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O Jerusalem, Jerusalem 

From Melchizedek to David to Jesus to the church 

Matthew 23.37–39 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 28, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019 


  1. As we walked around the walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem, and later 
    1. when we stood on the Mount of Olives looking over the city, 
    2. the passage for the Scripture reading today 
      1. kept passing through my mind. 
      2. Jerusalem had a history of persecuting the prophets God sent to her, 
        1. as we are seeing in my class on the Book of Jeremiah.

          3 “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the LORD has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened. 4 And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear.”

          – Jeremiah 25.3–4
        2. That is stated several more times in the Book of Jeremiah. 
        3. God had chosen that city 
          1. to show the world His wonders, but 
          2. for the most part the inhabitants wanted nothing to do with Him. 
  2. Luke 19 shows another time when Jesus poured His feelings for the city:

    41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

    – Luke 19.41–44
  3. So now we can go there and do what Psalm 48 says to do:

    12 Walk about Zion,
    And go all around her.
    Count her towers;
    13 Mark well her bulwarks;
    Consider her palaces;
    That you may tell it to the generation following.
    14 For this is God,
    Our God forever and ever;
    He will be our guide
    Even to death.

    – Psalm 48.12–14
    1. The psalmist spoke those words in the glory days of David. 
    2. Go there now, and 
      1. do as the Psalm says, and 
      2. something is different. 
        1. How many armies, 
          1. just in biblical times alone, 
          2. not counting the over 1900 years since, 
        2. have invaded the beloved city of God? 
    3. Babylon had knocked down those walls. 
      1. Many decades later, 
      2. the walls had not been rebuilt, 
        1. as Nehemiah discovered in a report from his brother:

          1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

          – Nehemiah 1.1–3
        2. The news devastated him. 
    4. After rebuilding the walls, 
      1. the Romans came later and 
      2. broke down the walls, and 
        1. demolished the temple, 
        2. even as the Babylonians had. 
          1. The Dome of the Rock is the location of Solomon and Herod’s temples. 
          2. That was the place where God had Abraham offer up Isaac.

            2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

            – Genesis 22.2

            1 Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

            – 2 Chronicles 3.1
          3. David had purchased that ground for the temple. 
          4. Jesus had been there and cleansed the temple twice. 
      3. The current walls around Jerusalem were built in 1535 and 1538. 
  4. I was sad too 
    1. when I remembered all of the good things that had happened there, and 
    2. all the good people who had some part in this chosen city. 
      1. Yet, in the end 
      2. the city gave itself over to evil, and 
        1. the Lord sent Rome against Jerusalem, and 
        2. the Jews have never rebuilt their temple. 
          1. If they attempt to do so, 
          2. they will not have the Lord’s approval. 
    3. He made His rejection of Jerusalem of the earth clear:

      31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”

      – Matthew 23.31–39
      1. So now we can go to ancient Jerusalem and 
      2. see enough of certain places 
        1. to get an idea of its former splendor, but 
        2. also see evidence of Rome’s occupation.

          “The Cardo was Jerusalem‘s main street 1500 years ago.  The Cardo was originally paved in the 2nd century when Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a Roman polis called Aelia Capitolina. The Cardo was extended south to the area of today’s Jewish Quarter in the 6th century by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.

          In its day, The Cardo was an exceptionally wide colonnaded street running through the heart (or cardo) of the city on a north-south axis, connecting many of Byzantine Jerusalem’s major institutions.  Parallel rows of columns supported a red ceramic tile roof and an arcade ran along, at least part of its eastern side.  Jerusalem’s Cardo (cardos were features of many Roman cities, especially in the Near East) is depicted on the Madaba Map, the mosaic pavement of a 6th century Byzantine Church found in the town of Madaba in Jordan. There is a replica of the Madaba Map on display in the Cardo.”

  5. So much of what we read in the Bible happened in or around Jerusalem. 
    1. It is not all sad, 
      1. as I have thus far indicated, but 
      2. it ends in sadness. 
    2. Yet, in another sense true Jerusalem has never disappeared, for 
      1. what the Lord truly considers Jerusalem 
      2. is just like whom He truly considers a Jew, 
        1. it is a matter of the Spirit. 
        2. It is an inward thing. 
      3. So much of what the Lord taught us 
        1. happened in that ancient city. 
        2. Now the spiritual and true form of that city, 
          1. takes His teachings into the rest of the world, and 
          2. sometimes some of those teachers go to ancient Jerusalem 
            1. to see and to confirm in their minds 
            2. what the Bible affirms about Jerusalem. 
  6. How many times has Jerusalem been faithful to God and then 
    1. slid away from Him, 
    2. only later to return to Him? 
      1. How many righteous men and women walked the streets of Jerusalem? 
      2. Yet, the city killed the Messiah. 
    3. How many wars has Jerusalem endured? 
      1. How many times have foreign super powers destroyed the city and her walls? 
      2. How many people have died there because of war and persecution? 
    4. I am only talking about the history of Jerusalem with which we are familiar. 
      1. Since the death of Jesus, 
      2. another 1,989 years of history have transpired! 
        1. Almost another 2,000 years! 
        2. Jerusalem’s history is 4,000 years old! 
          1. How much has happened in America’s roughly 400 year existence?
          2. We have only been around for 1/10 of Jerusalem’s history. 
    5. Ironically, Jerusalem means, “city of peace” (Heb 7.1–3). 
      1. It should be a place of peace, but 
      2. it shows that no place on earth offers 
        1. true peace from God. 
        2. Yet, it was the city of God, and 
          1. in that way it symbolized a chosen city of God, 
          2. which finds its fulfillment in something else. 


  1. Melchizedek 
    1. We first learn of Jerusalem in Genesis 14 
      1. when one of the greatest men of the Bible, 
        1. even greater than Abraham himself, 
      2. went out to meet Abraham 
        1. after he returned from fighting a battle with his men, 
        2. to rescue his nephew Lot and his family, and 
          1. the families of others kidnapped in a raid:

            18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.

            – Genesis 14.18
          2. Hebrews 7 explains that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham! 
            1. This meeting took place close to Jerusalem. 
            2. He was first of many spiritual powerhouses mentioned in the Bible to grace Jerusalem. 
    2. Abraham lived roughly 2,000 years before Jesus. 
      1. Abraham was as far removed in time from Jesus as we are! 
      2. At that time, Jerusalem, or Salem as it was then known, 
        1. was already established enough 
        2. that a man served as both king and priest. 
    3. Ancient cities were destroyed and then 
      1. they left the material in place, 
      2. which served as a foundation for the rebuild. 
        1. Zynda Patton, brother Don’s wife, told me this past week 
        2. that David’s palace is down five layers. 
          1. That brings me to another famous person in Jerusalem’s history. 
  2. David 
    1. A thousand years after Melchizedek, 
      1. the Lord brought up a great king in Jerusalem, King David. 
      2. However, Jerusalem did not belong to Israel during David’s first 7.5 years. 
    2. When Israel under Joshua’s command 
      1. entered the Land of Canaan, 
      2. the Bible says that they could not capture Jerusalem:

        63 As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.

        – Joshua 15.63

        21 But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

        – Judges 1.21
    3. It was close to 400 years later 
      1. that Israel finally captured Jerusalem 
      2. under David’s leadership, 
      3. seven and a half years after he became king:

        4 These six were born to him in Hebron. There he reigned seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years.

        – 1 Chronicles 3.4

        4 And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. 5 But the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, “You shall not come in here!” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David). 6 Now David said, “Whoever attacks the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain.” And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and became chief. 7 Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore they called it the City of David.

        – 1 Chronicles 11.4–7
    4. Now, David and Jerusalem just go together. 
      1. I cannot think of them without thinking of the other. 
      2. However, even as 
        1. David served as a type of the coming Great King, 
        2. so Jerusalem served as a type of the Great Jerusalem. 
  3. Jesus 
    1. A thousand years after David, 
      1. the Lord Himself appeared as the great king, 
      2. reigning not only over Jerusalem, but 
        1. over all the earth, 
        2. all through or for the benefit of 
          1. the New Jerusalem. 
    2. I have already read passages for you 
      1. of how Jesus thought about Jerusalem. 
      2. Sadly, it was Jerusalem that killed, by Roman crucifixion, their King. 
  4. The New Jerusalem 
    1. David typified the Christ. 
    2. The Land of Canaan typified Heaven. 
    3. Jerusalem typified the New Jerusalem, Heavenly Jerusalem, which is the church.

      22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

      – Hebrews 12.22–24

      9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

      – Revelation 21.9–11
      1. That is a much different picture 
      2. than I have shown you with my slides today. 


  1. The New Jerusalem is the City of God. 
    1. It is the only city that the Bible shows is in heaven. 
    2. If you are not part of the New Jerusalem, 
      1. you do not have a part in heaven.