A sacrament is a religious ritual. A sacrament is a means of worship, by declaring your faith in or allegiance to the God of that religious system. The word comes from the Latin word sacramentum, and seems to signify the public oath of allegiance taken by ancient Roman soldiers. (The word sacrament does not appear in the KJV translation of the Bible that I read).
The various denominations in what might be broadly termed Christianity hold many different views on what a sacrament is, and how many there are. A sacrament can be held to be (1) a means of receiving grace or some divine gift, (2) as an act necessary to salvation, or (3) as a mere memorial. The Roman Catholics hold to seven sacraments, while Protestants and Evangelicals traditionally hold to only two, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Is visiting the “wailing wall” in Jerusalem a religious act or ritual, a sacrament? Yes. Please allow me to explain why I believe this. But first, a bit of history and theology.
First of all, the wailing wall was not a part of the Jewish temple –the temple that Jesus preached in, and which was utterly destroyed in 70 A.D. In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus teaches his disciples that the current temple would be completely destroyed, that “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down”. The so-called walling wall is still standing. Secular history records the destruction of the temple by Titus. The wailing wall was a Roman era retaining wall built around the temple mount, not a part of the temple complex. Even the Jews admit this, as in the piece The Western Wall: History & Overview from the Jewish Virtual Library that states: “it was not even part of the Temple itself, just an outer wall surrounding the Temple Mount. For the Jews, however, this remnant of what was the most sacred building in the Jewish world quickly became the holiest spot in Jewish life”. (If it is not part of the building, how is it a remnant of the building? Such is the spiritual blindness of Jews).
In case anyone cares, it appears that present days Jews refer to the western/retaining wall of the temple mount as the Kotel or Western Wall.
The Jewish nation corporately rejected and crucified the Son of God, and after his mediatoral atonement on the cross he destroyed the symbol and hub of the apostate Jewish religious system by sending the Roman armies to level it in 70 A.D. The Jews of Christ’s day, especially the ruling sect of the Pharisees, rejected not just the true core of the Mosaic law (see the 23rd chapter of Matthew), but also rejected the Christ. The temple had become the throne of the Pharisee.
Observant Jews go to the wall to pray, to leave a note/written prayer, to mourn the (God ordained) destruction of the temple and animal sacrifice system, and to long for the restoration of a glorious Jewish kingdom and temple. Jews have been going to the wailing wall for centuries, long before the UN established Israel in 1948.
During U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the state of Israel, he visited the wailing wall. He donned a yarmulke and dutifully stood before the wailing wall, placing his right hand upon the wall. His daughter Ivanka Kushner also went. But this is not new. All major dignitaries, and those hopeful of advancement, make the pilgrimage to the wall, to do obeisance in the presence of the rabbis. Obama went to the wall, as did George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush. And Bill and Hillary Clinton too. A quick Google search will reveal that your favorite world leader has very likely been there, and donned the yarmulke in the presence of the Christ rejecting rabbis. Even Rand Paul has gone, though I do not think his dad Ron ever did. And for those into Jesuit control theories, I will point out that the last three popes went to the wall also. (It appears that the popes did not have to don a yarmulke, as the little white cap they wear basically already is one).
To fly to Israel and visit the wailing wall is a pilgrimage. To stand there, in yarkmulke, and place a prayer in the wall as the rabbis watch is undeniably a sacrament –but not a Christian one! To do so is to show respect to the physical descendants of those who crucified the messiah, and who persist in that heinous error by their unbelief. To do so is to respect the Jewish religious system, a system that knows not the true God (John 8:13-20). To do so is to mourn the righteous judgment that God sent upon that people and land via the Roman armies almost two millennia ago, and is little different than mourning for Sodom and Gomorrah. To do so is to advocate for the physical restoration of the Jewish kingdom and a temple for them to reinstitute sacrifices in -that they may openly despise the once for all sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 10:8-14). Make no mistake; to do the pilgrimage to the wailing wall is a sacrament of Christ rejection.
On a side note, during his visit (on May 23) Trump also went to the Israeli holocaust museum –Yad Vashem. He embraced the official narrative of the 6 million, and proclaimed the holocaust to have been “history’s darkest hour” and that it “was the most savage crime against God and his children”. Wow. The holocaust is now basically a religion, as pointed out by many revisionist historians. From a Christian perspective the trial, rejection, humiliation, and death of the Son of God on the cross was the darkest hour in history –man’s ultimate crime and rebellion against his creator. God literally caused there to be an unnatural physical darkness, a lack of sunlight, on the land for three hours as Jesus Christ hung upon the cross; it sounds like God considered that a very dark hour. As to the children of God, in the 3rd chapter of Galatians Paul clarifies who are the true (spiritual) seed of Abraham, and inheritors of the spiritual blessings. Paul, a physical Hebrew whom Christ had redeemed, makes it clear who the children of God are –those who have been reconciled to him through faith in Christ. But I digress from the main topic of this essay…
If Trump (or any other world leader) went to Mecca, donned Islamic garb, spoke about the enduring legacy and spirit of the followers of Muhammed, and praised the past caliphates –would not any reasonable person recognize that as an act of religious reverence to Islam? Of course. Than why do Christians not recognize the pilgrimage of Trump and other nominally “Christian” politicians to the wailing wall as a Christ rejecting Judaic rite?
The pilgrimage to the wailing wall is undoubtedly a sacrament of Christ rejection, done in order to gain the favor of financially and politically powerful Jews worldwide. If your preacher has not taught you simple stuff like this, maybe you should check out what else he is teaching you?
© Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam of Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.