What we today know as Jerusalem has been settled by men for thousands of years, a community since before written history.
In the Book of Genesis we are briefly introduced to Melchizedek, the ruler and priest of what was then known as Salem. Later, when the Israelites claim the land under the leadership of Joshua, the city is described as Jebus. It was not until the time of King David that the city was finally taken and its name refashioned as Jerusalem.
Yet to find the Jerusalem that David conquered and made the governing center of his kingdom, one must look underground. Dozens of feet below the modern street level is where you find what is today known in archeological circles as the City of David.
It was once common to hear the learned express their disdain for the Bible by casually dismissing the existence of David; there was no evidence he existed. They pointed to Jerusalem, saying there were no palaces dating to that time period, that the structures they saw before them in the Middle East didn’t match the biblical accounts, and so on.
And then the digging started. Streets were found, and pools revealed. The foundations of a palace were uncovered. The walls of houses and shops came into view. Pottery, coins, and the trinkets of daily life gave insight to life under King David. History had not erased the city, but built on it.
Indeed, Jerusalem sits at the center of redemptive history.
Salem/Jebus/Jerusalem was built around the Gihon spring along the side of Mount Moriah. It was on the top of Mount Moriah, a thousand years before David’s own life, that Abraham’s faith in God was put to the ultimate test. It is where he was asked to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, who God then spared.
And so it was there David started, and his son Solomon constructed, the first temple. And it would be there that David’s descendent, and God’s own son, Jesus, would not be spared – taking on Himself the wrath for our sin.
In the final week of His life, Jesus’ disciples – convinced He was the promised Messiah – stopped before entering Jerusalem and looked out over the city and Temple. His disciples shouted praises for Jesus, which critics demanded He silence.
Jesus’ response: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Today, those very stones in David’s city still stand. Even in their silent state, they offer a testimony for all who will listen.