Jerusalem: City of Hope
At the time of Christ’s first coming, Jerusalem was populated mainly by Jews.
The Jews, like all of humanity, have a history of rejecting God’s truth. When Christ walked the Earth, He condemned them for killing the prophets who brought God’s message. Christ also prophesied how Jerusalem would be destroyed if they didn’t repent.
About 39 years after His prophecy, the Jews were invaded by the Romans. Multiple thousands were slaughtered, others were enslaved, their temple was burned, and the city was left in a heap of rubble.
The Roman general who conquered them said he could never have done so had they not been so bitterly divided. There were three main factions fighting each other for control of the city. One faction even burned most of their food. Josephus records how that act led to the worst kind of cannibalism.
The Jews are also extremely divided today. Is history about to repeat itself, but on a much greater scale?
Abraham Lincoln said before the Civil War that a house divided against itself cannot stand. He was quoting the Bible. America was in grave danger of splitting and becoming insignificant on the world scene, making the nation easy for its enemies to conquer.
Anciently, Jerusalem was the capital of all Israel. End-time biblical prophecy speaks of that city as a symbol, or type, of all Israel—whose modern descendants include, specifically, the Jewish nation and the birthright nations of America and Britain. So, essentially, what we see happening in Jerusalem will also occur in America and Britain (including the Commonwealth peoples of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). These facts are thoroughly explained in our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, which we will send you free.
Have you noticed how shamefully divided America and Britain are today? That is a deadly disease in a democracy, especially in such dangerous times.
In a crisis, division can play a major role in a nation’s death. That is what happened to Jerusalem in a.d. 70. And since that event is a type of what is going to happen in the end time to Israel, we need to be acutely concerned.
We are headed into the worst crisis ever on this planet. Our nations’ unity should be of paramount concern. Divided, we cannot stand.
About a.d. 135, the Jews again revolted against Rome. This time, the Romans drove them out of the area and would not let them return. So the city became populated mostly by Gentiles. It remained that way throughout the centuries. In 1948, the United Nations gave the Jews the newer part of Jerusalem, established in 1860. This adjoined the ancient city of Jerusalem, which was still mainly populated by Gentiles.
It remains that way today, even though the Jews conquered the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 war. The Arab population was allowed to remain in that half of Jerusalem.
According to biblical prophecy, one half of Jerusalem is soon to be conquered by the Arabs. Almost any authority on the subject knows that will be rather easy for the Arabs to do.
If you doubt the Bible, consider this: There are several prophecies about the Jews being in Jerusalem in this end time. Those prophecies were written many years before Christ even came to this Earth the first time.
A good example would be the one in Zechariah 14:2: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
That prophecy is specifically addressed to the nation of Judah (see Zechariah 1:12). It says half of Jerusalem would go into captivity. For that to be fulfilled, the Jews (the modern descendants of biblical Judah) would have to control all of Jerusalem. In other words, this scripture includes a prophecy that the Jews would not only control the new half of Jerusalem in this end time, but the old half as well—even though the Jews had no control of that city from a.d. 135 to 1948!
So the Bible prophesied well over 2,000 years ago that the Jews would lose control of Jerusalem—which happened in a.d. 70—and regain control in the end time.
The same God who inspired that prophecy also says that the Jews are about to lose control of half of that city in the very near future.
Shortly after that, they will lose the other half of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-24; Revelation 11:1-2). If the other prophecies come to pass, you can be certain that these will too—and extremely soon! (The same fate—captivity—awaits Britain and America if we don’t repent!)
This gets to the heart of why Jerusalem is about to become the city of hope on this planet.
The so-called Holy Roman Empire will conquer the nations of Israel. After 3½ years, this empire, along with armies from Asia, will be conquered by Christ in Jerusalem.
Over a hundred prophecies tell us so!
For thousands of years, the prophets and apostles of God have lived with that hope. A large number of them were killed because of that hope! The fact that people hated their message so much shows the kind of sick world in which we live.
The evil priests who tried to kill the Prophet Jeremiah and his message lived in Anathoth. This was where Jeremiah was born. Today it is a little community called Anata, just outside Jerusalem. I have done a television program from there.
Anathoth was a city of God’s own priests. It was assigned to the Levites, a type of God’s ministers today.
Even in the midst of betrayal and adversity, Jeremiah still had great hope. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. For then the king of Babylon’s army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah’s house” (Jeremiah 32:1-2). The end of Judah was dangerously near. The Babylonian armies had already surrounded Jerusalem. Jeremiah was in prison. Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, was sitting on the throne of David. This evil king actually imprisoned God’s prophet at this critical juncture. The king hated Jeremiah’s message. There was no way out except God’s way, which the king and people rejected (verses 3-5).
Then Jeremiah was inspired by God to make a strange decision. Just before the whole area fell to Babylon, Jeremiah purchased a plot of land in Anathoth from his prison cell. This was probably the most spiritually evil city in Judah. The priests led a revolt against God from there.
“Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it. And thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans” (verses 24-25). Why such an act? God is sending an inspiring message through that purchase of real estate. At the very moment Judah was under siege by Babylon, Jeremiah bought a plot of land in Anathoth.
Israel today is about to lose its land just as Judah did. That includes America, Britain and the nation called Israel today. But we know, as Jeremiah knew, that God will also bring His people back to their land after 3½ years of tribulation.
We must see the imminent collapse of Israel, but like God and Jeremiah, we must see the wonderful World Tomorrow. Then Jesus Christ will be ruling the world from David’s throne.
Christ’s future rule on this Earth ought to be as real as a piece of real estate in Anathoth! We tend to only see the problems on this Earth and not God’s overall plan.
We should be willing to invest our time, money and effort in God’s glorious work today. God’s work will usher in the wonderful World Tomorrow. Doing God’s work is an investment in that incredible future!
Jeremiah was no prophet of doom. He had the greatest vision in the Bible, clearly focused. If we keep this vision in our minds, we shall never be overcome by discouragement!
Jeremiah was not even allowed to take a wife and have a family (Jeremiah 16:1-2). He was willing to make that sacrifice—in fact, any sacrifice—for God. He kept his mind filled with the greatest vision in the Bible.
So must we.