The beautiful thing in being an online Biblical Hebrew teacher is the opportunity to meet from the comfort of your house, different people from all around the world and share with them your thoughts about the Hebrew Bible. In the last European Webinar that took place on Thursday, 6/7/12 I was for some moments the student and not just the instructor.
The issue on the table was the changes in Jerusalem in Isaiah 62 and we read, as we always do, the verses of this chapter, and the discussion about their meanings in Hebrew and in English. Two important verses are 4 and 5 as written:
"לֹא-יֵאָמֵר לָךְ עוֹד עֲזוּבָה, וּלְאַרְצֵךְ לֹא-יֵאָמֵר עוֹד שְׁמָמָה--כִּי לָךְ יִקָּרֵא חֶפְצִי-בָהּ, וּלְאַרְצֵךְ בְּעוּלָה: כִּי-חָפֵץ יְהוָה בָּךְ, וְאַרְצֵךְ תִּבָּעֵל. כִּי-יִבְעַל בָּחוּר בְּתוּלָה, יִבְעָלוּךְ בָּנָיִךְ; וּמְשׂוֹשׂ חָתָן עַל-כַּלָּה, יָשִׂישׂ עָלַיִךְ אֱלֹהָיִךְ."
"It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken," Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate"; But you will be called, “My delight is in her," And your land, “Married"; for the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you."(Isaiah 62:4-5)
The name of Jerusalem and the name of the Promised Land will change from a negative meaning to a positive one. If the city and the land after the destruction of the First Temple-as the desert or the wilderness, now in the days before building the Second Temple they will be as a new wife for The Lord, a new bride for the groom or a wife that decided to e change after the first marriage being a disaster.
What I have learned in the Webinar in those moments on Thursday is that the metaphor of bride and groom that we have learned about in the last two webinars in Hosea 2 and Isaiah 62 appears also in the New Testament in the book of Revelation as we all can see in this passage:
" וָאֵרֶא שָׁמַיִם חֲדָשִׁים וְאֶרֶץ חֲדָשָׁה כִּי הַשָּׁמַיִם הָרִאשֹׁנִים וְהָאָרֶץ הָרִאשׁוֹנָה עָבְרוּ וְהַיָּם אֵינֶנּוּ עוֹד׃ וָאֵרֶא וְהִנֵּה הָעִיר הַקְּדוֹשָׁה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הַחֲדָשָׁה יֹרֶדֶת מֵאֵת הָאֱלֹהִים מִן־הַשָּׁמָיִם וְהִיא מְתֻקֶּנֶת כַּכַּלָּה הַמְקֻשֶּׁטֶת לְבַעְלָהּ׃ וָאֶשְׁמַע קוֹל גָּדוֹל מִן־הַכִּסֵּא לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה מִשְׁכַּן אֱלֹהִים עִם־בְּנֵי הָאָדָם וְשָׁכַן בְּתוֹכָם וְהֵמָּה יִהְיוּ־לוֹ לְעָם וְהוּא הָאֱלֹהִים יִהְיֶה אִתָּם"
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them" (Revelation 21:1-3)
The new heaven in the New Testament speaks about s spiritual change in the land of Israel and of Jerusalem. The idea is that the Old city of Jerusalem wasn't good enough in the eyes of The Lord. This city as it was called by the words of Ezekiel 22 the city of blood, needed a change as mentioned in the passage above from Isaiah 62. The change in Revelation 21 is more dramatic due to the creation of a new city and a new land of Israel from the heaven to the earth. Also here the bride is the same and the groom is the same as it is in Isaiah 62. The city has no new name as it is in Isaiah 62, but has a new Temple, a spiritual one, and not Physical as it was in Isaiah 62, as written:
" עַל-חוֹמֹתַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם הִפְקַדְתִּי שֹׁמְרִים--כָּל-הַיּוֹם וְכָל-הַלַּיְלָה תָּמִיד, לֹא יֶחֱשׁוּ; הַמַּזְכִּרִים, אֶת-יְהוָה--אַל-דֳּמִי לָכֶם. וְאַל-תִּתְּנוּ דֳמִי לוֹ: עַד-יְכוֹנֵן וְעַד-יָשִׂים אֶת-יְרוּשָׁלִַם, תְּהִלָּה--בָּאָרֶץ. נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה בִּימִינוֹ וּבִזְרוֹעַ עֻזּוֹ: אִם-אֶתֵּן אֶת-דְּגָנֵךְ עוֹד מַאֲכָל, לְאֹיְבַיִךְ, וְאִם-יִשְׁתּוּ בְנֵי-נֵכָר תִּירוֹשֵׁךְ, אֲשֶׁר יָגַעַתְּ בּוֹ"
"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You, who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem praise in the earth. The LORD has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm," I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.”(Isaiah 62:6-8)
The establishment of a new place in Jerusalem as the Second Temple with economic change and also new security to the city were the steps that helped the people, who just came back from Babylon, to make the change complete. Sometimes in order to make the change in your life it's not enough to change your name and that's it. You must make changes that will open the door in a way that will create a new reality whether it's a new covenant or a New Testament in your life.
According to the end of Revelation 21 the people that will enter in the gates of Jerusalem will be these as written:
" וְהָעִיר אֵינֶנָּה צְרִיכָה לְאוֹר הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּלְנֹגַהּ הַיָּרֵחַ כִּי־כְבוֹד אֱלֹהִים הֵאִיר לָהּ וְנֵרָהּ הוּא הַשֶׂה׃ וְהַגּוֹיִם יֵלְכוּ לְאוֹרָהּ וּמַלְכֵי־אֶרֶץ מְבִיאִים כְּבוֹדָם וְתִפְאַרְתָּם אֵלֶיהָ׃ וּשְׁעָרֶיהָ יוֹמָם לֹא־יִסָּגֵרוּ כִּי לַיְלָה לֹא־יִהְיֶה שָּׁם׃ וְהֵבִיאוּ בָהּ כְּבוֹד הַגּוֹיִם וְתִפְאַרְתָּם׃ וְלֹא־יָבוֹא בָהּ כָּל־טָמֵא וְעֹשֵׂה תוֹעֵבָה וָשָׁקֶר כִּי אִם־הַכְּתוּבִים בְּסֵפֶר הַחַיִּים שֶׁל־הַשֶׂה׃"
"And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."(Revelation 21:23-27)
I wish for all of you to visit Jerusalem one day or in the Promised Land. This is one of the places that a change that happens here can have an influence in this entire world.
Have a blessed week, Eli