~by Randy Bushey
Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David…David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David…And he became more and more powerful, because the LORD God Almighty was with him (2 Samuel 5:7,9,10)
By almost any measurement, Jerusalem is an unparalleled city.
With a population of 900,000, the City on a Hill rests atop Mount Zion at an altitude of almost 754 meters above sea level. And a mere 34 kms to its east lies the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the face of the earth at 430 meters below sea level.
The city is the most-named location in the Bible with over 760 references.
Quite simply, the Holy City has been – and continues to be – a significant component of the global Jewish identity, the tangible hope of “next year in Jerusalem”.
However, most of this identity was unknown when David first decided to make Jerusalem his national capital. After 7 years as king of Judah, David had managed to consolidate Israel – the other 11 tribes – under his monarchy. Jerusalem was strategically located on the border of between the 2 – and sometimes mutually distrustful – factions of the Hebrew nation.
Situated atop Mount Zion, the city was uniquely defensible as the high plateau gave visual advance notice from the city wall of any approaching threat. From any direction, the approach is to go “up to Jerusalem”.
And so, 1000 years before Christ, the Holy City was designated Israel’s capital by King David as he defeated the original Jebusite town in improbable circumstances – entering the city through the water shaft – thereby compromising the overconfident king and defence forces.
Many of King David’s yearnings about Jerusalem are expressed in the Psalms and prayers of the Old Testament. For centuries, Jews and Christians have anticipated that the Temple at Jerusalem – destroyed by the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman war in August, 70 AD – will be rebuilt as the Holy City regains its global religious prominence and foreshadows the New Jerusalem promised in Revelation as “coming down out of heaven” (Rev.3:12,21:2).
Not to be missed are the unparalleled historical events in the unfolding drama of redemption geographically associated with the location:
1) a full millennium before David, Mount Zion is believed to be the site of Isaac being bound and placed on the alter by Abraham his father, in the happily aborted attempt by the patriarch to sacrifice his son in obedience to the Lord’s command (Genesis 22).
2) and a millennium later, it would be the site of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, at Golgotha, outside the Damascus Gate.
Takeaway: to the keen biblical observer, Jerusalem demonstrates not only lasting national significance from David’s day to our own, but also validates the coherence of the entire biblical narrative of the Gospel over 4000 years of redemptive history.
And the Holy City is poised to be at the center of God’s unfolding plan as His Kingdom is completed at the return of David’s Greater Son.
~graphics by Pat Bushey