Nehemiah 11:1-2 (NIV) 1 Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. 2 The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.
On verses 1-36: Jerusalem was underpopulated and underdeveloped, with most Jews preferring to live in the neighbouring towns. Through a system of casting lots, 1 out of every 10 were to live in Jerusalem, while the other 9 could stay in their own towns. Anyone who volunteered to live in Jerusalem was commended. This final chapter of Nehemiah lists various Israelites who moved to Jerusalem.
What can we learn from this? When I think about the old city of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time, I can’t help but compare it to the “new Jerusalem”, the heavenly city that Christians get to live in for eternity. This new Jerusalem is described in Scriptures such as Revelation 21 and Hebrews 12:22. It is so different from the Jerusalem described in Nehemiah 10. For example:
Old Jerusalem is a city on earth. New Jerusalem is a city in heaven (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2, 10).
In old Jerusalem, residents were constantly afraid of being attacked. In the new Jerusalem, there is safety and security for everyone who lives there. New Jerusalem is a place where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). For God Himself lives with them there and “He will wipe every tear from their eyes”.
In old Jerusalem, prosperity was a thing of the past and poverty was rampant. In the new Jerusalem, the city is pure gold and even the city walls are made of precious stones (Revelation 21:18-21).
In old Jerusalem, people worshiped the Lord at a man-made temple that would eventually be destroyed. In the new Jerusalem, there is no man-made temple, for “the Lord Almighty and the Lamb [Jesus] are its temple” (Revelation 4:22).
In old Jerusalem, there was only natural light for half the day. In the new Jerusalem, there is no BC Hydro, Fortis or utility bills to pay. For “the city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 4:23).
No one wanted to live in old Jerusalem, whereas in the new Jerusalem, kings will bring their splendour there (Revelation 4:24) and “the glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it” (Revelation 4:26).
In old Jerusalem, sin continues. But in the new Jerusalem, sin is no longer an issue. As Revelation 21:27 says, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27) The new Jerusalem is not tainted by sin and brokenness.
Praise God that through Jesus Christ we have citizenship in, and a ticket to, the greatest city of all, located in heaven itself. Thank You, Lord, that when our lives on earth are through, we get to live in the greatest city of all with You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!