Monday, March 31, 2014

Church of Gethsame

 The familiar olive streets, the ones (or maybe not) that Jesus prayed among the last 13 hours of his life before being betrayed by Judas right here. Where Judas kissed him on the cheek and the authorities knew who to arrest. This led to the events in the last 13 hours of his life which ultimately culminated in his crucifixion.

From the main road leading back to the old city of Jerusalem, I looked back to where I came from and caught this view of the church. Amazing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mount of Olives

 As Jesus rose up into heaven, the angel told His followers, 'as you see him ascend, in the same way he will return to earth when he comes again!' So is this the spot where Jesus is to return to the earth at the second coming? Every church is represented here, apparently the churches thinks so that Jesus will return again at this spot.

 Here lies an ancient cemetery, so when Jesus comes again, the dead will also rise and they'll be the first to see the Lord. (?)

 There are a myriad of churches along this side of the Mt of Olives. This is Mary Magdalene church, a Russian Orthodox church. It was closed on the day of my visit.
A  famous view of the dome of the rock from the Mt of Olives. Herein is the land of 4,ooo years of recorded history. It is truly amazing!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pater Noster

Latin for 'our father'. Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them to pray. Jesus taught them 'the Lord's prayer' which is 'our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen!'
This church marks the place where Jesus taught this prayer, hence the 'Pater Noster' church!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chapel of the Ascension, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

 As Jerusalem prepares for Shabbat early Friday morning, the guide book advised, it is best to visit Mount of Olives. The best way is to take the arab bus outside of Damascus gate, head up the Mt of Olives. From there work your way down and visit all the churches that dot the mount. This was what I did, starting with the chapel of Ascension. Other groups seem to have the same idea, here we see a group of visitors from India.

 The chapel of the Ascension, here is where Jesus ascended into heaven.

This is supposed to be the spot where Jesus ascended to heaven.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Via Dolorosa

 This was supposed to be the route taken by Jesus as He carried His own cross on the way to Calvary where He was crucified. Today one can hardly feel the spirituality in the route, it is filled with stores selling kitsch.

But pilgrims still try to imitate and take the same route taken by Jesus on the way to His crucifixion.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The underground part of the western wall

 The western wall or the wailing wall is the only part of the second temple that still exists. The part that is exposed is the part that is seen on pictures where Jewish people faces it to pray and to wail. There is a large part of it that is buried and underground. It is possible to visit and tour it which was what I did. Here some of the faithful Jewish women prefer to pray here rather than at the exposed part.

These are the same stones that has been walked on for thousands of years.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

History of Jerusalem in a few photos

 Mt Moriah, where Abraham was to have sacrificed his son, Isaac. King David bought this place for his new capital when he ruled over both Israel and Judah. He purchased this place from the Jebusites. (Today's Palestinians claim themselves to be descendants of the Jebusites). This was where the city of David was when he became king of North and South Israel.
King David was not allowed to build a temple to God but God let his son, Solomon, build the temple. Hence the first temple on this mount built by King Solomon. It was destroyed by the Babylonians and Judah went into exile and captivity in Babylon.
 However eventually the Babylonian kingdom was conquered by the Persians. King Cyrus or Cyrus the great of Persia allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Hence a second temple was constructed on the same mount. When the Romans ruled over Palestine, their stooge, King Herod, enlarged the second temple.

 The Jews rebelled against their Roman rulers three times and was expelled by the Romans and the Romans destroyed the second temple.
 Eventually with the rise of Islam, and after the death of Mohammad, the Muslim armies conquered Jerusalem. Caliph Omar marched into and took over rule of Jerusalem. His descendants built the dome of the rock which still stands today.
 The only part of the second temple that still exists is the western wall where Jews go to pray all the time, a part of it is underground. This part that we see is the only part that is exposed.
Today the dome of the rock sits on the place where two previous Jewish temples were.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Muslim quarter of the old city of Jerusalem

 A barber shop.
 Arabic graffiti on wall.

 As I walked behind a Russian group thinking they know the way since they have a guide. The old city of Jerusalem is baffling. We walked into the Muslim quarter and as we passed some small Palestinian kids threw rocks at the Russians. I scolded them saying, 'how rude, we are guests and this is no way to treat guests!' Then they threw the rocks at me and we walk swiftly past them. The hatred is real and ingrained. The situation is quite tenacious and Jews especially young people take great precautions when moving around in the old city of Jerusalem.

Life looks normal but there is tension in the air. One needs to go and see for yourself.