... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


England's Jerusalem Anthem: the English, God's chosen people?


This is an Anthem about Jerusalem that people have been singing in England for a long time. Nowadays even rock, like U2's Bono, and pop stars sing it. The city of Jerusalem is in the land of God's chosen people, Israel.

But, about which Jerusalem do these people actually sing?

Well, it's about building a new Jerusalem in England as part of the song text says,

Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land
[Source Wikipedia]

So, this anthem, based on a poem by the English poet William Blake (1757-1827), isn't about restoring Jerusalem in the land of Israel? No! 
Shouldn't we consider the thought that Jerusalem is used as a metaphor by some Christians meaning heaven, we would arrive to the conclusion that this song isn't about Jerusalem at all. But in that case, why the reference to Jerusalem both by William Blake and the general public in the first place?

The poem seems to be inspired by the apocryphal story of Joseph of Arimathea going to England before the second century, and visiting Glastonbury. Who was this man? According to the biblical Gospels, he was an honorable counselor, a rich man and a disciple of Jesus. He was the one who requested from Pilate to take Jesus body down from the cross for proper burial. in his own family thumb. Assisted by Nicodemus, a Pharesee and member of the Sanhedrin who showed favor for Jesus, he buried Jesus in his own family tomb. To this day Joseph of Arimathea is venerated as a Saint in different churches, including the Roman Catholic Church and some Anglican churches. His staff as legend goes, now an old root death tree called the Glastonbury thorn, is still in the Glastonbury grounds.

But, why would the English sing this Anthem? Where did this idea of building a new Jerusalem in England come from? Maybe England's history will give an answer to these questions.

King Alfred the Great (849-899)
The King of Wessex 871—899, who defended his kingdom successfully against the Viking conquest, became the dominant ruler of England, while he also realized a legal reform in England. King Alfred took the story of The Ecclesiastical History of the English People and popularized it, aiming to give the English an identity of being superior to other peoples and there for able to unify themselves as a nation. This combined with the though of the English being the chosen people, and whose church and people had survived the Roman departure from their land, would help him to achieve his goals. Who wrote this History of the English?

Bede (672-735)
A man called Bede who a monk and a scholar, and whom contributed significantly to the English Christianity. He wrote The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which was the history of the church in England, at that time was the Roman Catholic Church. He aimed this work to be a way of showing the growth and the unity of the church in England. By the end of his story the English as God's chosen people were the dominant people over the Britons on the British Isles. At the time he wrote it there was no unity in England, but his work did contribute to unity when it was later used by King Alfred the Great in his attempt, at which he succeeded, to bring unity in England. But, where did Bede's idea of the English being God's chosen people come from?

God's chosen people
In 597 Pope Gregory the Great sent Augustine of Canterbury (circa first third of the 6th century-604) ,who later became the first Catholic archbishop of Canterbury, with 40 missionaries from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons on the British Isles. This process was completed in the seventh century. This Gregorian mission, as it was known, was of special interest of the Roman Catholic Church. The reason was that it was the very first Papal mission to found a Church, and he choose England. This authoritative Papal mission gave the English a feeling of being God's chosen people. The elite at a later time in England's history took this idea, passed it down to the subjects of England whom already were Roman Catholic Christians, and they believed it. Giving the English the idea of being superior to other peoples and in turn entitled to play a dominant role first on the British Isles and eventually later in England's history in that of other countries, that is policing the world. Subsequently the English Kings, Queens and establishment passed down this idea of being God's chosen people down to their English subjects for generations. The English became in their own eyes the chosen people, there for they should built a new Jerusalem in England. But wait, were does the story of Joseph of Arimathea arriving on the English shores fit into all this and for what purpose?  

King Henry VIII (1491-1547)
Henry was seeking an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon with the Pope, so he could marry Anne Boleyn. When he was unsuccessful he decided to become the Head of the Church of England himself. The English Parliament denied the Pope's authority over the English Church to make way for King Henry. This meant a break with the Roman Catholic Church, that also had other political and financial benefits for the King and his elite. But, what about the English being God's chosen people due to the choice of Pope Gregory the Great in 597? Henry substituted the reason they were, by basing it on the fact that Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury bringing Christianity to the English. A story already told and written down by writers. So, according to Henry the English were already chosen by God long before the Roman Catholics sent their missionaries to England. And at that time they accepted it. Al be it that the transition process from Roman Catholicism to ultimately what became the Church of England being the Anglican Church was a difficult and bloody one that took decades. 


Where would this English substitution of Jerusalem be located? One of the possible lications could be at this London location in England surrounded by streets with biblical names and set up by the British for festivities with international media coverage.

When we take a close look at both the actions of the British leaders in the past - including those at the time of the First and Second World War and the British Mandate over Palestine. - and present, as well as the text of the anthem itself, keeping in mind its origin, it makes the following clear. England's, and since the unity of the countries on the British Isles the United Kingdom's history up to now does show the English still present need to police the world, whether successful or not. 

When it comes to the English being God's chosen people, neither the Pope in the past, nor the Joseph of Arimathea visiting England fable - One which I absolutely don't believe, for biblical scripture doesn't speak of such a journey. - combined with the later devised non biblical theories of the Ten Tribes meant to link the British Royal family to the Royal House of King David, can't make of the English the substitute of the Jewish, Israeli people. As for the English land, sorry lads and company, England's green and pleasant pastures where Jerusalem will be built really can't measure up to the Almighty God's irreplaceable heritage being the land of Israel including its capital city of Jerusalem.

6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth. Isaiah 62:6-7 (NIV)

All this implies that England's Jerusalem Anthem is absolutely not a song of praise to the Almighty God and certainly not a song of commitment to rebuilt the real Jerusalem, the undivided capital city of Israel. This song ignores all biblical prophecies concerning Jerusalem and Israel, and there for the Almighty God himself. Singing this song is misleading for it did and doesn't ad any good to the cause of the Jewish people concerning Jerusalem and the land of Israel.

“Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations.
Isaiah 51:4 (NIV) [NKJV: For law will proceed from Me]

Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah 60:3 (NIV)

But, what about the heavenly Jerusalem, that is above, Galatians 4:26? In  a v i s i o n  the disciple John saw and experienced the following.
.. 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming d o w n out of heaven from God. ... Revelation 21:9-27 (NIV)

Jerusalem, the city of peace,

6 ...  will remain intact in her place. !!!!!!!
Zechariah 12:6 (NIV)

A proper Anthem for Jerusalem has already been given ages ago,

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
2 Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up— the tribes of the LORD—
to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There stand the thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.

7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.

King David
Psalm 122 (NIV), A song of ascents. Of David.


Y'rushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold)

God bless you,


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Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: Opinion