Why Does God Refer to Jerusalem as His Daughter?

Why does God refer to Jerusalem as his daughter?

The first reference to Jerusalem as a daughter occurs in the Psalms. Psalm 9:13, 14 says, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.” The phrase, “daughter of Zion” is a poetic phrase used to symbolize the relationship between God and his people. The phrase is used at least fifty times in the Old Testament to refer to God’s people. However, the word “daughter” is sometimes used to describe other nations as well as in “daughter of Egypt” or “daughter of Babylon.” Usually in these cases it is simply referring to the nation itself. Sometimes the context in which the phrase is used refers to God’s people in a favorable way and sometimes in an unfavorable way. The emphasis, however, is not upon the people themselves, but the relationship that they have with God–one of a Father and daughter. The phrase is mostly found in the prophets. Out of all of the prophets, Jeremiah uses it the most. The poetical context of the book of Lamentations is replete with the phrase.

We get more information about this metaphorical relationship between God and his people in Ezekiel 16. Here, God describes his people as a female child that had been tossed out in an effort of abortion. Abandoned, rejected, naked, cold, and still bloody, God rescued this child from a likely death. Ezekiel then describes God as raising the child, clothing the child, and even providing a permanent household for the child. On top of this, God gave this child clothing and raiment and jewelry and held nothing back for her profit. The result was that this young child grew into a beautiful woman. However, the response of the woman once she was grown was to trust in her own beauty and play the harlot, rejecting the one who had rescued her and blessed her with so many great and wonderful things.

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the people of Jerusalem as God’s daughter in Matthew 21:5. This is from a prophecy in Zecheriah 9:9. The prophecy is related to the triumphal entry of the Messiah into the city of Jerusalem and in this context the phrase refers to the people of Jerusalem. Today, the daughter of God is the church. She is the bride of Christ (Eph.5:21ff). She will be presented to Jesus in heaven without spot and blameless (Revelation 21:2, 9).

There is another point that I would like to make in regard to this particular metaphor. God speaks to us in terms that we can understand. We can understand the metaphor of the relationship between a father and daughter and so we learn a little more about God and who He is by understanding that relationship. The Bible uses this type of language frequently. We refer to it as accommodative language–language that uses terms and illustrations that we can understand so that God can teach us lessons. This is one of the reasons why Jesus spoke in parables. He used terms that we can understand. God makes every effort on his part to try to communicate with us in ways that we can understand.

There are some today who say you can’t understand the Bible. That it is too difficult and too hard. These metaphors and illustrations stand as a testimony against those who say such. God wants us to understand His word and speaks to us in ways that we CAN understand His word. The problem is usually on our part–that we simply do not want to hear. In a beautiful illustration of this very point, Moses says to the children of Israel, “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deut.30:11-14). What will your response be to God’s word today?

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Is the Church of Christ the only ones going to Heaven?

I have a very tough question. I have been a member of the Lord’s Church for a few years, and once people find out, the first question they ask is “Why does the church of Christ think they are the only ones going to heaven and not the denominational churches?” I think they ask this because they do not understand the Bible. Could you help me with this because a lot of my friends ask me this. I need some scriptural versus on this matter.

You are correct that it is a misunderstanding of the scriptures. It is also a misunderstanding of what the name “church of Christ” means. To a denominational person, the name “church of Christ” is no different than “Baptist,” “Methodist,” or “Presbyterian.” You may have heard people say, “I am church of Christ” as opposed to saying, “I am a Christian.” Such speech simply perpetuates the misunderstanding. The name “church of Christ” is not a denomination, it is an effort on the part of Christians to honor and glorify the Savior. The early churches were mostly referred to as the church of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 3:5). This was not a “name,” but a description to whom they belonged. The early churches were also called churches of Christ (Romans 16:16 KJV). Jesus said that the church belonged to Him (Matthew 16:18) so it is the church that belongs to Christ–the church that is Christ’s–the church of Christ. The name is not a label to be stuck on the outside of a product. Rather, it is descriptive of the group of people who meet to worship at that particular location. This is a difficult concept to get denominational people to understand because they are so stuck on labels. In fact, this is exactly what Paul rebuked the Corinthians for doing in 1 Corinthians 1:10–labeling themselves and using the label as a reason for division. Even those who labeled themselves “Christ” were wrong because they were using the name “Christ” as a label and not as a description of who they were. The only name that we as individuals should be worried about carrying is the name “Christian.” A person cannot be a true Christian and be a “Baptist-Christian” or a “Methodist-Christian” or a “Presbyterian-Christian.” Either one is a Christian or one is not. The concept of a “flavored” Christian is not found in the Bible and is, in fact, forbidden by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10. Now, if you can get them to understand this, then you can get them to understand the next part, but if they do not understand this, then they will never understand the next part.

The Bible teaches that there is only ONE church–the church that belongs to Jesus (Matthew 16:16-18) and that there is only ONE body (Ephesians 4:4). The Bible also teaches that the body is the church (Eph.1:22,23). That means there is just ONE church. In addition, we read in Ephesians 5:23 that Jesus is the Savior of the body. He is not the Savior of anything else but the body. So he is the Savior of the church and only the church. Now, applying the principles that we learn from above, we can understand that Jesus is the Savior of the church–His church–the church that belongs to Him–the church of Christ. He is not going to save anyone who is not a member of His church as only the saved are added to His church (Acts 2:47 KJV). So to state it plainly, the saved are members of the church and the church is made up of saved people. No one outside the church is going to be saved.

At this point the denominationalist will probably say, but you are talking about the universal church, not the local church and we all know that the universal church is made up of all of the denominations. This is completely false. In the scriptures we only read of two different descriptions of the church. There is the universal church and there is the local church. A denomination doesn’t fit either of those categories. A denomination is bigger than the local church, but smaller than the universal church. Moreover, even if the organization was correct, a congregation would have to practice all of the things that are enjoined upon churches in the New Testament to practice. Many denominations just are not doing this today. To be the New Testament church, a church must have an authorized description (church of Christ, church of God, etc.), an authorized worship, an authorized plan of salvation, an authorized organization, and an authorized mission. A person has no authority from God to just go somewhere and set up a congregation of people to do whatever they want to do and call that the church. The church must conform to God’s pattern for the church and that is what makes the church the church of Christ! When we do things the way God has told us to do things, then by His grace, we will be saved. If we fail to do things the way God told us to do things, then we have no promise of salvation.

The accusation, “the members of the ‘Church of Christ’ think they are the only ones going to heaven” is a straw man argument. It assumes that the churches of Christ are denominations just like everyone else. It assumes that it doesn’t matter how the church is organized. It assumes that all denominations are members of the one universal church. To speak to someone about this issue you must first point out the falasies of these assumptions.

So, to answer this question or statement, I would tell the person who made the statement that this is a misrepresentation of what we believe and if you would like to find out what we do actually believe, then we can have a Bible study to discuss it. You might also point out to them that they believe that Christians are the only ones going to heaven and they don’t seem to have a problem with that. Then you could get into a discussion how does a person become a Christian. If they don’t believe that only Christians are going to heaven, then you will need to have a discussion with them regarding the resurrection of Christ and the authority that Christ has in our relationship with God (John 14:6, etc.)

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Super Bowl Sunday is Every Sunday

Today is the day that has come to be known as America’s unofficial holiday. Yes, that’s right, it is Super Bowl Sunday. Of course, the Super Bowl is the penultimate sports experience for most people who live in the United States. People start planning weeks in advance for their parties and get-togethers at which they eat, it is reported, more snacks than any other day of the year. It is said that more Americans watch the Super Bowl than any other program on television. In fact, over 150 million are expected to watch (that’s over half the population of the U.S.) and during that time advertisers will pay $2.4 million dollars per half minute to promote their product. The revenues alone for the entire event would be enough to fund the startup of a small country. It is an event that truly vies for the national attention.

In contrast, there are those places to which people frequent on Sundays called, in the vernacular, “churches.” While there are many Americans who claim to be Christians, not nearly as many show the kind of devotion and zeal that is seen in preparation for the Super Bowl. Oh, there are some who prepare, preachers, teachers, students of the word, but most simply decide at the last minute whether they will show up or not. While Super Bowl Sunday boasts a record number of snacks consumed, many “churches” throughout the land won’t even observe the one holy meal of which the Lord’s church partakes every Sunday (Acts 20:7). And it is quite doubtful that anyone will pay $2.4 million dollars per half minute in order to hear the greatest message ever known. These events hardly merit the attention of the local media, much less the national attention.

Yet for all of the hype surrounding Super Bowl Sunday and its events and all of the apathy toward the other fifty-one Sundays of the year and their events, just one ordinary Sunday is still more super than Super Bowl Sunday, provided that Sunday is spent in the pursuits of the Lord. For Sunday is the day that the saints of God gather in fellowship one with another to recount the apostles doctrine, break bread, and pray (Acts 2:42). It is the day that those devoted to God may return to Him that portion of blessings which is His due (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2). It is the day that a remembrance is made of God’s only begotten Son in the memorial feast that commemorates His body and blood (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Because it was on this day, Sunday, that Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave proclaiming the defeat of Satan and victory over death, that we assemble to honor, praise, and worship He whose plan redeemed mankind from inevitable and eternal defeat.

On Super Bowl Sunday, there will be winners and there will be losers. There will be those who are victorious and those who fall, ignominiously, to ruin. Some will indeed be heroes this Sunday and some will be goats. I’m not necessarily speaking of the gridiron, but of the grand field upon which the souls of men and women are gained and lost. Whose team are you rooting for this Sunday? Indeed, for whose team will you be playing eternally? There are only two sides in this contest and the odds of winning are heavily favored for one side against the other. The choice as to whether we will be winners or losers, victorious or defeated, is ours. Let us choose sides prayerfully and devote ourselves to that team whose victory is assured.

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