The Capitol City of all things: religion, government, culture, business, learning, arts, etc.

Old Testament Jerusalem was the capitol of God's people in ancient times. As such, it served as the center of government, religion, culture, business, learning, arts, international trade, tourism, and diplomacy, etc. And it also served as a foreshadow of the greater, New Testament Capitol City of God's people today, "the Heavenly Jerusalem."

Saint Augustine's 'City of God'

Augustine was a “church father” that lived between 354-430 A.D. He is credited with influencing some of the most notable theologians in history including Martin Luther & John Calvin. But how many of us have read anything in detail by Augustine? Might I suggest a revisit to the classics of Christian literature with a FREE copy of “City of God” (LINK) by Augustine.
 
In the book, Augustine contrasts two “cities” – one earthly & one heavenly, or “of God”. He contrasts the world's way of thinking against that of the New Testament Church, describing the latter as "the heavenly city, the Heavenly Jerusalem." It is no coincidence that the Bible says the “country”, the “city” that Abraham was really seeking was a “heavenly one”, (Hebrews 11:16). Our forefather Abraham was looking forward to the enduring glories of the New Testament eternity in which we now abide.
 
 
City of God -- Book XIV Chap. 28
Of The Nature Of The Two Cities, The Earthly And The Heavenly.
Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own glory; the other says to its God, "Thou art my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." In the one, the princes and the nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love, the latter obeying, while the former take thought for all. The one delights in its own strength, represented in the persons of its rulers; the other says to its God, "I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength." And therefore the wise men of the one city, living according to man, have sought for profit to their own bodies or souls, or both, and those who have known God "glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise,"--that is, glorying in their own wisdom, and being possessed by pride,--"they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." For they were either leaders or followers of the people in adoring images, "and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever." But in the other city there is no human wisdom, but only godliness, which offers due worship to the true God, and looks for its reward in the society of the saints, of holy angels as well as holy men, "that God may be all in all."
 
Couple what Augustine said with what Scripture says about New Jerusalem & we begin to see how it is that Christians can be physically living in the “earthly” city yet really are citizens of the “heavenly” city.
 
Revelation 21:1-3 – New Jerusalem
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the HolyCity, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
 
We can see how at regeneration the “new man” enters the “new Eden”, the “new Promised Land”, and the “new Jerusalem”, wherein they dwell with God. But what about this other city? What about Augustine's “earthly” city? According to many prophecy teachers that city is supposed to be utterly destroyed. They read Rev 21:1-3 & see the old earth passed away, thus they conclude it must be physically destroyed before the new heaven & earth can come. But how do they account for this next passage?
 
Revelation 22:14-15 – The Earthly City does not continue as a "city," its population reduced to homeless, stray "dogs" outside
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
 
Now note, this is AFTER New Jerusalem comes down. Even more important there are only 5 more verses & then the last word, in the last book of the Bible is completed yet we see no eradication of those outside the gates of the “heavenly” city. Thus, to be “in the city” is to be in Christ. To be outside the city is to be outside Christ. The earthly world, with all of its varieties of religions & cultures are NOT inside the “City of God” unless they are IN CHRIST (& everyone is NOT automatically in Christ, despite what some people advocate, it is NOT a “new world” UNTIL the old man is made new by “rebirth”).
The society of saints transcends any physical borders. The nation of the Elect’s only passport is repentance, which is required for admittance. Enter these gates, enter this city & find true rest from your “journey”. Rest in Christ, our eternal Sabbath.
The “culture” of this society is NOT the culture of the world, not the culture of the former city, but the culture of the “heavenly” city is the culture of Christ. It is not changed by modern or postmodern movements or any other movements of men. But the city of God has its own culture, easily known to all who dwell there. Kingdom dwellers love to glorify God & are humble to even debase themselves instead, so that God & Christ are the only light shinning. Those within the city are not offended that they receive not glory in themselves – this is not the “Chronicles of Narcissia” where everything is about man & what man wants & can do. – rather this is the City of GOD.  Its ALL about HIM -- He is ALL IN ALL.
 
Revelation 21:22-23 – Christ is the culture of Christians
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
 
There is no reason to rebuild an earthly temple for God would never dwell there, for He now resides in the new city where there is not a temple, for God Almighty & the Lamb are its temple. The culture of Christians ought be foremost the glory of Christ & not the vain glorying of men & their desires & pretentious “accomplishments”. Art, writing, speaking, music making & all other facets of “culture” among Christians ought to be done in the “light” of Christ as the lamp of the new city in which Christians are supposed to dwell. Amen & Amen

 
I would add to this the question: so where are we now, you and me regular Christians still in this biological, mortal, natural body?  Since we are not yet changed into a form like God, we conclude that we do not yet see His face, (1 John 3:2 & Rev 22:4), therefore we have yet to fully enter the New Jerusalem City. So, where are we in this Rev 21-22 picture?  We, who are still in the body of flesh, are still at the gates "washing our robes" to gain admission, Rev 22:14, (or "keeping Christ's commandments," as some manuscripts read).  Entrance to the New Jerusalem is granted via Resurrection, for angels guarding the ever open gates, Rev 21:12,  make sure no impure thing ever enters the City, Rev 21:27, for "flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God," 1 Cor 15:50.  The determination to admit to the City or reject is the Judgment that follows one's death, Heb 9:27, LINK.

The New Covenant = Jerusalem from above = the heavenly Jerusalem = the new Jerusalem = the Bride

 

The New Covenant = the Jerusalem from above

Galatians 4:21-31 & Galatians 5:1-3
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
KJV

The Jerusalem from above = The heavenly Jerusalem

Hebrews 12:18-29
18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
KJV

The heavenly Jerusalem = The new Jerusalem = The Bride of Christ

Revelation 21:1-4
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
9And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Revelation 22
1And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
6And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
8And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
10And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
11He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14Blessed 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.
15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

16I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
KJV

 

"This heavenly Jerusalem is the Church, that is to say the number of all believers throughout the world, having one and the same Gospel, one and the same faith in Christ, one and the same Holy Ghost, and the same sacraments." ~ Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (verse 4:26)

The City of the New Testament

The Heavenly Jerusalem = The New Testament and the Community both Seen & Unseen that live within its confines.

 
"You have come to Mount Zion, to the Heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the Living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven.

"He takes away the first that He may establish the second." ~Hebrews 10:9

Destruction of Old Jerusalem

David Roberts painting of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

"He takes away the first that He may establish the second."." ~Hebrews 10:9 NKJV

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" ~Hebrews 12:21-22 NKJV

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