My Pilgrimage Experience – JD Ephraim

I still have reminiscences of my pilgrimage to the holy land of Isreal, some years ago. It was very exciting.

The land of the Bible came out very vividly.One was truly blessed.
War recently broke out between Isreal and Hamas, a Palestinian militant group. Hamas is reacting against the intention to expel some Palestinians at the fringes of East Jerusalem. The Palestian authority which is a recognised body of the Palestinians is under the keadership of Mamud Abass. Mamud Abbas has not declared war against Isreal. But the militant group started by sending misiles indiscriminately from Gaza into Isreal. It would seem there is competition between Mamud Abbas and Hamas , the militant grouo , for recognition as saviour of the Palestinian people. Isreal had to respond by intercepting those misiles and bombarding specific structures where the suspected Hamas is. It is not an all-oit war but if things continue as they are, there could be escalation into full scale war. What can we do, but to pray for the peace (not war), of Jerusalem. Even pockets of Palestinians within Isreal have reacted to the intended evictions which has tended towards violence. So the Isreali forces are facing two forces- one inside Isreal (by the Palestinians) and the Hamas in the Gaza strip. What all Christians are taught is to stand for, and pray for, the peace of Jerusalem. It is the chosen place by God where he appeared physically through Yeshua, the Messiah. It is also where all nations of the earth will gather when Yeshua returns again, in the last days for judgement. May their enemies know not peace until they give Isreal peace. We have seen the hand , or the work of God among his chosen people Isreal. We have seen how YHWH had always been with them right from time past. He punishes them when they err and forgives them when they repent. God is supposed to be their ruler although they asked for and got earthly Kings. Although most of them are Jews, practising the ancient religion of Judaism, a few of them are now Christians- the messianic Jews. There are ample prophesies narrating how they will be saved in the last days. How, we do not know .A good number of them are turning to Christianity today . We are praying for them. Not only them, but the whole of ECCLESIA. It was the desire of Yeshua that they may be one. HALLILUAIAH, Maranatha- Yeshua is coming.

Nigerians have started again, reading religion into the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians. While the Jews and the Palestinians fight over land, Nigerians here read religious war into it. This is due to ignorance of the middle-eastern politics. I would boldly say that the Christians have not taken sides on the basis of religion because the Jews practice Judaism and not Christianity. They are perplexed when Christians say Yeshua had come and paid the price as the Lamb of God for the salvation of mankind, The prayer is on the basis of God’s command that we should stand on the side of his people, in peace time and in war time, not because we encourage their wars but because we have been commanded to “PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF YERUSHALEIM. Whether anybody likes it or not , they are the chosen people of God. God had been with the Jews right from the time of Abraham and his son Isaac , Yaqub, down to the line of the prophets of old, as narrated in the holy scriptures. God had since then regretted the fall of man, since Adam and Eve and had devised a way to save mankind from his coming wrath. That is why he sent part of him, who took on, human flesh and was part man and part God. The purpose of his human appearance was to pay the price for our sins. The doctrine of the Trinity is what most non Christians do not understand.Even for Christians it seems a complicated doctrine. They do not, because if they checked the Bible, there is no where the Trinity is mentioned. It is based on scholastic understanding of the reality of God. But it had been there since the begining of creation. God had not granted us knowledge of things before creation but if things at creation. From the holy books we know that Jesus was there from the begining and there was nothing that was created without him. He was the word and proceeded from the father. His duty was to act as sacrificial lamb donated by God, to mankind, and not to Christians alone. Christians are emphasised , because their name is taken from Christ, because they believe and have accepted the teachings of Christ for living.

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In the same holy scriptures, we learnt of the existence of the Holy Spirit. It says, that in the begi ing the spirit hovered around the seas and earth until further creations were made. C hristians also know the spirit as the” comforter” which Jesus oromised would come after he had depsrted earth and ascended to heaven
Tat comforter came and descended on the apostles as they were waiting in a room as Jesus instructed. It marked the begining of Christianity. So, we learnt of the presence of the three persons in one — God-head the father, God-head the son and God-the holy spirit all of the three making one. That is the arithmetic of God : one plus One, plus One, equals one and not three. There is one God- head and not three Gods. By the Trinity you are describing various ASPECTS OF ONE GOD . Just as you have different parts of the human body doing different things. You can not say those parts are separate, and detached from the human being. No. They are one, doing different things, but there is only one God-head. Jesus , a part of God, came to the earth, via the flesh, as a sacrificial lamb of God, to save mankind, from total destruction. I say, mankind, because it was not stated that Jesus came for Christians alone. There was only one condition given to mankind : and it is that whoever, (and not just Christians), but whoever BELIEVES SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. So, there is hope for those who believe. But one thing flows consequentially , from the other. YOU CAN NOT BELIEVE IN JESUS AND FAIL TO OBEY WHAT HE TEACHES, OR WHAT HE TAUGHT. That would be unbelieve. With unbelieve, one is not qualified.

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I am inclined to think, (I say I think), that the Prophet Mohammed had the issue of salvation in his mind when he admonished Muslims that the nearest people to them were the Jews ( people of the BOOK ) , and Christians. Judaism and later, Christianity, had existed many centuries before the prophet’s birth. We are also told he taught his followers to accept all the prophets of old – including Jesus and his teachings. There must have been a basis for all those statements. The Prophet could not have been leading his people astray. In fact, he had a certain Jewish woman as wife apart, from his close interactions with the Jews and Judaism of his time. An interesting part of it is that when you consider certain Islamic practices., one may safely say they are also there in Judaism. Judaism is the ancient religion of the Jews, there are similarities in the religious practices of both Islam and Judaism. Socially and culturally speaking as well, the closest to the Jews are the Arabs- both in terms of culture and geography. They are offspring of the same parent– Abraham. While the Jews came from Isaac, the Arabs came from Ishmael.

The glorious Qur’an has taken copiously from the TORAH , and we are told by spiritual revelstions to Prophet Mohammed, The Torsh is the same book the Jews have used from time immemorial. Not only that, both have taken from the books of the law and the prophets. What Christians have in addition, is the new testament which the Muslims have devoted entirely to Suratul Mariam- the mother of Jesus. Then why are we condemning ourselves ? Jesus taught believe, and his messianic mission was, or is, to all of mankind. Both faiths are aware of his teachings. One of them was that Jesus was the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the father, except through him. That is the teaching mankind should accept. All other things are artificial labelling, and are supposed to serve as only means to an end which is salvation of mankind.
If that is the case then, we have all failed. We do mot live according to the teachings in the holy scriptures. We mouth religion alone, but it is mot in our hearts. But God is ever merciful. He looks to the heart and forgives a truly repentant heart.

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God had promised the Jews since Abraham’s time, to leave his country It of the Chalmers, located in the present Syria, and Abrahim obeyed and moved to where the Jews are. It was mot empty land. It was God’s promise. Who is any one to question God’s justice ? He owns everything, including us . How can the pot turn and query the Potter, complaining how he was made ? That would be ungratefulness. Can anybody question God ? He created all of us and loves all of us, if only we will turn from our evil deeds and repent.
Christians do not pray for war in Jerusalem . They pray for peace. But it is not only for Isreal alone, but for the whole world.

Why are we killing ourselves in Nigeria on the basis of religious symbolism alone while people We are supporting are fighting for land. That had been the story of the middle-east right from the begining. Christians are taught to tear their hearts and not their clothes ( what is important to God is the heart and not symbols ). That will show true repentance and God loves those who truly repent.Let all stop religious hypocrisy and live according to the commands of God.God is not interested in your religious dressing but is interested in your heart and your soul.

Joshua D EPHRAIM writes from Abuja.

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