Earthly Jerusalem in Contrast With Celestial Jerusalem
1. (a) Would the destruction of Jerusalem be anything new? (b) Why would it not be a calamity for all mankind if Jerusalem again suffered destruction?
THOSE today who are Jews according to the flesh are determined that Jerusalem in the Middle East shall endure forever. Even the peoples of Christendom still highly regard that city where Jesus ended his ministry. But does all of this guarantee the continued existence of that city? It has suffered destruction before, in 607 B.C.E. by the Babylonians and in 70 C.E. by the Romans. Would it mean a calamity for all mankind if it again suffered destruction? No, the city is not needed for the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant to flow to mankind. Even of Abraham it is written: “He was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which city is God.”—Hebrews 11:10.
2. (a) How does the apostle Paul show that there is a higher Jerusalem? (b) Who is the Husbandly Owner of that Jerusalem, and who are his sons by her?
2 The apostle Paul wrote: “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26) He there showed that celestial, or heavenly, Jerusalem corresponded to Sarah and was the wifelike organization of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God. Hence, the sons of “the Jerusalem above” are the spirit-begotten Christians, like Paul.
“Jerusalem Above” Becomes a Royal City
3. (a) When did Jehovah God himself begin to reign? (b) Where was Jesus Christ enthroned, and what effect did this have on Jehovah’s own kingship?
3 “Jerusalem above” has taken on a royal aspect since “the appointed times of the nations” ended in 1914. (Luke 21:24) From then on, Psalm 97:1 applies: “Jehovah himself has become king! Let the earth be joyful.” Likewise Psalm 99:1, 2 applies: “Jehovah himself has become king. . . . Jehovah is great in Zion, and he is high over all the peoples.” In 1914 the time came for him to stop the trampling upon the Kingdom in the royal line of David, as represented in the once royal city of Jerusalem. Hence, he enthroned his Son, Jesus Christ, as King at His own right hand in “the Jerusalem above,” the celestial Jerusalem, in this way making it a royal city. Jehovah’s own kingship is reinforced or enlarged upon by the enthronement of Jesus Christ as King.
4. By what events has “the Jerusalem above” become a royal city since 1914?
4 So after the birth of the heavenly Kingdom in 1914 and after Satan and his demons were ousted from heaven, it was proper to announce: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!” (Revelation 12:1-10) “The authority of his Christ” was for this One to rule as King in “the Jerusalem above.” Truly, she became a royal city in that auspicious year of 1914.
The Daughter of “Jerusalem Above”
5, 6. (a) In Revelation 21:1, 2, John sees what new symbolic city? (b) By whom is the royal welcome as set forth in Zechariah 9:9, 10 extended, and in what words?
5 More than a quarter of a century after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions in 70 C.E., the apostle John was given the marvelous visions in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 21:1, 2, John speaks of a “New Jerusalem.” It is those who make up this “New Jerusalem” who joyfully welcome the newly installed King who comes in Jehovah’s name, just as they are called upon to do in Zechariah 9:9, 10, in these words:
6 “Be very joyful, O daughter of Zion. Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem. Look! Your king himself comes to you. He is righteous, yes, saved; humble, and riding upon an ass . . . And I shall certainly cut off the war chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem. And the battle bow must be cut off. And he will actually speak peace to the nations; and his rulership will be from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
7. By whom has that prophecy been fulfilled during this “conclusion of the system of things,” and in what way?
7 This prophecy had partial fulfillment in the triumphal ride of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem in 33 C.E. Since 1919 it has had its final fulfillment upon the remnant of spiritual Israel. There is no division between the members of that anointed remnant, such as broke out between the tribes of ancient Ephraim and Jerusalem, the capital of the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. By serving in oneness the interests of the Messianic Kingdom for the purpose of carrying out Jesus’ prophecy at Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10, they continue hailing the triumphant King, Jesus Christ. In unbreakable unity they loyally submit to his kingly rule during this “conclusion of the system of things.”—Matthew 24:3.
8. (a) Who fail to welcome the victorious King? (b) To where and what are such ones marching?
8 To their shame, along with Jerusalem of the Republic of Israel, the reputedly Christian nations that make up Christendom do not welcome the victorious King who comes in Jehovah’s name. All the same, there are those who are witnesses of the One in whose name he comes, jubilantly serving Him in His temple. (Isaiah 43:10-12) Their spiritual eyes have been opened to see that the Republic of Israel and all the other nations inside and outside the UN are now far along on the march to “the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.” (Revelation 16:16) The war of the Almighty God is near at hand!
9. How does the future of earthly Jerusalem stand in stark contrast with that of the New Jerusalem?
9 The outlook for earthly Jerusalem is tragic, but that of the New Jerusalem is brilliant. In due course, “the ten horns” of the political “wild beast,” as well as the “beast” itself, turn to hating the harlot system, Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. They will express their violent hatred against religiously revered earthly Jerusalem and will destroy it as if by a conflagration. (Revelation 17:16) But they will absolutely be unable to touch the heavenly New Jerusalem.
10. How does earthly Jerusalem pursue a course different from that of spirit-begotten Christians and the “great crowd,” their companions?
10 The remnant of spirit-begotten Christians who expect to become part of the heavenly New Jerusalem keep on hailing the Bridegroom King, Jesus Christ, together with the “great crowd” of other witnesses of Jehovah. In this loyal course of action, they stand out in sharp contrast with the old Jerusalem. Ever since the founding of the Republic of Israel, the now dominantly Jewish city of Jerusalem follows in the course of the inhabitants of first-century Jerusalem. Under blinding religious influence, she continues to reject Jesus Christ, the One who has the right and the power to rule in the heavenly Kingdom.
11, 12. (a) The notable fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy at Matthew 24:14 has been carried out by whom specifically? (b) What does the Society with which they work have in the Republic of Israel today?
11 True, since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, the “Prince of Peace” has been ruling in the heavens, unseen to human eyes. Nonetheless, ever since Jerusalem was captured by the British in World War I and the mandate over it was given to Britain by the League of Nations, the good news of the heavenly Kingdom in the hands of the Messianic Son of King David has been “preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,” just as Jesus Christ himself foretold.—Matthew 24:14.
12 This noteworthy fulfillment of the prophecy has been carried out by Jehovah’s Witnesses under the supervision of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This Society even has a branch office in Tel Aviv, from which the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the territory of Israel are directed. There are also congregations of active witnesses of Jehovah now proclaiming the Kingdom gospel in that land.
13. (a) What comes after the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom is fully accomplished? (b) Will there ever be a need for another earthly Jerusalem, even to receive David back in the resurrection?
13 Jesus Christ prophesied that after the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” is fully accomplished, “the end” would come upon this worldly system of things. (Matthew 24:14) So now the end of earthly Jerusalem is in sight. At this time, there seems to be no need for another Jerusalem to be built on the old site, even to receive the onetime king of Jerusalem, David, by a resurrection from the dead under the Millennial Kingdom of his royal descendant, Jesus Christ. (John 5:28, 29) Nonetheless, David will likely be brought back to the area in which he formerly served Jehovah God.
A Time for Rejoicing
14, 15. (a) How does the apostle John describe the glorious New Jerusalem and its descent from heaven for the blessing of mankind? (b) Why is ours a time for rejoicing, and what occasion for universal joy approaches?
14 New Jerusalem is associated with the glorious new system of things. Says the apostle John: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: ‘Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them.’” (Revelation 21:1-3) Thus, New Jerusalem is to be a blessing to all humankind.
15 This makes ours a time for rejoicing. To add to all this rejoicing, an occasion of universal interest and for universal joy approaches. It is the marriage of the numerically complete bride class, the New Jerusalem, to Jesus Christ the King. As it is written in Revelation 19:6-9: “And I [the apostle John] heard what was as a voice of a great crowd and as a sound of many waters and as a sound of heavy thunders. They said: ‘Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king. Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] has arrived and his wife has prepared herself. Yes, it has been granted to her to be arrayed in bright, clean, fine linen, for the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the holy ones.’ And he tells me: ‘Write: Happy are those invited to the evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage.’”
16. (a) By her heavenly marriage to the Lamb, the New Jerusalem becomes a mother to whom? (b) The New Jerusalem will prove to be a blessing in full harmony with what?
16 This union with the Lamb Jesus Christ in marriage will mean unspeakable joy for the figurative New Jerusalem in heaven. Through it she will become “a joyful mother of sons.” (Psalm 113:9) Yes, she will become the heavenly mother to all humans, living and dead, whom her loving husband redeemed by his perfect human sacrifice 19 centuries ago. In full harmony with Jehovah’s Abrahamic covenant of thousands of years ago, the New Jerusalem will prove to be a blessing to all the families of the earth.
[Picture on page 96]
In the new system of things, New Jerusalem will bless all mankind