Here are eye-opening facts about the city soon to become the capital of the world.
Many times I have said, "Keep your eye on JERUSALEM AND THE MIDDLE EAST." From now on that will be the focal point of WORLD HAPPENINGS. This is the END TIME! Never in the history of mankind have world conditions been so VIOLENT, never SO much TROUBLE, never before so many NATIONS and their GOVERNMENTS toppling and being overthrown so often — now one a month on the average. NEVER has there been such widespread VIOLENCE by man. Add to this the VIOLENCE in NATURE — massive and violent EARTHQUAKES, tidal waves, and FLOODS. Following the recent tremendous earthquakes in China, this morning's newspaper headline, front page, read: "PHILIPPINES QUAKE TOLL CLIMBS TO 5,300: 30,000 HOMELESS." Yet from now on the very CENTER of world happenings will zero in on JERUSALEM and the Middle East. I have just spent another four days and five nights in Jerusalem. the CITY GOD CHOSE over all places on earth. The city from which for a span of time God has HIDDEN HIS FACE (Jer. 33:5), yet the city that God SHALL YET CHOOSE AS HIS CITY (Zech. 1:17). The city soon to BECOME THE CAPITAL OF THE WHOLE WORLD WHEN, finally, we shall have WORLD PEACE. Jerusalem is a city IMPORTANT TO GOD. Il ought to be important to us! So I want to tell you about my most recent visit there. It is a city I have visited many, many times. My first visit to Jerusalem was a mere short stop at Jerusalem airport (not now in regular use) in 1956 — 20 years ago — enroute from Cairo to Baghdad. Just setting foot on the ground of its airport for the first time was a thrill. It gave me a sense of awe. With my wife and elder son, Dick, I stopped again at Jerusalem on the return — first visiting the Old City then in Arab hands and then walking. luggage in hand, through the Mandelbaum Gate (no man's land) into the newer Israeli Jerusalem. Back in 1969 and 1970, when our joint participation with Hebrew University in the huge archaeological excavation at the southern wall of the Temple Mount was getting well under way, General Yigal Yadin, organizer of the Israeli army and chief of staff from 1948, referred to my arrivals there as "monthly visits." In many ways I have had a deep personal interest in Jerusalem since December 1, 1968. On that date, in a formal ceremony at the palace of the late President Shazar, Ambassador College entered into this joint participation formally with Hebrew University and the Israel Archaeological Society. "Do you want a formal, legal contract?" I was asked. "My word is good," I replied. "And I believe yours is, too, without any legal entanglements." That was good enough for them, and our friendship and mutual participation has grown ever since. Our very important friends in Israel, from the president and prime minister of the country on down in the government and from President Harmon and the vice-president on down in the university, have been not only most friendly and cordial. but also affectionate! And so I thought that in this article, you might like to hear a report on this latest Jerusalem visit. We arrived late Thursday afternoon. On Friday morning, Mayor Teddy Kollek met us at the Jerusalem Hilton Hotel at ten. He took us on a 2 1/2-hour tour of portions of the Old City where the mayor has been supervising rejuvenation and rebuilding. After all the years of being "trodden down by the Gentiles," the old walled city has become dirty. decayed — anything but beautiful. But Mayor Kollek is RESTORING much of its ancient beauty. Israel is a very poor country — economically. The government does not have billions upon billions of dollars for such purposes. Much of this restoration is being done by volunteer labor. It made me think of the early days in building Ambassador College. In those days as we purchased gradually more and more property. we used old, dilapidated frame houses for many purposes; we used volunteer student labor; we improvised as was necessary to keep building and growing. That is the way the Israelis are building up their country. First the mayor took us through the Citadel, an agglomeration of old buildings located to the right of Jaffa Gate along the western wall of the Old City. Some of the stones in its base dale back to the second century B.C. The tower at the far end of the Citadel has been known as the Tower of David since Byzantine times — but neither the Citadel nor Tower of David has any connection with the ancient King David. The Citadel has many walls and many rooms and it is being restored in to a beautiful and modern condition. From the Citadel we were taken over to the old Jewish Quarter of the old walled city. Here were a cluster of low, very old domed houses which were very un impressive from the outside. But upon entering, we were struck by the BEAUTY and the MAJESTY of the rooms — the high ceilings which had looked like very low" buildings from their dingy appearance outside. Mayor Kollek had done a remarkable job of restoring this area. There were about four synagogues, each in a different room in the same building — now very modern, very bright, and beautiful inside. I was really impressed with all the plans Mayor Kollek told us he has in mind for renewing and rebeautifying the city of Jerusalem. I could especially appreciate it, Personally, since I have — the past 30 years — gone through the job of building Ambassador College in Pasadena (not to speak of similar jobs at the other two campuses). The college was built out of what — at the lower downhill level — had been the nearest thing to a slum section Pasadena had. We were then buying up the property — a 40-foot lot at a time — usually with two old shacks, one behind the other, on each narrow, 40-foot lot. With the fine help I have had, we have built this area of Pasadena into a campus that twice the past two years has won the national award for being the most BEAUTIFUL the best landscaped. and the BEST MAINTAINED campus in the United States! God turned THIS EARTH over to father Adam in the Garden of Eden to "dress it and keep it" — not let it run down to weeds. But MAN has befouled this earth God gave him in every way — polluted the waters, befouled the air, and ruined the soil. Mayor Kollek later took the group of us to a special restaurant for lunch. There, several other friends joined us. After that, we drove to the site of the new Liberty Bell Garden park. I had been scheduled to be there on July 2 for the official ground-breaking ceremony for building the new park in the heart of the new city. I had undertaken to build the children's playground area of the new city park. The last day of June. I had boarded my G-II jet aircraft, bound for Jerusalem. We were forced down at Bangor, Maine, after crossing the United States from southwest to north east because of a cracked window in the cockpit. We were forced to return to Pasadena — flying at low altitude. So the mayor conducted that ceremony alone. When we reached the park area, I saw a large sign posted, in both Hebrew and English, saying: " Under construction here: A CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND: A G1FT OF THE AMBASSADOR INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL FOUNDAT10N. H. W. ARMSTRONG, PRESIDENT." Sabbath afternoon we had a Bible study in my hotel suite at the Jerusalem Hilton. About 30 came. We now have a very small Sabbath group meeting in Jerusalem, but no local pastor as yet, though one man serves as leader. I gave them an hour-and-a-half Bible study on Jerusalem: past, present, and future. I think you'll find a brief outline of that study helpful, interesting, and enlightening — if you'll take the time to take your own Bible and carefully read all the biblical passages IN THEIR CONTEXT. I shall give you here the biblical passages: Jerusalem originally was named Jebus. (See Joshua 18:28 and Judges 19:10.) The Jebusites were Canaanites (descended from Ham through Canaan) (Gen. 10:16). God promised to drive out the Jebusites if the Israelites would submit to Him as His instruments (Ex. 33:1-3 and 34:11-15). This was after Joshua led Israel into the promised land. (See Joshua 16:10 and Judges 1:8, 21.) Notice God's warnings of what would occur IF the Israelites left the Jebusites there and the two peoples were to dwell in the same land. David took Jerusalem (II Sam. 5:1-13) and built a house from which he ruled. The archaeological project proceeding at the Temple Mount is hoping to uncover that site. Solomon enlarged Jerusalem and added to the wall around it (I Kings 3:1). God CHOSE Jerusalem as His city (I Kings 11:13). The second temple was finished about 70 years after Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed it (Ezra 1:1-2). Although later God turned His face from Jerusalem, due to Israel's rebellions, He will again choose it (Zech. 1:17). At Christ's coming (Zech. 14) Christ will RULE the world from David's throne (Isa. 9:6-7 and Luke 1:26-33) in Jerusalem. Sometime after the millennium, the NEW Jerusalem will come down from heaven (Rev. 21). Saturday night, in the ballroom of the Hilton, we had a dinner with about 45 present. At the center table were ministers of the Cabinet — Moshe Kol and Gideon Hausner and wife. General Yigal Yadin, organizer of the Israeli Army in 1948, former chief of staff, noted archaeologist, scholar, and author: Professor Mazar; Mr. and Mrs. Rader, myself, and many other top people in government and education were present. We renewed friendships that now have lasted and grown deeper for eight years. Sunday afternoon we went over to Professor Mazar's home, and many other top Israelis dropped in while we were there. Professor Mazar is director of our big dig at the Temple Mount and a former president of Hebrew University. Sunday evening, we had dinner with the Panovs — ballet artists who appeared last fall in a masterful ballet production at the Ambassador Auditorium. They are among the very top Russian ballet artists. They have emigrated from Russia and are now building a home in Jerusalem. It was delightful to meet them again, with some of their company. Also with us were our VERY dear friends Ambassador and Mrs. Michael Ravid. He was formerly consul general at Los Angeles. But Monday was our BIG DAY — our meeting with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Usually it is contrary to protocol in many countries to see both the president and the prime minister on the same visit. This time I did not see President Katzir, but I had already had two or three fine personal meetings with him, and he sent to me his personal regards and best wishes on this visit. My appointment with the prime minister was at noon Monday, Ambassador Ravid (formerly ambassador to Guinea) went along with us. As you know, I am nearly always accompanied on such visits by Mr. Stanley R. Rader, our chief legal counsel, and now also vice-president for Financial Affairs, and executive vice-president of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF). This time Mrs. Rader also accompanied us. Mr. Rabin is not noted for a big, wide, vote-getting political smile like Jimmy Carter. Usually he is a very solemn man, and being the chief executive handling all the troubles of a modern Israel, he has reason to be serious. But he met me and our party with a warm and cordial smile. "Mr. Prime Minister." I said, "I'm sorry it's been such a long time before I've had an opportunity to meet you, but it is indeed a pleasure and an honor." "Well. Mr. Armstrong," he smiled in return, "it's just happened that I've been in your country or Europe or some other place every time you've been here since I became prime minister. But of course I know a great deal about you, and we all do deeply appreciate your interest in Israel." The entire meeting, lasting perhaps 45 minutes. was warm and friendly. We spoke about the two jet planes that have more or less "commuted" between Jerusalem and Cairo. and he was candid in telling us of Secretary Kissinger's peace accomplishments. He was very appreciative of my efforts toward WORLD PEACE, especially in bringing nations like Japan and Israel closer together — also Kenya and Israel — and my friendships with Arab chiefs of state, and efforts toward a better approach to harmony and understanding between them and Israel. Actually there has been a slight lessening of tensions between some of my Arab friends — heads of governments — and Israel. And through the AICF we are supporting the ICCY (International Cultural Center for Youth), directed by Minister of Tourism Moshe Kol, which is bringing about a new and friendly relationship between Israeli and Arab youth, especially in Jerusalem. Somehow, returning to Jerusalem seems like returning home — and it may be my home for a thousand years, beginning VERY SOON, NOW!