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The City of Jerusalem (5)
Victor M. Eskew
In this series of lessons about Jerusalem, we have looked at the early days of Jerusalem. We also examined the fact that Moses had predicted that God would set His name somewhere in Israel. In our last lesson, we found that the place God chose was Jerusalem. He selected Jerusalem in the days of Solomon. This place was confirmed when God’s glory descended upon the temple after Solomon had it built and dedicated to God.
There is so much history attached to Jerusalem that we could discuss it in many, many more articles. This, however, will be our last. In this article, we are going to list some of the interesting facts about this Holy City of God as revealed in God’s Word.
1. David and Solomon ruled from the city of Jerusalem.
2. There were nineteen kings who reign from Jerusalem during the days of the Divided Kingdom.
3. Because of the idolatry and sin of the Jews, Nebuchadnezzar was allowed to destroy Jerusalem and the temple. The destruction began in 606 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar came against the city two more times in 597 B.C. and 586 B.C. “At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it…And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said” (II Kings 24:10-13).
4. After the 70-year captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem by Cyrus, king of Persia (II Chron. 36:22-23).
5. Nehemiah was responsible for rebuilding the city walls (Neh. 2:17; 6:15).
6. Zerubbabel took the lead in rebuilding the temple in the city (Ezra 3:8).
7. Jesus was taken to the temple as a baby “to do for him after the custom of the law” (Luke 2:27).
8. At the age of twelve, Jesus was found by his parents in the temple, “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46-47).
9. During the course of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was often in the confines of the temple teaching and performing marvelous works. “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went into the temple, and taught” (John 7:14). And again: “And he taught daily in the temple…” (Luke 19:47).
10. On two occasions, Jesus cleansed the temple of those who were making merchandise of the house of God (John 2:13-16; Luke 19:45-46).
11. Jesus predicted the fall of the city of Jerusalem (Matt. 24:3-35). “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things: verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down...Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt. 24:3, 34).
12. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because they rejected Him as the Messiah. “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it” (Luke 19:41).
13. Jesus was crucified outside the city walls of the city of Jerusalem (John 19:16-17; Heb. 13:12-13).
14. On the day of Pentecost following our Lord’s ascension to the right hand of God, the church had its beginning in the city of Jerusalem. “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet…and when there were come in, they went up into an upper room…and when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). This event brought to fruition a series of prophecies about the coming of the kingdom (See Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; Isa. 2:2-4). The kingdom and the church are one and the same (Matt. 16:16-18). At the close of Acts 2, we find the church (the kingdom) is brought into existence when some three thousand Jews obeyed the gospel of Christ. “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
15. In A.D. 70, the Roman armies under the command of Titus destroy the city of Jerusalem and cast down the temple of God. The temple continues in ruins to this day. God laid bare the system of Judaism on that occasion. The New Jerusalem (Gal. 4:26), the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16), that is, the church of Christ, was then free from any vestiges of Judaism and could preach the gospel as an institution apart from Judaism to a lost and dying world.
Jerusalem has a rich heritage. For many, many years it was the holy city of God. Unfortunately, Jerusalem rejected the Christ. Since the city was disobedient and did not align itself with the plans of God, it was destroyed by the providential hand of God. The destruction of that city is a type of Judgment to come. It is important to understand that any man who rejects Jesus today will suffer a fate similar to that of Jerusalem. His destruction, however, will not be physical. It will be spiritual. It will involve destruction in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (See Rev. 20:12-15).