#1) Israel is a nation once again after a nearly 2000 year absence from the global scene; #2) Jerusalem, the only city where God has chosen to put His Name (2 Chron 6:6), is the capital once again of Israel; and #3) the Gospel has quite literally been preached to “all the nations” (Mtt 24:14).
This three-strand cord is almost beyond our comprehension!
At the very least, I think we can all agree, we certainly live in the “birth pangs” period that Jesus spoke of when predicting the circumstances on earth at the end of this age: Wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, pestilence, family breakdown, false prophets will deceive many, persecution of believers, lawlessness will increase, the love of most growing cold. The Old Testament prophets wrote of a future “day of the Lord” when the Lord would be King over all the earth. (Zech 14:9) That day has not come yet but it is approaching fast!
”That day” must be preceded by the global birth pangs that Jesus predicted (Mtt 24, Mk 13, Luke 21). He spoke of a time on earth that would be called the “Great Tribulation”. He referred to that time period as being like “the days of Noah” and “the days of Lot”. Both of those eras were a time of great sin and wild living on the earth followed by incredible destruction from the hand of the Lord. Something similar is looming for our generation…
People Get Ready!
Once the Great Tribulation reaches its apex a “man of sin” will enter the world stage seemingly to have profound answers to the ills of the world. He will usher in peace in the Middle East. He will have an army the likes of which no one has ever seen before. (“Who is able to wage war with the beast?” Rev 13:4) Being satanically inspired and energized he will convince the whole world that they must eradicate, once and for all, the Jews living in Jerusalem, setting the stage for the battle for Jerusalem (incorrectly known by popular culture as “the battle of Armageddon”).
The opening acts of this final drama seem to follow his master plan as they capture the city, rape the women and plunder the city, taking away half of its inhabitants into exile. But, just at the moment of utter desperation for the Jews, Jesus Christ Himself will come with all His saints and angels and instantly defeat the world-wide forces of the man of sin. Their flesh will literally rot away while they stand on their feet and their eyes will rot away in their sockets. (Zech 14:12)
Yet not all peoples on earth will be killed in such dramatic fashion. Those who are “left of all the nations that did not go up to war against Jerusalem” will be unreached and unsaved. Jesus Himself will send out missionaries to those in far off islands (Isa 66:18-29) or to those who survived the Great Tribulation and will bring them into the kingdom, nation by nation. The nations of the earth will be asked to go up year to year to worship the King in Jerusalem and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Those who don’t go up will receive the punishment of no rain on their nation. (Zech 14:16-17)
These are the ones who will populate the Millennium!
“In that day” Jesus Christ will sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem – the “city of David” – as the Greater Son of David (Mtt 1:1). He will at that time rule the nations with a rod of iron (Ps 2) and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas (Isa 11). This age will last for 1000 years. Satan will be imprisoned for 1000 years. (Rev 20). Animal instincts will be changed during the Millennium as “the wolf will lie down with the lamb” and “the lion will eat straw as an ox” (Isa 11). Humans will live very long and healthy lives, returning, in some fashion, to life as it was before the fall (Isa 65:20;Rev 22:2). The nations of the earth will no longer train for war (Micah 4) and universal joy and gladness will reign over all the globe as Jesus is worshipped on His throne in Jerusalem by all peoples (Isa 2; Zech 14).
When King Jesus has finally wiped evil off the planet and “after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power” still resident in the lives of people through the prior influence of Satan, He will hand back to His Father this earthly kingdom and God Himself will once again walk with us here like in the garden of Eden! (1 Cor 15; Rev 21-22)
When God the Father touches back down to this (renewed) earth Eternity will start! Father and Son will sit on their thrones in David’s city and receive worship and praise from all of creation. There will be no longer any night or need for a lamp in your house as the Lord God will illumine the world. And “we will reign with Them forever and ever”! (Rev 22)
Yours for the Coming King,
During Jesus’ short stay on this planet, highlighted by His 42 months as the revealed Son of Man, He often spoke of a coming entrance into Jerusalem that would be a special turning point. Jesus knew that He must enter Jerusalem one final time and there to experience
“all things that the prophets had written about Him.” (Luke 18:31)
Here’s what Jerusalem meant for Jesus:
Jesus was presented at the Temple for circumcision on his eighth day. (Luke 2:21)
Jesus went up to Jerusalem for Passover when he was twelve and stayed in the Temple discussing Torah with the teachers. He remarked to his anxious parents, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:41)
As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem! (Luke 9:51)
As He was walking, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus said to His disciples, “I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!” (Luke 12:50)
“I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33)
Why was it so significant that Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem, God’s chosen city on earth? It was here in the tiny village of Jerusalem — no large than ten acres — that King David 1000 years earlier defeated his enemies and took the city to be God’s Capital City on earth! Christ freely gave Himself up to those who wanted to kill Him in Jerusalem to die a substitutionary death as the Second Adam for the world, knowing that His death in Jerusalem would ONE DAY be revisited!
The Period Of Restoration of ALL THINGS
“[Jesus] Whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” (Acts 3:21)
When “all things” spoken by God through His holy prophets is restored and made right Jesus Christ will be released from Heaven and will again walk on this earth. The Gospel of the Kingdom is not complete until we can tell the ends of the earth that not only did Jesus die a unselfish death 2000 years ago for us in Jerusalem but that someday, possibly in the near future, He will again walk the streets of Jerusalem… this time as King of kings and Lord of lords! (Rev 19:16)
Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. (Revelation 19:15)
Jerusalem is the city where God has chosen to dwell forever.
When King Solomon desired to build a house for God and honor the wishes of his father David, he built the temple in Jerusalem. Thereafter, Jerusalem began to occupy a chosen place in the divine plan. Jerusalem is mentioned more than any other city in Scripture: more than 800 times. Jerusalem is also commonly referred to as Zion, Mount Zion and Salem.
“For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:13-14).
The LORD said to him (Solomon), “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built (in Jerusalem) by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” (I Kings 9:3)
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. Psalm 48:1-2
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth. Psalm 50:2
God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel. His tabernacle is in Salem; His dwelling place also is in Zion. Psalm 76:1-2
Blessed be the LORD from Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD! Psalm 135:21
Just days before His death, Jesus prophecised to the religious leaders in Jerusalem that ONE DAY they would welcome Him back into their city. He would first go back to His Father to receive a kingdom.
“A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return… “When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him” (Luke 19:12,15)
Jerusalem will be the seat of Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom. Jerusalem is said to be the Holy Place for three religions yet Jerusalem is mentioned nearly 800 times in the Bible but not once in the Koran!
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Mtt 23: 37-39)
Zechariah’s prophecy prominently chronicles the future period for Jerusalem when Jesus physically returns triumphantly to set up His Millennial reign (Zech. 14:9), transform the city’s topography (14:8, 10), and calling the nations to worship Him (14:16-19).
Finally in the last few chapters of the Bible we see a Heavenly Jerusalem descend from the skies to rest forever on earth as the New Jerusalem, where there is no sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. No death, pain or suffering! Everything will be made new!
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, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”
PARTLY from accidental circumstances and partly from their nature, the prophetic writings have not received from the ordinary Bible reader that share of attention which they deserve. There are many persons who have no taste for poetry, and who have a positive repugnance to poetry which is also obscure. They have therefore no patience with some of the profoundest and most elevating writing of our own and other times. They will not condescend to read a line twice over: they throw aside whatever they do not comprehend at a first reading…
Now, no doubt this obscurity is greater than it need be. In our present English version of the Bible, the prophetic writings are both imperfectly arranged and imperfectly translated. They are arranged not, as we should naturally expect, in chronological order, but apparently according to their length or supposed importance, if, indeed, any principle has been adhered to in the matter.
Manifestly we are thus put at a great disadvantage for understanding the prophets.
They were a series of men, not disconnected individuals. They were sent by God one after another to complete gradually the whole revelation He designed to make. They were usually sent in connection with events then happening; and to ignore all this arrangement, and treat them as if they might as well have spoken in any other order and at any other time than they did, is to lose a great deal both of the interest which attaches to the lives of the prophets, and of the point of their predictions…
The first step we [must] take towards understanding the prophets is to arrange the letters according to their dates. All is confusion till we do so.
(Marcus Dods D.D. 1879)