We started the day on the Mount of Olives, and then walked down to the Garden of Gethsemene at the bottom of the hill. There are rows and rows and rows of Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives. Across from Gethsemene is the Eastern Gate (also called the Golden Gate) that the Messiah is supposed to enter. Knowing this, the Muslim Turkish sultan Suleiman sealed it shut in the 1517, and also put a Muslim graveyard in front of it, knowing that a Jewish person would not defile himself by walking through it. Suleiman unwittingly fulfilled Ezekiel 44, which delcares that the gate will be closed - and will not open until Messiah comes again!
|Cemetary on the Mt. of Olives|
|Garden of Gethsemene|
|Church of the Holy Sepulcher|
We then went to the old city and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I was not impressed with this landmark, which was claimed and built by Constantine's mother in the 4th century as the death and burial site of Jesus. It was filled with idolatrous images, and people were worshipping a marble slab stone. There are eight religious groups that fight over the place. I lasted ten minutes and had to get out of there.
We stayed in the Old City for awhile, and then had lunch on top of a building.
|Old City Market, Christian Quarter|
|Muslim spice shop in Arab Quarter|
After a quick walk through the Arab Quarter marketplace (and I mean quick), our group then took us to the Garden Tomb, which is another of the supposed death and burial sites for Jesus. I found that place to be much more plausible. There was a tomb hewn in the rock, a cliff that looked like a skull, and they even found a giant underground cistern which would have belonged to a wealthy man. More importantly, it was on a major intersection from the ancient world... the Romans found it necessary to crucify their victims in full view of as many people as possible.
|Meeting Kay Arthur at the Garden Tomb|
|The beautiful surroundings at the Garden Tomb|
It was a sweet place to end our tour. Our group sang worship songs and had communion together. The exact location is not the important thing... the important thing is that Yeshua our Passover Lamb was crucified to pay for our sins, buried in the ground as our Unleavened (sin-free) Bread, and that He rose again on the Feast of Firstfruits.
Later at the hotel, our Servant's Heart portion of the trip was kicked off as we met some of the amazing servants of the Lord that we would be working with during the week.
|John and his son|