Psalm 122:6: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee.”
Since the literal, natural city of earthly Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, the question arises: What is the “Jerusalem” that we are now to pray for?
Revelation 3:12 answers this question. It is the New Jerusalem we should pray for: “The city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God…” “New Jerusalem” is the Church, the blood-bought saints in Christ Jesus.
To distinguish between the old Jerusalem and the New, Paul uses the analogy of Hagar, (Agar), the bondwoman and Sara, the free woman, wives of Abraham:
“For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all, (Galatians 4:25-26). When Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians the old Jerusalem, “which now is,” was still standing at that time, but was destroyed in 70 AD.
Paul continues the analogy by saying: “… Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” Clearly, the old literal, physical city was not the City of God, but rather the symbol of bondage at that time. The New Jerusalem, (“which is above”), consisted of those who had been made free in Christ.
In Revelation 11:8 John calls the old literal, physical city “Sodom and Egypt”:
“And the dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Jesus was crucified in the old Jerusalem, so it lost its identity as “Jerusalem” and became known as “Sodom and Egypt.”
Then in chapter 21:2 John sees: “… the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The angel then carries John away in the spirit to show him “The Bride, the Lamb’s wife,” (v. 9). What he shows him is the Holy City of New Jerusalem, the Church, “The Lamb’s wife.”
Our prayers cannot be for a wicked and unrighteous city, for Isaiah 48:22 and 57:21 tells us: “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” The geographic location of the earthly old Jerusalem does not make her righteous; only the cleansing blood of Christ can make us righteous. 1 Corinthians 1:30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Israel of the flesh could not attain righteousness. See also Romans 9:30-33; 10:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Philippians 3:9: “That I may be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
All those who refused to believe in Christ were “cut off,” John 15:6.
They became dead branches and were cast into the fires and burned unless they were grafted back into Christ, the only living Branch.
In the Old Testament times, the prophet Jeremiah was warned of God not to pray for, nor intercede for the backslidden, wicked “Israel”: Jeremiah 7:16: “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.” The nation, at that time, had crossed the line of God’s grace and were going into Babylonian captivity.
Again in Jeremiah 14:11-12: “Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.” The time of God’s judgment had come.
Even the prayers of the most anointed of saints could not change God’s purpose: “Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth,” Jeremiah 15:1.
God will not compromise His own holiness in order to save anyone from the consequences of their continual backsliding and failure to repent.
To call a sinful and unrepentant nation “Israel” and to ascribe to their city the title “Jerusalem” will bring the decreed results: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20. Sin is a reproach to any people, no matter what they may call themselves, whether “Jewish” or “Christian”.
Pray for the peace of the true Jerusalem, the Holy City, the Bride of Christ, His Body, the Church of the Living God.