Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day 6 - Wednesday

Ok. Because its "Holy Week" and has almost been a year since our trip I guess I'll finish writing about it.  Ok, day 6.  This was a super crazy day.  It started early when we woke up and went to the Temple Mount.  It was a little bit nerve racking because of all the strict guidelines.  There was a strict dress code and we couldn't say Temple Mount, we had to say Dome of the Rock and we were definitely not allowed to talk about scriptures or Jesus or anything gospel related while on the grounds.  We weren't allowed to touch (notice in the pictures).  Just talking about that made us nervous.  We waited outside in line and then we went through security.  We were all anxious and no one was laughing or anything, it was very serious.  One by one they took us through security and then we walked across this narrow bridge and on the other side of it as soon as we stepped of, there were guards with guns there making sure everyone was dressed appropriately. Long sleeves and long dresses or pants.  Some people had to put on extra scarves and they wouldn't let some people from our group in because of it.  It was crazy.  It was a beautiful place and crazy to think of all the history that has taken place there.  It was really neat.  It was also neat to learn about why this place was so sacred to both Jews and Muslims. In the Jewish tradition this mountain is sacred because it is where Abraham offered Isaac, where Solomon built his temple, and where the Jews will once again built a temple in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.  In the Islamic tradition this mountain is sacred because it's the place from whence Muhammad ascended into heaven.
Brief history:
1. David built and altar
2. Solomon built the temple (955 BC)
3. Babylonians destroyed the temple (586 BC)
4. Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple (522 BC)
5. Damaged by Seleucids (167 BC)
6. Repaired by the Hasmoneans (164 BC)
7. Reconstructed by Herod (19-9 BC)
8. Destroyed by the Roman Titus (AD 70)
9. Dome of the Rock built (beginning of 7th century AD)
10. The mosque of El Aqsa built (end of 7th century AD)
11. Mosque was used as a palace for European kings during crusader period.
12. Mosque was refurbished as religious structure (AD 1033)

(Genesis 22; 2 Samuel 24:18-25; 2 Chronicles 3:1; 2 Kings 6-8; Ezekiel 8, 40-47; John 2: 13-17; Acts 3:3-8).

 Outside the Dome of the Rock before we went in. 
 The bridge we walked through after we went through security. 
Those boys are totes checking us out. 
We walked out and headed over to the pool of Bethesda (John 5: 2-18) where Brother Top taught us there were two traditions that Christ "blows out of the water". The first being you do not need a pool to be healed, you need the Savior. And the second being, that He heals on the Sabbath purposefully to teach them that they were so focused on the rules of the Sabbath that they were missing the point to serve, heal and bring people to Christ.  They believe a righteous man can heal but only God can forgive sins. 
This is how we would listen to brother Top talk
BD: "Bethesda: House of Mercy or house of Grace. 
Pool at Jerusalem, having five porches or cloisters. It seems to have had medicinal properties, popularly attributed to the "troubling" of the waters by an angel. There was possibly an intermittent spring flowing into the pool, which produced a bubbling at the surface. It was here that Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. 
After that we walked close by the St. Ann Church, the birthplace of the Virgin Mary and home of her parents.  And then we walked around the Old City where Christ was scourged. We went to Pilate's judgement Hall/Condemnation Chapel and the Chapel of the Flagellation. Then we walked through the Church of the Holy Sepulchral. 

We then had a break and went to lunch and did some shopping and then walked over to the Room of the Last Supper.  The most memorable part of being in that room was singing hymns with our group.  We sang, "I know that my Redeemer lives" and it was so incredible.  I hope to always remember that especially when I take the sacrament.  They talked about how he said to them, "Take, eat" and the new covenant replaced the old one. They talked about how the theme of the Passover was freedom from bondage. The Passover was a joyous time but this time, it was not for the Disciples. They were gloomy knowing the Savior would soon be leaving. He said, "Peace I give unto you" and then in John 14:27-28 said, "if ye loved me, ye would rejoice..Arise, let us go hence".  

From there, we went to the house of Caiaphas where we walked down into a little cave and saw a hole they would have had in the top where they would have lowered Christ down on a rope and dropped Him into it.  Then we went to the Mount of Olives to take beautiful pictures of the city. 

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