Jerusalem, a praise in the earth

Jerusalem first appears in Scripture as a mysterious city ruled by a very unique person named Melchizedek.

old city 370 (photo credit: Courtesy City of David)
old city 370
(photo credit: Courtesy City of David)
‘For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘King of righteousness,’ and then also King of Salem, meaning ‘King of peace,’ without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.” (Hebrews 7: 1-3)
Jerusalem first appears in Scripture as a mysterious city ruled by a very unique person named Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20). He is an eternal priest/king that reigns over a city whose name means “place of righteousness and peace.” This Melchizedek is honored and served by Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, and he is thus a type of the Messiah. Therefore, Jerusalem is the City of God and from the very dawn of time it is elevated to symbolize His eternal and perfect dwelling place. By serving Melchizedek, Abraham gives recognition to the ideals of the city, which are:
1. That humanity is fallen and lost in darkness and war.
2. That humanity’s great need is to find its way home to the city where God will dwell with His people forever. This is a real city, not a fictitious one. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you.” (John 14:2)
3. That this way home is only by atonement.
4. That Abraham and his people, Israel, will serve the world with the message of the city.
5. That the right of passage to the city is God’s righteousness and peace! The two go together and there will be no peace in this dark world until the city gives them to the world. Any peace by human political endeavor is destined to fail without these two ingredients (1 Thessalonians 5:3). God has to give them by His grace as Melchizedek did to Abraham (Titus 2:11). Yet until then some peace, however imperfect, is better than no peace.
6. That the longing of the redeemed is for the day when the city will become “a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:7; Jeremiah 33:9)
These are the ideals that undergird the city of Jerusalem. Sadly, the city today sits astride a fallen world. This “fallenness” is characterized by an unrelenting hatred of God and His messenger – Abraham and the Jewish people. Therefore, the city has been and will be assaulted by peoples seeking to destroy it and remove it from Abraham’s children. Indeed, Jerusalem has suffered more assaults than any other city on earth but it still stands because God is her founder. She will yet again endure a global assault and survive, according to Zechariah 12:1-3.
In this final assault the nations will be humbled, the Messiah will come to reign over the nations and they will learn war no more (Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 11:1-5; Revelation 12:5). The city will become “a praise in the earth” as the nations ascend year-by-year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles! Then after one last battle it will merge with the New Jerusalem and forever, those who live there will walk in perfect righteousness and peace! Behold all things will become new! (Revelation 21:1-5)
However, the city’s journey toward this day of praise and glory will be successful in part because of the faithful prayers of God’s people who know and love her. This eternal Jerusalem will forever be a reminder of Abraham, the messenger, for on its gates will be inscribed the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. And on her foundation stones will be the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb who gave bread and wine to the world! (Revelation 21:12-14; Luke 22:17-20) Rev. Malcolm Hedding is the former executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem;