The Significance of Jerusalem in the Bible
Significant Jerusalem Biblical History
There is no city on earth that can compare in value to Jerusalem. While believers revere Jerusalem’s significance as the city where Jesus walked, was crucified and rose from the dead, it was valuable to the Lord long before the time of Jesus. With over 800 references to Jerusalem in the Bible, one can learn a lot about it. There is only reason that this city has seen such spiritual and physical conflict since the beginning of time; God Himself has chosen this earthly city to dwell in and to establish His name among men.
Bible first mentioning Jerusalem
This choosing began long before Jerusalem was a city. It is easy to find Jerusalem in the Bible, starting at the beginning. In Genesis, God spoke to Abraham to take Isaac to a particular place within Canaan. He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” (Genesis 22:2). In Hebrew, Moriah means “seen of Yahweh.” Quite literally, God said to Abraham “go to the land that “I am looking at” and there I will show you a specific mountain.” We all know what happened when they got there.
Jerusalem’s significance to Abraham
500 years later, all of Israel knew of, and dreamed of, this land promised to their forefather, Abraham. When God delivered Israel from Egypt, they were on their way to live in this land of promise. Soon Moses began speaking about this specific and unique location that God had promised to bring them to.
“You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, The place, O Lord, which You have made for Your dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. Exodus 15:17
This was their first clue. God was bringing them to the “mountain” of His inheritance and the place where He dwells. Throughout the time in the desert, Moses kept speaking of this unique location, what it would be like and what God wanted them to do there. It became known simply as “the place” where God was taking them.
Jerusalem’s significance to King David
Four-hundred years later, in the time of David, Israel still viewed their many battles as fulfilling what Moses and Joshua had told them to do. David conquered Jerusalem, and established it as the seat of power in Israel. He became widely loved as king. David made Jerusalem his capital city. Even then, they still had not found this “place” that Moses spoke of — or maybe they had.
In 1 Chronicles 21, David had sinned by numbering the people and a devastating plague was released on Israel. At the word of the Lord, David went to Ornan’s threshing floor to build an altar and to call on the Lord. After David prepared the sacrifice, for the first time in Israelite history, fire descended from Heaven and devoured the sacrifice. David declared “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel” (1 Chronicles 22:1). This was the home they had been looking for and David’s heart began dreaming of building a house for God.
Jerusalem in the Bible: King Solomon, and the Temple
After David’s death, and as Solomon begins building the Temple, the Bible begins connecting the dots. “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (2 Chronicles 3:1). Mt Moriah; Jerusalem; the place that Moses spoke of; fire descending from Heaven; the Temple — it was all at the same location.
Jerusalem’s Significance to Jesus the Messiah
By the time of Jesus, the centrality of Jerusalem in God’s plan had not decayed. Jesus taught and ministered in Jerusalem. As time came for His own sacrifice on Mount Moriah, Luke 9:51 says that Jesus “was determined to go to Jerusalem.” By His death and resurrection, He fulfilled the Law in Jerusalem. According to the prophets, He will return and rule from Jerusalem. Nations will worship, disputes will be settled and judgments and verdicts will be declared by Him in Jerusalem. There is no other place on earth that has such a destiny.
Jerusalem, “God’s Home”
God led Abraham to this same mountain. God led David to it. Here was the same mountain that God would lead all of Israel to at the Temple. Plus, it is the same mountain that the world will come to in God’s redemptive plan. This literally was Mount Moriah, the mountain of the Lord, the mountain that is “seen by Yahweh.” This is God’s home; Jerusalem is the place.
For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it – Psalm 132:13-14
Visiting Jerusalem Today
Today, you can hear praise songs in the original language of worship and the emphatic conversation in Hebrew’s modern version on the streets of Jerusalem. But also, hear the buzz and murmur of the traditional Jewish prayers recited at least three times a day. Taste the bread and wine of Jesus’ sacrifice here where the last supper happened. But also eat of the traditional local food with its vibrant flavors and middle-eastern spices. Consider experiencing Israel and visiting Jerusalem with FIRM.
Transform Lives in Israel from Jerusalem
Are you looking to make a difference in Israel, and help bring the Good News about Jesus? You’re invited to join in God’s plan for his people!
The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus. Join the Tribe today: firmisrael.org/thetribe
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes