Jerusalem is one of the most famous world cities with history from ancient times and significant for all three monotheistic world religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. There Abraham offered up Isaac on Mount Moriah, (Genesis 22) which became the site for Solomon’s Temple after King David had made it his capital city. Later it became the centre of opposition to the Saviour, who was crucified outside its city walls. There Peter preached his Pentecostal sermon and a large church was formed (Acts 2); later the Apostle Paul was arrested in the city.
Originally an ancient fortress, Jerusalem means ‘foundation of peace’ and its citadel was known as Zion. It became important for a number of reasons.
1. It had an ideal defensive position being surrounded by steep slopes and deep valleys and seemed so impregnable that the Jebusites who inhabited the city felt secure when King David attacked. Yet David’s men gained access through the water cistern and captured the city (2 Samuel 5).
2. The city was on the border between Judah and Benjamin which reduced any inter-tribal jealousy making it ideal to be the nation’s capital city.
3. It became the centre for Jewish worship to Jehovah when the Temple was built there and each year the people went up to offer sacrifices to the Lord as part of their devotion to God.
4. Solomon through his elaborate building programme made it the premier city of the Middle East.
5. Following Peter’s sermon the first church was established in the city and thousands were converted to Christ. From the city was launched a powerful world-wide evangelistic work though it took intense persecution to encourage the believers to go to other areas with the Gospel.
6. This city, described as “the holy city”, (Isaiah 52.1) was the scene of Christ’s rejection through mockery, torture and crucifixion, but where gloriously He rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and will one day return to Mount Zion. What a glorious prospect that is for us who know and love Him.