Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Israel Trip cont....

Please read the previous entry 1st. It is the start of the journaling, and everything else will make more sense, read in order.

This day we went to see the Temple Mount. The pictures I have up from my last post have some pictures of the West Wall, or Wailing Wall of the temple. This is the area up above that. Interestingly enough, there is a Muslim mosque, called Al Aqsa Mosque. Remember, this is the 3rd holiest place in the Muslim religion. It is so odd to see the 2 areas of worship, one for the Jews and the other for the Muslims so close together. The top area of the temple mount is huge, equivalent to 12 soccer fields I believe. Below is a pic of a section of the large, open area with people walking around.

This is a shot of the shrine, not the mosque, on the temple mount. Inside is the sacred rock that Jews and Christians believe Abraham was going to sacrifice Issac, the Muslims believe it was Ishmael, therefore making the area sacred to them also. I apologize, I did not get a good shot of the mosque.

Next we went to see Bethesda. This is the area where the story of the angel would come down and stir up the waters of a pool and the first sick person to get in the pool would be healed.

Below are a few pics of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is one of the churches that I mentioned earlier. The Catholic church built this over the site they believe where Christ was crucified and also buried near by. This pic below is what they believe to be the rock that they laid his body on in the tomb.

Here is the area they believed He was crucified at.

And here is a structure they built around the tomb that he was buried in. It was all very hard to picture. Good thing it doesn't really matter where it all happened, just that it did and He is no longer in there!

And onto lunch. This is a local dish called a Falafel. It's a pita with balls of fried chickpeas, some fresh veggies and some sauce on it. It was actually pretty good!

Paul and I riding a camel!!

Masada - a resort built for himself by Herod the great. It is in the middle of a desert, on top of a mountain. It is a pretty impressive site. In one of the pics below you can see a mountain with a plateau structure on top, if you look over to the left you can see small remnants of walls and buildings. This resort, which was built by Romans ended up being the last Jewish stronghold against the Romans themselves toward the end of the 1st century. There was a group of about 1000 men, women and children who were holding out at Masada and Rome was not about to let them win. Eventually, the Romans were able to break through the walls to take over the city, but night had fallen, so they decided to wait until morning to capture the city, kill the Jews and take their wives, children and possessions. The Jews knew what was coming, so instead of passively waiting, they decided to end their live on their own accord. 10 of the men were chosen. Every husband gathered his family, killed his wife and children. Then, the 10 men who were chosen had to kill all the other men. Of the 10, one man was chosen to kill the others of the 10. After that, he set fire to all of their houses and possessions, except the food storage, they wanted to let the Romans know that they had been well prepared, then he killed himself. You can imagine the confusion and frustration of the Roman soldiers that next morning. There were 2 Jewish women, hiding with their children, who told the story of what had happened. Very sobering.

some of the boulders launched over the walls by the Romans.

Herod's private quarters.

A view of the desert from the top of Masada.

One of the Roman camps down at the base of the mountain.

Our trip to the Dead Sea. I don't have any floating pics, because someone else took them while we were both in the water. It was pretty cool though!

The Dead Sea mud spa!

A dip in the pool in the middle of the desert!

Getting our nightly Gelato!

This is the Western Wall of the temple at the archaeological dig site. This part of the wall and road way are all original to the time of Christ. This was one of the neatest things for me personally.

This is one of the booths that would have been where the vendors were selling animals for sacrifices outside of the temple.
Eric taking a "bath" in one of the pools where the men were purified prior to making their sacrifice in the temple.

Every Israeli citizen is required to serve in the Israeli military. Here is one of the many young people we saw walking around with very large guns!

This is the view of Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives. This was the other really awesome site to see. This is the spot that Jesus ascended into heaven, and the spot that He is to return back to earth. It was pretty humbling to be standing on the same ground as that.

The Garden of Gethsemane.

This is the second site that is thought to be Golgotha, the place of the skull. There is debate as to the actual location. The pics of these rocks below show how the rocks look like the face of a skull and Road to Damascus runs right by it.

Here is the proposed site of the tomb of Jesus, but again, no one is really sure.

We took a day trip into the West Bank, one of the 2 Palestinian territories in Israel. The next 4 pics are of the wall that separates the people inside the West Bank, from those on the outside. It was actually very hard to see and made me sad for the majority of the Palestinian people who are literally jailed inside those walls.

This is The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built over the cave where Mary gave birth to Christ.

This is a picture of the "decor" inside the church - note the red christmas balls hanging from the candelabras - I am not attempting to be non-revernant, it was just.....interesting.

This is the spot that traditions say Mary laid Jesus after He was born.

if you look really hard at the top of the church, you can see a red "yard art" angel hanging from the cross, one similar to what you might see in someone's yard at Christmas time.....

and here are 2 crosses on top of the church with lightbulbs to light them up, yes, lightbulbs. i am horrible, i will stop knocking the decorations now.

This is the field where they think the sheppards were watching their sheep when the angel appeared to them to tell them Christ was born.

And here we are at our very last stop, Jericho.

They believe the fallen walls of Jericho are in this excavated area. I had trouble seeing them, so I am not really able to point them out, but it was neat enough to know that we were in the same area.

Here are a few of the group, Eric, Phil, Paul and Mac.

We had an amazing trip and are so glad that we went. While it was so amazing to be in the same places that my Savior was, it was more encouraging and amazing to me to see the places that are still to come. To see where the 3rd temple will be built, where the battle of Armageddon will most likely occur, most of all to see the spot that Christ is going to return to this earth and claim His title as King of Kings. I think the thing that I walked away from this trip with is the reinforcement of the idea that God has a plan for His people, His nation and for me and that plan is not finished yet. It is exciting and humbling to think that He has allowed you and me to be a part of that plan, but it is also a challenge to live each day with purpose and to be reminded of what this life is really about.

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