Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem ...


Joh 4:21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
Joh 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Joh 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

A popular misconception:

99.99% of the Christians expect that some day Jesus will come down from heaven on clouds and will set up His kingdom on earth with its capital at Jerusalem and will reign from there (for a 1000 years? OR till infinity? They are not very sure.)

Those who hold the view that the present city of Jerusalem in the Gaza strip will become the capital of the Kingdom of God mixes up passages mentioning New Jerusalem from the book of Isaiah to arrive at their conclusion.

Do we have anything to do with earthly Jerusalem?

Many say, Yes! But Apostle Paul says: No! I say: NO.

Please do read Gal 4:22-31. Here Paul is talking about the two wives of Abraham (Sarah and Agar) and the two sons born in them (Isaac and Ishmael, respectively) and tells us that we are the children of the free woman and we are are the children of promise.

Gal 4:25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
Gal 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Gal 4:28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Gal 4:31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. Please tell me, if we are the children of the free woman, what we have to do with the bond woman (the slave woman)?

Look at verse 30:
Gal 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.

The children of the bond woman (earthly Jerusalem) are to be cast out. Do you really think that you are part of the ones to be cast out?

Have you noticed the "and now is" in Joh 4:23?
Joh 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

In verse 21 Jesus said the hour comes when you shall not worship God in this mountain or in Jerusalem, now in verse 23 Jesus says that hour is NOW - as he was speaking, some 2000± years ago (not as you are reading it).

Unlike futurist views, Jesus was already stating that the time has come that the old system of worship (sacrifices, offerings) move out of Jerusalem and people start offering spiritual worship.

Is heavenly Jerusalem yet in the future?

Many think of heavenly Jerusalem as a 1500 x 1500 x 1500 miles cube that has to come down and sit atop the earth, in some future date.
Rev 21:16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 
(12,000 furlongs = 1500 miles or 2414 kilometers)

The author of the epistles to Hebrews tells his first century audience or readers or addressees of the letter:

Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering

What KJV says as "ye are come" (present tense) is rendered as "you have come" (present perfect tense) in ESV, NIV and many other translation.

If the first century readers of Hebrews have already come to the heavenly Jerusalem, is it not logical to think that heavenly Jerusalem existed then itself?

Can anyone show a few versions / translations that say "you will come to heavenly Jerusalem"? Is there a way to prove that the heavenly Jerusalem of Heb 12:22 is not the same as the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven in:
Rev 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

If you are the children of the Jerusalem which is above (obviously heavenly, Gal 4:26) is it not imperative that your mother (the heavenly New Jerusalem) should exist before you become her child?

Frankly, my siblings in Christ, there is not a shred of evidence that the heavenly Jerusalem is yet in the future.

Worship in Spirit and Truth - my understanding.

Many understand "worshiping in spirit" as screaming and shouting.

In the passage mentioned at the top of this article (Joh 4:21-23) Jesus differentiates between the worship forms in earthly Jerusalem and in the heavenly Jerusalem. As we see from the Old Testament, the worship in the earthly Jerusalem involved animal sacrifices which cannot take away sins.
Heb 10:4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Heb 10:11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

These sacrifices were part of the law of Moses which was a shadow of the truth, that is Christ.
Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

And the blood of Christ is the one which takes away the sins of the world.
Mat 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (See also: Eph 1:7, Col 1:14, Rom 3:25)
This is the TRUTH. Jesus is the lamb that takes away the sins of the world. (Joh 1:29)

And, as for Spiritual worship:

Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
 My siblings in Christ, worshiping in spirit is not about screaming and shouting. It is about submitting to the will of God as living sacrifices, not laying down your life for any cause.
There are many Christians out there who zealous, seeking to serve God, but Jesus said:
This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. Joh 6:29

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal

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