New Jerusalem Is The True Promised Land!
In the previous chapter, the author presented scripture he believes clearly state that the Christian Church is not the Bride of the Lamb and that it will not be participating (as a bride) in the great wedding. The author believes scripture also clearly shows that the wedding spoken about in Revelation 19 is really speaking about Jesus possessing and becoming Lord and Master of New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, which descends to earth to henceforth be the dwelling place of the Messiah and His ecclesia forever and ever. We briefly alluded to the fact that the author believes scripture is unveiling that New Jerusalem in actuality is the true Promised Land spoken of in many scriptures, of which Revelation 21:2-3 clearly shows the prophecy of Isaiah 62 is being fulfilled in Revelation 19. Nevertheless, the author feels this Promised Land issue deserves greater elucidation to bring the point home more clearly. He believes that this chapter will help provide profound scriptural answers to this claim, as well as clear up any past misperceptions.
Throughout the Old Testament, we have seen where God made many promises to His chosen people, Israel. One of those promises that theorists allude to, in order to build upon their secret Pre-Tribulation escape to heaven mythology, is the land promised from God to Abraham and his descendants, which they interpret to mean that the eventual and eternal resting-place of national Israel is the current land that mostly Jewish people now inhabit in the Middle East. It is their contention that God promised the genetic nation of Israel the eventual (and eternal) possession of the entire land of Palestine, known today as the Jewish State of Israel. Theorists (and most Jews) believe many prophecies spoken of in the Old Testament are speaking and identifying this Middle East territorial region as the “Promised Land.” Their contention is partially true. One of the major promises God made to the nation of Israel did include its eventual and eternal resting place, and He did call it The Promised Land! However, was that promise solely speaking about a small parcel of land in the Middle East? Is that region in the Middle East the true Promised Land? Or does scripture unveil a greater land promise than either Jew or Gentile perceive? Let’s find out. In Genesis 12:1-7, it reads thusly:
The Lord had said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions, which they had accumulated, and the persons, which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "" To your descendants I will give this land.'' So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him, (Genesis 12:1-7, NIV). [Italics, bold and underline are by the author, solely for emphasis]
First of all, the aforementioned verses are not speaking solely about that land in the Middle East that so many Jews have struggled to return to, who claim complete and divine ownership of, and who are to this very day fighting to control and keep it for eternity. Genesis 13:14-15 does describe certain territorial promises when it stated, “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” The author is certain the student who takes the time to examine the geography will be able to determine it does speak about the former land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites, which is now the current land being occupied by today’s Jewish community in what is called the State of Israel. The Hebrews of yesteryear and most present day Jewry (and theorists, also) have interpreted this great promise of blessing as speaking solely about geographical (land) promises, as is mentioned in verses 4 through 7. Since the time of that promise, the Israelites and now modern-day Jewry have been consumed with the retention of that Palestinian region. And, surely as the Bible clearly states, this land was given to Abraham and his descendants, forever. However, what many are not aware of is that a specific part of the promise was fulfilled after the 70-year Babylonian exile spoken of in Nehemiah 9:7, 8. It clearly states thusly:
You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous, (Nehemiah 9:7, 8, NIV). [See also Nehemiah 9:22-24; Joshua 11:23; Joshua 21:43-45.
This particular verse (8) clearly states that God already fulfilled that promise, and it is not a promise yet to be fulfilled in the future as theorists claim! Yet, present day Jewry (and theorists, especially) still see these ‘promised land’ prophesies as speaking in future geopolitical inheritance terms. What Jews and theorists misread in these prophecies is that the true Promised Land will not be fulfilled by (nor in) the Jewish State of modern Israel. The true Promised Land is the soon-to-descend Holy City of God, New Jerusalem! Theorists’ unrelenting belief that the Palestinian region known today as Israel is the Promised Land of the Jews is askew from biblical reality. Also, their belief that the Bride of the Lamb, New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, is the Christian Church, is where they become sidetracked in their eschatological journey. They fail to see that the true Promised Land is not a parcel of land in the Middle East, but the true Promised Land is the city from above, the one that the true faith-believing descendants of Abraham and the Patriarchs were looking forward to (Hebrews 11:13-16:
"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. This city, this country, is to be their true motherland, which was spoken of in Galatians 4:24-26:
This Holy City from above is what the patriarchs and all called out ones were looking forward to. They were not looking forward to a resurrection unto life to dwell in earthly Old Jerusalem. The patriarchs were looking forward to a spirit-infused resurrection from the grave to dwell inside New Jerusalem, the headquarters for the heavenly Kingdom of God, which will dwell on earth for an eternity!
Nor should we view (as do many theorists) the ‘two sticks’ and the “valley of dry bones” prophecies in Ezekiel 37 as conveying any future geopolitical resurrection for genetic Israel (immediately before or at the beginning of any so-called 1000-year-reign of Christ in old Jerusalem), nor were they fulfilled in 1948. The dry bones prophecies allude to the final resurrection, which was insured by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the subsequent outpouring of Holy Spirit power gifts on the Day of Pentecost. Christ’s act on Calvary made it certain the prophecy of the ‘two sticks’ was fulfilled. This fact is verified by Hebrews 11:39-40:
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."
Matthew Henry ever so eloquently provides us with this discernment:
"They shall all be the subjects of one king, and so they shall become one. The Jews, after their return, were under one government, and not divided as formerly. But this certainly looks further, to the kingdom of Christ; he is that one King in allegiance to whom all God’s spiritual Israel shall cheerfully unite, and under whose protection they shall all be gathered. All believers unite in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. And the uniting of Jews and Gentiles in the gospel church, their becoming one fold under Christ the one great Shepherd, is doubtless the union that is chiefly looked at in this prophecy. By Christ and partition-wall between them was taken down, and the enmity slain, and of them twain was made one new man, Eph. 2:14, 15,” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Ezekiel 37) [Bold and underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]
Where is the Kingdom of God and what does it represent? First of all, the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom that He has prepared from eternity. The history of His Kingdom is embodied in His chosen people, who go back to the promises He made to Abraham and his faith-believing descendants. The called out ones for this Kingdom were strengthened to become a house that we now call the “church” (ecclesia), which supposedly was not created until the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. Obviously those who possess the new nature imputed by the Holy Spirit since Pentecost are, “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 2:5, NIV).” However, when the Lord returns to reign on earth, this spiritual house (of called out ones) will become part of the administrative body that will reside in New Jerusalem, inside the Holy City of God, which descends from heaven to earth. This spiritual house (Gr. oikos, household, inmates) is not speaking about the dwelling place, the City of God. This spiritual house is not the Bride of the Lamb; but, rather, this spiritual house of called out ones is the body of Christ that will dwell inside the Bride of the Lamb, the Holy City of God! Then Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, along with His chosen people, will reign (inside His Holy City) on earth, ruling mankind forever! [Bold and italics are by the author, solely for emphasis]
Theorists will incessantly cling to the belief that the Old Testament land promise means that national Israel will be geopolitically restored with complete dominion of the present State of Israel, and that the geographically located state in the Middle East is the Promise Land. However, scripture clearly proves that those Old Testament promises in Genesis 12:3 and 1 Chronicles 17:9-14 concerning Israel’s final resting place will be fulfilled in and by the New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, the true Promised Land! We see scriptural proof that the specific promise that God made to Abraham and his genetic offspring concerning the Palestinian region spoken of in Genesis 15:18, 19 has already been fulfilled (Nehemiah 9:8; Joshua 11:23; 21:43-45):
43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
Yet, the present day Jewish nation will continue to struggle in battle (with support from Christians Zionists) to control this land to this very day. However, the eternal fulfillment to come, the final entering and resting in the eternal and true Promised Land (prophesied throughout the Bible) is not realized until the Holy City of God, God’s present dwelling place, the new City of Jerusalem, comes down from heaven.
The Lord Jesus Himself is presently preparing its administrative (ecclesia) body, which will include the assignment of a positional status (Gr. topos, condition, opportunity) for each called out one according to works accomplished in concert with their individual and spiritual calling. King David was well aware of this. He was not looking forward to the time when genetic Israel would inhabit for an eternity a physically located parcel of land on earth; but, rather, David was looking for the eternal home with God, the place from where God’s Kingdom would be administered. In 1 Chronicles 17:9-14, God made that perfectly clear to David in the following statement:
'And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies. "`I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: 11 When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever, (1 Chronicles 17:9-12).
Verse 10 of this prophecy specifically deals with the spiritual household (Heb. bayith, family of descendants, an organized body) that God is building to this very day! [See also Genesis 18:19 for usage of bayith, household] The Hebrew word for build is banah, which (according to Unger and White) the verb, in each case used in the Bible, suggests “adding to existing material to fashion a new object.” That home mentioned in verse 9, that place (Heb. maqowm, a standing in one’s own country, city) is that heavenly country Abraham looked forward to inherit, the city (New Jerusalem) that God promised to provide His people (the Israel of God, His ecclesia); a glorious city which is to come to earth, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come, (Hebrews 13:14).” This city is seen coming to earth in Revelation 21:1-7, and in these verses we see who will inherit this kingdom city;
As stated in the previous chapter, the description of the house spoken of in 1 Chronicles 17 is not the Temple that Solomon built during his reign after his father David passed away. It is not a description of any other temples that were to be built and consequently destroyed repeatedly throughout the remainder of national Israel’s history. The description of the offspring in 1 Chronicles 17:11 is that of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is building the spiritual house of God today. The house in verse 9 that the Lord promises to build is His Kingdom of holy priests, the ecclesia, which is confirmed as whom we know to be the church in 1 Peter 2:5! The word “built” in 1 Peter 2:5 is the Greek word oikodomeo, which (like the Hebrew verb banah) means to edify, to embolden, to strengthen. This is exactly what happened when the Holy Spirit poured out gifts of power on the Day of Pentecost. The Christian Church was not formed nor created on that day; rather, on that day, God's ecclesia was enhanced with Holy Spirit power to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the same Gospel that God preached to Abraham:
"Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith, (Galatians 3:7-9)."
All the patriarchs and the holy fathers, from Abraham on down, understood this. They knew God would strengthen His existing ecclesia, (See Joel 2:28). They knew that all nations would be blessed through Him. They also knew there would be a resurrection (Hebrews 11:19), and they also knew that they (faith-believing Israel) would eventually reside with God; not in the land of Canaan, the present day Jewish State of Israel, but in God’s Holy City, New Jerusalem!
Once again, in Hebrews 11:8-16, it clearly states that Abraham and his believing descendants were not looking forward to a physical piece of land, nor an earthly geographical country in the Middle East, but rather, a heavenly city, coming down from above:
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the City with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly One. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them, (Hebrews 11:8-16, NIV).
Notice in verses 9 and 10, where it clearly states that Abraham admitted his sojourn in that region was as an alien and a stranger on earth, because he was longing for a country of his own, a permanent resting place for his tent. He and the others of faith desired and longed for a city with foundations whose chief architect and builder is God. They (Abraham and the patriarchs) were not looking for a geographical country, which the Jews (and theorists) believe was fulfilled in Palestine in 1948; but, rather, they were looking for a “heavenly city.” Notice, it says a “heavenly” city, not a “city in heaven.” The New Jerusalem is a heavenly city to be married (ba’al, possessed) by Christ for His called out ones, a better country, one that will descend to earth at the Lord’s Second Advent, (Hebrews 13:14).
The size of this heavenly city is described in Revelation 21:16 as being approximately 1400 miles long, 1400 miles wide and 1400 miles high as it is wide and long. If we multiply just the width and length of this great city, we are talking about 1,960,000 square miles. Present day Israel (the region of Palestine) is approximately 7992 square miles, an extreme length of 260 miles, and a width that varies between 10 to 70 miles. It is obviously clear, then, that the true Promised Land cannot be speaking about the geographical territory described in the Old Testament in Genesis 13:14-15.
The actual description and scope of the inheritance that the holy fathers and patriarchs were looking forward to was limited to a certain extent by Israel’s spiritual blindness. But Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew! King David knew! The prophets knew and so did the apostles. When Jesus told the apostles His Kingdom was not of this world, He was not trying to make a distinction between a heaven-based kingdom and an earth-based kingdom. He was telling them His Kingdom is a heavenly kingdom ordained by God, one that flesh and blood cannot enter into but by the spirit of God, who will change our bodies into spiritual, immortal bodies at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians. 15-54), the one sounded as Jesus prepares to descend to planet Earth. Albeit the Kingdom of God is not a worldly ordained Kingdom, it does not negate the fact that Jesus Christ will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords inside the supernaturally ordained New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, which descends (and will dwell) on earth forever!
But more importantly, one of the true but saddening aspects of this entire scenario is that the Jewish people (and theorists, as well) have been unwittingly clinging to their own interpretation of the land promise God made to Israel and its forefathers concerning their eternal resting place, their true Promised Land. Historically, they have been yearning and striving for the Jews (supposedly speaking about all of the 12 tribes of Israel) to reestablish a geo- political kingdom in the Palestinian region they now call the State of Israel, as if this earthen parcel of land was their true Promised Land.
And, unlike many who believe and are buying into the popular Messianic Israel doctrine, which speaks about a geopolitical kingdom restoration of the two sticks (Ephraim and Judah) before The Second Advent, based on their interpretation of Ezekiel, Chapter 37, this prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus, as is clearly stated in Ephesians 2:11-22. This is the Kingdom of God! The only Kingdom prophesied in the Bible that will ever be established on earth is the Kingdom of God, and this Kingdom (currently in a spiritual state) will also be established by Christ on earth (Matthew 6:10; Luke 1:2), not for a mere 1000 years, but forever. As Ezekiel 37:28, states: And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forever, (NASB). This verse alone should convincingly negate any and all millenarian doctrines once and for all. The Hebrew word for forever is `owlam, which means, everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity! [Underline is by the author, solely for emphasis]
So much war and death and contentiousness have been experienced in belief this small land mass in the Middle East is their (Jews and Messianic Israelites) final resting place. True! God did give Abraham and his descendants the land the Jews currently occupy. True! It is a parcel of land God gave them forever, if they obeyed His commandments. But, that great cloud of witnesses spoken of in Hebrews, Chapter 11, knew that their true inheritance was more than a parcel of land in the Middle East, and it was not going to be a geopolitical earthly kingdom, but a heavenly Kingdom on earth! They knew they were but mere aliens and strangers sojourning in that earthen Middle East territory. They knew that this parcel of land in the Middle East, now being occupied by mostly Jewish people.
This better country unlike Old Jerusalem, is truly a heavenly one, but it is not a city that will remain in heaven, waiting with open doors for born again Christians seeking a secret Pre-Tribulation escape to Heaven; but, rather it is the glorious City of God that will soon descend to earth. The patriarchs knew this! King David knew this! The apostles knew this! They all knew they were looking for a better country, a city that is to come to earth. God’s words clearly states this fact:
"For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come, (Hebrews 13:14).
No! The Christian Church is not going to be caught up to heaven; but, rather, the Holy City of God is coming down from heaven. God’s called out ones will be co-administrators of His Kingdom inside New Jerusalem, to be members of a royal priesthood, accordingly, with the positional status they will receive for their faith works accomplished on earth.
With this promise to look forward to, knowing that our portion of the inheritance is nearer than before, all called out ones should be girding themselves in the knowledge that as they go through great tribulation before Christ returns, greater opportunities will exist for God’s ecclesia to bring many more people into the Kingdom of God, to partake in the glorious inheritance that has been prepared for faith-believing Israel, all of God’s ecclesia, all of God’s children, who will rest forever, in God’s true Promised Land!
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