Visit to the Holy Land

 



False doctrine of visiting the “holy land” in Israel for receiving blessings by sight
 



Many servants of God arrange tours to the "holy land" in the land of Israel for the people of God promising spiritual blessings through such visits. Many years ago I dealt with this doctrine and warned the servants of God concerned. In this article, I deal with this pernicious doctrine that strikes at the very roots of our Christian faith.

"Believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

But the hour cometh and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him..." (John 4:21-23).

It is seen very clearly from the above words of Jesus Christ that we are no longer required to visit the "holy land' for the purpose of worship. True worshippers are required to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Jesus in you "is greater than the temple" (or any monuments in His memory) (Matt.12:6). Merely seeing the places of birth, crucifixion, burial and resurrection would pale into insignificance in the context of our faith in His birth, crucifixion, etc. The truth of gospel is more important than the places of gospel.

I can see the works of the Holy Ghost, not in the "holy land' where people flock to be blessed by sight, and not by faith, and where Jesus is still not accepted as the Lord and the Messiah. Nor can I see the works of the Holy Ghost or feel His presence or anointing in the places where He was crucified, buried and resurrected from the dead. "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Lk 24:5). But I can see the works of the Holy Ghost amongst the places not reached by the gospel in India or Africa through the signs and wonders performed by the evangelists in the Name of Jesus Christ, or amongst the congregations of believers where they worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

Apostle Thomas came all the way from the 'holy land' to India, and manifested the works of the Holy Ghost in our nation, whereas some servants of God were leading the people of God from India or other nations to the holy land. Can the believers who visit the holy land increase their faith or understand the Scriptures through such monuments? Should the monuments preserved in memory of Jesus take the place of the written word of God? No. God forbid. The Word of God has to be understood through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (I Jn.2:27).

Then what purpose is to be served by undertaking such trips? Is it to know more of Jesus by physically walking over the places treaded by His feet or by physically praying in the garden of Gethsemane? No. We are not worthy to walk over those places, and to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. We, the bride, should not take the place of the only begotten son of God, the heavenly Bridegroom. In our spiritual life, we are required to take our crosses and follow Him.

Nowhere in the Acts of apostles or in the biographies of the servants of God who entered glory can we see that they led the children of God to the monuments in the holy land. It is quite against the New Testament doctrines.

Let us meditate on John 5:33 to 39, and see the four-fold witness to Jesus Christ. Verses 33-35 speak of witness by men (John Baptist); verse 36 speaks of witness by the works – greater than that of John; verses 37-38 speak of witness by the Father and verse 39 speaks of witness by the Scriptures. No 'holy monuments' testify to Christ Jesus. Many servants of God arrange tours to the "holy land" in the land of Israel for the people of God promising spiritual blessings through such visits. Many years ago I dealt with this doctrine and warned the servants of God concerned. In this article, I deal with this pernicious doctrine that strikes at the very roots of our Christian faith.

"Believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

But the hour cometh and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him..
." (John 4:21-23).

It is seen very clearly from the above words of Jesus Christ that we are no longer required to visit the "holy land' for the purpose of worship. True worshippers are required to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Jesus in you "is greater than the temple" (or any monuments in His memory) (Matt.12:6). Merely seeing the places of birth, crucifixion, burial and resurrection would pale into insignificance in the context of our faith in His birth, crucifixion, etc. The truth of gospel is more important than the places of gospel.

I can see the works of the Holy Ghost, not in the "holy land' where people flock to be blessed by sight, and not by faith, and where Jesus is still not accepted as the Lord and the Messiah. Nor can I see the works of the Holy Ghost or feel His presence or anointing in the places where He was crucified, buried and resurrected from the dead. "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Lk 24:5). But I can see the works of the Holy Ghost amongst the places not reached by the gospel in India or Africa through the signs and wonders performed by the evangelists in the Name of Jesus Christ, or amongst the congregations of believers where they worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

Apostle Thomas came all the way from the 'holy land' to India, and manifested the works of the Holy Ghost in our nation, whereas some servants of God were leading the people of God from India or other nations to the holy land. Can the believers who visit the holy land increase their faith or understand the Scriptures through such monuments? Should the monuments preserved in memory of Jesus take the place of the written word of God? No. God forbid. The Word of God has to be understood through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (I Jn.2:27).

Then what purpose is to be served by undertaking such trips? Is it to know more of Jesus by physically walking over the places treaded by His feet or by physically praying in the garden of Gethsemane? No. We are not worthy to walk over those places, and to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. We, the bride, should not take the place of the only begotten son of God, the heavenly Bridegroom. In our spiritual life, we are required to take our crosses and follow Him.

Nowhere in the Acts of apostles or in the biographies of the servants of God who entered glory can we see that they led the children of God to the monuments in the holy land. It is quite against the New Testament doctrines.

Let us meditate on John 5:33 to 39, and see the four-fold witness to Jesus Christ. Verses 33-35 speak of witness by men (John Baptist); verse 36 speaks of witness by the works – greater than that of John; verses 37-38 speak of witness by the Father and verse 39 speaks of witness by the Scriptures. No 'holy monuments' testify to Christ Jesus.

We, the children of God redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, should not give importance to the historical evidence concerning the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. By giving such importance to the historical evidence, we relegate to the background and even dishonor the work of God and the Holy Ghost. Though the empty tomb of Jesus bears testimony to the resurrection of Jesus, this testimony is meant for unbelievers or historians or Bible scholars who conduct archeological researches and discoveries, and not for those engaged in the ministry of evangelism and revival.

For believers, the indwelling Holy Spirit who was sent by the Father after the ascension of the Son of God bears witness in their spirit to the resurrection of Jesus. Secondly, the Scriptures including the gospels, the epistles written by the apostles and the book of Revelation bear witness to the truth of resurrection.

Historical evidence may not be cent percent true. But the word of God is cent percent true. It is also possible that the archeological evidence was tampered with to some extent by human or natural elements during the course of the past thousands of years.

Visiting the holy land is like searching for the shadow or the image of the object which is already in our possession and then knowing about the object through its image or shadow.

There are many guides in Jerusalem to tell the visiting tourists about the significance of the places mentioned in the Bible. We are not in the category of tourists to be taught by some guides about the Biblical truths. In other words, we should not want to know of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through mere evidence or through the mouth of tourist guides. Does not this act of ours amount to mocking of our loving Heavenly Father who had sent the Holy Ghost, the Comforter to be in us and to teach and guide us?

We should not identify ourselves with the company of tourists who are of the world which "by wisdom knew not God" (I Cor.1:21). We are not to be led by "the wisdom of the world" (I Cor.26:6) and "we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is of God" (I Cor.2:12)

If we call the earthly Israel/Jerusalem as the 'holy land', and visit the same, then we will be deliberately trampling under our feet the 'holy land'. Let not God judge us through our own words. Similarly, if it is treated as the 'holy land', then we should not make it a picnic spot. The Israeli Government which has not yet accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah has made the 'holy land' as a tourist centre, and the people of God should not frequent the 'holy land' merely as tourists. Let not God judge us.

By calling these monuments 'holy', we grieve and deny the Holy Ghost by our very act. 'Holiness' is an attribute of the Spirit of God which should not be attached to any places on this earth. "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory" cried Isaiah, the prophet (Is.6:3). The whole earth, and not merely any particular place in Israel, is full of His glory. Only the place where God dwells is holy, and the same is called 'holy place' (Is.57:15). Under the New Covenant, we are the temple of the Holy Ghost which is holy (I Cor.3:16-17).

As New Testament priests, we have come "unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," (Heb.12:22-24). Leaving behind the reality of the heavenly Jerusalem where we have already come through Jesus Christ, we should not attach significance to the earthly Jerusalem, because you have not come "unto the mount that might be touched……" After reaching the heavenly Jerusalem, we are still groping in the dark, searching for the earthly monuments or the shadow of the Old Testament. "…after that ye have known God or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Gal.4:9).

Let us also read the apostolic doctrines in the epistles. Paul says in II Cor.4:18 and 5:7:

"..We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal…."

" For we walk by faith and not by sight
…"

God's money is to be spent in God's ways and for God's purposes. Spending God's money for purposes other than evangelism and revival, and exhorting God's people to visit the 'holy land' just for academic purposes may be lawful but are not expedient. If one can afford to go there as a tourist, he or she can go there as a tourist even for academic purposes but no spiritual purposes would be served.

The following is the debate made in a forum in this regard.

Binsu Robinson Mathew:

David Wilkerson said the same thing and it was interesting - he went to Mt Carmel and was expecting some Elijah like spirit of prayer and he puts it so humorously wat went on .. Only to find it at his room in US !! That's where God meets man - in the Secret place. Listen at this link - Craving God's Presence ! God bless ya all

Gretchen Offord :

There is something to be said though, to walk where Jesus, Paul, Peter, Abraham, Moses etc walked. It brings the Bible alive. When I read my Bible now I can picture the location, I can remember how it looked to travel from Nazareth to Jerusalem (either direction), to see a squall form on Galilee, to see Jerusalem from Mt Nebo, and wonder what Moses was feeling.

Jesus called the secret place a closet, it just committing to spend quality alone time with God in Bible reading, and prayer (Jesus' example of prayer, or Nehemiah's, or Daniel's, or Hannah's....)

Job Anbalagan:


Gretchen, we cannot walk the path Jesus walked. We cannot carry the Cross Jesus carried. We cannot climb the Mount Sinai which Moses climbed. Of course, we can visit Jerusalem as a tourist for sight seeing. It has nothing to do with our spiritual life.

Jennifer Fry: 

I don't think you understand what Gretchen is saying. Or even most likely the context of what David Wilkerson is saying. She isn't referring to people thinking that is their salvation or that it makes them "closer to God". Israel.. going to the land.. it does have an impact on ones spiritual life...it births in people a love for God's chosen people ..and it colors in the pages of the Word of God to make it more alive. There is no whoopie big Goosebumps thing just because you stand some where, it is not a magic formula but a condition of the heart. That is what Wilkerson was saying. I can promise you that the land of Israel does indeed have God's presence on it unlike anywhere on earth. After all the mountains spell out His name. For I have desired Zion ..Psalm 132 and that is just ONE scripture. The Christians need to find out what is on God's heart. and they will see it is His Bride, Israel. He desires us to be one new man. Part of that being birthed is causing the Jewish people to come to jealousy; part of the way they will be jealous comes from believers, loving the land of Israel as they do. It is our spiritual heritage. It is our land. just as much as it is theirs. Read Romans 11..just as a starting point.

We are in Christ in Christ; we are in the heritage of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.. we are partakers in the covenant that God made with Abraham (Gen 12) Please understand and seek the Lord on this issue. The time of the Gentiles is almost fulfilled. Shalom to you brother.... 

Job Anbalagan: 

Jennifer Fry, thanks for your clarifications. I do not believe in the doctrine that the physical land of Israel does have God's presence now. It had the presence of God under the Old Covenant. As New Testament priests, we have come "unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," (Heb.12:22-24). Leaving behind the reality of the heavenly Jerusalem where we have already come through Jesus Christ, we should not attach significance to the earthly Jerusalem, because you have not come "unto the mount that might be touched……" You and I are of this spiritual Zion now. We cannot love any earthly land but the people living in any part of this world. Of course, we have to love the Jews. This does not mean we have to be attached to their political kingdom. Please tell me when the time of the Gentiles has been fulfilled.

We are not of the world and its kingdoms. We have nothing to do with the political rulers of this world, be it Israeli rulers or any rulers of this earthly kingdom. The bride of Jesus is not the physical land of Israel or the Jews who have rejected Jesus or who continue to reject Jesus. The Bride is the universal Church, the Body of Christ including the ethnic Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Savior. Do you mean to say that the Bride of Christ is those people who reject their Bridegroom? 

Immanuel Charles:   

Dear Elder Bro, Thank you for being so loud and clear... yes you don't have to go for a so called "HOLY TOUR " to grow spiritually or be blessed. A person wont gain anything by walking where (place) Jesus walked , however by walking in the path which Jesus taught, one will inherit the blessings of heaven and earth.
I am not against any one who has enough money to travel , they can certainly visit Israel and see the places that are mentioned in the Bible.

Jennifer Fry: 

You believe in replacement theology? That is an error.. God did NOT end His covenant with His people. You are correct in that a "holy land tour" is not required for salvation or blessing.. that is ludicrous to believe.. and if there are some that do, they are also in error..However most people who love Israel, that I have met.. don't believe that. It is all taken out of context b/c the gentiles are not fully secure in who they are in Christ, so it ends up being a jealousy issue for them. when did Jesus come down and stomp His foot on the Mount of Olives? Has the Mount of Olives split in any time in history? Then God is not done with Israel.. Zech 14... Romans 11.. that doctrine came about with the council of Nicene, it is not truth. Of course we love the Jewish people.. no more or less than we love anyone else.. all peoples are loved by the Lord. That is why He sent Jesus to die. But no other people on earth have the covenant with God that the Jewish people do.

Israel is the land of promise.. have you ever been there? I have.. and believe me crossing over the border from Jordan.. not a direct flight to Tel Aviv..God's presence is definitely there more than anywhere else. It hovers over it.
The mountains around Jerusalem literally spell out His name. Do you think He would forget that land He wrote His name in?

What do you say about Isaiah 66? That speaks of the prophecy that was fulfilled on May 14, 1948. 

Do you think that God would have fulfilled that prophecy if the land itself wasn't important anymore?

Why else would it be so hotly fought over? Look at Ezekiel 11, Isaiah 11, Amos 9, Romans 11, Joel 3, Zech 12, Isaiah 49:14 Isaiah 10:20-22; Jeremiah 31:1-7, 31-34; Ezekiel 6:8-10; Daniel 12:1; Hosea 2:14-20; Joel 2:31-32; Micah 7:18-20; Zephaniah 3:12-13; and Zechariah 12:10. The entire book of Romans 3 then also 9-11 especially. We as a church are called to be witness to them.. Isaiah 43 to provoke them to jealousy..is how. By going to Israel and loving their land.. it speaks to them.. especially when EVERYONE in the world is against them!

A really good teaching on it in book form is by Don Finto, My People shall be Your People.. read that. AFTER you research what the bible has to say.. not man traditional viewpoints in the church.. i.e.. Calvinists, Lutherans etc.. all have some truth but were grossly in error on Israel. It is one Word.. in the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.. it is one Testament.. not two. Fulfilled isn't done away with. (read the law, I am sure you already do most of it.. b/c the law is embodied in the statement.." with all your heart, Love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself". (Matthew 22:36-40)

This is the last end-time move of God.. joining the gentiles with the Jewish people as One New Man.. don't miss out!

It is going to be the most exciting move ever in history! Please study the Word about it.. and listen to what the Holy Spirit says.

Anyway.. as I am sure you can tell.. we will have to agree to disagree.. but you know that For Zion's sake I will not keep silent.. for her people are my people, and Her God, my God.

Job Anbalagan: 

I do agree that God had given promises to the ethnic Israel. Yes, this ethnic nation was born in 1948 according to God's prophecy. Let us Read Paul's epistle to Romans (11th chapter). Paul warned the Gentiles who were saved through the fall of Israel against pride. God is still saving the remnant Jews in our midst. Paul was a Jew saved of this remnant. We are supposed to love the Jews, the people chosen by God for the great salvation. That is why there are many evangelists working amongst them for their salvation. This does not mean that we have to take sides with their rulers in their war against their neighbors. There are indeed Christians living in the Arab world, Palestine and in places dominated by Hamas. Do you want them to be annihilated through the sword? No, God forbid. It is not the earth or the land of Israel but the nation as a people we have to love. God's glory is full of the whole world. His glory can be seen even in the Himalayan mountains also. If you had the wonderful opportunity of visiting this beautiful land, I thank God for this. But do not ascribe God's glory to a particular geographical place because the glory of the Lord is all over the earth. Moses felt the presence of God on the Mount Sinai. Today you and I cannot feel His presence by visiting this Mount. You preach a false doctrine here.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; all the earth is full of His glory. Loving the Jews does not mean going to that land and supporting the action of the political rulers of this nation in their war against their neighbors. Of course, we are bound to pray for their salvation and to preach the gospel to them.

John Macdonald :

Good post. The earth is the Lord's, not just a peice of dirt called Israel. To say God will bless us if we bless Israel, taking a word given to Abraham in Gen 12, (I will bless them that bless you, and curse them that curse you) and to use it to bring guilt an condemnation upon believers is wrong, no it's heresy, yet preachers do it all the time.

The true Israel is Christ and His body, the real Jerusalem is the corporate citizenry born from above.

Ian Johnson :


Hi Job

I think you need to think through some of the things you are saying if you are going to send out this as a prophetic message. I think you would be wise to take some time to ask the Lord what he really thinks on the matter. Meditate on Romans 11; Ephs 2:14-19 Gen 12:3 Jeremiah 31:36-37 Lev 26:44-45. Is Israel important to the Lord? Faith is mentioned 247 times in the word Israel 2566 times. I agree that there is no point in seeking life in dead buildings, but the land brother, the land is another matter entirely. I suggest you go and you will see for your self. The Lord sent Thomas to India because there was a huge Jewish population living there and his heart was and always will be that they should turn to Yeshua.

You are blessed today because he came and have been grafted into the root stock. By the way there are now several thousand Messianic believers in Israel and the number is growing every week. If you buy into replacement theology you may just miss the most prophetic event in the history of the Church. Read the book of Zechariah with fresh eyes.

He needed to get us back to the land then he will deal with us as in the book of Hosea. When he does its life from the dead for all the body.. Romans 11:13

Shalom .. Baruch hata ha shem adonai baruch hata yeshua ha messiach

Job Anbalagan
:

The Holy Spirit sent Thomas to India to evangelize the world because it was the Lord's commission that the gospel should be preached to all creatures. What was the Lord's commission? Was it to save only Jews by sending His disciples to India and other places where the Jews were staying? Yes, the Gentiles were crafted into the root stock because Jews had rejected their Messiah. It was God's plan that the whole world should be saved through Jesus Christ by the rejection of Jesus by Jews. When you do not find life of God in the perishable buildings made with men's hands, how can you find life in the land which was cursed by God when Cain killed his brother Abel? Do you find life in the physical land of Israel? Do you find heaven on the earthly Israel which kills her enemies? Do you find the Holy Spirit indwelling the rulers of Israel who kill their neighbours in the land of Palestine? Can you say that the Jews who had killed our Lord and the Jews who are now in the physical Israel who have not accepted Jesus Christ can go to Heaven?

I praise God that there are several thousands of Messianic believers in Israel because they are of the Body of Christ. I also appreciate the missionaries in Israel who are bringing this lost race to Christ's Kingdom. Let us pray for peace in the physical land of Israel. Let us love the Jews because God had chosen this race for bringing salvation to the whole world. It is the Church, and not any physical land which is important to the Lord. Please quote the verses of Hosea and we will start a debate in this regard. Will you please post your point in the discussion forum of our group?