Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Up To Jerusalem

Feeling 20 years younger, we left the Royal Rimonim and made our first stop for today at Masada.  This mountain fortress that Herod built as a refuge in times of trouble was amazing.  The palace which hung on the western edge provided a means of escape even if the mountain was attacked.  It is believed he used it personally exactly once.  It was the place to which rebels came following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The Roman tenth legion besieged them for somewhere between 7 months to three years.  Over 900 Jews died on that mountain, not at the hands of the Romans but at their own hands.  They are considered a type of martyrs for the Jewish people.

We then traveled to the traditional site of Jesus' baptism.  Only open to visitors for about two years, this site shows us how the border works between Jordan and Israel.  As we left the site, we could look straight ahead to see the Mountain of Temptation, the place where the Spirit drove Jesus following His baptism.

Following lunch, we came up into Jerusalem to the singing of The Holy City.  We saw bedouin nomads with their sheep along the way.  We entered the tunnel and exited it facing the Dome of the Rock.  We traveled near the wall of the Old City and headed to Bethlehem.  We visited the Church of the Nativity.  While there, most of our group experienced a funeral procession go by us as we stood near the entrance to the attached Catholic church.  We then drove to the First Baptist Church to hear the testimony of Pastor Naim Khoury.  How humble yet powerful is this wonderful man of God.  And the work the Lord is doing through their church is amazing.

After shopping, we returned to Jerusalem to move into the King Solomon Hotel.  Supper and some sleep will prepare us to tour in the rain and snow tomorrow.

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