We know from history and archaeology that Jerusalem was the capital of the State of Israel for about 1,700 years until its destruction by Rome in AD 70 and the dispersion of the Jews to the ends of the earth. Remember Luke 21:24? Because of Israel’s sins, including the crucifixion of Jesus, Luke states that Jerusalem would be "trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
During this "times of the Gentiles," the majority of Jews would be scattered to the ends of the earth. Yet some Jews would always remain in their land. Without going into the chronological details of the exact ending of the "times of the Gentiles," all would agree it brings us to End-Time prophecy in which Scripturally Israel and Jerusalem play a very prominent role. Jerusalem is used in the Bible both literally, the actual city, and symbolically, the Jewish people.
Yes, the "times of the Gentiles" have ended, and this return of God’s favor to Israel included the return of their exclusive rights to their ancient capital of Jerusalem. However, the US and world powers are pressuring Israel to surrender their Biblical capital, East Jerusalem, to the Palestinians. The Palestinians’ claim to sovereignty over Jerusalem rests on their assertion that Jerusalem is the third holiest city of Islam. Are they correct?
The penal dispersion of the Jews began in AD 70. By AD 600 many Jews migrated to the Arabian Peninsula where they were well established, especially Medina. In fact, many Arabs were being converted to Judaism—even prominent Arab officials. In contrast to the polytheism of the multiple Arab tribes, monotheism and other aspects of Judaism appealed to Mohammed as he was formulating a new religion to unite the warring Arab tribes.
Also, Mohammed needed an undefeatable army to conquer Mecca, after which he would unify all of Arabia. Medina’s large Jewish population could supply this manpower. Mohammed tried to integrate the Jewish people into a prominent but subordinate role in his new religion, Islam. So he incorporated several aspects of Judaism into Islam. For example, Yom Kippur and observing Saturday as the Sabbath. He also declared Jerusalem the Holy City toward which all Arabs must face while praying.
When the Jews of Medina refused to join forces, Mohammed modified his new religion. Jerusalem ceased to be holy. Moslems were forbidden to face Jerusalem for prayer. The Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Friday. Other Jewish rituals were replaced. Also, because the Jews of Medina refused to join Mohammed’s military campaign to conquer Mecca and unify all the Arabs under his new religion, Islam, they were exterminated.
Mohammed’s vengeance has thundered down through the centuries. Jews were "pigs" and "monkeys." At best they were "Dhimmis" (second class citizens) or killed at the whim of their Islamic masters. Mohammed’s bottom line was that Jerusalem was not holy. But Palestinians, today, in their false land demands contradict Mohammed their founder by their insistence that Islam always considered Jerusalem holy. Therefore, they say in any peace treaty with Israel, East Jerusalem must become the capital of the new Palestinian State.
Back to AD 632 - Mohammed died. The Arabs captured Jerusalem in AD 638 and in AD 661 Jerusalem was ruled by the Arab Syrian Umayyad Dynasty under the reign of Abd al-Malik who was called "The Righteous of the Gentiles" by the Jews of that time but an unbeliever by the Islamic historians. There is substantial evidence that Abd al-Malik had the Dome of the Rock built for the Jews. Jews who visited the Temple Mount tell of the existence of a Jewish house of prayer on the Temple Mount at this period of the Arab occupation of Jerusalem. This was the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock was not intended to be a mosque. Only after AD 1165 was it so used. (The Riddle of the Dome of the Rock [in Hebrew]. by Ya'akov Ofir)
Ramla the Arab Capital of the Captured Land of Israel
A fact agreed by all is that from AD 680 the Arab Syrian Umayyads were at odds with the supreme Arab ruling powers in Mecca. The Syrian Umayyads were Arab renegades challenging Mecca for the worldwide leadership of the Arabs. The Arabs ruled the land of Israel until AD 1099. Early on they moved their capital to Ramla. Historians observe that Jerusalem then became a shambles during the Arab rule. To the Arabs Ramla was the preferred capital of the land of Israel. Therefore the Palestinians have no historic claim to Jerusalem.
Naively, Arafat reached back to the very short Syrian Umayyad Dynasty rule in Jerusalem to attempt to show that Jerusalem was the great city of the Arab world. That was the Palestinian proof of their right to Jerusalem as the capital of the new Palestinian State. They are wrong. To the Arabs Ramla not Jerusalem was the preferred capital of the land of Israel.
Comparing the number of times Jerusalem appears in the Jewish/Christian Bible with the Muslim Bible proves the Muslim disdain for Jerusalem. In the Old Testament Jerusalem appears 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The New Testament mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. In contrast, Jerusalem and Zion do not appear at all in the Muslim Bible, the Qur’an.
In the past all Arabs, even Palestinians, acknowledged that what is called the Temple Mount was the site of Israel’s First and Second Temples. Today, the Palestinians vigorously deny this. They say this was a Muslim mount solely constructed for the Dome of the Rock and Al- Aqsa Mosque. The following quote proves it was a Jewish Temple Mount.
The renowned Rabbi Maimonides (1135-1204) in the Preface to his Commentary on Tractate Rosh Hashana, written in 1165, notes: "On the 4th day of Cheshvan (October-November) we departed from Acre to go up to Jerusalem at grave risk. I entered the great and holy place (the synagogue on Temple Mount) and prayed there…" The Dome of the Rock as a house of prayer was still considered a Jewish building. Only later was it turned into a mosque.
History Refutes the Palestinian Right to Jerusalem
Jews lived in their land for approximately 1,700 years virtually uninterrupted until the Roman destruction of Israel’s polity in AD 70. Slaughter and expulsion decimated the 3,000,000 Jewish inhabitants. Christians, Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes and Ottomans temporarily ruled the Holy Land. But still some Jews clung to their land. Jews have been the indigenous people of the Holy Land—for over 3,500 years.
The Arabs conquered the Holy Land in AD 638. In 985 the Arab writer Al-Muqaddasi complained about the large majority of Jewish population in Jerusalem and added, "The mosque is empty of worshippers…." This hardly sounds like Jerusalem was an important holy center of Islam as Palestinians insist. In reality, during Muslim rule Jerusalem was under the governorship of Ramla the principle city in the Holy Land. As late as 1400 the Arab historian Ibn Khaldun observed that, "the Holy Land was permeated with Jewish culture." Thus, the noted Muslim Arab historian denied the claim of an uninterrupted Palestinian culture dating back to AD 638.
The Mameluke rule (1250 through 1516) so devastated Jerusalem that the city’s entire population dwindled to only 4,000 people. During the Ottoman or Turkish rule (1516 through 1917) the population by 1860 dropped to approximately 9,000. In 1830 the first census was conducted and showed a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. How early before 1830 that Jewish majority extended is unknown, but since 1830 until now the Jewish people have remained a majority in Jerusalem.
Thus history refutes the claim of a thriving continuous Palestinian culture in Jerusalem since its capture by the Arabs in AD 638.
The Temple Mount
For centuries, Muslims agreed the Temple Mount was originally Jewish domain. Yasser Arafat and his appointed Mufti of Jerusalem Ikrima Sabri denied that there ever was a Jewish presence on what they referred to as the "so-called Temple Mount." Both Jews and Christians believe that was the site of the two Jewish Temples—Solomon’s Temple that was destroyed by the Babylonians and then replaced by the Second Temple that King Herod later embellished. The Palestinians insist that these two Jewish temples, if they ever did exist, were never any place near the Temple Mount.
However, the distinguished Islamic scholar Oleg Grabar observed, the Dome of the Rock was not built to be a mosque but a shrine to honor the "rock" on Mount Moriah where Abraham started to offer up Isaac. He confirms that Solomon’s Temple occupied the same site before its destruction in AD 70. Also, Grabar observed that Jews showed Muslims the place where Solomon’s Temple resided.
In AD 333 a Bordeaux Pilgrim wrote, "…on the Temple Mount…there was a rock with a hole in it to which Jews come annually; they anoint it and tear their clothes, lamenting, and sobbing. And then they go away." Similarly, other Christian writers observed that during the Byzantine period, Jews visiting the ruined Temple site anointed the rock.
An 11th century Muslim scholar al-Wasiti, who lived in Jerusalem, also observed that the Dome of the Rock was built on the same site as Solomon’s temple. Interestingly, he noted that Muslims anointed the rock just as Jewish mourners had done.
On the basis of eyewitness testimony from Christians, Jews and Muslims down the corridors of history, Muslim scholars verify that Solomon’s Temple and the Dome of the Rock both occupied the same site over the same "rock." This completely refutes the Palestinian’s assertion that there never was a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.
Imam Tabari (died AD 923) quoted Mohammed’s words about the destruction of the Temple, in which he said "tally in every detail with the biblical account of the Temple’s destruction by the Babylonians, reconstruction and final destruction by the Romans." Thus, Mohammed believed the Judeo-Christian biblical account that the two Jewish Temples were built on Mount Moriah—the Temple Mount. Who are the Palestinians to question Mohammed?
Another confirmation that Solomon’s Temple was built on the Temple Mount is found in the booklet "A Brief Guide to Al Haram Al Sharif," published in 1930 by the "Supreme Muslim Council" that was headed by Haj Amin al-Husseini. Husseini. This is the same Husseini who joined Hitler to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust.
It is incredible that someone with such hatred of the Jews gave one of the strongest proofs that the Temple Mount was Jewish—the site of Solomon’s Temple. Speaking of the Temple Mount, the Grand Mufti said, "Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute."The last page of this booklet by the "Supreme Muslim Council" refers to Solomon’s Stables, the substructures of the Temple Mount. It states, "...little is known for certain about the early history of the chamber itself. It dates probably as far back as the construction of Solomon’s Temple...." According to Josephus, the noted historian, Solomon’s Stables were in existence and were used as a place of refuge by the Jews at the time of the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus in the year AD 70.
Thus history confirms that Muslims up to the time of Arafat’s revisionism (over thirteen hundred years) believed in a Jewish Temple Mount that was the site of Solomon’s Temple. Therefore, the Arab Palestinian claims of historic roots in Jerusalem are invalid.
Both the Christian Bible and Muslim writers give evidence that the Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem belong to its original owners, the Jewish People.
Regardless of the current peace process, Israel will regain all of its land. And as a people will recognize Jesus, as their Saviour. Zechariah 12:10. Then God’s 1000-year kingdom will be fully setup with Jerusalem as its capital.
"And many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." Micah 4:2.