We’ve been talking about the harlot, attempting to establish who she was, and ultimately, what that means. In the process, we had come to what the prophets had to say and when we looked at Ezekiel, we saw that he talked about two sisters Oholah and Oholibah. The analogy between the two is very important, not only to rightly interpret what was happening then but also to draw a comparison for us today, in our hyper-polarized society. There is a lesson to be learned.
That wasn’t all that Ezekiel had to say about what we’re interested in regarding today’s topic. Here is what the prophet said in 5:5: “Thus says the Lord God, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her.’”
God set Jerusalem at the center of the nations – that must tell the reader something. In fact, that must tell any Bible-believing Christian something about God, what He thought of the city of Jerusalem, and the Temple she would contain. The Temple was built by the great, but imperfect King Solomon and it was the center of God’s economy. It was the center of the universe, for all intents and purposes.
To all eschatologically-minded Christians, it says this about Jerusalem: God set her at the center of the nations – not Babylon, not Rome, nor a revived Roman Empire, not the Papacy, nor the Roman Catholic church, and not America – Jerusalem! This was not, strictly speaking, solely a physical placement among the nations geographically – it was a spiritual placement. This was God’s city. The whole Bible story revolves around Jerusalem.
What else did God have to say about Jerusalem? Let’s develop the narrative. Looking at 2 Chronicles 12:13 we see that King Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem. So, what does that mean? We talked about Rehoboam. He was Solomon’s son, but there was also something else important about him. He became the first king of the kingdom of Judah. The original kingdom of Israel was divided by God into the kingdom of Israel, which was also called Samaria, and the kingdom of Judah, from where the line of Christ flowed.
Continuing, in v. 13: Now, Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. Do you see that? From all the tribes of Israel, and there were twelve with many cities among them, God chose Jerusalem from the tiny tribe of Benjamin to put His name there (Joshua 18:28). It was the city which the Lord had chosen.
Don’t forget, this was God’s plan from the beginning. He chose the Israelites, He grew them into a nation within Egypt, He led them out through Moses to the Promised Land, and He gave them judges to lead them. God was their King. But the people made a huge mistake in wanting a king like all the other nations.
Their first king, Saul, was a miserable failure, and he ruled them for forty years. But then came King David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:13-14), and he also ruled forty years. King Solomon was David’s son, and he likewise served forty years. So now we come to Rehoboam, who was Solomon’s son, and Jeroboam, who became the successor to Solomon as king of Israel.
But God had become angry with Solomon even though He had him build His Temple because he had too many wives and too many concubines, some from among the other peoples of the lands, that led him astray to serve other gods. So God divided the kingdom by taking ten tribes from Solomon, giving them to Jeroboam, and one tribe, Benjamin, to Rehoboam, with the tribe of Judah following, and he became the first king of the kingdom of Judah. Rehoboam ruled from ~931-913BC.
With Jerusalem now within the kingdom of Judah, we move to the next step in establishing the centrality of Jerusalem to God’s plan, and it comes from the prophet Daniel. He is key to understanding eschatology as we will see later, but for now, we will firmly establish the position of the city of Jerusalem and her Temple in order to understand the harlot, Revelation, and eschatology.