Post 042

WHY IS JERUSALEM IMPORTANT?

Jerusalem is a holy city to the Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  God
designated "Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as the place where I am
worshipped" (1 Kings 11:36).  God also made Jerusalem as His own from the
whole land of Israel (1 Kings 11:13,32).

In about 1000 BC, King David made Jerusalem his capital.  He was succeeded
by his son, King Solomon, who is known to have built the Holy Temple on
Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.  In 1 Kings 5:5, King Solomon said that the Lord
promised his father David, 'Your son, whom I will make king after you, will
build a temple for me.'  And he did build that temple for the worship of the
Lord his God that took him seven years to complete.

This Temple was destroyed when the city fell to the Babylonians during the
sixth century BC and the Israelites were exiled to Babylon.  After their
return from exile, in 520 BC, the Israelites rebuilt the Temple.  In 70 AD,
the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.  It was the second time it was
destroyed and has never been rebuilt since because the Jews were scattered
throughout Europe and the Middle East.  The Western Wall, also known as the
Wailing Wall, is all that remained of the Temple that was built by King
Solomon and King Herod.

Jerusalem and Israel are holy to the Christians because the birth, life,
ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus all took place there.

In the seventh century AD, the Arabs conquered Israel including Jerusalem.
They built the famous Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, where the
Temple had once stood.  The Holy Land, as Palestine is often called, was
conquered by the Turks in the sixteenth century and became part of the
Ottoman Empire.  These Turkish new rulers, like their Arab predecessors,
were Muslims.

After Israel's War of Independence in 1949, Jerusalem was left a divided
city with the western half in Israel, and the eastern half, including the
site of the Temple, under Arab rule.  After Israel captured the Jordanian
half of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in June 1967, it knocked down the
dividing wall and reunited the city.

The Islamic world aims to liberate Jerusalem (also known to the Muslims as
al-Quds) from the Israelis because it wants to reclaim the Temple Mount
which is the third holiest shrine in Islam.  It was from the Temple Mount
where Mohammed ascended to heaven.

What is the big fuss about Jerusalem?  Is it because Jerusalem was the place
where a temple was built to worship God (1 Kings 5:5)?  Does it make the
followers of the religion holier if their temple is built in Jerusalem, more
importantly, on the site where King Solomon originally built his temple?  Is
one nearer to God if he worships in Jerusalem?  Or is it because people
would like to be in God's Holy City, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12, 22:2,10)?
Is this "New Jerusalem" the same as the present city of Jerusalem?

God's peace reign in our hearts now and forever.


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