Our day started with a tour of Yad Vashem the world holocaust remembrance center located in Jerusalem. Years in the making Yad Vashem occupies about 4,200 square meters of space dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust. By 1945 Nazi Germany and its collaborators murdered nearly six million Jews and of that 25% percent were children under the age of 10. The Holocaust was a systematic attempt at total annihilation of a race. For me personally Yad Vashem invokes so many emotions. Extreme sadness, anger and helplessness. There is a section of Yad Vashem dedicated to non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust. As I stood and looked at the horrors of the Holocaust I wondered what I would have done given the opportunity. What would you have done? I guess one indicator of what we may have done is to look at ourselves and ask what are we doing now.
Our next stop of the day was the Israel Museum. Our main focus of the visit was the
“Second Temple” model. Our guide Aharon used this model to introduce the changes that have taken place in Jerusalem over the years. There is a difference between the “Ancient city” of Jerusalem and the “Old city.” The replica was based on Jerusalem about 66A.D. One of the major differences is that Solomon’s Temple was gone and Herod’s Temple was built in its place. An outstanding site to get the overall layout of Jerusalem and how it appeared in the time of Christ.
Stop number three of the day was at the “Shrine of the Book.” This site was dedicated to
the “Dead Sea Scrolls.” These scrolls are the most complete copy of the Old Testament
found to date. The first seven scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947 are housed there and
the book of Isaiah is on display.
We next went into the city of Bethany. Bethany is another city located on the West Bank. As you know Bethany was the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. We went there to see the grave of Lazarus. He was buried in a tomb 24 steps in the ground. As I stood there I could not help but wonder what it must have been like for those people to hear Jesus command Lazarus to come out of his grave. There is nothing recorded in the Bible that Lazarus ever said anything yet the account of his resurrection by Jesus is known to everyone today.
Great sense of pride as we stopped by the US Embassy. After years of broken promises by past presidents President Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. His popularity and respect is high in Israel. Thankful for our president and his commitment to Israel.
Our last stop of the day was the Western Wall. Since this was the sabbath we got to see the religious day being celebrated. Singing by those congregated. Dancing by the IDF. Prayers being offered. Readings and recitations from rabbinical writings. There was great joy on the sabbath. Sadly though they are still looking for Messiah and he has come already.
The land of YHWH. Thankful to be here. Thankful for you.
Gary W. Hall, Pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.