Who "owns" Jerusalem?
The question of the true ownership of Jerusalem has often been posed and people who believe in the authority of the Bible as the Word of God will know that the real answer to this age-old query is to be found in the pages of Scripture. There, and there alone, we will find God’s position on the matter.
Here is a brief overview of some relevant passages. You might like to look them up for yourself to see the full wonder of the purpose of God with Jerusalem. The first is a passage with a location which is easy to remember:
Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her (Ezekiel 5:5).
God is speaking and here He states that HE has chosen the location of the city. Clearly it is HIS city and the Lord God Himself takes ownership of it. The passage does not say that Jerusalem is in the middle of hills and valleys, which would be true. Nor is the point that it is in the midst of villages and towns, which is also true. It states that God has set this city in the midst of ‘nations and countries’. That gives the statement a truly international status which, as we shall see, is perfectly appropriate in the light of what is due to happen there. This was said about Jerusalem at a time when cities such as London, New
York, Paris and Moscow did not exist. Other great cities did: cities like Babylon, Nineveh, Thebes and Alexandria. They each had been, were, or were becoming, great cities of the ancient world. Yet it is Jerusalem of which the prophet speaks. Perhaps we can imagine the scorn in the mind of some non-believers at that time that such a small and apparently insignificant city should be chosen.
This one Bible passage answers the question which is now frequently asked: "Does Jerusalem belong to Arab, Jew, Palestinian or the Turk?’ It becomes irrelevant when considered from a Biblical standpoint. Jerusalem belongs to the Creator of heaven and earth. He has chosen not only the city, but its location too and He is in control of its history and destiny. Fascinating as it is to see how much is implied in a single short passage of Scripture, (illustrating the need for all of us to read the Bible carefully and attentively), it is necessary to consider
more Scripture to get details of what God intends for the city. Here’s the prophet Jeremiah:
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart(Jeremiah 3:17).
This widens our knowledge of the plan of God with His chosen city. It will contain a throne and all nations will be gathered to it. This gives purpose to its
position ‘in the midst of nations and countries’, for Jerusalem is strategically
positioned between Africa, Europe and Asia. When will these events take place? No date is given, but a clue as to the time period is to be found in the phrase "At that time”, matching the words "and I will bring you to Zion” in verse 14. So the exaltation of Jerusalem to this new status will be when the Jewish people are in their land and have become obedient to God’s commands.
Teaching of Jesus
Some words of the Lord Jesus Christ add more detail to this prophetic scenario,
for he once said this:
I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King (Matthew 5:34,35).
Jerusalem has a colourful history. The city started its history, as recorded in Scripture, under the name of Jebus, (meaning, ‘trodden down’). It was captured by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua, when God helped them to conquer the land, its name then being changed to Jerusalem, (city of peace). Yet it has seldom been a city of peace – even nowadays. But, as Jesus was indicating, its future destiny is that it will become the centre of world control, (when all nations are gathered to it), and the throne to be established there will be called the throne of the LORD. That is the one upon which the Lord Jesus Christ – "the great King” – will sit, when he is in control of all lands.
God loves Jerusalem
Here’s another quotation to broaden our view further:
The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God (Psalm 87:2,3).
God not only chose Jerusalem, but he loves it. (Zion is a part of the city of Jerusalem.) This deserves our close attention. God loves Zion, therefore it ought to be highly esteemed by people who wish to align themselves with the
purpose that Almighty God has for the earth.
Another Bible passage adds to our knowledge of this important city in the
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the
mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge (Psalm 48:1-3).
Our attention here is drawn to the purpose of God to make Jerusalem the joy of the whole earth, the city of the great king, words alluded to by the Lord Jesus, as quoted in the earlier passage (Matthew 5:35). The word situation in this passage means elevation. God’s intention is to elevate the city as capital of the world.
Pray about it
With these passages in view it becomes clear that the ownership and destiny of Jerusalem is in no doubt. And there is something positive that we can do as we await the fulfilment of these great promises. For the Psalmist says:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces (Psalm 122:6,7).
Since the ultimate peace of Jerusalem is assured, we should pray for its peace in order to align our minds with the Divine mind and purpose, as declared in His Word, the Bible. By praying for the peace of Jerusalem we are showing that our hopes are in thefulfilment of the purpose of God on earth. It is the same when uttering the Lord’s Prayer, and saying Thy kingdom come. What we are asking for is that God’s Kingdom will be set up on earth and that in God’s mercy we may have a part in it.
(Quotations are from the KJV)