Chapter 13: Looking to New Jerusalem
The most pressing question facing planet Earth today is human survival. Weather conditions, from floods to droughts, are damaging food production. Supplies are low. Natural disasters are taking their toll on lives and properties, and economies are overtaxed with the cleanup. Hatreds among peoples are reaching fever pitch, resulting in terrorism and other threats. With weapons of mass destruction, mankind has developed the technology to destroy all human life. It is not a question of if man will use these weapons—but when. Bible prophecy shows that the period known as the Great Tribulation is almost upon us—the most devastating time of all human history (Matthew 24:21). Nuclear World War iii is imminent. The near future will be a time of immeasurable human suffering.
Yet God promises His people a place of physical refuge. When the Tribulation begins, God’s faithful Church will be taken to a place of safety somewhere on Earth (Revelation 12:14).
Sinners in Zion
But most of God’s people will not escape what is coming. “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Isaiah 33:14). In prophecy, Zion means the New Testament Church. Today there are sinners in Zion whom God calls hypocrites. A hypocrite is someone who pretends to be something he is not. This verse can refer only to the Laodiceans today. They scoff at our message now, but soon they will be extremely “afraid.”
The Laodiceans will have to “dwell with the devouring fire,” or nuclear bombs. Nuclear fire will wake them up to their tragic spiritual condition. What an incredible price they will have to pay to get back in step with God! When the doors of the Tribulation close in around them, they will suddenly realize how wrong they have been. The Laodiceans have deceived themselves about their lying, but deep down they still know they are liars! So God must punish them. That is their only hope to be in God’s righteous Family.
Isaiah clearly shows who will escape the coming nuclear nightmare. “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil” (verse 15). Those members of God’s Church who live righteously now will escape. As discussed in Revelation 3:10, these people are living true to God’s Word. They have remained faithful to what they were taught concerning the key of David vision.
King in His Beauty
Details of this promise are given in Isaiah. “He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off” (Isaiah 33:16-17). Munitions of rocks is better translated strongholds of Sela, referring to the famous city of Petra. This rock fortress has been used over past centuries as a well-defended stronghold. It is the perfect place for God to protect His people from nuclear fallout and other dangers of nuclear war. Still, we don’t know for certain where that place of safety will be.
Notice that God also promises His obedient people food and water. God’s Philadelphians will not suffer hunger and thirst.
Verse 17 shows that the protected people will also see the “king,” Christ, “in his beauty.” And they will be able to see into “the land that is very far off.” From their mountain stronghold they will be able to see into the holy land—into Judah. At Christ’s return, they will witness Him taking over the throne of David in Jerusalem. This will be a truly beautiful sight.
Many Laodiceans exhibit a casual attitude about the coming Tribulation. Some have even stated that they can handle it when it comes. How unwise! God is giving His people a choice. No one has to go into the Tribulation. Even though 50 percent of the Laodiceans will repent in the Tribulation, they will have to die physically. Of course, the far worse tragedy is that 50 percent will perish spiritually.
Look at what the Laodiceans will miss. All of us would agree that losing eternal life is the single greatest loss for any human being. But even the physical loss of those who repent is tremendous. They will suffer in the Tribulation as no people ever have. They will also lose their reward of being a pillar in God’s headquarters temple forever!
It does not have to be that way. God pleads with His Church through Isaiah, “Thine heart shall meditate terror” (Isaiah 33:18). God says to meditate on the terror to come. We must face it.
Today the cities of the United States and Britain are plagued with appalling evils. Because of youth gangs, drug pushers and terrorist acts, many of our cities are war zones. World troubles are also mounting. Armed conflicts are taking place in many parts of this world, such as the Balkans, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. Innocent lives are being wiped out by the multiple thousands. And this is all just the beginning of sorrows.
Verse 19 reveals that the greatest armed terror to strike the world is now building in Europe. This fierce power will be led by a thoroughly revitalized Germany. The U.S., Britain and the Jews of the Middle East—modern-day Israel—will suffer at its hands, except for the faithful few whom God will protect.
It is not difficult to understand why the Father wants to protect righteous Zion from destruction. These people have a universe-shaking vision of God’s Family growing into eternity. They recognize the Father as the Head of His Family. They believe and obey their Father. Those who truly believe the key of David vision know there is an awe-inspiring Father building a family.
The patriarch Abraham saw this same vision clearly. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
Think about the spiritual depth of this man! He looked forward to the city built by God the Father. He was able to look past all of God’s abundant physical promises and focus on the fantastic spiritual promises of new Jerusalem. Abraham was motivated by the vision of God’s Family being complete. Abraham lived for the time when God’s government and throne would spread throughout the universe. What a breathtaking vision! What glory!
The next several verses in Isaiah 33 are proof that the righteous in Zion, like Abraham, are able to see all the way to new Jerusalem. “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: 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, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby” (verses 20-21). The wonderful beauty of new Jerusalem is described here. At that time, Jerusalem will be a quiet habitation. Some may think this refers to the Jerusalem of the Millennium, but notice, Jerusalem is described as “a tabernacle that shall not be taken down.“ The Jerusalem of the Millennium will be taken down in the final fire after Christ delivers the Kingdom of God to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:14-15). The Jerusalem described here is a tabernacle that shall not be taken down. This can only be referring to new Jerusalem. God the Father will inhabit new Jerusalem. It will last forever.
Referring to this “tabernacle,” Isaiah 33:20 says “not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed.” The word for stake here is the same word for nail in Isaiah 22. Gesenius’ Lexicon defines it: “[A] nail or pin is used metaphorically of a prince, from whom the care of the whole state hangs …; the same person is called a corner stone, on whom the state is builded.”
Understand the depth here! The people of Zion in the place of safety not only see the land that is very far off—they not only see the King in His beauty—they see the time when not one nail will be removed from the tabernacle! What an extraordinary vision! Not one of the leaders in God’s Family will ever be removed. A companion verse is found in Revelation 3:12: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out ….” God’s family government will be permanently established. It is important that we not only see the nail in God’s holy place today, but that we see the nail in the land very far off as well. When we expand our minds in this manner, we finally begin to see God the Father’s vision for His Family.
A Family Throne
The key of David vision has royal family written all over it. When we fully understand this, the vision begins to explode with excitement. David’s throne is discussed in the context of a Father and a Son. Jesus Christ is described as the “Son of the Highest,” or the Father. David’s throne is a family throne.
God’s plan for restoring His government on Earth began with Jesus Christ. It started out in the smallest of ways. But Isaiah 9:7 shows that the increase of God’s government and peace will never end. God’s government will be forever expanding.
The key of David vision is about family. It shows that both physical family and God Family are vital. Our physical marriages and families must be strong. Human families are God-plane relationships. Our physical families are a type of the God Family. The Church is going to marry Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:7), typed by physical marriage. The God Family will never end. This understanding requires that we live according to this vision now!
I Stand at the Door
How well do we grasp this vision? Do not take this question casually. What we are teaching in this message is the only reality. It is not easy to grasp the full magnitude of what God is offering to all mankind. It takes great effort on our part to understand what God has revealed.
Remember, most of God’s people in this end time just do not get it! Jesus Christ is using the Philadelphians to knock on the Laodiceans’ door (Revelation 3:20). What is the knock all about? What message are the Laodiceans failing to hear?
Verse 21 is the answer. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” They fail to hear that Christ now shares the Father’s throne. Two personages share the same throne. Soon Christ will be given David’s throne. His Bride will share that throne with Him. Christ and His Bride will work to make all humanity obedient and loyal to that throne. When that is completed, the Father and Son will rule from that throne for eternity! What an awesome project God has started! We will be able to share the family throne with the first Family of the universe! We are in the process of preparing for that job now. Do we understand what God is offering us?
During the Millennium, we will assist Christ in bringing the rest of humanity into submission to the throne of David. At the second resurrection, all who qualify will become spirit beings. For all eternity we will share David’s throne, which had its origins in the evil age of man. This will be a reminder that we once were lowly men. We will be able to appreciate deeply what God and Christ have planned for us. We will have intense joy because of our godly, royal responsibility.
Can we see where the key of David vision is leading us? Living in new Jerusalem will be the best of times forever. God the Father will come to Earth and enjoy the rich fruits of His Family. And that is just the beginning!