The eleven disciples stood breathless with mouths open, staring into the sky. Their feet remained firmly planted in their sandals atop the Mount of Olives, but where the Messiah had just been standing there were now only empty footprints. Not only did Yeshua soar into the sky from Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, but Zechariah 14:4 confirms that this is where he will return “in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Jerusalem by no means lost its significance after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Yeshua, which took place there. It remains the starting place and focal point for God’s activities on earth, especially as we near the end times.
The prophets depict for us a beautiful future when the Messiah returns. He will establish the kingdom of heaven on earth, which will span the entire world; Jerusalem will be the capital, where Yeshua will establish his throne. This message of the kingdom of God was at the core of the gospel that Yeshua taught, and that is why he proclaimed his message so strongly in Jerusalem.
The list of end-times prophecies involving Jerusalem is far too extensive to include here. Often, the prophets endearingly refer to Jerusalem by the name Zion, after one of its great hills.
In the Messianic Kingdom, living water will flow out from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8). The city will be rebuilt, never to be destroyed (Zechariah 14:11).
Ultimately, Jerusalem will be the site of the annual pilgrimage for all nations:
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. (Zechariah 14:16).
Isaiah envisions Jerusalem as the hub of knowledge and justice in the Messianic future:
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3)
The Prophet Joel describes Jerusalem as the “dwelling place of God”:
The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. (Joel 3:16-17)
Considering these prophecies, it is no surprise that in the book of Revelation, God promises to send down a New Jerusalem from heaven. This shows that Jerusalem is and will always be at the center of God’s interaction with the world.
When we turn to face Jerusalem in prayer, we envision it not as it is, but as it will be when Yeshua returns. Doing so places our prayers in the context of the Messianic Kingdom and expresses our hope in the soon-coming Messiah. It shows that we await God’s solution to all our problems—the redemption of Jerusalem.