Tourists suffer from "Jerusalem syndrome"PDFPrintE-mail
Written by Chris Perver  
Monday, 17 December 2007 11:16

Not specifically related to any news event, but this article appeared on Reuters today. Around thirty to forty tourists per year suffer from an unusual complex that has become known as "Jerusalem syndrome", in which people are said to have either had a vision of the Messiah while visiting the Holy City, or act out one of the characters mentioned in the Scriptures. That's according to Dr. Gregory Katz, the head of the emergency unity in the Givat Shaul Mental Health Centre. Psychiatrists disagree on whether or not the phenomenon is strictly confined to the city of Jerusalem. Most cases usually have some form of psychiatric disorder in their past, and seeing the city of Jerusalem tends to excite their irrational behaviour. But some appear to have no previous mental illness, and in these cases, the cause of their disturbance it put down to "Jerusalem Syndrome".

Quote: "Katz described the syndrome's progression in an article published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2000. It starts with agitation and an urge to visit the city alone and ends with the need to don a toga and deliver a sermon at a holy place. He described a 35-year-old woman from a Christian tour group who, after three or four days without sleep, believed she was the Virgin Mary. The woman walked out of her hotel room dressed in a white sheet and began preaching about not committing sins. The episode lasts a few days, after which the person usually does not remember what happened, Katz said.

I was going to comment on one such instance in a previous article, in which a former British MI5 agent claimed to be the Messiah. I had written a lengthily article on it, but in the end I deleted it. I couldn't bring myself to finish it, because what the man was saying was so blasphemous, something inside me just couldn't bear to dwell on it. I guess that was the Holy Spirit. The Lord said that before He would return, there would arise false messiahs who would deceive many. It is no surprise then that people who have a "religious experience" could be indwelt by demonic powers and claim to be God or have seen visions of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly many of our own so-called evangelical leaders have claimed to have either seen Jesus Christ or God, and some have even predicted His appearance at their meetings. I needn't mention names. This is false teaching, and perhaps even demonic in origin. After His resurrection, the Bible states that Jesus Christ ascended bodily into heaven. He is now seated on the right hand of the Father (1st Peter 3:22). The angels who stood by the apostles at His ascension said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven", Acts 1:11. When Jesus Christ revealed Himself to the apostle Paul on the Damascus road, Paul records that He saw a light and heard a voice speaking out of heaven (Acts 9:3). The martyr Stephen also had a vision of Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God in heaven.

Acts 7:55-56
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

And the apostle John had a vision of Jesus Christ, and again in heaven (Revelation 1:13). As far as I know, there is no place in the Scriptures where Jesus Christ appeared to anyone on earth after His ascension into heaven. The Bible does state that when we gather together in the Lord's name, He is there in the midst of us (Matthew 18:30), for the Lord Jesus Christ is God and can be present among us even though we may not see Him. But I don't see why Jesus Christ would appear physically on this earth prior to His coming to the air for His saints (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17). There is no doubt, the events we are witnessing today, with people claiming to be Jesus Christ or another messiah, are a proof that we are indeed living in the last days.

Luke 21:8
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Source Reuters