Rome or Jerusalem? A tale of two cities by Elhanan ben-Avraham
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence”- Hosea 6.
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”- 2 Peter 3:8
After AD 70 it was obvious to all that God had rejected Jerusalem, which lay in ruins at the hands of the Roman legions. In Rome the exiled Jewish slaves were marched under the Arch of Titus the conqueror and Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina, where Jews were forbidden to enter, and the land renamed Palestina, after the perennial enemies of the Jews, the Philistines.
When the great Roman Empire dissolved and declared itself as a Christian nation, it constructed St. Peters and the Vatican declaring it the replacement of Jerusalem, which would never be rebuilt, a sign of the rejection of the Jewish people. After all, those great Jewish apostles, Peter and Paul, had come to Rome to be martyred, and the likelihood of Jerusalem ever rising again was beyond possibility. So was born Christian ‘Replacement Theology’ and a self-declared ‘New Israel’ and a ‘New Jerusalem” with a new Sabbath changed to the first day of the week, a theology that has persisted even after the Reformation, with the help of its founder, the anti-Semitic German, Martin Luther.
But after the long passage of ‘two days’ (two thousand years) the highly unlikely came to pass, and the dispersed people of Israel returned from the skeletal death camps of Nazi Germany, and from all nations to which they were scattered, to re-build and restore the Land of Israel. And in an impossible Six-Day War (reflecting the six days of Genesis 1) in 1967, the Islamic world attempting to liquidate the Jewish state, the Jews instead regained and rebuilt ancient Jerusalem. Along with this came the restoration of the ancient Hebrew language, opening vistas of deeper understanding of the Biblical scriptures in the very tongue of the prophets.
To those who understand, “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings” this unique quirk of history came as a delightful surprise, but to both Rome and Mecca it came as a shock of vexation and dismay, a mere “political accident,” an affront to their theologies. The Islamic world showed its displeasure in attempting to destroy the phenomenon of the Jewish return in a series of wars of annihilation- all which have failed to this day. But the threats continue.
Jerusalem, the city of Jesus and from which went forth the Word of God to the nations of the world, stands again rebuilt and restored, awaiting her King Messiah.
Today Jerusalem stands as the only major city on Earth to honor the seventh-day Sabbath, of which the Bible declares, “The children of Israel must keep the Sabbath, celebrating the Sabbath as a permanent covenant for all your generations to come. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever, for in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”
It is a sign to be observed and an eternal covenant to be considered, the Shabbat of God, not of Rome but of Jerusalem. And “salvation,” Jesus said, “is of the Jews.”
‘Regarding the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but regarding election, they are loved on account of the patriarchs. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’ – Romans 11:28-29