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Podcast Episode

City of God or City of Cain?

When we first read about Jerusalem in the Bible, it appears to be a golden city—founded by David, a center of victory, prosperity, and unity. But it doesn’t take long for the cracks to begin to show, and Jerusalem becomes a home for idolatry and oppression. What happened to the city David founded to cause the prophet Micah to accuse it of being a city founded on human bloodshed? In this episode, Tim and Jon talk about how even the so-called city of God can resemble the city of Cain.

Episode 8
1hr 4m
June 12, 2023
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Show Notes
Episodes

Timestamps

  • Part one (00:00-9:29)
  • Part two (9:29-21:26)
  • Part three (21:26-40:08)
  • Part four (40:08-53:21)
  • Part five (53:21-1:03:12)

Referenced Resources

  • Interested in more? Check out Tim’s library here.
  • You can experience our entire library of resources in the BibleProject app, available for Android and iOS.

Show Music

  • “Defender (Instrumental)” by TENTS
  • “Ah” by a contributor
  • “Wonderful” by Beautiful Eulogy
  • “New Babylon” by McKinley Wilson
  • Original sound design by Dan Gummel

Show produced by Cooper Peltz with Associate Producer Lindsey Ponder, Lead Editor Dan Gummel, and Editors Tyler Bailey and Frank Garza. Mixed by Tyler Bailey. Podcast annotations for the BibleProject app by Hannah Woo.

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Scripture References
Genesis 2
Genesis 9:20-27
Genesis 27
Genesis 2-3
Micah 6:8
1 Kings 3
Leviticus 25
Psalms 46
Psalms 87
Isaiah 2
1 Kings 11
Genesis 4:9-16
2 Samuel 5-6
Micah 1:1
Micah 1:2-3
Micah 1:4-5
Micah 1:6
Micah 1:6-7
Micah 2:1-2
Micah 6:9-16
1 Kings 16-22
Micah 3
1 Kings 1:1-2
1 Kings 1:5-53
1 Kings 2:1-4
1 Kings 2:5-10
Genesis 31
1 Kings 2:13-22
1 Kings 2:23-25
1 Kings 2:28-34
Genesis 12:5-25
1 Kings 2:36-44
1 Kings 2:46
1 Kings 3:3-4
1 Kings 16:21-24
1 Kings 21:1-2
1 Kings 21:3
1 Kings 21:4-5
1 Kings 2:6-10
2 Corinthians 6:15
1 Kings 2:10-16
Micah 4
Micah 4:1-2

15 Episodes

Episode 15
Is the Church a City?
Was Cain’s city a good thing initially? If Israel was just as bad as Sodom and Gomorrah, why didn’t God destroy it too? And how will God redeem the city in the new creation? In this episode, Tim and Jon respond to your questions from the second half of The City series. Thank you to our audience for your insightful questions!
55m • August 30, 2023
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Episode 14
How Did Abraham Know About the City of God?
How could Abraham have anticipated a coming City of God, like the author of Hebrews said? What’s the connection between the shame of Adam and Eve and that of their son Cain? Was Genesis first an oral tradition, and how did it become a written account with so many literary hyperlinks? In this episode, Tim and Jon respond to your questions from the first half of The City series. Thank you to our audience for your incredible questions!
52m • July 24, 2023
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Episode 13
The Heavenly City
In the Bible, cities have a bad reputation as centers of immorality and unrighteous living. First-century followers of Jesus continued to live in cities, but they lived by an other-worldly ethic set by Jesus. Their way of living was so different that Jesus’ followers began to talk about their citizenship being primarily in a coming heavenly city, rather than the physical city in which they lived. In this episode, join Jon and Tim as they wrap up our theme study of the city.
1hr 6m • July 17, 2023
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Episode 12
Jesus, the New Jerusalem
As the story of the Bible unfolds, the expectation for a city of God—a new Jerusalem where Heaven and Earth will be fully united—continues to grow. Yet the gospel authors seem to think this new Jerusalem is most fully realized in Jesus himself. So if Jesus is the new Jerusalem, what’s his relationship with the physical city of Jerusalem? In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss how Jesus and his followers become the new Jerusalem.
1hr 4m • July 10, 2023
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Episode 11
Whose Idea Was the “City of God”?
Cities appear to be inherently bad in the story of the Bible. So when Jesus calls his followers a city on a hill, what does he mean? And why is the vision of the new creation a city instead of a garden? In this episode, Tim and Jon review some of the major motifs in the theme of the city so far and explore the concept of a city of God.
55m • July 3, 2023
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Episode 10
Jesus’ Disciples Are a City
The city of Jerusalem, established by David to be the home of God, is a glimpse of what a divine city could look like, but even Jerusalem becomes corrupt. Is there any kind of city we can actually put our hope in? Jesus seemed to think so. He said he was the place where Heaven and Earth are fully united, allowing God and humanity to dwell together. Then he took it a step further to say his followers are a city on a hill, the city of God. In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the new Jerusalem.
1hr 3m • June 26, 2023
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Episode 9
Jerusalem: A Tale of Two Cities
Israel was meant to be a picture of the heavenly city of God, but over time, it began to look more like Babylon, Nineveh, and Sodom and Gomorrah. In the scroll of Isaiah, the prophet announces Yahweh’s coming judgment on Israel because of their oppression of other humans. Join Tim and Jon as they discuss the city of God in the scroll of Isaiah.
58m • June 19, 2023
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Episode 8
City of God or City of Cain?
When we first read about Jerusalem in the Bible, it appears to be a golden city—founded by David, a center of victory, prosperity, and unity. But it doesn’t take long for the cracks to begin to show, and Jerusalem becomes a home for idolatry and oppression. What happened to the city David founded to cause the prophet Micah to accuse it of being a city founded on human bloodshed? In this episode, Tim and Jon talk about how even the so-called city of God can resemble the city of Cain.
1hr 4m • June 12, 2023
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Episode 7
The Bible's Most Famous City
Jerusalem is the Bible’s image of what a city of God should be. But from the earliest moments of its founding, it's clear that even this city has problems. What will it take for a city to truly become like the garden of Eden? In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the founding of Jerusalem and what it will take for God and humans to dwell together.
1hr 28m • June 5, 2023
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Episode 6
Can a City Be Good?
At last, there’s a positive example of a city in the Bible, the capital city of Egypt under the rule of Joseph. In this episode, join Tim and Jon as they explore how a city—usually a perpetrator of death and violence—can become a source of life under the leadership of a wise human image of God.
1hr • May 29, 2023
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Episode 5
Sodom and Gomorrah
If Babylon is the worst city in the Bible, then Sodom and Gomorrah are a close second. The injustice and oppression in Sodom and Gomorrah are so pronounced that God sends a flood of justice to completely wipe out these two cities. In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the theme of the city and the darkest parts of human nature. Content warning: Today's episode contains some mention of sexual abuse, rape, and incest.
1hr 6m • May 22, 2023
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Episode 4
The Biggest, Baddest City in the Bible
You may have heard that Babylon was the biggest, baddest city in the Bible, but where did that reputation come from? Who founded the city, and what made it so detestable to God? In this episode, join Tim and Jon as they explore the story of the half-human, half-god Nimrod and the city he founded.
1hr • May 15, 2023
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Episode 3
A Symptom of Human Violence
As the story of the Bible unfolds, humanity grows more and more violent. Cain is more violent than his parents, and his descendants are more violent than him. In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss Lamech, Cain’s far more murderous descendant, and humanity’s escalating violence that prompts God to flood the earth.
1hr 15m • May 8, 2023
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Episode 2
Why Cain Builds a City
In the story of the Bible, cities are a bad thing. They’re a symptom of humanity’s violence and attempts to protect themselves instead of trusting God. In fact, in the second chapter of Genesis, God “builds” something for humanity’s protection. And it’s not a city—it’s a woman. In this episode, Tim and Jon explore the theme of the city and the first thing God builds.
1hr 15m • May 1, 2023
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Episode 1
The Surprise of the City
The theme of the city in the Bible is a surprising one. When cities are introduced in the story, they’re depicted as “bad”—a human response to increasing violence and the need for self-protection—and gardens are depicted as humanity’s ideal setting. However, in the book of Revelation, the new creation Jesus brings is a city. What’s going on here? Join Tim and Jon as they start exploring the biblical theme of the city.
1hr 7m • April 24, 2023
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