Jerusalem and the Holy Land

For centuries, the city of Jerusalem, and the Holy Land itself, have been treasured in the hearts of Christians, and sacred in the beliefs of many religions. To Jews Jerusalem is the place of Davidís ancient throne, and the indivisible capital of the modern nation, whilst the land of Israel stands as the treasured homeland of Jews who have come through the holocaust, returned from lands of exile, or have been born under the Star of David. To Moslems the city is a sacred place of worship, centred on the Dome of the Rock at the eastern wall. To Christians, the city is significant as the place of Christís crucifixion, and the pivot of Bible history. But the Bible reveals that tremendous environmental and spiritual changes are in store for both city and state. It claims that the man who was crucified in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago will soon return to become its great monarch; that the land today known as Israel is to become the first State in all the world; that a great temple-city will be established in Jerusalem, where all mankind will find true direction, and from which will flow careful, protective and equitable laws for the benefit of mankind.

In this booklet we desire to set before the reader, a dramatic, yet perfectly reasonable, vision of the kingdom that is about to be established throughout the earth. We invite your careful examination of our comments, and would be happy to answer any questions, or to further assist in any way to a better understanding of Godís wonderful purpose.

What the World Really Needs
In an age of continual international dispute, of failing resources and increasing bloodshed, hunger and crime, a solution to such worldwide problems is much further removed than at the beginning of the century. Where is the statesman with sufficient wisdom and power to retrieve humanity from its lowest ebb?

Yet the Bible has the only logical solution. It has been presented within its pages for 4,000 years. It foretells that the day must come when there shall be one supreme ruler over all mankind: a united world worshipping the one true God and rejoicing in a strong, wise and caring monarch over all mankind. Then all the armaments of the world will no longer be needed. The inconsistent laws and directions of governments shall be discarded. Dictators, governors, prime ministers and presidents will transfer their authority to the mighty king of heaven who takes to himself "his great power and shall reign."

The Bible declares that the king promised is identical with the one crucified on a stake with the superscription: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. But when Jesus Christ returns to the earth, he will command the respect of all nations. This is evident from the testimony of 1Corinthians 15:24-26 which teaches that Christ: "shall put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death."

In order to accomplish this wonderful result, he will take control of all governments, so that: "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).

The Jews anticipated their Messiah to appear as a mighty king. But when Jesus Christ first appeared on earth, 2,000 years ago they rejected his claim as king. They did not understand that the Messiah would first come as the Lamb of God to open the way to life eternal by providing a sacrifice for sin. And so they played their part in the purpose of God by crucifying him.

The Lord Jesus declared to his disciples regarding his impending death, resurrection and ascension into heaven: "I will come again" (John 14:3). His teaching was endorsed by angels when he later ascended to the right hand of Almighty God, for two such told the apostles who assembled with him on the mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem: "This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Notice the definite, terms of that statement. It is not ambiguous, and teaches clearly that the Christ who ascended will return in exactly the same manner: physically, literally, visibly.

Jesus Christ is coming to set up on earth, and to reign over a divine kingdom which shall absorb all other powers. Under his universal rule, humanity will enjoy that which it now vainly seeks: complete freedom from fear, annihilation and starvation, providing widespread peace and goodwill. Consider carefully the following Bible teaching: "The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed; the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44). "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He (God) shall send Jesus Christ" (Acts 3:19-20).

Under Christís rule, conditions on earth shall drastically change. War will be outlawed; sin restrained; vice suppressed; and men will acknowledge the majesty of the Creator, and the benefits of His way of life. There shall be "glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men." Luke 1:32-33 declares of his rule: "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom THERE SHALL BE NO END (Luke 1:32-33).

Control of the earth will never again be in the hands of corrupt men, nor will people be subjected to the awful conditions of a global distress; of a perishing environment; of a hopeless future for young and old, unable to find security - as is the case in the world today.

Jerusalem: The City of Salvation
The city in which Christ will reign, will be totally different from the Jerusalem of today. It will no longer be noted for superstition and violence as at present (Isaiah 60:18), but shall become "the city of truth" (Zechariah 8:8), the "joy of the whole earth" (Psalm 48:2). The decrees and laws of its immortal king will penetrate into every corner of the the earth solving the political, moral, social and religious problems of today. Mankind will be united under an entirely new religious and social system of things: an infallible theocracy established by the Lord Jesus Christ, assisted by his immortal associates: his faithful followers then transformed to immortality by the power of Almighty God.

Jerusalem: Centre Of Universal Worship
Jerusalem shall not only become the political centre of Christís reign on earth, but also his religious headquarters. It will become a great temple city: a place where all mankind will be united in a common acceptance of divine truth, by which they will learn to view all things from the standpoint of God.

This formed part of the teaching of the Lord at his first advent. On one occasion, when visiting the temple in Jerusalem, he found the outer court thronged with traders gathered together to make profit from sales to the worshippers. Their commercial designs destroyed the very principle of divine service. Full of indignation at such desecration of so holy a place, the Lord scathingly rebuked the guilty traders, and prophesied of the time of true worship to come: "Jesus went into the temple and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, íMy house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer.í í hut ye have made it a den of thieves" (Mark 11: 15-17).

The incident may be well-known to many, but the real significance of the Lordís words is usually overlooked. Notice that the record states: "He TAUGHT, saying unto them... My house SHALL BE CALLED OF ALL NATlONS the house of prayer." The Lord Jesus thus identified the temple in Jerusalem as "his Fatherís house," and taught that the time will come when "all nations" shall recognise it as such.

That time is now imminent, for world events, according to Bible prophecy, indicate the return of Christ is at hand.

On another occasion, Christ predicted that the temple of his day would be completely destroyed (Luke 21:6), and that Jerusalem would be "trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (v. 24).

This prediction required that:
[a] The temple in the city of Jerusalem at the time would be destroyed.
[b] Jerusalem overthrown.
[c] The Jewish people taken into captivity.
[d] The Jewish nation ultimately restored.
[e] Jerusalem delivered from foreign domination.
[f] The temple rebuilt to become the centre of universal worship.

Points [a], [b] and [c] were fulfilled in AD70 when the Romans destroyed the Jewish state.
Point [d] was partially fulfilled in 1948 when the Jewish State was reformed.
Point [e] had part fulfilment in 1967 when, as the result of the Six Daysí War, the city of Jerusalem was again occupied and controlled by the Jewish people.
Point [f] has never yet been fulfilled, and awaits Christís return.

Both Jews and Gentiles in Jerusalem
In Christís day, the temple in Jerusalem was exclusively for Jewish worship; but in the future it will constitute a "house of prayer for all nations" (see Isaiah 56:6-7). Both Jews and Gentiles shall worship there; the former because they shall then recognise the Lord Jesus as their Messiah; the latter because they acknowledge him as king of the Jews.

The veil of darkness at present over the eyes of both Jews and Gentiles (Isaiah 25:7; 2Corinthians 3:15) shall be removed and all nations will accept the truth in Christ Jesus: "Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit" (Jeremiah 16: l9). At the same time "the deliverer shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Romans 11:26).

How will that be accomplished? By the divine worship to be set up in Jerusalem at Christís coming (Micah 4:1-4).

A Changed World Under Christ
When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth, there will be a resurrection of the dead: "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt"
(Daniel 12:2).

Concerning those who attain unto life eternal, it is said: "They shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years"
(Revelation 20:6; see also ch. 5:9-10).

Obviously the immortal redeemed will not reign with Christ in heaven as some claim. Clearly the Bible shows it shall be on earth. Christ will occupy "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32), and that throne was in Jerusalem. In that city Christ shall establish the nucleus of his earthly rule and Zechariah declares that he shall be "king over all the earth" (ch. 14:9).

Notice the clear evidence of the Bible:

(1) The Lord is to return personally and visibly to the earth:
"This same Jesus, which is taken up from you (apostles) into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1: I 1 ).
"Every eye shall see him" (Revelation 1:7).

(2) He will raise from the dead and bestow immortality on those who have lived according to his precepts:
"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterwards they that are Christís at his coming" (CORINTHIANS 1S:21-23).
"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (v. 53).

(3) He will destroy the military might of the nations:
"He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Micah 4:3).
"The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted" (Isaiah 60: 12).

(4) He will redeem the land of Israel from violence: "Violence shall no more he heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders" (a vast change from the troubled Middle East of today. See Isaiah 60:18).
"Men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited" (Zechariah 14:11).
 

(5) He will set up his power in Jerusalem:
"The Lord shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously" (Isaiah 24:23).

(6) He will proclaim his law from Jerusalem requiring the obedience of all nations:
"Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).
"A law shall proceed from Me, and I will make My judgment to rest for a light of the people" (Isaiah 51:4).
"He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law" (Isaiah 42:4).

(7) He will completely restore scattered Israel, and regenerate the nation as the nucleus of his world power:
"Behold, I will save My people from the east country and from the west country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness" (Zechariah 8:7).

(8) He will supervise the building of a glorious Temple in Jerusalem as a centre of universal worship:
"Behold, the man whose name is the Branch (a title of Christ); and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" (Zechariah 6:12-13).
"Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people" (Isaiah S6:7).

(9) Representatives of the nations will make constant pilgrimage to Jerusalem for worship:
"It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities; and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord" (Zechariah 8:20-22).
"It shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 14:16). "All flesh shall come to worship before Me, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 66:23).

(10) This will result in one thousand years of peace on earth with humanity delivered from the problems and frustrations of today:
"They (the immortalised Redeemed) shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him (i.e. over the mortal populations of the earth) a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).
"Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
"In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth... He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper... He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in his sight" (Psalm 72:7-14).

All the Bible passages quoted above, emphasise that the earth is the arena of Godís future purpose with humanity, and that His plan envisages a time when present conditions will be replaced by a divine order, the kingdom of God on earth. Christ is to return to set up his power and reign from Jerusalem.

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