by Herbert W. Armstrong
page 1 Plain Truth October/November 1980
OLD JERUSALEM—New capital for state of Israel, or should it be an international city? What prophecy says will now happen!
NO SPOT ON EARTH is as fraught with explosive international tension as the Old City of Jerusalem. It is now a powderkeg, which could be loaded with nuclear potential.
It is the religious shrine of three major religions. It is the city that GOD chose, and therefore that is emotionally and violently a center of contention between religions and nations of this world.
Prime Minister Menachem Begin is rapidly preparing to move his government administration seat from the newer Jewish city to the west over to Mount Scopus in Old Jerusalem. This is for the moment threatening complete breakdown of the Camp David agreement between President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, Prime Minister Begin and President Carter. Mr. Sadat is furious.
The Arab world wants the Old City of Jerusalem back into Arab control. Some nations contend Jerusalem should be made an international city. But the State of Israel has control, having wrested it from Jordan in the war of 1967.
What has been happening in Jerusalem since the Israeli take-over in that war?
I have been somewhat personally involved in events there since that war.
Immediately after the death of my wife of 50 years, April 15,1967, I flew to Jerusalem. I had two urgent reasons. I had seriously wanted to buy time on Radio Jerusalem, then owned and operated by the State of Jordan. Also I wanted to get away from Pasadena immediately into a totally different environment to ease the grief of losing the companionship of my beloved wife and partner in God’s Work.
I wanted not only to go on Jerusalem Radio, I wanted to manipulate the increase of its power to one million watts to give coverage over the entire Middle East. At Amman, Jordan, and in Jerusalem, in conference with the Jordanian government and its radio management, I arranged for a price for a choice time on an extended contract whereby our monthly payments for that time would finance the Jordan government in the purchase of German Telefunken equipment to boost the station power to this maximum wattage. It was one of the largest contracts for purchase of radio time ever signed.
On Sunday morning, June 4, 1967, I left my home on our campus in England for London airport to fly to Amman to broadcast in person that evening, the first broadcast on this new contract. En route to the airport we heard on the car radio the sensational news that the Six Day War had started early that morning. No planes were allowed to get through to Beirut or to Amman. My broadcast on Jerusalem Radio never got started. By the following Friday, June 9, the Old City of Jerusalem was in Israeli hands.
But I had made a personal favorable contact with a foreign government, King Hussein’s Jordan. God had started opening doors for me to carry Christ’s Message to many heads of state and into their countries.
In the summer of 1968 I had been invited to visit King Leopold III of Belgium. He had been shown by a friend a copy of the Ambassador College 1968 yearbook, the Envoy. The king got word to me he would like to meet me.
Also in the late summer of 1968 the Israel Archaeological Society had invited Ambassador College to come into joint participation in their largest and major-sized excavation southwest of the Temple Mount. In October I flew to Jerusalem to inspect the archaeological project and decide on participation. I had conferences with principal men of the Archaeological Society, the Hebrew University and the government. We had a luncheon in a private room in the Knesset, Israel’s capitol building. I told them Mr. Stanley R. Rader, who accompanied me, and I would return on December 1 with a final decision.
We flew on to Tokyo, and there I was invited to luncheon with Prince Mikasa, brother of Emperor Hirohito. Doors were opening rapidly to heads of state—and through them to proclaim Christ’s Message to leaders in many nations.
December 1 we were again in Jerusalem with an answer in the positive. An official ceremony was arranged in the residence of President Shalmon Shazar.
Through the years we have contributed much to this largest neareastern archaeological project of our time, beside sending many students there for summer vacation work on the “dig.” Our acquaintance and close friendship with leaders in government, education and archaeology in Israel have developed and cemented. As Moshe Kol, minister of tourism in Israel, suggested at our Knesset luncheon, we have built an iron bridge between Hebrew University and Ambassador College. Mr. Kol since has publicly designated me as a “builder of bridges between nations for PEACE.”
Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem and I have become close friends. One day some five or six years ago he came to my hotel suite in Jerusalem, to “pay his respects,” and wanted to show me his plans for a downtown city park in Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem,” he said, “is the only world-known city without a public park.” He took me to the site, close to the city center and only a block or two from the former border line of the walled Old City. It was a perfect site for the purpose. I was invited to a luncheon attended by Israeli officials, the United States ambassador and the architects for the project. The plans were studied. Mayor Kollek asked if I would sponsor the children’s playground first inside the entrance to the park. I did, and now a stone post marker there bears my name just inside the entrance to the park—now a most beautiful project.
Another time Mayor Kollek took me over the city to show me what he had learned from his visit to the Ambassador College campus in Pasadena.
“I am trying to follow your example, and make Jerusalem one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” he told me. It is being beautifully landscaped. Trees are being planted along all main boulevards. The Mayor took me into the Old City. There he showed me how he is completely remodeling and renewing old stone structures and renewing the rooms within them to a beautiful new finish.
In front of the International Cultural Center for Youth (ICCY) building on the edge of downtown Jerusalem is a square about 100 feet square. A sign erected now calls it “Herbert W. Armstrong Square.”
So, beside personal acquaintance with President Sadat and King Hussein, as well as the resigned, though still active, President Franjieh of Lebanon and other Arab heads of state, I have close personal acquaintance with leaders in Israel. I believe, therefore, that I can tell our readers how they feel about these problems, as well as what is revealed in biblical prophecies.
Literally hundreds of new high-rise apartment residences have been erected near the Old City, to the east and northeast of the wall of Old City. The new Hebrew University has been built on Mount Scopus, just northeast of the city wall. The Israelis would never have erected these massive high-rise residential properties merely in order to hand them over to Arab neighbors as a gift! Mayor Kollek would never have done the extensive and upgrading renewing of ancient stone buildings within the walled city, if there were any intention of turning this over to either Arab nations or to become an international city! I know our Israeli friends well enough to know their determined intentions without asking them.
However, Mayor Kollek will be the first to point out that none of the scores of new high-rise residential buildings nor the new Hebrew University were built on land occupied in any way by Arabs. All was built on vacant land, totally unoccupied. No buildings nor residences occupied by Arabs in the Old City have in any way been molested.
The Arabs who lived in the Old City still live there. And they live at a higher economic standard than Arabs in neighboring Arab countries. They have little crime and violence. Most violence there has come from outside PLO, Palestine Liberation Organization, commandos.
I have personally been very active in supporting the ICCY in Jerusalem. This center is working to bring peace, harmony and friendly relations between Arab and Israeli youth. And with remarkable success.
I also know the views and feelings, firsthand, of the Arab peoples in regard to Jerusalem. They, too, are sincere in their view.
What about making Jerusalem an international city? I would ask, as Mayor Kollek asks, WHO—and from what race or nation—would RUN the international city? The Jews would never accept an Arab and the Arabs would never accept a Jew. And neither would accept someone else. The very idea is out of the question.
What, then, does the Almighty Creator GOD say about it?
God once chose Jerusalem as His city. But ancient Israel polluted it and their covenant with God. They were conquered and driven out. God turned His back on Jerusalem. He says He will YET choose Jerusalem—it will YET become His chosen city—but it is not that today.
Look at the status of Jerusalem today, and the prophecies for tomorrow, in the Bible.
First, in the 12th chapter of Zechariah. “Behold I will make [am about to make—Revised Standard Version] Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day [near future now] will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it [against it] shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered against it. . . . In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again. . . .
“In that day [now soon] shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them” (Zechariah 12:2-3, 6, 8).
I pause here to mention something that may or may not be significant—God knows and time will tell. I, personally, am of the house of David. I have my personal ancestry recorded every generation through my father, his father and so on back to King Edward I of England. And, through the royal ancestry of the British dynasty the ancestry is traced back to the ancient King David of Israel. Already God has given me close and warm favor in the eyes of many leaders in the State of Israel. A Message (Isaiah 40:9-10) is yet to go by a servant of God to THE CITIES OF JUDAH. In whatever way God wills, it shall go.
But now continue in Zechariah 12:9: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
But at Christ’s coming as KING of kings to rule ALL NATIONS—to usher in WORLD PEACE—He shall again choose Jerusalem as HIS CAPITAL—then to become the CAPITAL FROM WHICH THE WHOLE WORLD SHALL BE RULED FOR A THOUSAND YEARS!
I personally have come to love Jerusalem, as I know my friend Teddy Kollek loves it, and I expect to spend much time there in the future—if Christ so wills!