This morning, we started heading toward Yad Vashem. Isaiah 56:5 "Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name (a "yad vashem") better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off." Yad Vashem is Israel's living memorial to the Holocaust. Established in 195,3 Yad Vashem is the keeper of the records of over 6 million Jews who were murdered by Adolf Hitler and the German Third Reich during World War II. The justification for the killing? They were Jewish. God's people were persecuted for just being who they are. Right now, there are 7 million people living in Israel so imagine that nation being wiped off the face of the earth. Our guide Avi and Dr. Cook warned us about the heaviness of the museum but we were not prepared for what we saw and heard. The exhibit starts with a memorial to the 1.5 million children who were exterminated. As we walked through a darkened room, the names of each child, their age, and place of birth was being read. Avi told us that it would take over two years before the names repeated; each with the dreams of a child...wanting to just be a child but never given the opportunity. While we spent a large part of the morning there, we had just scratched the surface by the time we became mentally drained from the experience. This place is clearly a "must visit" site when you come.
From there, we went to the Israel Museum and Shrine of the Book. We started with lunch and if I may, I would recommend a small round pita-looking disc that had cheese and some other stuff in it. Very tasty! The museum had a model of Jerusalem reflecting the look of the town during the time of Jesus. When I say model, we are not talking about a small layout...the area the model covers is 21,520 square feet. It was amazing in detail and further helps people understand the topography of the land and the locations of historic structures. Another place of note was "The Shrine of the Book." Here, the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed and cared for. It was very informative regarding the preservation of the oldest Biblical manuscripts in the world. The museum covers 20 acres so needless to say we just hit the high spots.
Next was the "Temple Institute." The Temple Institute is given to educating about the temple of the past and plans for the temple of the future. Here, you can see the articles of worship that have been prepared for temple service. These are not replicas but they have made actual worship tools so that the Jewish nation can have them once again. The Temple Institute's ultimate goal is to see the temple rebuilt on Mount Moriah. Israel has not had a temple in 2,000 years and the prospect of having a temple again is exciting for the people. You can go to templeinstitute.org for actual pictures of the exhibits.
From there, we finished up the day in the Jewish Quarter of Old Jerusalem. Some went to the local shops and some of us just wandered. I find it extremely interesting that each civilization just built on top of the other every time the city was conquered. They had actually uncovered a portion of the wall during King Herod's reign.
We leave Jerusalem in the morning and head toward Eilat. Along the way, I will stop at the Jordan River (I get to baptize some people there), Qumran, Qasr el Yehud, Ein Gedi, Masada and the Dead Sea. I will get to do the devotional in the morning and baptize in the Jordan so pray I can get everyone under and back up. Moses Cohen (Assher's Dad) is doing well and is ready to get back into his routine. Pray for Avi and Assher for salvation. We pray for you. Enjoy your coffee...more to come.
Love you all,
Gary W. Hall, Pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.