Not in Jerusalem!: The conversation Jesus had with the woman at the well at Sychar in Samaria has been memorialized in sermon and song, but one significant statement Christ made is generally overlooked. He said: “Woman, believe me, the hour comes when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father.” (John 4:21)
He went on to say that true worshipers shall worship the Father “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23), and many strongly emphasize this statement. However, His statement in verse 21 doesn’t seem to have registered with most people in the churches, as they continue to idolize Jerusalem as “The Holy City” and hanker to visit “The Holy Land” and see the “sacred” places.
While Jerusalem was indeed the special city of God under the Mosaic law, the prophets id not hesitate to reveal that it was to come under severe condemnation and to be supplanted by something greater and better, as revealed in the 16th chapter of Ezekiel. In fact, it was Moses himself who predicted hat the nation would fall into disobedience, and in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy he derailed the fearful consequences that Jerusalem would suffer in its destruction.
The message of Moses accords with the words of Jesus after He exposed the gross wickedness of the religious leaders in Jerusalem during His time on earth, in a flesh body. “Fill up then the measure of your fathers...Behold your is left unto you desolate...” (Matthew 23:32-39)
The account of Jesus as He moved among the Jews is an account of Jewish rejection of God’s Son and God’s holy purpose. E.E. Gordon notes a seven-fold repudiation of Jesus by the Jews: John 4:14; 7:14; 8:2, 59; 10:23; 11:53, 56-57; 12:36 and 16:3. (From an article by Joseph M. Canfield, “Neither City Nor Land Are Holy,” In Journal For Projects In Eschatology. Vol. 3 Nov/Dec 97)
In His discourse on the mount of Olives Christ echoed the prophecy of Moses, in declaring that the buildings of the temple would be destroyed: “There shall not be left here one stone upon another.” The city would undergo a period of tribulation which had never been heard of before. (Matthew 24:, 21)
In the Gospel accounts there is nothing to indicate that Jesus ever held the city of Jerusalem in high regard. Rather, it was treated either with contempt or pity, never as worthy or sacred. During His public ministry the record shows Jesus returning to Bethany each night, rather than spending a night in Jerusalem. He completely ignored it in choosing the apostles. Eleven of them were Galileans and Judas was a Jew, but not of Jerusalem.
In parable after parable Christ showed that the rulers of Jerusalem were under God’s wrath and would soon be judged. In the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-46) He described how the husbandmen had beaten the servants and killed the son of the owner. It is clear that the servants represented the prophets and the son represented God’s Son. The wicked husbandmen were the Jews themselves, to whom Christ said, “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof?” (Matthew 21:43) The chief priests and Pharisees “perceived that he spoke of them” but were afraid to take Him, because they feared the multitude.
The city of Jerusalem was never held in awe or reverence by the apostles, according to the Biblical account. After the resurrection, Christ told them to “tarry in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:47-49) That power came on the Day of Pentecost, after which the apostles scattered all over the Roman empire and to nations far beyond. Jerusalem became the place for Christians to avoid, as shown by the arrest of Peter and John (Acts 7), the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7), the martyrdom of James and arrest of Peter (Acts 12), and finally the arrest of Paul (Acts 21).
As the Jerusalem Christians were persecuted, and many had to flee for their lives, they could be grateful that Christ had revealed that such a time would come when Jerusalem would no longer be the center of worship, that they could worship in any place and at any time in spirit and truth.
In the last recorded words of the apostle Paul he quoted Isaiah, in the denunciation of the Jews for their hard-hearted rebellion, and concluded: “Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles (Israel - Nations), they will also hear.” (Acts 28:28) Judea and its capital city were no longer to be special places for the work of God, and the city was soon to suffer the fiery destruction that came in 70 A.D. There was never any promise, not even a hint, of its restoration. In fact God said: “Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL WHOLLY, ARE THEY UNTO WHOM THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession.” (Ezekiel 11:15)
Writing on this subject, Joseph M. Canfield says, “We submit that when the Lord had Jerusalem destroyed in 70 A.D., He wanted it to remain so throughout the Church Age.” He writes that the non-existence of the city would be in compliance with the words of Jesus: “Your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:2) Of course disobedience didn’t end with the end of the city.
The first attempt at rebuilding it was in 131, under Emperor Hadrian, who renamed it Aelia Capitolia, a pagan name. It has never been a Christian center since 70 A.D. The Crusades were based on the erroneous idea that Jerusalem was a “holy city” and worthy of any sacrifice made to wrest it from the hands of the “infidels” in order to place the emblems of the Christian faith there. The Crusades were a disaster and a terrible disgrace to the name of Christ. Both Arab and Christian lives were lost by the thousands. Disease and famine followed, as the normal result of medieval warfare. Women were raped and villages pillaged by the Crusaders. Thousands of children who zealously followed the foolish leaders in the “Children’s Crusade” lost their lives through starvation and exposure. Such is the record of the attempt to make holy a city that was considered by God to be an abomination.
In the early days of the church a question arose about accepting the uncircumcised Gentiles. A council of apostles and elders was called (Acts 15) at which James cited the words of the prophet Amos about building again the tabernacle of David. James applied this prophecy to the spread of the gospel, showing that the prophecy had to do with the spiritual household of God, and not the building of a material structure. This is in accord with the apostles’ teaching that each Christian is a temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17), for God dwells not in temples made with hands.” (Acts 17:24)
True worship is a matter of the heart and mind; in spirit and in truth, and not a matter of geographical location nor material environment. As the Jews built bigger and bigger structures for worship, they grew farther and farther away from the object of worship until He finally brought judgment upon them. (Could the same thing be happening today as the focus is on bigger and bigger church buildings, with vast treasures being invested in them, while evangelism and benevolence are largely neglected?)
Both prophets and apostles, and Christ Himself, held Jerusalem and the land of Israel to be under a curse. Jews who control modern Israel are not descendants of Israel, but a people who adopted Talmudism and/or Kabbalism, and call it Judaism. They use the gullible Christian’s belief in a “Holy Land” to advance their political schemes, which are the cause of violence and turmoil in the Middle East.
A trip to Jerusalem might be interesting, but it cannot draw a Christian closer to God, Who already abides in the true believer. The money spent on such trips might better be spent on endeavors that fulfill the commands of Christ and glorify the Father. The Hebrew author writes that we (believers) have “come to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” (Hebrews 12:22) The holy city, New Jerusalem, mentioned in Revelation 21, is not the Jerusalem of Palestine, but a portrayal of the entire body
of all the redeemed of all ages, in a city that transcends the limitations of the present earth.
The words still apply “when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father.” We do well to cease paying honor to a corrupt city of unbelievers who hate the Lord Jesus Christ and give that honor to Christ, who instructed us to worship in spirit and truth.
A Sad Comparison: While the United States has only 4 percent of the population of the world, it has half of the world’s lawyers! While Japan has become a nation of technicians, engineers, and scientists, the U.S. has become a nation of lawyers. The Japanese own our mortgage. They virtually own the Hawaiian Islands. Major hotels, most of the gold course resorts, are owned by Japanese. About 80 percent of the high-rise office buildings in downtown Los Angeles are Japanese owned. When a Japanese family wants to take a vacation, they board a Japanese government-owned airplane, JAL, fly to Hawaii, stay in a Japanese-owned hotel, play golf on a Japanese-owned golf course, dine in Japanese-owned restaurants, and take pictures with their Nikon cameras, using Fuji film! None of the money comes to America; all benefits Japanese firms. (Twentieth Century Watch Newsletter 12/97)
Mind Control?: On December 17th an experiment was launched on children in Japan. A cartoon based on Nintendo’s Pocket Monsters was aired on Japanese television. In one scene, a character known as “Pikachu,” a giant rat-like creature flashed his eyes, which filled the television screens with strobe-like flashing red lights. Immediately, 650 children were rushed to hospitals. Soon the numbers reached 729 children, who had convulsions and were still having seizures 24 hours later. Some said it was an hypnotical induced epilepsy. (Reuters News Service) This can cause brain damage, but what is more serious is that evil spirits can enter into a person’s body by such means. It is a complete distraction to rational thinking, which breaks down the mind, will, and emotions at least temporarily and opens the door for evil spirits to enter. The urgent question is, will the Illuminists use something like this to seize the minds of billions of people simultaneously at the right moment? (Last Trumpet Newsletter, 1/98, by David Meyer. Meyer was formerly a part of the astrology and occult system, before he became a Christian).
Music Hath Charms: Researchers Frances Rauscher and Gordon Shaw discovered what they call “The Mozart Effect,” which shows that exposure to classical music, even for short periods, has beneficial effects on intelligence. In the study, students who listened to 10 minutes of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K-448 scored higher on IQ tests than students who heard silence or listened to relaxation tapes. (Christian News, 1/5/98)
High School student David Merrill experimented with mice and proved that hard rock music is bad for the brain. He had 72 mice and found that on average it took 10 minutes for them to find their way through a 5 x 3-foot maze. He then divided them into three groups, one that heard no music, one subjected to classical music, and one to hard rock, each group listening to classical music cut 8 ˝ minutes of their time, while the hard rock took 20 minutes longer. He said that the project had to be cut short because the hard rock mice killed each other. (The Hoskins Report, 1/2/98, P.O. Box 997, Lynchburg, VA 24505)
Population Control: Negative Population Growth Inc., of Teaneck, New Jersey recently circulated a letter stating their long-range goal: “We believe that our goal for the United States should be no more than 150 million...For the world, we believe our goal should be a population of not more than two billion.” It has long been the desire of those supporting a world government to reduce the population to make it easier to control. In the UNESCO Courier of November 1991, Jacques Cousteau wrote, “The damage people cause to the planet is a function of demographics; it is equal to the degree of development. One American burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshis...This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day.” Betrand Russell was one of the earlier advocates of decreasing the population, and complained that war had failed to do the job. He thought that a Black Death epidemic every generation might solve the problem. The Planned parenthood organization was founded by Margaret Sanger for the purpose of “elimination of human weeds.” She wrote of the necessity of targeting religious groups, especially Christians, for destruction, in addition to “blacks, Hispanics (and) American Indians. (Wake-Up Call America, Jan/Feb ‘98, P.O. box 280488, Lakewood, CO 80228)
A New Religion: The American Council for Judaism recently quoted Prof. Yakov M. Rabkin of the Universite de Montreal and his views of Zionist Jews. “Israeli officials tend to convey the impression that Israel owns Jews from other countries...Many Jews have emotionally, and some even politically, mortgaged their future to the state of Israel. For them Zionism and Israelism have become a new religion, supplanting traditional forms of Judaic identification. This substitution portends a variety of dangers for Jewish continuity.” (Special Interest Report of the ACJ, Nov/Dec 1997, Box 9009, Alexandria, VA 22304)