“Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God!” (Psalm 87v3)
Jerusalem is a very important place for Bible believers. It is God’s special city, as we see in the quote above. We know it is there that the Lord Jesus Christ will take up his throne and rule over the kingdom of God when he returns to earth: “The Lord will give him [Jesus] the throne of his father [ancestor] David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his throne there shall be no end.” (Luke 1v32-33). This throne is in the place where King David ruled from, Jerusalem, over the first kingdom of Israel (see 1 Samuel 24v20 for example). Jesus we know will come to restore it (Acts 1v6).
The Bible makes it quite clear that the land we know as Israel belongs to God, and those to whom He chooses to give it: “All the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed after you forever,” (Genesis 13v15). But the Apostle Paul explains that when the Lord God says “seed” here, He means Abraham’s spiritual descendants – all those who espouse his own beliefs – and not only his physical descendants. Galatians 3v29 tells us that “if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” – which is this same promise of inheriting the land of Israel. It applies to anyone who is truly Christ’s, which Paul goes on to explain means those who have been baptised.
So the Jews living there today would be wrong to think they would possess that land we know as Israel forever just because they are Jews. This is often conveniently forgotten! It also means that Palestinians have just as much right, in the sight of God, to that land, as long as they too espouse the beliefs of Abraham.
This is why Christadelphians are very interested in the land of Israel, not because politically we sympathise with the Jews, but because God has promised the land to all Abraham’s spiritual descendants, including us if we so choose. In fact the Apostle Paul refers to this idea elsewhere, when he talks about “the hope of Israel” in Acts 28v20 for example. This is the same idea – the hope is about being a part of the kingdom of God which will begin in Jerusalem.
However, the Bible also prophesies that there will be conflict and trouble in Jerusalem for centuries. Zechariah 12 calls it a “burdensome stone” and says that there will never be peace there until Christ is reigning. We can see this happening today: “Jerusalem is a tinderbox that could go off at any time. All roads in our part of the world, all the conflicts, lead to Jerusalem.” (King Abdullah II of Jordan, 2010)
In the last century, there were over 40 plans drawn up for Jews and Arabs to share the city, and at least 13 models for sharing the Temple Mount area. None has been successful yet, and we should not expect that mankind will be able to solve this problem himself. Instead, the stage is set for something big to happen in Jerusalem very soon, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth: “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem… and the Lord will be king over all the earth.” (Zechariah 14v4,9).