The Roman Jerusalem
Aelia Capitolina was the title that the Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome) gave to the quasi-city that they established on the site of Jerusalem after its destruction by Roman Legions under Titus in 70 A.D. (exactly as prophesied by Jesus Christ 40 years before in Matthew 24:1-2). The name was concocted after the Second Jewish revolt of 132-135 to honor the emperor Hadrian and the pagan gods of the Roman trinity - Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. A temple to Jupiter was constructed right on the Temple Mount, and idols of Roman gods were erected throughout the city in a deliberate and malicious violation of The Ten Commandments.
The area of Aelia Capitolina was walled and a varied population of foreign people was brought in, while nearly all Jews were forbidden to enter. The existing walls of the Old City today generally maintain the layout of the Roman walls of that time. Jerusalem was called by its Roman name for about 200 years until a version of Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire in the fourth century.
Bible History and Bible Prophecy make very clear that any violation of Jerusalem, past or present, could not endure. God has very definite plans for the city that no human government or empire could ever stop. The Almighty permitted occasional devastation of the city only as a punishment for His people who had become corrupt before Him (e.g. see Why Babylon?). Many have tried, a few more are yet to try, but the result will always be the same for those who attempt to possess Jerusalem - they will ultimately find themselves fighting an impossible-to-win battle against God Himself.
A few Jerusalem facts:
Jerusalem is located on a high ridge, consisting of 3 hills. Along the east
of the city is the Kidron Valley (in which runs the Brook Kidron, including the Pool of Gihon), to the south is the Valley Of Hinnom, to the west is the Valley of Gehenna. The Mount Of Olives, where Jesus Christ was arrested That Fateful Night, is just to the east, across the Kidron Valley. The Lord walked many times through there on his way to Bethany to visit Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
Archaeological studies indicate that the city is very ancient, having been established perhaps more than 2,000 years before it was captured from the Jebusites by King David of Israel, about 1,000 B.C.
Jerusalem had earlier been named Salem (Genesis 14:18) and Jebus (1 Chronicles 11:4). Salem meant peace.
The city is mentioned throughout The Bible, over 600 times in the Old Testament, less in the New Testament. The first mention of the name Jerusalem is found in Joshua chapter 10.
The first Temple was constructed by King Solomon over a period of about 12 years, with completion around 950 B.C. The original Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar about 587 B.C. The first Temple lasted about 360 years. The Herodian Temple, as constructed by
Herod the Great, existed at the time of Jesus Christ. It was a continuation of earlier reconstruction work done by Jews who had been allowed to return
by the Persians after the Babylonian Captivity. The second Temple was destroyed by the Roman Army under Titus in 70 A.D. at the conclusion of the Jewish War (see Temples).
The city is 2,550 feet / 777 meters above sea level. Its latitude is 32 degrees north (about the same as the southern U.S.), and its longitude is 35 degrees east (the same as Moscow to the north, and east Africa to the south).
The Dead Sea is 14 miles / 23 kilometers east.
The Jordan River is 19 miles / 31 kilometers east.
The Mediterranean Sea is 34 miles / 55 kilometers west.
Bethlehem is 5 miles / 8 kilometers south.
Nazareth is 63 miles / 102 kilometers north.
Samaria is 30 miles / 49 kilometers north.
Hebron is 19 miles / 31 kilometers south.
Egypt is 300 miles / 485 kilometers southwest.
Assyria and Babylon were 720 miles / 1,170 kilometers east.
Persia was 1,050 miles / 1,700 kilometers east.
Greece is 825 miles / 1,340 kilometers northwest.
Rome is 1,550 miles / 2,510 kilometers northwest.
Fact Finder: Will Jerusalem one day be the capital of the earth?
See also Prophecy