JERUSALEM IN PROPHECY
JERUSALEM OCCUPIES A CHOSEN PLACE in God's plan for the
ages, as the psalmist says: "The LORD loves the gates of Zion
more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob" (Psalm 87:2
NASB). This is the city to which God descended, as the psalmist
again declared: "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). Consequently,
Jerusalem attained a status as both the holy city and the city at
the center of the world (Ezekiel 5:5). This privileged position
explains why Scripture mentions Jerusalem more than any other
city - more than 800 times (in 660 verses in the Old Testament
and 142 in the New Testament).
Jerusalem appears in two-thirds of the books of the Old
Testament and almost one-half of the books of the New Testament.
Jerusalem is its most common appellation, but the Bible uses
other names, such as Zion, Salem, and Ariel. The Bible also gives
Jerusalem symbolic and allegorical names, such as "Hagar [and]
Mount Sinai in Arabia" (Galatians 4:25) and "Sodom and Egypt"
(Revelation 11:8). Of the biblical references, 465 in the Old
Testament and 24 in the New refer to prophecies of Jerusalem
subsequent to the time of their utterances.
In the Bible, Jerusalem occupies a strategic position in two
major prophetic periods: "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24)
and the 70 weeks of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27) (refered to there as
"the holy city" - Keith Hunt). The city prophetically marks the
beginning and ending of the times of the Gentiles, which
stretches from the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem (587 B.C.)
to the second advent of Christ. Events in Jerusalem likewise
determine the beginning and ending of the 70 weeks, and they
affect the parenthesis in time between the sixty-ninth and
During the time of the First Temple, Jerusalem became the
focal point of prophecy as foreign invaders sought to capture the
holy city. At one such occasion the prophet Isaiah prophesied
Jerusalem's deliverance while declaring God's covenantal pledge
to preserve it for the future: "I will defend this city to save
it for My own sake and for My servant David's sake" (2 Kings
Jerusalem is at the heart of messianic prophecy and
redemptive history. In fact, God's plan required its presence
(Luke 13:33) Jerusalem was indispensable to the preparation of
Christ's first coming, being restored from ruin (Isaiah 52:7-12)
to fulfill its role in the messianic advent as the city of the
great king. Indeed, Jesus was sent to Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37),
and the city served to mark defining moments in Jesus' earthly
life and ministry: His dedication (Luke 2:22-38), His dialogue
with the teachers in the Temple (Luke 2:4149), His temptation by
the devil (Luke 4:912), and His confrontation with the money
changers (Matthew 21:12-27).
Jerusalem was where Jesus gave several signs of His
messiahship (John 5:19; 7:14-29; 8:2-12), endured His trial and
crucifixion (Matthew 25-27), and experienced His resurrection and
ascension (Luke 24; Acts 1:9-11). Jesus commanded that the
witness to the nations begin in Jerusalem. The church began in
the city (Acts 2:1-13), the apostles performed miracles there
(Acts 3), the Jerusalem Council met there (Acts 15:1-29), and
from there Paul began his climactic trip to Damascus (Acts 9:16)
and later experienced the conflict that led to his imprisonment
Jesus predicted Jerusalem's destruction because of its
rejection of Him and its persecution of the church: "They will
not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not
recognize the time of your visitation" (Luke 19:44). Yet Jesus'
prediction included the future hope of Jerusalem's restoration
when it repents and receives Him as Messiah (Matthew 23:39: Acts
3:19-2i) at the second advent. Jesus even revealed the duration
of its desolation - that the city would be "trampled underfoot by
the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke
21:24). Thus, Jerusalem will experience escalating troubles until
the Tribulation period. which culminates with Christ's
deliverance at His second coming (Matthew 24:21-31).
Daniel's prophecy of the seventieth week (Daniel 9:27)
influenced Jesus' prophetic discourse on the Mount of Olives
(Matthew 24: Mark 13; Luke 21), Paul's prophetic instruction to
the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and John's prophetic
vision of the city's invasion by the nations (Revelation 11:1-2).
These scriptures refer to a time when the armies of the
Antichrist will occupy the city, desecrate the Temple, and usurp
the place of God (see also Daniel 11:45; Revelation 13:6,15).
(This is where the fundamental guys go off track. There is no
need for a Temple in Jerusalem BEFORE Jesus returns. They do not
understand Daniel 9 and the 70 week prophecy correctly. The old
time fundamenatlists in their Bible Commentaries DID understand
Daniel 9 correctly. I have devoted full in-depth studies on this
Website to the correct understanding of Damiel 9 - Keith Hunt)
Zechariah's prophecy chronicles this period of distress for
the city, detailing the gathering of all nations against
Jerusalem (Zechariah I2:2-3; 14:2) and the battles. At the climax
of the campaign of Armageddon, the final assault on Jerusalem
takes place (Zechariah 12-14). The Lord will bring about Israel's
national repentance beginning with "the inhabitants of Jerusalem"
(Zechariah 12:8-13:2), and Christ will defeat the invading armies
of Antichrist (Zechariah 14:3,12-15). He will deliver the Jewish
remnant in the city by an earthquake (Zechariah 14:3-4) and there
set up His milennial reign (Zechariah 14:9), transforming the
city's topography (Zechariah 14:8,10), rebuilding the Temple
(Zechariah 6:12-15), purifying and glorifying the city (Zechariah
8:3; 14:11,20-21; see also Isaiah 4:5-6; Jeremiah 3:17), and
calling the nations to worship Him (Zechariah 14:16-19).
Isaiah, likewise, prophesies concerning Jerusalem in the
millennial kingdom, declaring the elevation of the Temple Mount
and its new position as the worship center for the world (Isaiah
2:2-3) and center of Messiah's rule over the nations,
establishing universal peace (Isaiah 2:4). Isaiah also reveals
the glorious reversal of Jerusalem's fortunes in the millennial
restoration, announcing the divine declaration, "For behold, I
create Jerusalem for rejoicing, and her people for gladness. I
will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people" (Isaiah
65:18-19). Jerusalem's restoration includes harmony in the
created order to prevent the defiling of God's holy mountain in
Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25). The nations will turn to
Christ, becoming His people (Isaiah 11:10-12; 19:25) and
beholding His glory in Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:18-20).
The prophet Ezekiel focuses on Jerusalem's millennial Temple
and the city's extended sacred status (Ezekiel 40-48), depicting
the Lord's return to dwell in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:1-7; see also
37:26-28) and conferring upon it a new descriptive title: YHWH
Shammah ("The LORD is there," Ezekiel 48:35).
The final assault on the city occurs at the conclusion of
the 1000-year reign of Christ when Satan, released from his
imprisonment, deceives the nations and gathers an army to march
against the Messiah enthroned in Jerusalem (Revelation 20:7-9).
As He promised (2 Kings 19:34), the Lord defends Jerusalem and
destroys these last adversaries of His holy city.
With the creation of the new heavens and new earth for the
eternal state, apparently the earthly Jerusalem will continue in
relationship to the heavenly Jerusalem in fulfillment of its
divine destiny as the place where God's name will remain forever
(2 Chronicles 33:4; see also Psalm 48:8; 68:16;132:14; Joel 3:20;
(There will be no earthy Jerusalem at that time. The heavenly
Jerusalem will come; God the Father will come to earth. The
headquarters for the family of God will be on this new earth. The
physical city of Jerusalem will have fulfilled all its
requirements in the salvation plan of God - Keith Hunt)
In light of the position Jerusalem holds in the prophetic
program, and how the hopes of the world are tied to its welfare,
let us heed the command of the psalmist to "pray for the peace of
Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6).
Foos, Harold D. "Jerusalem in Biblical Prophecy." In "Dictionary
of Premillennial Theology," ad. Mal Couch. Grand Rapids. Kregel,
---- "Jerusalem in Prophecy." Th.D. dissertation, Dallas
Theological Seminary, 1965.
Fruchtenbaum, Arnold. "The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of
the Sequence of Prophetic Events." Revised and enlarged edition.
Tustin, CA: Anal Press, 2004.
Hunt, Dave. "A Cup of Trembling" Eugene, OR: Harvest House
Olsen, Arnold. "Inside Jerusalem, City of Destiny." Glendale, CA:
Regal Books/Gospel Light Publications, 1969.
Pentecost, J. Dwight. "Things to Come." Grand Rapids.
Price, Randall, "Jerusalem in Prophecy." Eugene, OR: Harvest
House Publishers, 1998.
Entered on this Website March 2009