Tuesday, December 15, 2015

King Jesus and the New Jerusalem

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.” (Jeremiah 33:14-16)
At the time this was spoken, Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians. The city was destroyed, the temple decimated, the people carried off into captivity. God allowed this to happen because of their wickedness, their faithlessness, their idolatry. But that would not be the end of the story. Not by any means.
Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it. (Jeremiah 33:6-9)
“Nevertheless” — a wonderful word with wonderful promise: Restoration. Rebuilding. Return from captivity. Healing. Abundant peace and security. Cleansed of sin and rebellion. Forgiveness. Prosperity. Awe. Praise and honor to the Lord before all nations.

“The days are coming,” says the LORD, and in those days, two realities would come to pass. The first concerns the “righteous Branch” that would “sprout from David’s line.” God had promised King David that there would be a son and heir who would reign on his throne forever. After the kingdom divided into Israel and Judah and their thrones eventually fell, it was understood that this promised king would be the Messiah, who would restore Israel and rule over the nations with his peace.

This promise is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus the Messiah, who is called the Son of David. He came in an unexpected way, born in a lowly cattle stall, to the Virgin Mary. He established his reign through the contradiction that was the cross and resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of God the Father.

This leads us to the second promised reality: Judah restored and Jerusalem dwelling in safety. As with the promised Messiah, this too would be fulfilled in an unexpected way, for the New Testament speaks of the new Jerusalem, a Jerusalem that is free, a Jerusalem that is above, a heavenly Jerusalem that comes down, joining heaven to earth.
  • But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. (Galatians 4:26)
  • But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem. (Hebrews 12:22)
  • And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:2)
This new Jerusalem is the Church, which is identified as Messiah’s body and bride. However, it is important to understand that the Church in the New Testament is not a separate entity from Israel in the Old Testament — indeed, the Church is Israel. What was promised to Israel in the Old Testament is received by Israel in the New, by all who come to Jesus the Messiah. Even the nations (the Gentiles) who receive him as King are, to use Paul’s words in Romans 11, “grafted into” the root, which is Israel.

The coming of King Jesus into the world fulfills the promise God made through the prophet Jeremiah. He is the Lord Our Righteous Savior, who comes to bring his peace and set things right in the world.

Let Earth Receive Her King
Let Earth Receive Her King
Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom of God
by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

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