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GOD’S FINAL CHAPTER

 

There is one thing for sure. God is going to wind up his program and bring this present evil age to a swift conclusion. God himself will write the final chapter to human history. In fact, that chapter is already written through the many pronouncements given by Israel’s prophets.

There are numerous things concerning the end of the age and the coming of the Lord that our finite minds cannot grasp. Many of the hints the Lord gives us concerning this time are in a sort of spiritual code. We see only dim reflections in the mirror (1 Cor. 13:12). God has simply not revealed the whole to mankind.

We must therefore always be careful in our interpretations to avoid naming names and setting dates. We cannot be too specific, but we can talk quite confidently in general terms. God has given enough hints about the end of the age, that if we are careful to read and weigh his word, we can recognize the time when it comes. Long ago, the aged Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus as the Messiah. They had waited long for him in the Temple area; they had savored the promises of the prophets. When he was brought to the Temple, even as a small baby, they were quick to proclaim him as the Messiah of Israel.

In this respect we would be wise to steer clear of the fanciful schemes of interpretation we hear today. Many of these schemes, templates and paradigms could possibly be advanced by the False Prophet himself. We should simply read and weigh all scripture and allow the scriptures themselves to form our conclusions concerning the end day. In fear and trembling before the Lord Jesus we should allow his Holy Spirit to guide us in
this endeavor.

It is good to treat the weight of scripture much like we would treat a set of balances. When the weight of Bible opinion tilts in a direction, that should help us make up our minds in that direction. We must believe what the Bible says even if it should make no sense from our present perspective. This is far better than imposing a system or template of end-day interpretation upon the Bible.

With all this in mind, there are some basic end-time events we should consider.

GATHERING OF THE NATIONS

The continued existence of Israel over the last three thousand years is a marvelous proof that there is a God. Likewise, the persistent and well-orchestrated attempts to destroy Israel over that same period are excellent proofs that there is a devil. The persecution of Israel has been far too consistent, too well planned, too diabolical, and too universal to have simply sprung from the mind of man.

For this reason, we would be very foolish to believe that the nations, who have been led to persecute Israel for these thousands of years, will not ultimately follow her home. They will in fact surround and invade this tiny nation.

Indeed the prophets of Israel are uniform in their opinion that the nations will come together and invade the land of Israel. We cannot be certain, but perhaps this could occur through the auspices of the UN, since the UN now has the authority to mobilize the nations as at no other time in history. All this seems even more likely since the UN has consistently been a tool in the hands of the devil to spread Muslim hatred toward Israel.

Psalm 33:10: “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.”
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There is another aspect in regard to the nations coming against Israel. The scripture assures us that God will actually draw the nations to this end. He will do so in order to bring his fierce judgment upon them. So the coming together of the nations of earth will not be accidental, or even the work of the devil in the final analysis. It will be the hand of the Most High who works through history to achieve his ends. In Joel 3:2, the Lord says:

I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.

In Zechariah 14:2, we read a similar promise, that God will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem. Zechariah speaks of a difficult time in which most of the city of Jerusalem will be taken. There will be rape and pillage and some of the people will be taken into captivity. This invasion has all the hallmarks of Muslim jihads over past centuries and even up to the present era. Perhaps those spoken of as beheaded in Revelation 20:4, are also victims of Muslim rage, since people are still regularly beheaded in Muslim lands.

Zechariah assures us that at this point in history, the Lord will arise to avenge his people and his city. At this juncture, Zechariah tells us that the Messiah will stand once more on the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem (Zech. 14: 4). Have we Christians ever wondered why Jesus would return specifically to the Mount of Olives? Zechariah’s context makes plain that he is coming to defend the people of Israel against a worldwide attack.

THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM

We may have heard the expression “the calm before the storm,” but in scripture we see that there will be a storm before the calm. Thus we see that before Israel can have peace, there must be a terrible war involving all the nations of earth drawn together against her. Although it is true that Ezekiel speaks of Israel living in peace before she is attacked (Ezek. 38:11, 14), we do not live in such a period of peace today, nor is one likely. His reference to this attack seems to be far off in the distant future, at the very end of time when Gog and Magog will invade the land (Ezek. 38:7 ff.). It is definitely pictured as being after the millennium, or the thousand year reign of peace, as we clearly see in Revelation 20:7-8:

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.

This is not the attack that concerns us today, although many modern interpreters talk as if Gog and Magog were at our doorstep. It must be admitted, however, that prophecy is a strange thing, in that it may have partial fulfillments before the final one.

In the meantime, as this evil age plays out, we will probably see more strife, more lawlessness, more tension, more distress of nations, and more attacks with dreadful and widespread terrorism. For sure we will see Jerusalem coming clearly into focus as the real problem in the Middle East, and in the world for that matter.

Again, in respect to Jerusalem, God warns the nations. He promises to make Jerusalem an extremely difficult problem, one that will injure nations who become involved with it:

On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (Zec.12:3).

We can imagine that all political means and maneuvers will be exhausted in the futile attempt of the nations to move the rock, that is to snatch Jerusalem from the Jews. However we are promised in scripture that the rock of Mount Zion will not be moved (Psa. 125:1). We can believe that the surrounding Muslim nations will be in a fuming rage over their inability to move the rock. These surrounding nations will be sent reeling (Zech. 12:2). So we can expect Muslim nations to become more and more emotionally involved with the status of Jerusalem.

THE GREAT WAR AND ARMAGEDDON


Albrecht Durer, The Revelation of St. John: The Four Riders of the Apocalypse, 1497-98, Woodcut
(Wikimedia Commons)

The scripture makes it plain that the beast and the kings of the earth will be gathered together (Rev. 19:19). In other places, this beast is called the Antichrist and the lawless one. Paul speaks of him and his activity in these words:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming (2 Thess. 2:8).

God’s word speaks of perplexity among the nations at this time in history (Lk. 21:25). As the spiritual fiber of nations is lost through lawlessness there will be no reason to stand up for Israel. After all, support of Israel makes no sense politically, or economically, but only spiritually.

As lawlessness increases, the lawless one or Antichrist will finally arise. As we have said, God will then draw all nations to Jerusalem to battle. In Zephaniah 3:8, we see that God is determined to gather all nations and kingdoms to pour out his wrath upon them. We need to notice that all nations of earth will be involved here.

Why is God so angry with the nations? We read in Isaiah 34:8: “For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.” The nations will suffer God’s fierce judgment for mistreating the Jews these thousands of years. Surrounding Muslim nations will suffer God’s fierce wrath for their virulent hatred of Israel over the many centuries. They have dared repeatedly to touch “the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8).

Nations will suffer God’s fierce wrath for the horrors they have inflicted upon the land of Israel over the centuries. They will suffer God’s wrath for their hypocrisy in regard to the Jews and in regard to Israel and Jerusalem. The Bible in Zechariah 1:14-15, tells us that God is very jealous for Zion, and sore displeased with the nations.

Psalm 92:9 “For surely your enemies, O LORD, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered”
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This great battle with Antichrist and the nations of the earth against tiny Israel may be fought at several locales. It may be fought on the mountains of Israel, in Jerusalem and at Megiddo. We might ask, how can the battle be on Israel’s mountains, at Jerusalem and at Megiddo (Armageddon) all at the same time? Can this be reconciled?

Remember that Israel, excluding her desert area, is a very small land, only 50 miles wide by 150 miles long. An international attack on the land would certainly affect every part of it. Thus we can understand how Jerusalem could be surrounded, how the battle could be waged on the mountains around Jerusalem, and how nations might attempt to cut the nation in two at the ancient mountain pass of Megiddo (Armageddon) on the edge of the beautiful Jezreel Valley (Rev. 16:16).


View of the Jezreel Valley from Har-Megiddo or Armageddon
(Courtesy Israel Information Office)

THE INFLUENCE OF BABYLON AND PERSIA

We see that a great part of the deception leading up to this end-day battle will be brought about due to the influence of ancient Babylon (modern Iraq) and Persia (modern Iran). To some degree we could even include the country of Syria, since it also borders on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Indeed, Syria has been one of Israel’s most persistent enemies since biblical times.

Evil spirits from these areas will go out from the devil to lure all nations into the battle of this great day of God (Rev. 16:12-14). In ancient times the angel who came to the prophet Daniel had to fight for days with a mighty spirit ruling in this area of the world (Dan. 10:13,20). It appears certain that spirits will rise up from this area once again to draw all nations to battle at Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). In recent years we have seen a great deal of activity from these areas and this should heighten our concern.


Arrival of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran in 1979. Khomeini immediately
began to launch a jihad against the west and against Israel.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The countries of ancient Babylon and Persia are particularly dangerous in a spiritual sense. In the Book of Revelation much space is devoted to the coming judgment and destruction of Babylon. We need to keep our eyes on these areas and be alert. Radical Muslim nations like Iraq and Iran could not only have a role to play in the last day scenario, but they may very well be able to introduce the nuclear dimension to the end-time struggle. Iran particularly seems intense on developing nuclear missiles that will not only reach Israel but many points in the western world as well.

These radical Muslims could also lead their nearby Muslim brethren into war with Israel. They could bring with them multiplied millions of Muslims from the former USSR, Pakistan and even China into a frenzied jihad against Israel. In the Book of Revelation we also see that the four angels of destruction who are released to kill a third of humankind come from this part of the world. These angels are said to be bound at the great river Euphrates, just awaiting their moment of release (Rev. 9:13-21).

The attempt of the nations to solve the Israel problem once for all – that last “final solution” for this age will apparently create immense pressures in Israel. It will also likely create immense pressures among God’s people far and wide. Prior to the end of this period there will be much suffering for God’s Church. Before his defeat, the Antichrist will gain a partial victory over God’s people (Dan. 7:21). We are told in Daniel 7:25, that he will “wear out the saints” with his persecution.

GOD POURS OUT HIS SPIRIT ON ISRAEL



Sounding the trumpets at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

It seems clear that preceding this great battle, as incredible pressures are mounting in Israel, there will be a long promised spiritual awakening in Jerusalem. Under the specter of what will surely look like total annihilation, the Israeli people will turn to God en masse and with a fervency unsurpassed in all of their history. On this day, God will put his New Covenant into effect with Israel (Jer. 31:31).

In this time frame, when all nations gather against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:3), God will pour out a spirit of grace upon the people. They will begin to mourn for the one they have pierced (Zech. 12:10). Zechariah says, “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity” (Zec. 13:1). Israel will cry out: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mat. 23:39). The Messiah of Israel will be longed for, and at last welcomed with open arms.

As Christians, we believe fervently that this Messiah is none other than Jesus Christ or Yeshua. There is more and more evidence that Jews the world over are also coming to this conclusion. The rise of Messianic synagogues and assemblies in virtually all places attest to this growing and vigorous movement. Even in Israel during the last twenty years, the Messianic movement has blossomed into thousands of people with the establishment of scores of assemblies.

Messianic Jews, of course, are those who believe that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah of Israel. Messianic Jews often hold tenaciously to their Judaism while espousing Yeshua as Messiah. Many often hold to various traditions and teachings of Judaism as well as to those of Christianity. They appear at this point very much akin to the earliest believers in the church and thus have much to offer to the Church and to Israel. Jesus said in Matthew 13:52 “…Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Messianic Jews, though often misunderstood by their brothers in the flesh and by the Church, appear in an excellent position to bridge the gap between Gentile Christians and Jews in the last days.

THE MESSIAH COMES

When Israel turns to her Messiah and when she cries for his coming and his assistance, he will appear. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 we read:

…This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed…

The cleansing of Israel makes possible the Messiah’s appearance to his nation and to the world. It also finally clears the way for God to defend his people and his nation wholeheartedly. Thus we see the Messiah fighting for Israel against all the nations of earth.

He is clearly the one on the white horse in Revelation 19:19. In Revelation 19:17-18, 21, we see that the birds of prey will be called together to gorge themselves upon the slain of
the nations.

In the past we have often sought to interpret last-day events from the New Testament only. This can be misleading. We must try to reconcile New Testament passages with the numerous Old Testament ones which speak of the same events. This is not easy and at times appears almost impossible. We must remember that the writers of the New Testament had these Old Testament passages in mind as they wrote. In the Old Testament, the great emphasis is upon Israel and Jerusalem. That emphasis will also necessarily carry through in the New Testament.

We see God defending Israel as the prophets have long foretold. God has kindled his fire in Zion and his furnace in Jerusalem. He will refine the nations there (Isa. 31:9). Zechariah says of this time:

On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem (Zech. 12:8-9).

Isaiah speaks of that day in this wise:

… so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.” (Isa. 31:4-5).

And again,

I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant! (Isa 37:35).

God is jealous for Jerusalem with a great jealousy (Zech. 1:14). Through the ages, God has been often hindered in his plans by the rebellion and unbelief of his own people. When his people turn to him he will defend them mightily. The enemies will vanish away as at many times in past history.

We may not have too many details of this particular battle in scripture. Perhaps the results of it are pictured in Revelation 14:20, where we see the blood flowing as high as the horses’ bridles and for a distance of 180 miles (289 kilometers). The Lamb will have an immediate and decisive victory over the beast and his armies.

There is one thing for sure, when this battle is over, everyone will know that the Lord is God. Everyone will also know the identity of his Messiah, whom we Christians know as Jesus or Yeshua. In Isaiah 25:9 Israel cries out, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in
his salvation.”

When we realize that all the nations of earth will gather to fight against Jerusalem, and when we realize that these nations will also be fighting against the Messiah, it is cause for concern. How many so-called “Christians” and “Christian nations” will be caught up in this battle against Israel and against the Messiah himself? We need to pray that we can have clear understanding as the end-day events unfold, lest we be found fighting against God.

THE MILLENNIAL ADVENT

When the international war against Israel is over and Armageddon is history, we will see some tremendous changes in our world. As we enter the Millennial Age, we will see God’s plan for Israel go into effect as it has not done since ancient times.

The Millennial Age is passed over today by many Bible teachers. This trend began with Origen and Eusebius long ago. An age of peace for natural Israel simply did not fit into their allegorical scheme of interpretation and therefore it was shunned. Many modern teachers apparently feel the same way today.

Although we do not fully understand the peculiarities of this age and it leaves us with many questions, we had best believe in its existence until we understand it better.

We can perceive some things about this age. Shortly before it begins, the beast and the false prophet will be thrown into hell (Rev. 19:20). Never again will men be deceived by the false prophet. Satan himself will then be bound for a thousand years, and will not be able to tempt men and nations (Rev. 20:2-3). The world will enter an age of peace and tranquility unknown since the Garden of Eden. The Messianic government will be fully established in the earth. In Micah 4:3-4 we read of this period:

He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

The law of God will begin to regulate all affairs on earth. The prophet pictures this law of God as going out from Jerusalem:

Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Isa.2:3).

In reflecting on the millennial age, we can perhaps see it as a prototype kingdom of God on earth, probably designed to display God’s righteousness before angels, principalities, powers and men. It is also designed to display the glory of the Messianic government before all nations. The unleashing of the devil after this age may be for a similar purpose. It may be designed to illustrate to all his hopelessly evil intent, and the righteousness of God’s final judgment against him.

The millennial age may also be looked upon as a transition period between heaven and earth. While it has heavenly qualities, it also still has earthly ones. For instance the Lord will reign with his victorious saints for this thousand years (Rev. 20:6). Yet, some people will apparently still grow old. They will also still build houses and plant vineyards (Isa. 65:20-21). In this period the wolf and the lamb will feed together (Isa. 65:25).

GOG AND MAGOG

The peaceful days of the millennium will be briefly shattered by the sudden and incredible invasion of Gog and Magog. It will probably be one of history’s shortest wars. God will end this one and in doing so, he will end all wars forever.


An example of past cataclysmic destruction seen at ancient Bet Shean in Israel

This war will result because Satan, that ancient enemy, has again been loosed for a span. God’s act of loosing Satan is incomprehensible to us at this time, but it certainly must be necessary in God’s great plan. We must remember that this is a different age – one carefully hidden from our understanding. Because of the binding of Satan, many people in this age may never have experienced temptation. Once loosed, Satan will go about his work. He will do the same thing he has always done, that is to gather men and nations against Israel (Rev. 20:7-10). This time he will bring Gog and Magog.

These distant peoples in the north will bring their hordes to fight on the mountains of Israel. They will have some ready allies in Persia (Iran), Cush, Put and many other nations with them (Ezek. 38:5-6). This attack, however great, does not seem to be as international in scope as the first great battle or Armageddon.

At this last-day invasion, God’s hot anger in battle will be aroused one last time (Ezek. 38:18). Strange things will begin to happen as in biblical battles of ancient times. There will be earthquakes and mountains will be overturned (vs. 19-20), plagues, torrents of rain, hailstones, and burning sulfur will fall (v. 22). These armies will be destroyed as fire comes down upon them from God. It will be such an incredible defeat from the hand of God, that Israel will spend the next seven months just burying the dead (39:12).

Soon after this last battle of the ages, the book of Revelation informs us that the world as we have known it will officially end. It will end with the great judgment of God over men and nations. The devil will be thrown into hell and his temptations forever ended. The New Jerusalem will come down and heaven and earth will be one (Rev. 20:11 – 21:27).

It is interesting though in Revelation 22:2, we see that even after Satan’s final destruction, there is still a need for the healing of the nations. This pictures for us that the problem of evil is surely much deeper and more complex than we have understood it to be. It will apparently take a great amount of time for earth to be completely delivered, healed
and cleansed.

BE WISE AND ALERT

Until the end of this age we must be alert to events and movements that affect Israel. We must remember that Israel will always be the center of divine activity on earth.

The events of the first massive and international war against Israel could be much closer than we imagine. The world is becoming more and more lawless. It is likely that lawlessness must precede the coming of the lawless one, for law is indeed a restraining force. We see this portrayed for us in graphic detail in 1 Timothy 4:1-8 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The situation Paul describes in both these passages is one of gross lawlessness before the end of the age. Paul also speaks in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 of the falling away before the end:

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

One of the biggest and most dangerous problems the Church faces as this time draws near is deception. Many in the Church may already be deceived to some degree by fanciful schemes of the last days painted for them by soothsayers. Many are already deceived in regards to Israel and are unable to assess the critical role this nation will play in the end-day events. It is certainly interesting that much of the “prophecy” we see today appears patently anti-Semitic in its goals. This is evident in the separation of Jew and Christian in the last days according to some of their schemes. The Jews receive dreadful punishment by the Antichrist while Christians fly away to glory. This whole scenario certainly goes against the grain of the two becoming one new man as seen in Ephesians 2:15.

The Antichrist, whoever he is, could already be on the scene today and waiting for the exact timing of his great war with Israel. The appearance of the recent PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, illustrated to us how such a godless leader can be welcomed by the nations and the media. Arafat holds the record as being one of the greatest murderers of God’s people in modern times, yet he was the darling of the nations. Although he was an outright bandit and warmonger, he nevertheless won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. What was especially troubling, was that some Christian leaders and churches were thoroughly deceived about Arafat and also ended up adoring this antichrist type. Arafat certainly made it clear how easily people and nations will be deceived and made into followers of the lawless one when he is revealed.

We need to keep our eye on the Lord and on Israel, while at the same time being alert to the evil currents in this world. We must not believe the slanders we hear on the radio and TV. We must get our Bible on our knee and see what God says about Israel. We must always guard against deception. Jesus warns us in Matthew 24:10-13:

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.


Peter von Cornelius (Germany, 1813), Parable of the Ten Virgins who were ready to meet their Lord.
(Wikimedia Commons)

WHEN ALL THE SMOKE CLEARS:

When all the smoke of last day battle clears, we will see some developments in our world which scripture describes for us. Many of these developments will have already begun in the millennial period and they will continue on through the end of the age and into eternity:

God to establish his throne in Jerusalem

We read in Jeremiah 3:17:

At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.

Ezekiel speaks of this time in these words:

…Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel will never again defile my holy name–neither they nor their kings–by their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings at their high places (Ezek. 43:7).

Jerusalem is God’s dwelling place and he has established it forever (Psa. 48:8). The city can rejoice for God is coming to live in her midst (Zech 2:10). Jerusalem, that has been long lied about, will become the city of truth. Jerusalem that has been claimed by numerous conquerors will at last be the Lord’s Holy Mountain (Zech.8:3). God’s King, the Messiah himself will rule from this city. God speaks of this plainly in Psalm 2:6-8.

In that day the earth will no more be divided over religion.  Jerusalem will be the center of religion for the whole world. There will at last be unity among humankind:

The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name (Zec. 14:9).

God to deal with warring nations

The Bible makes it clear that God will deal sternly with the warring nations of this world. In Zion, God will break their bows, their arrows their swords and shields (Psa. 76:2-3). God’s Messiah will deal with the nations as God instructs him:

You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psa. 2:9-12).

In that day the Law will go forth from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. People and nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. They will no longer learn war. Many peoples will come to Jerusalem begging to be taught about God’s way (Isa. 2:2-4).

Those surrounding hateful nations will no longer be prickling briars to harm the people of Israel (Ezek. 28:34). Those who are left after the great battles will go up to Jerusalem to keep the feasts (Zech. 14:16). For the descendants of those who have fought Israel relentlessly over the centuries God has this promise in Isaiah 60:14:

The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Blindness of nations to be healed

From Jerusalem God’s saving light and revelation will shine forth. In Isaiah 25:7, the Lord says to us:

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations….

We are assured in this verse, that the gross blindness that has afflicted the nations will be lifted on this mountain. Yes, there is something about Jerusalem that will ultimately destroy the darkness of the human mind throughout the whole world. As it is said in Psalm 50:2, “From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.”

Glory of Jerusalem to be revealed


John of Patmos watches the descent of the New Jerusalem fromGod. Kimon Berlin,
based on a 14th century tapestry
(Wikimedia Commons)

Jerusalem will be a place of glory for all the nations to behold. It will become a show place of God’s grace. The Bible assures us that the Lord will shine from Mt. Zion:

The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously (Isa. 24:23).

Or as Isaiah 4:5 states:

Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy.

We can be assured that Jerusalem will have the world’s lowest light bill, because the Lord will be her everlasting light (Isa. 60:19-20), and her days of mourning will be ended forever. Beautiful Jerusalem will have a new name given to her by God. She will be a crown of glory, a royal diadem in God’s hand. She will never again be called a forsaken city
(Isa. 62:2-4).

In Ezekiel 48:35, the prophet tells us that Jerusalem will be known by this title: “THE LORD IS THERE.”

All nations will come to worship

God will gather the nations once more, but this time not for battle. Jerusalem will become the world center of religious pilgrimage. Nations will flock there to worship the Lord (Isa. 2:3). The Psalmist assures us that all the earth will come (Psa. 22:27: 65:2). Isaiah tells us that the Gentiles will come to Israel’s light (Isa. 60:3). Gentile kings will come bowing and bringing presents to the true God (Psa. 68:29). Even the strong nations of earth will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord (Zech. 8:22). They will come confessing the worthlessness of their idols and their religions (Jer. 16:19).

Jerusalem will no longer be a place forsaken, but a place sought out by many (Isa. 62:4). People the world over will ask the way to Zion so that they can make a covenant with God (Jer. 50:5). Gentile people will cling to the skirts, or perhaps the tallits of Jews and ask the way to Zion because they know that God is with the Jews (Zec. 8:23).

The Bible tells us then that “…the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).

Jerusalem to be a place of holiness

In this day, we will see the redeemed of the Lord returning to Zion. However, it will be a different kind of return than we have experienced previously. It will be a return in holiness as seen in Isaiah 35:8-10. The unclean will no more travel to Jerusalem.

Those who walk uprightly and work righteousness will live in Jerusalem (Psa. 15:1). Those who have clean hands and pure hearts will worship there (Psa. 24:3). The prophet Zechariah tells us:

On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty (Zech. 14:20-21).

Jerusalem, a place of beauty, joy, peace, blessing, and salvation

In that day Jerusalem will be a place of beauty (Psa. 50:2). The days of her shame will
be ended.

Jerusalem will not only be beautiful, but the “joy of the whole earth.” (Psa. 48:2). The earth certainly does not realize that fact at present, but it will in time. The ransomed will come to this hill and everlasting joy will be theirs. Their sorrow and sighing will be gone forever (Isa. 51:11). Not only will the people of God rejoice, but God will rejoice over his people. The sounds of crying will no longer be heard (Isa. 65:19).

The so-called city of peace will know real peace at last. It will not be a peace devised by men or nations, with their evil and selfish plans, but a peace devised by God in his goodness. In that day the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing safely (Zech. 8:5).

The prophet Isaiah tells us about this day:

The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD (Isa. 65:25).

God will make Zion a blessing as he has commanded long ago (Psa. 133:3; Ezek. 34:26). Living waters will flow out of Zion to refresh a parched and dreary world (Zech. 14:8). Her people will call upon the name of the Lord and will be saved and delivered. The gift of eternal life will be given in Jerusalem (Psa. 133:3). God will hear their prayers.

AFTER ALL – THERE IS JERUSALEM

After all is said and done, Jerusalem will still be there as Zechariah 12:6 says: “…but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.” Jerusalem will be the connection between heaven and earth. The New Jerusalem will come down from heaven to cover the old city in brilliance and glory. The city will bathe in that glory undisturbed forever.

Those saints who have loved her and fought for her throughout her agonized history will at last be blessed in her.

We are assured of this in the sweet words of Isaiah 66:10-14:

Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance. For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.

 

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