31st March 2018

Old Jerusalem And New Jerusalem

“Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David.”
2 Chronicles 3:1 (NIV)

We have heard a lot about this city of Jerusalem over the last few years and it’s not always good news! It seems a shame that such a place that is held in high regard by Jews, Christians and Muslems should be regarded by others as a tinderbox that ignites conflicts year after year.

Did you know that this was the place where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac his only son (Genesis 22: 2). But, where is this Mount Moriah? According to our masthead scripture it is the same place where Solomon—the son of David—built the Temple of God; in Jerusalem!

The city of Jerusalem was also known as Salem (meaning ‘peace’) long before it had its name change and it seems like Abraham had a part in renaming it. After his son Isaac was spared and then a ram appeared caught in a thicket, he called the place “Yireh” which in Hebrew means ‘The Lord will provide.’ So, if we prefix Yireh to Salem we get Yireh-salem or Jerusalem. Genesis 22:14 continues, “And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it shall be provided.’”

I guess we might wonder why Isaac was spared and a ram took his place on the altar of sacrifice. I think it was because this son of Abraham had a bigger part to play in God’s plan of salvation. If we check Luke chapter 3, we find the genealogy of Jesus and in verse 34 it tells us that he was descended through Isaac!

But during this episode Isaac was foreshadowing the sacrifice of Jesus. Remember Genesis 22:2 tells us that he was Abraham’s only son and Jesus was God’s only son. Isaac carries the wood for the sacrifice because this was supposed to be a burnt offering. Jesus carried the wood of his cross, as it says in John 19:16-17, “So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).” Interestingly, there was no substitute here for this sacrifice—no ram caught in a bush. No, and why? Because Jesus’ death was the substitute for us—for mankind—the sacrifice to end all sacrifices! No wonder the people continued to quote this saying, “On the mountain of the Lord it shall be provided!” He did, and he will ultimately, bring to earth a New Jerusalem, a place where Jesus rules and righteousness dwells—isn’t that good news? (2 Peter 3:13 & Revelation 21:1-3).

Praise and thanks to you, Father, for the precious gift of sacrificial love in giving up your only Son for us all.

Study by Cliff Neill


About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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