“Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt.” Nehemiah 7:4
The city Jerusalem that Nebuchadnezzar had captured and later destroyed had been a thriving and prosperous capital city long before David had captured it from the Jebusites.
David’s reasons for wanting to make Jerusalem his capital instead of the fortress at Gibeah, not far away, that Saul had used as his capital, were that it was a very well fortified city and it had an internal water source. Both of these characteristics combined to make Jerusalem a very attractive capital city to a king ruling in a violence prone region.
Because it was a city of long standing occupation it had grown and had filled with people, and it continued to grow over the centuries. In fact, the Jerusalem that David had made his home In would have been much smaller than the Jerusalem that Nehemiah had returned to centuries later.
While David had enthroned himself in an established, busy, crowded city, Nehemiah came to his governorship to a city that was for the most part vacant. The houses that had been destroyed had yet to be rebuilt.
I imagine that today the city New Jerusalem, in heaven, is in some ways like a combination of the city David came to and the city Nehemiah came to. It’s a beautiful, well built city whose physical structures are ready to be the capital city for the kingdom of God. But it’s also largely unoccupied. Beautiful homes and gardens wait for the day when their doors will finally be opened and their floors walked by the redeemed from all ages of earth’s history.
No one has had to come and restore the city itself. No battles have ever been fought in its streets and none ever shall be fought. The city New Jerusalem, unlike Judea’s capital, will live up to its name and shall always be the city of peace.
Instead of the city being restored so that it can be occupied by released but still untransformed sinners the city New Jerusalem will be completely new and its residents will be the ones that have been transformed. The people of the city will have characters made pure and clean in their Christlike reflection and they’ll also stand resplendent in glorious, immortal bodies transformed at the call of their creator.
The New Jerusalem awaits its inhabitants. Even now the call is being made to accept the invitation God has given and Christ has purchased. Right now Jesus is pleading that you would let him help you prepare and become ready to go and be a part of that city of peace.
Please say yes.