Jerusalem - A Look Into Jerusalem's History; Part 3
October 1, 2015

C. R. Oliver

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.


October 1, 2015

Jerusalem - A Look Into Jerusalem's History
Part 3


In this third and for now our final study of Jerusalem, it is necessary to spend time in the Old Testament beginning with Genesis.

Interesting things surround the first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible. On the scene were six characters who played a part in the spiritual focus of Genesis 14: Abraham, the King of Sodom, the three companions of Abraham (Gen 14:24 Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre) and Melchizedek.

The occasion was the "no small defeat" of Ched-or-laomer. This man was the most powerful man on earth at the time. His armies had defeated the kings of the valley, they slaughtered most of the giants that occupied the land and successfully put down the rebellion of the territories opposing his rule. Yet, Abraham, incensed by the capture of Lot and the stealing of Lot's possessions, defeated Ched-or-laomer with a small group of allies. By force, he rescued the wicked King of Sodom and recovered Lot's fortunes. This shows the delivering power of the Mighty God. It had to be so, for the name Ched-or-laomer means, "Servant of Lagamar, goddess of the underworld, ruler of eternity."
Genesis 14:14-17
14 When Abram learned that Lot had been captured, he called together the men born into his household, 318 of them in all, and chased after the retiring army as far as Dan. 15 He divided his men and attacked during the night from several directions, and pursued the fleeing army to Hobah, north of Damascus, 16 and recovered everything--the loot that had been taken, his relative Lot, and all of Lot's possessions, including the women and other captives.

17Abram returned from his strike against Ched-or-laomer and the other kings at the Valley of Shaveh (later called King's Valley)…
Upon his return from battle, Abraham was approached by two Kings: Melchizedek, King of Salem and the King of Sodom. These very diverse Kings served as two opposing spiritual forces approaching the anointed man of God. First, Melchizedek came with a preparatory blessing, which preceded the voice of the Living God.
Gen 14:18-19
Melchizedek, the king of Salem (Jerusalem), who was a priest of the God of Highest Heaven, brought him bread and wine. 19 Then Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:
'The blessing of the supreme God, Creator of heaven and earth, be upon you, Abram; and blessed be God, who has delivered your enemies over to you.'
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the loot.
After Abram got alone, and all the dust of the occasion settled, God spoke to Him directly.
Genesis 15:1
Afterwards Jehovah spoke to Abram in a vision, and this is what He told him: 'Don't be fearful, Abram, for I will defend you. And I will give you great blessings.'
God continued His blessing by promising a son, by giving his heirs dominion over the land (later known as "Israel") and by making covenant with Abram in Genesis chapter fifteen and sealing it with a blood contract.

It is important at this juncture to determine just who Melchizedek really was. First, I believe He was and is Jesus, the Son of God. His name declared Him KING OF PEACE and Righteousness (Salem: peace and zedek: righteous). Many Bible translations qualify Salem as (Jerusalem), but I believe, if it does, it refers to the Heavenly Jerusalem. Many modern preachers believe he was Shem, Noah's son or descendant (they base this on ONE Mishrah teaching). It should be pointed out that Melchizedek, cited in Hebrews, is the order by which Jesus ministers. Look at the word: order in the following Psalm.
OT:1700 dibrah (dib-raw'); feminine of OT:1697; a reason, suit or style:
KJV - cause, end, estate, order, regard.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek- Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Ps 110:1-4
The LORD said to my Lord,
'Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.'
2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!

3 Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
4 The LORD has sworn
And will not relent,
'You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.' NKJV
(Comment: Note, the Hebrews 5-7 passages reference both the Genesis and the Psalms accounts. Perhaps, we shall engage at another time a separate treatise on the Melchizedek conundrum; we shall see how the Lord leads.)

For now, our attention returns to the scene in the valley of Eschol. The King of Sodom, who is grateful for his rescue, wishes to bless Abram by giving him the riches re-captured by him and his allies.

Note, however, Abraham received only the Melchizedek blessing and sealed it by giving a tithe of Sodom's booty.
(I thought this interesting. He had rights over this wealth, by reason of battle, but he refused the offer of the King of Sodom. Instead, he directed the riches to his allies who stood with him. It is also interesting that Sodom's king wanted the return of the people only. Was this to continue the depraved defilement for which the city was noted?)

The reason Abram refused Sodom's riches was because of his oath to the Mighty God. When was this oath made? Was it made during the battle, as a sacrifice to God for His assistance, or was it during conversation with Melchizedek? We only know Abram's heart was to covenant with God, not man.
Genesis 14:22-24
22 But Abram replied, 'I have solemnly promised Jehovah, the supreme God, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a single thread from you, lest you say, "Abram is rich because of what I gave him!" 24 All I'll accept is what these young men of mine have eaten; but give a share of the loot to Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, my allies.'
Tainted money cannot be the accepted by those who walk in Holiness!
Sometimes, it is not easy to see what is and what is not a blessing!

Compare the sources of the offers made to Abram and realize their spiritual connotation. Had Abram chosen to receive the riches of Sodom, would there have been the blessing of Melchizedek?

This we do not know, but we can speculate.

The enrichment of his allies is itself another story. It was up to them to deal with Sodom's riches; however, they were sure to be paid for their labors. The 318 servants who fought received only what they had eaten of the provisions available. Servants receive their reward from their master. (O' there is truth in that understanding and there are spiritual implications in abundance there as well, but we are sons and not servants.)

In summary, note what was brought to Abram along with his blessing--bread and wine. We know these as Covenant elements, and they assure the oath that accompanied it had an eternal Word-seal. Also, Melchizedek came directly from the throne of God with this blessing.

(The symbolisms of the last supper crowd one's mind at this point. A lot of anointing was brought to Abram's table. Similarly, special anointing should accompany our table as well.)

Last, review the place of the valley of Eschol as it related to future events. It is in this valley the spies of Moses came and found those large grapes (symbol of modern Israel). Abram's blessings paved the way for them. He conquered, with the power of God, the army that slew the giants of Rephaim. Why did the wilderness army not consider this? Why didn't Caleb and Joshua prevail in light of past experiences? Why do we still balk at entering those territories where He has preceded us?

This event of Abram's is directly connected to a second Biblical reference found in Deuteronomy. Jerusalem, though historically not the official capitol until the time of David, had existence in some form or fashion for thousands of years. Note, below, Moses' words referring to what later became known as the city of the Great King; hear him speak prophetically..
Deut 33:1-5
This is the blessing Moses, the man of God, gave to the people of Israel before his death:

2 'The Lord came to us at Mount Sinai, And dawned upon us from Mount Seir; He shone from Mount Paran, Surrounded by ten thousands of holy angels, And with flaming fire at His right hand. 3 How He loves His people--
His holy ones are in His hands.
They followed in Your steps, O Lord.
They have received their directions from You.
4 The laws I have given
Are Your precious possession.
5 The Lord became king in Jerusalem,
Elected by a convocation of the leaders of the tribes!'
After blessing each Tribe, Moses concluded with this:
Deut 33:26-28
6 There is none like the God of Jerusalem--
He descends from the heavens
In majestic splendor to help you.
27 The eternal God is your Refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms.
He thrusts out your enemies before you;
It is He who cries, 'Destroy them!'
28 So Israel dwells safely,
(Comment: Realize, at this point in time, Jerusalem was occupied by Jebusites and their king controlled the city. Joshua's army was commanded to unseat them. Jerusalem was given to Judah.)
Josh 10:1-3
1 When Adoni-zedek, the king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured and destroyed Ai and had killed its king, the same as he had done at Jericho, and how the people of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were now their allies, 2 he was very frightened. For Gibeon was a great city--as great as the royal cities and much larger than Ai, and its men were known as hard fighters. 3 So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings:
OT:139 'Adoniy-Tsedeq (ad-o''-nee-tseh'-dek); from OT:113 and OT:6664; lord of justice; Adoni-Tsedek, a Canaanitish king:
Those kings recruited by Adoni (God) zedek (justice or righteousness) , five of them along with their men, were defeated by Joshua at the battle of Gibeon. Those Joshua did not kill were killed by God in a massive hailstorm. The five kings fled and hid in a cave but were discovered and dealt with.
Josh 10:22-26
Joshua now instructed his men to remove the stone from the mouth of the cave and to bring out the five kings--of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 Joshua told the captains of his army to put their feet on the kings' necks.

25 "Don't ever be afraid or discouraged," Joshua said to his men. "Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies." 26 With that, Joshua plunged his sword into each of the five kings, killing them.
Jerusalem, now being leaderless, soon fell to Judah and afterward was the chief city of Israel, thus establishing its oversight by the people of God.
Judges 1:8-9
8(Judah had conquered Jerusalem and massacred its people, setting the city on fire.) 9 Afterward the army of Judah fought the Canaanites in the hill country and in the Negeb, as well as on the coastal plains.
From this point forward, any reference to Jerusalem in the Old Testament was tantamount to addressing or referring to Israel, but especially Judah and Benjamin. Whatever happened to Jerusalem always affected all of Israel from this time forward. (Today, the Islamic desire to destroy Jerusalem can be blamed on the disobedience of Benjamin [see: Judges 1:221].)
Judges 1:21
21 The tribe of Benjamin failed to exterminate the Jebusites living in their part of the city of Jerusalem, so they still live there today, mingled with the Israelis.
David, in later history, attached himself to this city by bringing the head of Goliath to it in a victory celebration. When he became King of Israel, he sought to cleanse the city of the Jebusites that Benjamin failed to rout.
2 Samuel 5:3-6
So David made a contract before the Lord with the leaders of Israel there at Hebron, and they crowned him king of Israel. 4(He had already been the king of Judah for seven years, since the age of thirty. He then ruled thirty-three years in Jerusalem as king of both Israel and Judah; so he reigned for forty years altogether.)

6 David now led his troops to Jerusalem to fight against the Jebusites who lived there.
In the ensuing verses, David and Jerusalem were indelibly linked. He brought the spoils of war to it, amassing wealth that would later be used to build the Temple under Solomon's rule. Here, his infamous adultery took place. Those who opposed David often sought to expel him from the palace where his own son (Absalom) attacked and eventually raped David's concubines. What affected Jerusalem, affected the entire nation. (Example: David's disobedience, which brought a plague.)
2 Sam 24:15-16
15 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel that morning, and it lasted for three days; and seventy thousand men died throughout the nation. 16 But as the death angel was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord was sorry for what was happening and told him to stop
Jerusalem emerged, under David's rule, as Israel's center of commerce and political power; however, under his son's rule, it was elevated in status to a world class depository of wisdom and power.

Even the Queen of Sheba heard of its fame and discovered its wealth to be beyond her imagination. Listen how Solomon blessed the people at the Temple dedication.
2 Chronicles 6:4-5
'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,' he said to them, 'the God who talked personally to my father David and has now fulfilled the promise He made to him. For He told him, 5'I have never before, since bringing My people from the land of Egypt, chosen a city anywhere in Israel as the location of my Temple where My name will be glorified; and never before have I chosen a king for My people Israel. But now I have chosen Jerusalem as that city, and David as that king.
Jerusalem became the cultural center of the ancient world; it also became proud and resistant to God's leadership. Their rebellion caused them to be captured by neighboring Babylon and reduced in power and strength.

Prior to this, the city experienced a turmoil of leadership with one king after another ruling briefly, then falling away. Israel split into Northern and Southern parts, invoking the wrath of the ten Northern tribes against Jerusalem.
2 Kings 14:13-14
…the army of Israel (the northern ten tribes) marched on Jerusalem and broke down its wall from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate, a distance of about six hundred feet. 14 King Joash took many hostages and all the gold and silver from the Temple and palace treasury, also the gold cups. Then he returned to Samaria.
Eventually, the Northern tribes were captured and dispersed, leaving Jerusalem solidly in Judah and Benjamin's hands. However, Jerusalem was soon besieged by Samaria's conquerors. Because of King Hezekiah's prayer, God spared the city and caused the Assyrian army to flee.
2 Kings 19:31-34
31 A remnant of My people shall become strong in Jerusalem. The Lord is eager to cause this to happen.

32 'And My command concerning the king of Assyria is that he shall not enter this city. He shall not stand before it with a shield, nor build a ramp against its wall, nor even shoot an arrow into it. 33 He shall return by the road he came, 34 for I will defend and save this city for the sake of my own name and for the sake of my servant David.'
God's protective hand has been on Jerusalem, but not always His sparing hand. The city, during its long history, has experienced blessing as well as famine and sword. From Babylon's carrying away of Zedekiah (and the people he ruled), down through the Roman invasions, Jerusalem was finally left in ruins for over a thousand years.

Jerusalem eventually acquired its own "personae." God has dealt with it as a separate entity from Israel many times. God dealt with Jerusalem as He would a person, basing His determinations on its rebellion or its repentance. He still does!

Most often, Judah and Israel were united in judgment, like this example:
2 Kings 21:10-16
Then the Lord declared through the prophets,

11 'Because King Manasseh has done these evil things and is even more wicked than the Amorites who were in this land long ago, and because he has led the people of Judah into idolatry: 12 I will bring such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. 13 I will punish Jerusalem as I did Samaria, and as I did King Ahab of Israel and his descendants. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish and turns it upside down to dry. 14 Then I will reject even those few of My people who are left, and I will hand them over to their enemies. 15 For they have done great evil and have angered me ever since I brought their ancestors from Egypt."

16 In addition to the idolatry which God hated and into which Manasseh led the people of Judah, he murdered great numbers of innocent people. And Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with the bodies of his victims.
However, in the case of King Josiah, whose repentance moved the Lord to have compassion upon him, but not the city. Those who repented with Josiah found favor, but the city never thoroughly repented. Does this tell the modern reader anything?
2 Kings 22:15-20
'Tell the man who sent you to me that I am going to destroy this city and its people, just as I stated in that book you read. 17 For the people of Judah have thrown Me aside and have worshiped other gods and have made Me very angry; and My anger can't be stopped. 18 But because you were sorry and concerned and humbled yourself before the Lord when you read the book and its warnings that this land would be cursed and become desolate, and because you have torn your clothing and wept before Me in contrition, I will listen to your plea. 20 The death of this nation will not occur until after you die--you will not see the evil that I will bring upon this place.'
So they took the message to the king.
Although Josiah implemented many reforms and sought to extirpate all idolatry and witchcraft, it wasn't enough to uproot the dissidence found there. With the wall of God's protection removed, Jerusalem and the nation were open to invasion.
2 Kings 25:1-2
Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon mobilized his entire army and laid siege to Jerusalem, arriving on March 25th of the ninth year of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. 2 The siege continued into the eleventh year of his reign.

2 Kings 25:8-12
General Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal bodyguard, arrived at Jerusalem from Babylon on July 22 of the nineteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. 9 He burned down the Temple, the palace, and all the other houses of any worth. 10 He then supervised the Babylonian army in tearing down the walls of Jerusalem. 11 The remainder of the people in the city and the Jewish deserters who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon were all taken as exiles to Babylon. 12 But the poorest of the people were left to farm the land.
Leading up to this time, God sent the prophets Jeremiah and Habakkuk to warn Jerusalem.

(Comment: Jeremiah is a relative of mine, as is King Zedekiah.) Jerusalem would not listen. The Temple was pillaged and burned. The walls were broken down and the people carried away. (It was/is a terrible thing not to heed the messenger of God.) Between 586BC and the conquering of Babylon by Persia (538 BC), some 48 years-Jerusalem lay in ruins. God sent Ezekiel and Daniel to stand with the people of God during this period, but both sorrowed for that loss.

When the Persians finally conquered Babylon, they favored Jerusalem and the Temple. They allowed Zerubbabel to return, rebuild the Temple and supervise the construction of houses (538-457 [79 years]). Queen Esther continued the favor during her rule. Around 457 BC, Ezra, the priest, migrated home and found the ancient books, read them to the people and revival broke out in Jerusalem. This was followed by Nehemiah (444BC, adding 13 more years to the historical line) and the preaching of the prophet Malachi. Once again, the Lord moved to bring about restoration of His beloved city. The people heard Haggai, Ezra, Zechariah.

Jerusalem was rebuilt, the wall reconstructed and the people's houses rebuilt. The city was restored. But again, the corporate mind of the population was addressed by a prophet. It was Malachi's words which summed it up best, "You have robbed God." Jerusalem's personae once more reflected rebellion and stiff heartedness, their first response was an arrogant, "How did we rob God?"

Next came 400 years of silence from heaven, preparing the ground work for Jesus' ministry. With Him, the city, once again, would be in the world's spotlight. Jesus' encounters with organized religion, and their attendant rebellion, revealed the "personae" of Jerusalem, once again. Forty years after the death of Jesus, the city was demolished (78AD).

Through the centuries, Jerusalem has been targeted by the prophets and became the object of their messages from God. With a chronology like a revolving door, first repentance then rebellion, Jerusalem became predictable in its responses. Hear Ezra.
Ezra 9:1-7
9:1 But then the Jewish leaders came to tell me that many of the Jewish people and even some of the priests and Levites had taken up the horrible customs of the heathen people who lived in the land--the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. 2 The men of Israel had married girls from these heathen nations and had taken them as wives for their sons. So the holy people of God were being polluted by these mixed marriages, and the political leaders were some of the worst offenders.

3 When I heard this, I tore my clothing and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down utterly baffled. 4 Then many who feared the God of Israel because of this sin of His people came and sat with me until the time of the evening burnt offering.

5 Finally I stood before the Lord in great embarrassment; then I fell to my knees and lifted my hands to the Lord, 6 and cried out, "O my God, I am ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you, for our sins are piled higher than our heads and our guilt is as boundless as the heavens. 7 Our whole history has been one of sin;
(What a wondrous national confession. It should reverberate through all nations)

Jerusalem, upon this confession, became the meeting place for repentance and contrition.
Ezra 10:7-9
7 Then a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem that everyone should appear at Jerusalem within three days and that the leaders and elders had decided that anyone who refused to come would be disinherited and excommunicated from Israel.
The people came to proclaim they would abide by the Word of God, clean up their lives and present themselves for judgment based on their faithfulness to do what they promised. (Wonder what would happen if the church decided that?)

This particular time of return to God carried them for thirteen years, right up to the time of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls. However, not all was well. Rich Jews were charging exorbitant usury of their brethren, even making chattel of children and taking houses as people mortgaged everything to meet their needs. Nehemiah intervened.
Nehemiah 5:9-13
9 Then I pressed further. 'What you are doing is very evil,' I exclaimed. 'Should you not walk in the fear of our God? Don't we have enough enemies among the nations around us who are trying to destroy us? 10 The rest of us are lending money and grain to our fellow Jews without any interest. I beg you, gentlemen, stop this business of usury. 11 Restore their fields, vineyards, oliveyards, and homes to them this very day and drop your claims against them.'

12 So they agreed to do it and said that they would assist their brothers without requiring them to mortgage their lands and sell them their children. Then I summoned the priests and made these men formally vow to carry out their promises. 13 And I invoked the curse of God upon any of them who refused. 'May God destroy your homes and livelihood if you fail to keep this promise,' I declared.

And all the people shouted, 'Amen,' and praised the Lord. And the rich men did as they had promised.
(The unbridled business community of Jerusalem was capable of permitting economic atrocities. Does this sound familiar today when future generations are being mortgaged for the necessities of the moment [ie: welfare, college debt, governmental entitlements]?) Notice, Nehemiah rehearsed the curse of Deuteronomy 28 and added a few thoughts as well.

Nehemiah was not suggesting a program to lessen economic and social disparity. His was not a program of re-distribution of wealth. He re-introduced brotherly love for their fellows. Assisting those who honor God has always been "seed sown in good ground." Look at the result:
Nehemiah 12:43-47
43 Many sacrifices were offered on that joyous day, for God had given us cause for great joy. The women and children rejoiced, too, and the joy of the people of Jerusalem was heard far away!

44 On that day men were appointed to be in charge of the treasuries, the wave offerings, the tithes, and first-of-the-harvest offerings, and to collect these from the farms as decreed by the laws of Moses. These offerings were assigned to the priests and Levites, for the people of Judah appreciated the priests and Levites and their ministry. 45 They also appreciated the work of the singers and gatekeepers, who assisted them in worshiping God and performing the purification ceremonies as required by the laws of David and his son Solomon. 46(It was in the days of David and Asaph that the custom began of having choir directors to lead the choirs in hymns of praise and thanks to God.) 47 So now, in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah, the people brought a daily supply of food for the members of the choir, the gatekeepers, and the Levites. The Levites, in turn, gave a portion of what they received to the priests.
David's Psalms reflect the protection of God over Jerusalem. Thirty-nine references are found in his work, showing his love for the city. Here is one reference which must stand for all of them.
Psalms 48:4-14
4 The kings of the earth have arrived together to inspect the city. 5 They marvel at the sight and hurry home again, 6 afraid of what they have seen; they are filled with panic like a woman in travail! 7 For God destroys the mightiest warships with a breath of wind. 8 We have heard of the city's glory--the city of our God, the Commander of the armies of heaven. And now we see it for ourselves! God has established Jerusalem forever.

9 Lord, here in your Temple we meditate upon your kindness and your love. 10 Your name is known throughout the earth, O God. You are praised everywhere for the salvation you have scattered throughout the world. 11 O Jerusalem, rejoice! O people of Judah, rejoice! For God will see to it that you are finally treated fairly. 12 Go, inspect the city! Walk around and count her many towers! 13 Note her walls and tour her palaces so that you can tell your children.

14 For this great God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide until we die.
O,' may verse fourteen be our confession to a world gone amuck!

Realize the Temple was not yet built in reality when this Psalm was written, yet verse nine looked by faith as if it were.

Jerusalem, it is over this city that God hovered and knew its inmost heart. What He saw was pronounced through the prophet's words. Now, hear Isaiah's appraisal.
Isaiah 1:21-26
21 Jerusalem, once a faithful wife! And now a prostitute! Running after other gods! Once 'The City of Fair Play,' but now a gang of murderers. 22 Once like sterling silver; now mixed with worthless alloy! Once so pure, but now diluted like watered-down wine! 23 Your leaders are rebels, companions of thieves; all of them take bribes and won't defend the widows and orphans. 24 Therefore the Lord, the Mighty One of Israel, says: 'I will pour out my anger on you, my enemies! 25 I myself will melt you in a smelting pot and skim off your slag.

26 'And afterwards I will give you good judges and wise counselors like those you used to have. Then your city shall again be called 'The City of Justice' and 'The Faithful Town.
' Isaiah lived in Jerusalem, so his heart was toward the city, but his prophetic burden called it "like it was." Nearly 400 years before the event, He wrote:
Isaiah 5:14-15
14 Hell is licking its chops in anticipation of this delicious morsel, Jerusalem. Her great and small shall be swallowed up, and all her drunken throngs.
Nevertheless, God's intent for Jerusalem will not be undone. "His good hand is upon Jerusalem." In the last days, the earth will center around Israel's capitol. Two somewhat varying prophetic words emerge, but they both involve the nations.
Isaiah 24:15-25:8
But my heart is heavy with grief, for evil still prevails and treachery is everywhere. 17 Terror and the captivity of hell are still your lot, O men of the world. 18 When you flee in terror, you will fall into a pit, and if you escape from the pit, you will step into a trap, for destruction falls from the heavens upon you; the world is shaken beneath you. 19 The earth has broken down in utter collapse; everything is lost, abandoned, and confused. 20 The world staggers like a drunkard; it shakes like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the sins of the earth are very great.

21 On that day the Lord will punish the fallen angels in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. 22 They will be rounded up like prisoners and imprisoned in a dungeon until they are tried and condemned. 23 Then the Lord of heaven's armies will mount His throne in Zion and rule gloriously in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the elders of His people. Such glory there will be that all the brightness of the sun and moon will seem to fade away.
Now look at this passage:
Isaiah 25:1ff
25:1 O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God; you do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them, just as you said! 2 You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. The strongest forts are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. 3 Therefore strong nations will shake with fear before you; ruthless nations will obey and glorify your name.

4 But to the poor, O Lord, You are a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, a shelter from merciless men who are like a driving rain that melts down an earthen wall. 5 As a hot, dry land is cooled by clouds, You will cool the pride of ruthless nations. 6 Here on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, the Lord Almighty will spread a wondrous feast for everyone around the world--a delicious feast of good food, with clear, well-aged wine and choice beef. 7 At that time He will remove the cloud of gloom, the pall of death that hangs over the earth; 8 He will swallow up death forever. The Lord God will wipe away all tears and take away forever all insults and mockery against His land and people. The Lord has spoken--He will surely do it!
Isn't this a wonderful passage?

Jerusalem is such a special place on earth! Jesus walked there; Jesus was crucified there, and paid the eternal price for our redemption there; God came down there, the church was born there and Pentecost poured out there. Yes, Jerusalem is always in God's plan.
Isaiah 56:6-8
6 'As for the Gentiles, the outsiders who join the people of the Lord and serve Him and love His name, who are His servants and don't desecrate the Sabbath, and have accepted His covenant and promises, 7 I will bring them also to My holy mountain of Jerusalem and make them full of joy within My House of Prayer.'

'I will accept their sacrifices and offerings, for My Temple shall be called "A House of Prayer for All People!" 8 For the Lord God who brings back the outcasts of Israel says, 'I will bring others too besides My people Israel.'
Look also at this passage:
Isaiah 62:6-12
O Jerusalem, I have set intercessors on your walls who shall cry to God all day and all night for the fulfillment of His promises. Take no rest, all you who pray, and give God no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her respected and admired throughout the earth. 8 The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem with all His integrity: 'I will never again give you to your enemies; never again shall foreign soldiers come and take away your grain and wine. 9 You raised it; you shall keep it, praising God. Within the Temple courts you yourselves shall drink the wine you pressed.'

10 Go out! Go out! Prepare the roadway for My people to return! Build the roads, pull out the boulders, raise the flag of Israel.

11 See, the Lord has sent His messengers to every land and said, 'Tell My people, I, the Lord your God, am coming to save you and will bring you many gifts.' 12 And they shall be called 'The Holy People' and 'The Lord's Redeemed,' and Jerusalem shall be called 'The Land of Desire' and 'The City God Has Blessed.'
Jeremiah intoned the following words and thereby joined the other prophetical promises concerning Jerusalem. Even though he preceded the Babylonian Captivity, he was one of the only voices God used during this time (586BC).
Jeremiah 3:16-19
'Then, when your land is once more filled with people,' says the Lord, 'you will no longer wish for "the good old days of long ago" when you possessed the Ark of God's covenant. Those days will not be missed or even thought about, and the Ark will not be reconstructed, for the Lord Himself will be among you. 17 The whole city of Jerusalem will be known as the throne of the Lord; all nations will come to Him there and no longer stubbornly follow their evil desires. 18 At that time the people of Judah and of Israel will return together from their exile in the north, to the land I gave their fathers as an inheritance forever.'
Ezekiel, a slave in Babylon, wrote this tender piece about his beloved city.
Ezekiel 20:40-44
'For at Jerusalem in My holy mountain,' says the Lord, 'all Israel shall worship Me. There I will accept you and require you to bring Me your offerings and the finest of your gifts. 41 You will be to Me as an offering of perfumed incense when I bring you back from exile, and the nations will see the great change in your hearts. 42 Then, when I have brought you home to the land I promised your fathers, you will know I am the Lord. 43 Then you will look back at all your sins and loathe yourselves because of the evil you have done. 44 And when I have honored My name by blessing you despite your wickedness, then, O Israel, you will know I am the Lord.'
Daniel, also a servant in Babylon, interceded for Jerusalem and received this revelation.
Daniel 9:20-23
20 Even while I was praying and confessing my sin and the sins of my people, desperately pleading with the Lord My God for Jerusalem, His holy mountain, 21 Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, flew swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice 22 and said to me, "Daniel, I am here to help you understand God's plans. 23 The moment you began praying a command was given. I am here to tell you what it was, for God loves you very much. Listen and try to understand the meaning of the vision that you saw!"
Then the oft quoted Joel, who envisioned the outpouring of God's Spirit, has this to say:
Joel 3:14-21
4 Multitudes, multitudes waiting in the valley for the verdict of their doom! For the Day of the Lord is near, in the Valley of Judgment. 15 The sun and moon will be darkened and the stars withdraw their light. 16 The Lord shouts from His Temple in Jerusalem, and the earth and sky begin to shake. But to His people Israel, the Lord will be very gentle. He is their Refuge and Strength.

17 "Then you shall know at last that I am the Lord your God in Zion, My holy mountain. Jerusalem shall be Mine forever; the time will come when no foreign armies will pass through her any more."

18 "Sweet wine will drip from the mountains, and the hills shall flow with milk. Water will fill the dry stream beds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the Temple of the Lord to water Acacia Valley. 19 Egypt will be destroyed, and Edom, too, because of their violence against the Jews, for they killed innocent people in those nations."

20 "But Israel will prosper forever, and Jerusalem will thrive as generations pass. 21 For I will avenge the blood of My people; I will not clear their oppressors of guilt. For My home is in Jerusalem with My people."
Micah speaks of future times and ends with "but for now."
Micah 4:2-8
For in those days the whole world will be ruled by the Lord from Jerusalem! He will issue His laws and announce His decrees from there.
3 He will arbitrate among the nations and dictate to strong nations far away. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; nations shall no longer fight each other, for all war will end. There will be universal peace, and all the military academies and training camps will be closed down.

4 Everyone will live quietly in his own home in peace and prosperity, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord himself has promised this. 5(Therefore we will follow the Lord our God forever and ever, even though all the nations around us worship idols!)

6 In that coming day, the Lord says that He will bring back His punished people--sick and lame and dispossessed- -7 and make them strong again in their own land, a mighty nation, and the Lord Himself shall be their King from Mount Zion forever. 8 O Jerusalem--the Watchtower of God's people--your royal might and power will come back to you again, just as before.
The little heard from Zephaniah had a huge statement from the Lord.
Zephaniah 3:14-20
14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 For the Lord will remove His hand of judgment and disperse the armies of your enemy. And the Lord Himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over--you need fear no more.

16 On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, Cheer up, don't be afraid. 17 For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; He will love you and not accuse you." Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord Himself exulting over you in happy song.

"I have gathered your wounded and taken away your reproach. 19 And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones, and bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory to My former exiles, mocked and shamed.

20 "At that time, I will gather you together and bring you home again, and give you a good name, a name of distinction among all the peoples of the earth, and they will praise you when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says the Lord.
Zechariah joined the other prophets with good news for Zion. His words about Jerusalem reached across thousands of years and invade today.
Zechariah 14:1-11
1 Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming soon! On that day the Lord will gather together the nations to fight Jerusalem; the city will be taken, the houses rifled, the loot divided, the women raped; half the population will be taken away as slaves, and half will be left in what remains of the city.

3 Then the Lord will go out fully armed for war, to fight against those nations. 4 That day his feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a very wide valley running from east to west, for half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. 5 You will escape through that valley, for it will reach across to the city gate. Yes, you will escape as your people did long centuries ago from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and the Lord my God shall come, and all His saints and angels with Him.

6 The sun and moon and stars will no longer shine,

7 yet there will be continuous day! Only the Lord knows how! There will be no normal day and night--at evening time it will still be light. 8 Life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously both in winter and in summer.

9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day there shall be one Lord--His name alone will be worshiped. 10 All the land from Geba (the northern border of Judah) to Rimmon (the southern border) will become one vast plain, but Jerusalem will be on an elevated site, covering the area all the way from the Gate of Benjamin over to the site of the old gate, then to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses. 11 And Jerusalem shall be inhabited, safe at last, never again to be cursed and destroyed.
The future of Jerusalem is bright, because God said so! What a city! What a mighty God!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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Die Sohn Zadoks

Last modified: 02/07/2019