Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem is builded as a big city that is compact together. PS: 122:2.3 . I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem coming down from God, out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Rev 21:2.
There are certain place-names which unroll immediately before us the living pageant of history. Such a word, for example, is Athens. You have to mention Athens to set men dreaming of the glory that was Greece, of the deadless achievements of the Hellenic spirit in the realms of beauty, culture, romance and the miraculous forward thrust which the Greek mind gave to the slow evolution of man’s dignity of the soul. Such a word, again Rome, its majesty of law, government, the drive and the dynamic genius of ordered law and rule which welded together for enduring unity.
What souls of morality legions, of laden caravans, of commerce rolling in from all the ends of the earth, of the felling of forest and the cutting of the great roods, of trumpets and battle songs and the praise of the famous men, lie in one word Rome. But there is another name which across the centuries has struck deeper chords and awakened stronger emotions in the human breast than either Athens or Rome: and that is Jerusalem. Let us remember the names of those men and women, the aspirations of a host of nameless saints, memories that gather in from family altars where our own fathers in God have prayed, the thoughts that often lie too deep for tears. We may never have left the town or hamlet of our birth, nor stirred beyond our natives shores, and yet most surely our feet have stood within the gates of Jerusalem. Here is our citizenship, here our spiritual home; and of Zion it shall be said ‘This man was born in her’.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept- when we remember Zion. How could we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land. Consider for a moment what Jerusalem meant to the Jew himself. It stood, first for history; Jerusalem to the Hebrew mind, meant David, the shepherd-king, the man after God’s own heart, and Solomon in all his glory the builder of temples. Jerusalem means the temple, and the temple meant God and like a spiritual magnet a Jew might roam around the world but we accept continually how King David in Babylon knelt to say his prayers, the window of his rooms was open towards Jerusalem. Jerusalem, to the Hebrew mind, means religion- all singing the songs of Zion, all praying for the peace of Jerusalem.
History, religion, home- all those for the Hebrew mind were gathered up into the name Jerusalem. You will remember that there were just two places in the Gospels where the evangelists tell us that Jesus wept. Once, it was at the grave of His friend Lazarus and once when coming round the shoulder of the Mount of Olives. He saw the city of David spread out before him in the sunshine and stood gazing at it with eyes dimmed with a sudden mist of tears.
We too have walked on those streets where in ancient time the feet of Jesus went….we have dreamt those dreams and sing those songs of Zion, and inscribed our names in the burgess roll of her free citizens, and have seen the sun flaming down behind the battlements and ramparts of the city of God. Paul was speaking for you and me no less than for his own contemporaries when, in his letter to the Galatians, he flung out the magnificent sentences. “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all”.