Jerusalem is the Heart: Hebrews 12:25-29, AD70, And Our New Creation in Christ

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“we are to lay hold on that kingdom which cannot be shaken; for the Lord shakes us for this end, that he may really and forever establish us in himself.”

By Todd Dennis

According to the Modern Idealist perspective, all historical events recorded in the Bible are loaded with primary spiritual significance.   The way to unlock much of the deep meaning contained in the historical events is to look beyond their surface meanings in order to recognize them as symbols pointing to spiritual realities found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The city of Jerusalem, in particular, is thereby given greater significance as a representative of the heavenly body of Christ.  Christians have long recognized that the historical fall of Jerusalem was given as a broader warning against hard heartedness.   Preterists likewise recognize much of the same imagery associated with that event, yet typically stop short of consistently teaching how the revelations of things past are to be examined for the betterment of today’s Christians.  

As an exercise in recognizing the proper usage of the historical workings of the Lord, this article will consider how the city of Jerusalem is to be utilized as a picture of the human condition and the state of one’s soul.

To begin, it is instructive to recognize the curious way in which biblical writers spoke of the city of Jerusalem.  The following verses declare that Jerusalem is where the Lord dwells:

  • Psalm 116:19 – “In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.” 

  • Isaiah 12:6 – “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

Even though, on the surface, the presence of the temple of God within the gates of the city is intended by these declarations, there is an element of higher value to be apprehended by considering the way in which the Lord dwells within His people through the person of the Holy Spirit.   The fundamental assumption in this study is that the entire Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, who speaks of deeper truths in order to generate righteousness in the reader.

Seeing the descent of new life into the hearts of Christians behind these declarations begins to unlock their true spiritual value.  This understanding can then be used to enrich one’s spiritual walk.  Jesus’ declaration that “the kingdom is within,” coupled with Paul’s identification of the “Jerusalem which is above” coming to our innermost place, is the methodological key to unlock this mystery.

Therefore, using this method of amplifying surface meanings for spiritual value, we can consistently see throughout the Bible the historical aspects of Jerusalem’s history reflect the condition of the “heart” and soul. 

And so, a framework for reading the Bible with new eyes emerges.  In the case of the city of Jerusalem, the method is revealed as teaching two states of being:



This proposition can be tested in the Old Testament prophets most clearly.  In that collection of heavenly-minded books we are shown these two aspects of Jerusalem.  To keep the references manageable, only a few selections from the minor prophets are cited below.   If you understand the Holy Spirit’s message in the verses below, then you will see the importance of the method.

The rejoicing Jerusalem is surely shown to reflect (1) the blessed progress of righteousness promised to those who are born again in Jesus Christ:

  • Joel 3:17 – “So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”

  • Micah 4:2b – he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

  • Micah 4:8b – “the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Zion.”

  • Zeph. 1:4 – “I will stretch out my hand… upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place”

  • Zeph. 3:14 – “Sing, o daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart”

  • Zeph. 3:16 – “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not”

  • Zeph. 3:17 – “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

  • Zech. 1:16 – “Therefore thus saith the Lord: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.”

  • Zech. 8:3 “Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth”

  • Zech. 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation”

Conversely, we have Jerusalem presented in the prophets as a picture of hard hearted opposition to the transformative work of Jesus Christ.  Also presented is that internal aspect of the saved which remains in rebellion to God.  And so, what is reflected is (2) the desolation of what remains outside of the the new life offered by Jesus.

  • Amos 1:2 – “But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”

  • MIcah 1:9 – For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem.”

  • Micah 1:12 – “evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem.”

  • Micah 3:10,12a – “They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.”, “Therefore shall Zion be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps”

  • Zeph. 1:12 – “I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men… that say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.”

  • Jeremiah 6:6 – “For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her.”

The entirety of the Bible abounds with references of Jerusalem that are clearly — for those willing to see — to be taken in a personal sense regarding the presence of the Lord and kingdom growth within His people.


Moving to the New Testament, we have in the ministry of Jesus an amplification of the prophecies of the Old Testament. In order to test the idealist method, let us notice particularly the “triumphal entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem.  One of the verses presented above (Zech. 9:9) was regarded so highly by Jesus that during His Advent He made a point of amplifying its meaning so that Jerusalem could be presented as a picture of the inner man.   

“And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,  Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.   All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”

And yet, even though the fulfillment of this verse in its most external sense is given to point to something greater regarding the Lord’s entry into the innermost being of a person.  Notice how this works by comparing the accounts in Matthew and Mark:

  • Matthew: “As he was approaching the gates of the city, the throng of people were rejoicing.  They laid down their garments, and cried out “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?” 

  • Mark: And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple:”

This, compared to other declarations of Jesus,  shows that this event should be understood as being directly connected to other revelations of the internal kingdom of Christ:

  • Lu 17:21 – “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  (For those who consider this a mistranslation, refer back to the list of passages above which speak of the Lord being “in the midst” of His people)

To complete the imagery, Jesus gives us a view of those who will not have him.    In speaking to the natural-minded religious leaders of His day, Christ declared to them, “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39).  In other words, until Jesus enters them in humility, and comes to them making His abode with them, they would not see Him again.   This direct connection between Christ’s historical triumphal entry, and the ultimate meaning in his spiritual entry serves as the backdrop for the remainder of this study.


The triumphal entry of Jesus Christ is just one example of unlocking the power of the Bible’s Jerusalem imagery by seeing it as a revealed finally in our personal lives.   Throughout scripture we find multitudes of similar references to Jesus entering the scene, such as “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” (Ps 24:7).   In the case of Wisdom, “She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words” (Pr 1:21).  Likewise, the new Jerusalem is revealed as being the new heart of Christ given by God to reside within his people:

  • Revelation 21:2-3: “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. “

If we choose to build a method upon this concept, the reality of the Lord’s transformative work can hit home for every single person born again in Jesus Christ.  Continuing on with the description of the New Jerusalem, we can meditate upon this work in our lives:  

  • Rev. 21:5: “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” 

  • 2 Cor. 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

There are many ways that a more spiritual point of view will help us in our walk with the Lord today, if we resist the urge to externalize the Bible.  Making the Scripture about “then” (be it future or past) puts much distance between us and the message of the Holy Spirit for us today.   If we insist that these promises are intended only for external things they become distant historical events instead of internal, present spiritual realities in Christ. 

Expanding our expectations will yield glorious results.   If we can perceive that the Spirit is speaking to the churches even today, and that the Bible’s imagery is given for a present purpose, not only will our comprehension of the Word be increased, but our personal relationships will flourish.  It may be taken as a fundamental rule that whatsoever is revealed in the entirety of Scripture and in the entirety of natural Israel’s history is given to point to the eternal spiritual realities of our “world without end” in Jesus Christ:

  • Colossians 2:16 – “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

  • Galatians 3:24 – “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

  • Hebrews 8:4-5 – “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.  5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”

  • Hebrews 10:1 – “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year  continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”


When approaching Scripture we are told to try to get into the mind of the original writer.  However, this can only take us so far in the ultimate understanding of the Word.  Though many think of inspiration as the Spirit telling the author what to write about his day, I believe a broader understanding will be helpful.  

Spiritual inspiration operates in a transcendent sense, existing beyond the intent arising from the writer’s mind alone.   We know that this is true particularly with Messianic prophecies, which used historical accounts of the prophets’ days to bespeak realities in Jesus Christ (cf. Isa. 7:14 “a virgin shall conceive”).  The Psalms are filled with aspects of spiritual inspiration beyond the writers’ intent.  In many cases, this inspiration even placed what would only much later be seen as key prophecies of Christ’s passion.

There is a tendency to limit this application in the claim that the Bible was written for us, but it was not written to us.  This is assuming that the Word of God is simply that which was understood by the original author and the original recipients.  Getting into the mind and intent of the original writer only reveals that which was contemplated by that author.  However, if we recognize that through inspiration the author is actually the Holy Spirit, then license is given to read spiritual realities which apply directly to every reader.  

Many do not like the idea of greater revelation beyond what the original author intended.  Benjamin Jowett represents that lot well in writing,  “First, it may be laid down that Scripture has one meaning, – the meaning which it had to the mind of the prophet or evangelist who first uttered or wrote to the hearers or readers who first received it.  Scripture, like other books, has one meaning, which is to be gathered from itself, without reference to the adaptations of fathers or divines, and without regard to a priori notions about its nature and origin.  The office of the interpreter is not to add another [interpretation], but to recover the original one : the meaning, that is, of the words as they struck on the ears or flashed before the eyes of those who first heard and read them.’ (Essay on the Interpretation of Scripture, § i. 3, 4.)

Though it is certainly less complicated to approach Scripture like we do all other books, this method ignores the most important part of the Bible : its office as the inspired Word of God Himself.    The Spirit has a tendency to blow the lid off of our time based, man-centered constraints, and the issue of true authorship is a primary example.

In reference to uninspired literature, we may well be able to “nail down” the intent of the writer and declare a meaning of the passage in question.  With the Bible it is not so.   The reason for this is that with Scripture the historical penman is not who determines the meaning of what has been written.   Put another way, the true Word is the Living Word, not the written word.  Though some would fashion the biblical writings (the original autographs?) as the “written word of God” it will be helpful to remember that the Logos is truly the “Living Word of God”.

  • John 1:14 – “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

  • 1 Cor. 2:13 – “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

  • 1 John 1:1 – “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life”

  • Heb 4:12 – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

  • 1 Peter 1:23 – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

  • 2 Peter 1:19 – “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”

  • 1Jo 5:7 – “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

  • Re 19:13 – And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.”

There are many cases in the Bible where a writer penned something not knowing its full meaning.  One of the most dramatic examples is found in the book of Daniel, which shows a writer completely stumped by what he had written.  This event was preserved in the form of an angelic dialogue (Daniel 12).    The Old Testament prophets, though writing about things that had one particular meaning in their minds, turned out to have actually been used to transmit something greater (Hos 11:1 / Matt 2:15; Isa 7:14)   Though some argue that later writers abused the texts by inserting their later ideas, it seems more fitting to declare that the same Spirit who inspired the later text served as the interpreter of the earlier.  Looking at Hebrews 10 brings this point into clearer focus:

  • Hebrews 10:1 – “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.  10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them”

J. Nelson Kraybill, writing in Christianity Today, captured this concept well regarding the Apocalypse of John:  “Because Revelation is poetry and metaphor, it is inappropriate to “nail down” a precise meaning for every image. It is possible, though, to discern overall contours of what the book meant to the first readers. Then we listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church today through the same images.” (10/25/99)


It is certainly less preterist and more idealist to focus on the eternal realm for the ultimate intent of prophecy.  This method sees natural fulfillment as  being only a shadow of spiritual things in Christ.  As seen with the triumphal entry, the historical fulfillments themselves are given a revelatory role.  Another example of this scriptural approach is see in the land promises to natural Israel. 

Though God’s people were promised a great number of external things  that were fulfilled externally to the letter, these promises still ultimately spoke of Jesus Christ.   Though there was an appearance in the promises to Abraham of an ultimate fulfillment in reference to the possession of a particular tract of land in history, we know from New Testament revelation that the intent was regarding spiritual things in Christ applicable to all nations and generations.

  • Gen 18:18 – “Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him”

Another example of this promise is found in the book of Exodus:

  • Exodus 6:8 – “And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.”

These promises were totally fulfilled in their most outward, natural show:

  • Joshua 21:43-45 – “And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.  44 And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” (cf. Joshua 11.23; Joshua 23.14; 1 Kings 4.21; 1 Kings 8.56)

Though we may be tempted to consider the case closed on the promises, the greater revelation found in the New Testament shows that this fulfillment was not the ultimate intent of the promise.

  • Heb 11:9,13,16 – “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly.

Adam Clarke commented on the promises by pointing out that the natural pointed to the spiritual, and was not the substance itself:

“(Genesis 17) Verse 8. Everlasting possession] Here µlw[ olam appears to be used in its accommodated meaning, and signifies the completion of the Divine counsel in reference to a particular period or dispensation. And it is literally true that the Israelites possessed the land of Canaan till the Mosaic dispensation was terminated in the complete introduction of that of the Gospel. But as the spiritual and temporal covenants are both blended together, and the former was pointed out and typified by the latter, hence the word even here may be taken in its own proper meaning, that of ever- during, or eternal; because the spiritual blessings pointed out by the temporal covenant shall have no end. And hence it is immediately added, I will be their God, not for a time, certainly, but for ever and ever.”  (Adam Clarke, Genesis 17:8 Comment)

This same principle is true of all visible, historical examples, including circumcision (which was a physical sign of spiritual things, Ro 4:11), the resurrection of Christ (which was a physical sign of spiritual things, Mt 12:39), and the fall of Jerusalem (which was also a physical sign of spiritual things as the sign of the Son of Man in heaven).

Paul refers to the promises to Abraham as actually being a revelation of “the gospel”:

  • Galatians 3:8 – “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Both Ephesians and Revelation reveal the “city” in question as being the body of Christ, the church:

  • Hebrews 11:10 – “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

  • Ephesians 2:19-22 – “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

  • Revelation 21:9-10,14 – “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem  14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

By applying some Berean determination, we can see how natural promises have always been given to reveal spiritual realities available in our day.  Jesus Christ is always the context in every single revelation of the Word.    Even so, the fulfillment of the visible, historical events are very important to “fulfill all righteousness” (as in the case of the visible baptism of Christ Mt 3:15). Or, to use the saying of Paul:

  • I Cor 15:46 – “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

In other words, natural events are types, shadows, signs, parables, and examples.  They all have spiritual — not mere natural — significance behind them.  Focusing, then, more closely on the true significance of prophecy, we can see earthly Jerusalem itself as a “historical picture” of greater spiritual realities today. 


There should be no surprise that Scripture refers to two separate cities of Jerusalem — an old and a new.  One is of Earth and the other of eternity.  The transcendent Jerusalem is referred to by a number of different names, many of which we have already seen.  Examples of this identification are seen as Jerusalem is called “heavenly”, “above”, “new” and the like:

  • Galatians 4:26 – But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

  • Hebrews 12:22-23  –“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven”

  • Revelation 3:12 – “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”

  • Revelation 21:2 – “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

In the letter to the Galatians, Paul equates both views of Jerusalem with heart conditions: liberty vs. bondage of the soul.  By doing so, he illuminated the distinctions between the inward states of those with and without Jesus Christ.   Messianic meaning, he declares, was the intended context of the historical “allegory”.   Lest we try to externalize Paul’s intent in Galatians 4, he gives a clear indication of context:   “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” With such overt references, its a wonder that anyone could fail to see how the Spirit is likewise fully speaking to us today through the historical “allegory” of the history of the old Jerusalem.

It is my working assumption, then, that the first century of believers were players in a supremely important generation — but one which is held up as a pattern of all generations in Christ’s Eternal Reign.


Consider, for instance, how the heart of mankind is pictured by Jerusalem throughout the Bible.  The Old Testament is filled with personifications of Israel and Jerusalem, making specific reference to the “heart” and the thoughts and intents of the nation:

  • Jeremiah 4:14 – “O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?”

  • Isaiah 1:6  – “Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.   From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores”

  • Jeremiah 3:17 – “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.”

And in what is perhaps the most important confirmation of all, Jesus Himself provides the hermeneutical key proving that Jerusalem is the heart:

“And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem
Zechariah 14:8
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”
Jesus in John 7:38


Our hearts are very much like the Jerusalem of the first century.  We all have our humble places, and our high places. Each of us has a powerful (and corruptible in the ‘flesh’) innermost sanctum of our heart which is the source of all sins.  Isn’t the usefulness of the “last days” generation profound, regarding our own walk in Christ?  Absolutely!  Here we see the consequences of sin, and cleansing of righteousness by the Holy Spirit.

We are called to “lift up our gates so that the king of glory may come in”, but we too often harden our hearts, seal our gates, and defend them with utmost vigor.   This is just what was revealed with earthly Jerusalem.    We have the walls of pride we carefully sculpt, protecting our forms of self-righteousness.  Our “holy of holies” can all too easily become idolatrous as we hoard wealth and position.

We build powerful and lofty towers in pride, and seek to insulate ourselves from anything that challenges our self esteem.  As we go about seeking to establish our own form of righteousness, and do not submit ourselves to the righteousness of God, and that must end. However, just as in that day, these methods are idolatrous and are doomed to desolation.

Most blessedly, though, we have a mighty King who has promised to comfort and cleanse His people — mercifully using His rod and His staff to poke us and yank us back into line as we wander astray.   When Jesus Christ cleansed the temple during His earthly ministry, He was not just foreshadowing the destruction of the temple but He was demonstrating the Lord’s determination to cleanse the hearts of His people.

Just as in AD70, His ministry of reconciliation and sanctification includes Calvin’s view of shaking those things in us which we have made, so that those things of His which cannot be shaken may remain. 

It is, in fact, the Lord’s promise to His people to come and break down our idolatry so that not one filthy stone remains upon another.  This is His merciful lovingkindness, by not abandoning us but separating the wheat from the chaff in our lives.   Every generation of Christians must enter the kingdom through persecution, and not just the first.   And, dear friend, doesn’t your life in Christ manifest this trend of breaking up the fallow ground?

  • Hosea 10:12 – “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 

Refer back to the following verses to piece together the entire glorious methodology:

  • Zech. 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation”

  • Zeph. 1:4 – “I will stretch out my hand… upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place”

  • Zeph. 3:17 – “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

  • Joel 3:17 – “So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”


The simple gospel concept of reformation through the indwelling of the heavenly Jerusalem is surprisingly distasteful to many Christians who are used to nailing down imagery to the confines of the historical process.    Just as with the “true believers” of the last days of Jerusalem, some will not abandon the walls and gates until they have been destroyed around them.  Beware of such teachers and leaders!

Taking a closer look at Hebrews 12, though, we can see that the kingdom that was being given was not a nationalistic in nature.  As Christ said, the kingdom is within.   The throne is within, the temple is within, and all aspects of the eternal kingdom are spiritual in nature and therefore internal.  Consequently, by reckoning it solely in a natural, external sense is a form of idolatry! 

Clearly, the manifestation of that kingdom is given in external ways, such as the fall of Jerusalem in AD70 or the Byzantine Millenium.  However, the closer means of identifying the kingdom on Earth is by the saying, “you shall know a tree by its fruits.”

If, therefore, Hebrews 12:25-29 is not talking about an external kingdom but an internal one, then why wouldn’t it be talking about heart-reformation in Jesus Christ?  To confirm that it is, we must see the reason why it was quoted in the first place.

Hebrews 12:25-29 is taken from Haggai 2, which refers to the Spirit’s internal work of refining:

  • Haggai 2 – “Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.”

The Holy Spirit is witnessing here that He is at work in His people, which is the proof of the indwelling kingdom’s tremendous power.  You should not separate the indwelling spirit and that kingdom which is sown within:

  • John 3:5  – “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

  • Romans 2:29 – “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit


If we will broaden our understanding of the applicability of the Word to our walk today — not being blinded by the shadows — then I believe our spiritual lives will transform our lives.  As we see how our hearts are the field into which the kingdom is planted, we receive blessed assurance of the Lord’s work mercifully sculpting his garden.  As we have seen, the kingdom is spiritually inside each of God’s temples on Earth, which is the comprised of the entire church: 

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”

  • 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘the two shall become one flesh.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-18  – “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’.”

  • 1 Peter 2:5 – “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

And lest one think that these verses speak of the body in a corporate, impersonal sense, we have Jesus identifying the temple as an individual body:

  • John 2:18-21 – “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.”

This internal operation of the Holy Spirit is revealed throughout the ministry of Jesus.  One of the broadest views of this transformative work is seen in the parable of the mustard seed given by Jesus:

  • Matthew 13:31  – “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:   Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33  Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

Here we have the innermost part of a person presented as the soil in a garden.  Jesus said that the kingdom of God had already come and that it was going to keep on growing in “the soil” as the grain of a mustard seed.   Though the kingdom comes in its fullness when the Holy Spirit comes to inwdell our bodies, we are still moved from old glory to new glory in refining process which burns up works of unrighteousness  Put another way, though the kingdom FULLY arrives, its abundance and harvest within us has no end (Isa. 9:7). 

Though revealed externally in the history of the old Jerusalem, that kingdom didn’t come then to the world as a whole as if it were a new earthly kingdom.  The kingdom comes to each when they are born again and sealed with the Spirit.  It came to me, for instance, in 1979.   That eternal, complete kingdom keeps coming to people as they are “born from above” and receive the kingdom or parousia/presence of Christ::

  • Mark 11:10  – “Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”

  • Psalm 24:7  – “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”

  • Revelation 3:20  – “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

As we tweak our understanding of the fall of natural Jerusalem, we see that AD70 was not the fall of the heavenly city but its cleansing.   His loving-kindness administers the same justice in us, so that we can walk in the Spirit agreed, not putting our trust in the flesh.

So, then, perceiving the fall of old Jerusalem as a “historical picture”  from more of an idealistically spiritual sense, we see how Hebrews 12:25-29 is not about AD70 as many teach.  Rather, that historical event illuminates those greater things of the Lord’s messianic work in His Body throughout all generations.   The brightness of His parousia comes to all His people to destroy the works of sin, death, the devil, and the law of self-righteousness within our hearts.

I think that if we neglect this deeper, internal witness of the Holy Spirit within ourselves, then we are liable to find ourselves besieged by fleshly motives and forms of self-righteousness.  Conversely, if we are willing to look deep within the most hidden resources of ourselves, we can expose all hiding places of our pesky rebelliousness.  Throwing aside all of the filthiness of the flesh will lead to the betterment of our lives and those of our family.  Don’t think this is possible?  Give it a try!   After all, if the Spirit is indeed speaking to each of us, and is indeed using the circumstances of history as instructional tools, then we will find ourselves equipped to discern all of God’s work in our lives.

Going back to the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, consider how the event finds fulfillment in the light of the internal work of Christ in your own life.  Isaiah 62, from which Matthew 21:5 is quoted in fulfillment, frames the true work of Christ within his people :

  • “Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.   And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”

Tying this together with the reign of Jesus Christ in the midst of his people, we find connection to the many references which are generally accepted by all as having personal application.   Here are just a few examples of the mercy of the Lord towards those who call upon His name:

  • Psalm 46 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. “

Luke 21:20-24, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.”

Luke 21:34-36, “Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

I Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Anyway, this is just one approach for applying a higher perspective to prophecy and fulfillment.  Feel free to use this approach to meditate on your own history, seeing how the Lord has been mercifully stripping away those unprofitable things in you so that your ultimate spiritual nature can be revealed in all its glory.

mercy and truth,


But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
1Samuel 16:7
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:13
Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

Hebrews 12:25-29    And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.    Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:   For our God is a consuming fire”

Date: 11 Nov 2006
Time: 15:39:31

Todd, I think you have here, a fairly good answer to the question; ‘What now?’, but remember that John Calvin himself was a futurist and believed that Christ had yet to come and establish His Kingdom!

your brother in Christ,
Charles Shank

Date: 24 Feb 2007
Time: 19:33:11

Where do I start? I found your web site and what a find indeed….full of material that gives a scholastic foundation to eschatology. I turned away from futuristic thought years ago. It didn’t have the ring of truth to me. Preterism captivates my attention but the extreme forms can and will lead to a quiet despondency and indifference if not checked. Your presentation of Jerusalem as an image of the heart brought me a deep sense of God’s presence with me. I wept as I read your presentation leading up to Psalm 46 and applied it to my sometimes tumultuous life situation. Thank you my friend. I haven’t sensed the beginning of a reformation of my heart quite like this for sometime. The words of Isaiah ” Comfort ye, comfort ye my people” does indeed speak to me unlike it ever has before.

Date: 21 May 2007
Time: 20:14:02

This seems to me safe, reasonable, foundational material. I quickly agree with the majority on a first reading. In fact, nothing jumps out as error. I will follow with more detailed comments.

Jim Adams – In memory of Benjamin David Olsen

Date: 02 Feb 2009
Time: 20:32:37

This is deep, and more than just physical, My heart was touched. I have already begun to see these things, as I do my own studies in His word. Thank you for your concern for the souls of others.


Date: 24 Aug 2010
Time: 12:39:59

You made a number of good statements in this article. This I believe expresses the nut shell.

It is my working assumption, then, that the first century of believers were players in a supremely important generation — but one which is held up as a pattern of all generations in Christ’s Messianic Age.

I never defined myself as a preterist, although I firmly believe that the fulfillment of prophetic fulfillment concerning the old testament as concerning judgment, resurrection etc. are past. The acknowledgment of new testament blessings and kingdom expansion is ignored. I believe that Genesis 1 prophetically embraces all of these aspects and rests into an open ended Sabbath that never ends. The old and new testaments are both rich in instruction and and in meaning for today. You are right. The word is not just a historical (I am paraphrasing) narrative but it is spiritual life for us today.
Francis Febus

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. // 2 Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (KJV)