Israel is the center of the world. We know this because in Genesis 12:3 God said to Abraham- “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Israel is the lens through which God judges nations. What happens to Israel affects the entire world. (Above, Bünting clover leaf map. A 1581 woodcut, Magdeburg. Jerusalem is in the center, surrounded by Europe, Asia and Africa.)
Other nations and cities have incorrectly named themselves the center of the world. When Rome was at its height as a city and as an empire, it called itself the center of the world and even marked the spot with a tower and a plaque. The Romans installed the marker dubbed “navel of the city of Rome” (Umbilicus Urbis Romaen) in the Forum, from which all distances to the ends of the civilized world were marked. It was mile zero. This marker was one of the first things I had wanted to see when I visited Rome, because my travels around Italy, even over obscure and distant dirt back roads, invariably led to a road sign pointing to Rome. It is true, in Italy, all roads lead to Rome.
Ecuador is named after the equator, which runs through the country. A museum complex marks the spot and it is called “Mitad Del Mundo” or Middle of the World. Wikipedia says its 30-meter-tall monument, built between 1979 and 1982, was constructed to mark the point where the equator passes through the country in the geodetic datum in use in Ecuador at that time. I was one of the thousands of goofy tourists who have stood with one foot on one side of the painted red line representing the Equator, and the other foot on the other side, laughing while someone takes a photo of me. It was an interesting place, and I really liked the red line of the physical representation of the middle of the world. (photo right, of the Mitad del Mundo, by Elizabeth Prata)
But Jerusalem is really the navel of the world. In the Middle Ages it was even depicted that way. Did you know, that the Hereford Mappa Mundi, drawn in circa 1300, depicted Jerusalem as the center of the world? In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem there is also an omphalos, Greek word for belly button or navel. The existence of this stone is based upon the medieval thought that Jerusalem is the spiritual if not geographical center of the world.
In all of history, there’s never been a distinct people group who dwelled outside of a national homeland for thousands of years yet retained their identity like the Jewish people. There has never been a people on earth restored to their homeland after dozens of generations. There has never been a case where generations upon generations who forgot their own language and let it die, had it restored to the entire nation. No people, that is, except for God’s people in God’s land.
This tiny nation is mighty in many ways, because her very existence has generated hate and war since her birth. Just existing provokes the world into hating her. Allowing her to make her own sovereign decisions as a nation inflames the world (satan).
And again, war will come to her but that time it will be one of the last times. We know from prophecy that the Gog-Magog war will be a surprise attack on Israel as stated in Ezekiel 38-39. We know that Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1) indicating some kind of war-like event that obliterates the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Psalm 83 has variously been interpreted as either an intercessory prayer about a war, or a foretelling of a last days war. And Armageddon, the last war, will occur. The list of wars is long. There will be so many wars that peace does not exist anywhere from the moment the 2nd seal is opened in Rev. 6:4 when peace is taken from the earth, until Jesus returns to restore peace Himself.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.