Recent Comments

No comments to show.

Now, here’s a thing – what do you know about Jerusalem?  I suspect most of us think that we know more than we do. Try this little test (*Answers at the bottom of the page):

  1. When is Jerusalem first mentioned in the Bible?
  2. Which Israelite King first conquered Jerusalem?
  3. Who built the first Temple and who built the second Temple in Jerusalem?
  4. Jerusalem is built on which  two mountains?
  5. When was Jerusalem completely destroyed?
  6. What might you find underneath Jerusalem?
  7. Who first prophesied about a New Jerusalem?

I’ve been reading a book –‘Jerusalem, the Biography’- by Simon Sebag Montefiore a well-known and respected popular historian. Although the Bible calls it the ‘City of God’,  Jerusalem has a long and bloody history running from before David’s time right up until today.  I have already lost count of how many times the city has been sacked and/or set on fire/destroyed and had most of the inhabitants massacred.

Montefiore is a scholar and he has studied the Bible as the principal source of information about Jerusalem’s early history. But he is not a Christian nor is he a biblical scholar in the sense of accepting, studying and applying what he reads there. His approach is secular, denying any real validity to Scripture (for example when writing about the fulfilment of Jesus’s prophecy that the Temple will be destroyed he says ‘historians believe these were added later as the Gospels were written after AD 70’).

Montefiore does however provide a concise overview of Jerusalem’s history and significance and he has some interesting insights – for example he describes conquering Romans  as being baffled by the absence of an idol in the Holy of Holies when they entered it. He also speaks of an earthly and a celestial Jerusalem.  However, he also ascribes to the present earthly Jerusalem a reverence and status (he says that for Jews, Muslims and Christians it is ‘The centre of the world’) that it really no longer has, because  it’s purpose has been fulfilled in the coming of Christ. (Having said that, there remains debate – often heated – amongst Christians about the restoration of the State of Israel and the completion of a third Temple as being necessary before Christ comes again.  I’m not going into that here, but it needs noting!)

As Christians we do now look to a New Jerusalem that will be our eternal resting place. In Revelation 21 John wrote:

“ I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

How exciting is that?


  1. Genesis 14.18 refers to  ‘Melchizedek king of Salem’ who  ‘brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High’.
  2. David
  3. Solomon built the first and Zerubbabel built the second.  Herod the Great (Yes, that Herod) undertook extensive renovation/extension of the second Temple in roughly 20 BC to 26 AD.
  4. Temple Mount (or Mount Moriah) and the Mount of Olives
  5. 70 AD, by the Romans.
  6. Lots of tunnels
  7. Ezekiel in Chapter 40, expanded upon in following chapters.