Glimpses of Israel - Jerusalem, Past and Present

by Joseph Hunting

After the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus in 70 A.D. a new city named Aelia Capitolina was built by the Romans on the ruins of the Holy City. It was totally pagan and Jews were forbidden entry. The Tenth Legion was garrisoned in the Citadel and recent excavations have uncovered Roman statuary, pottery and coins.

Later the Byzantine culture took over the Holy Land and like a tidal wave swept everything before it. Then the Holy City was taken over by the followers of Mohammed in the 7th century and in 691 A.D. the Caliph Abd el-Malik completed the Dome of the Rock which stands today on the Temple site.

The destiny of Jerusalem passed from one conqueror to another and during the wars between the Saracens and Crusaders the Holy City was drenched with blood. When the Crusaders gained the victory over Jerusalem a cross was erected over the Dome of the Rock.

This in turn was replaced by the crescent when Saladin recaptured the City in A.D. 1187.

Then the Mameluks controlled the destiny of Jerusalem until Suleiman the Magnificent introduced the Ottoman era which extended from the mid-sixteenth century until General Allenby defeated the Turks in Palestine in 1917.

Fifty years later the destiny of Jerusalem changed dramatically when the Holy City fell to the Israelis during the Six Day War in 1967 ending 2,500 years of non-Jewish oversight of Jerusalem.

There is another aspect concerning Jerusalem that overshadows the Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Saracens, Mameluks, Turks and finally the British, who in turn have trodden underfoot the Holy City. "For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it." (Psalm 132:13,14).