The History of Jerusalem (part 5C)

Introduction

After the Jews were banished from Judea they dispersed all over the world. Jerusalem was ruled by Gentile nations for centuries. The Bible abounds with prophecies concerning the gathering of the Jews back to the Promised Land. The first gathering produced the modern State of Israel, which was necessary for the fulfillment of the prophecies regarding the Tribulation and the many wars against Jerusalem. The second gathering will occur after the national repentance of Israel, and will result in the Messianic Kingdom with Christ ruling on the throne of David. After the final rebellion and the great white throne judgment follows the eternal state, governed from the New Jerusalem.

Part 5A summarizes 1 The world-wide dispersion of the Jews.
2 The Gentile-controlled period in Jerusalem’s history.
Part 5B concerns 3 The first gathering of the Jews back to the Promised Land.
4 The tribulation.
Part 5C focuses on 5 The second gathering of the Jews, which comprises
5.1 Regeneration;
5.2 The second gathering in faith for blessings.
6 The messianic kingdom, which includes
6.1 The Messiah;
6.2 His millenial reign;
6.2 Jerusalem during the millenium;
6.4 The great white throne judgment.
7 The eternal state.

5 The second gathering of the Jews back to the promised land

5.1 Regeneration

Jesus told the people of Jerusalem, "You will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"[1] God promised the house of Israel a 'new covenant': "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people .... They will all know me .... for I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."[2] This regeneration can only be effected through the work of the Holy Spirit, There is first an act of renewal, 'to beget,'[3] resulting in 'a new creation.'[4] Whereas the Mosaic covenant could not impart the power to live according to its standard of righteousness, the new covenant with its promise of the Holy Spirit will renew the hearts and minds of the people. During the tribulation, God will bring about a world-wide revival. He will employ several means: 1) His judgments poured out to demonstrate His awesome power; 2) the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will preach the gospel throughout the world [5]; 3) the two witnesses like Elijah and Moses who will prophesy from Jerusalem for 3 1/2 years, their words corroborated by demonstrations of miraculous powers [6]; 4) the angel preaching the good news of Jesus Christ to every nation on earth.[7] Then, at the second coming of Christ, God's people will look on "the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child."[8] They will be among the millions of "every nation, tribe, people and language .... who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple .... Never again will they hunger" or thirst or suffer in any way.[9]

5.2 The second gathering of the Jews in faith for blessings

"Comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed .... that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."[10] The promise of the gathering of the Jewish people to their own land, is based on the land covenant of Deuteronomy.[11] Moses first warned them against further disobedience, but then predicted that they will do exactly that and be "uprooted" from their land and "thrust .... into another" where they will suffer awful persecutions.[12] However, if they repent, God will return them to their land, and "circumcise their hearts" so that they will love and obey the Lord.[13] Jerusalem will live in safety and security under the Lord's protection [14] and they will become more prosperous and numerous than ever before. A remnant of the Jews returned and established the State of Israel. However, the conflict in the Middle East, with Jerusalem as the focal point, will only be resolved by the Messiah when He returns to crush His enemies and set up the messianic kingdom.

6 The Messianic Kingdom includes

6.1 The Messiah

Jesus told His disciples, "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light ....'[15] At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky ...." He will come "on the clouds .... with great power and glory."[16] In the Book of Revelation, the apostle John tells us of a rider on a white horse coming down from heaven and followed by "the armies of heaven". His name is "the Word of God," and "out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations." [17] The Antichrist and his armies, gathered at Armageddon to make war against the Messiah, will be instantly destroyed through His spoken word.[18]
All the Old Testament prophecies of a suffering Messiah, come to earth to live a sinless life and die on a cross to atone for the sins of the world, were literally fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We can therefore expect that the prophecies regarding a coming King, the Son of God, to rule and reign over the whole world, to be literally fulfilled. This "King of kings and Lord of lords"[19] will also be the Son of David [20] who is to rule from David's throne forever.[21] Through disobedience Judah lost a descendant of David as king on the throne when Babylon conquered Jerusalem. Jeremiah, the prophet, foresaw a day when God would raise up a godly Davidic king to restore the dynasty.[22] Ezekiel also prophesied that Israel will live in peace forever under "my servant David" who "will be their king .... forever."[23] Not only will He be King, He will be prophet-king,the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek; hinted at in Genesis [24]and further developed in the letter to the Hebrews.[25] "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: You are a priest forever."[26] "Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant."[27] "Because Jesus lives forever he has a permanent priesthood .... he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."[28]

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6.2 His millenial reign

At the coming of Christ, the immediate sentence of the antichrist and the false prophet will be to be cast into the lake of fire.[29] Satan will be bound in chains and cast into the abyss for a 1000 years - the millenial reign of Christ.[30] Then thrones will be set up [31] and the living will be judged to determine who will enter into the Messiah's kingdom and who will be cast into the eternal fire.[32] The tribulation saints slain by the antichrist and the Old Testament saints will be resurrected to reign with Christ and the church for the 1000 years. The living people in mortal bodies will retain the power of procreation. Their children will be in need of salvation, and Israel will now finally fulfill the function for which they were originally set apart by God, and act as "a kingdom of priests."[33] Christ's rule will be universal,[34] a time of peace,[35] and characterized by righteousness and justice.[36] It will be a time like the Garden of Eden, with the curse on the earth removed and sickness banished,[37] harmony in the animal kingdom,[38] long life,[39] prosperity [40] and joy.[41]

6.3 Jerusalem during the millenium

The centre of the Messiah's government will be in Jerusalem: "Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."[42] In response to God's restoration of repentant Judah, the Gentile nations will turn aside from idolatry and come to salvation.[43] "All the nations" will flow into Jerusalem to worship the Lord.[44] The city will receive "a double portion" of God's blessings to reverse the years that she was under the curse of judgment.[45] Zion will no longer be known as "Deserted" or "Desolate" but will be called by a new name, "Hephzibah," which means "My delight is in her."[46] "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her .... For this is what the Lord says: I will extend peace to her as a river, and the wealth of nations like a flowing stream."[47] Several Old Testament prophets predicted that God will be worshipped in a new temple during the millenium: "House of the Lord," "the house of the God of Jacob" and "my sanctuary."[48] Ezekiel fortells the vast dimensions of this temple.[49] Zechariah predicts a great earthquake when Christ comes to set His feet on the Mount of Olives, "which is before Jerusalem on the east." The mountain will split in two, and the physical changes will be enough to provide a temple mound of sufficient size for Ezekiel's temple.[50] Jeremiah pictured a restored temple in the future era where lavish sacrifices would once again be offered on its altar.[51] Reunited Israel and Judah and the entire world would make pilgrimages to the temple to worship the Lord.[52] Ezekiel's temple is described as the culmination of God's restoration of Israel. The 'shekinah', glory of God's presence, left the first temple before its destruction, and never re-entered the second. Ezekiel's temple will be dedicated by the return of the 'shekinah': "I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east .... and the glory of the Lord filled the temple."[53] This event rejoins God to His people, restoring them to their chosen status as a holy nation, a kingdom of priests and a light to the nations.[54]

6.4 The great white throne judgment

Even after a 1000 years of Christ's rule in righteousness, justice, peace, love and joy, many will rebel at the slightest temptation because of the depravity of the unregenerate heart of man. Satan will be released out of the abyss to "deceive the nations," and will launch a final revolt against God.[55] Those who lived during Christ's reign without turning to Him in repentance, will be deceived by the devil's lies. Only through a personal relationship with Christ can man resist his own corrupt nature and also Satan himself. Satan and his hordes, "in number .... like the sand on the seashore"[56] will march to attack the Messiah and God's people in Jerusalem. As He promised,[57] the Lord will defend the city and destroy His enemies by fire from heaven. The devil will be cast into the lake of burning sulfur, where the antichrist and false prophet had been thrown. Then the unsaved people of all the ages are resurrected to stand before the throne of God for judgment. "And the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."[58] All will be consigned to the lake of fire, but the degree of punishment will be determined by the nature of their evil work. Then even death and hades will be thrown into the lake where all "will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.[59]

7. The eternal state

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God .... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men .... He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning .... for the old order of things has passed away.'"[60] The new Jerusalem has a great, high wall with 12 gates named after the 12 tribes of Israel. The wall has 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles of the Lord.This represents the unity of Israel and the church as the people of God in eternity. There will be no temple in Jerusalem "because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." There will be no need for sun or moon "for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." The gates of the city will never be shut for there will be no night.[61] "The river of the water of life ..." will flow "from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city." On its banks will grow the "tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit .... every month."[62} Eternal life is a gift from God given to all who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted His offer of salvation based upon His death and resurrection.[63] As God is eternal, He will impart to believers this same quality of life, and they will be in His presence forever.

References:

1. Matthew 23:39
2. Jeremiah 31:31-34
3. John 1:13; 3:3-8
4. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galations 6:13
5. Revelation 7
6. Revelation 11
7. Revelation 14:6-7
8. Zechariah 12:10
9. Revelation 7:9, 14-17
10. Isaiah 40:1-2
11. Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20
12. Deuteronomy 29:28
13. Deuteronomy 30:1-6
14. Jeremiah 32:37; 33:16
15. Quoted from Isaiah 13:10; 34:4
16. Matthew 24:29-30
17. Revelation 19:11-15
18. Revelation 19:19-21
19. Revelation 19:16
20. Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5
21. 1 Chronicles 17:14,27; 2 Samuel 7:11-16
22. Jeremiah 23:5-6; 30:19; 33:18-22
23. Jeremiah 37:24-26
24. Genesis 14:18-20
25. Hebrews 5:6; 7:1-28
26. Psalm 110:4
27. Hebrews 7:22
28. Hebrews 7:24-25
29. Revelation 19:20
30. Revelation 20:1-3
31. Revelation 20:4
32. Matthew 25:31-46
33. Exodus 19:6
34. Daniel 2:35
35. Isaiah 2:4; 11:5-9; 65:25; Micah 4:3
36. Isaiah 11:3-5
37. Isaiah 11:6-9; 33:24
38. Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25
39. Isaiah 65:20
40. Isaiah 41; 35:1-2; 62:8-9
41. Isaiah 9:3-4
42. Isaiah 2:3
43. Jeremiah 4:2
44. Isaiah 2:1-5
45. Isaiah 61:7
46. Isaiah 62:1-4
47. Isaiah 66:10-12
48. Joel 3:18; Isaiah 2:3; 60:13
49. Ezekiel 40-48
50. Zechariah 14:3-4
51. Jeremiah 31:12,14; 33:11
52. Jeremiah 3:17; 31:6,12-14;33:11
53. Ezekiel 43:2-5
54. Ezekiel 37:27-28
55. Revelation 20:7-10
56. Revelation 20:8
57. 2 Kings 19:34
58. Revelation 20:12
59. Revelation 20:10
60. Revelation 21:1-4
61. Revelation 21:22-24
62. Revelation 22:1-2
63. John 3:15-16; 10:10; Ephesians 2:8-9

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Douglas, J.D. (ed) New Bible Dictionary, Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1962.
2. Lahaye, T. and Hindson,E. (eds) The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy, Oregan, U.S.A.: Harvest House Publishers, 2004.
3. Lahaye, T. and Hindson, E. (eds) The Popular Bible Prophecy Commentary, Oregon,U.S.A.: Harvest House Publishers, 2006.
4. Pentecost, J.D. Things to Come, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958.
5. Thompson, F.C. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible (N.I.V.), Michigan, U.S.A.: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1983.

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