Jerusalem is a religious center sacred to all three
monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Religious pilgrims from all
nations continue to congregate in the Holy City and millions of people flow through the
gates of Jerusalem each year.
References to the city of Jerusalem appear throughout the entire Scriptures.
The Scriptural history of Jerusalem (known then as
"Salem"), begins when Abraham meets "Melchizedek"
(King of Justice) about 2000 BC.
Through the ages it has been called by many names: Urusalim, Salem,
Mount Moriah, Adonai Urah, Jebus, Jerusalem, Zion, the City of David, Ariel (Lion of God)
God has declared that this is the place He will establish His Name and will dwell there
David conquered Jerusalem by defeating the Jebusites in 1052 BCE Chronicles 1 11:4-9),
nearly 3000 years ago.
In history, No other city has been beloved and fought over as Jerusalem.
After David's death, Solomon (in 1015 BC/BCE) began to "build a house for the Name
of the Lord" (Chronicles 2 2:1). It took seven years and 183,300 men to build it
(Kings 1- 5:13-16; 6:38). It measured nearly 90 feet in length, 30 feet in width and 45
feet in height (1 Kings 6:2). The Holy Of Holies occupied one-third of the interior space,
and the Holy Place, two-thirds. The complete details are described in Kings 1 - 6 & 7.
When it was completed, the Glory of God filled the Temple
(Chronicles 2 7:1).
Israel was divided after Solomon's death (979 BCE). The kingdom of Israel was in the
north, while Judah was in the south.
Jerusalem was the capital of Judah (the Southern Kingdom). It was to be ruled by a
succession of twenty kings from 979 BCE to 586 BCE. Their reigns lasted from as short as
three months (Jehoahaz and Jehoiachim) to as long as fifty-five years (Manasseh). The
disheartening history of the declines of Judah is told in Kings 1 12:1-2, Kings 25:30, and
2 Chronicles 10:1-36:21.
Jerusalem was entirely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC/BCE. The city and the Holy
Temple were completely demolished and the articles of the Temple and its treasures were
carried off to Babylon. The inhabitants that were not killed were also taken to Babylon.
Jerusalem was to lie desolate for seventy years in order that the land might enjoy its
Sabbaths (Chronicles 2 36:17-21/Leviticus 26:34).
Seventy-one years later (445 BCE) In 539 BCE, Cyrus, king of Persia issued a
proclamation to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a total of 42,360 people returned to
Jerusalem and Judah to help rebuild the Temple, not including male and female servants and
the musicians. All gave according to their ability, in order to finance the work.
In the first year, during the month of year, Jeshua and Zerubbabel led a group to build
the altar in order to offer sacrifices in accordance with Torah. It was finally completed
in 516 BCE and took twenty-three years.
In 167 BCE the Greeks converted the Temple in Jerusalem into a show place to Greek idols
In 40 BCE the Romans being the super power of that time dispatched an
army of 30,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry to take Jerusalem.
Jerusalem and its Temple were incinerated.
When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine,
the basilica of the Holy
Sepulchre was built in Jerusalem, the most important and
prominent building in the city at the time.
During the Byzantine era (330-640 CE) many impressive Christian architectural monuments
were built in the city. Jerusalem was a major Christian center, attracting pilgrims from
all over the Roman Empire. Monks and clergy from the various sects started to settle in
the city, and pilgrims from different countries filled Jerusalem's streets: Ethiopians and Armenians,
Nestorians, Syrian Jacobites and Gregorians and, above all, Greek-Orthodox, who became the
dominant Christian group in the city.
At the end of the 11th century, Seljuk tribes invaded the country. The city passed from
one ruler to another until the arrival of the Crusaders who ruled about two hundred years
(1095-1187) CE and again after a brief period, from (1189-1348).
Christian Crusaders order in Jerusalem was extremely brutal, especially at the
beginning of the period, and the domination of the city was accompanied by a massacre of
most of the Jews and Moslems residing there.
Jerusalem has been fought over by armies of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids,
Romans, Byzantines,Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mongols, Mamelukes, Turks, British, Jordanians,
Egyptians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Iraqis. Today the nations of the entire world consider
it their responsibility and obligation to intervene in her politics and destiny.
This is a city that has been besieged about forty different times and destroyed (at
least partially) on thirty-two different occasions. The rulership of Jerusalem has changed
hands some twenty-six times. From the time of the establishment of the State of Israel in
May of 1948 until 1967, the city was divided. Walls, barbed-wire fences and a desolated
strip of non-man's land cut through the very heart of the city, especially excluding the
Jews from the Old City and the Temple Mount. During that time the Jewish Quarter was
leveled and its synagogues burned. Jewish graves and monuments were desecrated or turned
into latrines, Since 1948 Jerusalem has experienced four wars. Jerusalem, "The City
of Peace" has known wars and destruction since it existence was first known to us
from the Biblical record.
Today, Jerusalem is more of a city of religion, art, culture,
and museums than an economically viable regional marketplace
or a center of business activity. Yet Jerusalem thrives in our time as a city full of
mystical attractiveness and endless fascination.