as the realization you experience when you walk the streets: that Jesus Himself walked past those walls, touching many of the places that stand today. Yet, despite this, many of the walls were built over or damaged in the centuries prior to, and even after, Jesus’ life… seemingly lost to time until the recent return of the nation, Israel.
Since Israel became a nation once more, various layers of the Old City portion of Jerusalem have been uncovered after centuries of obscurity…
For instance, in the 1970s, King Hezekiah’s additions to Jerusalem—such as areas of the city walls themselves—were uncovered…meanwhile, around this same time, excavations along the southwest corner of the Temple Mount uncovered thousands of years of history and stones. Still, despite amazing finds, scarce funding—as well as wars and rumors of wars—caused many digs in Israel to be halted.
In the mid 1990s, the excavations—which had begun near the southwest corner of the Temple Mount—were reopened, uncovering aspects of the Temple Mount and city that had scarcely been known since the time of Jesus. Herodian street, which ran for 70 meters along the western wall of the Temple Mount, was exposed… and between the street and the Temple Mount were found a row of shops—ones which Jesus may have passed before or after visiting the Temple.
This uncovered area was impressive—not only in terms of scale, but in function. Arches, of which little more than bases remain, would have given the street and stalls an imposing and stable nature. Meanwhile, below, stones paving the streets were thick and included an excellent drainage system… which meant that even when weather was foul, the shops were in little danger of flooding. Indeed, had invading forces—during the destruction of the Second Temple—not pushed massive stones from the uppermost Temple walls onto the street, it would likely have remained intact to this day.
The most famous stone from the southwest corner of the Temple wall to be found in the street below was engraved with the words, “To the place of trumpeting…”—the location for the announcing of the Sabbath and High Holy days via trumpets… a sound and sight that Jesus Himself would have seen during His days spent in Jerusalem.
“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”—Isaiah 2:3
How Does This Affect US?
While few of us ever have the opportunity to travel to Israel, it is a land filled with biblical promise and hope. It is a land that, somehow, all who believe in God are connected to. Our biblical roots lie not only in our Jewish brothers and sisters, but in the land of Israel itself—for not only did Jesus, a Jew, live and teach in that land, but it is from Jerusalem that Jesus will reign on earth!
Today, while we are separated from the Promised Land by miles and even oceans, we are still connected to the land through the Word, through artifacts, through knowing that Jesus will reign there, and through the promises of God Himself.
Yet, we can do more than simply sit in our chairs and read of God’s Promised Land. We can build up the land, bringing it to life as the prophets of the Word foretold: making the desert bloom, building up the land, and planting life where Jesus will walk on His way to Jerusalem!
By sponsoring an olive, fig, or other fruiting tree, or even simply wheat or barley, YOU can bring the land and the Word of God to life! YOU can give jobs and beauty to the land and people of Israel for generations to come, preparing Israel for the day of Jesus’ return! And YOU can sponsor this in your name, your children’s names, or in honor of someone you love… all while giving back to the land and people of Israel in which our roots reside.