In Part 2 of this series, we pointed out that the dramatic events taking place in Jerusalem at the present time are the fulfillment of prophecy—which will lead to the establishment of another Temple of God in the near future.
In this final section (Part 3), we will address Jerusalem’s future and how Christians will be involved.
When Jesus Christ establishes the Kingdom of God on earth, He will return to an area from which He also ascended to Heaven—that location is the Mount of Olives. It was specifically at Bethany, which is on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, that Jesus Christ left His disciples (Luke 24:50-51).
We have more details of this event:
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey” (Acts 1:9-12).
Next, consider what is prophesied about Jesus Christ’s future return—in the Old Testament:
“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south… Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with [Him]” (Zechariah 14:4-5).
In the New Testament—Christ’s return is similarly described:
“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1).
Mount Zion is closely identified with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This verse in Revelation 14 seems to indicate a time immediately following that of Zechariah 14, as quoted above. Then, in Ezekiel’s vision of the future Temple of God, Jesus Christ is described as having entered the Temple:
“Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw–like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever…” (Ezekiel 43:1-7).
Important considerations confront us! These verses that have been referenced show that Jesus Christ, the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14; 19:16), will return to the Mount of Olives, to Jerusalem and to His Temple. He will have the saints—that is, the then immortal Christians who will be part of the first resurrection, the “firstfruits”—with Him (Revelation 14:4; 17:14; compare 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)!
Deceived, self-appointed ministers teach that the reward of Christians is to go to Heaven “to be with the Lord.” The idea that some will be “raptured” and protected in Heaven while those left behind suffer miserable retribution is widely believed by many. Yet, depending on which denomination or group one might consult, there is little consistency on the details of what Christians are to experience—especially, when their doctrines are measured against the Word of God!
Jesus said that His servants would be with Him, but His promise was for a future time—in the Kingdom of God. On this point it is critical that we understand—no Christian is NOW with Jesus Christ!
Note what Jesus told the people who heard His preaching:
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’” (John 7:33-34).
And—what He told His own disciples:
“‘Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, “Where I am going, you cannot come,” so now I say to you… Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward’” (John 13:33, 36).
“‘In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also’” (John 14:2-3).
As we have already established, Jesus will return to the earth. Jerusalem will then become the center of world government:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2-4).
“‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the LORD. ‘Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem’” (Zechariah 2:10-12).
The Kingdom of God will replace all governments on the earth (Daniel 2:44). In this context consider that Jesus promised the apostles who had followed Him that they would rule the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28-29; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 22:28-30). Rulership—with Jesus—is the promise given to Christians:
“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6; also, Revelation 5:10).
How, then, is the City of Jerusalem important to Christians?
First, Jerusalem is a KEY for watching prophesy in our generation. All-important, crucial events in Jerusalem will be among those indicating the imminent RETURN of Jesus Christ.
Second, Jerusalem will be WHERE Jesus Christ establishes God’s government in His millennial rule. Christians will be WITH Him.
Third, Jerusalem—created anew by God—will exist FOREVER as a spiritual city. Christians, as born again sons and daughters of God, will be with God the Father and Jesus Christ—ETERNALLY!
Lead Writer: Dave Harris