SUNDAY STUDY: Why Jerusalem?

Compiled from the writings of: Henry Morris, Institute for Creation Research; Susan Michael, ICEJ; Mike Oppenheimer, Let Us Reason; Jack Kinsella,; Dave Hunt, The Berean Call

Why is Jerusalem, among all the cities of the world, so important in ages past and still today? Why does it matter if the U.S. embassy, or any other nation’s embassy, is in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv? Why is it the most hated government on earth? Why is it the most often-censured by that (supposedly) bastion of democracy, the United Nations? Why is it the recipient of global criticism, while its dictatorial neighbors, like Jordan, are feted as strong allies of the West?

Because Jerusalem was prophesied by God to be a “burdensome stone for all people“, Zechariah 12:3. This word is used only once in the Bible, and Israel has, indeed, become a unique burden to the nations.

Satan has tried to wipe out the Jews through the Babylonians, the Persians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Hittites, and the Nazis. But he’s failed every time.

The city of Jerusalem itself, just since the time of Christ, has been controlled at various times by the Romans, Syrians, Arabs, Crusaders, Egyptians, Persians, and Turks; but never again by the Jews until our own generation.

The problem of Israel and Jerusalem is apparently intractable to the other nations of the world and so must be resolved by God. Zechariah 12 also shows that it will indeed be solved “in that day”–the day when Christ returns. At that time, He says: “I will pour upon . . . the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him” (Zechariah 12:10). In that great day, says Paul, “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). This cannot come to pass if Israel no longer exists. Therefore, God will preserve the Jews for the future, just as He has preserved their remnant throughout history, until His final plan comes to pass.

Mt. Moriah sits at the southern end of the ancient city, crested by a golden dome that represents hundreds of millions whose religion demands of its adherents’ blood-vowed opposition to God’s chosen nation, Israel. This is the place God picked to have His temple on earth constructed. It is the precise location where the third temple will sit, the temple that will be desecrated by Antichrist, earth’s last and most beastly tyrant.

Even more importantly, the Temple Mount will be the home of Christ’s Millennial Temple. Moriah, then to be known as Zion, will be supernaturally elevated by the tremendous topographical changes caused when the Lord’s foot touches the Mount of Olives at His return.

Presently, Israel is the only working democracy in the Middle East. It is the only nation in the region that affords its citizens basic human rights, full representation in government, freedom of speech and religion and is, by far, the powerful and most prosperous nation in the entire Middle East.

How can it be that more resolutions of censure have been aimed at Israel by the UN than all the Islamic countries of the world combined? Why would the world side with an openly terrorist organization against the only legitimate, western-style democracy in the Middle East?

Why is it that when Israel puts up a fence to protect itself from bombers, the world condemns Israel’s fence without saying A SINGLE WORD about the reasons that make it necessary?

There can be only one answer possible. The world hates the Jews more than it hates totalitarianism, Islamo-fascism, or terrorism. The world hates the Jews because the world hates God. Satan, the prince of the earth (John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2), has poisoned the minds of men with his hatred of the Jews.  No other answer explains why Israel consistently ranks in global polls as ‘the most dangerous nation on earth’.

Bible prophecy for the last days goes beyond the Church Age and outlines how God’s plan for the national redemption of Israel will be accomplished. According to Bible prophecy, in the last days, the most hated nation on earth with be Israel, and the most contested piece of real estate on earth in the last days will be the city of Jerusalem.

The Bible says that, in the last days, Israel will stand alone, without a champion, against the combined armies of the world, for a twofold reason; for God to reveal Himself to a lost and dying world, and to reveal Himself to Israel.

“Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” [Ezekiel 38:23]

“So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.” (Ezekiel 39:22)

Three times in God’s word (Deuteronomy 32:10, Lamentations 2:18 and Zechariah 2:8), Israel is referred to as the apple of God’s eye, the phrase refers to Israel as God’s choice.

It is Satan who opposes all that God has written. It is Satan and his followers who deny and desire to eliminate Israel and the Jews from their God-given place in human history. This opposition at its core is spiritual warfare between God and Satan. Satan wants to remove Jerusalem from the Jews because it is THE PLACE to which Jesus returns at His Second Coming. And Satan will do anything to keep Jesus from coming back. Rev. 12

“…And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.” 1 Kings 11:36

“Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.” 2 Chronicles 6:6

Ever since King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago, the city has played a central role in Jewish existence.

“Israel was first forged into a unified nation from Jerusalem some three thousand years ago, when King David seized the crown and united the twelve tribes from this city… For a thousand years Jerusalem was the seat of Jewish sovereignty, the household site of kings, the location of its legislative councils and courts. In exile, the Jewish nation came to be identified with the city that had been the site of its ancient capital. Jews, wherever they were, prayed for its restoration.” Roger Friedland, Richard D. Hecht, “To Rule Jerusalem”.

“Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her;
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
That you may feed and be satisfied
With the consolation of her bosom,
That you may drink deeply and be delighted
With the abundance of her glory.” Isaiah 66:10-11

In the 16th century, the Bible began to be translated into the vernacular languages, and for the first time, Christian laypeople could read the scriptures for themselves and study it in depth.

This challenged the power of the state churches over the people and these early Bible-believers were highly persecuted. Just the translation of the Bible into English alone brought about a revolution in England and of course, the establishment of America as believers fled and sought freedom of worship.

As soon as Christians began reading their own Bibles, they learned of the Jewish roots of Christianity and of God’s promises to gather the Jewish people back in their homeland. Now, some 500 years later, Bible-believing or what we also call Evangelical Christianity is the fastest growing, and soon-to-be the largest, segment of Christianity worldwide.

But what does this have to do with the city of Jerusalem? Because there is now a much stronger connection in the Christian world to the historical and earthly city of Jerusalem, which we read about in our Bibles every day.

Just because East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, was ethnically cleansed of Jews during 19 years of Jordanian control, it does not negate the 3,000 years of Jewish history and connection to that part of the city.

This is why, in 1980, when the Israeli Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, and declared Jerusalem to be the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel, Christians understood and we stood with them. It was a very traumatic moment during which the Arab countries threatened oil embargoes and therefore the countries that had Embassies in Jerusalem packed them up and moved to Tel-Aviv.

The significance of Jerusalem to Christians cannot be separated from the significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people. We are intertwined through our scriptures and spiritual bonds and we share this heritage in Jerusalem as our spiritual capital while Israel also claims it as her national capital.

The covenant God made with Abraham was about the land and the people. Speaking to Abraham Gen. 12:1-3: “Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Notice that it is God who will do these things, it is an unconditional covenant, it does not depend on man but God. He will give them the land and make a great nation from Abraham. And indeed all the families of earth have been blessed, as the Messiah- Jesus, came through Abraham’s lineage, and was born in the land God gave to Israel (Gal. 3:14-16).

God came to this earth as a man. He is God and man in one Person so that He can pay the penalty for our sins. This God-man had to have a genealogy, He didn’t just come out of nowhere, He has an ancestry, and this is the great proof that Jesus is who He claimed to be, He is Messiah. How would you recognize the Messiah? He was born in Bethlehem, He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey on a certain day, the Bible tells you the very day He would do that. He’s going to be hated and despised by His own people, betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, He’s going to be crucified, and He is going to rise again, and so forth… This is why “a chosen people” was necessary. Chosen by God to be the people from whom the Messiah would come. Two hundred and three times in the Bible God is called the God of Israel. Nine times He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It gives us confidence that when Jesus said, “I will come again”, when the Bible talks about the return of Christ or the rapture, we can trust it’s going to happen, because all these other things that the Bible foretold have come to pass exactly on schedule.

We love and care about Jerusalem because God does, too. “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob [Israel] is the place of His inheritance” Deut. 32:9. God has declared that the land of Israel was His land never to be sold (Lev. 25:23) and that all nations would be punished for dividing His land (Joel 3:2).

Jerusalem is also the center which gives perspective to the rest of the world. Jerusalem is where God is seen. Humanity has long understood that he who controls Jerusalem controls the world’s memory. He controls the way God is seen. He controls the way life’s forces are cast into perspective. He controls the way we collectively see our future.

Jerusalem is a living memory, a vision of God in our lives.

The Bible has nearly 800 references to Jerusalem- called “the City of our God” (Ps. 48:1,8) Jerusalem is God’s city, the city of Zion, He has invested His name there (Daniel 9:19).

Jerusalem is called the city of the great King (Matt.5:35). Yahweh is called “the God of Israel,” He is NOT called the God of any other nation in this manner. The God of Jerusalem is key to the Jewish people, to Jesus and to the end of the age.

Ps. 87:5, Ps 149:2: (Song 3:11 Isa. 33:14, Isa. 33:20; Jer. 9:19, Jer. 30:17; Zech.9:13; Isa. 59:20, Isa. 60:14 and they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel).

Satan is God’s adversary and seeks to reign in God’s place. God has called Jerusalem (ZION) His home, and those who fight against those who keep it will fight against God on that day. Zech. 8:2-3:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.’ “Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’

Rev 21:2 “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Rev 21:10-14 “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

The Holy city will still be called Jerusalem and will be connected to Israel with the 12 tribes’ names and the apostles’ names. It is this city that will exist throughout eternity.