God's word in the scriptures mentions Jerusalem, The Holy City, over eight hundred times. We cannot understand the events passing before us without at first understanding what God has to say about Jerusalem.
Center of the World
Jerusalem according to scripture is the apple of God's eye; the center of the world. It was David's capital city; it was the site of the death and resurrection of God's son Jesus Christ; it will be the city where Jesus rules the entire world on his return. God has made eternal promises regarding the future of Jerusalem. No efforts or schemes of men will ever be able to undermine what he has purposed and planned for the city at the center of the world.
Listen to what the Lord has to say about the Holy City in Isaiah 62:1-3, "For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness and all Kings thy glory: and thou shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou also shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."
A Short History of Jerusalem
Though the children of Israel conquered the land of Canaan killing the giants and the heathen tribes there, they were not completely able to drive out all the inhabitants of the land. Jerusalem was one of the cities they failed to conquer. It was not until the time of David that Israel captured Jerusalem.
David was King over all the nation and he ruled from Jerusalem for over thirty years making the plans to build the temple. When he died his son Solomon became king. God laid it on Solomon's heart to build for God the great temple as a permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant. The temple as built on the same spot where Abraham went to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice according to the command of God.
Solomon's temple was one of the most beautiful and most expensive buildings ever constructed. Phoenician craftsman took over the task that took them seven years to complete with over sixty thousand workers working day and night. For nearly 400 years the temple in Jerusalem was the center of worship for the Israeli people.
God Divided the Kingdom
The unity of the nation did not last long because Solomon did not follow God with his whole heart. God divided the kingdom, but because of his eternal promises regarding Jerusalem, he did not abandon the city.
Special to God
Jerusalem is a very special city to God. He chose it as the place that would be marked by his name. This is not a casual statement; by placing his name in Jerusalem, God marked it as a special city to him and to his people forever.
Center of Worship
Jerusalem is the only city in the world especially chosen by God as a center of worship for his people. The selection of Jerusalem was not random; it was a direct act of God's purpose and will.
Short History of the Conquests of the Holy City
Israel - King David led his forces to capture Jerusalem in approximately 1000 B.C. and made it capital of the nation of Israel.
Babylon - Under King Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, sacking and destroying the Temple of Solomon in 586 BC and carried off the inhabitants into captivity.
Persia - When the Medes and the Persians defeated the Babylonians in 538 BC, they also gained control of Israel. The emperors Cyrus and Darius ordered the Israelis to return to the city.
Greece - Alexander the Great conquered the Persians in 332 BC. According to some accounts he visited the temple in Jerusalem on his way to the Holy Land.
Ptolemies - When Alexander died after a short illness in 323 BC, his kingdom was divided among his four leading generals. Ptolemy 1st took control of the region that included Jerusalem.
Selucids - In 198 BC, Antiochus defeated the Ptolemies and took the Holy City of Jerusalem. He defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig in the Holy of Holies.
Maccabeeans - The high priest Marrathias and his five sons led the revolt in 168 BC, returning the land to the Israelites.
Rome - As Roman influence spread across much of the Middle East, Rome gained control over Jerusalem, and Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his parents went there during the census.
Persia - The revived Persian Empire defeated the Eastern Roman Empire in 614 AD when Rome was on the decline. The Persians killed nearly 100,000 Christians because Israelis had been banned from the city under Constantine.
Caliphate- In 638 AD the Islamic Caliphate took control of Jerusalem and ordered the construction of the Dome of the Rock where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God.
Crusades - The first Crusade in 1099 AD succeeded in defeating the Muslim armies and thus gained control over the Holy City Jerusalem and much of the Holy Land.
Saladin - In 1187 AD Saladin a brutal leader led the Muslim army that defeated the Crusaders and held Jerusalem against attacks during following Crusades.
Ottoman Turks - In 1517 AD the Turkish Empire defeated the successors of the Caliphate and gained control of the Middle East, including Jerusalem.
World War 1 - In 1917, British forces under the command of Allenby defeated the Turkish Army and drove them out of Jerusalem.
The United Nations mandate creating Israel set the city apart as a special zone, but when the Arabs attacked Israel in 1948, the city was divided. During the Six Day War in 1967, Israeli soldiers captured the rest of Jerusalem, establishing it once again as the capital of Israel. Although most of the rest of the world refuses to acknowledge that Jerusalem rightfully belongs to Israel.
The Future of the Holy City
Today in 2013 Jerusalem is one of the major centers of world conflict. When the UN divided the land to give Israel a Homeland once again, it placed much of Holy City under the control of the Arabs. During the Six Day War in 1967, Israeli forces captured the city.
America Refuses to Recognize
Though Israel's capital is Jerusalem today, the government of the United States, like most other nations, refuses to recognize it. Jerusalem is today a city under threat, scriptures say one day it will be a peaceful city, ruled by the Son of God himself.
One Final Battle
However before Christ returns to rule, there will be one final battle centered on the Holy City. The enemies of God's chosen people will once again gather to try and destroy them. Though at first it will seem that Jerusalem will be defeated, God will appear to become involved in the battle. He will give strength to the hands of the defenders of Zion, and the enemies will be completely and utterly destroyed.
Kingdom Comes Down Through Jesus Christ
The Kingdom of Jesus Christ will be set up on the earth for a thousand years, a time of perfect peace, justice and rest. Jerusalem will be the center of the world and many shall come to worship there. It will be the place where everyone looks to for leadership, comfort, and joy! The knowledge of war shall be destroyed to never be known again. In Isaiah 65: 18-19 the Lord tells us, "Be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.