No one seems to be in a hurry to leave Israel. The land is beautiful and the sites are meaningful, but the people, the believers and the not-yet-believers, will steal your hearts. Sure, we are all beginning to miss our family and friends back home, but we hate to see the end of our trip come upon us so quickly.
We get on the bus at 8:15AM and head to the Old City, Our tour guide mentioned that the entire Old City is only 220 acres. Wow. That is really small to be the subject of so much history, focus and controversy. It sits adjacent to the City of David where King David had his palace. But Jerusalem is the epicenter of the entire world. Think about it. God called Abraham to it for the offering of Issac. God gave it to his people, Israel. God chose it as His city, the only place on earth where He place His name. Solomon’s and Herod’s temples were located there. Yeshua made his triumphant entry there. A week later He was crucified there. Three days later He arose there. And it is to Jerusalem that He is returning to put His feet on the Mount of Olives and enter into the Old City through the Eastern Gate. Wow. Jerusalem, the center of it all.
We visited the Davidson Center where they show a film depicting what it would have been like in Jesus day to come and offer a sacrifice at the Temple. Then we went around to the Southern Steps (on the southern side of the Temple Mount). This is where the majority of the people would have entered the temple courts. This is where Jesus would have entered the Temple. We read each of the fifteen Psalms of Ascents, one for each of the “steps”. The Southern Steps are made up of a small step and then a large step alternating all the way up. There are fifteen large steps, one for each of these Psalms. So we take turns reading the Psalms of Ascent, one on each of the large steps. Next to the Southern Steps is a little cleft in the wall, just large enough for a person to nestle into. We take some photos.
We head back to the western side of the temple mount where the Western Wall is located. “Wailing Wall” is a derogatory term used by the Muslims, so we use the formal name, Western Wall. Here we join the many faithful Jews and other followers of the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, who come to pray and put their prayers into the cracks and crevices of the wall. We also use our time here to pray for the “fullness of the Gentiles” to be complete so that the Lord will lift the partial blindness from their eyes so that they can see Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, their Messiah.
From there we climb many steps to take us back to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City where we do a little shopping and grab some lunch. Then we load the bus and head for Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Museum. We take a couple hours, but your could easily spend an entire day. There is so much history here. The emotion is heavy. It is always a hard experience. The Jews believe that the Holocaust was committed in the name of Jesus by Christians. And although Hitler was into the occult and obviously (to us) not a Christian, he used the writings of Martin Luther and the church leadership of the day to accomplish his plans. And many, many church leaders fell into compliance. This is one of the reasons why many Jews want nothing to do with Christ. Can you blame them? “Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves”, Romans 14:22.
We finished our day with our friends, Eddie and Jackie Santoro. They have amazing shepherd’s hearts and they are pioneers as Messianic believers in the land of Israel. Also, our dear friend Ken Shostack joined us for dinner and prayer. This was a fantastic and richly blessed trip.
Jennifer’s Trip Conclusion:
Imagine finding yourself smack dab in the middle of an epic adventure on a scale grander than The Lord of the Rings. That is what being part of the Israel team is like.
We are those who have been foretold long ago and are now finding ourselves mentioned in the pages of Scripture. Our journey started with Isaiah 60:8-9. We were among those who flew along like clouds bringing Israel’s children (Michael and Jacquelyn) from afar back to the land with us. We labored in David’s olive grove and on the Field’s of Wheat property fulfilling Isaiah 61:5, “Foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.” We shared of the Savior’s love with Malka just as The Lord declared we should do in Isaiah 62:11 “Say to the Daughter of Zion- see your Savior comes!”
On our last night together Eddie Santoro reminded us again what an amazing age we live in. He had been recently impressed by Hebrews 11:29-30. After mentioning all those name in the Biblical hall of fame who lived by faith and died in faith the text reads “Yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” They make up the great cloud of witnesses encouraging us, together, to throw off entanglements and run with us eyes set on Yeshua who is the author and perfect or of our faith.
With so much joy in our hearts how could we help but find ourselves all over Romans 15:10 “Rejoice you Gentiles with His people!” Until our feet are once again standing in your gates O Jerusalem, we pray for your peace, imagining the precious faces of our brothers and friends- Psalm 122: 8-9