For the LORD has chosen Zion;[Psalm 132:13-14]
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
“This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.“
There are many great and ancient cities in this world but none more significant than the holy city of Jerusalem. Of all the places on a map, why is Jerusalem special? What makes it unique?
Is it the geography? After all, the ancient Jewish scribes considered Jerusalem to be the center of the world — the very heart of the earth.
The Sages of Israel proclaimed:[Midrash Tanhuma — 4th Century A.D.]
The Land of Israel is the center of the world.
Jerusalem is the center of the Land of Israel.
Or is it the religious diversity? After all, the three most prominent “monotheistic” religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — all lay claim to Jerusalem as their holy city. Even today the old city of Jerusalem is divided up into four quarters — Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian.
Perhaps it is the history. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and bears the visible scars and ancient monuments of nearly 4,000 years of history. Although it has often been obscured by the imperial shadows of greater nations, Jerusalem has stood the test of time and remains today as viable as ever. It is most improbable that Jerusalem even exists today.
Just from a Biblical perspective alone, the historical significance of Jerusalem is astounding. Consider what has transpired on or around Zion — God’s holy hill.
- Jerusalem is where Abram met King Melchizedek — Priest of the Most High God — and paid him homage with the spoils of war. [Genesis 14]
- Jerusalem is where Abraham willingly offered his beloved son, Isaac, in faith before the LORD intervened and provided a substitute. [Genesis 22]
- Jerusalem is the mountain that David captured and claimed for Yahweh as the capital city of Israel and the royal throne of the king of Israel. [2 Samuel 5]
- Jerusalem is the site of the threshing floor that David purchased from the Jebusite Ornan to stop the plague sent by the Angel of the LORD. [1 Chronicles 21]
- Jerusalem is where Solomon built the Temple of Yahweh. [1 Kings 8]
- Jerusalem is where our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified as the perfect sacrifice for sin. [John 19]
- Jerusalem is where the Lord Jesus was buried and on the third day was raised from the dead. [John 20]
- Jerusalem is where God first poured out His Holy Spirit upon all believers at Pentecost. [Acts 2]
All of these are substantial and worthy of endless contemplation and deeper consideration, yet I believe that there are three more reasons Jerusalem has forever been set apart from all the cities in the world.
#1 — Jerusalem is the Place that God has chosen for Himself Forever
Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there, and I chose no man as prince over my people Israel; 6but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.[2 Chronicles 6:5-6]
As the LORD revealed Himself to the patriarchs, kings, and prophets, His testimony about Jerusalem never changed. God has chosen and claimed and sanctified this mountain in Israel as His very own “dwelling place” and “resting place forever” [Psalm 132:13-14].
The LORD commanded King Solomon to build a permanent dwelling place on Mount Zion and upon its dedication to the LORD, He descended in a cloud and filled the Temple with His glory. [see 1 Kings 8:10-11] By attaching Himself and His name to this particular piece of real estate, the Creator of the universe has given Jerusalem eternal significance.
For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.[2 Chronicles 7:16]
#2 — Jerusalem will be Ground Zero for the Final Battle of God bringing an End to this Age
There is one final battle that remains for Jerusalem, and it literally will be the battle for the ages. The Bible says that Jerusalem will be ground zero for that great and final battle on the Day of the LORD when Jesus Christ returns from heaven to wage war against His enemies.
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it … And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.[Zechariah 12:2-3, 9]
This is the very same prophecy that Jesus speaks of in His Olivet discourse.
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near … They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.[Luke 21:20, 24]
Jesus will return in power and glory to liberate Jerusalem from the evil one and tread down His enemies in wrath, bringing an end to this evil age.
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.[Luke 21:27-28]
#3 — Jerusalem Forever will be the City of the Great King — Jesus Christ
Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.[Psalm 48:1-2]
Once Jesus wins the final battle of God and liberates Jerusalem, He will take His rightful place on the throne of David in Zion and will rule and reign the nations as the King of Israel. The prophetic Scriptures all point to this Day when Messiah will once again choose Jerusalem and be installed as King of kings on His holy mountain.
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east … And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.[Zechariah 14:3-4, 9]
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. 11And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. 12And the LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.[Zechariah 2:10-12]
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”[Psalm 2:4-6]
During the Millennial reign of Christ from Jerusalem, all the nations will pay tribute to the King and worship Him by observing the Feast of Tabernacles.
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. 17And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.[Zechariah 14:16-17]
And in that Day, the heavenly Jerusalem will come down as the eternal city of our God, where we will dwell with Him forever! All who have trusted in Christ and now belong to Him have been granted citizenship in the Kingdom and given access to the Holy City.
As you can see, Jerusalem not only is the center of the earth, but it is the center of the universe and our eternal home because it is where Jesus dwells forever!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.[Revelation 21:1-3]
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!