THE “ONE NEW MAN” IN THE GLORIFIED JERUSALEM
It is the Postmillennial teaching that we must make really a separation between the Kingdom of God before the final return of Christ and what is called the “Consummated Kingdom.” We have shown in former chapters in this series of articles, that such a distinction is Biblically untenable. It is, furthermore, the contention of leading Postmillennial writers that the Old Testament prophets and the entire Word of prophecy is not interested in the end-kingdom of the future ages, but that it limits its vision to the bringing in of the nations into the realm of the church-world in the New Testament Dispensation, particularly in what they call the “golden age,” the Postmillennial age, before Christ returns to claim this prepared kingdom which will then be world-wide, including all nations.
The writers of this Postmillennial view refer to many passages of both the Psalms and the Prophets, which seem to teach that “all nations” per se shall come to join the church in this New Testament era, called the “golden age.” Reference is made to such beautiful Psalms as. Psalm 86:9; Ps. 22:27; Ps. 47:2-8; Ps. 72:7-11, 17; Ps. 110:1. These refer to the conversion of the nations under Zion’s king. These are just a few of the Psalms referred to. And also the prophets are quoted in seeking support for the Postmillennial view. Isaiah 49:6;Zechariah 9:10; Ezekiel 47:1-5; Daniel 7:22 are referred to. Obviously, it will not be possible for us, in these studies, to give detailed and basic exegesis of each of these passages. We will limit ourselves to the main passages quoted by the Postmillennial writers: Isaiah 2:1-5 and Micah 4:1-4.
It is our conviction, after nearly a half-century of Bible study, that if we clearly set forth a representative passage, and rightly divide the Word, we shall then basically have exegeted other passages with the same message. The prophets do not contradict each other concerning the basic teachings of the Bible, the pattern of sound doctrine; rather they complement each other, being written by the one Author, the Holy Spirit, Who moved holy men to write the more sure prophetic word (II Peter 1:20, 21). This is a sound, Biblical prejudice in interpreting the Scriptures.
We ought to notice that here we are dealing with a Scripture which is really the text on which Postmillennialism stands or falls. It deals with the matter, the glorious prediction that “people shall flow” to the glorified Zion on the top of the mountains (Micah 4:1, 2). And in the prophecy of Isaiah we read that “allnations shall flow unto it” (Is. 2:2).
When one reads here of “peoples” we do not think of nations as such, having their worldly capitals, their armies, their war machines, but we think of many kinds of peoples: white, black, yellow, and red. We think of the peoples which were scattered at the time of the building of the tower of Babel, as they lived in the time of the beginning of the New Testament era in three continents, which are basically the continents spoken of both in Genesis 10 and in Acts 2:8-11. All spoke different languages in their homeland. They were different nationalities. And, basically, they are men of Jerusalem and proselytes and strangers, Jews and Greeks. This is suggested by the Hebrew term Amim.
Now these people shall not march to Jerusalem, but they shall come together like the rivulets and small streams as they all come together in one body of water. They shall “flow” to Jerusalem, to the house of the God of Jacob. It is a remarkable thing that this verb in the Hebrew (see Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon) is never used simply for the formation of nations, but in each case it is used of the coming together of God’s people for their salvation. (CompareJeremiah 31:11, 12 with Isaiah 2:2 and Micah 4:1.) Jeremiah writes in this beautiful, comforting prophecy concerning the great deliverance of Israel out of Babylon by Christ, when He shall have redeemed Jacob and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. And then we have the beautiful prediction of the singing and joyful church: “therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord” (Jer. 31:12). For the Lord adds “for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.” Who does not think of Jesus preaching the kingdom of heaven, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”? (Matt. 5:4; Is. 61:2, 3).
We are certain that this “flowing together” is the Son of God gathering out of all nations a church elect unto everlasting life, in the unity of faith, one church, one new creation, making them one new man in Christ. Here we see the perfectly fulfilled work of Christ Who said “and this is the will of Him that sent me, that of all that He hath given Me, I should lose none, but raise them up in the last day.” Moreover, here is the fulfillment of the Father’s drawing His own to Christ, Who said “and no one is able to come unto Me, except the Father which sent Me draw them, and I will raise them up in the last day” (John 6:39, 40, 44).
That such is the meaning of this “flowing to Zion” is corroborated by the great longing which these “people” and “nations” have to come to the glorified Zion, on the top of the mountains. This is really a great resolution of faith and hope which is motivated by the love for the God of Jacob, Who dwells in Israel in His temple, called “The house of the Lord.”
When we study the Scriptures concerning this house of the Lord we are struck by the fact that this house of the LORD is really the “God of Jacob” coming to dwell with His people. It is Immanuel, God-with-us. He has prepared for us a city foursquare; He is the Architect and Builder of it. It is for this reason that He is not ashamed to be called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now in these texts from Isaiah and Micah we see that God is called the Lord, the God of Jacob. And the God of Jacob is the God of His covenant oath at Bethel, the house of God. Was it not at Bethel that Jacob saw in a dream the very house of God, the gateway of heaven? Was this not a visionary theophany of God to Jacob, in which God tells him once again that He will give him the land of Canaan, and that He will cause him to be a multitude of peoples in which God will “bless all nations in him”? (Gen. 12:3;Gen. 22:18; Gen. 26:4 and Gen. 28:13, 14.)
Now these nations are going to come to the LORD’s temple, the God of Jacob in “the last days” when Jerusalem is on the top of the mountains, exalted very high and glorified, as the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
Listen to the strong desire and the firm resolution of faith of the “peoples” that come from afar. They really say to each other, urge each other, to come with them and go to this beautiful city of God. Why do they desire to go? Do they desire some earthly benefits merely? Do they desire to see a beautiful earthly city, a beautiful temple? Then they will stand and weep as did the elders when the temple of Zerubbabel is rebuilt on the ruins of the temple of Solomon. No, they really look for the temple which is built on the top of the mountains. It is the temple which shall be built by the Lord by shaking not only the earth, but also the heavens, when the desire of all nations has come, the Messiah in His death and resurrection (Haggai 2:7, 9). That house which Christ builds in three days shall be more glorious than the temple built by the returning Jews from Babylon, yea, far more glorious than the temple of Solomon. In the temple of Solomon God could not dwell. It could not contain Him, yea the heaven of heavens could not contain God (I Kings 8:26, 27). But the glorious temple which is on the top of the mountains is really the church herself. She is the dwelling-place of God in the Spirit. And this temple is made of living stones formed by God’s own hand out of Jew and Gentile, from those far and near (Eph. 2:18-22).
And when you look at those who say, “Come, let us go up to the house of God,” you see that there is here not really a Jew any more, nor is there a Greek in that multitude. They have overcome and are overcoming in the blood of the Lamb. For they are a new creation of God, created unto good works in Christ Jesus. And they have been made alive with Christ, and set with Him in heavenly places. They are those who are blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, even as they were elected in Him before the foundation of the earth.
Yes, as Gentiles they were once called: uncircumcision, foreskin. They were “afar” from the temple of God. They could not and might not draw near to the temple on the little mountain of earthly Jerusalem. They are outside of the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants and promises. Yes, the Jew might enter into the earthly temple with its ordinances and commandments-as the circumcised ones. But they could not enter into the heavenly temple, on the top of the mountains, just as the Gentiles could not. There was no difference. All came short of the glory of God. If the Gentiles were brought near to the heavenly temple to God, so were the believers of the Jews. Both were brought near by the blood of Christ. The Old Testament priesthood perfected nothing (Eph. 2:13; Heb. 7:15-19). Now both have been brought nigh. Also the Jewish believers belong to these “peoples” who say, “come let us go up to Jerusalem.” They sing together in a new song to Jehovah for the wonders He has wrought. They sing Psalm 118:22, 23 and Psalm 122:1; they sing the song of degrees, “I was glad when they said, let us go into the house of the LORD, our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
They both believe with the heart and confess with the mouth and are saved. In this heavenly city there is one Lord over all. And when these nations, peoples, say: “come let us go to the house of God,” it is no longer a dreadful place, but it is, indeed, the gate of heaven. For they who come in faith shall in no wise be cast out. These are drawn with cords of love, and they come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south.
They are the one new man. They are not the broken humanity in the nations of the world, nor are they a Jewish commonwealth with a city which is as a lodge in a cucumber patch, and has a hut in a garden, but they are Jerusalem, the Bride adorned in grace and favor of God. They are Zion which cries: all our fountains are in Thee. They sing under the chief Cantor in Israel: Christ!