A German Colony In Jerusalem
Persecuted and excommunicated, the Templers believed the Day of Judgment was near. Naturally, they headed for the Holy Land
“It will be like when the harvester gathers the wheat, and his arm reaps the grain. Yes, it will be like when one gleans grain in the valley of Refaim.” (Isaiah 17:5)
In 1868, a large group of German Templers landed in Haifa. Although they bore the same name as the Crusaders who were based on the Temple Mount hundreds of years earlier, the two groups had nothing in common: the German movement was an evangelical sect, a splinter group that had seceded from the Lutheran Church in 1854. German Templers believed that the Day of Judgment was near, and favored Jewish settlement in the land of Israel.
Following the establishment of the movement, Templer leaders Christoff Hoffman and George David Hardegg were persecuted — and excommunicated — in their native southern Germany. Eventually, they decided to gather their followers and settle them in the Holy Land. Not missionaries in any sense, they hoped to establish a spiritual Kingdom of God together with the People of the Book. And they had faith that the ideal society they planned to create would set an example for the local population.