Jerusalem is one of the world’s oldest cities. Dominion over Jerusalem has changed hands dozens of times and the city, along with the Holy Temple, was destroyed twice – once in 586 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon and again in 70 CE by Rome.
From 70 CE until 1948, Jerusalem was controlled by a series of empires. In modern history, dominion over Jerusalem was held by the Ottoman Empire from 1516 until the beginning of the British Mandate in 1917.
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly approved the Partition Plan, granting the Jewish people dominion over part of Jerusalem for the first time in 2,000 years. There is a street in Jerusalem known as Kaf-Tet B’November, which literally means November 29, honoring this momentous date.
Jerusalem was reunited, and the Old City was restored to Jewish hands, in June 1967, as an outcome of the Six Day War. Israel celebrates this reunification on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) each year on 28 Iyar in the Hebrew calendar (May-June).
Jerusalem is the capital city of the State of Israel with more than nine million residents. Of those, 64% are Jewish, 34% are Muslim and 2% are Christian.
Jerusalem, and more specifically the Temple Mount, is destined to be the home of the Third and Eternal Holy Temple.
Much of today’s news regarding Jerusalem can be understood in light of these two verses from Zechariah:
Behold, I will make Yerushalayim a bowl of reeling for the peoples all around. Yehuda shall be caught up in the siege upon Yerushalayim, when all the nations of the earth gather against her. In that day, I will make Yerushalayim a stone for all the peoples to lift; all who lift it shall injure themselves. (Zechariah 12:2-3)
A bowl of reeling is more clearly understood as a cup of poison. Just as Zechariah prophesied, Jerusalem is a cup of poison and a burdensome stone; it is a political headache for much of the world. Yet, it is precisely the epicenter for those nations who love God, love Jerusalem and have honored it in recent years.
Today, Jerusalem is in the news on a daily basis. In 2018, President Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and other countries are following suit. The Palestinian government claims it will break ties with any country who does so and many countries have succumbed to this pressure and have taken a strong stance against Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem.
There are incredible archaeology discoveries unearthed in Jerusalem on a regular basis that prove the city was the ancient capital of Israel.
The prophet Isaiah taught that Jerusalem will be a house of prayer for all nations.
I will bring them to My sacred mount And let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices Shall be welcome on My mizbayach; For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)
In partial fulfillment of that prophecy, the Jewish State has welcomed Christian visitors to the holy city. Each year on the Feast of Tabernacles, thousands of pilgrims from all around the world head to Jerusalem.
Our feet stood inside your gates, O Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim built up, a city knit together, to which tribes would make pilgrimage, the tribes of Hashem, —as was enjoined upon Yisrael— to praise the name of Hashem. There the thrones of judgment stood, thrones of the house of David. Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim; “May those who love you be at peace. (Psalms 122: 2-6)
Jerusalem is referred to over 600 times in the Hebrew Bible.
There is a Jewish teaching that Jerusalem, called Yerushalayim in Hebrew, has 70 names. Zion and Moriah are two commonly used alternative names. Yerushalayim is a combination of yireh, the Hebrew word that means “he will see” and Shalem, the city associated with King Melchizedek.
Ancient Jerusalem was once called Jebus and was inhabited by the Jebusites, as this verse in the Book of Judges illustrates.
But the man refused to stay for the night. He set out and traveled as far as the vicinity of Jebus—that is, Yerushalayim; he had with him a pair of laden donkeys, and his concubine was with him. (Judges 19:10)
JERUSALEM IN PROPHECY
While many of the prophecies about Jerusalem being rebuilt have started to be fulfilled in recent decades, the final end days vision for Jerusalem is just on the horizon.
Isaiah’s prophecy that the timeless messages of the Torah will come forth from Jerusalem, is starting to happen.
And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, The word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. (Isaiah 2:3)
The Bible says the Third Temple will be built in Jerusalem.
He brought me, in visions of Hashem, to the Land of Yisrael, and He set me down on a very high mountain on which there seemed to be the outline of a city on the south. (Ezekiel 40:2)
The prophet Zechariah taught that Moshiach (Messiah) will enter Jerusalem on a donkey.
Rejoice greatly, Fair Tzion; Raise a shout, Fair Yerushalayim! Lo, your king is coming to you. He is victorious, triumphant, Yet humble, riding on an ass, On a donkey foaled by a she-ass. (Zechariah 9:9)
Jerusalem is indeed a city like no other, with an unparalleled Biblical past, a vibrant present and a glorious future.