Today, President Trump is announcing his plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing it as Isreal’s true capital. While the political move is causing an uproar, there is no debate about the significance of Jerusalem in the Bible.
Here are six monumental events in our Christian inheritance that took place in the great city of Jerusalem.
1. The Lord provides a ram for Abraham.
(Genesis 22:1-19) We all remember this Bible story from Sunday School. Abram and his wife Sarai were both nearly 100 years old when God promised that this barren couple would have descendants outnumbering the stars. Then He changed their names and gave them their child, Isaac. Abraham and Sarah almost lost their son, Isaac, as God had told Abraham to sacrifice him on a mountain to test his faithfulness.
It was on a mountaintop in Jerusalem that Abraham, with a knife in hand and son bound on an altar, that God seized the moment and said, “Stop. There is a ram in the bushes.” And Abraham sacrificed it instead.
2. King David establishes Jerusalem as a place of ceaseless worship.
(2 Samuel 5:1-13) At the time that David officially became the King of Isreal, Jerusalem was inhabited by foreigners – the Jebusites, who were never driven out during Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land. The first thing he did as king was go, conquer the land, rename it “Jerusalem”, and establish his reign there. It was in Jerusalem that David made the tabernacle a place of 24/7/365 worship, an unprecedented and bold move that is now an image to us of the constant access we have to the presence of God as believers.
3. Solomon builds the most extravagant temple imaginable for God.
(1 Kings 6) When given the opportunity to have anything in the world, Solomon asked simply for wisdom. David taught Solomon the ways of nobility as we see in Proverbs, and it is apparent that David also taught Solomon this: “I will not offer [something] to the LORD my God which cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). Solomon became arguably the richest man who ever lived. Yet he honored the Lord with his wealth, building an extravagant temple of great stones and cedar beams, all overlaid with gold. The temple would have been worth between $3 billion to $6 billion in today’s currency. But Solomon established it as a place where God would be forever worshiped.
4. Jesus’ work on Earth completed.
Three years into His ministry, they welcomed Him in, laying palm branches at His feet. “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they cried. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” A week of teachings and miracles later, Jesus breaks bread with His disciples, establishing communion as an act in which we remember Him. That very night He goes to the garden of Gethsemane and in agony, He cries out to the Father to save the people of the world in any other way if there is one. Yet He submits. He is taken to Pontius Pilate after his friend Judas betrays him, and He is condemned to death.
Jesus dies on Golgatha in Jerusalem.
He is buried. And three days later…
Jerusalem is the city where Jesus rose from death, defeating the enemy once and for all.
5. The long-awaited Holy Spirit comes to Earth to stay.
(Acts 1-2) After visiting the disciples, Jesus ascends to Heaven. But before leaving, Jesus instructs His disciples to stay in Jerusalem. “Don’t leave,” He told them, “but wait for the Gift my Father promised.” And 40 days later, the Holy Spirit blew in like a rushing wind to that house in Jerusalem where the disciples were gathered. And since that day the Holy Spirit has been alive and active on the Earth through believers.
Amidst the tense political climate and the important debates surrounding them, remember your peace that passes understanding, and remember who our God is. Selah.