Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Headin' To Calvary, 2014

Shalom, Shalom everyone!  We are happy to be writing this new post.  We have finalized our itinerary for our April 29-May 9, 2014 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Our theme this year is "Headin' To Calvary" in honor and memory of the late Dr. Charles Hendricks.  It was Dr. Hendricks that gave us ou first opportunity to host a trip to Israel.  What a joy it was to walk with him in the land of the Bible and to learn from a man who had led more than forty groups to the land where the Bible lives.

Have you ever considered traveling to Israel?  Well, now is the time to make the commitment.  Although we cannot explain how, it is a fact that if you join us in 2014, you will never be the same afterwards. 

You will never read the Bible as you once read the Bible.

Below is a link to our website.  There you will find our contact information if you would like to communicate with us.  Once there, click on the Israel 2014 button and click on the link for the itinerary.  It will download in a Microsoft Work document.  If you need a different format, just contact me via an e-mail and we will forward you a converted file of another sort.


As you can see, on our blogspot there are some previous posts with running commentary and pictures of our earlier pilgrimages to the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Of all the things the Lord has given us privilege to do and see, nothing has compared with our journeys to the Holy Land.

We would be more than honored to have you join us on our next tour. 

But let us say this, if you are interested, we highly encourage you to submit you deposit to ensure you have space in our group.

Thanks for visiting this site and for considering doing such a marvelous thing.  That says a grreat deal about as a believer and a peron.

Until the next post...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blog 9 Wailing Wall, Two Tunnels, Temple Institute, City of David, Pool of Siloam

Blog 9 Wailing Wall, Temple Tunnel Tour, Institute of Temple Mt. Studies, the City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam
Host & Hostess at work :O)
What an exciting day this proved to be (like the others have not been :O)). Today we had the privilege of walking through two tunnels. I sure wish that you had been here to walk with us. Maybe next time you will be here.

The day began early and breakfast was good. I love watching how all the people from so many different places make their way around the buffet offerings and finally to their tables to eat. The food has been absolutely great. No chance to lose any weight here. 
Explaining the Temple Mt.

Our first visit was to the Wailing Wall area. It was there that our subterranean excursion began. What an awesome thing it was to descend about 20-25 feet below the Wailing Wall Plaza and walk about 400 yards North along the Western wall of the Temple Mount. It was along this intriguing path that we stopped at a place where we saw several Jewish women either reading the Torah or praying. We were told by Mauri that at that spot along our path that the Holy of Holiest would have been about 130 meters or roughly 100 yards away.
Jewish women pryaing 24/7

What is significant about that? Many things, but just to name one I enjoy telling, the Jews believe there are three holy places in the world. The first is the nation of Israel itself. The second is the Temple Mount area. (It is there, as you already know, that Abraham offered Isaac, David offered a sacrifice to the Lord after purchasing the property from a man named Ornan. It was there that Solomon built the first of three Temples. Enough?) The third holy place is the place where the Ark of the Covenant sat in the Temple. It is believed by the Jews that stone upon which the Ark rested is the geographical center of the world and even the universe. I must tell you, I believe that too.

Model of Temple Mt. and Tunnel in

When the Bible makes reference to some direction, the reference is in relationship to Jerusalem. Marvelous isn’t it?

Our subterranean walk took us to a place in the Old City where we had time to eat lunch and also do some shopping. Speaking of shopping, this group could shop till they drop I believe. I’m telling you, we helped the Israeli economy grow in a number of ways on this pilgrimage. :O) In fact, shopping went so good for some, I think I will put together a “Shopping Pilgrimage to Israel with a few stops as some significant Biblical sites.” What do you think? Could I get enough to make up a group? (just kidding…..:O))
Along the Tunnel

Lunch in the Old City is a special thing. Ice cream, falafels, shwarmas, pizza, fresh baked bread, and snitzel were the favorites. While there near the ‘cardo’ or main street of Jerusalem, we were able to walk around and some of us found our way to some stones that were stones of 2,000 years ago. Stones that, maybe, Jesus walked on when He and his Mother and step-Father visited Jerusalem as the Torah taught them to. Or stones that, maybe, Jesus walked on when He and His apostles visited the Old City during His three years of public ministry. By the way, do you know that the main street of Jerusalem runs East and West? Interesting isn’t it?

After lunch, it was a very short walk to the Institute of Temple Mount Studies. While there, we listened to a general presentation about the third temple that is yet to be built and about the efforts that have been made to provide the utensils and other paraphernalia associated with the worship to be performed there in the days to come.

While we were there, we saw the garments of the High Priest, smelled a mixture of spices used to burn as incense, the golden altar, the table of showbread, and several other items associated with worship prescribed by God. Some people wonder about the building of a new Temple and whether or not it will happen. Well, just read 2 Thessalonians chapter two (among other passages of Scripture), and see for yourself about what the anti-Chirst soon after the Church has been snatched away. According to Ezekiel’s writings, sacrifices will once again be offered, not in an expiatory manner but as a means by which to remember what Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Yasweh Hamashiach has done.
Probably Israel's future
national symbol

From there, we walked toward the Wailing Wall to the Dung gate and to our bus. As we did, we passed a ‘menorah’ that is a part of the preparations made by the Institution of Temple Mount Studies. It is a remarkable piece of craftsmanship. The gold needed to create this important one piece of Temple furniture was a gift of one individual and we guesstimated its value to be something like 1.4 million dollars. Wow! By the way, I personally believe that the menorah will once again become the national symbol for the nation of Israel. The Star of David will have its place, but not the place is now occupies. Maybe? Maybe not? Time will tell.

We had a short walk to the City of David. The City of David was a Canaanite city occupied by the Jebusites. It was captured by David and his mighty men. It is a great story to read from the Bible. The shape of the City of David looks like a footprint. This old part of Jerusalem does not lie within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem today but it did in the days of David, Solomon, Hezekiah, etc.

While there, we saw a marvelously done 3D movie about this marvelous place. I believe Mauri told us the archeological activity going on at the City of David is one of the largest ongoing projects in Jerusalem today. It is interesting to see the changes and progress that has been made each year we have been privileged to make this amazing journey to Israel.

Descending towards
Hezekiah's Tunnel

As we made our way along the path that has been designed to allow pilgrims to see what has been unearthed, it was not long before we arrived at the place where our group split into two groups. One group would walk through the water course created to bring water from the Gihon Spring laying just outside the City of David into the City of David to a place called the Pool of Siloam. The other group would walk through what we refer to as being a dry tunnel (no water), but both groups would end up at the same place, the Pool of Siloam.

Tight going for some :O)
The water course Debbie and I walked with several others is less than a mile in length. Most of the path is about shoulder width and most people have to stoop over to pass through so as not to hit our heads on the limestone ceiling. The water covered our feet all the way through. This was a nice place to have our feet in light of the heat we have been experiencing for the past several days: above average temperatures.

Do you know what the word ‘Siloam’ means? Remember the story in John chapter nine? Remember what Jesus instructed the blind man to do? Remember that Jesus told us Himself that He had been ‘sent’? The discovery of the Pool of Siloam happened not so many years ago. It must have been a very beautiful place in the days of Jesus. We saw an artist’s rendition of what the Pool of Siloam might have looked like. We also saw where this pool was located in reference to the original city of Jerusalem at the Israeli Museum while looking at the model of the City of David on display there. By the way, archaeologist have discovered and made available to the public a set of steps that lead directly to the Temple Mount. I wonder if those were the steps this man, who had been touched by Jesus, traveled on his way to a meeting with his healer?

Artist's rendetion Pool of Siloam

The heat has been very unusual for this time of year. It has been very hot and as you know, heat seems to take its toil on a body. So, back to the Grand Court Hotel for another excellent dinner, our meeting, and a hot shower…not necessarily in that order.

Another day here in Israel lies before us. But sad to say, not many do. Our days are growing short in this land marked our by God and for God.

So, until the morrow,

Blog 11 Gordon's Calvary, David Ben Gurion Airport

Blog 11 Gordon’s Calvary, David Ben Gurion Airport

Today begins our last day in Israel for 2010. There is both an atmosphere of sadness and excitement. We are sad that today will be saying “Good Bye” to this wonderful land, but excited about being reunited with our family and friends in just a few (tired) hours.

We are tired from the long days and the tons of information we have tried to absorb, but we are also blessed in ways that we wish you could know personally.

This was the first year that we were able to get a full night of sleep before beginning our journey home. On most of our final nights, we would be leaving our hotel for the airport somewhere between 1:00 AM or 5:00 AM.

This year, we checked out of our hotel around 1:30 PM and made our way to a place known as Gordon’s Calvary. Gordon’s Calvary is a place discovered by the famous British General Gordon: a godly man (time would be well spent in doing a little Goggle on General Gordon). This place is located just outside the walls of Jerusalem and near the Damascus Gate. In the cleft of a small mound located here it is easy to see what looks like the ‘skull’ shape of a man. If you recall, the Bible refers to the place where Jesus was crucified as the ‘place of the skull’ or ‘Golgotha’ or ‘Calvary.’ These words refer to the same places, they are just different languages, i.e. Hebrew, Latin, Greek.

When the Romans crucified someone, they did not place them one a hill, but rather they place their victims along the side of a road. The reason for this is obvious I think. So it was for Jesus when He was crucified. He suffered just outside the gate as the Bible said. Also, according to Scripture, Jesus was to be buried in a tomb that had been cut out of stone. It would have been a rich man’s tomb. Burial was to be in a place with a garden too. Again, as I have already said, no one knows the exact place Jesus came out from among, but I’m telling you, this place is remarkable in many ways that I do not believe to be coincidental!

As a part of our Via Dolorosa walk (the traditional way of the cross), we stopped to make a SHORT visit at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We do that so as to have something to compare and contrast with. Take a few minutes and ask your loved one what they thought about these two places and listen to their testimonies. The tomb that is located at Gordon’s Calvary is different than the other tomb we looked at in Nazareth and in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Ask someone that saw what the difference was. The answer is very Biblical. (Mark 16)

Time spent at Gordon’s Calvary was just wonderful. We not only walked the grounds there, but we also had the privilege to have a worship service there and share in a time of communion at the end of the service. It is also one of the most enjoyable things we do as we walk in this wonderful land.

As you might imagine, other groups from other nations visit this marvelous site at the same time and have a time of worship there as well. It is always a blessing to me to hear another group begin to sing a song that has a familiar tune to it without our being able to understand the words of another language. It is always a blessing to join in with them and sing at least a chorus in our language. The contrast is amazing but the worship is more amazing.

Dr. David preached a wonderful message out of Matthew 26 with references to 1 Corinthians 11 on the Lord’s Supper. Debbie sang one of our favorite songs she has written, “Saved ByThe Blood of The Lamb.” He told us in participating in this wonderful event we were looking back, looking within, looking ahead. Although Jesus said from the cross, “It is finished” there are many things still left to be done…and they will be, soon.

Following our service, we had the luxury of having some time to enjoy private reflection and meditation. All of us found a little spot in the garden and either read, prayed, mediated, or reflected on the events of Calvary or the personal effect of the events of Calvary. All too soon we were back on our bus headed for Mt. Zion.

Mt. Zion is just a short distance from Gordon’s Calvary, but traffic around the Old City Jerusalem was terrible. What would have normally taken ten minutes took fifty minutes and by the time we arrived at the Mt. Zion it was too late to try and visit. How disappointing! This is the second year we have been unable visit this special place, although it is a traditional place. The room that we would have visited is not the important thing, the important thing is the place and Mt. Zion is still Mt. Zion. I sure missed not hearing our group sing that grand old hymn, “Zion’s Hill.”

It was sad leaving Jerusalem, but we knew time had come to do so. And, when we remembered we were coming back to you, we were not so sad any more.

On our way to Tel Aviv and the David Ben Gurion airport, we stopped in an Arab village and ate a wonderful meal. The atmosphere and food were excellent. We had a great time as we broke bread for the last time, this time, in Israel. Dinner was good and the fellowship was even better. As I have already said, we are sad, but ready to return to our families. We have missed them, but believe me when I say they have been with us every step of the way; in our hearts and in our minds. So many times have we thought or said, I wish _________ were here!
I’ll let you fill in the blank.

Going from our bus to our departure gate and our flight home is always a little stressful especially for those who are experiencing it for the first time. With no problems, it was not long before we were all through customs, smiling from the VAT refund, waiting patiently at our departure gate, and then on board our US Air airbus headed for the good old United States of America.

As I type this, we are about three hours from Philadelphia. Most have slept at least some and others more than some. I believe I am correct when I say we are all a bit tired, but we are also very excited about seeing our families and friends once again and finding someone who is willing to listen to us tell about our life changing journey to the Holy Land.

As we travel West, we will gain all six of those hours that we so quickly lost traveling East just a few days ago. We will once again be confronted with the task of readjusting to new time and praying that our circadian will self correct NOW!!!

But, it will take a few days, or weeks….

By the way, ask anyone from our group what they thought about the high places of Israel and ask them especially about a place called Arbel. I’m sure they will tell you that these places have become the highlights of their life.

I believe I have one more blog to do before completing my goal, but don’t forget, I also have a number of pictures to be added to the blogs I have already posted. Remember, my computer was sick for about three days and that put me behind schedule. But, isn’t that what life is about in many ways? Making necessary adjustments when thing don’t go exactly as planned.

Our time in this ancient and amazing land was wonderful. We have become richer because we have been here. This is the land where thousands of years of history have been played out by the greatest people this world has ever known or known about.

Men like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Women like Deborah, Esther, and all those named Mary. And, don’t forget a man by the name of Jesus of Nazareth. He confounded lawyers and doctors of the law at age twelve. He was thought by some to be just another itinerate preacher, but proved Himself to be that prophet spoken of by Moses. He was the very Son of God, only begotten. If anyone doubts that, I can take you to a tomb that is empty…(I know I have already told you that, but I just can’t get over it.).

It is the land where eternal promises were made and keep by the God of all time and eternity. It is the land where a work was done that includes anyone and everyone that will believe. It is a land where work was done that can change minds, hearts, and eternity.

By the way, you have made plans for spending eternity in Heaven? You haven’t? Well, don’t wait another moment. Bow your head, humble your heart, admit to God that you are a sinner and then by faith trust Christ as your personal Savior. Remember, I just told you that His tomb is empty.

May I say again to the family members of our group, THANKS for your support! I cannot express just how important that has been to all of these tired but blessed pilgrims.

Until the next time….
...somewhere over the North Atlantic

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blog 13 We made it :O)

Boker tov everyone!  We have made it home.  Tired, but extremely blessed and, speaking for myself, already homesick for Israel.

Our journey back to the state was long, but, thank the good Lord, uneventful.  Our flights were good, our connections were good, and seeing our families was better than all else.

The daya started early for me here at the Price place.  My sleep was out around 4:00 AM.  My circadian rhythm is still running on Jerusalem time.  It will take a few days and a lot of naps before it will change back to good old EST.

As I type this little blog, I'm looking out of my study window.  I am looking into the Eastern sky and the day is just breaking.  I am looking towards Jerusalem from whence I and eighteen others have just come.  We have brought many things back with us and in some unique and although maybe unexplainable way, we all know we have left something behind.

I wish I could put into words what making a pilgrimage to Israel, the land of promise, the Holy Land, is.  But, I cannot.  It is so layered that it leaves me with a feeling of being overwhelmed. 

As we walked in the land, we used all of our senses while there.  Our touch, our taste, our smell, our hearing, our seeing, and our hearting (I know there is not such thing when it come our five senses, but come with us in 2012, the Lord willing and then you will understand why I added 'hearting.').

Clothes to wash.  Notes to be examined, and hopefully, understood.  Memories to be pondered.  Verses to be marked because hearts have been.  Treasures to be looked at.  Decisions to be made as to who gets what (and we wish we could have gotten all of you everything we saw, but luggage can hold only so much).  Adjustment(s) back into our routine (WV football today).  And a number of other things will help bring us back down to reality.  Walking in Israel and in Jerusalem just isn't the same as walking in WV and Charleston or wherever, but IT IS GOOD TO BE HOME once again and too see those we love.  Those whom God has blessed us with in so many wonderful ways.

Keep visiting my blogspot.  I will continue to edit the blogs I have posted without pictures as time permits.

Thanks for coming by, I hope this little ministry has proven to be a blessing to all of you.  Please drop me an e-mail and let me know.

As the Jews say each year as an ending to a  very special time and dinner for them, (I cannot do it in Hebrew and if I did not many of you could interpret it), "Next year in Jerusalem."


Blog 12 Headed Home

Blog 12 Heading Home

Well, the day we all know would arrive has arrived: the day we start our long journey back home.

As you might imagine, we are tired but blessed. We are blessed in ways that will take a life time to tell about.

We have returned with thankful and full hearts. All those new things we saw and heard flood our minds. Tears still come without much effort. Memories abound about the last eleven or twelve days. Many of the sights and sounds of the past several days have become a part of us for the rest of our lives. The journey has been nothing less than amazing!

Everyone was anxious to see our families once again and to spend time telling about all things we have both seen and heard. They may even have something chosen especially just for you, purchased in the Holy Land.

Let me say again, “THANKS” to all of you who helped make the trip of a life time a reality. Thanks for your encouragement, your support, and the sacrifice of whatever sort it may have been to make this happen. God bless you for being such the special individual.

Our schedule was what we had expected, thankfully. I will not have wi-fi access at our airport, so this will be my last post until I arrive home. I will post as soon as possible and, as I have already said, also put up some pictures.

After I do get some rest, I will do another post with some additional pictures.

By the way, why don’t you start planning TODAY for our next pilgrimage. We have place reserved just for you. If it be the good Lord’s will, we will be returning in the Spring of 2012. The theme for our next pilgrimage is “Headin’ To Calvary.” I like that don’t you? I hope so. I hope you will begin making plans to join us today. We do not have the exact dates as yet, but we are working on our plans even as I type. In fact, I do know, as early plans stand, it will be in early May. Probably May 1-12, 2012.

From a group of tired, but blessed pilgrims,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blog 10 Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Dead Sea

Blog 10 Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Dead Sea

Shalom, everyone! What a magnificent day this has been. Breakfast, as always, was good. Our accommodations have been and are good. As you already know, while in Jerusalem, we are staying the Grand Court Hotel. It lays just a little North of the old city of Jerusalem. If we had the time, we could walk to the old city within a few minutes.

We left Jerusalem (rising about 2,700 feet above sea level) this morning, heading for the Dead Sea area. The Dead Sea lies almost 1,300 feet below sea level. Our descent from Jerusalem was pretty significant.

Our first stop for the day was at a place called Masada. Masada is located in the Southern end of the Dead Sea. The name Masada means “fortress.” It was a place developed by King Herod who may have used it as a winter retreat with the belief that one day he could use it for a “hiding place” from those he imagined wanted to kill him.

This place has a great place in the history of Israel and for the Jewish people. A modern cable car carried us to the top of this natural mountain fortification developed by Herod the Great. Herod was called “the Great” because of his excellent architectural abilities. He was the kind of guy that you would not want to invite home for dinner or include on your circle of friends. He was brutal and proved it on many occasions.

There are many important and extremely interesting historical truths connected with Masada. Still to me, one of the most significant things about walking atop this marvelous mountain is the panoramic view it provides of the Southern end of the Dead Sea. It is in this area of the Dead Sea that scholars believe the cities of Sodom and Gomorah are buried. No man knows for sure, but God does and in the end, that’s all that matters. We do not need to know the location of these famous Bible cities but we do need to know the lesson God intends us to learn.

One more quick thing, when Lot look towards Sodom and Gomorah, the Bible says the Jordan Valley was water like the well watered area of Egypt from whence he and uncle Abraham had just returned. As I looked at this area and though about this, I can see how this could be true. How? In light of the fact that today it is barren and very dry. Because, when the land of Israel experienced two seasons of rain, both the early and the latter and understanding that the water of Jerusalem eventually ends up in this area via the Judean wilderness and the wadis (small river beds or little valleys), I can see how this place might have been lush.

A wild Gedi at Eiin Gedi

Following our hot time on the top of Masada, we headed for Ein Gedi or the home of the wild goat. This is an interesting place to me. It is one of the osasis’ located in the Southern part of the Dead Sea.

Cave  where Scrolls were
found in 1947

We were headed for a place called Qumran. This is the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd boy looking for some of his father’s lost goats. If he had not been a little lazy, this discovery would not have been made. BUT, as you know, there is NO such thing as chance when it comes to a sovereign God guiding the steps of little man as He does and when He does. The complete Book of Isaiah was discovered there is 1946, among many other thousand pieces of manuscripts dating centuries earlier. With the exception of three or five discrepancies (depending on the source) that are little more than punctuation differences, the Dead Sea Scrolls match what is known as the Textus Receptus manuscript from which our beloved King James Bible was translated.

This 66 chapter book is commonly known as and referred as “the mini-Bible.” The similarities between the Book of Isaiah and the Bible are remarkable in many ways. I am sure that your personal research on this subject will be rewarded in a number of wonderful ways.

FYI: I personally do not believe it was a ‘chance thing’ (and I DO NOT believe in chance or luck…no such thing: I believe that all things work….) that this discovery was made the year that preceeded the rebirth of the nation of Israel! Oh I would like to say so much here, but both time and space will not allow.

Qumran is one of the highlights of any pilgrimage to Israel. Each item that Qumran is built upon and the history that it provides only proves the sovereignty of an Omniscient God. As we listened to our guide speak about what makes Qumran what it is, it becomes apparent that a guiding hand has been at work creating a special place, possessing special characteristics in order to produce such a miraculous treasure as the Dead Sea Scrolls are. Copied, encrypted in a clay pot (not a wood or metal vessel), housed in a place where the humidity is perfect for preservation, and a place where discovery was inevitable in time and at the right time, the Dead Sea Scrolls must be classed as one of, if not the greatest archaeological discoveries of the last one hundred years if not in the entire history of archaeology itself. But then again, as I type this, I know I may be, well, actually I am, prejudice. I will not offer an apology.

From Qumran, it just a short trip to a place where some folks had the privilege to experience the Dead Sea in a personal way. Several in our group spent a few minutes in the Dead Sea, even those who could not swim! You don’t have to know how to swim in this body of water. It is impossible to not float here. The water has such a high viscosity that a human body, unless heavily weighted down, will float. Do you know why the Dead Sea is called the Dead Sea? Want more trivia? What famous Bible river feeds the Dead Sea? (Actually it not longer flows into the Dead Sea with the exception of during the rainy season.) What two famous cities mentioned in the Bible thought to be located under the most Southern part of the Dead Sea? Enough trivia don’t you think?

After another long day, we quietly made our way back to the Grand Court. We went from almost 1,300 feet below sea level to about 2,700 feet above sea level. Mauri says that in Israel “we have both the best and the worst. The time we have left in Israel is getting shorter very quickly. Our days here in the land of Israel have almost come and gone. Soon we will back home with family and friends telling our stories and making plans for our next pilgrimage…but not yet. :O)

Tomorrow is still to come and it is a marvelous day that lies before us.

I’ll tell you about it then.

As always, thanks for coming by and reading about our adventures of the day. I do hope this effort is a blessing to all. Remember too, if you did not come by to read, it would not do me any good to be here typing.

From tired and happy pilgrims walking through Israel,

Blog 8 Mt. Moriah, The Southern Steps, The Via Dolorosa, Israeli Museum

Blog 8 Mt. Moriah, Davison Center, Southern Steps, Via Dolorosa, Israeli Museum

Shalom! What an exciting day this has been. We have been in and around Jerusalem and the City of David all day! How good is that?
I did not know this blog needed the editing it did, so forgive me for having things so confused.  I hope this edited version will make better sense and follow a good flow.  This may look easier than it it!  :O)
Our first stop today was on Mt. Moriah. We had to stand in line in order to get to the top of Mt. Moriah or what is more commonly known as the Temple Mount. I cannot put into words how exciting it was to walk on the very mountain range that Abraham offered up Isaac: the very place David purchased from a man named Ornan who used it as a place to thresh wheat: the very place Solomon built the first temple: the area that King Hezekiah enlarged that surrounded the Solomonic temple (I know I have said this several times before), and I could go on but I won't.

What a privilege, to say the least, to be in the very place that Jehovah said, from this place I will make my name known to all the world! Although there are a number of things to allow me and others to shout about when considering Mt. Moriah or the Temple Mount, there is a note of unwanted and yet undeniable sadness to this place in relationship to its history and to the prophecy that is associated with its future. Remember, Jesus sat on the back of a donkey on the day of His (theologians call it is His triumphal entry, but I believe that is yet to be) entrance into Jerusalem in fulfillment of Zachariah’s prophecy.
After walking atop Mt. Moriah, we headed for one of the most remarkable places there is available to tourist today, the Southern Temple Steps. Why? Well, this is one of those places that we can say for sure that Jesus walked. Not all of the stones that are there today are 2,000 years old, but some of them are and it is easy to discern between those of them which are and those of them which are not. When pilgrims came to Jerusalem, most of them would be entering into the Temple Mount would be via these steps on the Southern side of the Temple Mt.
From the Southern steps, we could see the Mt. of Olives to our left, down towards Jericho/Dead Sea in straight ahead to the South, Mt. Zion to our right, and behind us the Temple Mount. This place is one of those places that we do not have to say “this is the traditional place of….”

We sat on the stairs that most all pilgrims used when they arrived in Jerusalem and entered into the Temple Mt. area. No doubt Jesus climbed these steps on many occasions. Near here, along the Western Wall or what is better known as that Wailing Wall, on the first century street level, we walked and looked at the stones that had been “thrown” down.  Stones that may have been thrown down when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.  The archeologists who unearthed this area decided to leave them as they lay. The street we walked on and the stone we saw were from the days of Jesus. Remarkable!

Oh I wish I had the time and the verbal ability to communicate all that I would like to communicate. This is why YOU need to make plans to join us next year we come, the Lord willing.

We also walked the Via Delarosa today. The Via Delarosa is the traditional route walked by Jesus on His way to bear my sins and yours. It started at a place known as Gabbatha. What a marvelous place Gabbatha is. Yet, on the other hand, this was one of the most gruesome places there is, especially in the time of Jesus. My heart hurts when I think of all the things my Blessed Lord suffered and endured for such a sinner as I.  And yet I am glad and filled with praise in light of the fact that He was willing to and did. Oh what a Savior!!!

To me, Gabbatha is one of the most special places we have visited or will. If you are wondering why, there is not doubt that the stone we walked on were the street stones of the days of Jesus. It may very well be that those were the very stones our Lord stood on as He was subjected to the awful abuse the Roman soldiers meted out to Jesus.
While we were there, we took some time to read about Jesus’ experience at the hands of the soldiers who mocked Him and abused Him just minutes before He was crucified. We also sang a song that put the entire set of events in prospective, “Were You There.” You know, in a real way we all were there. Not literally of course, but in light of the fact that people today still mock Him, rejected Him, doubt Him, mistreat Him…(get the picture), I believe we were all there in type although not in actuality.

It was from this place (although the journey actually began somewhere in eternity past) that Jesus made His way towards Calvary. And, topographically, the walk to Calvary is “UP” all the way in elevation. Talk about being on holy ground, it felt like it was to me. Ask your loved one what they thought. I believe I already know.

We had a wonderful lunch in the Old City.  There is nothing quite like watching people go by and listening to all the sounds you can hear from so many different sources.  I'm telliing you, visiting the Holy Land is simply a marvelous experience on many different levels.

Our day has put before us many wonderful things. As our last visit, we drove by and near the Israeli Knesset. The Knesset is the place where their government is housed and meets in order to conduct its business. Our destination was the Museum of Israel which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is MY opinion that the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was the greatest archaeological discovery in the past 100 years. In fact, I believe with all of my heart that God Almighty superintended not only the copying of the Book of Isaiah, but also its preservation for the many centuries it was housed in a clay pot in a cave near the Dead Sea. I also believe He superintended of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the year preceeding the rebirth of the nation of Israel nationally. Chance? Not a chance!

The Scrolls are housed (sorry for using that word so many times, but it is appropriate for what I am referring to today) in what is known as the Dome of the Onion. The top of the area where they are displayed and kept securely, from the outside looks like the top of the clay pot in which the Scrolls were orginally found.

We also saw a remarkable model of what the City of Jerusalem looked like in the days of Jesus. After looking at the locations of the Antonio Fortress, the House of Caiaphas’, the Kidron Valley, Gethsemane, the Palace of Herod, and Calvary, it once again helps clarify how the events of night before and the early morning hours of the day of Christ’s crucifixion, all of these places could be visited so easily. The Temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was a stately building (actually it was Heavenly) and was a structure that demand attention to any and all coming within sight.

Don’t forget, Bible reading(s) are a normal part of each site visited on most occasions, although there were exceptions this year due to the heat. There were a number of places that we suggested to our pilgrims, that they leave their Bibles on the bus. We still read Scriptures, but just one of us carried their Bible and most of the time it was Pastor David. The Scriptures read, as you already know, relates directly to the site we are visiting.

Well, it’s late and we are tired, as usual, but blessed, and don’t forget, my computer has been sick and was released from the hospital late last night :O). And as difficult as it seems to be (and I have told our group this very thing), the best is yet to come.

Dinner was VERY good tonight (roasted chicken) and so was our meeting. ToshiKo had some visitors from the Asian Mission International come visit with us. MickeyO and his sweet wife were a lovely addition to our nightly meeting. In fact, MickeO sang for us and prayed for us in Japanese. It was a wonderful experience that made us all feel rich in many special ways.

We have been so blessed today as we have been every day whether her in Israel or at home with our families. And, I am happy to say, everything is good with only one exception: and that is that you are not here to enjoy this experience with us. Maybe the next time I hope. But until then, it is my pray that these blogs will help that happen in a vicarious way.

Until the morrow…