Where is wise King Solomon when we need him? Where is the voice of reason, the voice of fairness, that can at last bring peace to the bloodstained streets of Jerusalem?
For Jews, Jerusalem is the City of David, the capital of a glorious past where Solomon's Temple stood as the great house built to honor the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For Christians it is the site of the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the Savior of humanity. It was here that Jesus was crucified by the Romans and rose from the dead three days and three nights later just as He had foretold. To Muslims it is the site of the holy Dome of the Rock.
When Abraham, the father of both the Jews and the Arabs, traveled the land of Canaan as a wandering nomad, this city was already well known. Caravans from the civilizations that sprung up along the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Nile wound their way to Jerusalem.
Abraham's descendants: key players in the story
The God of the Hebrew Scriptures promised Abraham and Sarah a son, but as the years wore on and the couple remained barren, it seemed that God would not fulfill His promise. Struggling with the seeming impossibility of having a child, they devised a plan to produce the promised heir through a surrogate mother.
Sarah gave to Abraham her servant girl Hagar, and from that union Ishmael, the father of many Arab nations, was born.
But God had other plans, and eventually Abraham and Sarah gave birth to a son, Isaac. Ishmael was driven into the wilderness and the seeds of future strife between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael were sown.
Two generations later another family feud, this time between the two sons of Isaac—Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, and Esau—would create further bad blood in Abraham's family lineage.
The descendants of Jacob, the Israelites, ended up spending a long time in Egyptian slavery, only to be led back to Canaan by Moses. A few centuries later, around 1,000 B.C., Israel's renowned King David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites. David's son Solomon, known for his great wisdom, reigned for 40 years during Israel's golden age.
Jerusalem's bloody history
After Solomon's death, Israel was torn by civil strife and divided into two competing nations, with Jerusalem serving as the capital of the southern kingdom known as Judah. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians destroyed the City of David, and it fell to a future generation of Jews to rebuild it under the direction of men like Ezra and Nehemiah. This was during the period of Persian dominion, which was followed by Greek rule.
Jewish independence again flourished temporarily under the Maccabees, and the splendid temple was later disassembled and reconstructed by Herod the Great. But Roman legions brought Roman domination, and endless conflict between the fiercely independent Jews and Romans eventually led to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in A.D. 70.
But the city never completely disappeared. Occupied by Arab Muslims, it was the focal point of the Crusades in the Middle Ages as Europeans tried to restore Christian control over the Holy Land. Though temporarily successful, Jerusalem fell back under Muslim control for the next seven centuries.
In the 20th century the United Nations attempted to mediate a peaceful solution to the city always at the crossroads of strife. In 1948, with the world trying to dig itself out of the rubble of World War II, the United Nations created a Jewish homeland for the tens of thousands of survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. Yet immediately open warfare broke out between Jew and Arab, with Jerusalem once more at the center of the conflict.
An Israeli victory brought a reprieve, but no real peace. War exploded again in 1956, 1967 and 1973 as the children of Abraham wreaked havoc on each other. The Israelis have maintained a tenuous hold on Jerusalem since 1967 in spite of attempts by many to make it an international city. But they have allowed Arab Muslims to remain in control of the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem's astounding future
Jerusalem plays a very important role in both biblical history and in the fulfillment of future biblical prophecy.
Jesus told His disciples that He would visibly return there. In a prophecy He gave while overlooking Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives on the city's east side, He explained that "immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:29-30 Matthew 24:29-30  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
American King James Version×).
To where exactly will Jesus return? The Old Testament prophet Zechariah was inspired to write: "Behold, the day of the Lord is coming . . . For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
"Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east" (Zechariah 14:1-4 Zechariah 14:1-4  Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the middle of you.
 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
 And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle 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.
American King James Version×; compare Acts 1:9-12 Acts 1:9-12  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.  Then returned they to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
American King James Version×).
It's one of the great paradoxes of history that for the Prince of Peace to bring an end to violence and strife, He has to fight a war. Mankind will initially see Jesus Christ not as the Savior, but as an invader. And it's in the area around Jerusalem that this cataclysmic battle will take place.
Jerusalem will then become the capital city of one world government, not organized by the United Nations or similar organization, but established by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. GN