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Thursday 20 October 2022

Holy Land?

Image: Unsplash

Just because God put his temple in Jerusalem for a stretch of history, does not make it a permanent Holy place. 

Remember, under united Israel, the original Holy Place where God put his name was Shiloh: 

"8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord. 12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim" (Jeremiah 7:8-15).

God removed his holy name from Shiloh, because of Israel's sin. He removed it from Jerusalem for the same reason. His own Son, the Son of God, quoted this passage himself when predicting judgement on the Temple, I bet you recognize it. There is no such thing as inherently holy soil. 

The Temple where God's name now resides is in his people, the whole Church, Jew and Gentile, all who believe, all who confess his name. There are no holy lands from the time of Jesus. Only holy people, washed clean by his sacrifice for them. Peoples inability to accept this is the reason the conflict in Gaza is so seemingly eternal. 

Australia has no say in stopping this. And should not be meddling in such unsinkable foreign affairs. But Christians have to stop encouraging this meddling. Our hope, the hope of anyone who believes, is not in real estate anywhere, not even ancient lands that our Lord once walked. Our hope is in the eternal Canaan, the eternal Promise Land, heaven. No earthly ground is inherently holy. 

Another way to say this is this: it's holy ground wherever God's people are, because where two or three gather in his name, there is the Lord, there is the land called by his name. The correct Christian view of Israel is this: it is a mission field like any other, until Jesus returns. Paul himself said as much about his people. Who are we to say the Palestinian who calls Jesus Lord has any less claim to be there, than the Israelite who says Jesus is not? Are not the blessings of the Promise for those who believe, not those who don't?

"15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ" (Gal. 3:15-16).

Those in Christ enjoy the fulfilment of his promises.

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