THE JEWS AND JERUSALEM
JERUSALEM AND THE MOUNT
Has the Scripture been Broken?
The Scattering of Israel
Have the Jews Returned?
The Times of the Gentiles
When Will the Jews Possess the
The Defilement of the Holy
- The Coming One Whose Right It Is
The Bible pattern has always been clear: God's people must obey in order
to receive His blessing. Disobedience would bring scattering among the
heathen. For decades our denomination taught that the Jews would never
return to Jerusalem. But, then, in 1967 they returned! Our Church became
silent on the subject.
What had happened? Had the Scripture been broken? Here are several facts
we need to consider:
If the Jews were scattered because of disobedience, they could only
return because they had changed their ways and were now obeying. But
this has not happened. How then could they be said to have returned?
Have they really returned? Exactly what was predicted?
The Jews have indeed returned to management of Jerusalem, but they
have not regained control of the Temple Mount. Because of that, they
cannot rebuild the Temple, and restore the ancient rituals of the Jewish
religion. Until that happens, they have not really
"returned" to Jerusalem. They lack full governmental
More specifically than being carried away from their own land, the Bible
prediction was that, If they disobeyed, the Jews would be scattered
among the heathen. As long as they remain among the heathen, the
fulfillment of the Bible prophecies remain in place; they have not
been reversed, obsoleted, or broken. The Jews today live among the
heathen In Jerusalem; both Christians and Muslims are all about them.
(The Biblical word, "Gentile," means "the nations"
or "non-Jews," so it would include Arabs as well as other
Gentile tourists from all over the world tread upon the sacred Mount
every day. Old Testament law prohibited that. The entire top of the
Temple site is now a Muslim shrine; few Jews go there. They dare not
even put a small synagogue in the corner of that spacious 35-acre area.
Yet every Jew knows it ought to be the most sacred place in their hearts
and religion. But what are they to do? They cannot worship the true
God in or near a Muslim mosque. And they dare not remove a board of
the two Islamic shrines on that Mount.
in several ways, the prediction remains unbroken. God's Word is true,
and has not been nullified.
punishment of being mingled with the Gentiles, in lands not fully
theirs, is referred to as "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke
21:24). Those times have not ceased:  The Jews remain among the
Gentiles to this day.  The Gentiles continue to tread across the
Jewish holy place.  The holy place of the Jews to be dedicated to a
pagan deity, not to the God of Israel. (Read Islamic literature to
find out what that their religion and their god is like. Arabs are told
that, if they die killing Jews and Christians, they will immediately go
to heaven where they will forever have carnal feasts of food, liquor,
So, until these conditions are met, the Jews cannot be said to have genuinely "returned to Jerusalem." For centuries, they were scattered among the nations; today they are still scattered among the nations, and also scattered in their own land among the nations. Till the second coming of Christ, they will dwell among Gentiles, and Gentiles will worship in their holy place.
has been faithful to His Word-His prophecies-down through the ages.
Just now let us view, in the history of Jerusalem, the truthfulness of
that statement. God IS true to His Word; the Jerusalem story verifies
that His Word has not been broken. Nor will It ever be disannulled or
on the north end of a clump of hills In the Judean highlands, you will
sight down a rift between two low mountains. Walking down It, you will
pass a garden on the slope of the eastern hill. To the right, there are
walls on the other hill. Farther down the valley, you will come to a
cave partway up the slope on the right. Entering it, you will descend
stairs to a cool spring. You have come to where history began for this
entire area over 4,000 years ago. This Is the Gihon spring.
us return again to that time, and, from thence, travel down through the
ages and watch history unfold before us. That Is not difficult to do,
for we have come to Jerusalem.
is about the year 2078 B.C., and a man and his son journey to a distant
mountain to offer sacrifice. But, having arrived at Mount Moriah, an
angel intervenes and points to a ram in the thicket. Abraham returns
home with his beloved son Isaac, thankful that God Himself is going to
provide the Lamb (Genesis 22).
enough, it was only about three years earlier that, as the battle of
four kings against five ended, Melchizedek, king of Salem, came out and
blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:18). From the best we can tell, Salem was a
village close to Mount Moriah. That spring probably brought Melchizedek
hundred years pass and roving Jebusites discover the place. The
mountain really is not much, but it has this terrific spring on its
side. A good place to build a fortified town. Later still, about 1400
B.C., the Israelites partially conquer Jerusalem but permit the
Jebusites to retain control of it (Judges 1:8, 21).
now, it is about 998 B.C., and the Israelites have a new king. David
grew up only three miles from this hill with its excellent spring.
Standing on Olivet Mountain to the east, David gazes down upon the
spring called Gihon (which means "gushing" in the Hebrew),
and sees the fortified ridge above it, called the Ophel. Having just
marched from Hebron, and being told that the Gihon has the best water
supply in the area, David decides to conquer the town and make it his
capital. Even today, that spring is the only natural source of fresh
water in the area. Because the spring was outside and below the town
walls, the Jebusites dug a shaft straight down, and then tunneled over
to the spring. Joab crawled through the waterway, and then climbed that
shaft and opened the gates. The story is told in 2 Samuel 5:6-10 and 1
little Jebusite town was only 11 acres in area, but under David's rule
it was to become the capital of a powerful young nation.
below David's palace was the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusites.
(2 Samuel 24:18). Having seen the angel of death pause in that field,
David asked Araunah to sell it to him so he could build a temple there.
The ram caught in a thicket, over a thousand years before, was in that
field, which was earlier called Moriah (Genesis 22:2, 8, 13).
it came time for Solomon to build the Temple, his workmen found a
gigantic rock slab in the center of it. You can view it today in the
Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. It measures about 50 by 60 feet,
has a slight slope, and, except for a few chisel marks, remains in its
original state. That rock lay at the center of Solomon's Temple worship
for over 1500 years before the Muslims considered it a holy site. Was
this same rocky prominence the same place where Araunah threshed his
grain, and let the chaff blow away? Was it the exact location where
Abraham earlier had offered Isaac? It is commonly believed that this is
so. Somewhere on this hill, long ago, all those events occurred.
massive Temple was erected here (1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chronicles 2-4).
Later, it was plundered by Shishak, king of Egypt (1 Kings 14:2526).
Later still, Jehoash, king of Israel, breaks down the walls of the city
and plunders the Temple again (2 Kings 14:13-14).
725 B.C., Hezekiah was crowned king of the southern kingdom of Judah.
Only four years later, the Assyrians would conquer the northern kingdom
of Israel (Samaria) and carry its inhabitants captive to faraway
lands. At about the time of the end of the northern kingdom, Hezekiah
decided it was time to safeguard Jerusalem's water supply. So he
assigned workmen to make a 1,75O-foot tunnel, with an average height
of six feet, from Gihon to the Siloam Pool inside the city. From that
time onward, the waters of the Gihon flowed into the city. The outside
entrance to the Gihon was covered over, and steps were built inside the
walls to the Siloam Pool (2 Kings 20:20).
long after completing the tunnel (known as "Hezekiah's
conduit"), the Assyrians encamped around the city. But, in answer
to prayer, God sent an angel who slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one
night (2 Kings 19; 2 Chronicles 32). An interesting comparison would
be Hiroshima where, on August 6, 1945, 100,000 perished. Edward
Robinson, in 1838, was the first to explore the shaft and its conduit.
The pool is still used today.
in those days, the entire city of Jerusalem was about 175 acres in size,
nearly square, and surrounded by about two and a half miles of walls.
Thirty-five of those acres comprise what is the present Temple Mount
(although, back then, the Mount was only half that size). To this city
came the ark of the covenant, the Queen of Sheba, and Solomon's
peacocks. To it also came Nebuchudnezzar. In three sieges, he took its
people captive and burned the city with fire. (2 Chronicles 36:17-19).
He carried them to a city with over 50 temples and 1,300 altars to
Jerusalem came Zerubbabel and Ezra with 50,000 returning Jews to the
torn-down city. To it also came Nehemiah, who circled its walls one
night and later completed them, 142 years after Nebuchudnezzar destroyed
them in 586 B.C.
it also came Pompey, the Roman general who, after besieging the city
three times, made Palestine subject to Rome in 63 B.C. A young Edomite,
by the name of Herod, was only 10 years old at the time. Twenty-six
years later he also would come to Jerusalem, as its ruler.
the 18th year of his reign (19 B.C.). this same Herod the Great began
rebuilding the Temple. To begin with, he flattened out and enlarged the
Temple Mount, from its former size of 17 acres to its present
twice-as-large squarish shape of 35 acres. Then he began work on the
Temple itself, work which would continue on past his death. According to
Josephus, 10,000 workmen labored at the task of preparing the Mount
and the Temple. The sanctuary itself was completed in 18 months, but the
entire Temple was not finished until A.D. 64, only 6 years before it was
Jerusalem also came Jesus. He had been born less than three miles away.
Early in His ministry, Satan carried Him to the top of one of the pinnacles
of the Temple, intent on His death. To the east of those walls was Mount
Olivet, where Jesus pled with God for strength to die for us. Within the
walls was the courtyard of the Antonia (the Lithostrotos) where He was
condemned to death. Just north of the walls, lies Calvary, where He
died as our Sacrifice, in order to become our Mediator in the heavenly
this city also came Peter, James, and Paul. To it also came Titus.
Temple that Solomon built lasted 365 years in a Jerusalem that knew 20
kings and two of her greatest prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah. But in the
end, it was destroyed, never to be rebuilt. It took the Roman Empire
seven years to conquer the land. Before it was done, Josephus, an eyewitness
historian, said it "was all over filled with fire and blood."
are acquainted with the story of how Cestius, after laying Jerusalem
under siege, suddenly withdrew. The Jews, sallying forth after him,
struck his army so heavily on the rear that they took his siege
machines, and killed 5,300 footmen and 380 horsemen. "Running and
singing," Josephus tells us, they returned to the city. It was
the end of October, A.D. 67, and the 12th year of Nero's reign.
February, Nero sent Vespasian, a 58-year-old general who had earlier
commanded a legion in Germany. Successful wherever he turned, Vespasian
finally headed toward Jerusalem. But then, on June 9, A.D. 68, he
learned that Nero, to escape execution by revolutionaries, had committed
suicide. Hurrying to Rome, Vespasian became emperor and the tenth of
the twelve Caesars.
elder son of the new emperor, continued the battles. Only 30 years of
age, on May 10, A.D. 70, he arrived at the walls of Jerusalem. After a
four 3 and-a-half-month siege, he destroyed it.
time had come when, according to Josephus, "girdles and shoes and
the very leather from shields was chewed upon, when children and young
men wandered about the marketplace like shadows, some even searching
the common sewers and old dunghills of cattle for something to eat, when
terrible methods of torment were invented by robbers to discover where
food was hidden."
country within a twelve-mile radius was stripped of trees. They were
cut down for siege machines and crosses. As many as 500 Jews were
crucified on them every day, within full view of the city that, nearly
40 years earlier, had crucified their Lord and Saviour.
destruction of Jerusalem began where it had first been predicted decades
earlier. Titus had moved from his first encampment, about four miles
from the walls, to the top of Olivet. Sallying forth from the city, a
large band of maddened Jews fell on them. It was a bitter struggle; but,
returning to the city, the Jews prepared for the coming siege.
the help of battering rams, earthen embankments, 75-foot towers, and
machines which could hurl immense stones 500 yards, the Romans gained
possession of the two outer walls in 25 days of intense fighting.
them now lay the Fortress Antonia. Just beyond it was the Temple
sanctuary itself. At this juncture, Titus, who feared having to
destroy such a beautiful city and its Temple, stopped fighting, and
occupied the next four days in parading his troops before the embattled
Jews as they gazed down from the walls. Josephus, former commander of
the Jewish forces in Galilee having been captured and changing
sides, came forward and, hiding behind protective shields, pled with
them in their own language to lay down their arms. He told them that
none would die if they surrendered that day. When they replied with a
shower of darts, he recounted Jewish history and pled with them some
more. But all his efforts were in vain.
new banks were thrown up against the Antonia in 21 days; and, this time,
the fortress was taken. On the south side of that mammoth stone
structure was the broad north courtyard surrounding the main sanctuary
of the Temple complex. As the Romans poured out through the Antonia
break-through, they were met by Jews who seemed as mad men. A terrible
struggle ensued, and the Romans were forced back into the Antonia.
the end was near. Titus now had Josephus plead with the Jews to leave
the Temple, so he would not be forced to injure such a glorious
building. By now it was nearly the end of July.
breaking through the walls of the fortress, the Romans entered the court
area behind the sanctuary itself. Titus had given orders to spare the
structure, but a soldier slipped a torch into an upper window, and immediately
the house was in flames. We will let Josephus describe it for us:
by the Jews as they came through the wall of the Antonia, they drove the
Jews back "as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of
the soldiers, without staying for any orders, being hurried on by a
certain divine fury and being lifted up by another soldier, set fire
to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms
that were about the holy house on the north side of it . . the fatal day
had come, it was the 10th day of the month of Ab upon which it was
formerly burnt by the King of Babylon." -Josephus, Wars of the
vain did Titus try to order his soldiers to quench the flames. His men
ignored him, and rushed upon the Jews violently, slaying them in large
thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar's approbation. . 1300
years, seven months and 15 days after the laying of its first foundation
by King Solomon,"
Pompey a century before, Titus also stood in the Holy of Holies and
marveled at what he saw.
more weeks were required to finish off the city; even though, during
that time, the Jews holed up in various quarters of the city and did
little fighting. Losing the Temple had finished them, and they knew
it. Until their Temple was rebuilt, they could never be a nation again.
is true, but that will never happen, for they will never rebuild their
estimated the final casualty figures of slain Jews in the siege at
was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were
for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence and of mighty
fame among all mankind."
numbers of captives were sent throughout the empire to serve as slaves
or die in the arenas of the provinces. As for Titus, he returned to
Rome, where he and his emperor father marched in a victory parade, and
struck a coin depicting Judea as a woman, bound and weeping, sitting
beneath a palm tree.
was the end of Jerusalem," Josephus wrote as an epitaph to the
story. But not yet. There is more. Most of us are fairly well-acquainted
with all that we have so far related. But there is more than that to the
narrative of Jerusalem.
us now turn the pages of history to the part that so few know about.
miles to the west of Jerusalem, a few men secretly gathered together
in a room in the little town of Jamina. Thus began a new Jewish leadership
council, replacing the now defunct Sanhedrin. Unfortunately, in AD.
132, the leaders gave their support to the Simon Bar Kockba (Kochbah;
"Simon, son of the star").
trouble started when Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) decided to build a
shrine to Jupiter on the sacred Temple Mount at Jerusalem. Jews today
try to ignore the fact that a heathen temple is on the Temple Mount,
but, in AD. 132-135, the Jewish people rallied to the cause, overcame
the small Roman garrison in Jerusalem, and began guerrilla warfare
throughout Judea. But the Roman general, Julius Severus, was victor
after a three-year war. Over half a million Jews died; captives were
sold for the price of a horse; and Jerusalem was renamed, Aelia
Capitolina. For the next 200 years, no Jew was permitted in the city.
I (AD. 274-337) is well known to us as the Roman emperor who made the
first Sunday law in history. While he was busy enacting six of them,
his mother, Helena, a Christian, traveled to Jerusalem and tried to
locate the birthplace, last supper, Gethsemane experience, crucifixion,
grave, and ascension of Jesus. Whether or not the correct sites were
located is a question; but at each of these locations, a church was
Empress Eudocia, wife of Theodosius II, carried on the work of
establishing and endowing churches, hospices, and monasteries in Jerusalem
and Palestine. In addition, she completed a new wall around Jerusalem
that her husband had earlier started in AD. 413.
also gave Jews legal status to again live in Jerusalem. They had
"returned to Jerusalem," but what a sorry return. They did not
have authority to rebuild their Temple. Without it, they were just
wanderers and sojourners, as they had been everywhere else.
is of interest that the God of heaven has never permitted the rebuilding
of that Temple. Eighty years before Eudocia let the Jews return to
Jerusalem, Emperor Julian "the Apostate," decreed that the
Jewish Temple should be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Work began on the
project-but quickly came to an end. Gas in an underground passage was
ignited by a torch. A powerful explosion ripped through the area, and
men refused to return to work, declaring that God's curse was on the
attempt was ever again made to rebuild the Jewish Temple on the Temple
Mount at Jerusalem.
about 400 years later, the Muslims came along and declared the Temple
Mount to be one of THEIR holy places, and that forever ended the
likelihood that the Jews would be able to erect the Temple on the only
site in the world where it can be located.
the barbarians conquered the West, finally sacking Rome in A.D. 476.
Jerusalem was to continue on but a little longer as a Christian city. In
the sixth century, Emperor Justinian (527-565) sent troops to
Jerusalem, because the Samaritans had risen in revolt over taxation, and
burned some Christian churches outside Jerusalem. Repairs were made and
additional churches were built. Tourists and pilgrims came in large
numbers, and it looked like prosperous times were ahead.
Chosroes I (590-628), the king of Persia, decided to conquer the
world and set out to do it. In the process, he conquered Syria,
Palestine, Egypt, and Asia Minor. On May 20, 614, he came to Jerusalem
and lay siege to it.
the Jews were on the side of the victors in this battle. But it did them
little good. The city and the surrounding area was devastated. Every
Christian church was destroyed, and nearly everything else with it. It
is said that there was so much destruction that Jerusalem has still not
recovered fully from it. Once again, the Jews had returned to Jerusalem;
but, once again, they were not permitted to rebuild their Temple.
years later, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (610-641) led an army into
Palestine; and, in 622, he reconquered Jerusalem and sent Chosroes
back to his capital of Ctesiphon. It was March of 629 when Heraclius
entered Jerusalem. Declaring it to be a Christian city, he forbade the
this Christian paradise was to last only ten years. A storm was brewing
that, when it hit, would wipe out Christianity from the area for most of
the next millennium and more.
the year 570, a man was born in Mecca. His name was Muhammad (A.D.
570-632; also called Mohammed and Mahomet). He was raised by his uncle
as a goat herder in the hills near the town; and, when he was 40, he decided
that he was a prophet, that Christ was only a forerunner of his, and it
was time to start writing the Koran. In July 622, he fled from Mecca
(the Hegira); and eight years later returned at the head of 10,000
followers. The rest is history.
the deserts of Arabia was to pour out a religious and political force
which would shock the world. It overran the Persian empire, the
Eastern Roman Empire, and by the end of the century was to stretch from
Spain to the borders of India.
fell in 635, and Jerusalem in 638. But this time without bloodshed.
The Patriarch Sophronius quietly surrendered the city to the Caliph Omar
(Muhammad's second successor) on the summit of the Mount of Olives.
Omar asked to be taken to the Temple Mount. Arriving there, he searched
till he found its most sacred spot: that hewn, flat rock outcropping. In
the intervening centuries, garbage had been tossed into the area; he
now had it carefully cleared away. Shortly thereafter, he built the
first Muslim building over the spot. (That is why, the place is
often but incorrectly-called "the Mosque of Omar. ")
that simple beginning, came our present Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhra).
Abd-al-Mallik started to build it in 687, after tearing down Omar's
little shack. In the shape of a double octagon of exquisitely patterned
marble tiles, this building was finished in 691. It stands in Jerusalem
that time to this, the Dome of the Rock has been considered the third
most sacred place in the Muslim world (after Mecca and Medina). Why?
Because of a legend: Muhammad is said not to have died, but to have ascended
to heaven on a black horse. He did it by riding his steed onto the sacred
rock in Jerusalem, and then flying upward into the skies. For this
reason, the Arabs named Jerusalem al-Quds (the Holy City). The Temple
Mount, they have named Haram es Sharif (the Place of the Noble Sanctuary).
again, Jews could live in Jerusalem and Christians also! Interestingly
enough, the Muslims gave both more freedom than they had given each
other. The Christians could worship in their churches, and the Jews
could pray by the Wailing Wall, but only Arabs could worship at the
the situation back then was about the same as it is today. If you go to
Jerusalem today, the Christians worship in their churches, and the
Jews pray at the Wailing Wall. It is true that, unlike earlier
centuries, every type of Gentile can now tread on the Temple Mount, but
the temples on the Mount are all Muslim and no Jew nor Christian
would want to worship there.
situation greatly changed in 969, when a new line of Muslims took
control of Palestine. These were the Fatimid Caliphs of Egypt; and,
beginning in 1009, EI-Hakim gradually destroyed 30,000 Christian
churches and shrines in Palestine and Asia Minor. Then a new power
arose. In 1071 the Seljuk Turks entered the land from Central Asia,
conquering everything in their path. In 1077, Jerusalem fell, and this
cruel, warlike people devastated the land.
different in their treatment of the peoples, the lines of Omar, Fatimid,
and the Seljuks were all Muslims. Although they destroyed Christian
churches they did permit Jews to remain in the land and even in
Jerusalem. So, once again the Jews had returned to Jerusalem. But they
could not rebuild the Temple.
most significant of all, from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem
in AD. 70 down to our own time, not once have Jews ever been able to
live in Jerusalem without having Gentiles (non-Jews) living there
also, treading the Temple Mount and worshiping there. Bible prophecy
was inevitable that the Fatimids and Seljuks should bring a reaction
from the West. When the nations of Europe heard of the devastation carried
on in Palestine against Christian shrines, a growing interest developed
to send troops to conquer the land and place it under European control.
It had been nearly 300 years since Charlemagne had encouraged
large-scale pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the construction and
endowment of church buildings. So, in spite of the fact that they were
busy in Europe "going on crusades" to hunt down those holding
to primitive Bible beliefs, such as the Sabbath, several European
nations also banded together to save Palestine from the
first bands marched eastward in A.D. 1096. Some were destroyed by the
Turks, others had partial success. Eventually, on June 6, 1099, one
group of less than 50,000 (led by Godfrey de Bouillon and his brother
Baldwin) reached Jerusalem. After six weeks of siege, on the morning
of July 16, the walls were penetrated. The "Christians"
entered and slew Muslims and Jews wherever they could find them.
Historians record that they slew them without mercy.
feudal kingdom was set up by these "crusaders," and it was to
control Jerusalem and Palestine for nearly a hundred years. Kings were
set up in Jerusalem, who, with lords and barons, divided and ruled the
country. A language resembling Norman French was spoken, and the area
under control reached its maximum size about 1140, when Beirut in the
north to the Negev on the east were under crusader control.
were unwelcome in Jerusalem; Christian churches were rebuilt; new ones
were added (nearly 40 in all); and a wave of religious tourists began
visiting the area. The Temple Mount received attention also: Godfrey set
his first army headquarters in the AI-Aqsa mosque south of the Dome of
the Rock. As for the major Muslim shrine on the Mount, the Dome of the
Rock, a cross was placed on it, iron railings around it, and the site
became the center of Christian worship in Jerusalem for the next 80
years. This would be the only time in all of history that Christian
worship was centered on the Temple Mount. Never before or after would
this occur. Yet it was all done in the existing Muslim shrines; no
Christian churches were erected there.
enough, in the large rooms beneath the Mount, the crusaders stabled
their horses and carved crosses on the stone walls. It is also
intriguing that the crusaders knew so little about Jerusalem history
that they thought the Qubbat al-Sakhra (the Dome of the Rock) was the
Temple which Solomon had built! That is why they did not tear it down.
crusades were raised to eliminate the Turks entirely, but suffered
defeat at their hands. Then, on July 4, 1187, a battle was fought near
the Horns of Hattin by the Sea of Galilee, in which the king of
Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan, was defeated by a young Kurdish chief, named
Saladin. Heading south, Saladin took Caesarea, Nablus, Jaffa, and
Jericho, and then headed toward Jerusalem.
siege equipment near Stephen's Gate in the upper Kidron Valley, he began
his assault. On October 2, the city surrendered. No bloodshed
followed. The wealthy bought their freedom and all Muslims,
Christians, and Jews settled down to peaceful living. Again the Jews
returned to Jerusalem; but, without authority to carry through the rebuilding
of their beloved Temple, the ownership of the land was not returned to
first act of Muslim invaders was to remove the cross from the Dome of
the Rock. From that day to thiseven past the 1967 six-day war in
which the Israelis regained control of the rest of the city,the
crescent still dominates the temple area. For all practical purposes,
Islam still owns it.
Saladin's victory, battles and treaties between the Arabs and crusaders
followed, from time to time, with varying results-including occasional
rights for Christian tourists to visit Jerusalem.
Khan stirred up the next storm to hit Palestine. In 1244 a Tatar tribe
called the Khwarizmians, driven south from Lake Aral in Central Asia by
Ghengis Khan, swept through Syria and put Jerusalem to the sword. The
last beachheads of the crusaders in the Near East and North Africa were
destroyed with the fall of Tripoli in 1289 and Acre in 1291. The
Crusader Period (A. D. 1099-1187) was totally at an end.
the next 500 years, Jerusalem nearly passed out of history. Through 267
years of Egyptian (Mameluke) rule (1250-1517), and 396 years of Ottoman
Turk rule (1444-1840), the Jews were again permitted to live near and
frequently in Jerusalem. But the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount
continued to make it a city of Islam.
is estimated that, by the end of the 15th century, Jerusalem had a population
of 15,000; all Muslim except for about 1,000 Christians and 300 Jews.
With each passing century, the climate was changing: northern lands
were warming up and the Near East was becoming more and more a bake
oven. Jerusalem and its surroundings was fast being transformed into a
Jerusalem fell into greater decay. One bright spot was the reign of
Suleiman the Magnificent (15201566). During his rule of Jerusalem, he
rebuilt the city walls and improved the water supply from Gihon into the
city. A number of inscriptions throughout the City describe his
improvements; all are dated between 1537 and 1541.
taxes and lack of improvements nearly destroyed everything in the
centuries which followed. Because every tree was taxed, residents cut
them down so they would not have to pay as much to the Arab IRS. By the
end of the 18th century. there were hardly any trees in Palestine.