The name "Jerusalem" is found as early as the l4th century BCE
in Egyptian documents known as the Tel El Amarna letters.
Jerusalem is also mentioned in this same time period, known as the
Canaanite period, in the story of Abraham's encounter with
Melchizedek, the king of Salem (Jerusalem) in Genesis 14:18.
In the year 1000 BCE King David conquered the Jebusites, who
were the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and brought the Ark of
the Covenant from Kiryat-Ye'arim to Jebus (Jerusalem).
This is when Jerusalem acquired national status as the capital
of the Jewish people and religious status as its holy city.
In 960 BCE King Solomon built the temple on Mount Moriah -
the Temple Mount - traditionally considered the site of the
sacrifice of Isaac.
In 560 BCE Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Jerusalem.
Its inhabitants were exiled to Babylon, its temple was
In 538 BCE King Cyrus of Persia permitted the exiles to return to
Jerusalem. The people were led by two great men Ezra and
Nehemiah. During this time the second temple and the walls
of Jerusalem were built.
In 333 BCE Alexander the Great vanquished the Persian Empire.
After his death his empire was split and Jerusalem and the
rest of the country came under the rule of Ptolemaic Egypt.
It was later passed to the Seleucid Syrians. Hellenistic
culture grew dominant under the Seleucids.
In 63 BCE a rift between Alexander Janneus' successors enabled
Pompey, commander of the Roman forces in the east; to
seize the country.
In 37 BCE unbridled ambition and high-level intrigue brought to
power Herod Antipater, under Roman patronage. During
King Herod's reign Jerusalem grew northward.
Monumental building took place including the expansive and
magnificent Temple Mount.
In 70 AD, because of the Zealots' revolt against the Romans, the
Romans under the command of Titus destroyed Jerusalem
and the Temple. The Jews were exiled.
In 135 AD the Emperor Hadrian declared a new city on the site of
Jerusalem, called "Colonia Aelia Capitolina." A temple of
Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love, was built on the
temple mount. This took place after the Bar Kochba revolt.
In 324 AD Constantine became the sole ruler of the Roman
Empire. Shortly after his victory he declared Christianity the
Empire's official religion. These developments had a
significant impact on Jerusalem. Churches were built on
sites identified as sacred to Christianity. Monks and clerics
made Jerusalem their home; it became the mainstay of
Christian learning. For contemporary Christians Jerusalem
was above all else the actual site of the great events of the
In 614 AD the country fell to the Persians. Thousands of its
inhabitants were massacred during that conquest, many
churches were destroyed, a famous cross was looted.
In 629 AD the Emperor Heraclius restored Byzantine rule and
returned the cross to its place.
In 638 AD Jerusalem surrendered to the forces of Arab Muslims.
This Arab conquest was bloodless and tradition has it that
the Patriach Sophronios surrendered the city to Omar.
During the first century of Islamic rule in Jerusalem, the
Omayyad Dynasty ruled the country. Caliph Abd A1-Malik
ibn Marwan built the Dome of the Rock on the Temple
Mount claiming that it was the place where the prophet
Muhammad came for his night voyage to ascend to heaven.
Jerusalem was recognized as the third holiest city in Islam,
after Mecca and Medina, and as a destination for pilgrimage.
In 1099 Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders who massacred the city's
Muslims and Jews. After 460 years of Muslim rule the
Crusaders restored Jerusalem. This conquest was a black
spot in Christian history. It took place because the Christians
at that time did not know that Jerusalem did not belong to them according to the Scriptures, but to the Jews, and the
time of its restoration to the Jews had not yet come.
In 1187 AD Jerusalem fell to Salah-al-Din A1-Ayyuby, Sultan of
Egypt and Syria, putting an end to the Crusader kingdom of
Jerusalem. The great golden cross that rose above the Dome
of the Rock was toppled and shattered, to be replaced by the
crescent, the symbol of Islam. Following Salah-al-Din's
victory Jews returned to Jerusalem and were joined by
immigrants from the Maghreb, France, and Yemen. We
have to say that throughout these years we do not find any
claim by the Palestinians that Jerusalem is their capital, or
even that Palestine is their land.
In 1260 AD the Mameluke rulers of Egypt controlled the area.
During that time Jerusalem became politically insignificant.
In 1517 AD the Ottoman forces drove away the Mameluk forces
from Palestine and the country was ruled by the Ottoman
empire that was to dominate the entire Near East for the next
In 1917 as World War I neared its end and the Ottoman Empire
was being defeated, the Ottomans surrendered Jerusalem to
the British forces. General Allenby entered the Jaffa Gate,
on foot, at the head of a victory procession. That marked the
end of four centuries of Ottoman-Turk rule, and the
beginning of 30 years of British rule.
In 1920 the British Mandate Civil Administration took over from
the military. For the first time since Crusader days
Jerusalem was again the capital of the whole country.
In 1948 the state of Israel was officially recognized by the United
Nations as an independent state. At that time the battle began
for the status of Jewish Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Arab-Jewish struggle for control of the city became a
terrible war. The battle over Jerusalem became violent as the
Jordanian and the Egyptian troops entered the city.
In 1949 the Arab-Jewish war over Jerusalem came to a halt, with
In 1967 after Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan and Syria in the Six
Day War, Jerusalem was reunited. The Jewish government
proclaimed that Jerusalem was Israel's undivided eternal
What does the future hold for Jerusalem? The Word of God
indicates very clearly that it is in Jerusalem that the throne of the
Messiah will be established. God says that He will give to the
Messiah the throne of David, His father in the flesh. We should
remember that this throne was never in heaven; it was in Jerusalem.
When the angel Gabriel announced the miraculous birth of the
Messiah to the Virgin Mary, he said to her:
...Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women!
...Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor
with God. And behold, you will conceive in your
womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name
Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of
the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the
throne of His father David. And He will reign over
the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom
there will be no end" (Luke 1:28, 30-33 NKJ).
In the book of Revelation we read the Messiah's promise to the
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on
My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My
Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21 NKJ).
The Messiah is now seated with His Father on His Father's
throne in heaven (Hebrews 10:12). When the Messiah comes again,
He will sit on His own throne, the throne of His father David in
Jerusalem, and there the overcomers will sit with Him.
There are many precious promises given directly to the physical
nation of Israel. We have to remember that the most reassuring
evidence of the Messiah's return is the presence today of physical
Israel in its promised land. This is the fulfillment of the Word of the
Lord Jehovah to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets.
GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS. PRAISE BE TO HIS