2 In the last days Jerusalem and the Temple of the Lord will become the world’s greatest attraction, and people from many lands will flow there to worship the Lord . . . (Isaiah 2:2)
One day Jerusalem will again become the center of the true worship of God. There will be no need for a temple since the Eternal and the Lamb will dwell in it (Revelation 21:22). The glorious city will ultimately be rebuilt by God himself, so that he can place his throne in it and rule the universe from its location on the earth (Revelation 21 - 22).
In the days of the Biblical patriarchs we read of a priest named Melchizedek who met Abraham after his victory in war and blessed him. Just a short distance from Jerusalem the road travelled by the temple priests cuts into the valley Kidron. As he walked the road what rose before him was Mount Moriah, the place where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac, the place where David stemmed the sword of the avenging angel, and the place where God's house of prayer would be built. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the city when he stated that it will ultimately be encouraged by God (Isaiah 62:1 - 2).
There is something remarkable in God's choice of the land of Palestine for his people, and the city of Jebus (later renamed Jerusalem) as the people's capital. Though true in the days of her first kings, it was more true when Christ walked her streets when the temple was given grandeur under the reign of Herod (see Psalm 48).
The city itself and her palaces reside on ground higher than the immediate surroundings. On all but one side Jerusalem is encompassed by valleys. These valleys, which showcase the city as a fortress created by nature, are called the Himmon and Kidron. The city and its temple stand alone in world history as the place where God himself choose and had built a building dedicated to that which is sacred.
1. I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house (temple) of the LORD." 2. Our feet shall stand within your gates, O Jerusalem. 3. Jerusalem is built like a city that is all joined together as one . . . (Psalm 122, HBFV)
The city's most prominent feature was its walls, only two of which existed at the time of Jesus. On the northwestern angle of God's temple resided the Antonia tower. During Christ's ministry it was controlled by the occupying force known as the Romans. It is from the tower that troops rushed to save the apostle Paul after his mere presence cause a riot (Acts 21).
The High Priest, the most important priest to serve at the temple, lived on a corner of Zion. Because the residence is built on a slope, one can understand how Peter was under it the night his master was taken.
66. Now Peter was in the court below; and one of the maids of the high priest came, 67. And saw Peter warming himself; and after looking at him, she said, "Now you were with Jesus the Nazarene." 68. But he denied it, saying, "I do not know Him or even understand what you are saying." And he went out onto the porch, and a cock crowed. (Mark 14:66 - 68, HBFV)
Jerusalem's temple was totally destroyed because she did not know or recognize the One who could bring her peace. Christ, at one time, even cried when he saw the great city because he knew the destruction that awaited her.
"If you (the temple and the city) had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things for your peace; but now they are hidden from your eyes. 43. For the days shall come upon you that your enemies shall cast a rampart about you . . . And shall level you to the ground . . ." (Luke 19:37, 41 - 44, HBFV)
All this, and more, did Jesus see in the city's future. What remains is what is known as 'the Wailing wall' where the city and the demise of the temple is mourned.