The New Jerusalem
It was necessary for Jesus to leave the earth and ascend to heaven in order to establish the final removal of God's glory from earthly temples and cities. Once this had been completed, then the glory of God returned and rested upon the disciples in the upper room ten days later on the day of Pentecost.
From this point on, as the Apostle Paul explains, we as individuals are the temples of God (1 Cor. 3:16). Speaking corporately, the Church is also a temple, having Jesus Christ as its chief cornerstone and the apostles and prophets as the foundation stones (Eph. 2:20-22). Others are living stones in this temple (1 Peter 2:5). Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that God's name now rests upon us as people, not upon an external ark of the covenant in a temple made of wood and stone in a carnal city in Palestine.
One cannot understand the fulfillment of prophecy without seeing that there are two Jerusalems: the old Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem. This distinction makes it possible to understand the seeming contradiction between biblical statements of blessings and curses upon Jerusalem.
Isaiah Prophesies of the New Jerusalem "Bride"
In Isaiah we read a prime example of "Jerusalem," which John says is to be interpreted as the New Jerusalem. Is. 62:1, 2 says,
1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. 2 And the nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will designate.
At first glance one may think that Isaiah was speaking of the original city of Jerusalem. But John applies the prophecy, not to the old Jerusalem, but to the New Jerusalem. Rev. 3:12 makes reference to Is. 62:1 above, saying this new name is New Jerusalem :
12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
It is plain from John's prophecy that Isaiah was speaking of the New Jerusalem, not the old city. This temple in the New Jerusalem is the place where God has placed His name. It is a place of blessing, not an accursed place. Is. 62:4 and 5 prophesy Jerusalem to be a "diadem of glory" in God's hand. She would no longer be called "Forsaken" or "Desolate," but instead, "Married."
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, My delight is in her, and your land, 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.
John refers to this prophecy in Rev. 21:2, where we read that the holy city which God marries is not the old Jerusalem. The Bride is the New Jerusalem-even though Isaiah merely calls it "Jerusalem."
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.
In Rev. 21:9, 10 an angel again identifies the Bride as the Jerusalem that descends from heaven, as opposed to the Jerusalem that originated in the earth:
9 And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
As we can see, just because Isaiah says nothing about a NEW Jerusalem, John tells us that this is what God meant. In other words, John tells us which Jerusalem God meant when He gave the prophecy to Isaiah.
The Walls of the New Jerusalem
John describes the "walls" and "gates" of this city in physical terms, but it is quite obvious that these are symbolic things. The wall is said to be 144 cubits high (21:17) which is the biblical number denoting the elect. The numeric value of the letters in the name Lazarus is precisely 144. This connects the number to those elect who are raised from the dead and saved from death. (See John 11.)
Walls of a city are for its protection and act as a boundary to keep out those who are not authorized to enter the city. In that the walls are called "Salvation," it indicates that only the saved may enter this city. Zech. 2:5 (quoted below) describes the walls as " a wall of fire." Why is it described as a fire? Deut. 33:2 tells us that He gave Israel a "fiery law" at Sinai. The law is the "fire" of God that judges all men. A law is a moral boundary. Sin is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). And so the wall of fire in Zechariah's prophecy is the boundary of the law.
We read that all those who enter this city are righteous. One cannot be lawless and enter this city. Nor do the saved transgress the law when they enter.
This city is more than a single location upon the earth. Zech. 2:1-5 prophesies,
1 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 So I said, Where are you going? And he said to me, To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is. 3 And behold, the angel who was speaking with me was going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him, 4 and said to him, Run, speak to that young man, saying, Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls, because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. 5 For I, declares the LORD, will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.
On the one hand, Zechariah prophesies the city will be "without walls," and then in the next verse he says there will be a "wall of fire around her." Yes, there is a "wall" around this Jerusalem, but it is not a physical wall around a group of buildings called a "city." It is a wall of Salvation and a wall of Fire (Law). No one passes through this wall by physically walking through one of its gates. One may qualify only by "Salvation."
The Gates of the New Jerusalem
It also is said to have twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them. These are also said to be twelve pearls (Rev. 21:21). These descriptions of the gates are obviously not literal. The prophet gives us the basic definition of the gates when he says in Is. 60:18,
18 Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.
John says in Rev. 21:12 that the twelve tribes of Israel are written on the twelve gates of the city. Later in verse 21 the twelve gates are called "pearls," because the twelve tribes taken collectively are the "pearl of great price." Jesus came to purchase this pearl by His death on the cross, but in doing this, He ended up purchasing the whole world. Jesus spoke of these things in two short parables in Matt. 13:44-46, where He said,
44 The kingdom of heaven is like a TREASURE hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine PEARLS, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Jesus took the themes of His parables from the Scriptures themselves, so they are not difficult to interpret. God called Israel His peculiar treasure in Ex. 19:5. Israel was dispersed into Assyria and into the world. Jesus said in Matt. 13:38, "the field is the world." Hence, Jesus came and found the lost tribes of Israel hidden in the world in their dispersion. So He purchased the entire field (the world) in order to obtain the treasure. Thus, the whole world has benefited from the fall of Israel.
The second parable is like the first, but this time Jesus compares Israel to a "pearl of great value." Comparing the two parables above shows us that both the treasure and the pearl is Israel. And John confirms this by telling us that the twelve gates of New Jerusalem are the twelve tribes of Israel -and they are called " twelve pearls." The only difference is that Jesus lumped them all together into a single "pearl of great value," while John speaks of each tribe as being a pearl.
Is. 60:18, quoted earlier, tells us that the gates are "praise." This is a play on words, because Judah means "praise." Judah was to be the leading tribe of Israel. And so in this case Judah represents all the tribes, for in that day the King of Judah-Jesus Christ-will rule over all the tribes in one nation, as well as over the entire earth.
Is. 60:19, 20 tells us that Jerusalem will have no need for the sun or moon to give it light, because God Himself will be its light:
19 No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. 20 Your sun will set no more, neither will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be finished.
In Rev. 21:23 John prophesies the same for the New Jerusalem,
23 the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Again, Isaiah 60:21 says of Jerusalem,
21 Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.
John echoes in Rev. 21:27 that only the righteous will inhabit the New Jerusalem:
27 And nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
A simple comparison of Is. 60:18-21 with Rev. 21 makes it clear that this is not the old Jerusalem restored and made glorious. Both speak of the light of the sun and moon as being replaced by light from a divine source. Both speak of sinners being excluded from the city.
This is the New Jerusalem whose origin is in heaven, not on the earth. It must also be noted that at no time does the Bible state that the New Jerusalem will come down and overlay itself upon the piece of real estate that presently is called Jerusalem. I am often amused by the way men depict the New Jerusalem as a physical city coming down from outer space with a system of cranes and pulleys as if it were a physical city weighing billions of tons.
Christians need to learn that the New Jerusalem is a spiritual, heavenly "city" that will cover the whole earth in the restoration of all things. The purpose of the physical creation was to manifest the glory of God, and this purpose will at last be fulfilled. Though Adam lost this glory when he sinned, the Last Adam will restore this glory to the earth. Jesus prayed the Father's will be done in earth as it is in heaven. That prayer will be answered when the New Jerusalem has fully come down from heaven, for the New Jerusalem is the will of God for creation. But at the present time all of creation is yet groaning as they await the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19), for we do not yet see all things put in subjection to Christ (Heb. 2:8).
Zion and Jerusalem Prophecies
We have shown thus far that the favorable prophecies of "Jerusalem" in Isaiah 60 are essentially the same as those of the "New Jerusalem" found in Revelation 21. It is plain from this comparison that the New Testament interprets the " Jerusalem " of Isaiah 60 to mean the New Jerusalem, rather than the old Jerusalem. Jews, of course, who do not agree with the New Testament, will dispute John's revelation. But as Christians, we believe that John's revelation is divinely inspired, so we conclude that God is building a new city unlike the old.
Besides "Jerusalem," the Bible often uses another term, "Zion" and the prophetic end-time "daughter of Zion" (Isaiah 62:11). Zion in the Old Testament was the place from which David ruled Jerusalem and the rest of Israel. It became a symbol of rulership. Because the Bible speaks of Zion as well as Jerusalem in the prophets, many have assumed that the Zion of Bible prophecy is the physical location within the old city of Jerusalem. Hence, we have "Zionists" today who are those who have placed their faith in the old Jerusalem, thinking this is the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. But Hebrews 12:22-24 says,
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant.
The book of Hebrews makes it clear that our hope is in a greater High Priest (Jesus Christ), who ministers in a greater temple (our hearts) in a heavenly Jerusalem and its greater " Mount Zion " by means of a better covenant. In other words, there is a new Mount Zion just as there is a New Jerusalem. The New Zion has all the characteristics of the New Jerusalem, but it symbolizes the place of Jesus' rule, for He is the Son of David.
The book of Hebrews was written by Paul some time before his death in 64 A.D. in order to explain why God would allow the old city and its temple to be destroyed. Many early Christians (especially those of Judean descent and, of course, all the Judaizers) would soon be devastated at that event. Many still did not understand that God had cast out that "bondwoman" with her son (the Levitical priesthood and Judaism itself).
Prophecies of the "Rebuilt" Temple
Ezekiel 40-48 speaks of a "rebuilt" temple. It is common for prophecy teachers to take these chapters in a literal sense, even to the point where they believe God will revert back to animal sacrifices. This is based upon Ezekiel 43:18-27 and other passages. Of course, we must admit that if God intended to build a physical temple in the old Jerusalem and re-consecrate the Levitical priesthood, then we would have to believe that Judaism is to become the true religion once again, and animal sacrifices must be made to God in the days ahead.
But let it be known that I myself do not believe this. As a Christian, I have come to know better things. As I see it, such adherence or reversion to Judaism is precisely the bondage of which the Apostle Paul warned in the book of Galatians. How many times does Paul have to tell us that we are the temple of God before we actually believe this?
Ezekiel's temple, no doubt, would have been built as a literal building with wood and stone-if Israel and Judah had repented and had returned to the old land long ago. But they did not. A portion of the House of Judah returned, but Israel did not return. And so Jesus came to establish a new and better temple, the temple of our bodies. This was, of course, what God had in mind from the beginning. For this reason, the prophecy of Ezekiel's temple must be interpreted according to the New Testament model. The temple made of wood and stone is replaced by a new temple made of living stones. The Levitical priesthood is replaced by a Melchizedek priesthood. The sacrificial system is replaced by the one true Sacrifice for sin-Jesus Christ-who is the fulfillment of all the sacrifices.
Jesus is the only Foundation Stone, or Cornerstone, that could be laid in this New Temple, according to 1 Cor. 3:11,
11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
If any man attempts to build a carnal temple at Jerusalem, it is a direct violation of the will of God, for there is no way that they can build a physical temple and still lay Jesus Christ as its Foundation.
In that He died and was laid in the earth, His burial laid the foundation stone of the New Temple. He later indwelt the individual believers on the day of Pentecost in order to begin building this Temple with living stones. Paul told the Ephesians in Eph. 2:19-22,
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
Two Jerusalems with Different Destinies
Jeremiah was the primary prophet of the old city of Jerusalem. He was there when the Babylonian army came and destroyed the city and the temple. He was the prophet that the priests of the old temple persecuted. Thus, Jeremiah is the most important prophet whose writings reveal the ultimate fate of that city.
In Jer. 18:1-6 God told the prophet to go to the potter's house, where he was to observe the potter making a clay vessel. Verses 3-6 tell us,
3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel."
This prophecy was directed at the House of Israel-not at the House of Judah. It was directed at the ten lost tribes, the nation that God had destroyed from 745-721 B.C. in the days of Hoshea, their last king (2 Kings 17:3). During his days, the Assyrian king Shalmanezer came and put Israel into bondage. Shortly after that, the Assyrian army came and conquered Israel and its capital, Samaria, deporting the survivors to "Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes" (2 Kings 17:6). A century later, this is where the prophet Ezekiel prophesied to them. Ezekiel 1:1 says,
1 Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar [or, "Habor"], among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
It is important to understand then, that Jeremiah's revelation at the potter's house was NOT about Judah, but about Israel. Since many are unaware that Israel and Judah were two different nations, we find it necessary to clarify this. God promised that He would rebuild the House of Israel, even as the potter made a new vessel of clay.
But Jeremiah only spends ten verses on the House of Israel, because he was not sent to them, but to Judah. The rest of Jeremiah 18 and all of chapter 19 focus exclusively upon Judah and Jerusalem. The only reason Jeremiah even spent ten verses on Israel was to show the contrast between the destinies of the two nations. Beginning in Jer. 18:11 and 12, the prophet turns to Judah and Jerusalem :
11 So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds. 12 But they will say, It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.
The rest of this chapter outlines the rebellion of Judah and Jerusalem against God and gives the reasons for the judgment to come. Finally, in Jer. 19:1-3 we read,
1 Thus says the Lord, Go and buy a potter's earthenware jar, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the priests. 2 Then go out to the valley of Ben-hinnom, which is by the entrance of the potsherd gate; and proclaim there the words that I shall tell you, 3 and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem : thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle.
The prophet then gives God's indictment upon Judah and Jerusalem in verses 4 and 5 for their rebellion against Him. For these reasons, God says, the nation and the city will be destroyed and the people brought to slaughter. When the prophet finished with his indictment upon them, God told him to give the people an object lesson in verses 10-12,
10 Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you 11 and say to them, Thus says the Lord of hosts, Just so shall I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter's vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in Topheth, because there is no other place for burial. 12 This is how I shall treat this place and its inhabitants, declares the Lord, so as to make this city like Topheth.
One may continue reading to the end of the chapter, but there is not a single word of comfort for Jerusalem. Not once does he say that in the end of days the city would be restored. In fact, Jeremiah says precisely the opposite. Unlike the wet clay jar that represented the House of Israel-which was beaten down, but then made into a new vessel- this old earthenware jar was smashed. Once broken, old jars could not be repaired. Men simply brought them out of the city through the "potsherd gate" (19:2) and cast them into the gehenna, the city dump.
Jeremiah makes it clear that the day would come when the old city of Jerusalem would be destroyed like this old earthenware jar in the hands of the prophet. Many cannot believe God would actually do this, and so they interpret this, saying that this destruction was fulfilled when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. The problem is that seventy years later, the people returned and REBUILT Jerusalem. First King Cyrus allowed the people to return and rebuild their homes in 534 B.C. Then in 458 B.C. King Artaxerxes issued a second decree allowing the city itself to be rebuilt. This fulfilled the prophecy of Dan. 9:24, 25, saying,
24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
God told Jeremiah that the city would be destroyed like a jar that could never again be repaired. But then Daniel was told about "a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem." In fact, it really was rebuilt. This seems to be an inherent contradiction. Many years later in 70 A.D. the Romans again destroyed the city, but it was rebuilt by later generations. In fact the city has been destroyed and rebuilt about nine times.
This tells us that Jeremiah's prophecy has been only PARTIALLY fulfilled in the past destructions of Jerusalem. The day is coming when Jerusalem will be destroyed in such a way that it will NEVER AGAIN BE REBUILT. The Word of God cannot be broken, but Jerusalem will be broken as the jar in the hand of Jeremiah was broken and never repaired.
This is, in fact, why God has established a New Jerusalem. The old city is under the curse of God and will not be the seat of Christ's government.
When we view this prophecy of Jerusalem 's destruction in the light of Jeremiah's statement about the glory departing from that place-as Shiloh -the plan of God begins to clarify. Shiloh was destroyed after the glory had departed. Its priests had been killed as well, because God intended to replace the corrupt lineage of Eli with a new line of priests descended from Zadok. This prophesies of a bigger picture, for Zadok is a type and shadow of the Melchi-Zadok, or Melchizedek Order. It is clear, then, that God intended in the bigger picture to replace the Levitical Order with the Melchizedek Order, with Jesus Christ as its High Priest.
Hagar is Replaced by Sarah
In Galatians 4:22-31 Paul speaks of the old and new covenants and how they are allegorically pictured as Hagar and Sarah. Hagar was the bondwoman from Egypt, while Sarah was the freewoman and the one through whom the promises were to come. Hagar, however, was the first to give birth to a son of Abraham. His name was Ishmael. When Ishmael was 13 years old, God finally told Abraham that he would have a son through Sarah. That son was Isaac, born when Abraham was 100 years old.
There was conflict, of course, between Abraham's two wives over whose son would inherit the birthright. Ishmael was the firstborn from Hagar, but God chose Isaac, who was born of Sarah. Likewise, the old covenant came first under Moses, but God chose the New Covenant under Jesus Christ to bring forth the promise. Then Paul makes a very remarkable statement in 4:25 and 26,
25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.
Prophecy teachers today are accustomed to explaining how Hagar and Ishmael are the Arabs, and that therefore they have no right to the city of Jerusalem. Paul says that the old Jerusalem is Hagar, and her children are Ishmael. Paul is really talking about the Jews who adhere to Judaism. Verses 28-31 says,
28 And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30 But what does the Scripture say? Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.
The old Jerusalem is born after the flesh, not after the Spirit. The leaders of Jerusalem rejected the New Covenant that Jesus had offered them, choosing instead to remain under the old covenant, which had been given at Mount Sinai in Arabia. Arabia was the inheritance of Hagar and Ishmael. So when the Jewish leaders made their crucial choice to adhere to the old covenant and reject the Mediator of the New Covenant, they placed themselves and their city under the legal jurisdiction of Mount Sinai in Arabia, rather than under the legal jurisdiction of the Jerusalem from above.
For this reason, God sent His armies (the Romans) to destroy the city and expel the Jews, ultimately banishing them from the land of Palestine. We read of this in the parable Jesus told in Matt. 22:2-7,
2 The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king [the Father], who gave a wedding feast for his son [Jesus]. 3 And he sent out his slaves [the prophets] to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves, saying, Tell those who have been invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast. 5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves [the prophets] and mistreated them and killed them. 7 But the king was enraged and sent his armies [the Roman armies], and destroyed those murderers, and set their city [Jerusalem] on fire.
Yet Paul recognized even in his day that the Church itself had a tendency to want to remain under the old covenant and the jurisdiction of "Hagar." For decades the early Christians in Jerusalem continued to offer sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem, even though they knew that Jesus was the only true Sacrifice for sin. It was not until God hired the Roman army to destroy that city and that temple that the early Church finally began to get the picture. Somewhere around that time, God inspired someone (Paul, I believe) to write the book of Hebrews in order to make it clear to the Hebrew Christians that Christianity was not simply a sect of Judaism.
The Stone that the Jewish builders rejected had become the Head of the Corner of the new way called Christianity.
Unfortunately, in our day much of the Church has once again reverted back to Judaistic thinking. They think that Hagar-Jerusalem is somehow going to bring in the promised Kingdom. It will not. The old Jerusalem is the bondwoman, not the free. The old Jerusalem persecutes the children of the New Jerusalem--not the other way around, as it is so often claimed. Paul, who had Himself persecuted the Church before his conversion, was well aware that the children of Hagar-Jerusalem persecuted the children of Sarah-New Jerusalem. Galatians 4:29 says,
29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.
One only needs to read the historical record of the book of Acts to see how Judaism persecuted the Church. The solution is NOT to re-unite with the Jews of Judaism, as many today have advocated. To do so is to intermarry with Ishmael, spiritually speaking, and thus disqualify one's self from receiving the full inheritance of Tabernacles. When Christians try to identify with Judaism or convert to Judaism, they are actually becoming the spiritual children of Hagar. Let them not think that they will bring forth the promise, for this can be done only through Sarah, the Jerusalem which is from above.
The solution, Paul says, is to "cast out the bondwoman and her son" (Gal. 4:30), even as Abraham cast out Hagar and Ishmael in order to establish Sarah and Isaac. This is done by making a clean break with Judaism, even as the early Church finally did with a little help from God and the Roman armies. Let us no longer think that the glory of God will return to the old Jerusalem, or that a carnal temple there will house the glory of God some day. As Paul says in 2 Thess. 2:3-12, that place can only house an antichrist, a man of sin (lawlessness), a son of perdition, a Judas.
Is this, perhaps, a part of the apostasy that Paul envisioned in 2 Thess. 2:3? Has this man of sin already appeared in the Church? Has the Church already forsaken the heavenly Jerusalem in favor of the old? Is the "deluding influence" in 2 Thess. 2:11 the idea that Hagar and her son will inherit the promise and be the one who brings the Kingdom of God to manifestation?