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The Gospel of Jerusalem

Dec 19, 2018

When Scripture talks about the Bride of Christ, some say this is the church, while others say it is Israel. Those who say it is Israel are divided according to who they think Israel is.

Isaiah 62:4-6 addresses Jerusalem as a bride, saying,

4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate,” but you will be called [Hephzibah] “My delight is in her,” and your land, [Beulah] “Married;” For the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. 5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you. 6 On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen…

This prophecy comes in the context of the restoration of the house of Israel having Jerusalem as its unified capital. Isaiah himself lived to see the exile of Israel to Assyria (Isaiah 38, 39), which in turn occurred 210 years after Israel and Judah were divided. But the prophet foresaw the reunification of Israel and Judah under the Messiah with Jerusalem as its capital.

Most people interpret this to mean that the Jewish nation that is today known as Israel is fulfilling this prophecy. Most fail to see the difference between Israel and Judah. They also interpret these names as biological references, rather than seeing these nations as legal entities. As I have shown in recent weblogs, the Israelites were taken to Assyria, while the house of Judah (“Jews”) escaped that captivity and remained in the land for more than another century before being taken temporarily to Babylon.

Two Jerusalem Brides

The key to understanding is first to know that Jerusalem is more than one city. The Hebrew word is Ierushalayim, which literally means “Two Jerusalems.” Hebrew has plurals (“im”) and duals (ayim). Ierushalayim is a dual, which means “two.” The rabbis in the past could never figure out why, but the apostles in the New Testament understood it to mean that there was an earthly city and a heavenly city.

The Old Testament prophets never distinguish between the two. Both cities are interwoven in their prophecies, and it requires discernment to know which city is being referenced in any given prophecy. Galatians 4:25, 26 shows that Paul understood this clearly. Revelation 21 describes the heavenly city while using passages from Isaiah about “Jerusalem.” It is clear from this that John also understood the difference between the two cities of Jerusalem.

So in Revelation 21:2 says,

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

She is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” a reference to Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:9). Jesus’s wife is not the earthly Jerusalem; His wife is the “new Jerusalem.”

Yet the Bible story shows that the Old Covenant was the marriage ceremony where God (Christ) married Hagar, a bondwoman. That marriage ended in divorce (Jeremiah 3:8), and the new marriage, prophesied in the book of Revelation and elsewhere, is Christ’s marriage to a New Covenant bride, known prophetically as "Sarah.” Only Sarah can bring forth the heirs of the Kingdom.

The point is that the bride is Jerusalem, but we should know that in the big picture, there are two brides, each with her own marriage ceremony (covenant). Those two brides are yet in the world, existing side by side as groups of people, and yet one has already been divorced.

Casting out the Bondwoman Bride

The Old Covenant bride was “cast out” long ago in order to make room for the New Covenant bride. God will never again marry a bondwoman, yet there are many individuals within that Old Covenant bride (a company of people) who insist that Hagar is the true bride of Christ. They want Hagar to be the bride, because those individuals are her children, and they love their mama.

Paul makes it clear that Hagar and her children must be cast out (Galatians 4:30) in order to establish the calling of Sarah in Genesis 17:15, 16. Not many truly understand this, partly because the Dispensationalists re-instated Hagar as the bride of Christ by making the earthly city the mother of the Kingdom and by honoring fleshly people (unbelieving Jews) as chosen people.

In doing so, the Dispensationalists showed their love for their mother Hagar, and so most of the evangelical and Pentecostal churches today are blatant advocates of Hagar. The situation is comparable to the household of Abraham while he had two wives in his house and two sons that were in contention as heirs of the birthright.

At some point in history, a lawful decision or verdict must be decreed, declaring one or the other to be the heir. In Abraham’s time, this occurred when he sent Hagar and Ishmael away (Genesis 21:10-12). Abraham was a type of Christ (having two brides). Christ then came and cast out Hagar in a greater fulfillment of the word to Abraham. The separation between the two cities is obvious by reading the New Testament, and Paul gives his commentary in Galatians 4.

Paul himself had persecuted the church before his conversion (Galatians 1:13, 14), and his testimony admits that he had been an Ishmael at that time of his life. Even as Ishmael had persecuted Isaac (Galatians 4:29), so also had he persecuted the church—which, presumably was Isaac. The problem was that the church was starting to revert back to Judaism, and this was the beginning of the Christian reversion to being Ishmael, son of Hagar. Paul’s gospel was designed to warn the church against that tendency.

Reclaiming Hagar

The Dispensationalists in the 1850’s cast aside all restraint and fully pushed to make Hagar the mother of the church and the Kingdom. They did precisely what Paul warned against in his gospel to the Galatians. When Pat Boone converted to Judaism in the late 1960’s, after being taught Christian Zionism by these Dispensationalists, it began a wave of conversions. In fact, far more Christians converted to Judaism than Jews were converted to Christ.

If he and others had understood Paul’s gospel, they never would have been fooled into becoming Jews (by conversion). Yet the root problem was in their misunderstanding of the two covenants. The root problem was in thinking that a person is saved by his own vow, promise, or decision, for that is the Old Covenant method of salvation (which always fails). When someone says, “I got saved when I decided to follow Jesus,” it is the equivalent of Israel’s vow at Mount Horeb, where they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8).

When men are saved by the power of their own will, it is an Old Covenant attempt to be saved by the flesh. No man’s vow can save him unless he is able to fulfill his vow and be fully obedient. But the moment he sins after making that vow, his covenant is broken and is immediately null and void. He must then return to the altar and be saved again—and again. This must be repeated, as with the animal sacrifices, because it is based on the will of man. But John 1:13 says,

13 who were born [begotten] not of blood [i.e., bloodline], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

New Covenant salvation is based upon the promise of God (Galatians 4:28), and New Covenant faith is the ability to believe that “what He has promised, He was able also to perform” (Romans 4:21). That is the faith of Abraham.

Those who claim Hagar as their mother are blind to the promise of God. They turn the promise into a statement of intent that is effective only if man himself gets involved with his own will of the flesh. God’s promise, however, did not depend upon man’s compliance. God’s promise was to make it happen. God took the responsibility upon Himself to make it happen—not merely to give man opportunity to make it happen.

Reclaiming the Sarah Bride

The New Covenant is a foreign doctrine to most Christians today. Having claimed Hagar as their mother, they have been blinded to the truth of “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). They believe that most of humanity will be lost, except for those few who have been saved through their Old Covenant decision.

The truth is that God “will have all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4 KJV). At the Great White Throne, every knee will bow, and every tongue will profess Christ (Philippians 2:10, 11). Many will be judged, of course, so that they have time to mature spiritually and learn obedience (Isaiah 26:9). In the end, however, all things that were created will be put under the dominion (“feet”) of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:28; Colossians 1:16, 20), so that God may be “all in all.”

Because the outcome is based on God’s will and promise, rather than upon the will of man and his broken promises, God will have total victory in the end. This does not mean that man’s will is set aside or that any man will be saved apart from submitting his will to God’s will. Far from it. No man will be saved UNTIL he has submitted himself under the feet of Jesus Christ.

The New Covenant only ensures that God will win and that all will indeed bow their knees and profess Jesus as their Lord. The process, however, involves time, and people will be saved at different points in time. In the present age, only a few (the remnant of grace) have submitted to Christ and have been begotten by the seed of the word. In the age to come (the thousand years of the Tabernacles Age), many more will see the light, as the Stone Kingdom grows.

Then comes the Great White Throne, where all the dead are raised and are summoned to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. There all truth will be known to all, and they will then bow their knees. In other words, they will become believers in Christ and be filled with the Spirit. They will experience Passover (justification) and Pentecost (sanctification), but that last age of the baptism of fire will be necessary to bring these new believers into spiritual maturity.

During that final age, all flesh will disavow Hagar and claim Sarah as their mother. To put it another way, all flesh will become part of the Hephzibah bride of Christ, which is not the old Jerusalem but the new. John says that "the holy city" is the "new Jerusalem" (Revelation 21:2). By claiming this new mother, they will follow the pattern of the apostle Paul in his conversion from being a son of the earthly Jerusalem to a son of the heavenly Jerusalem.

This is not a matter of biological or genetic change. It is a legal matter. You are who you claim to be, not necessarily by your words but by your beliefs and actions. Hence, Paul was able to change his mother by believing the promise of God in the Abrahamic manner. This is the same pattern that all mankind will follow before the end of time as we know it.

In the end, at the Creation Jubilee (after 49,000 years of Adamic history), all debts will be cancelled, and all will return to the inheritance that they lost when Adam sinned.

 


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Category: Teachings
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones