"I saw another angel coming down from heaven...
and the earth was illuminated with his glory."
Revelation 18:1

Is Jesus Coming Back to Old Jerusalem?

Is Jesus Coming Back to Reign in Jerusalem?

Many groups of people, including Christians, Messianic Jews, Torah-emphasizing groups, etc. teach that Christ will return to earth and reign in Jerusalem. Many teach that we will briefly meet the Lord in the air only to return back down to live in this old world again.

But this theology is actually not biblical and holds some hidden dangers which could lead to the ultimate deception and final disappointment of our hopes to be a part of Christ’s kingdom in the end.

Let’s discuss a few aspects of what the Bible teaches in order to discover what the danger is in focusing our hopes on old Jerusalem;

First, it's extremely important to remember in regard to biblical interpretation about the subject of prophecies about Israel and Jerusalem that in the time since the Gospel went to the gentiles the physical land of Israel is no longer of central importance to God's Kingdom because the New Testament teaches us that God's Church is "Israel," so that those who are "of faith" are seen the children of Abraham in God's eyes;

Romans 9:6 "It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' 8 In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring."

Galatians 3 says;
6 "Consider Abraham: 'He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham."

Jesus also talked about how this time was coming when the Samaritan Woman asked Him whether it was important to worship on a certain mountain or in Jerusalem, etc. and He replied;

John 4:23 "a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Jesus also taught in keeping with other New Testament writers on this subject when He said in Matthew 3:9;

“And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”

Most evangelicals do not acknowledge this clear New Testament teaching, and thus they mistakenly apply passages having to do with "Israel" or "Jerusalem" for the end times as meaning the literal country of Israel and old Jerusalem.

So, in regard to some passages in both the Old and New Testaments I believe we can understand that there may be dual application both to something about the literal nation of Israel that was fulfilled historically, but there may also be some symbolic meanings for our times in regard to God's church/ His people throughout the world today.

For example, the church organization and it's mission, medical mission work, etc. may be seen as "Jerusalem" of today, in God's eyes.

Now, in regard to Christ's returning to reign in old Jerusalem here are a few considerations;

For one, what purpose would it serve for us to leave Earth and meet the Lord in the air only to return to Earth?

Things Jesus Himself said can help answer the question about where we will go after He returns to earth; what did Jesus say He was coming back to Earth to do? It was to take us back to His Father's house.

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know." 5 Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 also follows that theme;

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Along with the above verse, 1 Corinthians 15 also teaches that we will be given immortality at the coming of Christ (which is contrary to the teachings about an earthly millennium in which Christ reigns from Jerusalem for 1,000 years), and also shows clearly that in our corrupt, mortal flesh we cannot be a part of the Kingdom of God (in other words- when Jesus comes to take us home to be a part of the kingdom of God we will be given immortal flesh);

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
Revelation 20 and 21, which we will discuss below, go into detail about what will happen at the end of the 1,000 years and show us that the New Jerusalem comes down from God at that time and the wicked are resurrected, then surround the city after which fire comes down from God to destroy them. Finally, the earth is created anew after the wicked are completely burned up.

This conclusion closely matches the descriptions given of hell in 2 Peter 3 and Malachi 4:1-3, as well as many other verses throughout the Bible (eg. Psalm 37 says repeatedly not to fret about evildoers because “into smoke they will vanish away”);

2 Peter 3;
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Malachi 4;
1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the Lord of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. 3 You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this," Says the Lord of hosts.

What is being described in Malachi 4:3 is the righteous coming out of the “beloved city, (Rev 20)” the New Jerusalem to walk on the scorched earth briefly "on the day" that it happens, just before God re-creates everything (thus it says the wicked shall be ashes under the souls of your feet). The only way for this verse to come to true would be for the “beloved city” to already be on the earth at the time that the wicked are consumed by fire. And, that’s just what we find in Revelation 20 and 21.

The scenes described in Revelation 20 talk about the righteous being in the New Jerusalem which is surrounded by the wicked before they are destroyed and then the earth is made new. It also says that the wicked are not raised until the end of the 1,000 years after Christ's second coming, so the fact that the wicked are present places these scenes at the end of the 1,000 years when the city has come down from God.

Some confusion seems to arise from the description at the beginning of Revelation chapter 21 where it seems to describe the New Jerusalem coming down after the earth is made new. But many things in Revelation are out of sequence and are repetitions of things mentioned earlier in order to provide more detail.

That the New Jerusalem already descended before the destruction of the wicked as the "beloved city" the "camp of the saints" at the end of the 1,000 years is the only logical explanation for how the "great white throne" appeared on earth with the wicked surrounding it being judged (Rev 20).

The description of Revelation chapter 20 gives us the picture that Satan and all the resurrected wicked are all over the earth with Satan deceiving them and marshaling them together for battle, but the saints are only in the “beloved city.” If the Lord had already established peace on earth there would be no need for the saints to be confined to the city. And since these wicked are not resurrected until after the 1,000 years, it is clear that these events occur at that time.

Revelation 22:14-15 repeats this scene with even more clarity, showing that the Tree of Life is in the New Jerusalem which has already descended from God at the time that the wicked surround it "outside";

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

The wicked are not alive until 1,000 years after Christ’s coming, so this is clearly a description of something that happens after that time, before fire comes down to destroy them.

The events of the tribulation bring the earth into a state of desolation which is not corrected until fire comes down from God upon the wicked for their final destruction, after which the earth is created anew (2 Peter 3). It’s most likely filled with toxic waste and radiation fallout from nuclear war after the tribulation. It wouldn’t make any sense at all for the saints to inhabit the broken, desolate earth for those 1,000 years after Christ’s second coming.

The Bible describes what happens to earth at the time when Christ returns to gather all His people and take them home with Him to Heaven for 1,000 years;

Micah 7:13 13 The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds.

Isaiah 24: 1 See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants-- 2 it will be the same for priest as for people, for master as for servant, for mistress as for maid, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word. 4 The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. 5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.

Jeremiah 4: 23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. 24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. 25 I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away. 26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. 27 This is what the LORD says: "The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely. 28 Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back."

The problem with believing that Jesus will come to earth to reign for 1,000 years is that you are preparing to receive the false Jesus! Satan will impersonate Christ in the form of the Antichrist. This is specifically why Jesus warned us not to look for any Jesus on earth because He will not be found on earth- He will come as the lightning in the sky and not be anywhere on earth;

Matthew 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Jesus said in John 18: 36 "My kingdom is not of this world.” It only makes sense that He is coming to take us back to Heaven for a 1,000 year Sabbath (the 7th millennium since creation)– His kingdom,- before returning to the desolated earth to deal one last time with the devil and all His followers.

In the days of Christ’s first coming all people were constantly hoping that Christ was going to set up His kingdom and reign on earth- and they were disappointed. Even when He had finished His life work on earth and was getting ready to ascend to Heaven they still wouldn’t leave the subject alone, but brought it up asking “Lord at this time are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

It is the delight of Satan that he has convinced so many religious people to focus on old Jerusalem instead of the New Jerusalem in Heaven (where Christ is) as the center of their hopes. He will very likely utilize this for the ultimate deception.

Can you picture the scene? All religions and nations have united in a covenant of “peace” under the Pope (identified as the human aspect of the antichrist in Revelation 13). Satan will come as “Christ” to old Jerusalem- enthusiastic cries will ring out in the air “Christ has come! Christ has come!” Satan, perfectly impersonating Christ in a mesmerizing way, will speak soothing things to a world full of people with carnal hearts who desire an earthly kingdom of “peace,” but who are not prepared for the return of the true Messiah from Heaven.

I believe there is evidence that the Vatican headquarters might actually be moved to old Jerusalem. Then other things might happen too to fulfill the “New World Order’s” agenda for a one world government and Satan’s plans to implement a false day of worship in substitute of the 7th day which God proclaimed holy from creation. Oppression of anyone who will not keep the false day will occur – and those faithful to His true Sabbath will be persecuted.

Speculatively, I could imagine that the golden top of the pyramid of Giza may be “found,” (or made) around that time and they will have a great capping ceremony – which has all kinds of New Age and spiritualistic implications and would be Satan's counterfeit for God's final temple of Living Stones described in many places in the Bible and NT (the 144,000).

I don’t have any Bible verses on which to base that about the pyramid- as I said, it’s just speculation. But when you look at the US $1 bill, it seems to suggest that such a plan is the very agenda of the New World Order. (This also matches the story of the tower of Babel of old).

Today, the same spirit inspires the majority of Christians to believe Christ is coming back to earth to set up His kingdom and reign from old Jerusalem for 1,000 years. Those who believe this are preparing themselves to accept Lucifer as the counterfeit “Messiah,” and will ultimately be just as disappointed as those who hoped for Christ to set up His kingdom on earth the first time.

1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

For further explanation, here I will post a couple of letters that I wrote on forums in responding to questions about this topic; Hello (name omitted), Thanks for your thoughts. It is good to examine what we believe and prepare to be able to give an answer for our faith. We should be cautious to avoid cherishing doubts, however, as it can lead us to turn away from truth. You mentioned that one of the questions you had was why Christ would come to earth for the redeemed, then go directly back to heaven when the new earth is to be our home. The Bible shows us in Rev 20, 21 that the earth is not made new until after the wicked are destroyed. Since it also says they were not resurrected until 1,000 years after Christ's coming, no one would have been able to inhabit the new earth when Christ returned- they would have had to inhabit the old, broken earth. About the chronology of Revelation (and Daniel), it's clear in many places that the same subject is brought up more than once with greater detail being given on particular aspects. One thing that especially shows not all things are in chronological order is the description of the fall of Lucifer in Revelation 12 - which occurred before the world was even created. The description may also have prophetic implications to things that occur later and/or in the end times- but it is a clear explanation of the origin of evil; Revelation 12:7 "And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." Interestingly, something that is said earlier in the same passage is a description of the same event, referring to the fact that Lucifer/Satan took 1/3 of the angels with him when he rebelled and was cast out of heaven; Revelation 12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. This is a good example of how things are not always in chronological order in Revelation and the same event may be referred to repeatedly with different details highlighted. I pray the Lord will guide you in your studies. Take care, Vicki Hi (name omited), Notice that you see more than one description of the same event in Revelation chapter 20, with more detail being given. Just as in Revelation 12's description of the origin of sin and fall of Lucifer includes two subsequent descriptions of the same event with added detail. In Revelation 19 it described a mass killing at the coming of Jesus to earth. Then in chapter 20 verses 5 and 6 it tells details of the resurrection of the righteous (also referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 as being at the moment when Christ descends). It says clearly in vs. 5,6 that only the righteous are resurrected, then it goes right into a description of the devil going out to deceive all at the end of the 1,000 years after which he is thrown into the lake of fire - but it gave no description of a resurrection of the wicked in that verse. Then, after the wicked and the devil himself are already destroyed in the lake of fire it talks about the dead standing before the great white throne being judged. And after it talks about the dead being judged before the great white throne it talks about them being resurrected and then judged and then thrown into the lake of fire. This is not 2 or 3 different judgments and 2 or 3 different lakes of fire. Rather, these are repeated descriptions of the same event with added detail of the events involved - showing clearly that this is the method of description in the book of Revelation and that things are not always written in sequential order. The final conclusion which brings it all together and shows that it's talking about the same event is this phrase (Rev. 20:14-15); "This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." This is a reference a tie-in to the mention of "the second death" mentioned earlier in the same chapter in verse 6, and it binds that whole passage together showing clearly that it's all talking about the events surrounding the second death (which is the judgment on the wicked after they are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years). To more directly answer your questions; You asked; (The saint's are in heaven, the earth is empty of all living creatures and completely devastated. An Angel comes down from heaven and binds Satan for 1000 years to keep him from deceiving the nations until the 1000 years are over. Question: Who would he be deceiving ?) He will not be able to deceive those nations which keep the truth- because they are with God in Heaven while Satan is bound to the broken earth and he cannot bother and pester them like he always has in the past when they were on earth. Job 1:6-7 also describes a time when Satan was able to gain access to Heaven and make accusations, but he will not be able to do that during the time when Christ's people are living with Him in heaven for 1,000 years; Job 1:6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." You asked; (Satan is set free, and goes out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth. Question: Where do these nations come from? Where they rebuilt when the wicked dead were raised?) See my comments above for how the chapter of Revelation 20 clearly describes This as the resurrected of the wicked who will die the second death. It says nothing about cities being rebuilt - nations are people groups, and they can exist for a short time without rebuilding cities. You asked; (Satan forms an army. They surround the "camp of God's people, the city he loves." The New Jerusalem Is mentioned in detail in subsequent chapters, why if this is the New Jerusalem, is it spoken of as the "camp of God's people.") Think about it- do you believe that God must be limited so that he can only call the city one thing? In other places it is called "the bride," "the Lambs wife," "the great city," "the holy Jerusalem." If the circumstances show us that it is the New Jerusalem, we shouldn't refuse to believe it is simply because it isn't called by exactly the same terminology in every instance that the subject comes up. Further, in the same passage with "the camp of God's people" it also calls it "the beloved city." Since in other places it is called "the Bride" and "the lambs wife" - "beloved" seems an obvious reference to a wife-like term of endearment. Jesus Himself is called by multiple different names all throughout the Bible. If we refuse to believe it's talking about Jesus unless it actually says the word "Jesus" we could become very confused when trying to understand what the Bible is saying. Unfortunately, sometimes this kind of confusion is not always genuine misunderstanding, but rather unwillingness to accept the truths. I'm not suggesting this is the case with you, but I do believe it is the reason for much misunderstanding of the scriptures in this world. Many people on earth want a temporal millennium and want greatness on earth, not in heaven, just as the Jews of old wanted national greatness. That's why they cherish certain literal interpretations of prophecy applying to the words "Jerusalem" and "Israel," etc. This is the reason that they misunderstood the nature of Christ's first coming and this is the very same thing that is happening with many people in their misunderstanding of the prophecies and applying a very simplistic, literal approach to the scriptures - such as only believing the word "Jerusalem" could mean the city currently on earth in Israel, and only believing it could be "the New Jerusalem" if it actually uses those specific words to describe it. This does not allow for God to use any symbolism or word connections to bring things together through context. I feel the following passage of Ellen White's description of how the Jews responded to Jesus' teaching is a fitting description of those who have the spirit of refusing to apply anything but the most literal interpretation to prophecies; "The unbelieving Jews refused to see any except the most literal meaning in the Saviour’s words. By the ritual law they were forbidden to taste blood, and they now construed Christ’s language into a sacrilegious speech, and disputed over it among themselves. Many even of the disciples said, 'This is an hard saying; who can hear it?'{DA 390.1} "The Saviour answered them: 'Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."'{DA 390.2} Many people are genuinely confused because of interpreting the prophecies more literally - they are not hard-hearted. But here Jesus shows us that some people refuse to believe a deeper meaning when they don't want to accept the truth. That's the greatest danger for anyone- when our Bible study turns from honest searching for truth into refusing to accept the deeper truths. May the Lord bless and guide all who study. In Christ, Vicki

For very excellent topical Bible study resources, including end-time events and prophecy, see the following resources (Amazing Facts- btw, I am in no way connected with them in business)
:http://www.amazingfacts.org/Bible-study/Bible-study-guides.aspx See also;

Know The Future


Vicki J said...

Sorry, I unintentionally deleted the following comment when trying to delete my comment for some spelling errors. Carolyn Rose said;

! Thessalonians,4,
This talking about the souls of those who have died in Christ. Their spirits have already gone to the Father. Those who are alive will not precede the souls of the departed. Those in the flesh who are alive will be changed into spirit at the return of Christ. All souls who die here return instantly to the Father. to be absent from the body is to be present with God. Verse 14. If we believe that Jesus died and rose again even so them asleep in Jesus will God bring with him.They are already there. It appears that humans do not fight the final wars of Armageddon and Gog and Magog. Simplicity is the utmost importance when writing for the every day lay person (me)

Vicki J said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carolyn. Here is my perspective, and the verses that I base it on;

1 Corinthians 15:52, 53 tells us that we will put on immortal flesh at the coming of Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 indicates that we will be caught up in the air and ever be with the Lord. Revelation 6:15-17 and other verses tell us that all the wicked will be slain when Jesus comes, and the earth will be decimated by earthquakes. It will become void and uninhabitable - probably also filled with toxic nuclear waste. The righteous will live in Heaven with Christ for 1,000 years (described further in the blog I originally posted above). Understanding the true sequence of events, along with having a true love relationship with Christ and accepting His salvation, will keep us from accepting end time deceptions of false Christ’s. This is what Jesus also taught in Matthew 24- not to look for Him anywhere on earth because as the lightning flashes in the sky He will be found in the sky at His second coming, not on earth.
Here's a link to some helpful verses, with study questions;

Here is a very useful study guide about what happens when we die;


Excerpt; "Do good people go to heaven when they die?: "All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth." John 5:28, 29. "David ... is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day." "For David is not ascended into the heavens." Acts 2:29, 34. "If I wait, the grave is mine house." Job 17:13.

"...people do not go either to heaven or hell at death. They go to their graves to await the resurrection day."

This study Guide discusses texts which show that the righteous will not be secretly raptured to heaven before the time of trouble;


May God bless you as you study.