The New Jerusalem
In our last teaching, we saw the need to discern the timing of fulfillment in Old Testament prophecies that mention “the last days”. The prophecies could relate to the coming of Christ at his birth to inaugurate redemption through His blood and the beginning of the church age/gospel age which is the beginning of the kingdom on earth, but not the fulfillment. We also saw that Jesus has been enthroned in heaven and fully reigns from His throne now, but that the Kingdom represented by the city of Jerusalem which is the bride of Christ has not descended to the earth yet. The other reference to “the last days” in prophecy, alludes to the actual return of Christ to the earth to establish His throne and the descending of the city of Jerusalem which is His bride to the earth. It is the manifestation of the reality of Christ’s sovereignty and the realization of the righteousness of the Body of Christ.
With that in mind, every time any prophecy mentions “the last days”, we must determine its intention. Also, I would like to consider the already but not yet that often is inferred by these “last days” prophecies. Most often the term is referring to both of these final days events, the coming of the Lord to initiate redemption and the beginnings of the Kingdom but also and especially emphasizes the completion of the redemptive purpose of Christ.
We have referenced this in other teachings, but I Corinthians 15 states that there is another ultimate finalizing purpose in redemption, that is, the Son honoring the Father when he presents to the Father, His original intended purpose of creation that was damaged by Adam and Eve’s sin. I Corinthians 15:24-28 “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.” We see here another final or last day which is referred to as “the end”.
If I am understanding these verses right, then what we see here, is that there will come a time in heaven and on earth when the Lamb will present back to the Father His creation redeemed from all corruption. It’s almost as if Revelation 4 and 5 will be reversed. In Revelation 4-5, there is an exaltation of the Son to the throne. What Jesus asked for in John 17 happens, John 17:4-5 “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” Jesus returns to His rightful place in heaven. However, what Paul seems to indicate in I Corinthians 15 is that there will be another event in heaven that is not described in Revelation but is the underlying intention of the entire Word of God. That event will be the presentation of the redeemed creation to the Father, by the Son with His bride standing beside Him. The second Adam and the second Eve will stand before the throne of the Father and will present a redeemed creation. I admit that I have taken the liberty to declare this, and I would not want anyone to take this as if some new revelation has been presented. I am only presenting my understanding of these scriptures and my observation of the higher purpose of God throughout the scriptures. It’s not about us! It’s about Him and His glory and His worthiness.
So, what is the now but not yet in Micah’s prophecy about a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden? Micah 4:1-2 “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted above the hills, and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” There is another scripture that comes to mind concerning the “house of the Lord”, or the place where God dwells, that may have some bearing on our thoughts. John 14:1-3 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” First of all, in John 14:2, the phrase, “in my Father’s house” might best be interpreted as, “in the place where my Father dwells”. That concept can become a bit confusing when we consider that further down in this chapter in verse 23 the same term for “mansions or rooms” used in verse 2 is used to describe the dwelling place of the Lord, “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” So, in one sense the Father’s house is your heart, and yet, I don’t think that is the place He is preparing for you to dwell with Him. It’s not even certain that the place Jesus was preparing was intended to be the final resting place for us. Might it be that He was simply saying that when you die there’s a place for you with the Father? However, since we’re looking at John’s writing, it may not be too big of a leap to consider that this place that Jesus is preparing is also described by John in Revelation. Is it possible that there is a city in heaven that has been prepared for the saints to dwell while they are in heaven? And, is it possible that at some time in the future, that city will descend from heaven to earth? While we’re on the subject, the city of New Jerusalem is measured at 1380 miles around which is many times larger than the entire nation of Israel. We can speculate all we want, but there is not a hill in Israel large enough to hold the New Jerusalem.
Looking at the idea of New Jerusalem already existing and Jesus ruling from His throne in heaven, in a sense, the vision of Micah is already taking place today. Again, we have already taught about this concept, but there were centuries when the only nation on earth that had any concept of who God was, was Israel and the Jewish nation. But when Jesus rose from the dead, He gave a commission to go into the nations. He essentially said that the nations are now open to receiving the gospel. A measure of the deception of the nations has now been lifted and they can receive the message of the good news of a loving Father that previously they were under such a deception, that they could not hear. The blinder is still there, but not in the way that it was for the centuries proceeding Jesus’ exaltation. When Jesus broke the seals, the mystery hidden from ages past was revealed and the nations became capable of hearing the invitation of the Father to say come. The Word of the Lord began flowing from the New Jerusalem as the church was born and began to take the gospel to the nations. And although we don’t yet see the fulness of the fulfillment of Micah’s word, the nations have in measure received that Word and have received its instructions for righteousness. Where once the veil was over the nations fully and only Israel could see and hear the message of the one true God, now in part the veil is lifted in Christ over the nations, and it has descended upon Israel, II Corinthians 3:14-15 “But their minds were hardened. To this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.” Also, II Corinthians 4:3-4 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” The veil is now over all nations, but there is a commission of the ambassador on the people of God, His church, to take the message with a promise that He is with us and will open the hearts of people from every nation, race, tribe, and tongue. We must work while it is our day for night comes when no man can work.
The morality and justice of the Judeo/Christian influence have set the standard for the nations. That standard is changing in our times as the spirit of disobedience grows in the nations and the confusion reenters the hearts of the nations. There will come a time when Satan will be loosed and that time is possibly upon us now and then the nations will turn on all that is called by the name of Christ. Revelation 20:2-3 “And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be released for a little while.” With Revelation 20:7-8 “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.”
There is little doubt that complete fulfillment has not occurred to this day. Certainly, war has not ended, conflict has not ceased and nations still rise against nations. We await the day of the Lord’s return when all will be made right and all will come to understand the truth and will be set free from the delusion of souls that is upon all those who do not worship our Lord. As we continue our study through the rest of this chapter and the next, you will begin to see why I have alluded to the present reality of the partial fulfillment of this prophecy. We will soon see that in the context of Micah’s prophecy, he will point to the birth of Jesus as part of the fulfillment of this word. In our next lesson, we should be able to conclude our study of Chapter 4. Many blessings on the dwelling place of the Lord which is the Church, the household of God!!!