Jerusalem in Scripture

In the Liturgy of the Hours, especially here in Advent, I am praying every day for Jerusalem. Catholics are not literalists in their Bible reading, but I wonder if anyone has insights on how to think about Jerusalem in the “end times,” when its “light will shine; the Lord will dawn on you in radiant splendor.” Specifically, are we to expect this of the actual, physical city of Jerusalem (and why not?) OR is this interpreted only as the mystical “heavenly Jerusalem” of all believers who will be gathered to God at His coming?
I have always liked the image of heaven as a wonderful city (I’m an urbanite), and I suspect God will do something really cool with the actual, physical city of Jerusalem. But who knows?

1 Like

I always read Jerusalem as referring to the Church…in a Catholic liturgical context.

Our Lord’s words to the Samaritan woman are instructive.

John 4:19-24 19
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, _the hour is coming when neither on _
> this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But
the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship
the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship
him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

And Saint Peter’s words also.

2 Peter 3:8-13
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! 13 But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Not to mention the words of Saint John.

Revelation 3:1234: He
who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never
shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and
the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from
my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

Revelation 21:1-4
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.[a] 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; 3 and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

And those of Saint Paul.

1 Corinthians 13:9-10
For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

The Catholic Church is Jerusalem under the New Covenant.


There are some who hold to the idea of the physical (geographical) Jerusalem… however, as it has been pointed out, the New Covenant’s economy is different… ‘…there comes the hour, and it is here now, when true Worshiper will Worship in Spirit (Holy Spirit) and Truth (Christ Jesus).’ ‘God is Spirit. and True Worshipers must Worship in Spirit and Truth.’ (paraphrased)

Maran atha!


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit