OLD JERUSALEM was at the heart of Israel for over 3,000 years, even before King David made it the capital of his kingdom in 1004 BC. “Jerusalem” is first mentioned in Joshua 10:1. After Moses had died, God had Joshua conquer the Promised Land defeating five kings as God had commanded.
“40So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded.” (Josh. 10:40).
No other city has played such a prominent role in the history, culture, and religion of a people, as had Jerusalem for the Jews. OLD JERUSALEM was the city of God’s chosen people. It had been ruled by the Romans and was located in the province of Judea in the land of Roman Palestine (not the same Palestine of today) at the time of Christ and of its final destruction by Christ in the Jewish-Roman war ending in AD 70.
Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king. He ministered to the Old Covenant Jews during His first coming earthly ministry in AD 26-30. In the first century, OLD JERUSALEM was the city in which Christ was crucified in AD 30. It had become a wicked city and was nicknamed “BABYLON” by the apostles and disciples (1 Pet. 5:13).
The apostles were Jewish and they began to spread the gospel of the New Covenant Kingdom in Jerusalem in AD 26. Jesus was angry with the unbelieving Jews and the city of OLD JERUSALEM. Christ condemned OLD JERUSALEM and the scribes and Pharisees who were wicked inwardly, while trying to pretend to be righteous outwardly.
“23WOE TO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24BLIND GUIDES, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25WOE TO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26BLIND PHARISEE, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27WOE TO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful OUTWARDLY, but INSIDE are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28Even so you also OUTWARDLY APPEAR RIGHTEOUS to men, but INSIDE YOU ARE FULL OF HYPOCRISY AND LAWLESSNESS.” (Matt 23:23-27).
Christ condemned OLD JERUSALEM and the unbelieving Jewish leaders. He sent to them prophets, wise men, and scribes; but they killed some of them. They even crucified the Son of God, the Messiah. He found them unwilling to believe in Him as the promised Messiah. Christ said that it was upon OLD JERUSALEM that all of the blood of those righteous prophets that He sent to them would fall (Matt. 23:35). All of His judgments against OLD JERUSALEM would come upon THAT GENERATION of Jews to whom He was speaking in the first century AD.
“36Assuredly, I say to you, all these things WILL COME UPON THIS GENERATION. 37”O JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING! 38See! Your house is left to you DESOLATE.” (Matt. 23:36-38).
The city of OLD JERUSALEM, part of the “old earth” made up of the non-believing Jews, was destroyed in the wrath of God in that generation during the Jewish-Roman war in AD 66-70. As Christ had promised them, there was not one stone left upon another in the temple, in which they had committed abominations (Matt. 24:2).
Christ then turned to His NEW JERUSALEM which is a heavenly city under His New Covenant. It is a city in which only born-again, true Jews, called Christians (believing Jews and believing Gentiles), are located forever. All are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thus only righteousness dwells therein (2 Pet. 3:13).
God will never again favor the OLD JERUSALEM city or the nation of Israel as His chosen people. They have become a rabbinical Jewish religion and are treated by God the same as all of the other unbelieving nations on earth. His Kingdom is now made up of His individual born-again people from all nations going forward in human history; not separate nations or groups of people.