From Here to Forever


Chapter 1—A Forecast of the World's Destiny

From the crest of Olivet, Jesus looked upon Jerusalem. In full view were the magnificent buildings of the temple. The setting sun lighted up the snowy whiteness of its marble walls and gleamed from golden tower and pinnacle. What child of Israel could gaze upon the scene without a thrill of joy and admiration! But other thoughts occupied the mind of Jesus. “When he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.” Luke 19:41. HF 17.1

Jesus’ tears were not for Himself, though before Him lay Gethsemane, the scene of approaching agony, and not far distant, Calvary, the place of crucifixion. Yet it was not these scenes that cast the shadow upon Him in this hour of gladness. He wept for the doomed thousands of Jerusalem. HF 17.2

The history of more than a thousand years of God's special favor and guardian care, manifested to the chosen people, was open to the eye of Jesus. Jerusalem had been honored of God above all the earth. The Lord had “chosen Zion ... for his habitation.” Psalm 132:13. For ages, holy prophets had uttered their messages of warning. Daily the blood of lambs had been offered, pointing to the Lamb of God. HF 17.3

Had Israel as a nation preserved her allegiance to Heaven, Jerusalem would have stood forever, the elect of God. But the history of that favored people was a record of backsliding and rebellion. With more than a father's pitying love, God had “compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place.” 2 Chronicles 36:15. HF 17.4

When entreaty and rebuke had failed, He sent the best gift of heaven, the Son of God Himself, to plead with the impenitent city. HF 18.1

For three years the Lord of light and glory had gone in and out among His people, “doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil,” setting at liberty them that were bound, restoring sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk and the deaf to hear, cleansing lepers, raising the dead, and preaching the gospel to the poor. See Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18; Matthew 11:5. HF 18.2

A homeless wanderer, He lived to minister to the needs and lighten the woes of men, to plead with them to accept the gift of life. The waves of mercy, beaten back by those stubborn hearts, returned in a stronger tide of pitying, inexpressible love. But Israel had turned from her best Friend and only Helper. The pleadings of His love had been despised. HF 18.3

The hour of hope and pardon was fast passing. The cloud that had been gathering through ages of apostasy and rebellion was about to burst upon a guilty people. He who alone could save them from their impending fate had been slighted, abused, rejected, and was soon to be crucified. HF 18.4

As Christ looked upon Jerusalem, the doom of a whole city, a whole nation, was before Him. He beheld the destroying angel with sword uplifted against the city which had so long been God's dwelling place. From the very spot afterward occupied by Titus and his army, He looked across the valley upon the sacred courts and porticoes. With tear-dimmed eyes He saw the walls surrounded by alien hosts. He heard the tread of armies marshaling for war, the voice of mothers and children crying for bread in the besieged city. He saw her holy house, her palaces and towers, given to the flames, a heap of smoldering ruins. HF 18.5

Looking down the ages, He saw the covenant people scattered in every land, “like wrecks on a desert shore.” Divine pity, yearning love, found utterance in the mournful words: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Matthew 23:37. HF 18.6

Christ saw in Jerusalem a symbol of the world hardened in unbelief and rebellion, hastening on to meet the retributive judgments of God. His heart was moved with pity for the afflicted and suffering ones of earth. He yearned to relieve them all. He was willing to pour out His soul unto death to bring salvation within their reach. HF 19.1

The Majesty of heaven in tears! That scene shows how hard a task it is to save the guilty from the consequence of transgressing the law of God. Jesus saw the world involved in deception similar to that which caused the destruction of Jerusalem. The great sin of the Jews was their rejection of Christ; the great sin of the world would be their rejection of the law of God, the foundation of His government in heaven and earth. Millions in bondage to sin, doomed to suffer the second death, would refuse to listen to words of truth in their day of visitation. HF 19.2