“Angels oversee other places on Earth, but God oversees Jerusalem.”
These words were spoken by a rabbi named Yisrael Ariel at a conference in Jerusalem I attended in 2008.
To some degree, I believe the Bible agrees with him. There is no city on Earth God talks about in the way He talks about Jerusalem. Scripture shows that God’s eyes have been fixed on this piece of real estate throughout human history—and even before that! So many of the Bible’s landmark events, in both Old Testament and New, took place on this sacred soil. It has a rich and inspiring history unlike any other.
However, overlaid on top of its stirring past, Jerusalem has been the stage for terrible tragedy. Salem means “peace.” Jerusalem means “city of peace.” Yet Jerusalem has known almost no peace! Its past and present are deeply stained with bloodshed and desolation. No city on Earth has suffered more. And God has watched that, too.
Yet, oh how God loves Jerusalem! Mainly He loves the Jerusalem that is to come. Over the centuries, through His prophets and apostles, God has inspired a multitude of prophecies about this extraordinary city, many of which reveal His glorious, imagination-stretching plans for it.
Other prophecies, however, foretell the trouble, anguish and warfare that would plague this city. For example, God says, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3). Truly, every empire and nation that has ruled Jerusalem has had burdensome and painful problems.
To this day, this city is at the heart of the world’s thorniest political and diplomatic dilemma. It is a hot spot for devastating news caused by religious and political resentments, terrorist attacks and other violence. It is a powder keg charged with nuclear potential! No other city is so fraught with international tension.
Bible prophecy shows that events in this city will trigger a nuclear World War iii! That alone is a vital reason to closely watch Jerusalem.
God’s eyes are fixed on Jerusalem—and ours should be too! Jesus Christ Himself instructs us to keep our eyes on this city to observe the signs pointing to the climactic event of all human history: His Second Coming!
That event leads to the greatest news ever. This blood-soaked city is yet to become a city of peace!
But there is also a deeper spiritual reason as to why you need to watch Jerusalem. The spiritual reason is most important of all.
God Chose Jerusalem
God commanded ancient Israel to build a tabernacle to house the ark of the covenant, which represented His presence in the nation.
When Moses was giving the Israelites final instructions before they entered the Promised Land, he told them God would put His name on one place in particular: The tabernacle, which housed the ark, would be the hub and focal point of the nation: “But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come …. Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you …. [A]nd there thou shalt do all that I command thee” (Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14).
When the Israelites then inhabited that land, God positioned the ark in Shiloh, but after Israel sinned and lost God’s blessing, the ark was moved to Kirjath-jearim and elsewhere. Finally, in the time of King David, it found its home in Jerusalem. And when Solomon later built the magnificent temple of God there to replace the tabernacle, God said pointedly: “I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there” (2 Chronicles 6:6).
God Himself chose Jerusalem. He didn’t choose Paris or London or New York—He chose Jerusalem. Imagine—a city God has chosen!
This majestic truth is repeated many times in Scripture. For example, when Solomon went astray, and God decided to rend the kingdom from him, He told the rebellious king, “Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen” (1 Kings 11:13). Solomon’s son was Rehoboam, and 2 Chronicles 12:13 says that “he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there.”
You would think that if God Himself chooses a city, this would be impressive news in this world. But few people even pay attention.
David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He wrote this: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. … Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces” (Psalm 122:1-2, 6-7). David had a deep passion for Jerusalem! God was well pleased with that attitude and had it canonized in the Bible.
Another psalm reads, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Psalm 137:5-6). If you understand why this psalmist put Jerusalem above his chief joy, you will see why all believers of the Bible should do the same!
Why is Jerusalem so important to God? What does it mean that God has chosen Jerusalem? The answers to these questions are so inspiring, they will fill you with joy and hope!
God has consistently used Jerusalem in His plan of salvation. He had a plan for this city from the foundation of the world—not just for the city you see on Earth today, but for a rebuilt Jerusalem.
When Jesus Christ returns to Earth to rule as King of kings, the headquarters of His Kingdom will be here. “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart” (Jeremiah 3:17).
This stirring prophecy will be reality very soon—it is almost time to start rejoicing! “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her” (Isaiah 66:10). Soon everybody will be rejoicing over Jerusalem. This city will have an “abundance of … glory” (verse 11). It is going to dazzle the world with godly brilliance! The whole world will soon look to this city for leadership.
“For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees” (verse 12). Peace, instead of blood, is going to flow out of Jerusalem like a river! This beleaguered metropolis has been flowing with blood for most of the last 6,000 years. What a glorious change we are about to see.
“Jerusalem” is a most inspiring word. Just the name itself ought to inspire people! It is in itself a prophecy of the future!
“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (verse 13). The unparalleled suffering in that city is almost over. Shortly, the whole world will look to Jerusalem for comfort. What a change!
In the Millennium, for a thousand years, the whole world will revolve around Jerusalem. And after the Millennium, throughout all eternity, the whole universe will revolve around Jerusalem!
Here is another stunning truth: In numerous Bible passages, God refers to His Church as “Jerusalem.” If you are a baptized member of this Church, God actually calls you Jerusalem!
In Galatians 4:25-26, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother” (Revised Standard Version). He is speaking of Abraham’s two sons: Ishmael, born of Hagar; and Isaac, born of Sarah. Hagar represents the Old Covenant, made with physical Israel, a people born into slavery. Sarah represents the New Covenant: made with spiritual Israel, who are free.
“Jerusalem above” refers to God’s New Covenant Church—which is spiritual Israel. The mother of us all, the Church, is free. The headquarters of God’s true Church today is in Jerusalem above! Imagine that! This is the real Jerusalem—the one we should be concerned about!
For God’s people, Jerusalem must be deeply personal. This city embodies our own past and future! This is the real reason why its history and prophecy are so important: They point toward spiritual Jerusalem!
The Vision You Need
We need to watch Jerusalem with the closest scrutiny. God has chosen Jerusalem—and He will yet choose it again. “And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again” (Zechariah 2:12). This choice will extend into eternity—when that city is replaced by new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2). God has an eternal view of Jerusalem—and you cannot say that of any other city! When God chooses a city, expect it to be spectacular beyond anything man can even imagine!
Jerusalem is such an inspiring vision. Actually, it is the vision of the Bible! Jerusalem is at the very heart of the eternal plan of God, and it is the key to your spiritual future—your future with God.
God wants us to be thinking about Jerusalem and where it is leading us and what a future we have!
Oh, does this world need this vision! It desperately needs it to solve its problems and bring real changes, even today. Yet there is only a tiny little group of people who truly understand and are truly concerned about it. Why don’t people even in religious circles hear this message today? Why are they not taught this vision that ought to inspire and uplift us all? Satan the devil has hidden this vision from this world and does all he can to destroy it.
The Eternal has chosen Jerusalem is the deep understanding needed to conquer Satan and remain loyal to God. It is the most inspiring, uplifting, marvelous hope that mankind will ever have! God wants you to learn it today to help you withstand these terrible times in this awful world that is ruled by the devil.
We need this vision to endure the hardships ahead. If you lose this vision, you will fail spiritually. Without this understanding, you will lack the motivation to purify yourself and seek God’s righteousness. If you have not chosen Jerusalem, your trials will overwhelm you. If we cannot keep our vision elevated beyond this material world, we will never succeed in the work God has for us.
But if you realize that God has chosen Jerusalem, and understand this truth as God does, you will be uplifted and moved beyond words to describe!
The Eternal has chosen Jerusalem—and He wants you to choose Jerusalem. Christ instructs us to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). So if God has chosen Jerusalem, then His children, His sons, ought also choose Jerusalem. Have you?
The key is to view it the way God does. Fix your eyes on this city as He does. If you can get God’s view of Jerusalem, it is the most inspiring vision you will ever have! If you see it as God does, you will understand the greatest vision in the entire Bible. It will keep your life filled with hope—as it does God!