Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Rabbis Tunnel - Jerusalem


After we visited the Western Wall, we descended below ground to walk the Rabbi's Tunnel. Excavation on the tunnel began after the Six Day War, but was steeped in controversy for political reasons. The work exposed more of the Western Wall and allowed Jews closer access to the location of the Holy of Holies that stood within Herod’s temple. 



It's a fascinating walk underground which exposes stones supporting the temple mount. Notice the largest stone which is over 14 yards long and dates from the time of Herod. What an amazing feat to have moved it into position.



This last picture is a model of the temple mount with Herod's temple. The small lights running along the length of the wall indicate the Rabbi's Tunnel which is now underground. We walked these ancient paths from the time of Herod -- the time of Christ.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Western Wall

 The first morning in Jerusalem we visited the Western Wall, also called the Wailing Wall. It's divided into men's and women's sections (the men's section is much larger.) Anyone may pray at the wall, but men must have a head covering -- even a baseball cap will do.

I was prepared. I'd written out a list of family and friends I would pray for by name at the Western Wall. Then after I prayed, I rolled up the paper and stuffed it into a crack in the wall. Can you see all the bits of paper between the stones in the pictures below?


 The Western Wall is traditionally believed to be the closest place a praying Jew can come to the Holy of Holies. Do you see the phylactery (small box containing scripture) on the man's forehead? Jesus mentions phylacteries in Matt 23:5. Jesus was always more concerned with the state of the heart than customs or traditions. There is no Jewish temple standing today; it was destroyed in AD 70.






Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jerusalem

Jerusalem -- what more can I say?
The road climbs up and up until you get  your first glimpse of the old city. The city where Jesus came as a young boy and got so enthralled speaking with the teachers in His Father's House that He forgot to start the journey home with His earthly parents. The city of the temple -- where all males were to offer sacrifices three times each year. The city that received and embraced Jesus, only to turn on Him and demand His death. Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem. It's still a city of contrasts. Modern and ancient. Arab and Jewish. Secular and religious. Even today Jerusalem isn't sure what to do with Jesus.

Today, the first thing that catches your eye is the soft golden color of all the buildings. Only native limestone can be used to build in Jerusalem, giving the city a soothing golden glow. It's breathtaking. I don't know how else to describe it. You wait your whole life to catch a glimpse, and then it's right there before you with all its history, tears, wars, conflict, promise and glory. Oh Jerusalem.

The prominent feature of the old city is the famous golden topped Dome of the Rock. It's a Muslim site built in the 7th century, and it's actually a shrine, not a mosque. It is thought to be built on the famous rock where Jews and Christians claim Abraham was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Muslims believe it to be the rock where Muhammad ascended into heaven. Many people believe the Dome of the Rock is built on the site of the Jewish temple that was destroyed in 70AD. Tensions can run high just talking about such things. That's Jerusalem. You don't visit and remain indifferent to its beauty or its history.