The New Testament fully recognises the importance of Jerusalem in God’s plan
Jerusalem. Jesus forbids swearing by Jerusalem “because it is the city of the Great King” (Mt 5:35). He resolutely goes up there; it is there that he must fulfil his mission. 211 But he says that the city “did not know the time of its visitation” and he tearfully foresees that this blindness will bring about its ruin, 212 as had already happened in Jeremiah’s time.
In the meantime, Jerusalem continues to play an important role. In the Lukan theology, it is at the centre of salvation history; it is there that Christ dies and is raised. Everything converges on this centre: the Gospel begins (Lk 1:5-25) and ends (-52) there. Then everything begins from there: it is from there that, after the coming of the Holy Spirit, the good news of salvation is spread to the four corners of the inhabited world (Ac 8-28). As regards Paul, although his apostolate did not begin from Jerusalem (Ga 1:17), he considers communion with the Jerusalem Church to be indispensable (2:1-2). Elsewhere, he declares that the mother of Christians is “the Jerusalem above” (4:26). The city becomes the symbol of eschatological fulfilment both in future (Rv 21:2-3, 9-11) and in present dimension (Heb ).
Thus, aided by a symbolic intensification already well attested in the Old Testament itself, the Church will always recognise the bonds that intimately unite it to the history of Jerusalem and its Temple, as well as to the prayer and cult of the Jewish people.
In times of real crisis, which ought to have been occasions for proving their trust in God, the Israelites “murmur”, 213 adopting an attitude of challenge to God’s plan and of opposition to Moses, to the point of wanting to “stone” him (Ex 17:4)
52. The election of Israel and the covenant, as we have seen, resulted in demands for faithfulness and holiness. How did the chosen people respond to these demands? To this, the Old Testament frequently gives an answer that expresses the disappointment of Israel’s God, a response full of reproaches and even condemnations.
The narrative writings give a long list of infidelities and resistance to the voice of God, a list beginning with the departure from Egypt. No sooner was the Sinai covenant concluded (Ex 24) than the people let themselves lapse into the gravest infidelity, idolatry (Ex 32:4-6). 214 Faced with this disloyalty, the Lord declares: “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are” (Ex 32:9). Another episode is no less important: having arrived at the borders of Canaan and been invited to enter the land which the Lord is giving them, the people refuse to enter, on the grounds that it was too dangerous. 216 The Lord then reproaches his people for their lack of faith (Nu ) and condemns them to wander for forty years in the desert, where all the adults will die (,34), with the exception of those who unreservedly followed the Lord.
The Old Testament frequently mentions that Israel’s disobedience began “from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt”, and adds that it has continued “even to this day”. 217
This pejorative description of them is frequently repeated later on 215 and becomes a sort of natural epithet to describe the character of Israel
The Deuteronomic History which comprises the books escort service in Chattanooga TN of Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, gives an unqualified negative judgement on the history of Israel and Judah between the time of Joshua and the Babylonian Exile. The people and their kings, with few exceptions, have generally succumbed to the temptation of foreign gods in the religious sphere and to social injustice and every kind of disorder forbidden in the Decalogue. That is why this history ended finally on a negative note, the visible consequences of which were the loss of the promised land with the destruction of the two kingdoms and Jerusalem, including the Temple, in 587.