This was a great day!!
Before we jump into the start of the day, please lets look at a few bits of information so hopefully we will appreciate what we are seeing more.
Ezekiel 5:5 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her."
God stamped his personal signature on the area where the temple mount stands. The Hebrew letter Shin also stands for the word Shaddai, a name for God. There are three valleys which make up the city of Jerusalem's geography: the Valley of Ben Hinnom, Tyropoeon Valley, and the Kidron Valley. These valleys converge to form the letter Shin.
God instructed the Jews to celebrate the Passover at "the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name". Deut16:2. In 1 Kings 8:28-29, Solomon quotes the Lord as stating that His Name shall be in the land where Solomon is to build the House of God.
King Herod remodeled the temple and when Jesus would go to the temple it looked very similar to the picture below.
Whereas the volcanic rock up around the Sea of Galilee is dark, in Jerusalem the temple was constructed using white limestone.
I remember hearing a sermon on the brilliance of the temple when the sun rose in the east - and then it compared the parallel to Jesus, God's Son, rising in our hearts. In 1 Kings 7 Solomon is told to make two pillars of bronze for the outside entrance into the inner Temple. Those two pillars are not to support anything, they are to simply stand up. Please imagine with me just a moment. We are standing in the temple area early in the morning as the sun begins to rise. The sun peeps over the horizon, strikes the bronze pillars and the temple mount begins a golden glow from the light reflected off the pillars. If bronze is not cleaned its shine is replaced by a dark patina that reflects very little.
This is very similar to a Christian's life. We are to reflect the character of Jesus Christ in our lives. By ourselves we have no strength to hold up or support anything. As we begin to allow Christ to come in and take over, we reflect his life and are given strength by the Holy Spirit to accomplish his purposes and shine his light into the lives of others around us.
But this is the hard part, we have to constantly clean and polish the willful sins out of our lives, so that we can reflect Jesus Christ's love for others. THIS IS TOUGH!. We can be very stubborn old sinners, and we can only accomplish this by being on our knees in prayer.
OK, now back to the present day. Herod's temple is gone, it was destoyed in the year 70 A.D. by Rome. During this time period, the Gentile Church age, God resides by the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christian believers. The Church era is quickly approaching its end. Soon the last seven years of Daniel's prophecy will begin and a tribulation temple will be erected. It is prefabricated and the Jews are waiting for the green light to rebuild it. It is believed from start to finish of construction, it will take approximately one year. Also when the green light is given the Jewish Priest will immediately begin to startup the sacrifices using a tabernacle/tent like structure.
1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.
7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
8 As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the Lord Almighty,
in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.
9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them
to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.
The start of a great Sunday beginning with Dr. David leading us in worship and song on the Mount of Olives.
We thanked Dr. David for arranging this trip. He made it so easy to participate in allowing us to take advantage of lifetime opportunity.
Malcolm giving us information before we walked down the Mount pass the churches to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Here come the camels. Several people rode the camels before we started our descent down the mount to the gardens.
The Muslim shrine "The Dome of the Rock" on the temple mount that was built in 691.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most holy site is Islam. This building has stood since the year 1035. Just this side of the mosque are white umbrella canopies to protect visitors from the sun when unfolded.
The White tombs of Jews are on this side of the valley. On the other side of the valley are Muslim tombs.
Notice the rocks on top of the tombs, instead of leaving flowers they leave stones.
From the top of the Mount we will walk down to the path on the west side of the churches.
Looking down to the right towards the North.
We will be walking down the mountain towards this church.
The ancient city of David is to the left, to the south of the temple mount where the common people lived during Jesus time.
Beginning our walk down the mountain towards the churches and Gardens.
Click the back arrow to return to the trip when the video finishes.
Tradition has that On the South side of the temple mount is where most of the common people entered in Jesus time. The entry large portals are now closed. In the center are the actual steps that Jesus walked on going to and from the temple.
The golden domes of the Church of Mary Magdalene built in 1886.
The Church of Dominus Flevit (Jesus Wept) built in 1955. The architect fashioned the church in the shape of a teardrop to symbolize the tears of Christ. This is the same architect that designed the chapel at the place of Christ's sermon on the mount.
Olga giving the history of the area.
Getting closer to the temple mount.
Looking up towards the Jewish Tombs as we walk lower down the mount.
Approaching the Garden of Gethsemane.
The Church of Agony built over the rock where tradition says Jesus prayed before the Crucifixion.
Here we are on the bus looking up to where we had walked down from the the top of the Mount of Olives. At the upper right of the window we passed the Teardrop Church, the Church of Mary Magdalene with the gold domes, then down into the gardens finishing at the Church of Agony by the street. Wow!
The picture was taken from the bus. We are getting ready to unload and visit the traditional site of the Upper Room such as where Christ met with his disciples.
In this small area to the west of the temple mount are all kinds of churches and buildings. It seems as if there was any room what soever, someone would try to build a magnificent structure there. Some were very beautiful, but you could not see but very little of their structure at one time. Most of the structure was hid by closeness of the other buildings.
David playing his harp.
Inside the Upper Room
Inside the Upper Room
Then we went up higher onto the roof so we could get a better perspective of some of the beauty of the hidden almost buildings.
Looking towards the Mount of Olives where we begin our descent. This day was full of walking and wasn't half over yet.
We passed by the Golden Candelabra that will be used in the Jewish temple when they are allowed to rebuild.
The temple mount is in control of the Muslims. They may visit the top at any time. All other faiths that visit must enter through the elevated ramp on the right. Some groups would be singing and chanting excitedly before they reached the exit on top to the mount.
The Wailing or Western wall of the temple. Men on the left, women on the right. This is where many Jewish people come to pray because they believe this area is near to the site of the temple. Remember Solomon's prayer of dedication at the completion of the temple he built to the Lord. He asked the Lord to hear the cry of a person when they repented and prayed toward this place.
Looking west from the Wailing Wall up to where the Temple Institute and Golden Candelabra are located.
We are now walking out the gate at the Western Wall to head to Jerusalem.
Hooray we are back on the air conditioned bus heading to Bethlehem. This day is full of things to see!
The Church of the Nativity where Jesus Christ was born in a manger.
Looking at the Nativity Square where Christmas crowds swell to commemorate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
On the above right picture people come in, then line up about 8 abreast going through the columns on the right side of the church. When they reach the grotto , the cave, they go down the stairs on the right to the place of Christ's birth, kneel down and then return up on the left hand stairwell. Then we exited the church on the left moving into St.Catherine's Church.
Here our group enters the church of the Nativity.
Presently they have scaffolding up to remodel.
The alter above the cave.
Down in the Grotto. What a privilege and blessing to be this close to where our Savior Jesus Christ was born.
St. Catherine's Church
Leaving Saint Catherine's Church headed to where the bus will pick us up.
Our group ate Ice Cream here.
We left Bethlehem and headed for the Hotel. What an awesome day!