Jerusalem the Center of the World
City of David — עיר דוד, Jerusalem of ancient times, was located on a narrow ridge south of the present-day Old City. On the east it borders the deep Kidron Valley where the Gihon Spring, the city’s water source, is located.
In Biblical theology, Jerusalem is the place where God chose for his name to dwell, forever hallowed (see Deut 12:5 for the origins of this doctrine which is fleshed out in the Psalms and prophets).
Jerusalem is central to the Jewish heart. When religious Jews pray three times a day, they always turn toward Jerusalem (they also keep a small section of an eastern wall in their house unplastered and unpainted (Mizrach — East) as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the Temple). The Jewish people close the Passover Seder with the words LaShanah Haba’ah Bi Yerushalayim! ("Next Year in Jerusalem"). These same words are invoked to conclude the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. During a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom breaks a glass as a sign of mourning to commemorate the destruction of the two Temples which stood in Jerusalem. Maran Rabbeinu Yeshua called Jerusalem the "City of the great King" (Psalm 48:2; Matt 5:35). It is the place where He died, buried, resurrected, and from whence he ascended to heaven. Soon our holy Rabbi, Maran Yeshua will physically return to Jerusalem as Mashiach ben David to restore the throne of King David. At that time, all the promises given to Israel will be literally fulfilled as the Kingdom of God is manifest upon the earth.
Jerusalem’s history was ordained nearly five thousand years ago when a small number of families decided to settle on the lowest of the Jerusalem hills. They chose this hill because of the abundant water flowing beneath it — the Gihon spring — and the nearby fertile valleys and beautiful ridges for planting vineyards, which ensured sustenance. In time, the hill would become Ir David (the City of David).
One of the more unusual pieces of Biblical celebration of Jerusalem is Tehillim / Psalm 87. “On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob,” says the Psalmist.
We could do well to ask why this is so. It would seem to be because God has chosen to dwell here, bringing his shekhina here during the glories of the first Temple and “the Most High himself will establish her,” meaning in future descents of his glory to the city. Once chosen, Jerusalem is the city of God’s name forever.
The Psalm then develops an idea that sounds strange to modern ears: “This one was born there,” they say. And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. The Lord records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.”
The perspective here may be the Age to Come, when Jerusalem is the center of the world, recognized by all, even Rahab and Babylon (see verse 4). At that time, it will be accounted a great blessing for a child to be born in this city. The importance of Jerusalem is lifted here from the realm of mere theory and becomes tangible. It is literally a city of blessing.
Jerusalem is the center of redemption, the epicenter of healing for the world. It is now a symbol and the glory is covered. Yet even in its present humility the glory shines through. I am far from the only person who has watched the sunrise and the sunset in Jerusalem and enjoyed the golden stones. Jerusalem of gold shines through even the darkest veil.
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem:
Jerusalem is truly a special place. It is not just what you see there, but what you can feel. Each and every time I have the privilege to visit the Holy City I am grateful. The most important events in world history happened in Jerusalem. Forty years ago when Israel was attacked by its neighbors, HaShem (“The Name”, i.e., God) gave Israel control over the entire city. Four decades later the city is thriving with building cranes prominent in the skyline.
Jerusalem is still important to God and has a wonderful future. All prophecies concerning this city will be fulfilled. Things will begin to change for Jerusalem when Messiah returns, and he is fully revealed! Once His feet land on the Mount of Olives the world will never be the same. Although Maran Yeshua did the work of redemption when He came the first time, when He returns He will bring the outcome of redemption to the world. What is important to know is that these wonderful benefits of redemption will start in Jerusalem and then begin to fill the rest on the world. This fulfills the promise of God that He will bless the world through the Jewish people and the land of Israel. Even though the pages of the Bible are filled with this fact and that God has blessed the land of Israel and given this land to the descendants of Jacob as an inheritance, so many people that call themselves followers of the Messiah tend to ignore these Biblical truths and have developed theology which alters the word of God and teaches that Israel has been replaced.
Once His feet land on the Mount of Olives the world will never be the same. Although Yeshua did the work of redemption when He came the first time, when He returns He will bring the outcome of redemption to the world. What is important to know is that these wonderful benefits of redemption will start in Jerusalem and then begin to fill the rest on the world. This fulfills the promise of God that He will bless the world through the Jewish people and the land of Israel. Even though the pages of the Bible are filled with this fact and that God has blessed the land of Israel and given this land to the descendants of Jacob as an inheritance, so many people that call themselves followers of the Messiah tend to ignore these Biblical truths and have developed theology which alters the word of God and teaches that Israel has been replaced.
God will bring to Jerusalem His righteousness as Isaiah declared, “And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of HaShem’S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say: ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of HaShem, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem. And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of HaShem. ” (Isa. 2-5).
Notice that this is about the “end of days” when Jerusalem will not only be the center of worship, but also the governmental center of the world with our holy Rabbi, Maran Yeshua HaMashiach ruling according to the Torah. It will be this righteous rule that will change Jerusalem into Zion (the excellence of God). Finally the blessings of God will fill up this world and all people that remain will live in obedience to Him, enjoying the privilege of knowing HaShem personally and his holy appointed Messiah.
No place is more important to God than Jerusalem and no place can take away the special status of this city. It saddens me that only a small remnant of the followers of Israel’s Messiah see the need to “Ask for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6). This is a Biblical command! Peace for Jerusalem is not just an absence of problems, but also the fulfillment of God ’s plan for this city and therefore the world. As we have already mentioned, what God is going to do in this world (fill it with His Knowledge) is going to begin in Jerusalem.
Why not commit to ask God to bring about the events that must transpire for Jerusalem to inherit her peace? Better yet, why not ask God to provide the finances for you to come to Israel personally, stand in Jerusalem, and pray that prayer here?
18 Reasons why Jerusalem Matters
Spiritually speaking, Jerusalem, and in particular Mount Moriah (i.e., the Temple Mount), is considered the most important place on earth, for the following reasons:
- According to the Jewish sages, God began the creation of the universe there, and the bedrock at Moriah is called Even ha-Shetiyah (אֶבֶן הַשֶׁתִייָה), "the Foundation Stone," referring to the creation of the earth on the First Day (Isaiah 28:16).
- The dust of Moriah is said to have been used to create Adam (who was later placed in the "garden which lay to the East"). As will be seen, man was created from the place of his atonement.
- According to common Jewish tradition, Moriah was the place that Adam first offered sacrifice, as did his sons Cain and Abel. So did Noah and Abraham. King David and Solomon set the altar for the First Temple there.
- It was in Jerusalem that Abraham met with Malki-Tzedek (Gen 14:18; Heb 7:1).
- Abraham offered Isaac on Mount Moriah (Gen 22:1-19). This is known as Akedat Yitzchak or "the binding of Isaac."
- Jacob had his dream of the ladder to heaven there (Gen 28:10-22).
- Moses foresaw the Holy Temple (Ex. 15:17) and was given its blueprint at Sinai (i.e., the Miskhan or Tabernacle).
- According to the Talmud, Jerusalem was named by God. The name has two parts: Yira, which means "to teach," and shalam, which means "peace." Jerusalem is the place where God would teach humanity the meaning of peace.
- King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel (2 Sam 24:18-25).
- Solomon built the First Temple there (1 Kings 6-8; 2 Chron 3:1-2).
- Zerubbabel and Nehemiah built the Second Temple there (Neh 4-6). Later, King Herod (37-4 BC) remodeled and enlarged it, but the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD (the massive retaining wall (the Kotel or Western Wall) that encompass Mount Moriah is all that remains of the Second Temple).
- We are explicitly commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6).שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹם ירוּשׁלם יִשְׁלָיוּ אהֲבָיִךְ / sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim…
- The Yeshua the Messiah called Jerusalem the "City of the Great King" (Matt 5:35) and had special affection for it (Matt 23:37). He attended the festivals there (Luke 2:43, John 2:23), taught there, and performed his sacrificial work there (Matt 16:21).
- Maran Yeshua was raised from the dead in Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-7). Maran Yeshua ascended from Mount Olives in Jerusalem (Acts 1:12).
- Jerusalem is the place where the Third Temple (tribulation temple) will be built (Rev 11; Matt 24).
- Jerusalem is the place where Yeshua the Messiah will returnin glory (Zech 14:4; Acts 1:12; Matt 24).
- Jerusalem is the name of the coming paradise of God, which descends upon the earth after the millennial reign of Messiah (Rev 3:12, 21:2, 10).
- Jerusalem is the most frequently occurring place name in the Scriptures, mentioned over 800 times (Zion is mentioned an additional 152 times). Note that although Scripture sometimes calls all of Jerusalem "Zion," Mount Zion lies about half a mile to the West of Moriah. In ancient times a deep valley separated Mount Zion from Mount Moriah, but today rubble from Jerusalem’s many destructions completely fills this valley. Just east of Mount Moriah is the Mount of Olives which is about 300 feet higher than the high points of Mt. Zion or Mt. Moriah.
A famous midrash sums up the sentiment of many Jews regarding Jerusalem and the Holy Temple:
"As the navel is set in the center of the human body, so is the land of Israel the navel of the world; as Jerusalem is in the center of the land of Israel, so is the sanctuary in the center of Jerusalem; as the holy place is in the center of the sanctuary, and the ark is in the center of the holy place, and the foundation stone is before the holy place, so from it the world was founded." (Adapted from Midrash Tanchuma, Kedoshim)