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. 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 priest of God 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.
1 I will speak out to encourage Jerusalem; I will not be silent until she is saved, And her victory shines like a torch in the night. 2 Jerusalem, the nations will see you victorious! All their kings will see your glory. You will be called by a new name, A name given by the Lord himself. (Isaiah 62)
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.
Jerusalem stands 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 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 temple's High Priest 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.
37. And as He drew near to the city, already being at the descent of the Mount of Olives, all the multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and to praise God with a loud voice . . .
41. And when He came near and saw the city, He wept over it, 42. Saying, "If you 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 enclose you around and keep you in on every side, 44. And shall level you to the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you a stone upon a stone, because you did not know the season of your visitation." (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 temple's demise is mourned.