May 2018 Extensive Israel Tour Summary – Day 11

DAY 11 – TUESDAY, MAY 15: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER & SHORASHIM, CHURCH OF ST. PETER GALLICANTU, YAD VASHEM

(Theme of the day: Facing the “walls” of life)

This morning was an early start here in Jerusalem. With breakfast at 6 a.m., we departed shortly after 6:30 because of the early reservations made for the Western Wall Tunnels. We enjoyed the sun and perfect temps (mid 70s) once again. The day would also be a lighter day, with some free time.

Western Wall Tunnels

Master Course

The “Master Course” in the Western Wall Tunnel

Visiting the Western Wall was special. Here we saw many Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the Wall for morning prayers. In three groups, we saw more than just this part of the exposed Wall. We entered into the Western Wall Tunnels and walked parallel to this western retaining wall about 400 yards. Here we saw huge stones on the Temple placed by Herod the Great, a project he began in 20 BC. One stone, called the Master Course, weighs several hundred tons. For sure, the Temple was the most extensive building project in the ancient near eastern world at this time!  Up to the time of Jesus, the temple was already in its 46th year of building (John 2).

Peter Gallicantu Church

Herodian street

Herodian Street

After returning to the Wall for more time here, we walked out of the Dung Gate and boarded our bus for the short drive up the hill to the Peter Gallicantu Church. This is the traditional location for the house of Caiphias, the High Priest who bound Jesus (Luke 22). After visiting the church, we descended further down the slope. The most impressive thing to see here was the stone steps dating to the 2nd Temple period. These set of steps would have connected the upper city with the lower city of Jerusalem. Jesus would have used these steps!  We also saw a model of Byzantine Jerusalem.

Yad Vashem

The Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem

From here we drove to western Jerusalem to Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial called Yad Vashem. We first visited the Valley of the Communities, highlighting all the cities and towns throughout Europe effected by the Nazis. Both Eli and Shlomo shared their personal stories.

In the visitor center we ate lunch, followed by walking through both the Childrens’ Memorial (1.5 million children were killed), and the museum itself. Along all the pathways are trees planted in memory of the righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during WWII. Certainly, this place is a difficult yet important place to visit.

Old City/Free Time

Leaving Yad Vashem, we drove back to the hotel. Many on both buses got off at the Jaffa Gate for some free time in the Old City. Some walked on the ramparts (Turkish walls of the city), gaining a unique perspective of the city and people below.  

Returned to the hotel for dinner and a free evening.

DAY 12 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 16: TEMPLE MOUNT, SHORASHIM, TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT, ISRAEL MUSEUM, FREE TIME

(Theme: We finds hidden treasure in God)

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May 2018 Extensive Israel Tour Summary – Day 9

DAY 9 – SUNDAY, MAY 13: SEPPORIS, NAZARETH PRECIPICE, MEGIDDO, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM

(Theme of the Day: Learning to trust God in our battles)

Today we checked out of our hotel in the Galilee. Leaving shortly after 7:30, we headed to our first site on what would be another very nice day (with a mix of sun and clouds, good visibility, and temps in the high 70s).

Sepporis

Mona Lisa Galilee

The “Mona Lisa of there Galilee” mosaic at Sepporis

Located in the Lower Galilee, Sepporis was our first site. This was a huge Hellenized Jewish city in the time of Jesus and served as the capital city of the region. Here we saw beautiful mosaics, including the Nile and Mona Lisa of the Galilee mosaics. This was a cute that flourished through the Roman period. We also saw a small theater. Even though not mentioned in the Gospels, Jesus must have visited this city, especially while growing up only 5 miles away in Nazareth.

Precipice of Nazareth

Nazarerth

Precipice of Nazareth

Close by is the city of Nazareth. It is predominately an Arab city (who are Israeli citizens) of about 80,000 today. Driving through the edfe of this city, we arrived at the Precipice of Nazareth. Here we enjoyed our first of three views of the Jezreel Valley. We saw Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31), and Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). We considered the story of Luke 4 (Jesus teaching in the Nazareth synagogue) and John 1. We were invited to “come and see” Jesus anew. We also enjoyed a time of worship and reflection here as well.

Megiddo

Megiddo

The excavations at Megiddo

Driving across the Jezreel Valley, we visited Megiddo. This is an archaeological site that has over two dozen levels of occupation over a 2,500 year period (from Early Bronze to Israelite). Climbing the tel (ancient mound), we saw three gates complexes( from both the Canaanite and Israelite time period), Solomon’s stables, a Canaanite stone altar, and a grain bin (9th century BC) among other things. Looking out upon the valley (Armegeddon) we recalled Revelation 16 and celebrated that God has the final word in the end times! We exited the site through the water system.

Mt. Carmel/Muhraka

Jezreel Valley

The Jezreel Valley

Following lunch at a place owned by Druze, we made a brief stop at Muhraka. Here we gathered in a small chapel and read from Isaiah 35, Song of Songs 7, and 1 Kings 18. It was here God displayed His power and glory to Elijah. We enjoyed singing in the chapel too! The roof of the chapel provided us a marvelous last view of the Jezreel Valley below.

Caesarea

Caesarea

Hippodrome at Caesarea

Our last stop of the day was Caesarea. Tis was another huge city built by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Sitting the the theater, we read from Acts 10, 12, 21, and 26. Both Peter and Paul proclaimed their faith boldly here! We also saw the palace and hippodrome. Before leaving the site, we enjoyed seeing the aqueduct that was used to bring water into the city from the Carmel Range.

Jerusalem

Western Wall

Jerusalem Day at Western Wall

From here was drove about 2 hours to Jerusalem. Traffic was heavy heading into this capital city of Israel. We checked into our hotel, enjoyed dinner and then an optional walk to the Western Wall. It is both exciting and historic to be here for Israel’s 70th Anniversary tomorrow and the moving the the US Embassy to Jerusalem!

DAY 10 –MONDAY, MAY 14: JERUSALEM, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM

(Theme of the Day: Jesus and His redemptive plan)

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March 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 12

DAY 12 – THURSDAY, MARCH 22: OLD CITY, WAILING WALL, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

Today began in the Old City and ended in western Jerusalem. The sun was bright and sunny again, with temps around 80.

Western Wall/Tunnel

Western Wall

The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem

Following breakfast, we left again around 7:30 this morning. We read John 2 (Temple…. 46 years to build, etc…) on the way to the Western Wall. Entering the Dung Gate into this area called the Kotel, this wall served as a retaining wall for the expanded platform of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great beginning in 20 BC. After spending some time at the Wall, we walked about 400 yards north along this retaining wall. Here we saw massive stones, including the “Master Course” stone that weighs 100s of tons! Pastor John even was able to get a picture of the new small theater discovered recently among the ruins.

Jewish Quarter

Jerusalem model

The 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem at the Israel Museum

We returned to the Jewish Quarter. Here, we enjoyed a visit to Shorashim (“roots”) where we heard Moshe (an Orthodox Jew) share about his Jewish faith in the context of our Christian faith. It was quite interesting. Also, all the items in the store here has a biblical connection. A great place!

Israel Museum

Coffin of Herod

Herod the Great’s coffin (found at Herodum)

Following lunch on our own in the Jewish Quarter, we walked out of the Zion’s Gate and boarded the bus to the western part of the city. Our first stop of the afternoon was the Israel Museum. We saw three things here. First, a 1:50 model of Jerusalem as it looked like in 70 AD. We re-traced the steps of Jesus in and through the city that was populated by around 60,000 people. We saw the Temple (John 2, 7, 10; Mark 13, Acts 3, 5, etc…), the Siloam Pool (John 9), Herod’s Palace (Luke 23), and the two possible crucifixion sites, the southern steps, Robinson’s Arch, and many other locations.

Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. We even saw two scroll jars from Cave 1. Lastly, we saw the highlights from the archaeological museum. This included artifacts such as the Dan and Pilate Inscriptions, Hazor’s and Arad’s cultic center, Asherah figurines, ossuaries, and Herod’s coffin (among many other things).

Yad Vashem

box car Yad Vashem

A box car used in the Holocaust, at Yad Vashem

We ended the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. While walking through the Valley of the Communities, Shlomo shared his story of losing 12 family members in Vilna, Poland as a result of the Holocaust. We also walked through the Children’s Memorial and lastly the museum on our own.

We returned to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and an optional walk on the Promenade. Before going to bed, we also had turned our watches forward one hour for Israel’s daylight savings.

DAY 13 – FRIDAY, MARCH 23: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB

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February 2018 Israel Tour Summary/Update – Day 6

DAY 6 – WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 14: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, JUDEAN DESERT

Today was spent along the west coast of the Dead Sea and in the Judean Desert. It would be a perfectly sunny and warmer day, with highs in the 70s. We read from Psalm 18 as we left the hotel, claiming God as our metzada (“fortress”) and strength.

Masada

Masada

Masada, a palace-fortress of Herod the Great and place of refuge for Jews after 70 AD

Leaving shortly after 8 this morning, we drove north along the Dead Sea to Masada. This was one of Herod the Great’s palace-fortress (actually the first one built). Taking the cable car to the top of this 1,000 foot-high stand-alone mountain, we saw ruins from the 1st century. This included the palaces of Herod, the case-mate wall, the Roman ramp, the synagogue, and the bathhouse. Shlomo shared passionately about the remarkable story of this place, with 967 Jews using this site as a place of refuge against the Romans after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Most in the group took the cable car back down while others hiked the Snake Path to the bottom.

Engedi

Engedi

The spring/oasis of Engedi

Driving about 15 minutes north, our next stop was at the oasis of Engedi. This was where David hid from King Saul (1 Samuel 24). We also remembered the story of 2 Chronicles 20 that happened here as well as the romantic language of Song of Songs 1. Hiking back to some of the water falls, we took some time for reflecting and journaling.

Qumran

Qumran

Qumran and the Dead Sea

Continuing north, we visited Qumran. This was where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. During the lunch hour, many in the group hiked to Cave 1 where the first scrolls were found (this included the famous Isaiah Scroll). We also then visited the small ruins of Qumran, see many ritual baths (miqvot), the scriptorium, and Cave 4. We read from “Psalm 151,” an extra psalm found here humbly written by David. We also read from Psalm 19 and 2 Timothy 3. Before we left, we could also see the new cave (Cave 12) that is currently being excavated further.

Judean Desert/Wadi Qelt

Wadi Qelt

Wadi Qelt – Judean Desert

Driving now west and ascending almost 4,000 feet in elevation to Jerusalem, we made a brief stop overlooking the beautiful Wadi Qelt. It is actually part of the Judean Desert. Here we heard the powerful words of Isaiah 40 proclaimed by this 7th century BC prophet of God. John the Baptist would echo the same words as he “prepared the way for the Lord” (e.g. Jesus) as well! The beauty of the desert in the winter was breath-taking!

The Western Wall

The Western Wall in Jerusalem

Continuing our drive to Israel’s capital, we checked into our hotel and enjoyed dinner together. Following dinner, most in the group walked to the Western Wall, the most holy place for Jews today! This wall served as a retaining wall for Herod’s Temple, a project he began in 20 BC. It is good to be in Jerusalem!

DAY 7 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15: MT. OF OLIVES, POOL OF BETHESDA, VIA DOLOROSA, ISRAEL MUSEUM, BETHLEHEM

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Day 12 Trip Summary – January 2018 14 Day Israel Tour

DAY 12 – THURSDAY, JANUARY 25: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

Today was a colder day, but with just a little rain (the predicted rain came during the night). We were also glad that those who were not feeling well and stayed back yesterday were able to join us today.

Western Wall Tunnels

Western Wall in Jerusalem

The Western Wall in Jerusalem

Leaving just after 7:15 this morning and reading John 2 (a reference to the Temple being built over 46 years) as we left the hotel, we arrived at the Western Wall. Before our walk in the Western Wall Tunnels, we had time to go to the Wall and pray. Many ultra Orthodox were there as well for morning prayers.

The walk through the tunnels was fascinating! Herod’s Temple project (that he began in 20 BC) was an incredible feat! We saw some stones that weighed several hundred tons! We walked the entire distance of this western retaining wall of the Temple.

Jewish Quarter – Cardo, Herodian House, Shorashim

Herodian mansion

The 1st century ruins of the Herodian Mansion in the Jewish Quarter

Exiting the tunnel, we walked to the Jewish Quarter. Here we saw the Cardo (the main north-south street of the city). It dates to the 2nd century AD. We also saw the very impressive 1st century ruins of the Herodian Mansion. This was a massive house destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Close by we met an Orthodox Jew named Moshe. He and his brother (Dov) own a store called Shorashim. Moshe shared about his Jewish faith. We also had the chance to ask him questions. After this interesting conversation, we enjoyed lunch in the Jewish Quarter.

Israel Museum

Dan Inscription

The Dan Inscription (“with reference to the “house of David”)

Walking out of the Old City through the Zion’s Gate, we drove to the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things: A 1:50 model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem, the Shrine of the Book (where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were displayed), and the Archaeological Museum. Here we saw some “highlights” of artifacts found here in Israel related to the Bible.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial & Museum

We ended the day at Israel’s Holocaust Museum & MemorialYad Vashem. We first walked through the Valley of the Communities where Shlomo shared his family story. He lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland. We then walked through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. It was quite sobering.

We returned to the hotel for dinner and an optional walk to Ben Yehuda to experience some more “modern” Israeli life and shopping.

DAY 13 – FRIDAY, JANUARY 26: CITY OF DAVID, SOUTHERN EXCAVATIONS, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB

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Day 10 Trip Summary – January 2018 14 Day Israel Tour

DAY 10 – TUESDAY, JANUARY 23: NAZARETH, MEGIDDO, MT. CARMEL, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM

This morning we left the Sea of Galilee area. Following breakfast, checkout, and loading, we left shortly after 7:30 this morning. The weather changed from our last three sunny days. Today we had off and on rain and sun the entire day, with high temps in the low 60s. Thankfully at most sites, we avoided the heavier rains. Rain is predicted the rest of the week for Jerusalem.

Precipice of Nazareth

Mt. Tabor

Mt. Tabor in the Jezreel Valley

We drove to the region of the Lower Galilee towards Nazareth. Going through Cana (John 2) and the outskirts of Nazareth (Luke 1), we arrived at the Precipice of Nazareth. Here we enjoyed our first full view of the Jezreel Valley below. On our way to the overview, we saw a number of mandrake plants (Genesis 30, Song of Songs 7). Looking out to the Jezreel Valley, we could envision all of these stories unfolding: We read about Deborah and Barak battling on Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), Gideon fighting the Midianites on the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Saul and his sons dying on Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31). We also read from Luke 4 about Jesus teaching in the Nazareth synagogue. We were invited to “come and see” (John 1) Jesus in the light of His Messiahship.

Megiddo

Megiddo

Tel Megiddo

From here we continued through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo (Har Megiddo in Hebrew), which gave its name to Armageddon (Revelation 16). This site has over two dozen archaeological layers spanning a time period of about 2,500 years! After seeing the model of the ancient city, we climbed the site. We saw some of the many ruins here, including three gate structures, storage rooms, a sacrificial altar, and the grain silo. We read from Rev. 16 and celebrated that in the last day, God has the final word! We exited the site by walking down 180+ steps through the water system. The engineering of this system was extraordinary!

Mt. Carmel

Mt. Carmel

The Jezreel Valley from Mt. Carmel

Driving southwest, we climbed Mt. Carmel, a mountain range about 13 miles long that separates the Jezreel Valley with the Sharon Plain. After eating lunch at a Druze restaurant, we arrived at a place called Muhraqah (“burnt offering”) near by. In the chapel we read the OT story about Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).  We also read from Isaiah 35 and Song of Songs 7. We sang a few songs here as well, celebrating the awesomeness of God! Walking to the rooftop of the chapel provided us our third view of the Jezreel Valley below.

Caesarea

theater at Caesarea

The theater at Caesarea

Our last site of the day is located on the shoreline of the Sharon Plain. Caesarea was a city built by King Herod in 22 BC. He was indeed a great builder. Starting in the theater, we read from Acts 10, 12, and 26 (Peter, Herod Antipas, and Paul). Walking north we saw the palace (where Paul was bound?), the hippodrome, many Roman mosaics, and the areas where the Temple of Augustus and Herod’s harbor once stood. We exited the site through a Crusader gate. Before leaving for Jerusalem, we briefly stopped at the aqueduct.

It took about 2.5 hours to drive through the Tel Aviv area and up to the Hill Country of Judah to Jerusalem. Traffic in Jerusalem was backed up because of Vice-President Pence being here today. We arrived at our hotel, checked in, and enjoyed dinner together. Following dinner an optional walk was offered to the Western Wall. 16 went on the walk. To see this most holy site for the Jews today at night was amazing!

We are looking forward to three full days here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel!

DAY 11 –WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24: JERUSALEM, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM

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September 2017 Israel Tour – Day 10

DAY 10 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12:

We spent the entire day in Jerusalem. It was another sunny day, with highs unusually in the mid 90s.

Rabbinical tunnel

Western Wall Tunnel

Leaving shortly after 7:30 again after another great buffet breakfast (and opening the day with Mark 13:1-2), we drove back to the Western Wall. It was interesting to see the many ultra Orthodox Jews praying under the canopy of their tallits (prayer shawls). Here we entered the Western Wall Tunnel (also called the Rabbinical Tunnels). After a brief explanation of the Temple Mount expanded by Herod the Great in 20 BC, we walked parallel to this western retaining wall of the Temple. We walked north about 300 yards. Along the way we saw many fascinating things, including huge Herodian stones (one called the Master Course that weighs hundreds of tons). It was quite fascinating!

Exiting the tunnel in the Muslim Quarter, we walked back to the Jewish Quarter. Here, we enjoyed listening to an Orthodox Jew named Moshe. He and his brother own a shop called Shorashim. Moshe talked about his Jewish thought and practice. It was quite enlightening to hear him share.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum & Memorial

After eating lunch here in the Jewish Quarter, we walked out of the Old City through the Zion’s Gate. Meeting David and the bus here, we drove to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust. Museum & Memorial. First, we walked through the Valley of the Communities. We then listened to Shlomo’s own personal family story before walking through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. We also saw trees dedicated to “Righteous Gentiles” such as Oscar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, and others It was a sober experience here knowing that 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazi regime during WWII.

Jerusalem Model

The 1:50 scale Model of Jerusalem (70 AD)

Our last stop was the Israel Museum. Here we walked around a 1:50 model of Jerusalem as it looked like in 70 AD. We made a lot of connections with the life and ministry of Jesus in and around the Temple. Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book dedicated for the display of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found at Qumran. Lastly, we saw the highlights of artifacts in the archaeological wing of the museum. We saw the Dan & Pilate inscriptions, the high place of Arad, the place of trumpeting inscription found at the SW corner of the Temple, and Herod’s sarcophagus, among many others.

City of David

The Sound and Light Show at City of David, Jerusalem

We returned to the hotel for dinner, followers by a special excursion to the City of David to see the brand-new sound & light show. It was excellent!

DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: GEZER, BETH SHEMESH, QEIYAFA/ELAH VALLEY, BEIT GURVRIN, LACHISH, BEERSHEBA

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June 2017 Israel Tour – Day 11 Summary

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, JUNE 22: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

Master Course

The “Master Course” – part of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. It weighs a few hundred tons!

This morning we left at 7:30 again. The weather was about the same as yesterday, with sun and comfortable temps in the low 80s. Leaving the hotel we read from Mark 13:1-2 about the “massive stones” that amazed the disciples. Our first site was the Western Wall, a retaining wall containing these stones form the time of Jesus. This

The Western Wall is the most holy place for Jews today because if its proximity to where both the 1st and 2nd Temples once stood. What we did was walk parallel along this wall in what is called the Rabbinical Tunnels. Like the disciples of Jesus, we too were amazed at seeing these stones. One of these (the “Master Course”) weighs a few hundred tons.

Jerusalem Model

The 1:50 scale Jerusalem Model at the Israel Museum

Walking up to the Jewish Quarter, we visited the Temple Institute. This is run by a sect of Jews who are anticipating the building of the 3rd Temple. All the Temple furnishings have been prepared. Nearby we visit Shorashim, a store that is designed to connect people to the Bible. Moshe, one of the brothers who owns the shop, shared with us about his Jewish faith. It was quite interesting.

Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum & Memorial

Following lunch we walked out of the Zion’s Gate to meet our bus. We drove to the Israel Museum. Here we saw a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem the way it looked in 70 AD. It is based on archaeology, the Mishnah, Talmud, and Josephus. We focused upon the many things that connected us to the Gospels and Acts. Specifically we saw what the Temple looked like in Jesus’ day. Also, we walked through the Shrine of the Book to see some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Additionally, we walked to the archeological wing of the museum. Here we saw some of the highlights of items found in excavations. This included things like the Arad high place, Asherah figurines, the Moses Seat, the Pilate Inscription, and Herod’s sarcophagus.

Vilna Poland Holocaust

Shlomo sharing at Nad Vashem. He lost 12 family members in Vilna, Poland during the Holocaust.

We ended the day at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum & Memorial. We walked through the Valley of the Communities, the Children’s Memorial, and the museum itself. We also heard Shlomo share about losing 12 family members in Vilna, Poland.

We returned to the hotel for dinner and a free evening. We have one more day here in Jerusalem.

DAY 12 – FRIDAY, JUNE 23: GARDEN TOMB, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, SOUTHERN EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, NIGHT FLIGHT HOME

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April-May 2017 Israel-Egypt Tour Update: Day 8

DAY 8 – MONDAY, MAY 1:

Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. On this Memorial Day here in Israel, it was a beautifully sunny day, with comfortable temps around 80.

Western Wall

Memorial Day at the Western Wall, Jerusalem

Leaving at 7:20 this morning, we drove to the southern end of the Old City and entered the Kotel Western Wall area. As we left, we read from Mark 13:1-2 that mentions the “massive stones” of the Temple, setting the theme for the morning. This is the most holy place for Jews because of it’s proximity to where the 1st and 2nd Temples once stood. This “Western Wall” (also called Wailing Wall) served as a retaining wall for the Temple platform expanded by Herod the Great.

After going down to The Wall for a time of prayer, we entered the Western Wall Tunnel. This has been an archaeological site since the 70s. We walked parallel to this western retaining wall for about 250 yards. We saw massive yet carefully-placed stones of the Temple Jesus saw, including one stone called the Master Course (weighing 250-600 tons, depending on who you talk to).

Master Course

The “Master Course” stone (250 – 600 tons)

Leaving the tunnels, we returned to the Jewish Quarter for a visit to the Temple Institute. This is operated by a small sect of Orthodox Jews who are preparing for the building of the 3rd Temple. It was quite interesting to see and hear about all the Temple vessels already prepared in anticipation of the Messiah’s coming.

Walking out of the Jewish Quarter through the Zion’s Gate, the memorial siren sounded at 11 a.m. We all stood in respect of the fallen IDF soldiers.

Jerusalem Model

The 1:50 scale Jerusalem Model at the Israel Museum

After this moment of silence, we drove to the Israel Museum. Here, we saw three things – a 1:50-scale model of Jerusalem like it look like in 70 AD prior to its destruction (we retraced the ministry of Jesus, including the Temple Mount), the Shrine of the Book museum (where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display), and lastly the archaeological wing of the museum (where we saw highlights of artifacts, e.g. the Dan & Pilate Inscriptions, Canaanite weaponry, cultic items, figurines, ossuaries, Herod’s sarcophagus, the Moses’ Seat, etc…).

We ended the day with a moving and emotional visit to Yad Vashem (literally a “place/memorial and a name” from Isaiah 56:5). This is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We first walked through the Valley of the Communities where we heard Shlomo share his personal story of losing 12 family members from Vilna, Poland. We then walked through the Children’s Memorial and the museum itself. It was a very moving experience, especially being here on Memorial Day.

Dan Inscription

The “Dan Inscription” in the Israel Museum

We returned back to our hotel for dinner. We then bussed to Ben Yehuda for a fun time of celebrating Israel’s Independence Day. It was packed with people. After enjoying some shopping, we walked back to the hotel.

DAY 8 – TUESDAY, MAY 2: MT. OF OLIVES, POOL OF BETHESDA, VIA DOLOROSA, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM

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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 11 Summary

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, MARCH 23:

Western Wall

The Western Wall of Jerusalem

Today was our second day in Jerusalem. Once again, although it rained a little over the night, the skies were partly sunny, with highs in the 60s. Almost perfect!

We started our day a little early this morning. Leaving the hotel around 7:15, we drove down through the Hinnon Valley (2 Chronicles 28:3, Jeremiah 7:31) and then up towards the Old City. Entering through the Dung Gate, we first visited the famous Western Wall. This served as the western retaining wall of the Temple when Herod expanded the Temple Mount (a project that began in 20 BC). From here we walked parallel to this western wall through what is called the Western Wall Tunnel. We saw massive Herodian stones placed precisely. One called the Master Course, weighs 400+ tons!

Temple Mount Sifting

Participating in the Temple Mount Sifting Project

Walking out of the St. Stephen’s Gate, we then enjoyed being “archaeologists” at the Temple Sifting Project. Located on Mt. Scopus (the northern end of the Mt. of Olives), we sifted through the debris brought directly from the Temple Mount. A number of the group found some interesting things, including a coin probably dating to the 2nd Temple Period. We ordered in falafels for lunch and ate them before we left.

Driving now to the western part of Jerusalem, we next visited the Israel Museum. Here we saw a 1:50 scaled model of Jerusalem as it looked just prior to its destruction in 70 AD. We carefully examined the locations here key stories from the Gospels and the life of Christ took place. Also here at the museum we walked through the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display. Lastly, we walked through the archaeological wing of the museum, seeing a few highlights (Dan Inscription, Moses’ Seat from Chorazim, the “place of trumpeting” inscription from the pinnacle of the Temple, the Pilate Inscription, and the sarcophagus of Herod the Great, among other things (1,900 year-old Roman glass pie plate).

Temple Model

The 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus (2nd Temple Period).

We ended the day with a moving visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. It was a gripping experience as we saw the Children’s Memorial. We all heard Shlomo’s story of losing 12 family members from Vilna, Poland. We also walked through the museum itself on our own, reading and hearing the many stories of the Holocaust.

We returned to the hotel for dinner, followed by an optional walk to Ben Yehuda Street for shopping and a taste of modern Israeli life.

DAY 12 – FRIDAY, MARCH 24: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB

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