Thursday, December 01, 2011

Day 10 of Touring the Holy Land

"Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. He subdues the nations before us, putting our enemies beneath our feet. He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob's descendants, whom he loves. God has ascended with a mighty shout. The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a Psalm." Psalm 47:1-7
As I watch the beautiful sunrise this morning and read these words from Scripture, right here in Jerusalem, my heart is again overcome. Knowing that my feet stand here on the grounds of the Promised Land spoken about right here in these words. Wow! Reading the Bible here in the Holy Land, well I can't do that without my heart being moved. Looking at the words on these pages that were God-breathed and inspired here in this land....well, I hope you get another picture of how meaningful it is to be here.
Well today we've spent the day touring the Temple Mount area. We began by entering through the Dung Gate and walking up the steps onto The Temple Mount. I was very moved being here. This was the place where the Temple stood, where Jews would come from all over Israel go worship God.
When Christ returns, He will enter the Eastern Gate, which is blocked by the Muslims but we know it won't stop Him, and He will reign once again here in Jerusalem from a New Temple which will be rebuilt here. Oh this just gave me Jesus bumps and I wanted to remove my shoes cause I felt like I was walking on Holy Ground.
We walked through the Kotel Tunnels which run the whole length of the West wall of Jerusalem. It was incredible to see the size of the huge blocks of rock that were used to build the wall and how they would have built it using cattle, pulleys and many men. What a fortress it would have been.
The tunnel was long and narrow but not nearly as narrow as the what the Hezekiah Tunnels will be. It's amazing how the rock was chiseled with hand tools. Some parts of the tunnels were being worked on and so just listening to the metal pounding of the tools against the rock made me think of when these walls would have been built.
I always enjoy spending time at the Western Wall, often called Wailing Wall. Just listening to the many prayers of the people around me was so meaningful, even I could not understand the language. Seeing the devotion and earnestness on the faces of the people as they prayed was so meaningful.
Sitting on the Southern steps where the public would have walked up into the Temple in the Bible times was wonderful. Picturing Jesus walking up these steps as a young boy with his parents, or Mary and Joseph ascending these steps to dedicate Jesus as a baby....such wonderful visions to capture in our minds.
Arie shared with us how those who would ascend these Southern steps to the entrance of the Temple courtyard would sing the Psalms of Ascent from Psalms 122 - 135. Psalm 122 is one of Arie's favorites and the words were very fitting: "I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Our feet are standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city where people come together....Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May all go well for those who love you." Great words as we sat here today.
We saw the ruins of the city walls from when it was destroyed. The stones were huge as you can see. Imagining them falling from such heights and the people mourning over the destruction. But I love how God has always provided a remnant and He remained with his people. What live He had for them and how He wanted them to seek Him.
We had some time to shop in the Old City over lunch and then ended the day at The Old City of David, where it all began. Watching a 3D movie about how David bought the old threshing floor here and captured the city from the Jebusites by coming up the water shaft with his soldiers. These tunnels were much smaller and tighter to get through. We didn't have our rubber boots otherwise we may have walked through Hezekiah's water tunnel rather than the dry tunnel. :) .....okay, maybe not.

Our time here is nearing the end. As I write these last couple of days, we are sitting at the airport in Israel. Shalom my friends.

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