Abraham’s City

Q. I have a question about Abraham in Hebrews 11:10: “For he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. Every time I read something you’ve written about The New Jerusalem being the permanent home of the Church and only the Church, that verse always comes up in my mind. How do I rectify Abraham looking for a city whose maker and builder is God? Is this city that he is looking for the same city we, the church, will occupy? If so, is Abraham part of the church too?

A. First, there is no indication from the text that Abraham was speaking about the New Jerusalem. This name only appears in the book of Revelation. The term “Heavenly Jerusalem” only appears in Hebrews 12:22. In Galatians 4:26 Paul was the first to speak of a Jerusalem that is above. These constitute the Bible’s only references to a Jerusalem other than the one in Israel. All are in the New Testament and appear in connection with the Church.

Remember, the first Jerusalem didn’t exist until David’s time, several hundred years after Abraham died, and another city with foundations whose builder and maker is God will exist in Israel during the Millennium (Ezekiel 48). The writer of Hebrews could have been referring to either of these.

Therefore, the idea that Hebrews 11:10 refers to the New Jerusalem and that Abraham expected to live there is an assumption some have made with almost no Biblical support.

On the other hand. Abraham is the father of the Jewish people, and they were promised that one day God would dwell with them forever in Israel on Earth (Ezekiel 43:7). If we’re going to make an assumption, I think it’s much more likely that the Millennial city in Israel is what Abraham had in mind.

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