JERUSALEM is “the city of the great King”: it was Jesus who called it so. When he came to it “lowly and riding upon an ass”, and was rejected by its leaders, he said: “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate . . . Ye shall not see me henceforth, TILL ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:38-39). Shortly after he amplified this by saying: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles UNTIL the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled … THFN shall ye see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:24-27).
No man with any respect for the Lord Jesus Christ could speak slightingly of Jerusalem. But further than that, no careful reader of his words would think only of the city’s historic past; Jesus looks to its future, and links it with his own. He has not finished with Jerusalem, and none who love him will disregard it.
In all this Jesus was basing his own teaching on the words which God “spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets”. Their theme had been: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee”. Let us see some of the beautiful things they said about it.1. Jerusalem is the place which God chose to place His name there.
“Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there” (Deut. 12:11). “But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there” (2 Chron. 6:6).2. Jerusalem is the city of Christ.
“Thy king cometh unto thee” is the language of prophecy addressed to Jerusalem (see Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:1-7). Because Jerusalem was God’s city, Jesus forbade his friends to swear by it (see Matt. 5:35). If it was sacred to him, should it not be so to those who profess to follow him?3. A day is coming when “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa. 40:5). Jerusalem will be the centre from which it shines forth to “fill the earth as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
“Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3). “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isa. 60:1-3). “Be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying” (Isa. 65:18-19).4. Jerusalem, down-trodden and in affliction with her children, is divinely assured of happier days.
“Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” (Isa. 40:2). “Awake, awake, stand up, 0 Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury . . .” “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, 0 Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, 0 captive daughter of Zion” (Isa. 51:17; 52:1-2).5. If you are to have any part in the salvation God has promised, it will be as a lover of Jerusalem, and in connection with her restored glory in the Holy Land.
“Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother cormforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies” (Isa. 66:10-14).6. At that time, the throne of Jehovah [Yahweh] shall be established in Jerusalem.
“At that time, they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord” (Jer. 3:17). “The Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem” (Isa. 24 :23).
7. The divine glory will therefore be established in Jerusalem for ever.
“The name of the city from that day shall be, THE LORD IS THERE”. “Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed” (Isa. 33:20).\Should it not be clear from all this that no man can truly hope for God’s salvation who is not a lover of Jerusalem?