JERUSALEM (PART 1)
"In Jerusalem will I put my name" (2 Kgs. 21:4)
Jerusalem is located in the Judaean Mountains about 2,500 feet above sea
level. It is 16 miles due west of the northern end of the Dead Sea and 38
miles east of the Mediterranean Sea. It was formerly called Salem, the city
in which Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18 20). In his letter
to the Hebrews, Paul identifies Melchizedek as the "king of Salem,
that is, king of peace" (Heb. 7:2). Although Jerusalem is sometimes
called the "City of Peace," more wars probably have been fought
at its gates than at those of any other city in the world. Jerusalem has
been attacked many times, by Egypt (1 Kgs.14:25), by Israel after the division
of the kingdom (2 Kgs. 14:13), by Syria (2 Kgs. 16: 5), by Assyria (2 Kgs.
18- 19), and by Babylon (2 Kgs. 24:10; 25). After David captured it from
the Jebusites in about 1000 B.C., Jerusalem was also called the "stronghold
of Zion" and the "city of David" (2 Sam. 5:6-7).
At that time the area of Jerusalem was relatively small. It extended over
the eastern hill (south of the Temple Mount), which was between the Kidron
Valley on the east and the Tyropoeon Valley on the west. The Kidron divides
the Mount of Olives from the Temple Mount. The city's principal water source
was the Gihon spring, which was in the Kidron Valley, below and outside
the city walls. Solomon expanded the city to the north, constructing a large
platform on which he built "his own house and the house of the Lord
and the wall around Jerusalem" (1 Kgs. 3:1). After Solomon, the limits
of Jerusalem expanded further to the north and to the west (see the next
section on p. 31, which talks about Jerusalem in later periods).
King Hezekiah was responsible for bringing the waters of the Gihon spring
inside the walls of Jerusalem to the pool of Siloam. (From the New Testament,
Siloam is mentioned in the story of the healing of a blind man by Jesus;
see John 9:7) . He did this to prepare against an attack by the Assyrian
army in 701 B.C. (see 2 Kgs.20:20; 2 Chron.32:4, 30). After the division
of the United Monarchy in the 10th century B.C., Jerusalem remained the
capital of the Kingdom of Judah until the city was conquered by the Babylonians
in 598 B.C.
Throughout history, Jerusalem has been regarded by all Jews as holy. It
was the site of three temples and the place from which the "word of
the Lord" would go forth (see Isa.2:3). The intense feelings that go
with the special status of Jerusalem are reflected in this Psalm: "If
I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! ... if I do not set
Jerusalem above my highest joy!" (Ps. 137:5-6). Also, this injunction:
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!" (Ps. 122:6). Today, Jerusalem
is a holy city to the people of three faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and
Selected Views of Jerusalem and Bethlehem
The pictures on this page show some key sites in and around Jerusalem representing
various periods of history. First is the City of David, which was located
on the hill below the Temple Mount, opposite the village of Silwan. The
end of Hezekiah's tunnel (2 Chron. 32:2-4,30) and the Pool of Siloam (John
9:7-11) are located at the southern end of the City of David, where the
Tyropoeon and Kidron Valleys meet to form a "V". The present day
wall of Jerusalem's Old City was built in 1542 A.D., during the reign of
Inside, the southern gate, called Dung Gate, is
the Western Wall of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great. The Western
Wall is sacred to Jews, because, as part of the original wall surrounding
the Temple Mount, it is the closest place to the site of their ancient temple.
East of the Temple Mount is the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives (see
the next section on Jerusalem, p. 31).
The Temple Mount, called Mount Moriah in the Bible
(see 2 Chron. 3:1), was the site of the temples of Solomon, Zerubbabel,
and Herod. It is also a holy place to Moslems, who believe that Mohammed
went to heaven from this spot. The Dome of the Rock was built between 687
and G91 A.D. and is decorated with beau tiful Persian tiles. To Moslems
the world over, it is next to Mecca and Medina in importance. The silver-domed
el-Aksa mosque was built between 709 and 715 A.D. and can hold about 5,000
the Temple Mount was Pilate's Judgment Hall where Jesus was condemned (Matt.
27:2-31). The original structure of the Citadel (or fortress) was built
by Herod the Great. It had three towers, which Herod named after his brother,
Phasael; his friend, Hippicus; and his wife, Mariamne (Herod had Mariamne
executed after he suspected that she was involved in some treachery against
him). Some of the original stones used to build the tower named after Phasael
can still be seen in the Citadel today. (The walls of the present Citadel
were built by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1540 A.D.) Today, there is a magnificent
museum inside the Citadel that depicts Jerusalem through the ages. To the
left (north) of the Citadel is Jaffa Gate, where the road from Jerusalem
to the port of Jaffa on the Mediterranean Sea begins. (insert photo of Jaffa
Gate and Citadel)
It has been said that the name "Bethlehem" stirs the heart of
every Christian throughout the world. Micah prophesied that it would be
the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth: "But you, O Beth-lehem Ephrathah,
who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth
for me one who is to be ruler in Israel" (Micah 5:2). We also remember
the stories of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2-4) and of David protecting his father's
flocks from the lion and the bear (1 Sam. 17: 34-35).
But it is the
image of"shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock"
that at Rosh HaShannah birth of Jesus, and of an angel standing above the
shepherds saying: "For to you is born this day in the city of David
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:8-12).
The site of the manger is said to be in a cave below the Church of the Nativity,
which dates to the 6th century A.D. The original church was constructed
by Constantine (ca. 326 A.D,) after the site was identified by his mother
Bible Study - Jerusalem (Old Testament Period)
Higher ground surrounded David's City on every side. This fact was used
by the Psalmist to show how God will sustain his people when they follow
him: "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot
be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem,
so the Lord is round about his people, from this time forth and for evermore"
(Ps. 125:1-2). The following biblical passages outline some of the highlights
in the history of Jerusalem during the period of the Old Testament.
-- Gen. 22:1-2. Abraham was commanded by God to bring his son
Isaac to Mount Moriah to offer him as a sacrifice.
-- 2 Sam. 24:18-25; 1 Chron. 21:15,18,28; 22:1; 2 Chron. 3:1. The location
of Mount Moriah was identified with the area of the Temple Mount.
-- Josh. 10:1-17. Joshua defeated Jerusalem's king, along with the kings
of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Debir.
-- 2 Sam.5:6-16; 1 Chron.11:4-7. David captured the Jebusite city, called
Jebus, and made it his capital.
-- 2 Sam.6: 1-2; 1 Chron.13-16. David brought the Ark of the Covenant to
-- 1 Kgs. 6-9. A description of Solomon's building projects in Jerusalem,
including the temple and his own palace. L
-- 1 Kgs. 14:25-28. Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded the Holy City.
-- 2 Chron. 26:9-15. Uzziah, king of Judah, strengthened Jerusalem.
-- 2 Kgs. 18:13-37; Isa. 36-39; 2 Kgs. 25; 2 Chron. 12,25,36; Jer. 39,52.
Although Jerusalem was saved from Assyria, it suffered through many wars.
-- 2 Kgs.24-25; 2 Chron.36:15-21;Jer.39:9-14. Nebuchadnezzar, kingofBabylon,
captured Jerusalem in 598 B.C. and took many of its inhabitants to Babylon.
-- 2 Kgs 25:8-9. Nebuchadnezzar burned the Temple of Solomon.
-- Isa. 35; 40; 43: 1-21; 52. Isaiah foretold the return of the Jews to
-- Neh. 2:4-20;6:15-16. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after the
Jews returned from Babylonian.
-- Ezra 3:8-13; 4:23-24; 5:15; 6:15-18; Haggai. Jews built the temple of
Zerubbabel after the Babylonian captivity.