Why Jerusalem, and not London, Beijing, New York, Rome or Moscow? The Bible answers this question. Jesus Christ himself said, ”do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:34,35).
No ‘great king’ was reigning in Jerusalem when Jesus spoke those words. The Romans had conquered the Jews, Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor, and Herod (not a Jew) was a puppet king. Worse was still to come for Jerusalem. Jesus made this sad, but accurate prophecy, "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near …and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles” (Luke 21:20,24).
In AD 70, after a Roman army had long surrounded the city and one million Jews had died in the siege, Jerusalem fell. No king saved the people or the city. From that day until his, no Jewish king has ruled in Jerusalem. Over the centuries, wars have raged there, conquerors have come and gone. Suffering and death have reigned. How sad, for Jerusalem means ‘City of Peace’.
But, after 1900 years of being away from their land, tens of thousands of Jews returned to Palestine in the 1940’s. The State of Israel was established in 1948, and in 1967 Jerusalem was taken back into Jewish hands. Since then, wars and discord between Jews and Arabs have prevented any lasting peace, and still no king rules in Jerusalem today. We should not be surprised at this. Because of Israel’s disobedience, six hundred years before the birth of Jesus, God spoke through his prophet Ezekiel (21:26,27 –NKJV). He said of the king in Jerusalem at the time: "take off the crown…I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to him.” So no king will reign until the rightful one comes – God’s king.
Jesus, the Son of God, was not wrong when he said that "Jerusalem is the city of the great king”. He was making a prophecy. He was seeing far into the future. So far into it, that it is still future to our own day. There are many kings, queens and republics in the world. However, God’s plan for the world is to have only one kingdom and one king. Centuries before Jesus was born, Daniel was told by God Himself, "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed … and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
God’s kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital, will fill the earth. He has chosen one king who shall "have dominion from sea to sea … to the ends of the earth … May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him (Psalm 72:8-11).
Yes, Jerusalem will be the city of the great king. Man’s kingdoms will be no more. God’s kingdom will replace them all.
God has chosen his son, Jesus Christ, to be king in Jerusalem. Why? Because Jesus is the only perfect, sinless man who has ever lived. God raised him from the dead and he is alive forever. Because of this, the world will never need another king.
Jesus has all the personal qualities a great king needs. As prophesied of him, he had "wisdom and understanding … counsel and might … knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2). Jesus will judge "with righteousness” (v4). This is just what the world needs. He is the best qualified king ever. "Worthy is the lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom, and might and honour and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
The "Kingdom of God” is a common phrase in the Bible. We now know it will begin when God shall "send the Christ” back to the earth (Acts 3:20-21). God promised to "set My King on Zion, my holy hill” and to Jesus He says "I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:6-8).
Jesus, "the Prince of Peace” will "speak peace to the nations”, from Jerusalem "the City of Peace”. No wonder God said, "Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you” (Zechariah 9:9-10). When Jesus reigns as king, then "out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
Grasp this fact: Jesus Christ is coming back to the earth to be King of the World.
Each of us has two futures. How can this be? The first future has to do with the days, perhaps months and years, which lie ahead in our natural lives. What we believe, and how we spend time now, will determine our much more important everlasting future. That future will either be everlasting joy in God’s Kingdom, or everlasting death. The choice is ours and we must make it soon. Compared with eternity, our natural lives are very short indeed. We don’t have long to make up our minds.
Jesus is coming back to the earth to rule as king in Jerusalem. He will reign over the natural people of Israel. His kingdom will then spread throughout the world. He will be the world’s only king, and will reign over everyone. He will have special helpers to teach the world about God and his purpose. These helpers, his "saints”, will have been given everlasting life at the Judgement. This Judgement will be held when Jesus returns to the earth (please read the item in this series entitled "Resurrection and Judgement”).
Jesus will not give everlasting life to everyone when he comes. He will give it only to those who believe in God’s word, the Bible, and who follow it’s teachings. It involves understanding that we are sinners, seeking God’s forgiveness, accepting Jesus as our saviour, being baptised "into Christ”, and keeping God’s commandments. If we commit ourselves to this life of service, then by God’s grace, He will grant us everlasting life through Jesus Christ, our great saviour and king (Matthew 16:27). The gift of everlasting life is the greatest blessing that has ever been offered. Imagine the joy of living with Jesus and all his faithful saints forever. What a prospect! Will you choose to follow Jesus? If you do, he will choose you to live and reign with him forever, when he comes to be king in Jerusalem.
ALL Bible quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise stated.