So…again…WOW. It’s hard to describe everything that you see, hear, smell and experience when you are walking thru Jerusalem for the first time.
Before we begin: Click HERE for all the photos! I took TONS…
First, we stopped at an observation point to get a look at the city from a higher elevation. The first thing I noticed were tombstones – essentially concrete coffin-like boxes. HUNDREDS [thousands?] of them. All with stones of remembrance laid on top. I thought…there has to be something to this. There is. When the Messiah comes/returns the resurrection will happen…and the idea is he would come back to the same mount he ascended from…you’d want to have your grave nearby so you were ready to go.
On the other side of the wall, you have the Golden/East Gates [see Ezekiel 44] where the Messiah will supposedly enter the city from, and you have hundreds of Arab graves there to stop him.
This is so much of the tension that is here. Different religious ideas all co-existing [or not] within a country the size of New Jersey. Christians, Jews, Muslims…and if you add in all the different sects and varieties of each, it’s easy to get the theological head spins. It is such a combination of frustrating, and lighting a fire in me to continue to be faithful in the pursuit of sound Biblical doctrine.
On a more touching note, we spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane, [see Matthew 26:36cf] and even though those weren’t the exact trees that Jesus leaned on while he was praying for the Father to take the cross from him, it still was profoundly powerful nonetheless.
We also went to what is traditionally known as the High Priest Caiaphas’ palace, and saw where they believe Jesus was held prisoner and whipped the night he was arrested. One of the many places that silence was observed as people took time to reflect and pray.
We spent time at the Israel Museum and took in all the history of a 400:1 model of the city of Jerusalem at around 65AD. Huge amounts of Biblical history to be had there, not to mention we also stopped by the Shrine of the Book and saw some actual Hebrew manuscripts and a facsimile of the Dead Sea Scroll version of Isaiah. [We were not allowed to take pics indoors!]
We also spent time in shop owned by Evangelical Christians in Jerusalem, who worship in Aramaic, so we got to hear one of the owners pray the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic.
Perhaps the shopping highlight was the market in Judah. It was less of a tourist stop, and more of a local spot. It was absolutely amazing. [It was also slightly freaky, as we all know any terrorist account in the movies starts in a market…]. Mel and I scored some good gift purchases and it made me thankful that I get to take in all this with my best friend and soul mate.
Onward to tomorrow!