Today Jerusalem is a bustling metropolis of 600,000 residents, extending far beyond the walls of the Old City.
David Dolan has lived and worked as a news reporter in Israel since 1980.
He said: “Humanity literally sees the seemingly God-forsaken, literal city of Jerusalem springing back to life. It has become the center for Jewish existence once again, and it has one of the world’s largest foreign press corps residing in it.”
Dolan continued, “It is bursting forth with new schools, parks, culture centers, roads, and religious institutions — all underneath the shadow of towering building cranes. The Lord ... [is] preparing to appear in His glory.”
Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to Jerusalem for dedication in the fabulous Temple of Herod. As a 12-year-old boy, He debated with the scribes there. After He had begun His public ministry, He drove moneychangers from the Temple courtyard.
Many hundreds of years ago God proclaimed, “In Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever” (2 Chronicles 33:7). No other city has such an exalted designation, and no other city is better known throughout the world.
This is because of God’s interest in it. Down through the years, the greeting and farewell of Jewish people was, “Next year in Jerusalem,” meaning the next year they hoped to be “home” — to be in Jerusalem.
When Israel became a sovereign state in 1948, Jerusalem was chosen as capital, just as it had been long ago. Now the Jews could return to heir beloved Jerusalem and truly call it “home.”
The psalmist said, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy” (Psalm 137:5, 6).
Christ, who was later crucified at Jerusalem, once proclaimed with pathos, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together ... but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).
Many Christians believe that a Jewish temple will be built on the Temple Mount either before or just after the Rapture. When the Antichrist breaks his treaty with the Jews (see Daniel 9:27), this temple will be in use.
The big question today is, how and when will the Muslim Al-Aqsa Mosque be removed to build the new temple? Obviously, God will see to that in His time.
An Australian Christian zealot once set fire to the Islamic mosque, hoping to clear the way for the next temple. Since then security has been exceptionally tight for fear that some other zealot who knows what the prophets promised might try to help bring the predictions to fruition by destroying the Muslim mosque.
Today, almost no city on earth is more explosive than Jerusalem. The antagonism between Israelis and Palestinians is always high.
The one place both races meet peacefully is in the hospital. An issue of Time magazine noted, “At Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, Jews save Arabs and Arabs save Jews, even in the angriest of hours.”
The article told of Rewand Ratrout, a female Palestinian anesthesiologist, trained at Baghdad University, treating an18-year-old Jewish girl from the Ukraine who had been in the country only six months. She was one of the 60 wounded when a Hamas suicide bomber blew up a bus, killing 17 people.
The Hadassah Hospital’s staff is mixed, but is mostly Jewish. Laboring under terrible pressure because of the violence, the staff manages to coexist.
“I’ve seen our Palestinian victims, and I have seen Israelis after suicide bombs,” Ratrout said, “I don’t differentiate between them. Each time, I think ‘How can this happen?’” Conflict in Jerusalem is heartrending, and the grand old city has had much more than its share of tumult through the ages.
Dr. Charles Lee Feinburg, a renowned theologian, stated: “Why do the Old and New Testaments so often speak of Jerusalem as the vortex of world confrontation?”
He continued, “Here our age began after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and here the cycle of history will return to be swallowed up in the fulfillment of God’s prophetic purposes for the earth.”
Israel longs for peace! Isaiah foretells a glorious day when all of Israel will be at peace. “Her warfare is accomplished” (40:2, KJV), he predicted, but today peace is far removed from the city whose name means “city of peace.”
It is significant, however, that for the first time in history, the nations realize that the peace of the world hinges on peace in Jerusalem.
Besides this, the religions of half the world — Christian, Jewish, and Islam — are anchored in that beloved city. Lasting peace will come to Jerusalem and all Israel when Christ, the Prince of Peace, comes to rule the world from that city. His awesome reign may be much nearer than most mortals can fathom — even so, come King Jesus.