Jerusalem

Arno Froese

“But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26). 

Christians are connected to Jerusalem. The apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, emphasizes the difference between the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly; one is under the law, and the other under the Spirit. He strongly warns against the Judaizers, who attempt to lead believers back under the burden of the law. In verse 21, he challenges those who burden themselves with the law: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” He then explains the difference between Abraham’s two sons: one born of the flesh, that is, under the bondwoman, and “the other by a free woman.” He concludes in verse 31: “So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

What is freedom? It’s not what we are being taught by our educators and politicians. True freedom means being loosed from the things of this world. We, by far, overestimate our presence on earth with our family, relatives, friends, and nation, and vastly underestimate the reality of the heavenly—that is, the world yet to come. Jerusalem above is what counts.

While Jesus was on earth, He actually nullified the existence of our family—our most precious treasure here on earth in the flesh. We read in Matthew 12:47: “Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.” How does Jesus answer? “And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (verses 49-50). With this statement, He dissolves our family on earth and opens the vision of the heavenly family.

World Center Jerusalem
The earthly reality of the city of Jerusalem plays an important role in God’s eternal plan of salvation. From the prophet Zechariah (519 BC), we learn of the return of the Lord to Jerusalem: “Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain” (Zechariah 8:3). While this can be applied to the second temple completed in 515 BC, when reading the entire chapter, it becomes evident that this prophecy is beyond the second temple. The last verse states: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (verse 23). That has not been fulfilled. Rather, the opposite happened during the last two and a half thousand years; namely, the extreme persecution of the Jewish people throughout the world.

Later, in chapter 12, we read something that is fittingly spoken for our days: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (verses 2-3).

Virtually nobody burdened themselves with Jerusalem in the past, whether it was 100, 500, 1000, or 2000 years ago; the world was definitely not involved with Jerusalem.

Everything changed when the Jews returned to the land of Israel and declared the Jewish state in May of 1948. From that point on, the world at large recognized that Jerusalem is indeed a burdensome stone.

Wikipedia writes: “There is significant disagreement in the international community on the legal and diplomatic status of Jerusalem. Legal scholars disagree on how to resolve the dispute under international law. Many United Nations (UN) member states formally adhere to the United Nations proposal that Jerusalem should have an international status.” That is unprecedented; international law, in the event of war, allows for “winner takes all.” There is an abundance of documentation available detailing the establishment of virtually any and all countries of the world by force.

Here we see Jerusalem is different; it’s the only city in the world that God had chosen for His residence. That is key and what we must keep mind. It’s not what the nations do or don’t do; what God has caused to be written by His prophets—that is decisive.

The USA and Jerusalem
For a number of decades now, particularly since the Six-Day-War in June of 1967, there is a degree of involvement by the United States of America. Here is what Wikipedia writes: “The U.S. opposed Israel’s moving its capital from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem following Israel’s declaration of Jerusalem as its capital in 1949…The U.S. opposed Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem after the 1967 war. The United States has proposed that the future of Jerusalem should be the subject of a negotiated settlement. Subsequent administrations have maintained the same policy that Jerusalem’s future not be the subject of unilateral actions that could prejudice negotiations such as moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Muslims, the Church and Jerusalem
Jerusalem’s most recognized symbol is the gold-plated Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. That building and the nearby mosque is neither Jewish nor Christian, but Muslim. The Dome of the Rock was constructed and completed in about 691 AD. History records that the second Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 AD, and in 135 AD, the Roman Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was erected.

During the Byzantine Empire, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built in 330 AD by Constantine. It was in 1099 AD when the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, and the Dome of the Rock was turned into a church; the nearby Al Aqsa Mosque became a royal palace.

The church, under the dominion of the Vatican, highlighted the Holy Sepulcher and neglected the significance of the Temple Mount.

A recent article by German broadcaster DW reports on an amazing discovery, indicating the location of a church that existed 1,500 years ago in Jerusalem.

A sixth-century mosaic floor containing a Greek inscription has been uncovered in Jerusalem’s Old City. Dubbed an “archaeological miracle,” the rare find sheds light on Jerusalem’s largest Christian church at the time.

A mosaic floor bearing the names of Byzantine Emperor Justinian and senior Orthodox priest Constantine has been found near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced.

The inscription reads, “The most pious Roman emperor Flavius Justinian and the most God-loving priest and abbot, Constantine, erected the building in which this (this mosaic) sat during the 14th indiction.”

Used for taxation purposes, indiction was an ancient method of counting years, which allowed the archaeologists to date the inscription to the mid-sixth century.

Justinian, an important ruler during the Byzantine era in the Roman Empire, established the Nea Church in Jerusalem in AD 543, in which the mosaic was found and where Constantine was an abbot. It was one of the largest Christian churches in the eastern Roman Empire and also the largest in Jerusalem at the time.

The area where the mosaic was uncovered, near the Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem, is now the main entryway to the Old City’s Muslim Quarter. During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel annexed that territory in a move that has since not been recognized by the international community.

-www.dw.com/en, 24 August 2017

With this latest discovery, Churchianity (Christendom) stakes its claim on part of Jerusalem, thus making the Jerusalem issue even more complex. This development, and many yet to come, confirms the previously stated verse, which we repeat to conclude this article: “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3).

Midnight Call - 11/2017 

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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