Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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…