Glimpses of Israel - Zion

by Joseph Hunting

"When the Lord shall build up Zion He shall appear in His glory." Psalm 102:16

There are three aspects of Zion revealed in the Scriptures. For instance, the land of Israel is referred to as Zion. "For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of the Lord." (Isaiah 51:3) Also the same prophet describes the people as Zion, " ... say unto Zion, thou art My people." (51:16) But the aspect of Zion with which we are most familiar is that of Jerusalem, the Holy City. "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is mount Zion ... the city of the great King." (Psalm 48:2)

Although world attention has been focused on all three aspects of Zion during the past twenty-nine years of Israel's statehood, Jerusalem is the city that has been highlighted recently in world news.

In 1948 a desperate battle was fought by the infant state to retain control of the Holy City. However, the odds were too great and the city with its treasured synagogues and holy places fell to the Jordanians. For the next nineteen years Jews were barred from having access to their holy shrines and the words of Ezekiel written so long ago took on fresh meaning . "The enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession." (36:2)

One of the most significant events that has happened in Jerusalem's long history occurred on June 7th, 1967 when the Old City was finally wrenched from the Gentile grip that had controlled its destiny for nearly 2,500 years. It was none other than Israel's Messiah Who highlighted this momentous occasion with the prophecy: "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)

Since that time the building up of Jerusalem has gone ahead at a remarkable pace. The skyline has begun to change dramatically. The hills round about the City, immortalized in the Psalms of David, have been clothed with new suburbs. The walls of the City have been beautified with adjacent parks and gardens. The gates of Jerusalem throng with new faces as the City expands faster than it has done in the past 2,000 years. The gates that have witnessed so much bloodshed have fresh significance when it is realized that "the Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." (Psalm 87:2)

And the pulse of Jerusalem is beating strongly once again. It has outstripped Tel Aviv, Haifa and those other cities which flourished with the rebirth of Israel in 1948, and now, Jerusalem is the largest of Israel's cities.

After nineteen centuries of neglect and decay there are those who see the transformation of Zion, the Land, the People and Jerusalem, in a new light for "WHEN THE LORD SHALL BUILD UP ZION, HE SHALL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY."