Don’t you just love a duh moment? You know the one. A light bulb flashes on in your brain and you cannot believe how ignorant you’ve been. Suddenly a bit of wisdom or knowledge shines forth in your little head and you are both amazed and ashamed. Amazed because you know the knowledge sat there in plain view and you should have picked up on it. And ashamed because–well, for the same reason.
I had a duh moment yesterday. My moment concerned the book of Revelation. Some people claim this book was written around AD 90 and that the “great city” being discussed is Rome. Others say that the book dates back to sometime in the AD 60s and that the city is Jerusalem. A great number of folks still wait, worry, and wonder, while speculating about the future great tribulation and pondering the meaning of the number 666.
I have several reasons for believing the great city described in Revelation is, as some others believe, the city of Jerusalem. One of my reasons is my duh moment, but I will get to that later.
Here, in no particular order, are my reasons for being firmly convinced that Revelation foretells the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
1. John actually SAYS the “great city” is Jerusalem.
Revelation 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
I have little to say about that. We all know that Jesus was crucified at Jerusalem.
2. The great whore is drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. She gorges herself on the blood of the prophets.
Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus . . .
Revelation 18: 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Rome may have killed some saints. But Rome did not kill any prophets. And nobody is killing any prophets today.
Luke 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
Jesus even told the Jews that they would pay for all the blood of the prophets and the blood of all the righteous. And He told them when they would pay.
Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
If Jerusalem was doomed to suffer this punishment–if Jerusalem, in the generation of Jesus, was to pay for the blood of all the prophets and righteous people who had died on the earth–then no room is left for Rome, or any other city, to pay. And, as is evident from John’s words in Revelation, the people being destroyed are paying for this blood.
Plus, Ezekiel says Jerusalem was a long-time harlot.
Ezekiel 23:43 Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?
Israel had played the harlot against God for generations. She had killed all the prophets sent to her, and eventually killed the greatest prophet of all, God’s own Son. Jesus even told a parable about the owner of a vineyard who sent his servants to the workers in the vineyard, but the workers took the servants and slew them. Finally, the owner of the vineyard sent his son, and the workers killed him too. Jesus asked, “What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others” (Luke 20:9-18). This parable was not spoken against Rome nor against any present-day city. No, it was spoken against “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.”
Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Rome is not the one who would receive the vengeance of God for the deaths of the saints and prophets. Jerusalem was. And she paid. Even Titus himself said that if God had not helped him he would not have been able to destroy Jerusalem.
“Had not God himself aided our operations, and driven the Jews from their fortresses, it would have been absolutely impossible to have taken them ; for what could men, and the force of engines, have done against such towers as these?”
Flavius Josephus, an eye witness of the destruction of Jerusalem, wrote: “All the calamities, which ever befell any nation, since the beginning of the world, were inferior to the miseries of the Jews at this awful period.”
For both quotes see: http://books.google.com/books?id=OPAFAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA240&lpg=PA240&dq=Had+not+God+himself+%28exclaimed+he%29+aided+our+operations%2C+and+driven+the+Jews+from+their+fortresses%2C+it+would+have+been+absolutely+impossible+to+have+taken+them+%3B+for+what+could+men%2C+and+the+force+of+engines%2C+have+done+against+such+towers+as+these%3F&source=bl&ots=7xN_7LTqg7&sig=9d8pc_6CGiYa-kn-HgnTIrORy78&hl=en&ei=KJsaSrOsBJGEtwf-u7GBDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1
Jesus concurred with Josephus.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
3. Since Jesus said His own generation would pay for the murders of the prophets and Revelation says specifically that the people to whom John speaks are full of blood of the saints and prophets and are being given blood to drink in payment, then the events of Revelation had to have taken place in the generation of Jesus.
Obviously the generation of Jesus is long dead. And Rome? Rome endured for centuries after Jesus lived and died. And could Rome be a great harlot anyway when she was just a baby when Jesus said this blood payment would be made, in His generation? If Rome doesn’t fit because she was destroyed too late, we certainly cannot look to the future for fulfillment of this destruction.
4. The city is a widow.
Revelation 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Yes, she claims not to be a widow. But God considers her very differently. God has abandoned her, so she is without a husband. When was Rome ever married to God in order for Him to abandon her as a widow? He wasn’t.
And, now, the duh moment.
5. Once the great city John discusses is destroyed, a new city is introduced, and something about her lets us know who she is.
The old wife is gone and a new, glorious wife enters the picture. She is pure. She is holy. She is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. She is founded upon the twelve apostles. She needs no light because God and Jesus are her light and they dwell with her. Her gates are not shut day or night and nothing unclean can enter her. She has a street–a highway if you will (Isaiah 35:8)–and a tree, the leaves of which heal the nations.
And what is her name? New Rome? You would think so if the old city being destroyed is OLD Rome, wouldn’t you? Is her name New Washington DC or New Galactic City?
Don’t you just want to hit your head and say, “Duh!” I mean, the whole STORY is the destruction of the old corrupt city and the emergence of the new, glorified city. The whole STORY is about the casting away of the great harlot, who is obviously “old in adulteries,” and the taking of the new bride.
And so, without further ado, let me introduce to you the bride of Christ, the glorious city, the new and precious creation. Let me introduce to you . . .
And what does New Jerusalem have to say to you? After her hello and how do you do, what do we hear her saying? She’s saying, “Come! Whosoever will, take the water of life freely!”
And to whom is she speaking? Well, some would say New Jerusalem is the heavenly city and everybody outside her is roasting like a marshmallow in hell. If that is the case, as the late Art Ogden said in his wonderful book The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets, then New Jerusalem is calling to the inhabitants of hell to come to heaven. Highly unlikely, don’t you think?
No, the New Jerusalem is the saved and sanctified of God, those who have had their garments washed in the blood of the Lamb. Some are dead. Some are living. And the gates of the city are always open–for those who wish to come in.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
And who is outside the city to enter the city?
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
And so, those who are living today inside New Jerusalem call to those on the outside. They call to the dogs, the sorcerers, the whoremongers, the murderers, the idolaters, and the liars–yes, even to those who are good people but simply do not know the Savior. And they say, “Come. Enter in. The water’s fine!” For the gates are always open.
Isaiah 60:11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
Revelation 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Praise God for His wonderful gift of salvation! Praise Him for the highway, the tree of life, and the free waters! Praise Him for the precious blood of the Lamb that washes away the sins of the world! Praise Him for the opportunity to walk upon the street of gold inside the city, moving farther and farther from the gates and closer and closer to the Father!
Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
God wants to dwell with you! Come!