jerusalem-108853_6401Chronicles 3:4: six were born to him in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years and six months. And he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem.

Earthly Jerusalem was a notable city in the bible (and is still is). In the old kingdom of Israel (and even now), Jerusalem was the capital city. It was a city conquered by David and he made the capital of his kingdom (2Samuel 5:6-10), and over the years Jerusalem held a pride of place in the agenda of God.

When Jesus was to ascend to heaven, he told his people to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, which is the Holy Spirit, and that with that with the empowerment they he brings, they would bear witness to him starting that place, and reaching the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). It was the place of God end time dominion activity meant to spread throughout the whole earth.

Jesus decided to start his church movement from Jerusalem, putting it in direct conflict with the practice of Judaism in his time. From that time, Jerusalem had borne a double identity, of conflicts, of conflicting ideologies fighting for its soul, even till this day.

Before then, it has been a place of persecution. Jesus said Jerusalem persecutes his prophets and kills them, saying he would be added to the number.  He prophesied that Jerusalem will be invaded by the enemies, as the cup of her centuries old persecution of God’s messengers, became full (Matthew 23:35-38). He said that the temple will be razed down, with not one stone laid on another (Matthew 24:1-2).

At another time, he said that if they destroyed the temple, he would rebuild it in three days (John 2:18-22), in a veiled reference to his body. They think that God dwells in the physical temple, confined, subject to their own whims and caprices, but that was not truly the case. Jesus, the one who died and rose up again is the embodiment of the life of God, the fullness of God bodily (Colossians 2:9).

In the Old Testament, if you wanted to worship God, in whatever form, you had to go to Jerusalem. They leave wherever they are to come to the temple at Jerusalem and give their offering, no matter how long the journey was. Whatever the case may be, all men had to come to the Jerusalem, thrice a year (Exodus 23:13-17).

If you want to offer any animal sacrifice and you stay in a far place, you can bring the money along to buy such animals in Jerusalem and use it to buy the animals for sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem. It was the centre of worship activities.

Now with Jesus saying that he is the temple, it means we have to come to him to be able to contact God, to reach him, to experience him, connect with him.

Jerusalem has been a source of false security for Israel, especially the temple. When they disobey God and prophets say that as punishment, God will cause Jerusalem to be ransacked and the temple destroyed, they do not believe, thinking God has a permanent sentimental attachment to the earthly city, where he had caused his name to be associated with (1Kings 11:36), but they did not know that God has more regard for his word than for his name (Psalm 138:2). When they disregard his word, he will disregard them in turn. But there will be a New Jerusalem that will be all God desires.

As there is an earthly Jerusalem so there is a heavenly Jerusalem. In the dealings of God with man, there is the dynamics of the first and the second, with the second being an improvement on the first, better than the first, a replacement of the first, more glorious than the first, preferred to the first.

There was the first Adam and the last Adam (Jesus), there was Esau and Jacob, and there was Ishmael and Isaac. There is the natural Israel and the spiritual Israel (church).

There is natural life (which come first), and there is spiritual life (John 3). Jesus said that except one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God. To be born of water stands for natural birth, through which we gain earthly life. There is need to have spiritual life, after we have natural life on the day of our conception. Note that the Holy Spirit stands for water, but in a spiritual sense (John 7:36-39). And Jesus said: he that is born of the flesh is flesh (born of water) and he that is born of the Spirit is spirit, in an higher dimension of birth that everyone is called to, to be able to enter the kingdom of God, as natural birth caused us to enter into the earthly life.

There was the physical temple of the building designed for God to dwell in the Old Testament but now we as Christians are the house of God (as Jesus is and we are his body as the church). Paul said that we are being made into an habitation of God in the spirit. When the veil that covers the holy of holies in the temple was torn, when Jesus died on the cross (Mark 15:38), God permanently abandoned the old temple, and now he is in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, as we become one with Christ through faith in Him.

But there are those who still pitch their tents with the old, when the new has come. But God had promised that he would make a new covenant with us which would involve a new heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:26), something difficult to understand by the natural mind, but we need to key into the fullness of that reality by faith.

The New Jerusalem is described in the book of Revelation as perfect. Everyone knows that the earthly Jerusalem over time has been a place of conflict, but the New Jerusalem will be a place of peace (ruled by the prince of peace) and the full life of God.

God had promised David that he would have a son before him as king eternally. The bible shows that the embodiment of the fulfilment of that promise is Jesus. He was publicly hailed as the Son of David while in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9) shortly before his demise.

His murderers must have thought to themselves: how would he take over as king when he is killed? Not knowing that a whole new world that will become opened to him after that in his resurrection, and he would be king in the New Jerusalem, at the end of this age (Revelation 21:1-4).



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