Chapter 4: Looking to New Jerusalem
After all of Jerusalem’s bloody history, God has gloriously good news. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). John the Baptist said this was his voice (John 1:23). “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field” (Isaiah 40:4-6). These verses could only apply to an end-time John, fulfilled by the late Herbert Armstrong. “Every mountain and hill shall be made low” is obviously a prophecy for this end time.
There is still another job to be done. “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” (verse 9). The margin reference in my Bible gives the correct translation: “O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion” and “O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem.” This is the job of the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg) today. We deliver good tidings to sinning Zion, or God’s lukewarm, Laodicean Church, and to Jerusalem. We are to “say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!” We are doing that today—right now!
Herbert Armstrong thought God would have him fulfill this prophecy of Isaiah 40:9. Here is what he wrote in his “Personal” in the October-November 1980 Plain Truth: “The Arab world wants the Old City of Jerusalem back into Arab control. Some nations contend Jerusalem should be made an international city. But the State of Israel has control, having wrested it from Jordan in the war of 1967.
“What has been happening in Jerusalem since the Israeli takeover in that war?
“I have been somewhat personally involved in events there since that war.
“Immediately after the death of my wife of 50 years, April 15, 1967, I flew to Jerusalem. I had two urgent reasons. I had seriously wanted to buy time on Radio Jerusalem, then owned and operated by the State of Jordan. Also I wanted to get away from Pasadena immediately into a totally different environment to ease the grief of losing the companionship of my beloved wife and partner in God’s Work.
“I wanted not only to go on Jerusalem Radio, I wanted to manipulate the increase of its power to 1 million watts to give coverage over the entire Middle East. At Amman, Jordan, and in Jerusalem, in conference with the Jordanian government and its radio management, I arranged for a price for a choice time on an extended contract whereby our monthly payments for that time would finance the Jordan government in the purchase of German Telefunken equipment to boost the station power to this maximum wattage. It was one of the largest contracts for purchase of radio time ever signed.
“On Sunday morning, June 4, 1967, I left my home on our campus in England for London airport to fly to Amman to broadcast in person that evening, the first broadcast on this new contract. En route to the airport we heard on the car radio the sensational news that the Six Day War had started early that morning. No planes were allowed to get through to Beirut or to Amman. My broadcast on Jerusalem Radio never got started. By the following Friday, June 9, the Old City of Jerusalem was in Israeli hands ….
“A message (Isaiah 40:9-10) is yet to go by a servant of God to the cities of Judah. In whatever way God wills, it shall go.”
Mr. Armstrong was trying so hard to fulfill this prophecy. He knew a servant of God had to do it in this end time. God prophesied it would happen! The pcg has been commissioned by God to do this job.
The very fact that this prophecy also has to be delivered “to Zion,” or God’s Church, reveals a split in God’s own Church!
The true gospel, or good news, must be delivered to God’s Laodicean Church! It has lost that precious gospel, which is the message about how God’s government will be administered by the Family of God in the wonderful World Tomorrow. That is the same government that was taught to us by God through Mr. Armstrong! That is what all of the Laodiceans have lost.
This prophecy shows we are very close to the end. We are already introducing God to the cities of Judah. You don’t introduce someone unless He is about to appear! That is how wonderful our message is. We are already introducing the new Ruler who is to rule Jerusalem for 1,000 years!
The fact that this prophecy is being fulfilled means Christ’s return is imminent. We are feeling the intensity! This is Jerusalem’s only hope! This is mankind’s only hope! This is more tremendous than anything mankind has ever imagined. Isaiah does more than just call it “good tidings.” He says, “Behold your God!“
If we can catch this vision before Christ returns, we will be given a magnificent reward. “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him” (verse 10). God has a reward for you if you do His Work.
The Glory of Jerusalem
God will choose Jerusalem yet. “Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:17). As we will see, this choice will extend into new Jerusalem and eternity. The whole universe will be ruled from Jerusalem. When God chooses a city, expect it to be spectacular beyond anything man can even imagine!
Once Christ returns, He will establish His headquarters in Jerusalem. For a thousand years, this revitalized and renewed city will serve as the headquarters of the whole Earth. “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
It’s almost time to start rejoicing. “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” (Isaiah 66:10). Soon everybody will be rejoicing over Jerusalem. She is going to have an “abundance of … glory” (verse 11). “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” (verse 12). Peace, instead of blood, will flow out of Jerusalem like a river! Jerusalem has been flowing with blood for most of the last 6,000 years. What a glorious change we are about to see. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (verse 13). In this present evil world, there has been unparalleled suffering in that city. Shortly, the whole world will look to Jerusalem for comfort. What a change!
“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. For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many” (verses 14‑16). God is pleading with man now to hear His Word. Soon He will appeal to them with a sword—the only language man seems to understand.
God is offering you a chance now to live and rule in this city with Him in the near future! That is exciting enough to make us faint, if we truly understand it.
God will reach into the lives of every repentant person on Earth—from Jerusalem.
“In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them” (Zechariah 12:6-8). Those leaders in Jerusalem then are going to be “as God.” That means Christ and all of His rulers speak as God does!
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon” (verses 10-11). The whole world will look upon the crucified Christ and mourn as if they had lost a firstborn son! God will correct all of humanity by getting them focused on God and Jerusalem!
You must know someone deeply before you can mourn for them like that. This world will finally get to really know God the Father and Jesus Christ! This world’s religions do not know God. They think they do. But look how deeply and intensely they will know God then! This is the greatest news we could ever hear!
Sharing God’s Throne
The glorious future of Jerusalem will not end after the thousand years of the Millennium. God tells us it will serve a special purpose for all eternity.
Christ is going to rule the world from David’s throne. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). That throne is on Earth today. After Christ returns, the throne will be moved back to Jerusalem. There will be endless growth of God’s government. It will grow forever! It will extend out into the universe—from the very throne of David in Jerusalem! It is so hard for our minds to comprehend eternal rule and eternal growth.
God’s people today have this universe-shaking vision of God’s Family growing into eternity. They recognize that the Father is the Head of His Family. They believe and obey their Father. They submit to Him as the Head of the Family government. That means God can trust them implicitly and use them to help spread that Family government forever.
We need this vision to endure the hardships ahead. “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” (Hebrews 11:8-9). These faithful men knew that our bodies are temporary—like tabernacles. We must have a vision that reaches beyond this life and even beyond the Millennium! “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (verse 10). Abraham saw new Jerusalem and God’s Family. That is why he could sacrifice his covenant son. He knew the grave could not hold Isaac.
Abraham is known as the father of the faithful (Galatians 3:7). He set an example in righteous obedience. He looked forward to the city built by God the Father. Think about the spiritual depth of this man! He was able to look past the present world, look past even 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 would spread throughout the universe.
How far-reaching is your goal? Does it extend to new Jerusalem? If our goals are selfish, then we are going to be miserable and unhappy. But this vision will fill us with joy.
Read Hebrews 11 and see how these men and women lived and died for God. It’s because they had the vision of new Jerusalem!
Several verses in Isaiah 33 are proof that the righteous in Zion, God’s true Church, are able, as Abraham was, 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” (Isaiah 33:20-21). After the Millennium, we shall see a new Jerusalem. The wonderful beauty of that new Jerusalem is described here.
At that time, Jerusalem will be a quiet habitation. Some may think these verses refer 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 just before Christ delivers the Kingdom of God to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:14-15). The whole surface of the Earth will be burned up, including the beautiful headquarters city. But the Jerusalem described in Isaiah 33 is a tabernacle that shall not be taken down. This can only be referring to new Jerusalem, which will last forever.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-2).
After Christ has removed the sins from this world, the Father will come to rule His Family from new Jerusalem. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. … And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God. … And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (verses 3, 10-11, 22-23). Our Father yearns to be with His Family. God the Father will inhabit new Jerusalem with us.
God is offering us so much. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). God is offering us a chance to rule with Christ and the Father in Jerusalem forever!
Many of God’s own people will fail to achieve that goal. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (verses 14‑16). God warns them of their terrible spiritual condition. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (verses 19‑20). Those who help God “rebuke,” or warn, and “knock” are going to share God’s throne in Jerusalem forever!
“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” (verse 21). God’s people are now being trained to rule with Christ from Jerusalem for all eternity. What a fabulous future. Will you be among that group? “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (verse 22). I hope we are all listening to God’s Spirit!