Julee and I arrived in Israel last Wednesday after some relatively easy travel from the U.S. We are figuring this travel thing out! Seattle to LA, LA to Paris on Air France, Paris to Madrid and a good nights sleep in Madrid before traveling on to Tel Aviv the next day. 5 days later we are still in jet lag adjustment mode, but it is really not too bad.
We are back in our little apartment/house in the COD, so glad to be back, feeling so “at home” and in the right place; and trying to stay warm, it is cold here and our house is like the proverbial ice box! Our home would be located today on the far left of the photo above. That photo was taken about 100 years ago of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, with the Kidron valley in the foreground. You can see that the ground to the south of the temple mount wall is empty, the old City of David virtually abandoned to grazing goats. Today it is disputed property claimed by both Arabs and Jews, and jammed with wall to wall small homes and apartments, mostly Palestinian but with a number of Jewish homes as well.
The picture above is also taken of the western slope of the Mount of Olives, and shows Solomons Tower, which definitely was not built by Solomon but is named in his honor.
We are here in Israel for two months this time before traveling on to Spain for 5 weeks to volunteer at the same hostel on the Camino de Santiago that we volunteered at last spring. It is a crucial time in Israel, there is more tension here right now than at any time we have been here in the past, and we feel we are called to be here to pray and intercede for Israel in regard particularly to relations with Iran and with Syria. Remember the “weapons of mass destruction” that were never found in Iraq? Certain unpublished intelligence indicates that Saddam shipped them all out to Syria in the days before the US came looking for them. And with the unstable situation in Syria right now, some think that Israel may be vulnerable to those weapons. And so we pray, “God, may your kingdom come, may your will be done” in Syria, in Iran, in Israel… and in the United States. We invite you to pray with us that evil will not prevail, and that neither Arab nor Jew nor anyone else will suffer at the hands of unstable authorities.
There are thousands of Jews dating back to the times of the Patriarchs buried in these tombs on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, facing the eastern gate of the Temple Mount. Most Orthodox Jews believe the Messiah will come from the Mount of Olives and through that gate and that those in these tombs will be the first to be resurrected and caught up in the air with Him. Some Jews know that the Messiah already went through that gate during Passover just before His crucifixion, and are waiting along with us Christians for Him to return again, in glory the next time rather than the humble servant riding on a donkey as it happened prophetically the first time.
I will close with this link (thank you Eric Kinser!) that so eloquently describes the object of our faith.