"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path". Ps 119:105
Reading: Psalm 48 and 122
Jerusalem is looked upon by most people as a holy city. It is certainly a religious centre, and has been for centuries. Three great religious groups; Christians, Jews and Moslems; honour it; yet they all miss the true reasons for its importance. Their interest derives from a sentimental regard for the past, whilst the Bible reveals that the cities real importance still lies in the future.
Not that the past history of Jerusalem can be ignored. It is frequently mentioned in the Bible and many important events recorded in the Bible occurred there. Jerusalem became prominent when David, the most illustrious king of God*s chosen people, Israel, established it as his capital city. In the reign of David’s son, Solomon, God declared that He had chosen Jerusalem to place his name there as we read:
Israel were the people chosen by God and through them God declared that He would work out His purpose as revealed in the Bible. Jerusalem means ‘City of Peace’, yet throughout it’s history it has experienced more war than peace. The city that is destined to be the capitol of the Kingdom of God was to suffer great calamity because of the disobedience of Israel. Jesus spoke of Jerusalem saying:
Because the Israelites turned away from God they were to be scattered among the nations. Their kingdom was destroyed when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and carried the Jews into captivity in the days of king Zedekiah. God revealed through the prophet Ezekiel that this was a punishment to the nation for its disobedience to Him, but the kingdom was to be overturned only until one came who had the right to rule over it.
The one who has the right to the throne of the kingdom of Israel is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a direct descendant of David and therefore rightful heir to his throne. Furthermore, the angel promised Mary, his mother, prior to his birth:
Jesus has never yet sat upon the throne of David, thus the fulfillment of this promise must still lie in the future. This means that the ancient kingdom of Israel, with its capital and throne in Jerusalem, must be restored.
This is exactly what the apostles of Jesus believed and looked for. Shortly after his resurrection they asked Jesus:
However Jesus was taken up into heaven, but immediately two angels stood by them and gave them the assurance that Jesus would return again, saying:
So we are clearly shown that Jesus will return to the earth. However Jerusalem was to be in Gentile hands until the time came for Jesus to return. Jesus himself prophesied saying:
Note the word ‘until’, this treading down of Jerusalem was not to last forever and the Jews will completely posses the city once again. Throughout the last century we have seen Jews going back to Israel in increasing numbers. In 1844 there were only 7,120 Jews in Jerusalem, in 1967 there were 195,700 and now Jerusalem is back in Jewish hands. Yet not entirely so for the centuries old Moslem mosque still stands on the temple site. Jerusalem must go through a time of trouble once again before true and lasting peace will come. Jerusalem will be the centre of an international crisis:
It is at this time that salvation will come and Jerusalem will be saved:
It is at this time that Jesus will restore the kingdom to Israel and sit upon David*s throne in Jerusalem. From Jerusalem, Jesus will reign over all the earth: ‘The Lord shall be King over all the earth’ Zechariah 14:9 and ‘out of Zion shall go forth the law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem’. Isaiah 2:3
That this is a true interpretation of what Scripture teaches is proved by many references in the prophetic Scriptures concerning this famous city. Jesus himself said ‘Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God*s throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.* Matt 5:34-35
In view of what has already been discussed, it is obvious that the great king is Jesus himself. The Psalmist speaks of the future glory of Jerusalem saying:
The prophets of Israel, when referring to the glorious future which God has in store for the earth, speak of the important position which Jerusalem will occupy, as the following passage shows:
It is evident from the context of this passage that the expression ‘a new heaven and a new earth* is used metaphorically to designate the order of things to be established in the Kingdom of God, in the same way as the apostle Peter uses the expression: ‘Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness' 2Peter 3:13
Jeremiah, speaking of this same time declares:
Other prophets speaking of Jerusalem write:
Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously*. Isaiah 24:23
‘And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles*. Zechariah 14:16
All these passages clearly indicate that Jerusalem is to be the capital, the seat of government and the centre of worship, when the kingdom of God is set up on the earth. Jerusalem is more than a city of sentimental associations whose future is of a mystical nature. It has a very real and glorious future:
Jerusalem is also to be the centre for worship, the place where all peoples will come to seek and worship God. For this reason, all those who hold the true Bible hope will echo the words of the Psalmist:
For many centuries Jerusalem has been trodden down by other nations. This situation came about because of the disobedience of God’s people, Israel. God punished His people yet foretold of the time when He would restore them once again. The fact that Israel is once again back in their own land and Jerusalem is also in Israeli hands is a sign that Jesus will soon return to set up the Kingdom of God. Jesus will return in power and great glory, the nations will resist Jesus, but in vain. They will be overcome and the law will go forth from Jerusalem, then at last Jerusalem will indeed be the ‘City of Peace’, a peace then will extend to fill the whole world. A true and lasting peace that the world has never known before.
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Study 19 Questions
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