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THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM.
pp. 124 - 127
In the epistle to the Galatians "Jerusalem" is mentioned five times. Three of these
occurrences refer to Jerusalem, the literal city on earth to which Paul went to see Peter
(Gal. 1: 17, 18; 2: 1). In the allegory of Gal. 4:, Sinai in Arabia answers to Jerusalem
"which now is", but those who form the unity expressed in Gal. 3: 28, 29 belong to
"Jerusalem which is above" (Gal. 4: 26). There can be no doubt as to the intention of
that word "above" which translates the Greek word ano: "filled up to the brim"
(John 2: 7); "beneath . . . . . above" (John 8: 23). "In heaven above . . . . . in earth
beneath" (Acts 2: 19), are some examples. When we are exhorted to set our affections on
things above, we are also told that such things are (1) not on the earth, but that (2) they
are where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Col. 3: 1, 2). Jerusalem which is
"above" therefore is in contrast with Jerusalem which is on the earth. It is not only
heavenly in character, it is also heavenly in situation. When this city is mentioned in
Revelation, it is called:
"New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God" (Rev. 3: 12).
This feature is repeated in chapter 21: 2 and 10:
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven."
"And 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."
For the moment we leave the question as to when this city descends, and consider the
place that it occupies in the epistle to the Hebrews, the only other portion of the N.T. that
speaks of it. This is found in Heb. 12: 22 where we read:
"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly
This, as in Gal. 4:, is in contrast with Mount Sinai. This city is moreover inhabited
by an innumerable company of angels, and angels, while they visited the earth on
missions of blessing or judgment, are designated as "the angels of heaven" in the
Scriptures. In Heb. 11: we see how the vision of this city influenced Abraham, for it is
"These all died in faith . . . . . and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on
the earth . . . . . they seek a country . . . . . they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly
. . . . . God . . . . . hath prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11: 13-16).
For this, Abraham was willing to be a tent dweller, "for he looked for a city which
hath (the) foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11: 9, 10). We learn from
Isaiah that when God calls Israel to Himself as a woman forsaken, as a wife of youth
when refused, who for a little time had been under the cloud of wrath, and under the
hiding of His face, He declares: