V RaptureChrist Newsletter
August - September, 2004

Old Jerusalem

What was old Jerusalem like in the days of Jesus? Well, for one thing the city was surrounded by a tall wall much like other cities in AD 30. Also, since Jerusalem was part of the Roman empire, one could see Roman soldiers marching down the narrow winding streets of old Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Map AD 30 - time of Jesus Christ

In the map above, one can see the lower city in pink. This is where the poor people lived. The upper city in blue is where the rich people lived  -- wealthy Pharisees such as Annas and Caiaphas the high priest. In the northern part of the upper city was Herod's palace, which may be seen in purple.

King Herod was unpopular with his Jewish subjects, so he tried to modernize Jerusalem to win over the people.  Therefore he started a massive rebuilding program which included paved roads and monumental towers.  His palace was built in the upper city of Jerusalem near the Jaffa Gate. This is the palace where the wise men went to meet King Herod on their trip to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus.

Matthew 2:1-3
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." 

This King Herod wanted to kill baby Jesus so God sent an angel to warn Joseph to take the family to Egypt. When Herod died, they left Egypt and returned to Israel.

Matthew 2:15
He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON."

It was Herod's grandson who became the new ruler. The grandson was also called Herod. He was the ruler when Christ was crucified. 

Luke 23:6
But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean. 

Luke 23:7
When he found out that he was in Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem in those days. 

Herod's Palace was the center of city government. In front of the palace he constructed the agora or market place.

King Herod also built the Antonia Fortress (for Roman Soldiers - this is where governor Pilate lived), a hippodrome (for racing horses), an amphitheater (convicted criminals fighting wild beasts), but the most impressive rebuilding was that of God's Holy Temple.

The Temple Mount was next to the Kidron Valley and across from the Mount of Olives - See map above. 

Herod doubled the height of the temple, and the walls where covered with fine white Carrara marble. This project was monumental; it took ten thousand workers ten years to build the outer retaining walls around the Temple Mount. God's Holy Temple occupied about 15% of the land area in Jerusalem, and the white marble walls with gold standards could be seen from miles away. It was so magnificent that one of the apostles told Christ:

Mark 13:1
As He was leaving the Temple, one of His disciples exclaimed, "Behold, Rabbi, what wonderful stones! what wonderful buildings!"

Mark 13:2
Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another, which will not be thrown down."

This prophecy came true in AD 70 when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. The Roman soldiers set fire to God's Holy Temple and the gold melted and ran like water.  The Roman soldiers had to use crowbars to pry apart the giant marble blocks to get the gold.

With all its magnificence, Old Jerusalem cannot be compared to New Jerusalem.

New Jerusalem

In the book of Revelation YHVH our God describes for us  the city of  New Jerusalem.  This city is to be placed on a New Earth, one that does not have a sun or a moon or a sea.

Revelation 21:1
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.

New Jerusalem will be breathtakingly beautiful.  God creates this holy city for a his people after the Millennium.

Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

God will then live with men.  It will not be like now when God is in heaven and  people are on earth, but YHVH our God will live in this New Earth alongside us.

Revelation 21:3
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.

There will be great joy - no more tears or sorrow.  Past pains will fade away like a nightmare after waking up. Besides, there will be no more death.  

Revelation 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

This great city will come down from heaven.  A new Paradise for humanity. 

Revelation 21:10
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,

A city where the streets are literally paved with gold is what God will create for us. This city will be far more wondrous than Old Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:21
And the twelve gates [were] twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city [was] pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

This city does not need a temple because YHVH Himself is inside it. He and His son Yeshua will be there. This is what awaits us if we obey Him and have faith.

Revelation 21:22
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

New Jerusalem does not need a sun or a moon, because the glory of God, his Shekinah, will light up the city like a lamp.

Revelation 21:23
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.

The Bible also talks about New Jerusalem in the book of Hebrews. 

Hebrews 11:9
By faith he [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;

Hebrews 11:10
for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:13
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Hebrews 11:16
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 12:22
But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, 

Hebrews 12:23
to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 

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