The Preacher Says....  
  Rev 21. 1 - 4; Heb 11. 8 - 16

Beautiful for situation Jerusalem stands on the summit of the ridge of the mountains of Judea, 2500 feet above sea level in the land of Israel, a mere fly speck on the world map. It is a literal city, ancient and mysterious, surviving to this day, its future spelled out in the holy Bible. Smaller than say, Columbus, Ohio, and one sixth the size of the state of Virginia in land mass, it has been a focal point for men off and on throughout the ages. It has been said by some churchmen that physical Jerusalem is not important, that it is just a metaphor for heaven. But scripture reveals a much different and more satisfying explanation of the role of this city in the life of the world. The Jewish hope, and therefore the Christian hope are bound up in literal Jerusalem. You canít get away from it. The site has been important from ancient times; from the time of Isaacís near sacrifice on Mt Moriah, Melchisadekís dwelling place as King of Salem, to David making it his capitol and calling it the city of the great king.

Getting down to basics, Jerusalem will be the capitol of the Jewish nation on the mountains of Israel, the promised kingdom of God.. As stated in Micah 4. 1, and elsewhere,

In the last days it shall come to pass, that

The mountain of the house of the Lord

Shall be established in the top of the

Mountains, and it shall be exalted above

The hills; and people shall flow unto it.

This fact is a central theme of the Bible coupled with Godís plan for manís redemption progressing from Eden to Eden. In the beginning God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Gen 1. 31) A paradise, perhaps? And God established Adam in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Then came the fall. Godís plan of redemption appears in innumerable scriptures in both testaments. He finalizes His word in the kingdom He establishes in Jerusalem, which will turn out to be the paradise of which Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross. In the famous ďdry bonesĒ prophecy (Ezek 37), God says through His prophet ,

Can these bones live?. . .

Oh, ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord;

Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you,

And ye shall live: and I will lay sinews

Upon you, and will bring up

Flesh upon you, and cover you with skin,

And put breath in you, and ye shall live;

And ye shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezek 37. 3 - 6)

I will make them one nation in the land

Upon the mountains of Israel;

And one king shall be king to them all (Ez 37. 22)

In the book of Joel, at the time of Godís judgments (Joel 3), he writes;

The Lord( Christ) also shall roar out of Zion, and utter

His voice from Jerusalem. . .then shall Jerusalem be holy,

And there shall no strangers pass through her anymore.

The word of the Lord God through the prophet Zechariah:

Many people and nations will come to

Seek the Lord in Jerusalem. . .and

Take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew

Saying, we will go with you; for we have heard

That God is with you (Zech 8. 22, 23)

So what do these mystical verses in scripture mean? It canít mean that the saints whoíve been in heaven for eons will come down to earth to reign with Christ from Jerusalem , because for one thing, Peter explains that even David , a man after Godís own heart, has not ascended into heaven, so why would there be exceptions? Again, Abraham and all the faithful are not going to receive the promise of life in Godís kingdom without us (Heb 11). Paul explains that Christ is the firstfruits of them that sleep, and afterward those that are asleep in Christ at his coming.

And these following verses, what do they mean? ( Is 62. 11, 12 )

Say ye to the daughter of Zion,

Behold, thy salvation cometh;

His reward is with him . . .

And they shall call them the holy people,

The redeemed of the Lord:

And thou shalt be called sought out,

A city not forsaken.

Jerusalem is more than just a place, a geographical location. Ultimately it is a metaphor for its citizens as well, for those whose names are written in heaven. The Bible is talking about a place, but more importantly a people, and a promise of blessing on them and on the nations. Abraham rejoiced to see my day, Christ said to the Jews, meaning that Abraham had seen the promises afar off just as had all the faithful . In Gal 4. 22 - 31, Paul elucidates and illuminates the story told centuries earlier : the story of Abraham and his wife Sarah and the bondwoman, Hagar (Gen 21). He calls it an allegory , lifting it to a new dimension. Abraham had two sons, one born of the flesh, by Hagar, the other Isaac, by Sarah, a child of promise. Isaac represents the Jerusalem to come from above, and Ishmael, Sinai in Arabia, who answers to Jerusalem as it now is-- subject to bondage, born after the flesh.

The writer to the Hebrews, in his discourse on men and women of faith lists all of them, starting with Abel, who have yet to receive the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Heb 11. 39, 40). Abraham by faith looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God (v.10) In short, all await resurrection to a new life in the kingdom of God which is to come. So we look for a new age, a new dispensation--a new Jerusalem where righteousness dwells. A Jerusalem inhabited by the redeemed of the earth, the children of the free, made immortal.

It shall come to pass in the last days,

That the mountain of the Lordís house

shall be established in the top of the

Mountains, and shall be exalted

Above the hills; and all nations

Shall flow unto it. . .

Out of Zion shall go forth the law,

And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem

. . .and they shall beat their spears into

Pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up

Sword against nation, neither shall they

Learn war anymore. (Is 2. 2 - 4)

Here we have no continuing city, we seek one to come. (Heb 13. 14).