Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem
but which Jerusalem?
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Psa 122:6 KJV) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
If anyone has ever read any Christian Zionist books or materials or visited a pre-Tribulational church, no doubt you have heard Psalm 122:6 quoted and then told it is the Christian’s responsibility to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Of course, the Jerusalem which is always in view is the city of Jerusalem in modern day Israel. When David penned this Scripture, it was probably about 1000 B.C. The theologian Edwin Thiele dates the lifespan of David from 1040 B.C. to 970 B.C. He was born in Bethlehem and died in Jerusalem. Do you know of anyone else who was born in Bethlehem and died in Jerusalem?
The Jerusalem which David had in view initially was the city of Jerusalem because at that time, that was where the worship of the Lord took place and where God commanded all the males to meet Him three times a year.(Exo 23:17 KJV) Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD. Jerusalem was the center of worship for ancient Israel. It was where the Temple was built so the eyes of
every Israelite was focused upon Jerusalem. So 3,000 years ago we can understand why David focused on the city of Jerusalem. Now is it the same for today? Christians make one great mistake which has led to the false interpretations of many passages of Scripture. When they take Old Testament promises or events and neglect to filter their understanding through the cross, they will wind up with error. Everything changed at the cross. The Mosaic system of sacrifice was done away with. There would be no more animal sacrifices because they were all foreshadows leading up to the final sacrifice of Christ upon Calvary. The cross also signified the end of the Feasts because they were all foreshadows and types leading up to the person of Christ. It also signified the end of a physical temple because Christ would now dwell inside every one of His people through the Holy Spirit. It also signified the end of the ancient nation of Israel because once Christ came, there was no more reason of existence for that nation. Why? It was because the real Israel was a family lineage. It started with Abraham who was Chaldean, then came Isaac his son, then came Jacob, who was named Israel, who had twelve sons. It was through the line of Judah that the Lord Jesus Christ came. The name Judah means “The Praise of the Lord.“ The true Israelites, even back then, were only those who came from the Abrahamic line. This is why genealogies were very important at that time up to the coming of Messiah. During the divided Kingdom stage, the northern kingdom of Israel went into captivity with Assyria and was never again re-established. 135 years later, the southern Kingdom, Judah, went into captivity with the Babylonians but they were only in captivity for seventy years and were allowed to return to the land. Now Judah had to be restored because, again, it was through Judah that the Lord Jesus Christ would come, so restoration was necessary and required for the messianic line to continue so Jesus would be born in Bethlehem according to Micah 5:2. (Micah 5:2 KJV) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Abraham had asked God to let Eliezer of Damascus be the heir, God had denied that and told him that he would have a son with Sarah. This is because the Messianic line was not to come through Eliezer but through Isaac.(Gen 21:12 KJV) And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Where many become confused concerning ancient Israel is that they believe it is a nation like any other nation where anybody could go to live. This is not true because the true nation of Israel had one major purpose and that was to bring forth the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a family line and not like a neighboring nation such as Syria, Babylon, Persia, or such. The reason that God protected the nation of Israel was because of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was to come through their lineage. It was not because they were obedient to Him, they were anything but obedient. There were times of repentance and restoration during their history, but these were far and few in between. As soon as things got better, they thumbed their noses at God and went their way. However, even in the face of their rebellious attitudes and deeds, God still protected them because of His faithfulness in bringing the Lord Jesus Christ in the fullness of time.
Now I went through that bit of history for one reason and that is not only were the feast, temple, Mosaic system done away with at Calvary, but so was the definition, understanding, and the physical nation of Israel. Thirty seven years after the cross, in 70 A.D., God had sent General Titus to destroy the physical city of Jerusalem. Let us return to our passage of Scripture this article is named after.(Psa 122:6 KJV) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Let us now look at this passage filtered through the cross.
After the cross, no longer were we to look at the physical nation of Israel but to the body of believers which became the New Jerusalem.(Rev 3:12 KJV) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Now if you notice that the term “New Jerusalem” is written in the third chapter of Revelation. The book of Revelation concerns itself with the body of believers from the time of the cross to the last day. Do not look for black helicopters, Middle East wars, nuclear war, etc. The book of Revelation uses much symbolism to teach the final war on this earth between God and Satan. It encompasses the whole New Testament period and ends with the defeat of Satan. The reason that so many are confused over Revelation is because they read books which are nothing more than Hollywood style presentations and these false interpretations sell books and are good seed for movies.
Revelation shows the consistent conflict between the Kingdom of God, which is the body of believers on earth and Satan’s kingdom which is incessant in its attacks on the believers. Satan has used everything from murder to infiltration to eradicate and neutralize the true Gospel among the world wide body of believers. If the true Gospel can be eradicated or totally neutralized, then there would be no such thing as a true believer, because they would be unable to bring the truth to the world. It is this war waged by Satan which causes us to pray. The peace which David longed for as he prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, was not only for protection from surrounding enemies, but was for the people of God in Jerusalem.
David knew that Balaam had taught Balak that the best way to defeat Israel was from within and in reference to their religion.(Rev 2:14 KJV) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. David knew that if the blessing of God was to remain on them, they would have to be completely dedicated to God without admixture of any false religion or even any tenets of any false religion. So David’s prayer would encompass not only protection from the physical enemies of God but also from the spiritual enemies who would want to neutralize them by causing them to become disobedient. The doctrine of Balaam is alive and well and is being used against Christianity for the purpose of neutralizing it.
So filtering the meaning of Jerusalem through the cross, the born again believer anywhere in the world is not going to be praying for the peace of the physical city of Jerusalem, although those who live there can pray for the city and those who are in leadership positions in the city and the country. The focus of the body of believers in the last days which commenced at the cross is not the physical city of Jerusalem.(Heb 13:14 KJV) For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. The true believer knows that in this present age we do not have a continuing city on earth and the physical Jerusalem is going to be burned up on the last day with every other city in the world. Our focus needs to be on the New Jerusalem which, according to the book of Revelation, will suffer ceaseless onslaughts by Satan and his kingdom. So when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, it so for the body of believers. Too many prayers for the body of Christ are neglected for the false notion that it is the Christian’s responsibility is to pray for the physical city of Jerusalem. This is because many Christians have been diverted from the truth by Christian Zionist materials such as the Scofield Bible or the many books written by Zionist authors like John Hagee and others.
The truth is that the end time attacks from Satan are not going to be on the modern nation of Israel, but is coming against the body of believers. This is why the book of Revelation points emphatically to the fact that Christians will face much persecution in the last days. It was written so we could be warned about the persecution the Christians would go through and also how God fights for the Christian and defeats Satan. Too many Christians have been diverted from the truth of where the attacks are going to come in the last days and it is against the body of believers.
(Rev 12:17 KJV) And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Now that Satan has failed to conquer the eternal church of Christ, his next plan in the war against Christ is to mount a campaign against all the Christians he can. The remnant of the seed of the woman will be all the Christians who become saved till the last day. Those who are truly saved are those who keep the commandments. The way we keep the commandments is through the sacrifice of Christ because He satisfied all the righteous demands of God’s Holy Law and that satisfaction was imputed to every true believer. Satan will continue to attack and persecute Christians until he is finally tossed into the lake of fire on the last day.
When we pray for the peace of the New Jerusalem, we are also praying for the salvation of the Elect because once a person is saved, then the war with God is over and we are peace with Him.(Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: When we pray for the peace of the New Jerusalem, we are also praying for the Lord’s return because only then will the true church have everlasting peace.
From the fifth stanza of the great Hymn, the Church’s One Foundation by Samuel Stone and Samuel Wesley:
’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.
The fifth stanza of this hymn is probably the best description of what the church is facing now and that is the “tumult of her war.” A tumult is the total opposite of peace. As we wage the war against Satan’s kingdom we wait the consummation when the Lord will return and then we will have peace evermore. In this world, we go from one spiritual battle to another. As the hymn states, as we wait for the consummation, we don’t do it on a hilltop in white robes, but we wage a righteous war against the powers of darkness for the souls of people and minds of the Christians. We wage that war with the truth of the Gospel as our primary weapon. We continue to pray that God keeps us faithful during the time we are at war so we can hold a good testimony as the Lord Jesus did before Pilate and as the early church and Middle Age martyrs did by allowing themselves to be burned and tortured instead of denying Christ.
Those Christians who go to churches where all they speak about is health, wealth, prosperity, false love, or Israel, have become prisoners of the enemy. Once they have traded the true Gospel for a Hollywood style gospel, they have surrendered to Satan. The true Gospel is an offense not to only unbelievers but to Christians who live in a fantasy world of prophecy and prosperity books. If they are not at war with the kingdom of Satan, then they have gone over to the kingdom of Satan. Satan uses a false peace called “love and tolerance.” The problem is if you do not bring the true Gospel to those in false religions, then you have been neutralized just as those who were neutralized in ancient Israel by the doctrine of Balaam. True love consists of two things, a kiss and a scalpel. The kiss is to make sure the person knows you love them and the scalpel to remove the spiritual cancer they have picked up by falling prey to false gospels. If the spiritual cancer is not removed, then it will eventually permeate the whole body thus rendering the Christian useless for the battles at hand.
False love causes you to accept toleration of all false religions, even though you know full well that no one comes to the Father except through Christ. Toleration is one way Satan gets you to accept false gospels and when you do, the walls of Jerusalem have been penetrated. In these last days, the Christian must be on guard for all the subtle attacks the enemy uses to try and destroy Christianity. He is not out only to neutralize it but to destroy it. If our eyes are continually focused on the modern nation of Israel, then our backs will be turned to the real war at hand. Turn your back on the Hollywood style prophecy books and movies, and face your enemy in the power of the King of Kings and know real peace in battle.