The Lord is There
It must be puzzling to people all over the world that there is such a huge struggle over Israel in the Middle East and particularly over the city of Jerusalem. You look at the battleground in the streets on the nightly news and wonder; what’s worth fighting over? Surely there are more beautiful spots on earth; surely there are places more worthy of such a big fight.
But it is Jerusalem the Lord is talking about when he reveals himself as Jehovah – Shammah, The Lord is There. This is in fact the very last line of the prophetic book of Ezekiel chapter 48:35; “All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city (speaking of Jerusalem) from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.” Ezekiel is prophesying about a time that is yet to come.
God himself has a great love for the city of Jerusalem; he called Jerusalem to be the place where he was worshipped by the Jews and where he dwelt in the Temple that Solomon built for him. In fact, when the temple of the Lord was dedicated and the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the inmost holy place, “a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” (1 Kings 8:10) Therefore God himself came down to dwell there. The Lord tells Solomon concerning this temple in Jerusalem, “My eyes and my heart will be there perpetually.” (1 Kings 9:3)
Why is Jerusalem so special to God?
Why are his eyes and heart on Jerusalem perpetually? We don’t know specifically; it’s a mystery. There are those who speculate that it is the location of the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived in complete fellowship with God. It may be the place where Abraham took his son up on the mountain to sacrifice him but God held back his hand and provided a ram in a thicket instead. We know that it was prophesied that Jesus must die outside the gates of the city and that is what happened as they took him to a place for crucifixion outside the city called Golgotha.
Second Coming of Christ
What we do know is that the temple that Solomon built did not last and God’s presence did not continue in that place. Through rebellion and sin, the Jews did not maintain their kingdom and were taken away into captivity in Babylon (modern day Iraq). It is at this point that Ezekiel speaks about a kingdom coming to Jerusalem that will be without end. That has not happened yet. What are we waiting for? We are waiting for the Second Coming of Christ.
Many of the names of God provide hope and comfort because they reveal God’s character in something he has done such as Jehovah – Jireh or a way in which he relates to us such as Jehovah – Rohi. But Jehovah – Shammah is different. In Jehovah – Shammah we have a revelation about God for our future that is exciting indeed. The first time Jesus came to the earth he came as a humble servant, he suffered crucifixion to pay for our sins, was buried and rose on the third day. He ascended back into heaven and promised to return again.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
In contrast, the Second Coming of Christ will be in triumph and glory. He will come as “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:16) He will return to his beloved city of Jerusalem and rule the nations. The scripture tells us he will rule for a thousand years on the earth and after that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will even be a New Jerusalem. Listen to the words of John the apostle in the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible:
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then he who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:2-5)
When God originally revealed himself to his people as Jehovah – Shammah there was little hope in evidence that God was there. But he cared enough to tell them that a time would come when he would be there always. His promise is faithful and still awaits. All those who serve him wait for this coming time with joy. Even so, come Lord Jesus!