Jerusalem, where Jesus is King
Many preachers who support dispensationalism try to discredit the idea that Jesus Christ is reigning in the present age, upon the throne of David. But if Jesus is not the promised king who reigns on the throne of David forever, how could Peter say he is the Messiah? If he is not the king of Israel, how can he be the Christ?
When Peter addressed the Jews at Pentecost, as described in Acts 2, he proved from the scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter claimed David was not speaking of himself when he wrote in Psalm 16:10 that his body would not see corruption; he spoke of Christ. Since Jesus was raised from the dead, and his body did not see corruption, he fullfils the prophecy; therefore he is the Messiah. This was Peter’s point. Jesus is the one foretold in the prophecies. Peter said:
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Similarly, when Paul addressed the Jews in Antioch, he showed that Jesus is the Christ, because he had been raised up from the grave. [Acts 13:15-41] Paul quoted part of a prophecy of Isaiah, containing the distinctive phrase, “the sure mercies of David.”
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
The prophecy addresses Jerusalem, but not the earthly Jerusalem. It is a continuation of the prophecy in the previous chapter, where the things promised are of a spiritual nature. Jerusalem will be the spouse of the Lord; “For thy Maker is thine husband.” [Isaiah 54:5-7] An everlasting covenant will be established; [vs. 10] her foundations are laid with sapphires; [vs. 11] all her enemies will fall; [vs. 15] no fear or terror will threaten her; [vs. 14] “Every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” [vs. 17]
These promises apply to the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem described in Rev. 21. There are no sapphires in the foundation of the earthly city, but sapphires and other gems are the foundations of the heavenly one. Compare “behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires” in Isaiah 54:11 with the John’s description of the New Jerusalem:
And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
The earthly Jerusalem was not secure, when the Roman armies came against it in 70 AD. The Lord did not fight on her behalf. Her enemies did not fall. The Jews fell into judgment, not the Romans. So Isaiah’s prophecy does not apply to the earthly Jerusalem. Instead, all the promises in Isaiah 54-55 apply to the heavenly Jerusalem, where Christ now reigns as king, on the throne of David.
The reasoning employed by Peter and Paul proving Jesus is the Messiah would not make sense, if either of them had said Jesus does not now reign on David’s throne. No statement to that effect is found in the New Testament, but there are strong statements to the contrary. John said, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” [1 John 2:22] Being Christ implies that Jesus is King. Paul wrote: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” [2 Tim. 2:12-13]
The reasoning Peter and Paul employed in their speeches to the Jews imply all of the things foretold of the Messiah, apply to Jesus. He has been exulted to a position greater and higher than ruling the earthly Jerusalem. The city where he reigns is in heaven. Mount Zion and Jerusalem were raised up, as Isaiah foretold, when Jesus ascended to heaven. Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 2:1-3 was fulfilled in the first century when Jesus inherited a heavenly throne.
The theory of a future, earthly millennial reign of Christ, which denies that he reigns in the present age, is demeaning to his high office. It exults the flesh, and Abraham’s natural descendants.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [John 3:3] He further explained, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” [vs. 8]
The kingdom of God is spiritual, and eternal. Jesus discounted the idea that he would reign in a visible kingdom, in the earthly Jerusalem, when he said to the Samaritan woman, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” [John 4:21]
The fact that Christ is the king who reigns among his saints is the basis for Peter’s statement that they are a “royal priesthood.” [1 Peter 2:9] Paul spoke of Christ’s kingdom as a kingdom of light. God has “delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” [Col. 1:13]
The earthly Jerusalem was but a shadow of a spiritual one, prepared by God in heaven. If the promises and prophecies about Jerusalem apply to the earthly city, why was it destroyed by the Romans? Why did God decline to defend it?
The heavenly city is the one Christ defends. He is a wall of fire around her, and the glory in the midst of her. [Zech. 2:5] The heavenly city is “the apple of his eye.” [vs. 8]
Theories and interpretations claiming Jesus does not reign as king among his saints, when that is an essential component in his being “made Christ,” are among the spiritual enemies that assault the holy city of the saints. Such opinions are among the armies that gather against Jerusalem in Zechariah 12:2 and 14.2. Paul said that the saints “wrestle not with flesh and blood.” [Eph. 6:12]
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Jesus refers to eyes in a spiritual sense, as he did when he spoke of the blindness of the scribes and Pharisees. They were spiritually blind because of their man-made traditions.
The eyes of those who come against the holy city are affected by the plague with which Zechariah said God will smite those who fight at Jerusalem. “And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” [Zech. 14:12]
The eyes of men being consumed in their holes is a metaphor, depicting their inability to understand spiritual things. The tongue represents their words or speech. Prophecies that provide spiritual enlightenment tend to become nonsense when taken literally.