Jerusalem: City of God
ot so long ago Joy and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Israel. To walk where Jesus walked; to sail across the Sea of Galilee where Jesus and his disciples crossed; to enter the gates of Jerusalem and visit the Holy City and say a prayer at the wall of the ancient Temple where Jesus challenged the religious Pharisees (and predicted that this temple would be destroyed—and it was in A.D.70 by the Romans); to be at the Mount of Olives and walk down through the Garden of Gethsemane to the place of the skull where Jesus was crucified; and then enter the tomb where Jesus lay dead for three days, and upon exiting read the sign, “He is not here, he is risen,” made God’s Word, the Bible, and his message of salvation leap right off the pages of history.
All of this, plus overlooking the city of Bethlehem where Jesus was born, was a life-changing experience.
It was also a vivid reminder that the events that happened in the places we visited were foretold in the Bible hundreds of years prior to their happening—providing positive evidence of the validity of God’s Word and his message to mankind. For instance, some fifteen hundred years B.C., God gave the first hope of a Savior (the Christ) who would come from Israel through the tribe of Judah.1 A thousand years B.C., the Bible said that Christ would come through the family of David.2 Seven hundred years B.C., Bethlehem was named by the prophet Micah as the birthplace of Christ.3 About the same time the prophet Isaiah wrote that Christ would be born of a virgin,4 and six hundred years B.C., the prophet Daniel predicted the time of Christ's coming.5 All of these predictions were fulfilled exactly as stated in the Bible.
Also, hundreds of years before Christ came to earth David and Isaiah predicted the sufferings of Christ and the manner of his death. David, referring to Jesus, wrote, "They pierced my hands and my feet."6 This is precisely what happened when Jesus was crucified.
I will restore the fortunes of my people
Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined
cities and live in them again....– God
Furthermore, some fifteen hundred years B.C., God also said through Moses that Israel would turn from God and be driven from their homeland. God said, "I will bring the land into desolation ... I will scatter you among the nations ... your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste."7
The result? In 721B.C., the ten northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity by Assyria and in 586 B.C. the two southern tribes were taken to Babylon (modern day Iraq). Seventy years later a remnant of 40,000 Jews returned to Israel while the rest were scattered throughout the world. In A.D.70 Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and the remnant of Israelites was dispersed among the nations. Israel then became desolate as predicted 1,500 years before.
However, God's Word also stated that Israel would be restored, saying, "Neither will I destroy them utterly."8 "For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries and will bring you into your own land."9 "I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and live in them again,"10 and the nation "will blossom as the rose."11
To witness in person these places of Biblical prophecy and see that Israel, after almost two thousand years, is again “blossoming as the rose” and, since 1948, has been restored as a nation, is further evidence of God’s fulfilled promises to Israel and all mankind.
The Third Temple
Perhaps even more exciting was to visit the Temple Institute in Jerusalem—a vivid reminder of events yet to come—and learn firsthand that the Jews are right now planning on building the third temple. In fact, they are currently training priests to lead the worship and are making the needed instruments for worship in this temple.
What, then, is the significance of this new temple? Simply put, it has to be in place for the coming Antichrist and Christ’s return to earth.
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