Opinion

PILGRIMAGE TO ISRAEL – A VALUELESS INDULGENCE OF CHRISTIANS.

[August 28, 2022

This is the WORD OF LIFE by Rabbi (Dr) Johnson Idowu of THE RAPTURE ASSEMBLY aka The Assembly of Saints.

Today, at the risk of being called several unpalatable names by ignorant Christians, I wish to call attention to the valueless waste of scarce resources by Christians who struggle to go on pilgrimage to the so-called holy land of Israel ever year.

This habit was developed in both emulation of and competition with the Moslems who go on pilgrimage to their holy land of Saudi Arabia every year.

However, there is a world of difference between the pilgrimage of the Moslems and that of Christians.The Moslems go on pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina because they are enjoined to do so in their holy book, the Quran.

In Sura 2.196 it is written as follows:;”” Make pilgrimage and visit the Sacred House for Allah’s sake. If you are prevented, send your offerings as you can afford and not shave your heads until the offerings have reached their destination.” +++ And in Sura 2:197 it says: ” Pilgrimage is (in) the appointed months. He that intends to perform it in those months must abstain from sexual intercourse, obscene language and acrimonious disputes while on pilgrimage.” +++ THERE IS NO SUCH COMMANDMENT FOR CHRISTIANS. However, there is no such commandment for Christians in the Holy Bible.+++ In the Old Testament from the days of Eli the priest the children of Israel were going on pilgrimage annually, first to Shiloh (1 Samuel 1:3) and later to Jerusalem after the Ark of Covenant had been brought back to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6: 15-19) for the Feast of Tabernacles.+++ After the split of the kingdom, only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued going to Jerusalem annually for the Feast of Tabernacles because Rehoboam, the king of Israel, had led the ten tribes of Israel astray into idol worshipping to worship the golden calves which he erected in Bethel and Dan as recorded in 1 Kings 12:24-25. +++ The annual pilgrimage of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to Jerusalem continued until King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed the temple and carried majority of the people into exile in Babylon as recorded in 2 Kings chapter 25. +++ After the temple was rebuilt more then a hundred years later by Serubbabbel and company as recorded in the book of Ezra chapter 6, the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover and the other feasts resumed and continued till the era of the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ as we learn in Matthew 26:22 and John 11:55. +++ However, the pilgrimage stopped finally in AD 70 when Titus, leading the Roman army, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and killed over a million Jews and shipped off the rest into exile in many countries of the world where they were until 1948 when the present-day State of Israel was reestablished in Palestine. JESUS DID NOT COMMAND CHRISTIANS TO MAKE PILGRIMAGE TO JERUSALEM. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not instruct His disciples and followers (Christians) during His earthly ministry or after His death, resurrection and ascension , either to visit or pray at His tomb, at Golgotha, at Bethsida, at the dead sea or any other now designated sacred places, and there is no record that the apostles gave such a commandment. +++ Therefore, the modern-day pilgrimage to Israel started as a foreign exchange earning gimmick by the Israeli authorities who cashed in on the gullibility of Christians as promoted by some Christian denominations. THE COMING AUTHENTIC PILGRIMAGE TO JERUSALEM +++ The next authentic pilgrimage to Jerusalem will occur during the Millennium Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth as prophesied by Prophet Zechariah in Zech. 14:16 which states: “And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles.” +++ In the meantime, however, the Holy Spirit of God has inspired the leaders of many Christian denominations to establish annual holy festivals for all their members centrally in replication of the feast of Tabernacles, and these go by various names such as Shiloh, Tabbieorrar, Convention, Retreat etc during which all their members from various parts of the country come together to worship and sing praises to God, make their sacrifices in offerings and put their requests to Him as Hannah did on Shiloh. +++ This results in a form of pilgrimage for most of the members because of the distances of their residences and branches to the central venue of the festival. This is reasonable and desirable. IT IS VALUELESS IN CHRISTIANITY. +++ However, the current pilgrimage to Israel by Christians is a mere tourist indulgence which does not confer any spiritual or pious value to the pilgrims because it will not be counted as part of their creditable services in the vineyard of Jesus Christ on the Judgement Day. It is a mere worldly show-off to add the appellation of JP to their names. RESOURCE WASTAGE +++ It is estimated that an average of 50000 Nigerian Christians perform the pilgrimage annually at an average cost of $5000 person making a total of $250,000,000 (about 150 Trillion Naira) which is a regrettable waste of scarce foreign exchange which could have been diverted to more economically beneficial usage. +++ On individual level, such money, should have been expended on charity for widows, orphans, homeless people in Displaced Peoples Camps, and other needy people in the society, which would count as a worthwhile service for the individuals on Judgment Day as confirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ on Matthew 25: 31-39. +++ Although some Christians claim that seeing the sites of our Lord’s ministry and passion on earth reinforced their faith, I submit unequivocally that such reinforcement was a wasteful one considering the humongous amount involved. +++ Here, let me clarify that Christians going on pilgrimage to Israel are not committing any sin by so doing but they are definitely wasting money. +++ Brethren in Christ, let us learn wisdom, and stop this valueless waste of money now and divert it to creditable pursuits in the kingdom in order to earn our Lord and Saviour’s commendation Judgement Day.+++ God bless you all. – Rabbi (Dr) Johnson Idowu (Whatsapp number 08138890935 or email: rapture.assembly@gmail.com)

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