Listen to Pastor Mike Ericson, of Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church in Des Moines, Iowa explain the joys of Zion, the fortress of the living God, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the enduring city which will outlast any photos and trinkets we could ever return with from the “holy land”.

For clarification, Pastor Erickson is only responsible for the sermon preached. I am responsible for all of the writing which is related to but not a summary of his sermon. Pastor Erickson says nothing about Holy Land Trips in His Sermon.

Isaiah 2:3:  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Contrast this with the “Free Holy Land Trips” offered by some churches, ministers, and talk show hosts to those who can recruit others to pay thousands of dollars to visit the places were Jesus and the apostles walked: Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Golgotha (Calvary). These businesses or ministries frequently offer promises not only of personal enjoyment or historical intrigue, but also spiritual enlightenment.  They advertise themselves as “Roots of your faith” tours, and as opportunities to “walk in his footsteps”:

 “In Jerusalem, we will visit the city’s abundant biblical and historical sites, and spiritually connect with God’s Promised Land”.

“Witness the miracle for yourselves”.

“Do you want to experience what your Faith means to you in your life?”

“Do you want to see the Word come alive?”

These are temptations to think there is more to be learned from visiting some physical location than walking through the pages of Scripture. But these earthly cities are places of spiritual desolation now; the Spirit and Glory of God has departed and God’s judgment has come. They were but shadows of the reality which is in Christ and His church. The Christian, however, has “come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22).  

Jesus taught the woman at the well, that the time has come…

 “when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21ff)      

 Galatians 4:21-27 is also relevant here:

 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?  For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

And note that this is not only future.  The Christian has already come to Mt Zion. And unlike these “holy land” trips, the Jerusalem above is “free”.  The Bible teaches that the kingdom of God is both now and not yet. The Holy Spirit is given both as a “deposit” (or down payment or earnest money) and as “first fruits” (see Deuteronomy 26:9-11, Ephesians 3:11f) of our inheritance.

Revelation 21:9-11, 22:17:  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal… {22:17} And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

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