God is passionate for Zion (Jerusalem) with great passion. Christ’s throne will one day be located in Jerusalem. He will return to Jerusalem and dwell in its midst. Jerusalem will be called the city of truth, the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain (Zech. 8:1-3). Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem. There will come a time when ten men from every language of the nations will grab the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you [to Jerusalem]” (Zech. 8:22-23). How incredible is that?
The book of Isaiah, written 500 years before Christ, states that there is coming a time when peace will reign over this earth. Isaiah described a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace yet to come who will bear all the responsibility of governing this world. This was simply not true during Jesus’s first coming. There was no peace on earth and goodwill toward men during His life – like that being spoken of here. There is coming a time when the King will sit upon the throne of David and rule over His kingdom. Every conflict will end in swift and fair judgment, and justice will prevail (Isa. 9:6–7).
Micah wrote, “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and exalted above the hills [the highest mountain on earth] and peoples shall flow into it. Many nations shall come and say let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Jerusalem the law shall go forth and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off” (Micah 4:1–3a). The time is coming when the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed. Why? Because Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously (Isa. 24:21–23). Notice how often “Jerusalem” is mentioned!
It is true that believers today are saved by God’s magnificence grace, apart from the works of the law (Gal. 2:21; 3:21). We live our Christian lives by grace and not by the works of the law (Col. 2:6; Titus 2:11–12). But God has never abrogated or done away with His Law given at Mount Sinai some three thousand years ago (Ex. 19–20). Also, God’s laws instituted at creation—laws concerning marriage, one man for one woman for life (Gen. 2:24), and the killing of another human being (Gen. 9:6), and honoring the Sabbath (Gen. 2:1–3)—have been imposed by Him from the beginning and have never changed. These laws have everything to do with the coming of a child and His reign upon an earthly kingdom.
Speaking of this child we turn to history written some 500 years before Christ. God had sent Isaiah to Ahaz, the king of Judah, to tell him that Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, had plotted against him – to tear a hole in the wall protecting Jerusalem and set up a king for themselves. Isaiah told Ahaz that the plot against him would not stand. He told Ahaz to ask for a sign from God that the plan would fail. Ahaz refused! Isaiah’s response is often used (at Christmas) but seldom explained. He told this king that God Himself would give him a sign. He said that a virgin would conceive and bear a Son and call His name Immanuel (Isa. 7:14).
God predicted that an evil king would come against Jerusalem to destroy it. This one is called, “the Assyrian.” Note as you read the following passages, the definite article “the,” as in “the Assyrian.” It is speaking of a special person (Isa. 10:24; Isa. 14:25; Isa. 19:23; Isa. 52:4; Hos. 11:5; Micah 5:5-6). Isaiah told Ahaz that victory will lie in the hands of a virgin born child. Amazing! “The Assyrian” speaks of the Antichrist who will come against Jerusalem.
With that in mind, fast forward and hear the words of the Messiah. He was going away to prepare a place for his disciples and return (Jn. 14:1-3). They knew that He had promised to come back. Now visualize a magnificent gold-plated temple that took Herod some 70 years to complete. It was beautiful beyond description. The morning sun reflecting off it was so bright one would have to shield their eyes. The disciples called our Lord’s attention to it.
Jesus jarred them by telling them that the temple was going to be completely destroyed (Matt. 24:2; Mk. 13:2) What? This provoked many questions but one that was special. What shall be the sign (notice again the definite article) of your coming (the one overwhelming can’t miss sign). Jesus’ answer is so very important! He said “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place. Whoever reads let him understand” (Matt. 24:15). Ponder this! The Assyrian mentioned above, and this abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, are one and the same person. In fact, this person goes by many names as we will see. The sign here must take us back to words spoken by Daniel – and it will. Stay safe and stay tuned.