"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?

Many groups of people, including Christians, Messianic Jews, and Torah-emphasizing groups, teach that Christ will return to Earth and reign in Jerusalem. Some teach that we will briefly ascend to meet the Lord in the air, only to return back down and live in this old world again. But such ideas are not biblical and hold hidden dangers that could lead to deception. Let’s discuss what the Bible teaches to see why there’s danger in focusing our hopes on old Jerusalem.

In seeking to understand this, the first place we should start is with looking at how the New Testament defines “Israel” since the Gospel went to the gentiles, after Christ’s death and the stoning of Stephen. 

Romans 9 says: 

It’s not as though the word of God has failed, for they are not all Israel that are of Israel. 7 Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all the children, but, “In Isaac shall your seed be called.” 8 That is, it’s not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are considered to be the seed. Romans 9:6-8

And Galatians 3 says;

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was counted for him as righteousness. 7 Know, then, that those who believe are the children of Abraham. Galatians 3:6-7

Because the New Testament teaches, in these and other verses, that God’s Church is “Israel,” and that all who have faith in God are seen as the children of Abraham in God’s eyes, the physical land of Israel is no longer of central importance to God’s Kingdom. Jesus told the Samaritan woman this time was coming when she asked Him about where we should worship:

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. John 4:23

Jesus taught as other New Testament writers did on this subject when He said: 

Do not say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children of Abraham from these stones. Matthew 3:9

Many Christians don’t acknowledge this clear New Testament teaching and thus misapply passages having to do with “Israel” or “Jerusalem” to the literal country of Israel. Although some of these passages may apply literally to the nation of Israel, in some way, they usually apply to God’s people in the wider sense as well.

As far as the idea of Jesus returning to reign in old Jerusalem, what purpose would it serve for his people 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. In John 14:1-7 he said he was coming to take us back to his Father’s house, which is in Heaven. First Thessalonians 4:16-17 follows the same theme when it speaks of Christ’s return.

In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-7 

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we that are still alive and surviving will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so w will we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

First Corinthians 15:50-55 and the above verse, among others, teach that the resurrection occurs at Jesus second coming in the sky and that's when good people are given immortality. There will be no more death after that. All of this is contrary to the teachings about an earthly millennium in which Christ reigns from Jerusalem for a thousand years while sin and death continue. The verse makes clear that corrupt mortal flesh will not be part of God’s kingdom after Jesus comes. 

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all will not sleep but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then will come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? Corinthians 15:50-55

The teaching that there will be second chances for salvation after Jesus returns to take his people home is a fatal deception designed to take advantage of people's tendency toward procrastination (1 Corinthians 6:1-2). There is no scriptural support for such ideas.

Revelation 20 and 21 go into detail about what will happen at the end of the thousand 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. After that, the earth is created anew after the wicked are completely burned up, a conclusion that matches the descriptions of hell in 2 Peter 3, Malachi 4:1-3, Psalm 37 and other verse throughout the Bible. 

Malachi 4:3 describes the righteous coming out of the New Jerusalem to walk on the scorched earth briefly after that happens, just before God re-creates everything. This matches the scenes described in Revelation 20 and 21 that talk about the righteous being in the New Jerusalem surrounded by the wicked before they are destroyed, then the earth is made new. 

It also says that the wicked are not raised until the end of the thousand years after Christ’s second coming, so the fact that the wicked are present places these scenes at the end of the thousand years when the city has come down from God. Some confusion arises 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. 

Many things in Revelation are out of sequence or repeat to provide more detail. But that the New Jerusalem descended before the destruction of the wicked at the end of the thousand 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 in Revelation 20 gives us the picture that Satan and all the resurrected wicked are all over the earth, with Satan deceiving and marshaling them together for battle, while God’s people are in the city. If the Lord had already established peace on Earth, there would be no need for the saints to be confined to the city. 

Revelation 22:14-15 repeats this scene with more clarity, showing that the Tree of Life is in the New Jerusalem which has descended from God at the time that the wicked surround it. Since the wicked are not resurrected until after the thousand years, it’s clear these events occur at that time. 

The events of the tribulation, prior to Jesus' second coming, bring the earth into a state of uninhabitable desolation which is not corrected until fire cleanses the earth before it is recreated. Here are a few more verses that describe the ultimate state of the earth after the events of the end times and final time of tribulation. Some of the verses point to the activities of man as well:

The earth will be desolate because of those who dwell in it, for the fruit of what they have done. Micah 7:13 

Behold, HWHY will empty the earth, make it waste, turn it upside down, and scatter abroad its inhabitants. 3 The earth will be utterly emptied and laid waste... 4 The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes... 5 The earth is polluted by its inhabitants because they have transgressed its laws, violated its statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. Isaiah 24:1, 3-5 

I beheld the earth, and it was wasted and ruined, and the heavens had no light. 24 I watched the mountains trembling and the hills moving back and forth. 25 I saw no people and all the birds of the heavens had departed. 26 The fruitful fields looked like a wilderness and all the cities were broken down at the presence of HWHY, before his fierce anger. 27 For thus saith HWHY, “The whole land will be desolate, yet I won’t make a full end. 28 For this, the earth will mourn and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it and I will not relent nor will I turn back from it.” Jeremiah 4:23-28

As described here and in Revelation’s seals, trumpets and bowls, the whole earth will be in a terrible state of upheaval and filled with toxic waste. Since it will not be made new until after the thousand years, as noted above, no one will be living here during the time after Jesus returns to take his people to Heaven. 

The problem with believing Jesus will come to Earth to reign for a thousand years is that you are preparing to receive the Antichrist when Satan impersonates Jesus. The reason Jesus warned us not to look for him on Earth is because he won’t be here. His return to Earth will be like lightning in the sky. He won’t come down to the ground or be found anywhere on Earth, as he said in Matthew 24:

Then if anyone says to you, “Look! Here is the Christ,” or, “There,” don’t believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 You see, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, “Look! He’s in the wilderness,” do not do out, or “Look! He’s in the inner rooms,” do not believe it. 27 For the coming of the Son of man will be as the lightning that comes from the east and flashes to the west... 30 They will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:23-27, 30b, 31

 And for comparison, this verse again:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we that are still alive and surviving will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so we will ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

All of this matches how Jesus said, in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” It only makes sense that he’s coming to take us back to Heaven, where his kingdom is, for the thousand-year Sabbath (the 7th millennium since creation). After that, he will bring his people with the New Jerusalem back to the desolate Earth for one last showdown with the devil and all His followers.

The question of Jesus restoring the old kingdom of Israel is not a new one. Even in his day people were constantly hoping he was going to set up a kingdom to rule from Israel. After he had finished his life’s work and was about to ascend to Heaven, people still wouldn’t leave the subject alone and brought it up again, asking, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:6). 

Many are asking the same question today and they will be disappointed like those misguided followers of old. It's Satan's delight to have convinced so many religious people to focus their hopes on old Jerusalem instead of the New Jerusalem in Heaven, where Jesus is. 

He's using this to cause people to misinterpret and misapply scripture. This is our clue that old Jerusalem will probably be at the center of end-time deceptions as the capitol of the antichrist's kingdom. It may be one of the key places where Satan will appear as an apparition impersonating Jesus and a command center through which the papacy will enforce one-world religion (Revelation 13).

Bible verses revised from ASV.

Top image created on Canva

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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.