In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloudy by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.Isaiah 4:2-6
In that day, Isaiah says, the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious. Again, we’re back to this coming day when Jerusalem shall be made new. The branch of the Lord is a reference to the Messiah — so now we see the picture even more clearly. The Messiah is the one who will bring this New Jerusalem. And Isaiah says that the Lord will create over Mount Zion and her assemblies a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. God will be with His people in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night.
This is Exodus language, the same kind of image that led God’s people out of Egyptian bondage. And this gives us even greater clarity. The New Jerusalem will be a New Mount Sinai for those who have been set free from their sin in the New Exodus. The Messiah is the One who makes her citizens holy by freeing them from the bondage of sin. Through His blood our filth is washed away and the point is made clear yet again: even human sinfulness cannot thwart the eternal plan of God.
I think God intends for this image of New Jerusalem to give us hope. We can easily be disillusioned, especially in trying times such as these. But this vision restores our hope. It reminds us that God has an eternal plan He’s working toward. As we’ve said for weeks now, the Lord has a day — a new day that is coming soon. For those who put their trust in Him, it will be the beginning of a glorious eternity with Him.
For those of us who have put our trust in Him, this is a reminder that until that day comes, we should live as citizens of New Jerusalem in the here and now. One way we do this is to remember that the word of the Lord goes forth from Jerusalem. Citizens of the New Jerusalem proclaim the word of God. In a later vision of New Jerusalem, Isaiah says:
On your walls, Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night, they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.Isaiah 62:6-7
The nations continue to stream to the New Mount Sinai because the citizens of New Jerusalem are never silent. They are always proclaiming the glorious Good News of God’s promises and they are always praying for God to establish His New Jerusalem. God calls us to be His watchmen. We should always be seeking to share the Word of God with others and we should be ceaseless in our prayers.
One way we can do this is by committing to a common time of prayer. I’ve challenged our church family to a daily time of common prayer. Our local area code is 256 here in north Alabama. As a church family, we’ve committed to a quick minute of prayer every afternoon at 2:56pm — praying for those in our area who don’t yet know Christ. We’re praying that these individuals would come to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, the one who takes away our sin and promises eternal life. And we’re praying that God would open our eyes to the opportunities He puts in front of us everyday to proclaim the glory of His Word to those around us. I think that’s what it means to be a watchman of the New Jerusalem. And I would invite you to join me in this prayer. I can’t wait to meet the people who will come to know Christ because of the boldness of your prayers.
If you’re reading this and you’ve not yet put your trust in Jesus, I hope this vision of New Jerusalem will stir something in your soul. God wants to create a new “you.” Jesus, the Messiah, promises to free you from your sin and grants you citizenship in the New Jerusalem of God. I hope you will receive this promise in baptism and place your trust in Him. If you’d like to talk with someone about that, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a time to talk.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Sovereign Lord who makes all things new, he who has ears, let him hear.