Jerusalem comes with a rich, ancient past, a challenging present, and a glorious future. Indeed, no city on earth has received as much religious and political attention as Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is important in all three main monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But while the entire city plays a sacred role in Judaism and Christianity, Muslims only consider the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque holy. Indeed, Jerusalem was never a provincial capital or even a cultural center under Muslim rule.
Since King David first made Jerusalem the capital of Israel and his son Solomon erected the holy Temple some 3,000 years ago (2 Samuel 5:5–9; 1 Kings 6), the city has been at the heart of Jewish history and religion. Today, the Western Wall remains the only vestige of the ancient mount upon which the Jewish Temple stood.
Modern History of Jerusalem
On January 23, 1950—shortly after Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948—the Knesset voted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, though Israel regained control of Jerusalem in 1967, a result of the Six-Day War, the city remains contested territory. Some countries have moved their embassies to this new-yet-ancient Israeli capital. Guatemala was the first country, and in 2018, former President Trump oversaw the big move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim) is the holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli control in June of 1967 during the Six-Day War. Today, Jerusalem is a diverse and cosmopolitan city with different ethnic quarters. There are also different groups of Jewish people in Jerusalem, including the Orthodox, the ultra-Orthodox, Conservative, and more secular Jewish people. With Jerusalem having the largest Jewish population in Israel, our ministry in this holy city has been long and extensive.
Our History and Present-Day Work in Jerusalem
Our work in Jerusalem began in the 1930s under the name Beit Sar Shalom (“House of the Prince of Peace” from Isaiah 9:6). Over the past thirty years, we have grown and now have more than two dozen staff members serving with Chosen People Ministries in Israel—and have planted several congregations. We serve the aging Holocaust survivor community. Our ministry also conducts children’s camps throughout the year, and we are active in personal evangelism and discipleship as well as digital evangelism.
In 2006, we purchased and dedicated our Jerusalem Messianic Center. It serves as Beit Sar Shalom’s headquarters in Israel and is constantly busy with gospel activities, Bible studies, fellowships, and outreach events. We have seen deep spiritual discussions and people come to faith. It is a safe place for believers and their not-yet-believing friends to gather. We strive to provide a space where people can experience unity despite their differences.
Jerusalem is a city rich with political and spiritual importance. It was the home of God’s Temple and the palaces of Israel’s kings. Today, it is an important ministry field where we seek to reach the hearts and the minds of Jewish people with the love of the “King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:29, 37). Jerusalem was where our Messiah gave His life as a ransom for the lost, and in this place, we seek to spread the good news of Jesus among the inhabitants of this great city.
God always had Jerusalem in mind as the political and spiritual capital of the Jewish people. It is political because it is where the king of Israel would reign and spiritual because it is where God intended His Temple—His dwelling place—to be.
The Prophetic Future of Jerusalem
What does the future hold for Jerusalem? The Bible describes two components; the first is the Jerusalem where the Messiah Jesus will establish His throne:
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:7).
Jesus will return to Jerusalem, and His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. He will judge His enemies, save and restore Israel, and sit as the Messianic King on His rightful Davidic throne (Zechariah 14:2–3; 2 Samuel 7:14ff.; Psalm 89:3–4).
The second component of Jerusalem’s future is the one the apostle John described. He wrote in Revelation 21:10, “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This vision shows a city will come down from heaven and become the home of redeemed humanity forever.
Jerusalem was always a city of destiny, set apart for a central role in God’s plan. As we continue the good work in this land, we are excited to see what amazing wonders God is going to perform in Jerusalem before His glorious return. Please pray for us and the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
Published on May 25, 2023.
Header photo from Sander Crombach on Unsplash.
 Mitchell Bard, “Jerusalem: An Introduction,” Jewish Virtual Library, accessed April 17, 2023, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jerusalem-an-introduction.
 Leon Ritmeyer, “The Temple Mount in the Herodian Period (37 BC–70 A.D.),” Biblical Archaeology Society, last modified March 7, 2023, accessed May 22, 2023, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/temple-at-jerusalem/the-temple-mount-in-the-herodian-period/.
 “On This Day: In 1950: Jerusalem Becomes the Capital of Israel,” The Jerusalem Post, last modified January 23, 2023, accessed May 22, 2023, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-729300.