Kidron Saga, Part 6: The New Jerusalem
When Jesus left Earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within believers. But He also revealed His plan to physically return to the same spot from which He ascended into heaven: the Mount of Olives. Studying the Lord’s plan to touch back down on this mountain, we learn how important it is that God is choosing to dwell with us back on Earth, a humbling truth and reminder of His ability to fix the brokenness of our world and make it as it was intended to be.
This week’s teaching wraps up our Kidron saga, an insightful 6-week study of God dwelling with humanity. From the Garden of Eden to the Tabernacle and Temple to Jesus and the Holy Spirit to the New Jerusalem, God has always executed His plan of providing His presence for His people. May you understand the glorious hope of this truth in this final segment of our study focusing on the New Jerusalem and the eternal dwelling we can forever enjoy with the Lord!
If you missed the first five parts of this series, you can find them on our Archives page!
If you’re interested in coming with us on one of our Up to Jerusalem tours, you can Learn More Here.
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. I'd like to encourage you right at the outset to visit our website, foiradio.org. There, you can find out information about our program. You can also visit our archives page and listen to six years worth of Chris's teachings. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we're wrapping up our six part series called the Kidron Saga, where we looked at the valley, the Kidron Valley that sits between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount, a place full of prophetic tension. And it's all going to find its culmination today. So I really think it's going to be an encouraging time for our listeners. And I'm looking forward to how this entire series is going to wrap up.
Steve Conover: Yeah, we sure hope you stay for the entire program. But first in the news, Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett celebrated Shabbat in Washington, DC. This in a hotel after his meeting with President Biden was postponed due to the explosions at Kabul's airport that killed 13 US service members. Bennett, an Orthodox Jewish man, would not fly on Shabbat. His only alternative was to honor the weekly day of rest in DC with the staff.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I love this story. When it came across my desk and I saw it, I was reading, as you were saying, Bennett is a Orthodox Jewish man and he wanted to finish his meeting with Biden beyond the plane in time to arrive just as a Shabbat was happening so he could be with his family. He can't fly on Shabbat, but because of the postponement, he had to be in Washington DC. Even though his meeting with Biden ended Friday morning into Friday afternoon, he still stuck around to honor Shabbat. And I love this. When I was reading the article, it said that the D'var Torah, that's what you read during the Shabbat service, he read it for his staff. And he actually read from Psalm 23 verse four, which is, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
Bennett commented that he questioned why David, whose sins were definitely greater than Saul's, was still deemed worthy of leading the Israelites. And his conclusion for his staff was that despite his considerable flaws, David took responsibility for his failings, without which one cannot lead. Great words from Prime Minister Neftali Bennet.
So we're bringing an end to our six part series on the Kidron Saga. And I know that if you've joined us for the past few weeks, you've heard me say this over and over again, but I call it the Kidron Saga for a reason, because we're talking about the Kidron Valley, which is a specific location in Jerusalem where a lot of prophetic events take place. In Jerusalem there are these two mountains, remember a valley is always in between two mountains. So in Jerusalem, there are these two mountains that sit right next to one another, Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives. And what we're doing is we're studying that prophetic tension that existed between these two mountains and what sits between them. What sits between these two mountains is the Kidron Valley.
So first, really quick, let's just have, I know this brief overview, because I really think now the pictures are starting to take place here. The progressive revelation of the Bible is beginning to reveal itself as we see this prophetic tension taking place between these two mountains. Do you remember? We talked about the very fact, that the very presence of God, his physical presence came down and indwelt the Tabernacle in Exodus chapter 40, the last chapter of the Book of Exodus. Starting in verse 34, there was this amazing moment God had desired to dwell with the Israelites. And finally, after the Tabernacle was built, God's physical presence, his glory, remember, glory in Hebrew is kavod, which means the heaviness, the weightiness of God, the physical presence, the cloud by day, the fire by night came down and indwelt the Tabernacle.
And there is this amazing picture of Moses, who couldn't even stand to be in the very presence of God, had to run out of the Tabernacle because God's physical presence, his glory completely took over the Tabernacle, his presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the king of Israel sat on top of his throne, which was above the Ark of the Covenant. And the whole Tabernacle served really as a portable throne room, getting God's glory from one place to another as he was leading the people of Israel. And remember, he leads the people of Israel after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, right into the Holy Land. And after several centuries of being in the Holy Land, finally in Israel, finally, David has a vision to build a home for the Lord, to build a physical, permanent structure for God. That's the temple. But remember, then what happens?
God says, "No, David, you're not going to be the one who builds me a physical home, the temple of the Lord or the house of the Lord," as we read about it in the scriptures. "That will be for your son." And Solomon builds a temple for Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and in God's physical presence. Do you remember, if you've been going through the series with us, God's physical presence comes down and indwells itself into the temple, into the Holy of Holies. Just as it happened in the Tabernacle and Exodus 40, you almost see an exact repeat in the temple in First Kings chapter eight. And the exact same word, shakan, to dwell, is found in both of those verses. You can see the linkage that's there as God's presence is coming down and indwelling the temple. But this is what's interesting, about 400 years goes by that God's presence is with Israel and the Jewish people.
Israel's sin was so much that God couldn't even stand to be in Israel's midst or Judas' midst anymore, so God, in Ezekiel chapters 8 through 11 says, "I can't take this anymore. I'm getting out. I'm leaving the temple." God was going to judge Judah for its sins. He had already judged Israel, and now he's going to judge Judah for their sins. And so before the Babylonians come in to destroy the temple, what happens? Well, God leaves. His physical presence leaves. And Ezekiel chapter 8 through 11 gives us the actual picture of the layout of how God is going to leave, how he's going to move out of the temple. He leaves the Holy of Holies, goes through the courtyard, goes to the eastern gate of the temple, goes down the Kidron Valley, up the Mount of Olives, the mountain to the east, which is seen in Ezekiel chapter 11, the very end, and then God leaves. He disappears. His presence leaves his people. And it could be years or so, but the temple is eventually destroyed by the Babylonians.
But the point is God's presence isn't there. It's just a building at that point. So the Jewish people, 70 years later, get the go-ahead to rebuild the second temple. And they're actually really sad as they're rebuilding the temple on top of Mount Moriah, because now this temple is insignificant, the second temple. And on top of that, God's glory never returns. But God's glory does end up returning. Go to John chapter one, verse 14. And it says that the word became flesh and dwelt among us. The same word for the dwelling of God's presence in the Tabernacle, that God's presence dwelling in the temple is now seen dwelling in the person and work of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus is the walking manifestation of who God is to his people. It's an amazing thing. And sadly, the Jewish people missed it.
But what you see is you can see how Jesus wants to relive or walk that same path that the glory left from Mount Moriah up to the Mount of Olives. You see Jesus sitting on a donkey. Do you remember this in Matthew chapter 21? And he comes down the valley from the Mount of Olives on a donkey and he enters into the Kidron Valley. And he goes up into Jerusalem following that same tension. But remember, most of the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, rejects Jesus. And so in rejecting Jesus, just as the Judites rejected God in the past, what does Jesus do? Well, of course he dies on the cross for our sins. He resurrects three days later. And where does he meet his disciples before he ascends to sit at the right hand of the Father? Well, he's standing on top of, Acts chapter one, he's standing on top of the Mount of Olives again.
And where does he go? He ascends into Heaven. There's this prophetic tension that we see going back and forth as God's glory is going in between Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives, and the Mount of Olives and Mount Moriah. And look, here's this amazing thing that I want you to see, is that as the disciples in Acts chapter one are staring up, and they're looking up into the sky and they're just gazing, the actual word says there in Acts chapter one, verse 11, two men that are clothed in robes come and say, "Why are you gazing into Heaven? The same way Jesus went into heaven is the same way that he's returning." And they're saying that there's two parts of the story here. Well, number one, in the same way Jesus ascended, he's going to descend. He's going to return. Jesus is coming back.
And the other part of the story is this, he's going to come back to this exact same location. Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus who was taken up from you into Heaven will come in the same way as you saw him go into Heaven. The two angels were saying to the disciples, again, in the same way Jesus ascended, he's returning and he's going to come right back here to the Mount of Olives. Even the prophet Zachariah in the Old Testament prophesied about this, that the Messiah's feet would touch down on the Mount of Olives. Zachariah 14:4 says this, "On that day, his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley."
Okay. So the glory of God, the thing about this, returns to the Mount of Olives, he walks down the Mount of Olives, through the Kidron Valley into the temple. And what's Jesus going to do when he returns? He's going to make himself known as the King of Israel, God's representative on earth, ushering in a millennial kingdom. That's right, the thousand year reign of Jesus the Messiah. But here's the amazing thing, is that the story doesn't end there. We're seeing this prophetic tension that's going back and forth between these two mountains, with the Kidron Valley right in the middle. But the story doesn't end there, because remember that word shakan, God's presence dwelling with his creation. Well, in Revelation chapter 21 at the end of the Bible, there is the image of the new heavens, and the new earth and a new Jerusalem coming down from out of Heaven. Revelation chapter 21, verses one through three, and the Apostle John writes this.
"Then I saw a new heavens and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." Folks, the biblical story, think about this for a minute, the biblical story doesn't have us going up to live with God forever with him going up to Heaven. Yes, when you die you go to Heaven if you've believed and placed your trust in the Lord, Jesus. But really, the idea of what the scriptures are trying to teach us is that God wants to bring everything back down to earth. Yes, you go with him, but that's temporary. God is striving to bring his presence back down. Did you hear that in Revelation chapter 21, verses one through three, this is such an important concept to understand that when Jesus was talking about eternal life, he wasn't referencing just going up to heaven.
He was thinking about men and women who trusted in him, putting their faith in him, experiencing a resurrected life on earth and God's presence dwelling in their midst. Friends, the natural place for us to start in this series would have been the Tabernacle. But if you remember, we actually, in the very first episode, we started at the Garden of Eden. And when we talked about the garden, I mentioned that the garden is the place where God dwelled with his creation without anything standing between him, and Adam and Eve. There was no sin. There was no shame. There was no guilt. It was amazing. That was a great picture of what Heaven's going to be like. Well, the Kidron Saga is that tension of God mending the broken relationship created by sin, a broken relationship that resulted in mourning, and suffering, death and pain.
But in the future, when God returns to dwell, Revelation chapter 21, verses one through four shows us that God is going to bring his physical presence to Earth as he dwells in the new Jerusalem. Did you see what the new Jerusalem is doing? It's not disappearing and flying off into space. No, the new Jerusalem is coming down. Just think about that for a minute. After everything that we've been studying through this series, let's go back for just a minute to the Tabernacle. God's presence came down. Think about it for a moment in the temple. Remember, I talked about the fact that the temple was built and God's physical presence, his glory came down. Think about Jesus himself, the physical manifestation of God on Earth, walking around in the person and work of Jesus Christ. What happened? Well, God came down. Emmanuel, God with us.
In the New Jerusalem, God's new city is coming down. It's this place where God meets his creation. It's a place where Heaven meets Earth. Now listen, before we continue, we're talking about this city of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem has really been the center of the world's attention throughout history. Dr. Randall Price digs into scripture to explain how major Bible prophecies will converge and culminate in this very city Jerusalem in the end times. His book is called Jerusalem in Prophecy. You need to get your hands on this. Find out what will happen, who will be involved and how God will fulfill prophecy in Jerusalem through this comprehensive study, Jerusalem in Prophecy. Steve, how can our listeners purchase their copy of Jerusalem in Prophecy?
Steve Conover: Yeah. Chris, to order or to learn more, you can visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. Or you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940. Someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's (888) 343-6940. To order in Canada, call (888) 664-2584. Again, that's (888) 664-2584 in Canada.
Chris Katulka: We are wrapping up this Kidron Saga Series. And before we continue, I want to invite you actually to join us on one of our FOI up to Jerusalem trips to Israel. If you're hearing me right now, it's just hard to convey the tension that exists between these two mountains by radio or by podcast. But when you're standing there on top of the Mount of Olives, it just all makes sense. When you're standing with me at the top of the Mountain of Olives, and we're looking out over the Kidron Valley together, and we're looking out over the City of Jerusalem, it all makes sense. But I digress. Here's what I am trying to say. Come to Israel with us, with the Friends of Israel. You can just go to foi.org and find out when we're going to be going next. And you're going to really see the prophetic tension take place right in front of you.
I want to end our time together looking at Revelation chapter 21, verses one through four. Listen to what this amazing section says here in Revelation 21. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people. And God himself will be as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, where the former things have passed away."
Listen, when God dwells in our midst, there's a few things that happen. Number one, the former things pass away. The crying, the morning, the pain and death are all consumed in his presence when he dwells in our midst. Those former things are transformed with an abundance of joy, and peace and tranquility that can only be found in Christ Jesus. When God dwells in our midst, that prophetic event that we have all been looking forward to, that we're walking by faith, where we will no longer walk by faith, we will walk by sight. We will see God. We will see Christ. Faith is the ability to trust in something you can't see. Faith is the assurance and conviction of things that we hope for that we cannot see empirically. Well, what happens when those things that we hope for become a reality? Then your faith becomes sight. And that's exactly what happens the day God returns to Earth to dwell with his creation. Our faith becomes sight.
And finally, when God dwells in our midst, we'll experience him in his fullness. And I'm reminded of what the Apostle Paul says in First Corinthians 13, verse 12. "For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face-to-face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." When Christ returns, listen, when Christ returns, when God establishes himself here and he dwells, we will no longer experience him through reflection. Instead, we will revel in the fullness of seeing him face-to-face. To see God face-to-face will enrapture, it will enlighten, it will engage worshipers in a way that is undefinable in human terms. And I love what Paul says, "We will know fully as we have been fully known."
And here's the last thing that I want to leave you with as we end this Kidron Saga. In our first program, we talked about the Garden of Eden, and at the center of it was the Tree of Life. And after Adam and Eve sin, they were cut off from the garden and they were prevented from returning. In Revelation chapter 22, the last chapter of the Bible, at the center of the new Jerusalem is the Tree of Life. It's amazing to think that throughout the course of human history, God has been working to repair, restore and resurrect what sin has ruined. The tension between those two mountains is only temporary. We're waiting now. And while we wait, I think there's no better way to end this series than to say, Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: A few weeks ago, I was desiring to visit the religious school near my home to witness about the Lord. It is impossible to get in there, almost as impossible as getting over the iron curtain. But nothing can stop the will of God. Here in Israel, the Lord states the schools must be watched each day by at least one parent of one of the students in that school. Recently, one of my coworkers told me, "Tomorrow, I must watch in the school. I want you to take my place. It is a very religious school near you. I've already spoken with the teacher about you taking my place. They will do everything within their power to bring you back to our father's traditions." When I arrived at the school the next morning, the director had asked me, "Have you passed a psychiatric test?"
I was very surprised and responded, "Why?" He replied, "Because a normal man would not believe in a man and make him a God." I told him, "You are the director of this school, but you need a special psychiatrist." "How can you say that," he demanded, "I am the director here, but who are you?" "I am proud of who I am and my Savior. And I am happy in Him," I replied. "How did you come to have this happiness?" "Through his spirit," I answered. "And this I received when I read the Bible and Jesus came into my heart." "Let us speak earnestly with each other," he said, "tell me something about yourself." I began, "You see, I was in the Warsaw ghetto." As soon as he heard that, he said, "You have come at just the right time. God must've sent you to us today. Today, we are discussing the Holocaust and you can give us a good picture of what happened there."
And so, even though I never dreamed it was possible, I found myself in a classroom of this very religious school. They attentively listened as I talked about the Holocaust. But soon came the time when I had to say the truth about how the Lord preserved me from all of these dangers. After this came many questions. The teachers asked how I could accept Jesus when Gentiles were responsible for the Holocaust? "You are right," I told them, "but they were not true Christians. If they had been true Christians, not one hair from a Jewish head would have fallen. I believe in the living God." "Then how can you believe in Jesus, whom you say died?" I explained, "He's not dead. He lives. The prophets wrote that he would die and resurrect. You can read about the resurrection in Psalm 22." The director then asked, "Why do you speak from our Bible and not from the Gentile Bible?" I told him, "Our only book is the Holy Bible, the Old and New Testaments."
I gave my testimony and witness to the class and teachers for about an hour. And then for another hour or more, they asked many questions, which I was pleased to answer. This was, for me, a very happy day. It was like an impossible dream, like going behind an iron curtain to proclaim the truth about the living, loving, soon returning Savior. His word is alive and powerful, even in a religious Jewish school in Israel.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us today and for the six part series on the Kidron Saga. Chris, next week, where are we headed?
Chris Katulka: Yeah. We have our FOI, our Friends of Israel In Action episode, which I love. We're actually going to be talking to Juan Carlos Espinoza, One of our medical doctors on our team down in Buenos Aires, who's ministering to the Jewish people of Buenos Aires, what they call the Little Jerusalem down in Argentina. It's going to be a fantastic episode.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. I'm Steve Conover, Executive Producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. And one last quick reminder before we go, visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Jerusalem in Prophecy
Apples of Gold: He is Not Dead; He Lives!
Zvi prayed and asked God to open the doors for him to somehow allow him to be a part of a religious Jewish school. One day his neighbor asked him to take his place in guarding the school, something the students’ parents took turns doing throughout the school year. Zvi was excited to see how God answered his prayers. Not only did God allow him to enter the school; He sent Zvi at just the right time to do more than just stand watch! Listen to what happened as he spoke to the director.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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