What Is the Significance of Jerusalem for Christians?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Catherine Pepinster, Editor of The Tablet, a Catholic weekly newspaper, in a May 20, 2015 article for the Guardian titled “Why Is Jerusalem Important? You Asked Google – Here’s the Answer,” wrote:
“Bethlehem was the birthplace of Jesus, Nazareth where he grew up, but Jerusalem is the city that really matters to Christians. This was where Christ preached, ate the Last Supper with his disciples before his death, where he was arrested, put on trial, condemned to death, crucified, and died, a man mocked and tortured by the occupying Romans. It is where, Christians believe, his tomb was found empty and he rose from the dead. Jerusalem, then, is a place of deep sorrow, utter desolation but also of hope and redemption. It is the sacred heart of the Christian story.”May 20, 2015 - Catherine Pepinster, MA
Geries S. Khoury, PhD, Director of the Al-Liqa Center of Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land, in a 1995 article titled “The Significance of Jerusalem: A Christian Perspective,” published in the Palestine Israel Journal, wrote:
“Jerusalem is the place where Jesus Christ died and was raised from the dead on the third day. Resurrection in Christianity is the central and basic event, the core of Christian belief without which Christianity doesn’t exist and religion loses its essence. Therefore, through the Resurrection, Jerusalem became the core of the Christian faith and religion. Indeed, it is the birthplace of Christianity and out of it Christianity was spread to the whole world by the Apostles and disciples…
In this city, Jesus Christ spent most of his public life praying at the Temple, teaching, preaching, explaining and performing miracles. When we read the Holy Scriptures, we find that this city has always been essential to Jesus Christ not only during the years of preaching but even in the last moments of his life on earth…
Since the time of the Apostles, believers have kept their special relationship with this Holy City either by pilgrimage to the city or by building convents in and around it.”1995 - Geries S. Khoury, PhD
R.J. Zwi Werblowsky, PhD, late Professor of Comparative Religion at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in a 2004 essay titled “Meaning of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians and Muslims,” available from www.icjs.org, wrote:
“The land [of Israel] in general and Jerusalem in particular were the scene on which the most uniquely momentous events of [Christian] history had been enacted… The nativity and the events preceding it, Christ’s childhood and manhood, his ministry and preaching, the consummation of this ministry in his passion, resurrection and ascension, the birth of the Church on Pentecost and the beginnings of the first Christian community – all these took place on definite spots in this particular city and land, no matter whether the sites associated with these events by later tradition were historically ‘authentic’ or not.
Small wonder, then, that Christians have always cherished Palestine as a ‘holy land’, and Jerusalem as a ‘holy city’, and that pilgrims have at all times come to visit the sites associated with the mystery of salvation and to permeate their souls with the blessings of this mystery at the very place of its earthly and historical manifestation.”2004 - R.J. Zwi Werblowsky, PhD
Marshall J. Breger, JD, BPhil, Professor of Law at Catholic University of America, in a 1994 essay titled “The New Battle for Jerusalem,” published in Middle East Quarterly, wrote:
“Past controversies over the control of the Christian holy places were bound up more by disputes within Christianity than by interference from the Muslim rulers of Palestine or conflict with Jews. The holy places include sites believed to have been the scenes of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the churches marking the stations of the cross along the Via Dolorosa, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Church of the Ascension.”1994 - Marshall J. Breger, JD
Madelaine Adelman, PhD, Associate Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University, and Miriam Fendius Elman, PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University, in their 2014 book titled Jerusalem: Conflict and Cooperation in a Contested City, wrote:
“According to researchers, Jerusalem became holy for Christians because it is where Jesus Christ lived, was crucified, and resurrected. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher has been the locus of Christian pilgrimage since it was built in 355 CE. Yet, Jerusalem became central to Christianity only after the fourth century, when Constantine sought to create a Christian empire with Jerusalem as its holy city. Prior to this, Christianity devalued the physical site of the Temple. Rather, Jesus would replace the Temple, and the Christians would be able to worship in any physical place… Although it is the ‘heavenly Jerusalem’ that symbolizes the city of God for Christians, Christian pilgrims from all over the world experience God in the earthly city of Jerusalem, which is viewed to be the site of salvation in the messianic age. For Christian dispensationalists, the city figures prominently in beliefs about the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. Christian dispensationalism, often referred to as Christian Zionism, predates the Jewish Zionist movement by at least half a century… For dispensationalists, Jerusalem is viewed as physical, literal space. The central theological premise is that the city must come under the control of the Jewish people prior to Christ’s resurrection. According to many dispensationalists, Zionism and the founding of Israel, and especially the 1967 war, are signs from God of the fulfillment of biblical prophesy. It follows from this view that Christians must support Israel, and in particular Jewish claims to exclusive control over the city.”2014 - Miriam Fendius Elman, PhD Madelaine Adelman, PhD