When I first entered
Jerusalem, I sensed a dominant religious spirit over the region. It appeared heavy and oppressive. I thought that my imagination might be getting the best of me until Ron Cantor, a Christian missionary who has worked in the country for years, said that he noticed the same thing in his spirit when he visits
Jerusalem. As I looked around at all of the people, I saw many beautiful people in a very hard land. One day the team visited the
Mount area. The Burnt House museum told the story of the Temple destruction and the families who worked at the
Temple. It seems that most of the
City’s population was priests who lived among the aristocracy and worked in the
Temple. Although influential among the governing class, they were abhorred by the masses that considered them corrupt. This illustrates what Jesus said when he condemned those in the
Temple for turning it into a “den of thieves and robbers.” The Jews and the
Temple were meant to be a light of God’s love to the world. Instead, they lost the focus of their mission. They began to use the
Temple for their own ends. The leaders became proud and exploited even their own people.
The Talmud records the following about the Temple destruction, “The Second
Temple period, whence Torah was studied, its commandments observed, and acts of loving kindness were performed – why was it destroyed? Because of unwarranted hatred which is as bad as idol worship, incest and murder.”
A plaque in the museum identified idol worship, incest and murder as the reasons for the destruction of the first
Temple. After King Solomon, Israel lost its way, and God allowed the
Temple to be destroyed.
The plaque blamed the second
Temple destruction on hatred. While it is true that the Romans were angry at the Jews and irrational hatred caused them to take extreme measures, this does not tell the whole story.
The Holy Spirit impressed the following on me while I looked at the plaque, “I allowed the destruction of the
Temple because the symbol had become polluted by religiosity and the greed of the ruling elite. It no longer functioned as my light to the world. I brought a new light in the person of Jesus. The new
Temple would no longer be a physical building. Today, it is the human heart filled with my Spirit. If the
Temple still stood, my people would be tempted to worship it instead of me. The
Temple was destroyed so that people could experience the fullness of my glory on the earth.”
This was a powerful moment for me. The Holy Spirit caused me to see that while millions of people from around the world come to worship in Jerusalem, every space is sacred ground when you are the
Temple. This reality changes everything. It causes every new day, every conversation, and every challenge to have a sense of spiritual significance.
There is no such thing as sacred vs. secular. Everything becomes spiritual for those who walk in the Spirit. This does not cheapen what it means for something to be of the spirit. No, it elevates every moment to be a time when you experience oneness with God.
Probably, the greatest thing I learned in Israel is that true believers are the
God. Where ever our feet go is holy ground.