Mountains in prophecy [pdf]
Both time, and place, in the prophecies of scripture focus upon Jesus, and his ministry in the first century, and upon his death and resurrection, and his reign in the throne of David in heaven.
Time in prophecy points to Jesus, because the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 foretold his appearance, in a very specific, precise manner. The Messiah was to appear at the end of the first two sections of the 70 weeks. The 70 weeks are in three sections, of seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week. Jesus began his ministry after the first two sections of seven weeks, and the sixty two weeks were accomplished. These two periods began with the decree of Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, made in 538 BC. The units in these two sections are not the same; if they were, why have two sections? Why not say sixty-nine weeks?
I suggest that the first section of the 70 weeks consists of weeks of leap years, that had an extra month, as that was a characteristic of the Babylonian and Jewish calendars. About one in every three years had 13 months, and such a year is called a leap year. There are seven leap years every 19 years. So seven periods of seven leap years span 133 years, the duration of the first section of the 70 weeks. The second section is 62 sabbatical cycles of seven years, or 434 years. 133 + 434 = 567. And 567 years after the decree of Cyrus is the year 28 AD, the time when Jesus began his ministry.
Jesus’ ministry was three and a half years, or half a “week” of years. Daniel’s prophecy said he would confirm the covenant with many for one week. A half-week of years remained, after Jesus was crucified and rose again. In the final half-week, Jesus ascended to heaven, where earth days, and earth years, and earth time do not apply; the units of the last half-week are thus spiritual in nature, as are the dimensions of space.
The heavenly Jerusalem is described in Revelation 21 as cube-shaped, 12,000 furlongs each side. The shape is like that of the holy of holies in the tabernacle in the wilderness. The dimensions are symbolic–compare the enormous height of the city, 12,000 furlongs, with the dimension of its wall: 144 cubits. Is there not a glaring discrepancy, when 12,000 furlongs is compared with 144 cubits? If the dimension of the wall is the height, then the city is about 36,666 times higher than its wall!
Just as the dimensions of space that are specified for the holy city are symbolic, so are the numbers specifying the time in which Christ builds the city, and confirms his covenant with many. The three and a half years applied to the holy city are symbolic, and they span the entire age of the church, from Christ’s resurrection to the end of the age.
In Genesis, the land of Canaan is the land of promise. In the promise to Abram, later called Abraham, God said that he would show him a place. The land was something that was to be revealed or shown to him, [Genesis 12:1-3] and so the land of promise, from the beginning, represents revelations from God.
In Jacob’s dream at Bethel, the land that God promised him was where, in his dream, angel ascended and descended upon a ladder that reached up to heaven. No doubt they were communicating revelations of God to man. [Genesis 28:12-15]
When the land of Canaan was promised to the children of Israel, it was described as a “land of milk and honey.” [Leviticus 20:24] Land is thus connected with nourishment, and in scripture, food is a metaphor representing knowledge. The scripture said that God cared for that land, and his eyes are always upon it. [Deuteronomy 11:11-12]
Ezekiel called it “the glory of all lands.” [Ezekiel 20:6, 15] The Law was written upon stones that the children of Israel set up in the land. [Deuteronomy 27:1-5]
Within the land of promise, the hill of Zion, and Jerusalem were given special prominence. David said, “The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” [Psalm 87:2] He wrote, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.” [Psalm 137:5] Those who loved Jerusalem would be blessed. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” [Psalm 122:6]
Isaiah said, “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her.” [Isaiah 66:10]
Jerusalem was chosen by God. [1 Kings 11:13, 32, 36; 2 Chronicles 6:6; Zechariah 3:2]
Unlike the cities of the other nations, Jerusalem was built by God. [Psalm 147:2]
Salvation was promised to Zion. [Psalm 69:35] It would remain for ever. [Jeremiah 17:25] All of this, of course, applies to the heavenly city, that God is preparing for his saints, that is founded upon the word of God. This is called “a better country, that is, an heavenly” by the author of Hebrews. [Hebrews 11:16]
Isaiah said that Jerusalem, the “mountain of the LORD’s house,” will be “established in the top of the mountains” and “shall be exalted above the hills.” [Isaiah 2:1-3] “All nations shall flow unto it,” he said. Isaiah’s prophecy reconciles the fact that God dwells in heaven, yet also with his people. The city of Jerusalem represents God’s people, the saints. Since God is in heaven, Jerusalem must be raised up to heaven, where God dwells with them in a spiritual sense. It was raised up, when Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection.
Isaiah said, “The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.” [Isaiah 33:5]
Zechariah also said Jerusalem would be lifted up, above the surrounding country. [Zechariah 14:10-11] This is fulfilled in the New Testament where Jerusalem is located in heaven.
Other prophecies describe Jerusalem as becoming spoiled, [Jeremiah 9:19] and its leaders as filled with drunkenness. [Jeremiah 13:13] In Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks, Jerusalem would become desolate, and engulfed in a flood. [Daniel 9:26-27]
In Revelation 12:15-16 this desolating flood is a spiritual one. It is the flood from the mouth of the serpent, that threatens to carry away the saints by flawed interpretations of prophecy, and false teachings. But Daniel said somethings would be “be poured upon the desolate.” Does this refer to the Spirit of God, that is to be poured out upon a Church that has become desolate?
The prophet Nahum wrote of an “overrunning flood” which would overtake the enemies of the Lord. “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.” [Nahum 1:7-8] Zechariah said God will return to Zion, and dwell in Jerusalem, which would be called “a city of truth.” [Zechariah 8:3]
Many other prophecies speak of God dwelling in Zion and Jerusalem. [Psalm 9:11; 76:2; 135:21; Isaiah 4:5; 8:18; 33:5; Jeremiah 8:19; Joel 3:17; 3:21; Zechariah 2:10-11]
God is “round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” [Psalm 125:2] He promised to be “a wall of fire” round about Jerusalem. [Zechariah 2:5]
David said mount Zion is “the joy of the whole earth,” and “the city of the great King.” [Psalm 48:2] Jesus referred to this. [Matthew 5:35]
Jeremiah said Jerusalem will be called “the throne of the LORD.” [Jeremiah 3:17] Micah said God will reign over his saints in mount Zion for ever. [Micah 4:7] This is what the author of Hebrews referred to, when he said, “ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” [Hebrews 12:22] These prophecies apply to Christians.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
The nations will come to Jerusalem, the heavenly one, and seek God.
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Copyright © 2011 by Douglas E. Cox
All Rights Reserved.