Who Does Jerusalem Really Belong To?
The status of Jerusalem continues to be a controversial issue dividing the world. Does it belong to Israelis or Palestinians? Or to Someone else?
Who has the right to call Jerusalem their capital? Both Israelis and Palestinians claim it. On Dec. 6, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would begin making plans to move its embassy there. His announcement was met with controversy around the world as the following headlines show:
- Merkel Says Germany Sticking to U.N. Resolutions.
- US “Pulled Pin on Bomb” With Jerusalem Decision, Turkey PM says.
- Theresa May Condemns Trump’s “Unhelpful” Jerusalem Announcement.
- EU Vows Push to Make Jerusalem Capital for Palestinians Too.
- Kremlin Says Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Is Splitting International Community.
- Muslim Leaders Call for Recognition of East Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital.
- UN Votes 14-1 to Condemn Donald Trump’s Jerusalem Decision, as US Vetoes Resolution.
- On Heels of UN Vote, Pope Urges Peace in Jerusalem and Two-State Solution.
Jerusalem is the most contested city in the world, with three major religions claiming it as their own. Jerusalem is holy to Judaism, because it housed the first and second temples and was long considered the center of the world where God resided. To Muslims, Jerusalem is the third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. To Christians, Jerusalem is the place where Jesus walked, died, rose again and where the Christian Church began.
The Temple Mount
Nowhere in Jerusalem are tensions greater than at the Temple Mount. To the Jews, it’s the place where God’s presence has been manifested more than in any other location on earth. Jews outside Israel pray facing toward Israel; those within Israel face toward Jerusalem; and those within Jerusalem face toward the Temple Mount.
Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad traveled from Mecca to the Temple Mount where he prayed with the souls of all the prophets, then ascended to heaven.
The Temple Mount changed hands several times during the Middle Ages, as Christian armies sent by the pope fought with Muslims for control of the city.
The Temple Mount is constantly a place of tension and violence. On July 14, 2017, three Israeli-Arabs opened fire killing two Israeli policemen and then fled to the Temple Mount, where they were killed by police. Access to the site was shut down and reopened on July 16, with metal detectors equipped at the checkpoints causing widespread protests by Muslims around the world. The metal detectors were removed on July 25.
To learn more, read “Temple Mount: Its History and Future.”
The rightful owner of Jerusalem
The most popular solution for Jerusalem is known as the two-state solution. A common form of this proposes that Jerusalem be divided and returned to its pre-1967 borders, with west Jerusalem given to Israelis and east Jerusalem given to Palestinians.
Bible prophecy shows that before Jesus Christ’s return, the nations will be gathered against Jerusalem and the city divided (Luke 21:20). But it will not be a solution, nor will it be peaceful. Half the city and inhabitants will be “taken” violently (Zechariah 14:2). Then Christ will return to earth and punish the nations responsible for this (Joel 3:2).
The holy city does not belong to any one nation or religion—but belongs to God Himself. But what happens after that will be a remarkable transformation. Jesus Christ will establish His world capital at Jerusalem! This shows that the holy city does not belong to any one nation or religion—but belongs to God Himself. In Zechariah 2:12 God says He “shall choose Jerusalem again” (King James Version). Notice the following prophecies that show what He has planned for the city:
- People around the world will go to Jerusalem to learn God’s laws (Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2).
- Many nations will visit Jerusalem and be considered God’s people (Zechariah 2:11).
- Jesus will rule and judge the nations from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:9; Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3).
- The inhabitants of Jerusalem will live in perfect safety (Zechariah 14:11).
- Spiritual healing will go forth from the city to the rest of the earth (Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-9, 10-12).
The Bible instructs us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). That means the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. Only then will it fulfill the meaning of its name:
The City of Peace.