1I looked up and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2Then I asked, "Where are you going?" He answered me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length." 3Then the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him, 4and said to him, "Run, say to that young man: Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it. 5For I will be a wall of fire all around it, says the LORD, and I will be the glory within it."
Philosophers of language distinguish a word or a sentence’s “sense” from its “reference.” The sense of a word or sentence is its meaning and the reference is what the word or sentence refers to. The word ‘cat’ has a meaning (see dictionary) but you can also use the word ‘cat’ to point out a particular cat that belongs to your neighbor.
Likewise, prophetic visions in the Bible have various meanings which you can arrive at through close reading and study but theses visions may also have various references. An example is ‘The Day of the Lord’ in OT prophecies. The short meaning is the “coming of YHWH” in glory and power. The reference in this phrase, however, is not singular. There are actually two possible references depending on the vision and context: the first “coming of YHWH” in the person of Jesus the Messiah and the second “coming of YHWH” in Christ’s Second Return.
The prophetic vision in Zechariah 2:1-5 about Jerusalem becoming a city without walls most likely refers to the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21, with its great number of people and animals and the Lord Himself a fire around the city and His Glory filling the city. But the vision may also refer to historic, post-exilic Jerusalem. The careful Biblical student would note these possibilities.
Outside the strict Biblical contexts of such prophetic visions, believers have also been moved by such visions to apply to their setting, the most famous of which for Americans the founding of towns and cities by the Pilgrims and other early European settlers looking for religious freedom.
At the turn of the 20th century in East Asia, the revivals in Pyongyang encouraged Western Christian observers to call the city “The Jerusalem of the East” since no comparable city at the time in China, Japan, or other parts of Korea had experienced such a powerful move of God’s Spirit. This revival in time moved to other cities, including Wonson and Seoul.
But as we know, the early revivals in Pyongyang are a far distant memory that seems to be part of another world entirely. Let's continue to pray for NK and Pyongyang that the city and the its people will experience the New Jerusalem reality in the coming days.
Let's pray: Father God, we thank you for NK. May you bless the land and its people today and we await the day when your Spirit will once again be poured out in such a mighty way that the title "Jerusalem of the East" will aptly describe spiritually this important city. In Jesus' name, amen.