When we were in Jerusalem, an Arab taxi driver wanted to take us to Bethlehem. We refused. He was even more surprised that, not only would we never go there, but we don't celebrate the pagan festival called "Christmas" , which might as well be called "Christless." We were also surprised to find that the Lord wasn't really a Jew, as we had always supposed.....(!) -see footnote.
Hordes of tourists were in Jerusalem, arriving like sheep to be fleeced. By the time they escape the Arab bazaars they are not disappointed, having been truly shorn of their Dollars. For Christmas, of course, is the world's biggest marketing opportunity and certainly not one to be ignored in the most religious city in the world.
You can tell this by the number of bearded folk of different faiths and denominations, wandering round looking as if they had just swallowed a spoonful of something nasty.Their holiness is measured solely by the length of their beards and at least 18 inches is required for you to get your face on a poster, posed with a thoughtful expression. Perhaps calculating the latest "take," for big and small money is what makes the city roll on.
The small money is what they hope you will thrust into their mitts as you beat your way through the religious beggars to the Wailing Wall. "Go out and do a day's work" is my thought as I tug my hand away from their grasp. The big money- as ever- is in organised religion, the very spirit and type of religious hypocrisy that so hated our Lord and demanded his execution 2,000 years ago.
So as you wander round Jerusalem you come across numerous religious organisations and headquarters, from Syrian Coptic to Catholic, Muslim to Greek Orthodox, all with the black-robed ones in attendance. They follow the Lord of love so closely that they have been known to battle it out with staves at The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where every foot of space is jealously guarded. Woe betide any rival robe who sets foot outside his few square yards of territory, for he may well be blessed with a crack on the head. In love, of course. The so-called "Christians" at this church are so disputatious that a Moslem family has to have the keys to the building in a bid to keep the peace. They have held this post for many years, a comment on the real nature of the major "Christian" denominations.
So, being against the spirit that condemned our Lord, we have no desire to be guided round ornate buildings to the sound of funeral music. Gilt and glitter do not impress us, nor does Manger Square in Bethlehem- a Palestinian marketing exercise where, even at "Christmas" you would be hard put to catch a true believer if you cast a large net over the whole place. This is where the blood-stained, utterly evil and repulsive Yasser Arafat dared to speak of "our Jesus Christ," who to this day is claimed by the so-called Palestinians- a race of people who never existed in history-as the first Palestinian freedom fighter.
I would pay good money not to visit Bethlehem to encourage people like this. Religious sights are also meaningless, although the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall which is the only remaining fragment of the Second Temple, is of historic interest. The Lord is not there now - the Shekina glory has gone.
I managed to get onto the Temple Mount. Funny that it's not called the mosque mount, as Moslems deny there ever was a temple there and have done their best to eradicate all traces of it. It's a huge area, with the Dome of the Rock the best known feature, although the world's largest mosque is here, underground. You get lots more beards up here, but these belong to Islamic holy men. Make the most of it, I thought - your time is about up. Some say the Third Temple could be build up there alongside the Islamic structures. I don't believe it. Something dramatic will happen to remove all the false religion. This is an earthquake zone, remember.
One day the Lord will be back, to rule and reign from this city of the Great King. We went up to the Mount of Olives, now just a vast graveyard, where one day His feet will again walk. Below us was the Kidron Valley, which He traversed on the way to His trial. Right now the whole area is rubbish strewn, untidy, unimpressive and full of shysters. Not very holy, but much like the world at large. Britain is not so different.
This will soon change. Injustice, religious posing, false faiths- the Mormons have a huge complex here-all have a limited lifespan. They will soon be swept away in the awesome events about to engulf the world. The holy men here seem unaware of all this, although it is clearly set out in the Jewish scriptures. When we talk to Jewish people about their own prophets there is usually a look of incomprehension. Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah -all the prophecies about the state of Israel being reformed- they seem to have passed many people by here.
They have never heard it before! What are the rabbis doing? The same thing the so-called priests of the Church of England are doing: as little as possible, while enjoying social status and the respect of society.
Their time is about to be up! The Lord will be here soon! Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus!
Footnote: Meanwhile, persecuted Messianic believers in Israel need your help and support. Gifts of great beauty and scriptural relevance are available via this website, which is run by and sells items made by Messianic believers in Israel: http://www.israelunique.com/ Practical assistance towards the costs of their fellowship can also be sent via this site.
- Second footnote. When I wrote about Jesus "not being Jewish" I was of course being ironic. Unfortunately some readers have not understood this. Of course He was Jewish! However, the so-called "Palestinians," a people who have never existed in history, claim the Lord as "the first Palestinian freedom figher." So much for their grip on reality!
- Third footnote: I am available to speak to any church in America or the UK which invites me. But hurry as bookings are coming in fast for 2015. My contact address is email@example.com