What Is the Destiny of Earthly Jerusalem?
Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

Jerusalem is almost daily in the news. The Palestinian leadership and Israel's enemies, such as Iran, wish to divide the sovereignty of the city, by making east Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state. They deny the Jewish history of Jerusalem, insisting that there never was a Jewish temple and worst of all, they desire to destroy the citizens of the city. In the words of Ahmadinejad, “Israel must be wiped off the map” (October 26, 2005).

Is the tiny country of Israel, which would fit eight times into the state of Iowa, doomed? Will Jerusalem survive the turmoil and terrorism of the 21st century? The Scriptures afford a glimpse into the future, indicating that despite trials and tribulations, Jerusalem will ultimately triumph over its enemies and emerge as the world's capital. It might be helpful to study seven assertions concerning Jerusalem's status in the tribulation period and an equal number of predictions for the millennial kingdom.


1. Jerusalem will be a refuge for persecuted Jews. Apparently, after the rapture, a vicious worldwide anti-Semitism will erupt (Mt. 24:8). Scattered Jews from all over the world will flee to Israel (Ez. 37:7), a return that will be total, so that “none is left behind” (Ez. 39:26). Antichrist, the Roman prince, will sign a covenant with Israel, guaranteeing its protection (Dan. 9:26).

2. Jerusalem will be the site of the tribulation temple. A new temple will crown Mt. Moriah, probably just north of the present Dome of the Rock, where apparently Herod's temple was located. Jews will worship in the sanctuary until Antichrist desecrates the temple after three and a half years (Mt. 24:8; 2 Thess. 2:10).

3. Jerusalem will be the headquarters of Antichrist. When God destroys Gog and Magog in the middle of the Tribulation period (Ez. 38-39), Antichrist is free to extend his rule worldwide. To counter an approaching army of 200 million demonized horsemen from Asia (Dan. 11:15; Rev. 9:16), he moves his seat of government from Rome to Jerusalem, “on the holy mount between the seas” (Dan. 11:22).

4. Jerusalem will be the center of Antichrist's idolatry. This counterfeit Christ will break his covenant with Israel and desecrate the temple with the “abomination of desolation” (Mt. 24:8). Discerning Jews will escape to Ammon, Moab and Edom east of the Dead Sea (Mt. 24:10; Dan. 11:15). Antichrist will demand worship for himself and his image in the temple (2 Thess. 2:10).

5. Jerusalem will be a mission field for the two witnesses. Two witnesses, possibly during the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period, will forcefully and with miraculous signs minister the gospel in Jerusalem, protected by a sovereign God (Rev. 11:8-24).

6. Jerusalem will be the scene of a catastrophic earthquake. When the two witnesses are martyred by Antichrist, God avenges their death by causing an earthquake in Jerusalem that will prove fatal to 2,000 citizens (Rev. 11:17-19).

7. Jerusalem will be the focal point of Armageddon. During the final half of the Tribulation, the world's armies will inundate Israel from the south, north, west and east (Dan. 11:41-42). While the campaign extends to the Valley of Armageddon in northern Israel, a fierce battle rages around Jerusalem at the very conclusion of the Tribulation, the time of Jacob's trouble (Zech. 12:1,2; 14:1-3). As we will see in the second part of our article, just when all seems lost for Israel and Jerusalem, Christ will deliver His people.


We have mentioned seven events involving Jerusalem in the tribulation. After the Rapture world wide anti-Semitism will drive Jews back to their ancestral land. Antichrist will pose as a protector of Israel and permit the Jews to worship in their rebuilt temple. However, at the mid-point of the seven-year tribulation, Antichrist will move from Rome to Jerusalem, will desecrate the temple and have himself worshipped as God.

Despite the idolatry practiced in Jerusalem, God appoints two witnesses to minister there for 42 months. Upon their martyrdom, God sends a devastating earthquake upon Jerusalem and its inhabitants. The tribulation concludes with an invasion of Israel and destruction of Jerusalem by millions of soldiers from around the world.

1. Jerusalem will be a place of reckoning. While the Battle of Armageddon rages in northern Israel and around Jerusalem at the conclusion of the tribulation period, the city will be conquered, the houses rifled and some of the citizens dragged into captivity (Zech. 14:1-2). Thus the Scriptures predict another destruction of Jerusalem prior to the Second Advent. As Israel and its capital appear doomed, Christ returns with us, His saints (Rev. 19:11,14). Even while we are descending with Christ, He will speak a word of judgment (Rev. 19:17, 21), occasioning horrible death on all His enemies. God warns, “their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes” (Zech. 14:12). Jerusalem will be a ghost town as Christ enters the Eastern Gate and casts His imposter and the false prophet into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20).

2. Jerusalem will be the construction site for a new city. The destroyed city will undergo dramatic changes, boasting an elevated position atop the surrounding mountains and a spectacular temple. “All the land shall be turned as a plain . . . [and Jerusalem] will be lifted up” (Zech 14:10). The new temple (Ez. 40-46) for the worship of the nations “shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow into it” (Mic. 4:1).

3. Jerusalem will be the scene of Christ's enthronement. God the Father will exalt His Son upon the Throne of David as King of Kings and Supreme Potentate (Psa. 2:6-7). In fulfillment of numerous promises (e.g. 2 Sam. 7:16), Jesus Christ will ascend to the throne of His ancestor David (Amos 9:14; Luke 1:31-33). David will be resurrected and rule over the millennial nation of Israel (Hos. 3:5). The twelve apostles will be privileged to exercise sovereignty over the twelve tribes. Christ's promise to them at the Last Supper was, “ye may eat and drink at my table in the kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Lk. 22:30).

4. Jerusalem will be host to a royal banquet for all people. As part of the enthronement festivities, a meal will be held, apparently in Jerusalem, boasting the finest of food and best of wines. “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine--the best of meats and finest of wines” (Isa 25:6, transl. in The Expositor's Bible Commentary [1986], VI, 157).

5. Jerusalem will be the capital of Christ's millennial rule. As the Messiah reigns in righteousness from Mt. Zion, the city of Jerusalem, the City of Peace, will finally live up to its name (Mic. 4:1-2). The church will join in the glorious reign of Christ (1 Cor. 6:2) and presumably welcome pilgrims from around the world “from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (Zech. 14:16).

6. Jerusalem will be the focus of Satan's attack. Satan, who is banished to the pit for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-4), will be briefly released at the end of the millennium. In a final but futile attempt he desires to dethrone Christ and destroy the saints. Even though he knows the predicted outcome well in advance, he approaches Jerusalem, “the beloved city,” with a vast host of unsaved rebels. A conflagration sent from heaven will consume the attackers (Rev. 20:8,9).

7. Jerusalem serves as a pattern for the heavenly city. After the millennium a new city, the believer's eternal home, will descend from heaven (Rev. 21:1-2). The city is called the heavenly Jerusalem and Mt. Zion, after its earthly counterpart (Heb. 12:22) under the reign of the Prince of Peace. Even as the earthly Jerusalem will serve for 1,000 years as the seat of authority and the center of worship on this earth, so the heavenly city will contain the throne of the Lamb and witness the worship of the saints for all eternity (Rev. 20:1-5).

© Manfred E Kober

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