One of the questions that came up recently; an offshoot of Dake's commentary on the Millennium, was, "Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? And, If so, where?"
The short answer is No; the where is in proximity to where the old Jerusalem is currently. (Keep in mind the overall dimensions, which are 1500 miles square; significantly surpassing the current day Jerusalem.)
Because the simple answer is rarely enough and leaves so many questions unanswered, let's try an in depth response.
To answer the first part of the question let's start with old Jerusalem.
- At some point, the last temple, constructed by man, must be built.
This cannot be called the last Jerusalem because it is not. The new Jerusalem, not made with hands will come down, but there is a rather accurate timing for that – sometime after the time of wrath, we love to refer to as the “The Tribulation.”
Has that happened yet? The short answer is no.
The discussions about where to put the new temple range from the temple mount to the city of David, a short distance away. Oh, make no mistake about it, the temple will be built. All the plans are in place, and the preparations have been made. But, there is a huge problem. If the Jews decide that it must be built on the temple mount, the Muslims have their Mosque there and have claimed possession. What does that mean? It means that God is going to have to do something drastic.
Ezekiel 39 shows us an extreme possibility.
Ezekiel 39:1-6 NASB "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; 2) and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. 3) "I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. 4) "You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. 5) "You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken," declares the Lord GOD. 6) "And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety, and they will know that I am the LORD.
Let's assume that Gog is Vladimir Putin of Russia (There are enough commentary and evidence to motivate some logical thought in that direction.) God, it seems, will turn Gog around, and drive him, and his forces, against the mountains of Israel. As you can see in verse 3, God will strike the bow from his hand and “you will fall on the mountains of Israel, along with all your troops.”
How might that happen, seeing as Israel is outgunned?
The answer is found in verse 6, where it says, “I will send fire upon Magog ..”
The Hebrew word for send is to shoot out, but a fire is a fire. How many many ways has God sent fire upon the earth? Several when you think about it. Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind. Archaeologists have found burnt, encapsulated sulfur.The photos and information below come from http://www.arkdiscovery.com/sodom_&_gomorrah.htm
“Above at left is brimstone with a burned, hardened shell that has the unburned sulfur inside, and next to it is brimstone without a burned shell. The photo at right is a shell or capsule with unburned sulfur inside. Tiny crystals are on its surface which was formed when the sulfur was burning and was in a liquid state, then it burned out.”
During the days of Samuel, God sent lightning upon the Philistines. Considering the heat, voltage and God's ability to direct a lightning strike, this would be deadly. So, the first thing we should be looking for is some change that allows for the temple to be built.
Back to the original question: “Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? If so, where?
The obvious point to make here is that during the time of this modern day temple's existence, Jerusalem will exist. However, the destruction of Jerusalem is spelled out plainly in scripture.
Daniel 9:26 NASB "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
One of the men from Bible study pointed out how he had read the Bible and found that instances of destruction were specifically for the moment and the nation in question. He told how this makes understanding the Bible and particularly prophecy very confusing for him.
The book/prophecy of Daniel is one of those instances where the destruction is both eminent and yet for the future. In this case, Israel was destroyed, and yet, it also speaks of time yet to come.
I thought, much like the man at Bible study, how do you know the difference?
Again, the short answer is:
You must look at the context; see if there are other, more modern applications, and, in the case of Daniel, there are. You need to look at an interlinear concordance and find out if there are multiple applications of a particular word; in so doing you may find that the translation you enjoy does a frail job of painting an appropriate picture. I would consider looking at a variety of translations, simply because one while being a step down intellectually, may convey the heart of God more clearly. (Keep in mind that the Apostle John told us God is love and that there is no darkness in Him. In short, His nature is mercy and Jesus lived that out in front of many.)
The The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury tells us that the words “Then after, or, And after” indicate:
“that two events are stated to take place after the sixty-nine weeks have concluded: (1) the death of Messiah; (2) the destruction of Jerusalem. These cannot be understood to take place during the Seventieth Week, for the Crucifixion would cut the time too short, and the destruction of Jerusalem would stretch the time too long to be accommodated within the seven-year time frame of the Seventieth Week were it to be considered contiguous with the Sixty-ninth Week. This absolutely proves, therefore, that there is a gap of unannounced duration between the Sixty-ninth and the Seventieth Week specifically stated right here in Scripture. Further proof is that Jesus himself placed events of Daniel’s Seventieth Week to a time just prior to his Second Advent (Mat_24:5; Mat_24:15; Luk_2:10; Joh_5:39; Rom_1:4.”)
Unfortunately, few would know this.
What else do we have from scripture that foretells the destruction of Jerusalem?
Ezekiel 32:12 (Darby) By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall: the terrible of the nations are they all: and they shall spoil the pride of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed.
A point of possible confusion would be the aspect where it says, “they shall spoil the pride of Egypt,” What then, would be the pride of Egypt? The answer to the question lies in Joseph, the son of Jacob, the Father of the nation of Israel. In Egypt, Israel became a mighty nation, in terms of numbers.
A clear example comes from Daniel 11.
Daniel 11:16 CEV The king who invaded from the north will do as he pleases, and he will even capture and destroy the holy land.
Daniel 9:2 also speaks of the desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel 9:2 NASB in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
This is another of those passages that require that you do your homework; for we have only accomplished 69 weeks. The emergence of the seventieth week has been on hold for over two thousand years. I can prove this out, but it is time consuming and lengthy, so I won't, but I will give you a clue. Daniel, in chapter 9, verse 24 began to receive the explanation of all this.
Take the time to look at these verses, as they too reflect the destruction of Israel. This has everything to do Israel's rebellion against the Lord.
Jeremiah 11:11 NASB Therefore thus says the LORD, "Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them.
Jeremiah 50:29 NASB "Summon many against Babylon, All those who bend the bow: Encamp against her on every side, Let there be no escape. Repay her according to her work; According to all that she has done, so do to her; For she has become arrogant against the LORD, Against the Holy One of Israel.
Ezekiel 6:3-10 NASB and say, 'Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: "Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places. 4) "So your altars will become desolate and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will make your slain fall in front of your idols. 5) "I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. 6) "In all your dwellings, cities will become waste and the high places will be desolate, that your altars may become waste and desolate, your idols may be broken and brought to an end, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. 7) "The slain will fall among you, and you will know that I am the LORD. 8) "However, I will leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries. 9) "Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations. 10) "Then they will know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would inflict this disaster on them."'
We can be fairly confident that Israel will succumb to oppressors. But, God will leave a remnant bring down a New Jerusalem, not built with hands. Considering the size of the new Jerusalem – 1500 square miles, it is hard to imagine where something of this size would go, as there not enough level land on which to place such a structure. Well, there are passages that answer how that will happen.
Isaiah 40:4-5 NASB "Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5) Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
Zechariah 4:7 NASB 'What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"'"
While many will argue the context of the previous verses, the context of the next is beyond debate as it speaks about the time when Jesus touches his feet upon the mount of Olives once again. Then the new city comes down, upon level ground.
Zechariah 14:10 NASB All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin's Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses.
This entire scenario is not typically one that draws, as scripture says, all men unto Christ. It is more educational, or perhaps even correctional. Most of these topics come out of conversations, most of which are where some leader; a self-appointed group pastor, makes incorrect and false statements. They attempt to back up their claims by taking scripture out of context and mixing timings and scenarios to create an environment that you won't find in scripture. In an ideal environment, this could easily be conveyed to many at one time, or directly to the individual who is espousing improper teachings.
Scripturally, the appropriate way of dealing with “abusers” within the church, is to first go to the person. I sit with these men two days a week. I have challenged their teachings to the point that I stormed out of the room and stayed away for six months. Nothing changed. At one venue, which still meets at a large church, I asked the pastor to come sit in on the meetings, because they are seriously out of control. If the next and appropriate step is to bring in the elders of the church to address the problem child; in this case, I do not see the elders having an interest in knowing there is a problem or fixing it.
So, that is why I write, because I think there are others who believe inappropriate teachings or are seriously confused. My hope is that we, as a church body, can come into an agreement; not with me, although that would be nice, however, it is vital that we agree with the Word of God; the Holy Spirit.