Oh Holy City, Built for Purpose

At noon, darkness came over the land until three in the afternoon. – Slide 8
Image of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, from Free Bible Images.

38-Behold, the days come, saith the Lord , that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. 39-And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. 40-And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord ; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever. Jeremiah 31:38‭-‬40 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jer.31.38-40.KJV

I’ve was prompted by God to write this piece. Please bare with me, for my initial thoughts of what was written, turned out to be wrong. What caught my special attention was the phrase “the city shall be built to the Lord.” In fact, the whole chapter of Jeremiah 31 (KJV) felt different from the preceding and the subsequent chapters. Jeremiah starts out by telling the reader the extent of God’s love for Israel. How everything will be restored as it should be in the promised land. We read in Luke 18:31 (NIV) that Jesus told his disciples, “…Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.”

A wide view of Jerusalem from the south with the Hinnom valley in foreground and Kidron valley to the right. The temple is to the right and the upper city where the rich lived is to the left. The towers of the fortress of Antonia are shown at the north-west corner of the temple. – Slide 3
“Computer generated image of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus.” Image from Free bible images
Nehemiah’s Wall according to Temple Mount location

Firstly, Jeremiah referred to the ” Valley of the Dead Bodies,” “the fields unto the brook of Kidron,” and “unto the corner of the horse gate” (31 verse 40). So we learn that Jesus first came from Bethany, but then waited at the Mount of Olives for his disciples, who went into the city to get Him a mount to ride on (Luke 19:29, NIV). Therefore, Jesus would be entering the City [Jerusalem] from the Eastern side. Looking at the old map of Jerusalem the Horses Gate faced the east side of Jerusalem, therefore, it is only fair to assume that was the gate Jesus would ride into Jerusalem, passing through the Kidron Valley. According to The Bible Journey, Kidron Valley is a giant graveyard and that Jews wish to be buried there, for “they believe they will be the first to rise from the dead when the Messiah defeats his enemies on the Mount of Olives.” East is also significant for we read in Revelations 7:2 (NIV) that an angel will be coming from the east with the seal of God.

Next we will look at Jeremiah’s references to “measuring line,” “upon the hill Gareb,” and “compass about to Goath” (31 verse 39, KJV). Goath means “His touching and the roaring” and Gareb is “a hill near Jerusalem…, probably the hill of lepers, and consequently a place outside the boundary of the city” (Biblestudytools) . Before going into Jerusalem, Jesus stayed in Bethany, which is situated on the Eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. He stayed over in the house of a leper, called Simon. There a woman anointed Jesus with precious ointment to prepare Jesus for his burial (see Matthew 26:7-13). Imagine, too, the roaring and touching of Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem. It was so loud that the Pharisees rebuked Jesus about their rowdiness. Jesus answered, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” ( Luke 19:40, KJV). Zechariah prophesied (approximately) in the year 520 BC : 1-“I [Zechariah] lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man [Jesus] with a measuring line in his hand. 2-Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, to measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof” (Zechariah 2:1-2, KJV).To measure something is a tiresome and slow process, making sure that everything fits in well and truly. The same can be said of the events preceding the crucifixion of Jesus. God, the creator of all, are very meticulous in His planning of something so big, as the start of a New Covenant with us all. No wall can compass such a covenant. All are invited, Jews and Gentiles.

Jeremiah 31:22- “…for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man.” The new thing was the New Covenant that was made. But we see the word “compass”is repeated in verse 39, and is also used by Jesus, who prophesied on His way into Jerusalem saying, “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side” (Luke 19:43, KJV). Jerusalem we all know was destroyed in the first century after Christ. But today we find that, Israel is surrounded by countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) that feels animosity towards them. Isaiah also foretold about a multitude of nations that would come against Zion (28:8).

“The tower of Hananeel,” (verse 38) means “God is Gracious”, and is ‘a tower in the walls of Jerusalem, adjoining the Tower of Meah (or Hammeah: “the Tower of the Hundred”) to the east connecting to the “sheep gate”‘(Wikipedia, see notes). Hananeel is also mentioned in Zechariah 14, in which Zechariah prophesied of the return of the Lord and defeating the enemies who came against Jerusalem in battle. This was repeating his earlier words, as Zechariah said, 1-“The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord ,which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. 2- Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:1-2, KJV). Jeremiah 31 verse 38,seems to refer to events that still need to come to pass.

With the death of Jesus, a new covenant was forged with man, for God is certainly Gracious. A new covenant promised by God in Jeremiah 31:31 (KJV)- “…I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” This covenant was needed because God’s own people broke the covenant with Him. Now God promised that, in verse 32- “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” We need to rejoice for, (verse 29, KJV)- “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. ” There are No more familial curses, that is often used in churches for unanswered prayers. God through His covenant has created a new relationship with the people who believe in Him. God has already gathered His nation Israel back and we see prophesies coming to life, such as, (Jeremiah 31:5, KJV)- “Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria…” Please see the following blog about these vineyard, that seems to be flourishing:

https://firm.org.il/learn/vineyards-in-samaria/

But are you ready for Jeremiah 31:6 (KJV)- “For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God”?

Notes:

For more information on Hananeel, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hananeel_(tower).

Map retrieved from: templemountlocation.com › nehemiahWall

Thank you http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-dies/ for the image of the crucifixion on Jesus Christ.

The meaning of the word Goath:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/goath/

Vineyards in Samaria: https://firm.org.il/learn/vineyards-in-samaria/

Published by juanitasamuels

I've recently graduated from Massey University with a BA in Creative Writing. I am a follower of Christ and wish to spread some hope in this world of ours. I live with my husband and two boys in Auckland, New Zealand.

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