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Israel, Day 8

Its a little before 6AM and I'm sitting out on the balcony of our room overlooking the city. The Church of Ascension on the Mount of Olives on on my left, the Dome of the Rock is center, and a church with a large bell tower stands atop Mt Zion. I have only 19 hours left before we head to Tel-Aviv to catch out plane which leaves in less than 24 hours. It's amazing to watch the sun crest the hillsides as it rises behind the Mt of Olives and begins to wash the whole city. I'll never look to the eastern sky again without thinking this view and the coming of the Messiah and how his glory will wash this city and the whole earth...Maranatha! Here's a look back at yesterday's tour.

The Israel Museum
The Israel Museum has 2 significant exhibits for the tourist. The first one we saw was a accurate scale model of the OC during Jesus day. Just moved to the IMJ in 2006, it's a huge model that really gives you a perspective of what the city and the sites we have visited. I asked the guide why we didn't come here first as an introduction. He said that he's tried that before, but the guests don't have a reference point for what they are seeing. He's right. This was the best way to do it (and he would know after doing 15-20 tours a year for 35+ years).

From this model we get to see how Jerusalem expanded as a city from the little Cannanite town that David over took and the hill next to it that he purchased to offer a sacrifice (I'll insert the bible references later), to the influential city it was before it's destruction in 70AD. Some interesting things that I learned yesterday...
- The Kidron Valley and the Hinnon Valley meet at the far southeast corner, where the "Dung Gate" to the city is located. This area was called Gehenna ("the burning place") as they dealt with the city's refuse here. Before that, the Canaanites offered thier children to be burnt alive in the same place as sacrifices to their god Moloch. No wonder it is an accursed place.
- Herod built a memorial site for David's Tomb on Mt Zion as a way to gain favor with the Jews, although no one actually knew where David was really buried. The "Upper Room" where Jesus had the last supper and the beginning location for the events in Acts 2 happened nearby this location (see v. 29).
On the Day of Pentecost after the pouring out of the Spirit, the disicples most likely would have walked from this area down to the temple. It was on the walk between the two that they we're likely to have been heard praising God and the crown gathered at the southern steps where Peter would have given his message and the 3000 were baptized in the micvahs (ritual baths) there.

- The two disputed sites of the cruxifiction and burial was rock quarrys just outside of the city walls from Antonia's Fortress; one to the south which is where the CotHS is, and one to the north where the Garden Tomb and Golgotha is memorialized (more about this site later).

The most important exhibit, and the most important archaeological discovery ever made in Israel (and possibly the world) is the Dead Sea Scrolls. The "people of the book" have built a shrine to the book. This was a great exhibit. Jayme and I got to see a portion the the DSS when they came to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana a few years back.

The Garden Tomb
Outside the city.near the Damascus Gate and the Jaffa Gate is this site. More aesthetically pleasing for most evangelicals, the Garden Tomb site has an actual tomb and over looks a hillside that looks like a skull. Knowing that most scholars give little validity to this site I was a little skeptical. When I entered the location, it was so beautiful I felt like this was a christian "disneyland," to good to be true. But as we sat to look out at this rocky hill outcropping, I was intrigued. This site was near the intersection of two major roads - to Jaffa and Damascus, along which the Romans would have carried out their public form . It already has a reputation as a location for punishments as many stonings (possibly Stephen's even) took place here. It was moving.

Then as we saw the tomb location, and got to walk inside, I couldn't help but be moved. Pastor Jack Hayford said it best when he said it may not be the actual location, but it's where the spirit of resurrection power resonates in one's soul. So true it was for me.

Last night for our service we saw an amazing performance by the International Christian Embassy of thier production, "The Covenant." It's a musical journey through history, from Abraham through recent history, that ells of God's faithfulness to His people the Jews. Very powerful! Wow!

I was telling Jayme last night night that I was thankful I had not gotten to come to Israel before now. I told her I was glad for the opportunity to first love Israelis and my Jewish friends, so that I could fully love this land.

PS: To view all our photos from today, CLICK HERE

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 24, 2007 8:00 PM.

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