The IMPORTANCE of JERUSALEM in GOD’s MASTER PLAN
October 5 Bible Reading: Zechariah Chapters 10-12
The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” (Zech. 12:1-3)
The above passage describes God’s judgment against the nations that attack Jerusalem. This final judgment of God will climax with the salvation of Jerusalem and the final celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (14:16). Whereas, the previous chapter (11) focuses on the first coming of Jesus Christ, the next three chapters (12-14) focus on His second coming. The first nine verses (12:1-9) describe Israel’s triumph over the surrounding nations. Both Jerusalem and Israel represent all God’s people, and all the surrounding nations are the physical and spiritual enemies of His people.
The city of Jerusalem has an important role to play in God’s master plan for this world. While, during the division of The Promised Land (Canaan) to the twelve Israelite tribes, Jerusalem became part of the area of the tribe of Benjamin, it was never actually conquered by the Israelites (see Judges 19). It was only when King David conquered it, did Jerusalem begin to develop as an important political center, and moreover a significant religious center (1 Chron. 11:4-7). In the reign of David’s son, Solomon, God declared that He had chosen Jerusalem to place his name there as we read: "...I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there...." (2 Chron. 6:6)
The Bible has many things to speak about this city: "Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. There thrones for judgments were set, the thrones of the house of David" (Ps. 122:3-5). "Beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King" (Ps. 48:2). Our Lord Jesus also had much to say about this city (see Matt. 24:1-51), and He later wept over Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37).
One day in the future Jerusalem will be a source of trouble to its surrounding Gentile nations, who will march against it (vv. 1–3). The cup of drunkenness (v. 2) represents the wrath of God, which the nations that would attack Jerusalem must face (Isa. 51:17–23). This will happen on the ‘Day of the LORD’ (v. 3) that indicates the fullness of God’s judgment of the world and the final salvation of His people. It will climax with the return of Jesus Christ to the earth to defeat His enemies, deliver Israel, and establish His kingdom.
As the end approaches, Jerusalem will be at the center of world attention. God will make Jerusalem a ‘cup’ of strong wine that will cause nations to ‘reel’ (v. 2). Jerusalem also will be a ‘rock’ on which nations will ‘injure’ themselves as they try to move it (v. 3). As the end times approach, Jerusalem will become the focal point of the world’s attacks against Israel. This city will take center stage when the curtain rises on God’s end-time activities. However, those who attack Israel will only defeat themselves, for God has covenanted to protect Israel based on His promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3).
There is a great importance of Jerusalem in God’s master plan for our world! Jerusalem will be the center for worship, the place where all peoples will come to seek and worship God, and so we are instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!” (Ps. 122:6). For us today, the earthly Jerusalem of Zechariah’s day was a type of the church of Jesus Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem, in which we now live by faith:
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks." (Heb. 12:22-25)