Who Owns Jerusalem?

Right now, the focus of the world is on Iraq, but it is only part of a much larger problem that some call the clash of cultures. And the focus of that clash is centered in Jerusalem. But that is nothing new. For 2000 years, the tidal armies of the world powers have flowed back and forth over the land of Israel.

Today, there is worldwide confusion over who owns Jerusalem, and the land called Palestine. Those who don't know the Bible, see it as just another religious squabble. The Jews lost the temple mount in 70 AD when the Romans leveled Herod's temple. When Rome fell, Islam was rising and overran the area all the way into central Europe. Except for brief periods during the crusades, Palestine has been in the hands of Muslims until 1948 when the Jews returned.

Islam teaches that any land that Muslims conquer belongs to Allah forever. Jews stand on the promises of God in the Old Testament that Palestine was given to Abraham and his seed forever. The pope, who claims that Christ put him in charge of earth as His "Vicar," also wants control of Jerusalem. His claims are based on what is called "replacement theology" that teaches that God is finished with Israel because they rejected their Messiah. Those who follow the pope are now the "people of God," replacing Israel as God's chosen people. Therefore, the "promised land" belongs to the pope.

But, Jesus told us how it would play out. In Luke 21 He said that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Then there would be a time of great trouble into which Jesus promised that He would return to rule the world from the New Jerusalem.

Students of prophecy debate endlessly over the details of how this will unfold. But Jesus made it simple. He said to go be His witnesses while we watch these things come to pass. When they do, we are to "look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Surely it is time to do both.

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