Expansion Of Jerusalem In Jer 31:38-40: Never, Already Or Not Yet? -- By: Dennis M. Swanson

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 17:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: Expansion Of Jerusalem In Jer 31:38-40: Never, Already Or Not Yet?
Author: Dennis M. Swanson


Expansion Of Jerusalem In Jer 31:38-40: Never, Already Or Not Yet?

Dennis M. Swansona

Seminary Librarian

Various viewpoints on the biblical teaching of the millennium deal differently with the prophecy of Jerusalem’s expansion in Jer 31:38–40. Wording of the prophecy points to a fulfillment in the distant future and sets seven boundary markers for the city: the Tower of Hananel, the Corner Gate, the Hill Gareb, Goah, the Valley of Dead Bodies and Ashes, the fields as far as the Brook Kidron, and the Horse Gate. Those markers indicate an expansion of the city beyond anything yet known. Proposals about the fulfillment of the prophecy include those that say the prophecy will never be fulfilled, those contending that the prophecy has already been fulfilled, and those holding to a yet future fulfillment of the prophecy. The first option sees a spiritual rather than geographical fulfillment of the passage and falters in light of specific geographical details given therein. The “already” option points to a fulfillment either in the time of Zerubbabel and Joshua or in the New Jerusalem of eternity future. Both “already” options fall short of compliance with details of the prophecy. The “not yet” option coincides well with conditions expressed in the prophecy by placing its fulfillment in the future millennial kingdom on earth.

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One of the most pointed differences between various millennial views is the nature and fulfillment of the “land promises” made to Israel in the OT. Typically, the discussions relate to “larger” issues of the territory as outlined in the Abrahamic

Covenant1 and the overall national boundaries.2 In addition to such “macro-prophecies” are several “micro-prophecies” dealing with specific areas within the larger geographical context of the land.

Although, as Wilken states, “in the original promise of the land, Jerusalem played no part,”3 subsequent prophecies (most notably Jeremiah 30–33; Ezekiel 35–48; Zechariah 10–14) detail predictions related to Jerusalem and its Temple. Though some of the mico-prophecies, mainly those about the Temple,4 have received considerable discussion, a prophecy in

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