Daniel C. Juster, Director

When King David chose Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, he never dreamed that the city would be the focus of world controversy 3000 years later. Jerusalem became a center of warfare in many periods: the Roman, the early Islamic, the crusades, the British mandate period, and most of all at the present time. Amazingly, Zechariah prophesied the difficulty!

I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling ... I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (Zechariah 12:2, 3)

The central battle over Jerusalem today is between the Jews and the Muslims, though Christians play a background role in this struggle. The whole world is drawn into it. Shallow thinkers have a simple analysis. Israel and especially Jerusalem are problematic because Muslims lost their rule here after centuries. The problem is further compounded because Muslims were also displaced from their land (Often, it is not admitted that most of the land before Israel's independence was legally purchased). The simple analysis says the issue is about recovering property - a justice issue. I want to assure you that this is not about a mundane justice issue. The issue is a much larger spiritual issue and is crucially important for the whole world.

The Real Issue of Jerusalem

The real root of the battle over Jerusalem concerns the Lordship of Yeshua as King of Jerusalem and His covenant promises. God has declared himself concerning the government of Jerusalem. Rebellion against God's declared will is the root of this war.

Ancient tribal peoples understood inter-ethnic conflicts in a very simple way. If one people conquered and dominated another, their gods were superior to the gods of those conquered. Peoples operated through the power of their gods. Gods could wax and wane in strength. Thus there could be reversals. Such a primitive concept is not without truth, but in simplistic terms it is fraught with problems. The biblical perspective indicates that the victory of the God of Israel is not contingent only on the strength of God. God's strength is unlimited. Victory is contingent on the spiritual condition of God's people.

When the Romans conquered Israel, destroyed Jerusalem, named the rebuilt city after Jupiter and built a temple to honor him, they asserted the superiority of Rome and Roman religion. Jews were forbidden to live in the city.

When Christianity superceded Roman paganism, the Christian emperors came to view Jerusalem as a key to asserting the superiority of both the new Christian Roman Empire and its religious faith - Christianity. The Church taught that the Jewish people were no longer God's chosen people; the Church had replaced them. The central symbolic expression of this view was how Jerusalem was handled. The Temple Mount remained desolate as a manifestation of the fulfillment of the prophecy of the destruction of the Temple by Jesus and the replacement of the Jews by the Church.

The mother of Emperor Constantine, Helena, sought to identify holy sites in Israel. She had the Church of the Holy Sepulcher built upon the then traditional site of the crucifixion (Golgotha) and the tomb of Yeshua. This place became the center of a triumphant Christianity and the most important holy site in the city. The city became permeated with the places identified as holy sites. Churches were built throughout the city for Christian pilgrimage. This situation lasted for 300 years. Though a small Jewish population was allowed to settle in the city, Christian control of Jerusalem trumpeted the superiority of Christianity over paganism and Judaism.

Christianity in the Middle East became weak, divided and anti-Semitic. Islam arose in the context of a weakened Christianity in the seventh century. When the Moslems conquered Jerusalem, they proclaimed their view of truth - Islam replaced Judaism and Christianity. Moslems used a new tactic in this proclamation. It was to build the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount on the very spot where tradition said that Abraham offered Isaac on an altar. Moslems claimed that they were the chosen and that Ishmael was offered, not Isaac. This was the most severe replacement theology. Christianity reinterpreted the promises to Israel to exclude a positive future for the Jews. Islam re-wrote history itself and denied the election of the Jews through Isaac. The Crusades themselves sought to return Jerusalem to Christian control to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity.

Mecca or Jerusalem

Observers of the Middle East scene often wonder why Muslims care so much about Jerusalem when Mecca is Islam's holy city. This shows poor understanding. Mecca is the center of Islam, but Jerusalem is also crucial, for it is in Jerusalem that Islam demonstrated its triumph over Judaism and Christianity. This is the true significance and intended meaning of the Dome of the Rock.

Amazingly, the Jews supported the Moslems in taking over the city of Jerusalem, for they were so very poorly treated by Christians. They instructed the Moslems on the ancient Temple and its rites. So when the Dome of the Rock was built it was over the very site pointed out by the Jews. Jewish instruction about the Temple influenced incense rituals that were established in the Dome. Jews did not perceive how Islam would eventually turn against them. The inscription on the Dome proclaims in Arabic, "The Unity of God and the Prophecy of Muhammad are true," and "The Sonship of Jesus and the Trinity are false." (Biblical Archaeology Review; July 2006, p. 44 article by Moshe Sharon) What a direct challenge!

Moslem Shame

The loss of the land including old Jerusalem (after the '67 war) to the government of Israel was considered the greatest disaster and shame to befall the Islamic world. Why? Because such control calls into question the very truth of Islam itself. If Islam does not control Jerusalem, has it really superceded Judaism and Christianity? Though Israel gives Moslems control of the Temple Mount, this is clearly by Israel's governmental delegation. This is why a religious Moslem can never consent to any peace agreement that allows the Jews to control Jerusalem. Palestinian land and rights are secondary issues - useful propaganda for the West. These are not the real issues.

Multitudes in the Valley of Decision (Joel 3:14)

All nations are drawn into the conflict. Will the West appease radical religious Islam or stand against it? Will Israel be chosen as the sacrifice for the sake of an illusionary world peace or will Israel be defended? We may be moving toward the ultimate clash prophesied in Zechariah. Yet the end of it all is the final demonstration of the Lordship of Yeshua and the truth of His word.

The present clash will lead to a great harvest of Muslims and Jews. Israel has been given the deed to the land, but this can only be fully implemented when she embraces Yeshua. The Church is destined to a task to see Israel protected and to be grafted back into her own Olive Tree. The ultimate roots of the conflict are spiritual and Yeshua will have the final word.

By Daniel Juster

Dan Juster leads the overall ministry Tikkun International. Donate to Tikkun International.

Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.
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12:57 23Oct06 Donna Diorio -
Awesome insight and explanation that any believer seeking the Truth can follow, Dr. Dan! Wow. You have written the vision clearly on the wall so others can run with it.

13:31 23Oct06 Robert O. Wildish -
This is a very well done article. I sent this truth to all my E-mail friends, both saved and unsaved.

13:40 23Oct06 Pelham Gross -
Wonderful clarity! Thanks for cutting off the clutter for us and making it easy to understand what the problem REALLY is!

13:51 23Oct06 Luci Conenna -
Thank you ! Like a precious jewel I will treasure the insights you share. May GOD's protection be with you and yours as you battle for HIS name's sake.

15:34 23Oct06 Jayne Young -
Excellent and to the point. 16:04 23Oct06 Jenny Kellogg -
I enjoyed the article, but you write, "(Often, it is not admitted that most of the land before Israel's independence was legally purchased)." The land was legally purchased by whom? and when?

  -- Dr Juster replies: It was purchased by a variety of sources. There were larger purchases by the Jewish National Fund fund. There were purchases by settlers forming Kibbutzim, and by private individuals and consortiums. The rest of the land was state owned. So the land went form Turkey to England, to Israel. Some Arab land owners were very glad to make the profit from selling land, which often was not of great usefulness.

16:07 23Oct06 Hakon Risnes -
Aha, so that's the real problem! Well written and most interesting! Thanks a lot, and I'll pass it further!

18:47 23Oct06 anonymous -
Always good to read the articles from Israel. Need to read and re-read to make any intelligent comments!!! Thanks so much for your investment in your brothers and sisters.

20:01 23Oct06 Ann Mack -
I have always appreciated your articles and insight. 23:12 23Oct06 Kay Bettrern -
I agree with your article and I strongly feel that there is a move of the Holy Spirit regarding Christians returning 'back' to the Olive Tree from where our faith began. This is the also fulfilling the prophetic scriptures of "nations" and "gentiles" being a part of the restoration of the Jewish people back to their covenant land and preparing them to meet the Messiah.

01:23 24Oct06 Nancy Douglas -
I appreciate this amazingly correct article on Biblical truth concerning Israel. How could anyone read eschatology, and not see the Way the Truth and the Light of Yeshua? Thank you for your insight, and your dedication to sharing this with others.

09:36 24Oct06 Robert Hoekstra -
Explained well, great job Dan! Isn't that the truth, the relationship between Christ and each individual is the heart of the matter. I long to see the day when Jews claim Yeshua as Lord and Saviour, the Jews have full possession of the land and the unification of God's people everywhere.

10:30 24Oct06 Debby Dunn -
Thank you for shining a light on the truth about Israel. As Christians we all need to understand and pray for Israel, recognizing God's plan, not man's. May God richly bless your work.

12:21 24Oct06 Susan Henderson -
I think this is a GREAT article. It states the facts and I do believe that it is suitable for someone unfamiliar with Replacement Theology may be able to understand some of this issue giving them food for thought.

17:14 24Oct06 James Wagner -
Wow, this puts everything into perspective! Clearly the true God is the one to whom the Temple Mount belongs, and woe to Islam for trying to rewrite history (and the Holy Scriptures) to further their cause. It will not succeed, and the only true God whom Chrisitans and Jews worship will be exalted in the end.

09:47 25Oct06 Wezi -
This is a very good article. I've always wondered what the fuss is all about in Isreal - I mean: why can't they just get along? But now I understand it's a deep spiritual issue which only Yeshua will solve. Come Lord Jesus!!

12:40 25Oct06 Lina -
Dan, thank you for stating the basic issues of the current clash so succintly.

17:46 26Oct06 anonymous -
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The Holy word spoken.

09:39 27Oct06 Virginia Pastrano -
This is an excellent article grounded in Biblical foundation. Thank you for the time you put to bring this to give us clarity. May God continue to bless and protect you and you stand with God and Israel.

16:38 27Oct06 Andre Tavares -
Another problematic point in set a peace accord with Moslims is the "international politics" established in Al Koran. It says that if any country was conquered by Moslims, it will be forever a Islam territory, and is a perpetual duty to take them over if they were lost for non-muslims. There is no way to peace conversations...

12:44 28Oct06 James E. Dykes -
Great Article! Clarifies truths the church in the West needs to understand. I was in Israel during the recent war in Haifa and prayed on Carmel for Israel. We made contact with serveral messianic congregations while there. There is a true joining of Messianic and Gentile believers taking place ...

12:50 06Nov06 Celina -
Very interesting and informative!

10:25 30Nov06 Ernest -
This was a very useful quick synopsis about the history of Jerusalem. I appreciate such literature because it doesn't take a lot of time to read and digest. I'd like to share these truths with others who are ignorant of what's happening and what has happened in Israel. Thank you for your insight and education.

07:27 19Jul08 Shirley Braggs -
Thank you for such a clear, concise and comprehensive explanation of the critical importance of the true battle being waged over Jerusalem. I only pray that the worldwide household of faith will enjoin the enemy in a battle already predestined with victory for us. Yeshua will return and He will return to Jerusalem and He will establish His Kingdom there and throughout all the Earth. Hallelujah! Shalom and Blessings to you and the Messianic Community in Eretz Israel.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Eitan Shishkoff: The Untold Story
Marty Shoub: 70 Years Of Prayer
Asher Intrater: Light To The Nations