Jerusalem is the center of the world and the most important place on earth. Just look at how many times this, the Land of Moriah, has been fought over. History records that Jerusalem has been conquered some 47 times. 24 times by Western Powers and 23 times by Eastern Powers; more than any other parcel of territory on earth.
If that’s not proof enough, consider that Jerusalem has been the most discussed and hotly debated topic at the United Nations since it’s inception. Almost every day, governments across the globe are debriefed on the latest events taking place there. And almost every night, it is either the lead story or is featured on the nightly news.
And if that’s not proof enough, consider that 2/3rds of the world’s population hails from faiths that hold Jerusalem as sacred ground.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Jerusalem has nothing discernable of value associated with it. There are no great tributaries or estuaries near it; it is not along any major trade routes; and it has no mineral wealth in its midst. It has never been one of the great population centers like Tokyo or Beijing. In fact, its population has never been more than one million – and even today it’s below 700,000. It has never been one of the great economic centers like New York or Hong Kong. To this day, its chief businesses are tourism and small commerce shops. And it has never been the Capital City of a tremendous military power, like Washington D.C. or London.
Of course none of that has to do with why Jerusalem is so critical. For this is the place where God intervened in human history and paid the price for the sins of the world!
Jerusalem serves as the backdrop for the most important events of Scripture, and indeed all of history. Using the map below as a reference, here are just some of the important locations to be found here:
Gordon’s Calvary – Possible site of Christ’s crucifixion (Matt. 27: 33 – 37)
Garden Tomb – Possible site where Christ was buried (John 19: 38 – 42) and subsequently rose again (John 20: 1 – 17)
Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Also possible site for Golgotha and the tomb
Garden of Gethsemane – Place where the Lord prayed the night before His crucifixion (John 18)
Caiaphas’s House (Gallicantu) – Location of Caiaphas home and where a trial of the Lord occurred (Matt. 26: 57 – 75); also where Peter denied Christ
Antonio Fortress (Gabbatha) – Location where the Lord was tried, accused, mocked, scourged and condemned to death (John 18: 28 – 19: 16). Also, Paul was brought here after his arrest at the Temple (Acts 21: 31 – 22: 21)
Pool of Bethesda – Jesus healed an infirmed man (John 5: 2 – 9)
Temple Mount – Site of Mount Moriah and place where Temple stood (Gen. 22, I Kings 6; II Chron. 3; Ezra; Matt. 24). Abraham was directed to this spot by the Angel of the Lord to offer up Isaac in a sacrificial test. David later purchased this territory from a Jebusite. Soon thereafter, Solomon built the ‘House of the Lord’ facing the Mount of Olives around 960 BC. The Babylonians later destroyed the Temple in 586 BC. Later, Zerubbabel began to rebuild the Temple after the Jews returned from Exile in Babylon. Construction began in roughly 536 BC. It took perhaps another twenty years before it was finally completed. Herod beautified and expanded the Temple. The Romans under Titus destroyed it in 70 AD. And of course, the Lord ministered to Israel in the Temple.
Solomon’s Porch – On the eastern approach to the Temple is Solomon’s Porch. This is where the Lord Jesus declared His deity (John 10: 22 – 39).
Temple’s Beautiful Gate – Peter and John healed a lame man (Acts 3: 1 – 10)
Pinnacle of the Temple – With a steep drop to the Kidron Valley, the corner of the Temple platform is where Satan tempted the Lord (Matt. 4: 5 – 7)
Mount of Olives – The Lord ascended here and will return here (Acts 1:1-12)
Gihon Spring – Source of water that was conducted by a special tunnel built by Hezekiah, to the Pool of Siloam. This enabled the Jews to withstand the siege by Assyria in 722 BC (II Chronicles 32: 2 – 4)
Pool of Siloam – Jesus healed a man blind from birth (John 9: 7)
Hezekiah’s Tunnel – Engineering marvel constructed during the reign of Hezekiah to divert water from the Gihon Spring to a reservoir inside the city’s walls (II Kings 20: 20).
1st Century Synagogue – A remarkable discovery found that has all the earmarking of a 1st Century synagogue where Jewish believers gathered.
Saul, David and Solomon all reigned from here, as did all of the kings of Judah after the nation was divided between North and South. Indeed, many prophets of the Lord were sent to witness here including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Micah, Nahum, and others…
Jerusalem first shows up in the Bible as the home of a priestly king by the name of Melchizedek. The center rise of Jerusalem is known as the Land of Moriah and as such, it is the place where Abraham was instructed to offer up his son Isaac. David purchased a threshing floor here from a Jebusite named Arunah. This would later mark the location where Solomon built the Temple of the Lord.