SACRED & SPECIAL PLACES: A discussion. 15 JAN 2017

My previous post described places in nature where I would commune with God. It got me thinking that a discussion of sacred & special sites might be worth having…it might encourage others to share some of their own experiences with the same thing. Have you had a mountain top experience? Some people have actually given their lives to Christ on the top of mountains! Did the awesomeness of creation speak to you?? The Word of God says that God’s creation is so magnificent, that men are without excuse if they do not see Him.(A)

NO PLACE LIKE HOME… and one’s home area, and homeland. For me the homeland of my grandparents in Kansas and the original homeland back in Lower Saxony always had special meaning. Where was your homeland?? For those who had good memories of growing up, the house we were raised in has special sentimental significance…and if you were Amish, it would even hold spiritual significance as the place where church met (once or twice a year as meetings rotated through the domiciles of the congregation), and the place where your family knelt & spoke their devotional prayers together before retiring to bed each night. People may move away from their hometown, only to come back decades later to spend the evening of their lives.

NATURALLY “SACRED” SITES. It is not difficult to realize why some geographic sites became sacred–the places are special in their own right. Here in Oregon we have the stunningly beautiful Crater Lake with crystal clear water. It is no surprise then that the local natives view it as sacred. Devil’s Tower (NE
Wyoming), Mt. Shasta, the Grand Canyon & the rocks of Sedona are all awe inspiring sites, which were also viewed as sacred & continue to inspire awe. And of course New Age occultism find these sites attractive & helpful for their spiritual work. I grew up in Nepal, and there were places & mountains that were magnificent in their beauty. The Himalayan region, where I grew up, has its share of naturally occurring spiritual sites…the Tibetans reverence all mountains as sacred, but one mountain in particular, Mt. Kailash (Kailāśa –कैलास– in Sanskrit), is considered sacred to all the different religions of the region (incl. Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, the Bon Tibetans, & others). All kinds of holy people are associated with the mountain, which kind of looks from one angle like a pyramid, & pilgrims from various religions trek there to circle the base, as the mountain is thought to be the spiritual center of the universe, and held too holy to climb. I have to mention the holy Ganges River, where people are constantly throwing the cremated ashes of their loved ones, to add to the river’s abundant filth.

SACRED BECAUSE GOD IS THERE. Perhaps while you were in nature, you decided to have a quiet time of devotion with God, and the place became a special sacred site to you. I know this has happened to me a number of times. I am reminded of Moses & the burning bush; the ground became sacred because of God’s divine presence. I don’t think it was an accident, that the transfiguration took place on a mountain. I think Christ was very aware of the spiritual significance & dynamics of the different places he travelled. He was also sensitive when he was in a spiritually dark area. When touristing the holy land, it is the sense that God or Christ was here in person which makes a whole number of places special. I loved visiting Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, Jericho, Bethlehem, the River Jordan, & Mt. Tabor because I knew Christ had been there doing things. One walks over spiritual history, and one senses it. Over the traditional site where Christ was buried, they built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (first built in 335 A.D.), and then divided the church evenly between 6 denominations. One can see where Abraham & Sarah are buried at Hebron; and where Jesus spoke at Jacob’s Well (in Nablus) with a Samaritan woman.(B) One can see the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem where Christ healed a man.(C) The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is buried over the traditional cave (manger) where Christ was born. It was originally built in 339 A.D. Of course, I visited it when I was at the town of Bethlehem. (And I was sad to learn later how the IDF shot it up with uzis.) Pilgrims love to immerse themselves in the Jordan River…which in recent years has been overused for water by Israel and is now a streamlet, not so good for immersion as it once was.

SPECIAL SITES AFTER YAHSHUA. Christ’s disciples took off to convert the World, and the traditional sites they visited have been special–even sacred to later Christians. Thomas set up a church in India, which is still there. During Roman Empire, the Isle of Patmos did not have a regular population, rather it was used by the Romans as a place to exile troublemakers…and this is where they sent the youngest of the 12 disciples, John, for a period of exile. John lived in a cave on Patmos, and later in the 300 A.D.s, a church/then monastery was build over the cave. What’s interesting is that is where John got the apocalyptic revelations that are collected in our final book of the Bible: Revelations. Christ’s revelation to John on Patmos has features similar to what he gave on the Mt. of Olives (recorded in MT 24): anti Christs, wars, famines, and extraordinary earthquakes. The elite are trying to unleash the horrors of Revelation’s seals of judgment on the World. (Not all prophecies are from the book of Revelations, for instance, Ezekiel’s prophecies are used to talk about the rebirth of Israel, and the upcoming coalition of nations that invade Israel.) So there are many other prophetic books or parts of books…and yet nothing pulls it all together as well as Christ’s revelation given to John on Patmos Isle. John, also according to tradition, stopped at Klement near Mt. Athos, Macedonia. The remoteness of Mt. Athos attracted Christians over the centuries who felt the large mountain was a great setting to draw close to God. In the 3rd century (200s), Christians began to built churches there. In the 9th century, a decree made the mountain off limits to all except Christian monks. The mountain is home now to 20 monasteries.

FURTHER CHRISTIAN SITES. As Christian missionaries moved into the pagan British Isles…they discovered places that seemed ideal to commune with God. Patrick (St. Patrick) when he came to pagan Ireland to bring them to Christ he spent 40 days on Mt. Croach Patrick praying against the spiritual forces holding Ireland captive. The mountain has been sacred to Christians after Patrick’s prayers on the mountain top were successful in breaking the dark powers over Ireland. Three islands were found by the Christians to be ideal for communing with Christ: Devenish Island (Ireland), Iona (Scotland), & Lindisfarne (Eng.). Monasteries were built at each of them, and pilgrims have gone to these sites for centuries to draw close to God. I’ll mention one additional type of sacred site found in Christian Europe, places where the Archangel Michael was said to repeatedly appear at. One is Apulia, Italy and another is Mont St. Michel Is. (Normandy, Fr.). There are many other special places that have gained significance for Christians. I am on purpose not mentioning sites in Europe that have been attractive to the dark forces…there are many of those, & some of you have heard me mention some of them in talks.

FINAL THOUGHT. So if you have discovered a special place and want to share how it has blessed your life, please share it on the thread for us to enjoy. Be blessed my friend, and may you find a place where you can meet the divine.

(A) ROM 1:20 (B) the account of Jesus w/ the Samaritan woman at the well is JN 4:5-6 (C) JN 5:1-15


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