Friday, September 30, 2011

September 30- Arise, Jerusalem!

September 30, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Isaiah 60:1-62:5; Philippians 1:27-2:18;
Psalm 72:1-20; Proverbs 24:11-12

If they had connived a scheme, and Christ had not been raised from the dead, where would have been the hardest place on the face of the earth to convince anyone?  Jerusalem. 
 ~Josh McDowell

Isaiah 60:1-62:5

People who go to modern day Jerusalem have mixed reactions to the city.  Although it is a city of ancient Biblical history, the present day city is not a glorious place.  It is filled with strife, commercialism, and worldliness.  Rather than a place of peace and serenity, it is a bustle of problems.

Today Isaiah gives us a glimpse of Jerusalem in the future.  One day Jerusalem will be a light that shines out to the whole world. It will be God's capital city. All nations will come to Jerusalem to worship her King. Chapter 60 portrays the Jewish people flocking back to Jerusalem from the far corners of the earth. Gentiles come to see King Jesus and this time verse 6 tells us that they come bearing gifts of gold and incense.  Notice that they do not bring myrrh this time, because myrrh is associated with death.  Jesus has died and risen.  This time there is no need for myrrh!

The city that was virtually destroyed during the Great Tribulation will be restored, using the nations of the earth to restore Jerusalem.  During Christ's millennial reign on earth, the earth is transformed to a place of peace and prosperity.  The desert blossoms and unity prevails.  Jerusalem is a crown jewel of the earth. Salvation will be on everyone's lips and praise will flow from each person.  Many children will be born during Christ's earthly reign (vs. 22). 

Chapter 61 begins with a verse that Jesus partially read to start his earthly ministry in Nazareth.  You may remember in the book of Luke 4:16-19 that Jesus went to his local synagogue and read this first part of Isaiah 61 to his congregation.  When he closed the Bible, he declared that this Scripture had been fulfilled in their hearing that day.  It should be noted that Jesus stopped reading before he got to the section that describes him bringing God's wrath upon the earth.  Jesus interpreted Isaiah by closing the Bible at a certain point in the passage.  He was only interested in speaking of his first coming to earth at that time.

Jesus' interpretation of Isaiah shows us that his first coming had one purpose and his second coming will have a different purpose.  In Christ's first coming, Jesus brings good news to those who are poor in spirit (humble), he comforts the brokenhearted, and he sets the captives free from sin and death.  In his second coming, Jesus judges the earth.  Before his final judgment, he reigns on earth in peace.

Chapter 61 shows us Jesus reigning as King with the nation of Israel finally fulfilling their role of being a nation of priests on earth. As the teachers of truth, the nations will finally love and admire the Jews.  They will be righteous lovers of  God and will enjoy prosperity and everlasting joy.  The nations will support their efforts as priests by giving them gifts. It will be Springtime on earth as Jesus makes everything blossom.  He will be the bridegroom and the city will be the bride.

Chapter 62 shows Jesus' heart for Jerusalem and the important part that praying for the renewal of Jerusalem plays in bringing about this future reality.  We saw in Jesus' final days on earth that he mourned over Jerusalem and her lack of faith, which would ultimately bring about her destruction.  Jesus is invested in Jerusalem's revival during the Millennium.  He wants all believers to pray for this to come about.  When the new heaven and the new earth are created after the final judgment on earth, a New Jerusalem will come out of heaven and represent the eternal place of peace for all who love God. In the mean time during Jesus' earthly reign, Jerusalem will be called the City of God's Delight and the Bride of God.  God will rejoice over Jerusalem and care for her like a husband cares for his bride.  No more crying, now.  Jerusalem will finally live up to the meaning of her name which is "the new city of peace"!

Do you pray for the peace of Jerusalem?  Christ wants you to.

Philippians 1:27-2:18

Paul reminds the Philippians that it is their duty to act like citizens of heaven.  This is projecting into the future when we will exist in the new heavens and the new earth with Jesus. This perspective helps the believer to endure suffering on this earth.  Because there is a glorious future, these present trials do not overwhelm.

Because Paul is suffering at this time, he is asking the Philippians to make his suffering worthwhile by living out the truth of the message for which he is suffering.  Their love of one another and working together with one heart and purpose will accomplish this.

Humility is an important part of being able to do this. Jesus is our example of humility in that he was willing to come down from heaven, make himself nothing, and die a criminal's death on the cross. This obedience and humility caused God to raise him from the dead and exalt him above every other name on earth.

The Philippians can experience the same victory through the power of the Holy Spirit.  They, too, can be humble and obedient, able to endure suffering, and worthy to obtain eternal victory over death through their faith in Christ. Paul is hoping that his teaching has not been in vain.  Their lives lived obediently will be proof of this.  Paul describes himself as being poured out like a drink offering.  This is really losing yourself for others.

Have you ever been completely poured out for another person?  Have you ever given all that you have to someone else in order to build them up?  This is Christ-like behavior.  That is what Jesus did for us.

Psalm 72:1-10

Please picture Christ as the King when you read this psalm.

Proverbs 24:11-12

Here is another portion of Scripture that indicates that God will judge.  This is a constant theme in the Bible.

What did you notice as you read?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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