Who should own Jerusalem?
Christians, Muslims and Jews all claim Jerusalem, the 'City of Peace', is their holy place. And sadly fighting over control of this tiny area continues to this day.
It's time to do something different, folks! (See Ps. 122:6-7)
Who should own Jerusalem?
For some time now, there has been fierce debate on who are the rightful occupiers Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, from the Greek Hierousalem and the Hebrew Yerushalayim is from the base words yarah meaning 'he threw, cast', and shalom meaning 'peace'. Yet the city has hardly ever been peaceful.
Melchizedek is the first King of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible's book of Genesis (yes, the city is pretty old) followed by Adonizedek. After his death, the city was set ablaze by the people of Judah but they didn't expel the Jebusites completely.
(Time-out please! I'm getting confused. Who is the rightful owner of the city?)
Let's move on a few years now, and skip the bits of history when the city was taken over by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the kings of Israel, until the time when the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar knocked the whole place down completely in 588 BC, forcing the Jews to retreat to Egypt. By 582 BC the place was deserted, as prophecised.
(Ah! So nobody owned it then?)
(Hmmm... that sounds like a lot of wasted effort.)
In 131 AD, the emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city, then it was occupied by the Jews, until once more they were evicted and the city was destroyed again (in 135 AD). The Romans rebuilt another city on the site, named Aelia Capitolina, which was taken over by the Mohammedans who renamed it as el-Khuds.
Our story so far has completely omitted mention of the life and death of Jesus (see Stations of the Cross) but this had not escaped the memory of Helena, the mother of emperor Constantine, who in 326 AD identified Calvary, dug up the remains of the True Cross and built a church on what was believed to be the birth place of Jesus.
Constantine followed suit and built a church on the site of the Crucifixion (in 335 AD). Jews were permitted (just once a year) to visit the city to mourn and wail against the wall of their ancient home.
In 614 AD, the Persians took Jerusalem and stayed until 637, when it was taken by the Arabians. Then the Egyptians, and then the Turcomans, who kept the city Muslim.
(No, I'm lost again. Who is the rightful owner of the city?)
In the crusade beginning 1098, Godfrey of Bouillon took the city and one year later, his brother Baldwin was crowned the first ruler of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. (See the Jerusalem Cross)
In 1187, the sultan Saladin captured Jerusalem and since then, it has remained for most of the time in Muslim hands.
(Phew! Isn't it lucky this place was named the 'City of Peace'. Conquered and re-conquered 38 times. Imagine the history if it had been named the 'City of Troubles'.
Fortunately for all of us, God has prepared a New Jerusalem where we can live in eternal peace.
1 Sam. 17:54