Jerusalem and the kingdom of God
Jerusalem is builded as a city that is joined together in unity
In the Rabbinic literature, the unbreakable bond between the heavenly and the earthly Jerusalem is strikingly emphasized. Allegedly, rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai would have taught already that opinion. Speaking about the redemption of Jerusalem on earth, he would have said, referring to Psalm 122:3 >> “The heavenly Jerusalem can not be complete as long as the earthly city has not been redeemed”.
For this reason, and good biblical reasons as well, in this study from now we refer to Jerusalem-heavenly and Jerusalem-earthly.
During the attack on Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, this rabbi in secret led talks with them and tried to obtain permission to establish a religious center in Javne, as an alternative to the city of Jerusalem. His intention was to ensure the continuation of the halakha founded religion.
In his days, the view was adopted that the city of the temple - the real Jerusalem for which should be fought and a normal life maintained - was supplanted by a kind of heavenly Jerusalem, where no tax was levied and where existed no sewage problems. It was the Jerusalem of angels; of gold and crystal; of emerald roofs, etc.
Earthly Jerusalem at that time was not something to negotiate. After the fall of the city, the Romans set on fire all but that was combustible. Afterwards, when they had rebuilt the city, they renamed it Aelia Capitolina.
In our view, in Revelation 22:14, a prophetic vision can be seen about the things on which Yochanan had raised his hopes: the earthly Jerusalem in a state of redemption:
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
Obviously this announcement is additional to the vision in Revelation 7:9-17, where a great multitude is seen, safely coming forth out of the (still) future Great Tribulation, in Jeremiah 30:7 named the time of Jacob’s Trouble.
Moreover, those members of that Great Crowd, for what reason will they experience such a blessed privilege? They still believed in the redemptive sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua’s own life:
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, “These who are clothed in white robes, who are they, and whence did they come?”
And I said to him: “My Lord, you know”.
And he said to me, “These are those who came out of the great tribulation, and they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and they render him sacred service in his temple sanctuary day and night. And he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will not hunger nor will they thirst anymore; the sun nor any heat will fall on them. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them and guide them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”.
In this Scripture part we find described how in due time - during the 70th Year Week for Israel - one of the many restoration-prophecies of the Tanakh, namely Isaiah 49:8-10, will be brought to reality. The redemption of Zion (Jerusalem) will then be a joyous event (Daniel 9:24-27).
The Great Crowd of Jewish believers will be granted entrance into the Temple city, the New Jerusalem, through its gates; as a result of the fact that they washed their long robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
That the New Jerusalem is partly heavenly and partly earthly, making it possible that also one on earth can enter the city, can be deduced from the way the city is described further in Revelation 21:9-14
And one of the seven angels having the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here! I will show the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb”. And he carried me away in spirit upon a great and lofty mountain, and he showed me the holy City Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Its radiance like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, shining crystal-clear; having a great and lofty wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. On the east three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the City has twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
So, the heavenly part of the Temple-city is identified as the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb, a ‘wife’ who has the glory of God himself! No wonder, because she is coming out of the immediate presence of God, which is emphasized by her radiance, which is like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone shining crystal-clear.
Ezekiel 5:5 on the other hand focuses on the earth when expressing prophetically the importance of the City amid the surrounding pagan nations, the Gentiles: Thus the Lord YHWH is saying: This is Jerusalem; in the midst of the heathen nations I have set her, and lands all around her.
Owing to the reciprocity between Jerusalem-heavenly and Jerusalem-earthly, that description is significant.
When namely - at the start of the transition to the Millennium - Jerusalem on earth is becoming very important for the Gentiles who surround her, that certainly also holds good for the heavenly part of ‘Jerusalem’. After all, within Elohim's eternal purpose, his intent with the City is that the Gentiles are going to receive the promised blessings through Abraham's seed; as was promised to the Patriarch in Genesis 22:16-18 >>
Truly, I swear by myself, is the utterance of YHWH, that due to the fact that you have done this thing and not withheld your son, your only one, I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the grains of sand that are on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in your seed shall bless themselves all the nations of the earth, due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.
Only in her state of redemption, the Jewish Congregation on earth can become to a blessing for the Gentile peoples. Her own situation that will make her suitable for such precious appointment, will be exactly as foretold (for example) in Ezekiel 36:24-28 >>
I want to take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and bring you on your ground. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And my spirit will I put within you, and I will act so that you walk in my statues and keep my judicial decisions and actually do them. And you shall certainly dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people and I will be your God.
The fulfilment of these words will make Jerusalem-earthly to a "new creation", capable of representing the Heavenly Administration of the New Jerusalem on earth, to the great spiritual benefit of the Goyim.
However, lifting up the Gentiles out of their from Adam inherited situation more is needed. For that necessity, we can refer to Yeshua’s own ministry on earth during the period 29-33 AD.
In Acts 10:37-38, in his speech to the centurion Cornelius, the apostle Cephas (Simon Peter) demonstrated how effective the way of acting was of him who, as the prominent seed of Abraham, was to bless humanity first of all (Galatians 3:8,16):
You know what happened throughout the Jewish country, how it began in Galilee after the baptism which John preached; even Yeshua of Nazareth, how God anointed him with holy spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Yeshua was anointed with holy spirit and clothed with strength. However, the miraculous works he performed were ultimately possible only because YHWH Elohim was with him. Yes, YHWH was really the One who wrought the signs, wonders, and powerful works that were performed by Yeshua.
See also Acts 2:22: Men of Israel, hear these words! Yeshua of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know.
In Luke 5:12-26 the evangelist recounts two remarkable healings performed by Yeshua one after the other; first a man full of leprosy, and then a man who was paralyzed.
We can easily understand how deeply had to be encroached in the physical organism of the two people in order to bring about cure. Granted, Yeshua, as the last Adam was a perfect man, however, still human (1 Co 15:45). As just a man, without supernatural influence he never could have performed the miracles. The superhuman factor was indispensable and ultimately what really mattered.
Significant therefore is Luke's comment in verse 17 >> There was power of the Lord for him to do healing.
From a comparison with Mark 6:5 << He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people, and healed them >> we may apparently infer that Yeshua himself was totally dependent on the proximity of Elohim's spirit, and even of his willingness (or not) to use the potency. Only when his Father considered it desirable, he performed powerful works and wonders and signs through the intercession of his Son (Psalm 103:2-3; Acts 2:22).
The same Luke also described the healing of the woman who suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years, identifying the following noteworthy developments:
Behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. He fell down at Yeshua’s feet, and begged him to come into his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as he went, the multitudes pressed against him.
A woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her living on physicians, and could not be healed by any, came behind him, and touched the fringe of his cloak, and immediately the flow of her blood stopped. Yeshua said, “Who touched me?”
When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes press and jostle you, and you say, ‘Who touched me?’”
But Yeshua said, “Someone did touch me, for I perceived that power has gone out of me.” When the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared to him in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. He said to her, “Daughter, cheer up. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
While he still spoke, one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house came, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Don’t trouble the Teacher.” But Yeshua hearing it, answered him, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe, and she will be healed.”
When he came to the house, he didn’t allow anyone to enter in, except Peter, John, James, the father of the child, and her mother. All were weeping and mourning her, but he said, “Don’t weep. She isn’t dead, but sleeping.” They were ridiculing him, knowing that she was dead. But he put them all outside, and taking her by the hand, he called, saying, “Child, arise!” Her spirit returned, and she rose up immediately. He commanded that something be given to her to eat (Luke 8).
The two miracles give us some idea of the miraculous cure that will befall the creation from the transition to the Millennium kingdom of the Messiah.
Jairus is a representative son of Israel, and a leading figure in the local synagogue in Capernaum. His name is apparently the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Jair. The seventh judge in Israel was called Jair (Judges 10:3-5).
Disease had invaded the house of Jairus, and that threatens the life of his only-begotten daughter. Jairus must have been familiar with the miraculous healing of a servant of the army chief who had provided funds for the construction of the synagogue (Luke 7:1-10). Therefore, he does not hesitate; he has to go to Yeshua for help to his dying daughter. Yeshua responds to his request; and accompanied by the crowd they go on their way to Jairus' house.
The woman avails herself of the thronging crowd around Yeshua. Taking into consideration all the things she had heard about him, she had come to this conclusion: “If I only touch something of his garment, I will be healed”.
However, according to Thorah an action like such was for her an unprecedented act, given her impure state. In that situation, contact with anyone was forbidden, for not to transfer her uncleanness to that person. Nevertheless, with faith she goes out among the crowd and manages to reach Yeshua and to touch him. And she is confirmed in her faith: immediately the fountain of her blood dried up. She sensed in her body that she had been healed of the grievous sickness.
Among the pressing crowd, many came in touch with Yeshua, but without any beneficial effect for themselves. However, the touch of the woman that had taken place in faith had immediate effect.
While she had hoped to remain in anonymity, implementing her plan unnoticed, this delicate woman became the focus of everyone's attention. In front of all the people she was forced to explain her situation; for her a source of shame and embarrassment. However, precisely thus to everyone became clear that she had acted with noble motives; her complete trust in the power of the Messiah had helped her to put aside all scruples.
Yet, Yeshua said: “Someone touched me, for I perceived that power went out of me”.
With that statement, Yeshua revealed that during his ministry he too, in all aspects, was dependent on his Father. YHWH Elohim was actually the One who performed all the miracles, but with his Son as an intermediary.
Exactly in that way, it will happen in the Messianic kingdom of the Millennium. On earth, the Jewish saints will represent the beloved City: heavenly New Jerusalem. As the members of the earthly part of the Israel of God, they shall work for the blessing of humanity. However, even though her members become a new creation, their influence is limited. The supernatural efficacy of Jerusalem-heavenly will lead to the actual healing of the nations.
See Revelation 22:1-2.
Nonetheless, both congregations shall work together.
There will be reciprocity. That is well reflected in Ezekiel 38:12. Prophetically announcing the schemes of Gog, Ezekiel at the same time informs us about the said reprocity >>
To take the spoil and to take the prey; to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered out of the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell in the centre [the navel, Hebrew: tab(b)ur] of the earth.
The prophet supplies us with a specific description of the conditions in which Israel's land and people will stand when Gog overtakes them at the End of times. The land will long have laid desolate, but at the time that Gog makes his appearance on the religious and political scene, it will be brought back from the sword, and rebuilt again. Israel has then been gathered out of the nations and is staying safely on her own soil, or as it were, on the navel of the earth.
The situation that corresponds to the navel of the earth, would indicate the place on earth where YHWH's sanctuary is represented and from which his spirit and blessings are flowing to all sides. Therefore, truly the centre of the earth, and also the navel through which the nourishing blood of the mother is fed into the developing fruit. Becoming such a focus of the life-giving spirit, is the destination of Jerusalem.
Living on the navel of the earth, evokes the image of a cosmology considering heaven and earth as an organic whole (mother and child). Within that image, the City of Jerusalem is regarded as the point where the living link between heaven and earth begins and where a believing remnant of Elohim's people and the City itself are standing in the centre of the global developments led by God. There, from his throne of grace, his Law is going out to all the nations; for their salvation. As is predicted in Micah 4:1-7 >>
But in the latter days, it will happen that the mountain of Yahweh’s temple will be established on the top of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills; and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will go and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh,
and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Zion will go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem; and he will judge between many peoples, and will decide concerning strong nations afar off. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more. But they will sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and no one will make them afraid: For the mouth of Yahweh of Armies has spoken. Indeed all the nations may walk in the name of their gods; but we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God forever and ever. “In that day,” says Yahweh, “I will assemble that which is lame, and I will gather that which is driven away, and that which I have afflicted; and I will make that which was lame a remnant, and that which was cast far off a strong nation: And Yahweh will reign over them on Mount Zion from then on, even forever.
In Isaiah 2:2-5, where an identical call prophetically can be heard, the remnant of Israel is encouraged by the words: O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of Yahweh.
Both here and in Ezekiel 38:12, Jerusalem is considered the centre of the earth, arranged and governed by God to radiate the true light in all directions over the Gentile peoples. No city like Jerusalem, or the land of Canaan could have been better chosen by God for the accomplishment of that mission. An optimal geographical location from which his chosen earthly congregation, the Jewish people, can be exercised in an appropriate and successful way her influence to the paganism of the world.
In the ancient world of Ezekiel days various nations had already become more or less civilized states, such as Egypt and Ethiopia in South-western direction; Greece and Rome in the Northwest. To the East Babel, Nineveh, Persia, India.
The Phoenician sailors were close, so the true religion could be transmitted through them to the most distant countries.
YHWH Elohim did not arrange that situation of Israel for her own selfish purposes, but rather with the intention that her members would become the spiritual benefactor of the whole world; as the beneficiary and beloved City being a blessing morally for the nations; however, also reason why she would be viewed with envy by her (never missing) enemies.
In Psalm 67 that blessed intention is expressed by YHWH Elohim.
With a view to achieving this purpose, there is provided the necessary reciprocity between Jerusalem-earthly and Jerusalem-heavenly.
This is clarified further in the last two chapters of the Bible book Revelation, where is painted the indissoluble unity of the New Jerusalem, the holy City descending out of heaven from God. In that situation, she is like the Tent of God with men, and as a direct result: No more tears, death, mourning, outcry or pain.
The heavenly part of the City - Yeshua’s Bride, the raptured Christian congregation - through the umbilical cord, the river of water of life, is connected with the earthly part, the Jewish Congregation.
In Isaiah 66:10-14 this purpose of YHWH Elohim is symbolically presented to us in a wonderful way; a picture is called forth of a mother feeding her child:
Rejoice you with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn over her; that you may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that you may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream: and you shall suck of it; you shall be borne on the side, and shall be dandled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see it, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like the tender grass: and the hand of Yahweh shall be known toward his servants; and he will have indignation against his enemies.
Until that time, during many centuries, the human creation will have existed in birth pains, as described by Paul in Romans 8:16-19. Referring to the elimination of the negative consequences of sin, he is pointing us to the role that the heavenly Jerusalem, the Christian church, will fulfil in that loving purpose of YHWH Elohim:
The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, we are also heirs, yes, heirs of God, but joint heirs with the Messiah, provided we suffer together with him, that we also may be glorified together.
Therefore, I consider that the sufferings of this present time have nothing to do in comparison with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the ardent expectation of creation is waiting for the making manifest of the sons God.
What will the glory that shall be revealed in us [Elohim's sons of the heavenly Congregation] comprise? The apostle thus continues:
For the creation was
subjected to futility, not willingly, but through him who subjected [it] on [the basis of] hope that the creation
itself also will be liberated from the bondage of the corruption into the
glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole
creation keeps on groaning together and is in travail together until now (Rm 8:20-22).
As long as the heavenly Congregation remains on earth she goes on groaning, together with all other people, looking forward to the full adoption as sons, the release of the body [by ransom] and then, however, being revealed in glory, together with their Lord (Rm 8:23). As is also announced in Col 3:4 >>
When the Messiah, our life, is made manifest, then you also will be made manifest together with him in glory.
Then, those sons of God can fulfil the ardent expectation of Creation: yet be borne to free children of YHWH Elohim, freed of the bondage of corruption; possessing the glorious freedom that is appropriate for children of God.
That in the Millennium kingdom the people on earth will become the (free) children of God, Yeshua himself alluded to when he explained the results of mankind’s resurrection in that glorious era:
However, those who are deemed worthy attaining that age and the resurrection from the dead ... can not die anymore [the Adamic death]; for they are equal to angels, and they are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection (Luke 20:33-36).
The City with its people on the navel of the earth, Jerusalem-earthly, is chosen by YHWH Elohim in that process to be the connecting link with the heavens. God's throne will extend from heaven to earth with Jerusalem as its central point:
At that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh, and to her all the nations shall be gathered, to the name of Yahweh in Jerusalem, and they will no more walk after the stubbornness of their evil heart (Jeremiah 3:17).
In Jerusalem will the earthly seat of the Theocracy be located, the point of attraction for all the earth:
Pretty by its loftiness, the exultation of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, in the remote parts of the north, the town of the grand King (Psalm 48).
The City of God, the New Jerusalem, unbreakable consisting of a heavenly and an earthly part, is also referred to in Psalm 46:
The City of God, the holiest grand tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her at the appearance of morning.
It is interesting to note that the City of God is also referred to as the holiest grand tabernacle of the Most High. Or according to another view: The holy place of the tents of the Most High.
This indicates that the City is also a Temple sanctuary, Elohim's House. In Revelation 21:22 that thought is being confirmed for us: And a temple sanctuary I did not see in it, for the Lord God Almighty is its temple sanctuary, also the Lamb.
In the victory song at the Red Sea, is also alluded to the reciprocity of the two Jerusalems, however, without actually naming the City. It is more a matter of a sanctuary:
You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, the place, Yahweh, which you have made for yourself to dwell in; the sanctuary, Lord, which your hands have established.
In that Scripture, prophetically recorded in Exodus 15:17, we learn that YHWH Elohim would plant his people Israel on the Mount of his inheritance, an established place for his dwelling, a sanctuary, erected by his hands.
This could be initially only typological, owing to the imperfection of the people. That such a sanctuary not really could be Elohim's abode, would appear from the fact that it would not be built by his hands but by human hands.
The turning point in the events - types pass into realities - always coincides with the coming of the Messiah, his sacrificial death, resurrection and return to heaven. Only as a result of that state of affairs, the true sanctuary could be established, not a man-made temple, as was shown already shortly before the Second temple was destroyed in 70 AD >>
However, when Messiah acted [publicly] as high priest of the good things that came to pass, through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, he entered, no, not with the blood of goats and of young bulls, but by his own blood, once for all time into the most sacred place, having obtained an everlasting redemption ... For the Messiah did not enter a most sacred place made with hands, copy of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear on our behalf before God’s person (Hebrews 9:11, 12, 24).
Eventually, as soon as Israel’s redemption is a fact, the glory of the heavenly Temple City will be reflected here on earth in the earthly part of the City. Isaiah 54:1-13 is clear:
1 Sing, barren, you who didn’t bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child: for more are the sons of the desolate than the sons of the married wife, says Yahweh.
2 Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations; don’t spare: lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall spread aboard on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
4 Don’t be afraid; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be confounded; for you shall not be disappointed: for you shall forget the shame of your youth; and the reproach of your widowhood shall you remember no more.
5 For your Maker is your husband; Yahweh of Armies is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6 For Yahweh has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, says your God.
7 For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you.
8 In overflowing wrath I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting loving kindness will I have mercy on you, says Yahweh your Redeemer.
9 For this is as the waters of Noah to me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, says Yahweh who has mercy on you.
11 You afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in beautiful colours, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, and your gates of emeralds, and all your border of precious stones.
13 And all your sons shall be taught of Yahweh; and great shall be the peace of your sons.
The barren, desolate woman, disowned for a long time, soul-grieved in her widowhood, clearly refers to Israel's situation during the long exile of about 2000 years. From verse 11, however, she is taking the characteristics of a city, New Jerusalem, the City with the real foundations (Hebrews 11:10 ; Abraham was looking forward to such a city).
But not only that; the glory of the heavenly part is reflected here on earth, in the glory of ethnic Israel.
And another thing: As the heavenly part of the City is represented by a woman, the Bride of the Lamb, the same is true for the earthly part of New Jerusalem: In Isaiah she is pictured as a woman, restored and redeemed who, on basis of the New Covenant, is taken back by YHWH as his wife:
Look! There are days coming, assurance of YHWH, and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; not one like the covenant that I have concluded with their forefathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, and I had them as a husband (Jer 31).
In addition, how glorious: All her true sons will be students of YHWH Elohim, still according to the rule that Yeshua stated in John 6:44, 45 >>
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me.
Both (emblematic) ‘women’, together constituting the one, true Israel of God, will become a blessing to all the other peoples, the Gentiles (Goyim).