The Jerusalem Debate: BUT, WHAT SHOULD WE DO?????

By Bob Parham


I understand that my responses to the Eleven Objections against going to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage Feasts still leave some HUGE questions for every one that is still in the Diaspora.

What SHOULD we do?  Do we still celebrate the feasts as though we were in Jerusalem?   Should we not meet at all?   Are we sinning if we do or don’t do the feasts outside of Jerusalem?

Wow, these are some major questions! I’m not sure that I have perfect answers for them, either.  First and foremost, you need to take this to your Father and ask Him to reveal truth to you. Second of all, maybe I can give you some ideas to consider.

If I were still in America instead of being in The Land, I don’t think I would want to participate in a glorious celebration like I would if I were in The Land.  I think:

  •  I wouldn’t have a big ‘production’ or pay a lot of money for a celebration elsewhere.
  • If I were to meet with a group of people it would be to teach about the feasts and call the people to mourn, because we weren’t in Jerusalem where we should be.

MOURN?   Isn’t it a time of rejoicing?mourning

Yes, it is a time of rejoicing when you are in Jerusalem doing the feasts.  But even though we are blessed with the privilege of going to Jerusalem, even THEN we still don’t spend it all in rejoicing.   Why?   Because we still can’t keep all the commands concerning the feasts.   We spend time mourning for Jerusalem, the Temple and Israel, for the people and the land.

Zephaniah 3:16-20 – (16) In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: 
“Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.  (17) “The Lord your God is in your midst,
 a victorious warrior.
   He will exult over you with joy, 
He will be quiet in His love,
 He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.  (18) “I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts—
They came from you, O Zion; 
The reproach of exile is a burden on them.  (19) “Behold, I am going to deal at that time
 with all your oppressors, 
I will save the lame 
and gather the outcast, 
and I will turn their shame into praise and renown
 in all the earth.  (20)  “At that time I will bring you in,
 even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise 
among all the peoples of the earth,
 when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,”
 says the Lord. 

  • I would encourage those who can afford to go and who are physically able to go, TO GO!   I would help by connecting them with other people that are also able to go.
  •  I would encourage those who can’t afford to go, or who physically can’t go to Jerusalem to have it be their heart’s desire to go even though they can’t.  Yes, there are many people and families who physically or financially CAN’T go to Jerusalem for the feast three times a year – or even once a year – or even once in a lifetime.  BUT all of our hearts can and should be in Jerusalem.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.   (Psalms 84:5)

  • I would encourage those who can’t afford to go or who physically can’t go to Jerusalem to send their tithes with someone who IS going to Jerusalem.  Is there a way for us all to go?  Yes!  We can send our tithe with someone else that is going to Jerusalem.  We can even band together financially and send congregational representatives each year – perhaps one year it will be YOUR turn!  In this way, we can ALL go to Jerusalem in heart and spirit!  [1]

David really wanted to build the temple but Yah told him he couldn’t because his hands were stained with blood (1Chron 28:3).   So David gave his son, Solomon, the plans and the materials for building the temple even though he himself couldn’t build it.  HIS HEART WAS THERE!  It is taught that YAH credited David with building the temple, because his heart was there! (1 Kings 8:17-18 and 2 Chronicles 6:7-8)

Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 8 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. (2Chronicles 6:7-8)

It would be my opinion that if Yah would give credit to David for doing something he didn’t do even though it was in his heart, then Yah could credit you with doing something you didn’t do if it is in your heart. This is why I don’t believe that anyone should say that they can’t go to Jerusalem!  If it is in your heart to go to Jerusalem, but physically you can’t, it’s my personal belief that Yah can give you credit for going, if the desire is in your heart.

David showed that it was in his heart by giving to the project even though he had been prohibited from participating in the actual building. If you give your tithes to go to Jerusalem, then you get to go to Jerusalem through your tithe and the one who carried it for you.

That leaves NO excuse, doesn’t it?

Is it a sin to do or not do the feasts outside of Jerusalem?

That’s the toughest question of all.

What is sin?  “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4).   So, breaking a Torah command is sin.

We could keep going listing up to 613 more Torah commands. Yes they are all Torah commands.   So, we see:

  • If I don’t eat kosher, is it a sin?  Yes.
  • If I don’t keep the Sabbath, is it a sin?  Yes.

And we could go through the other almost 600-plus commands as well and ask the same question and get the same answer.

But how did you answer the 4th listed above?  If I don’t go to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage feasts, is it a sin?   It is a Torah command to go.

Yeah, but I wasn’t ABLE to go!!!! Did I really sin?

Yes I did sin by not going! It was unintentional, but still a sin.  I believe that my present inability to fully obey the commands regarding the Pilgrimage Feasts is due to the sins of our fathers.  We have to participate in the consequences of their sin until Yah takes us out of the Diaspora or makes a way for us to keep all the commands related to observing His Feasts in Jerusalem.

Shouldn’t we be mourning, then, during this time?  Yes we should.

Do you WANT to go?

But again, is it in your heart to WANT to go to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage Feasts?   If it is, then maybe Yah, in His mercy, might not see your sin so much, but instead He may see your desire to obey His commands.   Maybe Yah looks at you in Diaspora and says, “You did well that it was in your heart.”   You sent your tithe.  You joined with others to help send someone who wanted to go but couldn’t afford it. (Maybe they will return the favor next year!)  You helped watch the animals and homes of those who were going. You prayed for those who were going that they would meet with Yah while they are there.  You sent your prayers and your heart with those who were going.


I pray that Yah blesses you with the right answer. It’s in His Word. Don’t listen to man’s excuses.  Listen to Yah’s Spirit and His Word to do what is right in His eyes.


[1]  To whom (or where) do the tithes go?  Scripture instructs us to use the tithe to get to the feast and to purchase whatever we need or desire in order to participate in the Feast!  (Deut 14:22-23, Deut 14:26, etc.) We’re also to use the tithe to help others without resources to celebrate with joy and feasting.  Some of the offerings were to go to the priests and Levites – for these, we find it meaningful to donate to the Temple Institute, which is in the process of training priests and Levites.  Or you might want to donate to the Red Heifer Project, which will result in priests being able to minister.  There are lots of options for those who truly want to participate as Yah intended in the joy of the feasts!


© Bob Parham, Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2016.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt  and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, as well as to the original author (in this case Bob Parham) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


5 thoughts on “The Jerusalem Debate: BUT, WHAT SHOULD WE DO?????”

  1. Reblogged this on Glory to YHVH and commented:
    It is ultimately between you and YHVH/Yeshua, however, consider what it says and check yourself (remove the log from your own eye before attempting to remove the speck from your brother’s eye)


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bob Parham has covered a lot of ground in his presentation on whether believers should (or must) go to Jerusalem three times a year for three defined festivals. In one of his objections, he cites the issue of when you “come into the land.”

        It is true that for Shavuot (in Lev 23:10), the count process of 50 days starts with the first grain harvest when you “come into the land.” This phrase “come into the land” appears some 28 times in the KJV and often is associated with the agriculture of produce from the fields.

        Since the law was given while Yisrael was in the Exodus wanderings, I can see that that stipulation of when you come into the land had to be expressed in the giving of the commandment. YHWH did not stipulate the planting and harvesting of crops while the people were in the wilderness.

        The law had to have that statement as applicable once the people had some permanence of habitation, land and crops. Otherwise, the statement is virtually irrelevant since Israel even observed the weekly Sabbath and annual festivals while they were in the wilderness as a duty and commandment (per Ex 20 and Deut 16). Of course, they could not observe the harvest aspects and associated offerings in the wilderness.

        Regardless, religious Jews and many believers of the old Church of God Seventh Day (from the days of a former Seventh day Adventist preacher named G. G. Rupert in c1911 CE; who was a big promoter and advocate of the annual feast days of Lev 23) have always kept the feasts wherever they were located without regard to having to go to Jerusalem to keep them; and therefore without regard to the harvest aspects and harvest offerings.

        The specifics of exactly how the feasts were determined calendar wise and how they were observed did differ from time to time with different groups; but the principle of keeping the feasts always applied to those persons—wherever they were physically situated (of course, minus the crop offerings since there is no Temple for the required offerings). Certainly the commandment to keep the feasts is present in Deuteronomy 16.

        Manifestly, the in the land phrase has relevance in the vein of being in the land, raising crops and going to Jerusalem to the Temple to make the required sacrifices and offerings. Without a Temple, one must wonder what would be the purpose in going to Jerusalem.

        For those persons wanting to hang their hat on that phrase on being in the land; it must be said that in those instances that it is mandatory in the form of a commandment—along with the sacrifices and offerings. Religious Jews long ago counted some 613 express commandments (365 negative and 248 positive) in the Torah (called mitzwot in the Hebrew).

        It is hard to fathom that a true believer would willingly violate a mitzwah/commandment. While one might try to argue about a non commandment and say it is permissive or optional, he cannot argue with those expressed as mitzwot. They are mandatory as sin questions.

        As yours truly was involved long ago (1968-1971) with the old Worldwide Church of God (WWCG), I became a feast day keeper at that time. Other than one time in my life when I was in Jerusalem (for Shavuot in 1975); I have never been concerned with any duty that I had to be in Jerusalem. I would add that I and the people I have known have mostly been so poor that going to Jerusalem for the feasts has been totally out of the question.

        The old WWCG and likely other feast day observers tied the going to Jerusalem idea to Deuteronomy 16:5-7 which demands that the Passover lamb be sacrificed and eaten in the place where YHWH may choose to place HIS name. In the Tanakh, the place that YHWH has put HIS name is always Jerusalem—specifically at or near the Temple in Jerusalem.

        Deuteronomy 16:16 goes even further and stipulates going to Jerusalem to the place YHWH chooses three times a year—Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. This text again broaches offerings—which perhaps may not be agricultural per se. But clearly, they are demanded in the context of the Temple.

        In the absence of the Temple (for worship, sacrifices and offerings), one must have reservations about trying to tie YHWH’s name to Jerusalem for the festivals, per se. The WWCG assumed authority to specify the place YHWH had put HIS name for church members to assemble and keep the festivals.

        My take has always been that when a new Temple is built, then one may reach the duty and commandment level of Deut 16:16. But without the Temple, going to Jerusalem is all voluntary. Once the Temple goes up, things change; although the practical and feasible issues must surface. Most believers in the Diaspora are so dirt poor that it is out of the question to think that they have to go to Jerusalem three times a year.

        So, maybe they will have to move to Palestine so that they can go to Jerusalem. And this is possible; but the dispersal of Israelites from Palestine to the Diaspora was a form of judgment by YHWH on the people for their sins. Should a believer try to reverse that judgment on his own?

        There has been no Temple in Jerusalem and Israelites have been forced out of Palestine by YHWH’s judgment for almost 2000 years (and because of Israeli immigration laws, there is no way I or others could live in Israeli controlled Palestine). These conditions have been fixed for the time being by The MOST HIGH.

        Of course, there are now some few people in Jordan who have obtained a limited residency. They are in a position to go to Jerusalem for the feasts. But it costs money and assets to gain a residency even in Jordan, Egypt or wherever. Most believers I know face a challenge to eat and live. They don’t have the luxury of money to do things that they would like to do. If fact, if you have money, you can even work out a deal to live permanently in Jerusalem.

        The point is that a believer is enjoined on a mandatory duty level to keep the feasts wherever he is; but there is no demand to go to Jerusalem and keep them—unless one is in the land with a Temple and the need for the sacrifices and offerings. Even then, there are questions about one’s assets and his particular condition of being cast out of the land by YHWH 2000-2700 years ago.

        On this reply, I have a personal question for Bob. There was an Israel identity believer named Charles Fox Parham in Topeka, Kansas around the year 1900. He was the reported founder or early proponent of Pentecostalism/speaking in so called unknown tongues. Bob are you related? I was curious.

        RD Bradshaw,, Wadi Musa, Jordan

        Liked by 1 person

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