“Our Capital Shall Be Jerusalem!”

On June 23 Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi declared that Jerusalem would be “our capital” as he introduced the Muslim Brotherhood candidate for Egypt’s presidency.

Safwat Higazi, a cleric who is banned from entry into the United Kingdom for hate speech, went on with his firebrand speech: “Our cry shall be ‘millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.’”

The emotional crowd responded with loud chants, repeating Mr. Higazi’s words.

“Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas,” he continued. “Forget about the whole world; forget about the conferences. Brandish your weapons! Say your prayers! Come on, you lovers of martyrdom! Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews!”

Wild saber rattling or party policy?

It was heady stuff, met with roars, chants and drumbeats. One might perhaps write it off simply as wild saber rattling by an extreme Islamist, were it not for the fact that the speech and the chants served as an introduction for the man subsequently chosen as Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi of the Freedom and Justice Party, aka the Muslim Brotherhood.

Whose capital will Jerusalem be?

Yet history has a way of thwarting the agendas of revolutionary movements, both religious and political. Whose capital will Jerusalem be in the long run?

The true answer comes not from any political or religious agenda—but from the Word of God through Bible prophecy.

Egyptian standoff

As I write, Egypt is still in ferment. A standoff between the new president and the high court continues, as the leader ordered the newly elected parliament back in session even though the parliamentary elections were declared invalid by the high court.

Tensions also continue between the dominant Islamist parties and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has effectively ruled Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

It should also be noted that many Egyptians are deeply worried by the advance of political Islam in their country. Christian Copts, business groups and supporters of the old regime, as well as some liberal and democratic groups, formed a kind of informal alliance in the hope of stopping the march toward a monopoly of power in the hands of the Islamists.

Egypt’s immediate future is still uncertain. President Morsi has been more cautious than some of his supporters, reportedly informing the United States of his commitment to the peace treaty with Israel. Yet he has also hinted about putting the question to a referendum—and the outcome would be hard to predict.

Who will control Jerusalem?

So, who will control Jerusalem? It seems everyone wants it, from the Arab world’s most populous nation (Egypt) to the Muslim world generally, to the Palestinians, to the Jewish state of Israel—even the Vatican. Who will control that city?

Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, East Jerusalem was in the hands of the Jordanians, who denied Israelis access to visit the Jewish holy places. From 1967 forward, many Israeli leaders have referred to the city as the “eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel,” a claim rejected by Palestinians who lay claim to the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state.

Indeed, the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the summer of 2000 foundered in large part because of lack of agreement over Jerusalem. A particular bone of contention was the Temple Mount (the “Haram,” according to the Palestinians).

At the time, the Israelis proposed Palestinian “custodianship” of the holy sites, while the PLO insisted on full sovereignty. The talks failed to solve the gridlock, and a new and violent intifada broke out. The matter is still unsettled.

Vatican claims

In the meantime, other forces lay claim to parts of the city. Notable because of its absence had been any diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican until some 45 years after the establishment of the Jewish state.

Prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations, there were contacts that were at times cordial, at times testy. The Vatican was particularly concerned about Catholic and Orthodox holy places in parts of the city, and this was one of the reasons diplomatic relations were not established until 1993.

In December 1993 ambassadors were exchanged and diplomatic relations established. Yet tensions over some of the Christian holy places persist. And Bible prophecy tells us that in the future an influential religious leader of probably the Catholic Church, in alliance with a European political power yet to arise, will not abandon such claims.

What does the Bible say about the future of Jerusalem?

So, what does the future hold? Whose capital will Jerusalem be? And who will control this city, for so long fought over and disputed? The Word of God provides the answers!

Prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ, we read that Jerusalem shall be “surrounded by armies,” about to be made desolate (Luke 21:20). The European power conglomerate will attack from the north (Daniel 11:40-41; Revelation 16:16).

The book of Zechariah indicates that many will come against Jerusalem in the last days and that all political and military initiatives will be quashed by the returning Messiah (Zechariah 14:1-5). The prophet also tells us that “Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place” (verse 10).

Other prophecies tell us that ultimately the city of Jerusalem will, in fact, be a capital city for God Himself (Zechariah 1:14) and that a new temple will be rebuilt there after the coming of the Messiah (verse 16).

Future capital of the Kingdom of God

It will be from Jerusalem—the future capital of the Kingdom of God—that true godly education will emanate (Isaiah 2:1-3), and God’s ways will be made known to all humankind. Ironically, the city over which so much blood has been shed over the centuries—and where more blood is yet to be shed—will become a center of peace (verse 4).

Who will control Jerusalem? God Himself! And when that time comes, everyone will benefit from a reign of peace and harmony for the benefit of all mankind!

For more about biblical prophecies about the Middle East, including the flashpoint of Jerusalem, see our “Middle East section.

About the Author

Ralph Levy

Ralph Levy

Ralph Levy is a native of London, England, and now a naturalized citizen of the United States. He works primarily as a professor of theology at Foundation Institute, Center for Biblical Education, in Texas. Foundation Institute is the educational institution of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

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