Day seven began with an unexpected long walk. Do to the final day of Ramadan, most of the streets surrounding the old city and Temple Mount were closed. So, we enjoyed a nice leisurely walk through areas we would have not otherwise seen. Finally arriving at our first site, we explored the area of the Southwest corner of the Western wall. This site has revealed many remarkable finds including proof of Israel’s early kingdom presence. An ancient temple display and informative video helped us to understand Jewish temple worship. We left feeling we could identify with the early pilgrims who came full of excitement to sacrifice, worship, and serve God. Moving slightly Southward, we ended up on the Southern steps to the temple.
The Southern steps provided a wonderful place for us to sit down and meditate on the significance of this site as the birth place of the church. First, we celebrated James and Laura’s 20th anniversary and vow renewal. It was so awesome to join them in remembering all the Lord has done in their marriage. Then, we read through Acts 2 and learned that the birth of the church was actually a fulfillment of Pentecost (the Jewish Holiday). It fulfilled the law being given to God’s people by coming into our hearts 3,000 killed when it came on tablets/3,000 saved when it came in the Spirit). It fulfilled displaying God’s love by filling us with the Holy Spirit (corner of the fields left for gleaning under the law/sharing all they had as New Testament believers). It fulfilled becoming God’s witnesses by giving them understanding of languages. Then, we saw how 3,000 souls could have so easily been baptized as there were 54 Mikva’ot uncovered just below the stairs. These cleansing pools were used for early temple ritual baths.
Our next stop was slightly more somber. We visited Caiaphas’ house where Jesus was brought to face the High Priest after being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Caiaphas was the High Priest who sought to kill Jesus. We spent some time in a deep dark dungeoun pit that would have housed prisoners waiting for judgement. Reading Psalm 88 as prophetic of the savior was so incredibly moving for us all. Then, we sang a great old Hymn proclaiming that he arose from the grave. It echoed magnificently in the small deep dungeon giving us all chills.
The rest of the day was spend eating and wandering in the Jewish and Christian Quarters of the Old City. We even returned to the hotel early to give everyone some much earned rest. Tomorrow is the last day of our Israel journey. It all ends in the Garden tomb where we think Jesus would have been buried…and resurrected!