In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, verse twenty-four, is recorded a dire prophecy spoken by Jesus concerning Jerusalem:
"And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
The treading down of Jerusalem predicted by Jesus began with the capture of Jerusalem by the Roman army under Titus in A.D. 70 and continues to this day; for although the Jews have returned in number to their ancient land and have established a nation, they still do not have sovereignty over Jerusalem, which is under United Nations (the Gentiles) mandate. (Editor's Note: This was written prior to the Six Days War of 1967. Still in 1993 the Jews do not have complete control over Jerusalem since there is an Islamic Mosque on the Temple Mount!) According to the prophecy, this treading down will end concurrently with the period of time known of the Times of the Gentiles: This period is considered to have begun with the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C., and will end with the destruction of Gentile world power in the Battle of Armageddon after the Great Tribulation. The Battle of Armageddon will be followed by the establishment of the Kingdom of the Heavens over the earth, with Christ on the throne. Revelation 11:2 indicates that the last 42 months (or 3 1/2 years) of the Great Tribulation will be a period of intensive treading down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles:
"But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not: for it is given unto the Gentiles, and the Holy City shall they tread under foot forty and two months."
It is most interesting to learn that Jerusalem once bore
a name which means a trodden down place. That name is Jebus,
by which it was known when David became king over Israel and
took the city from its Canaanitish inhabitants for his capital.
The city was known as Salem in Abraham's time and as
Uru-Salem in Moses' time; and when David occupied the city
for his capital, the old name of Uru-Salem or Jerusalem, was
Now Jerusalem signifies City of Peace and the transition,
in David's time, from a trodden down place to the City of Peace
seems to foreshadow the change that will take place in
Jerusalem's fortunes after the Times of the Gentiles have been
fulfilled. For it is obvious that, historically speaking, Jerusalem
is still in her Jebus or trodden down phase, and not until certain
events take place will she truly become Jerusalem, the City of
In connection with the treading down of Jerusalem, it is both interesting and informative to study the various Hebrew words which have the meaning of treading down or trampling underfoot. These words, in their additional meanings, reflect the manifold ways in which Jerusalem is and for many centuries past has been; and according to the Savior's prophecy, is yet to be, a place trodden down.
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One of the implications of treading a thing under foot is to show one's contempt for it, to despise it, or to treat it as having no value. This sense of treading something under foot because of its worthlessness is illustrated by the words of Jesus in Matt. 5:13:
"Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men."
The Hebrew words ramas, baat
and bus (from which
Jebus is derived) all mean to tread underfoot in the sense of
profaning, polluting or showing contempt. It hardly need be said
that these words accurately and graphically express the spirit in
which Jerusalem has been trodden down by the nations.
But Jerusalem has not been merely profaned and polluted by the treading down of the Gentiles; she has been crushed and broken as well. This aspect of being trodden down is expressed by the Hebrew verbs, daka, dush and dosh which denote being trodden under the feet of the oxen that thresh out the grain on the threshing-floor. The word dush is translated threshed in Amos 1:3:
"They have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron."
Certainly, the Gentile nations have threshed Jerusalem
with threshing instruments of iron. Few cities have been
subjected to such repeated assaults and destruction as has
The Hebrew verb radah presents still another phase of the Hebrew concept of treading down. This is the idea of domination, mastery and subjugation. Radah signifies to tread down in the sense of to subdue, to subject to oneself, to rule over, to take possession of. In Biblical times possession of land was symbolically denoted by walking upon it in bare feet, or by removing a shoe from the foot and casting it upon the land. Even in these days of modern, aerial warfare, possession of a captured place must usually be carried out by the infantry (the walking soldiers). Thus, the treading down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles has underscored the fact that for centuries it has been and still is under Gentile dominion.
Two Hebrew words which mean to tread down have the additional meaning of to force, or to ravish a woman. Jerusalem is often personified in the Old Testament as a woman, and several prophecies refer to her humiliation and shame in terms of her being ravished by her conquerors. In the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah, verses 1 and 2, there is a prophecy relating to the Great Tribulation which speaks of the actual ravishing of the women of Jerusalem:
"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city."
The two Hebrew verbs mentioned are kabas and kabash. The word kabas also denotes treading down in the sense of washing or fulling clothes, which was done by treading them with the feet in some sort of container or in shallow water, so that it is sometimes translated to wash. It is the word used by David in Psalm 51:7:
"Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow."
"Tread me, and I shall be whiter than snow."
This aspect of treading down brings out a blessed truth
concerning the treading down of Jerusalem. Although the
Gentiles have trodden her under foot to show their contempt
for her, to profane and pollute her, to break her in pieces and
to subjugate her unto their will; yet God permits this trampling
because it will in the end purge Jerusalem and wash her whiter
Jebus became Jerusalem when David became king over all Israel and took the city away from the blind and the lame. These terms, in the Hebrew, are most appropriately applied to those who are Jews after the flesh. That they are blind is attested by Jesus in John 9:39-41:
"And Jesus said. For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say. We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
Note that Jesus does not say that they could see (spiritually) but merely that they so asserted. The Hebrew original of the word lame is a form of the word pesach which means Passover. Thus the terms blind and lame have very cogent application to the Jews of today who are still keeping the Jews' Passover; being ignorant in their blinded minds that the Lord's Passover has already been sacrificed that God's people might be redeemed from the bondage of spiritual Egypt in which we live and toil. It will only be when the greater David takes the city away from the blind and the passover-keepers and occupies the throne, that Jerusalem's Jebus phase will come to an end and she will become, in truth, the City of Peace:
"Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the
testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the
LORD. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones
of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls,
and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and
companions' sakes, I will now say, peace be within thee.
Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy