It was prophesied that Jerusalem, the capital of the ancient Jewish world, was to be trodden down by Gentiles (non Jewish people) for a period of time (Luke 21:24) but that it would again fall into Jewish hands. This has been fulfilled in our day – making this an exciting prophecy which links both past and present and is an integral part of the Bible’s message.
AD 70 and the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans
Jesus Christ, upon visiting the temple in his day, had this to say about the temple which was situated at Jerusalem:
“And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he (Jesus) said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Luke 21:5-6
Jesus here was prophesying of the destruction of the temple by the Roman power in AD70. The Romans, led by Titus, besieged, conquered and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. The city had previously been in subjection to the Romans in Christ’s day but the Jewish occupants had rebelled. The temple was destroyed by the Romans as Jesus had prophesied – they threw down all the stones which made up the temple from a large raised courtyard.
Jesus goes on to say:
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judæa flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:20-24
Here he is warning his followers to leave the city and escape its destruction. This prophecy was based upon a previous prophecy made hundreds of years before by the prophet Daniel. Daniel records:
“Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host (the Roman Power), and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down (or as it could be rendered: “foundation of its temple scattered”). And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:11-14
Both Jesus’ and Daniel’s prophecies indicate this was to be for a temporary period. Jesus says “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. This indicates that the Jews would once again gain control of Jerusalem after a period of time. In modern history, the Jews gained control of Jerusalem in 1967 after the “6 day war”.
These prophecies are amazing because not only do they have fulfillment back in AD70 but also in AD1967! They are being fulfilled before our very eyes…
Jerusalem – The future capital of the world
Consider these verses:
“…and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem”. Micah 4:7-8
“…they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all nations shall be gathered unto it; neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart”. Jeremiah 3:17
The Bible speaks of Jerusalem becoming the capital of the world when God’s Kingdom is established upon the earth. This all harks back to God’s Kingdom in the past, when David was King over Israel.
The Throne of David and God’s Kingdom in the past
In the past, God’s Kingdom was reigned over by a King called David. He was elected by God to rule God’s chosen people Israel – on His behalf.
King David was given a special promise from God:
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever..” 2 Samuel 7:12-16
This tells us that:
- David will have a seed (descendant) who will establish a Kingdom
- The seed will build a house (temple) for God
- He will be God’s son
- This will be done ‘in front’ of David so he will need to be resurrected to see it
- His throne will last forever!
It is interesting to consider the Kingdom of David in the past. Jerusalem was his capital city – both in terms of government and worship. His son Solomon built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem, a project instigated by King David. The Bible speaks of how Jesus Christ is the descendant of King David and will re-establish God’s Kingdom in the future. The first page of the New Testament reminds us of this:
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1
and also in Luke:
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”. Luke 1:32-33
It is clear that after Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples expected him to restore the Kingdom. They say to him after 40 days tuition:
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6
This will be the work of Jesus Christ upon his return to the earth. He is the son of David and he will reign from Jerusalem in peace and righteousness. Read more about the Kingdom of God here »
The Burdensome Stone
The Bible speaks of how in the future Jerusalem will become the centre of international controversy. The prophecies in Zechariah 12-14, Joel 3 and Ezekiel 38-39 show that a great confederacy of nations will attack Israel and in particular Jerusalem. Consider these verses:
“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 12:3
We can see world events leading up to this time prophesied of in the Bible. The city of Jerusalem is always in the news and is indeed a burdensome stone even now! However it is at this time in the future when all nations will be gathered to attack Jerusalem, that the Lord Jesus Christ will manifest himself to the world. We read of the exact spot where he will do this:
“And his (Jesus) feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” Zechariah 14:4
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10
Israel will become the first dominion. It will be from Jerusalem that Jesus will reign over the earth. Decrees will go out to the nations to accept him as the King. Eventually the whole world will accept him and believe in God. A third temple will be built (see Ezekiel 40 – 48) and Jerusalem will be the centre of government and religious worship.
It is for this cause we should follow the Psalmist’s example and do the following:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” Psalm 122:6-9