The New Jerusalem
On 21 and 22 May, Jewish people around the world will be celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem that took place 53 years ago, with a festival known as Yom Yerushalayim.
Jerusalem (Yerushalayim in Hebrew), means “city of peace” and is often called Zion. Mount Zion is the hill on which the fortress of the city was built, yet it has been anything but a city of peace. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times!!
So, the million dollar question is “Will there ever be peace in Jerusalem – and who will usher it in?”
The only reliable source to find an answer for this question, is in the book that mentions Jerusalem more than 800 times – the Bible.
According to the Scriptures, peace will only be restored to Jerusalem when the Messiah comes to rule and reign from there. But before that momentous event, the Bible predicts a time of great trouble, tension, and turmoil for the city.
2,400 years ago, the Hebrew prophet Zechariah, not only prophesied that Jerusalem would take centre stage in the world’s eyes, but also that this would mark the beginning of the last phase of history. In the Tenach (Jewish Scriptures), this is what Zechariah chapter 12:1-3 speaks about concerning the very days in which we are living:
“Thus says the Lord … behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces; though all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.”
This passage of Scripture points to two effects that Jerusalem will have on the nations around her. The first, is that God will make Jerusalem “a cup of drunkenness” unto all peoples round about. Those nations in close proximity to Jerusalem, will become as though intoxicated!
The second effect that Jerusalem will have on the nations around her, is that of a “burdensome stone”. This means that Jerusalem is like a stone that is in the way of the plans of the nations around her and when they try to shift this stone out of the way, they will be “sore wounded” or “cut in pieces”.
The second half of verse 3 says,
“…and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it (Jerusalem).”
This Scripture is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Israel does not have many friends – most of the nations surrounding Israel are intent on wiping her out. According to the Bible, things are going to get even worse and will eventually culminate in the Battle of Armageddon. Even though most of the New Testament is written in Greek, the word “Armageddon”, comes from the Hebrew word which means “Mount Megiddo”. The Book of Revelation, in chapter 16:12-16, describes how the false messiah (otherwise known as the anti-Christ) will gather his army together to annihilate the land and its people. When all looks lost, the Messiah will return on the clouds of heaven to save His people. (Zechariah chapters 12, 13 and 14).
In Matthew 5:34-35, Yeshua (Jesus), referred to Jerusalem as the City of the Great King. It will be the city that He returns to at the end of this age when His feet touch the Mount of Olives:
“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two…” Zechariah 14:4
At His First Coming, Yeshua the Messiah entered Jerusalem as a humble King of Peace – a Suffering Servant who would lay down His life for the sins of the people (Isaiah 53). Traditionally, entering a city on a donkey, symbolized arrival in peace, rather than as a war-waging king arriving on a horse. However, at His Second Coming, Jesus will come to rule and reign as the King of Kings from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. Isaiah 2:2-4 speaks about a wonderful future peace, when instruments of war will be converted to instruments of farming, and all the nations of the world will go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord (Zechariah 14:16-17).
The Bible also speaks about a future Heavenly Jerusalem (Revelations 21:2-4; 10-12,13) full of God’s glory. In Revelations 21 it describes the incredible beauty of the New Jerusalem:
“Then I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, COMING DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN from God… And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people . God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.'” (verses 1-4)
When we look at the present state of the world there is devastation, fear, sadness, pain, and for many, hopelessness. But when we look at what God has promised for the new earth, that will one day be our dwelling place, we can have hope for the future. My drawing of the New Jerusalem is not quite accurate because there will be no temple in the New Jerusalem, for the Scriptures say that the glory of the Lord will illuminate it (Rev 21:23). There will be no night there but rather,
“… the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour into it …”
Are you one of the saved who will be ready to meet the King when He returns, and to dwell with Him in the New Jerusalem?