A history that you must know before you die: Jerusalem

To the Jews, Jerusalem is the mother in their hearts and a theme of spiritual DNA.

King David and old Jerusalem

It dates back nearly 1,000 years before Christ when the Jewish King David captured the city of Jebusites. The Israelites’ young king made a spectacular entrance into his new conquest – the walled city called Jebus. The city quickly became known as the city of David and the king’s influences are felt there to this day. David began transforming his city into a showplace. He fortified the walls but from the standpoint of history, his most important act was establishing the site of the future Jewish temple.

Jerusalem Temple Mount
Jerusalem Temple Mount
 

The prophetical time for building the temple was to come after King David.

After building his palace, David longed to build a house of God where he could place the holy ark( the ark of God was kept in a tent). He thought it was not right to serve God in such a lowly place, while he lived in a palace made of cedar. God had already planned that the son of King David, not David himself, would have the chance to reveal the existence of Jerusalem to all nations and people. King David prepared every material for the building of God’s temple there. In 970 BC, shortly before David’s death at the age of 70, the aging King anointed his son Solomon, the new king of Israel.

Cornelis de Vos - The Anointing of Solomon
The Anointing of Solomon

After Solomon became king, he purchased expensive timber from Hiram of Tyre. 30,000 workers were conscripted to work. Large cedars and juniper trees were then floated down the coast to Jubba. They were then hauled overland to Jerusalem. Solomon had 70,000 carriers and 80,000 stonecutters in the hills. Managed by 3,300 foremen, they quarried large blocks of high- grade stone and chiseled them into shape before transporting them to the temple. The inner sanctuary was overlaid inside with pure gold. The silver and gold furnishings that King David had dedicated were brought into the temple. It’s grandeur surpassed that of a palace. Solomon’s Temple stood as the Crown Jewel of Jerusalem for almost 400 years.

Tissot Solomon Dedicates the Temple at Jerusalem
Solomon Dedicates the Temple in Jerusalem

First destruction of Jerusalem

When the King died in 927 BC, the kingdom broke away forming two separate nations. Israel in the north and Judah in the south. 200 years later, in 722 B.C, Israel was captured by the Assyrians and a hundred years later, in 606 B.C, the tyrannical Babylonian commander Nebuzaradan took control of Judah and the capital Jerusalem.

But Jerusalem would suffer its most deadly blow a month later when king Nebuchadnezzar arrived. In the sweltering summer of 586 BCE, all of Jerusalem was set ablaze and the temple, the symbol of the spiritual covenant between the Israelites and their God went up in flames. Nebuchadnezzar finished off the destruction with an act that would ensure that it would never rebel again: he razed the city walls to their foundations. Now, their heads bowed, the exiles marched to Babylon, carrying musical instruments among their meager possessions. But the melody that they had played there through countless turbulent days was now silenced.

Ps 137:1~4″By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept as we remembered Zion”

Zerubbabel‘s Temple (in about 516 BC)

70 years went by. The Babylonians were attacked by the powerful King Cyrus of Persia. As a result, Cyrus allowed the people of Israel to go back and rebuild the temple Jerusalem. Zerubbabel planted in Babylon. He was the head of the generation born in Babylonian captivity and led the first group of captives back to Jerusalem and began rebuilding the Temple on the old site.

VanLooZerubabbelCyrus
Zerubbabel displays a plan of Jerusalem to Cyrus the Great

He was the prime builder of the second Temple, which was later reconstructed by King Herod. While young generations were happy about this new temple, the elders who had seen the previous temple of Jerusalem cried out in grief. Cause it was nothing like that their glorious past. Unfortunately, the Jewish people once again turned their back and sinned against God. Meanwhile, King Cyrus died and a new king was put into power. This new king boldly proclaimed there would never be a wall built around the city of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah, who rebuilt the Wall of Jerusalem

Meanwhile, the Jews were both in unsafe conditions and humiliated by living in a destroyed city. The lack of fortified walls around the city left the people defenseless against enemies. Weather, wild animals, opposing people, and other elements could easily enter and cause “great trouble” for them. When Nehemiah received this report about his people, his heart was broken (Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the King, meaning Prime Minister). So he took a risk and asked the King if he could go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The hand of God was upon Nehemiah, so the King granted his request.

108.Nehemiah Views the Ruins of Jerusalem's Walls
Nehemiah Views the Ruins of Jerusalem’s Walls

” Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (Ne 2:17)

However, the rebuilding intentions immediately were opposed by the Trans-Euphrates officials to the north, east, and south. Jerusalem clearly was surrounded by hostile parties. All of the Jews, who worked on the walls began wearing weapons as they worked. The ones doing the work would wear a sword and others would stand guard for fears and shields and there would be a man of trumpet whose mission was to blow the trumpet in an emergency. All the Jews devoted to work on the walls and even at night, they guarded the walls in case any enemy came. After months of hard work and danger, the job was completed. There was singing, dancing, feasting, and a huge celebration.

A horrible record of that day: The destruction of the second Temple in 70 A.D.

Ercole de Roberti Destruction of Jerusalem Fighting Fleeing Marching Slaying Burning Chemical reactions b
The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus

After Centuries of rebuilding Jerusalem, its walls were reddened by the blood of Jews. A.D 30, Jesus was predicting the total destruction of the temple, the magnificent complex.

Matt 24:2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

AD 68: Vespasian besieged it.

AD 68: The Roman armies withdrew from Jerusalem owing to Emperor Nero’s suicide

Luke 21:20-21, 23 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. … How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.

When Roman armies withdrew from Jerusalem for a while, His disciples realized its time of Jesus’ warning that they would need to flee: They were instructed to leave not only Jerusalem, but all of Judea, and not to go back in.

AD 70: Titus attacked it in April

Ezek.4:6-7 “After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her.

According to this prophecy, in A.D 70, the fortieth year after Jesus was ascended, Titus systematically conquered all of the remaining Jewish cities in Judah, slaughtering and enslaving hundreds of thousands of Jews. He then turned his attention to the Crown Jewel of the Jewish nation, the city of Jerusalem. Titus had it under a total siege, preventing any food from going in and any Jews from coming out.

Once starvation had done its work against the defenders of the city, anyone who was trying to escape would be crucified in full view of the city. The starvation was so severe that a Jewish historian named Josephus, who was on hand during the siege wrote that some Jews resorted to cannibalism and mothers even ate their children just to stay alive. After a 6 month siege, the outer wall had collapsed. They had even pried apart the huge stones of the temple in order to get the gold that had melted and flowed into the cracks. Thus, quite literally, not one stone was left standing upon another.

NinthAvStonesWesternWall
Excavated stones from the Wall of the 2nd Temple 

The sacred house was completely decimated, and the massive flames reached the skies. In all, Josephus records that a mind-blowing 1.3 million Jews were slaughtered during the six-month siege in Judah.

The destruction of Jerusalem signaled the second exile of Israel.

Although for the next 1900 years the Jews would have no authority in the land of Israel, the Jews did not forget Jerusalem or the Temple Mount. Throughout time, their daily prayer was for the rebuilding of the Temple there. Jews already tried to rebuild the Temple. In 363 A.D the opportunist Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate encouraged the Jews to rebuild their Temple. To carry out the project, Jews from all over gave from their wealth upon the projected work of rebuilding the Temple. Then sudden tragedy struck, the terrible balls of fire kept bursting forth near the foundations of the Temple, some of the workmen were burned to death; and since in this way the building was stopped, never again to be restarted.

Jerusalem panorama early twentieth century2
Panorama of Jerusalem

Over the centuries, its walls have been reddened by the blood of Jews, Babylonians, Persians, armies of Arabs, Crusaders, Ottoman Turks, and the British Empire.

The Jerusalem that remains a region of conflict and violence.

Terror Strikes Israeli Civilians in Southern Israel

In the aftermath of the 2011 southern Israel cross-border attacks. Eight people were killed, and 40 people were injured after the remains of a bus struck by a suicide bomber was found.

The modern nation of Israel was established in 1948. Still, In Jerusalem, differing ideological views regularly spur heated religious and political debates, which have occasionally led to violent outbursts. Plus, a plan to construct a third Jerusalem Temple on the Temple Mount has outraged Palestinians living in the region. The peace process between these peoples has stalled. When we consider all the conflicts there, the prospects for lasting peace look very dim. Can Jerusalem in the middle east function as the symbol of peace as they expected?

Israel and Palestine Peace
A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestinian flags and the words peace in Arabic and Hebrew.

City of Love, new Jerusalem

It may seem very harsh today, but the collapse of Jerusalem in A.D 70 is due to the sin of crucifying Savior Jesus and volunteering the sin. With surprise, a prophecy in the Bible proclaims that there will be a new Jerusalem eventually coming down to the earth from heaven and it will not be the future capital of the descendants of ancient Israel and Judah. It would be the Center of the world. Your Bible teaches that you have to long for it to come down from heaven, not the old one, which is at the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict. New Jerusalem will draw mankind to itself like a magnet to all who live. From near and far, they would go there searching for refuge from their past, present and the meaning of the future. The New Jerusalem is not a physical city.

La nouvelle Jérusalem
John of Patmos watches the descent of New Jerusalem from God

Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

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