Peace in the Middle East or in New Jerusalem?
For many, eschatology centers around the natural realm of national peace involving the Middle East. Is eschatology focused on peace in the Middle East or in New Jerusalem? Any reasonable person desires peace over war and bloodshed. When people or nations civilly work out their differences much good results. While the predominant themes in modern eschatological views focus on political and military battles, this was not the focus of Christ.
These were merely incidental to the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose which was the restoration or reconciliation of man to himself. That is the true peace that both God and man desired in the world. In creating “national Israel” God sought to “make his name known” among the “heathen” or Gentile nations. Thus, Israel’s true purpose was soteriological. By and large, she failed her mission, was punished by God through the nations around her, suffering captivities in both Assyria and Babylon in the 8th and 6th centuries respectively.
Her ultimate destruction as a nation recognized for God’s redemptive purposes came in 70 AD, when it was finally destroyed by the Romans, (Luke 21:20–22). God’s ultimate purpose manifested through the prophets was to create a new Jerusalem. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing and her people a joy. (Isaiah 65:17, 18). This new Jerusalem is not characterized by military conquest, wars, and bomb blasts.
New Jerusalem Is The Spiritual Kingdom of God
It is the kingdom of which the Lord spoke when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world. For if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews. (John 18:36) Christ, himself a Jew, was not being anti-semitic when he saw national Israel in their rejection of Him as the enemies of his purpose and cause to be king. His rejection of their political and nationalistic hopes, (John 6:15), which led to his crucifixion largely resulted from ignorance, (Acts 3:13–19).
The implications of Jerusalem’s destruction extend far beyond the fate of the city. It is not merely about civil wars and rumors of wars. Rather it was about spiritual battles in the unseen world. Jerusalem was like the visible peak of an iceberg that had the bulk of its deeper prophetic significance buried under water. Failure to grasp this is like running headlong into it, like the Titanic. Beneath the surface of the end times focus with Jerusalem in 70 AD were the battles of spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:11f)
These battles involved the vengeance of God all the way back to the creation (Matt. 23:35, 36). It included Satan, sin, Hades and Death. In the Book of Revelation, under the imagery of Mystery Babylon, national Israel is destroyed as God’s covenant nation. The timing of this destruction is also when Christ defeats his spiritual enemies.
- The beast and the false prophet are captured and cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 19:20.
- Satan is cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:10.
- Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:14.
Following this scene, John sees the New Heaven and new earth, i.e. the “new Jerusalem” coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Those of the new Jerusalem are God’s people. He dwells with them. Their peace is actualized in no more death, sorrow, crying or pain. Why? Because the former things are not remembered in the new Jerusalem. This city does not need the sun or moon for its light or as time keepers of the day or seasons.
There is no night there. God’s glory illuminates it and the Lamb is it’s light. (Rev. 21:22–23)
God and Christ are the Temple in the New Jerusalem
It has no temple in it because God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. In this city is the river of life and the tree of life, yielding its fruit every month for the healing of nations. Those who are being saved walk in it’s light and enjoy its peace. Blessed be God for peace in the New Jerusalem which came down out of heaven.
To learn more about God’s redemptive plan for peace in the New Jerusalem, read, “The Re-Examination,” A Study of the Lord’s Second Coming in AD 70. Pray for the peace of New Jerusalem.