“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good” (Psalm 122:6-9)
As a king, David made Jerusalem his “stronghold” and “fortress.” He made Jerusalem the capital city where he ruled Israel from. He believed Jerusalem is “the city of God” and has a spiritual significance. He also believed that peace is necessary in Jerusalem for peace to be in the world.
But as believers today, does that belief still hold and is the command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem with its attendant blessing on those who pray for it is still binding on believers?
Knowing what or where the New Testament Jerusalem is will help every believer to effectively pray for our own Jerusalem and receive the covenant blessing attached to that act of obedience.
The New Testament is the reality of the Old Testament. It is the “very image” of the shadows that the Old Testament speak of. It is therefore safe to say that the New Testament is Old Testament revealed and the Old Testament is New Testament concealed.
Jesus is the “very image” of the lamb that took away the sins of the people in sacrifice every year in the Old Testament. He is the reality of the shadow of forgiveness, justification, salvation, etc. Paul says in Col 1:15-16 that he “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”
Salvation by Grace through Faith in the New Testament is the reality and the image of salvation in the Old Testament (“the law and the prophets”) which was given as a shadow and in lieu of what to come.
There are many other examples of shadows in the Old Testament that gave way to the image and reality in the New Testament. Christianity of the Gentiles is the reality of the Judaism; Messiah "the lion" becomes Messiah "the lamb." The Temple made, the "house of God" became our body, the temple of God. The Priesthood which was the exclusive of the Levites headed by the high priest in the OT is replaced with the priesthood of all believers in the NT. God’s presence dwelling in the ark of the covenant in the holies of holies is now replaced with God dwelling in our hearts.
Another example is the New Testament revelation about divorce by Jesus from the Old Testament belief.
The disciples held the belief of Moses’ law as regards divorce, but Jesus told them that "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so" (Mat. 19:8).
The disciples’ response was to this New Testament reality of divorce from the Old Testament Shadow was: "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry" (Mat 19:10).
This is the typical response of an average Christian today to most New Testament reality of the Old Testament shadows. From tithe to the issue of Christians seeing themselves as "spiritual Israel," to definition of adultery, praying for the enemy, etc. But once we understand that the Old Testament is a shadow of the New and that the true standard is higher in the New because the Old Testament was given as a passway, all will be clear.
So, in the light of this, is Jerusalem today "the city of God?"
Although God chose Israel as his nation and the priest of the world, but according to the New Testament reality, believers are now the "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people...” (1Pet 2:9). It means that the only “nation” God has now and the only “city of God” today the believers.
Does that mean that God is done with Israel as a nation today?
Israel’s Messiah, which they rejected, and rightfully so for obvious reasons will return as the Lion of Judah that he truly is. But right now, He is Messiah the lamb of God to the Gentiles until the time appointed by the father. This is the dispensation of the Gentile or the church. It will end, soon, may be, and God will return to Israel when the church is gone.
John in his revelations says, “And 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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And 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” (Rev 21:1-3).
According to the passage, everything in the old has passed away, including Jerusalem. But he saw a new Jerusalem, the very image and the reality of the shadow Jerusalem that passed. But it was no longer a physical “city,” but a spiritual one, “a bride adorned for her husband.”
Everything of the New Testament is in spirit and in truth unlike in the Old Testament. The sacrifice, temple, prayer, even warfare. Paul says in 2Cor 10:4: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds…”
God no longer dwell in temple made with hands, The physical ark of the covenant is now in our hearts, the law is no longer in table of stones but table of our hearts. Jerusalem, the physical city is now Jerusalem the spiritual city.
Jesus said to the woman she met at the well, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father… But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (Joh 4:22-24).
So, the physical city of Jerusalem as we know it is the “bride of Christ” and that bride is the Assembly of the living God.
So, to a Christian, praying for the peace of Jerusalem is praying for the bride of Christ which is the assembly of Jesus – believers! This simply means praying for one another.
It is when we pray for one another that Jesus will return for a "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph 5:27, 2Pet 3:14).
Our Jerusalem is spiritual, it is the gathering of the saints, and we must pray for the peace of our gathering.
Let us pray for the peace of our own Jerusalem so that we can prosper as David said in Psa. 122:6-8.
Let us say "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces." Let us "now say, Peace be within thee." Amen.