The Jerusalem Which Now Is . . .

What an interesting development! The American President, Donald Trump, has decided to officially recognize what the citizens of Israel have already declared. Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel. People who think that Jesus will return to rule the world from Israel probably look at this as paving the way. Much of the Islamic world hates Israel. They look at this endorsement from America as an affront. Among the Jews, the perspective is wide and varied. It ranges from rejoicing to fear, pragmatic to “it would have been better if Obama had done it”.  Though some may attach religious significance to this event, it doesn’t lock into any doctrine that comes from God, other than this; “Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) and, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Rom. 13:1) Thus the Bible shows that the Jews would again dominate Jerusalem. And the Bible shows this to be a civil affair, a matter of government, not a matter of worship. Israel exists as a governing authority, without the qualification of religious sanction.

Many souls look upon Jerusalem as a bellwether of faith. In truth, it is a city of great historical value. Undoubtedly, to many of the Jews, it is of religious and civil significance. For the Muslims, it is where Mohammed ascended to glory. If you have faith in humanism, it is also a locus for convoluted international politics.  The Bible has something to say about this city and its standing for the faithful in Christ Jesus.

This explanation begins with a problem that emerged nearly two millennia ago. After gospel of Jesus Christ began to be preached beginning at Jerusalem, it spread from the faithful Jews to the Gentiles. “. . it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith . . .” (Rom. 1:16-17) Among the believers in Israel, there were those who wanted the Gentiles to follow the law of Moses, to be circumcised, and to keep the holy days for the sake of Jesus the Messiah. This was a false teaching, not endorsed by the apostles of Jesus Christ, nor was it endorsed by the church where they originated. It was not endorsed by the faithful Jews. (For a follow up, read Acts chapter 15 in the New Testament.) However, this false teaching persisted. It appears to have been very potent among the churches in Galatia. So much so, the apostle Paul wrote them a letter to address the problem. In the Spirit of the Lord, Paul made a comparison between the two sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac. He used this comparison as an allegory showing the difference between the new covenant in Christ Jesus and the covenant which God gave through Moses. Here is a quotation from the NKJV:

  • Gal. 4:21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
  • 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.
  • 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,
  • 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar–
  • 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children–
  • 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
  • 27 For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.”
  • 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
  • 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.
  • 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”
  • 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

The point is, Jerusalem which now is (the earthly city), is not a repository for our faith. It is a city, just as Oklahoma City is a city. It does have significance as a capital city for Israel. For me it has historical significance. However, many religious people attach their faith to it for one reason or another. But if we are following the Messiah of Israel, let us hear what came from Him; “. . . Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”  Therefore, if we put our faith toward God in that city, we are in bondage, our religion is vain.

What about Jerusalem being the capital city of Israel? Do not the Israelis live in Israel and control the land? Even Jesus said they would return. Do they not have a right to have the capital city where they want it? That is their business. Are their claims any less significant than America’s claim to Washington DC, or the British claim to London? Political landscapes change, and various societies have their era. In part, this is the significance of the revelation; “the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” God gives mankind time under the sun. “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us . . .” (Acts 17:26-27)

When Jews return to their heritage in Abraham, they will see the difference between the two cities – Jerusalem which now is, and the Jerusalem above, which is free. They will see it and, individually, act accordingly. And when they see, I think it will be with clarity. Perhaps their sight will present a gift to world, for those willing to receive it.

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