Jerusalem Part 1
This was a tour we took from our hotel in Tel Aviv. I have so much to show you that I’m breaking Jerusalem up into 2 separate articles. This one will take us to the Mount of Olives and inside the gates to the Upper Room, where Jesus had the Last Supper with his disciples.
View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. You can see the giant gold-topped Mosque, right? That’s where the temple once stood.
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
THIS is the Mount of Olives, also referred to as Mount Olivet.
There was so much I didn’t get to see, because Jerusalem is huge, and you cannot see it all in one day.
Thankfully, our tour’s very first stop was on the Mount of Olives.
I stepped out of our little bus and breathed in the holy air. Wow! The Mount of Olives! Wow! This is where Jesus hung out! This is where he came to pray. I think this was his quiet, sanity place.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Would you like to see the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed that blood-sweating prayer?
They built this Church of all Nations in the midst of it, which makes it much easier to locate.
Church of the Nations, in the Garden of Gethsemane
Garden of Gethsemane
If you look in the very front of this picture, and also to the right of the church, you can see the olive trees and stones. This is the Garden of Gethsemane, located on the Mount of Olives. When I took this photo, I was just snapping. I had no idea what I was photographing, except I knew I wanted these beautiful churches. I went online and did my research to find the garden.
The oldest trees in the garden are much larger than the ones in the photo above. That’s only a sliver of it.
By the way, they built the church on THE ROCK they believe Jesus knelt on to pray.
According to this article, among many others, this site is proven to be the actual Garden of Gethsemane. These olive trees planted here are the oldest in the world. While most of them are not quite old enough to have been there when Jesus was, they were all carefully grown from the same tree, according to DNA research, to preserve a lineage of trees that was there when Jesus was.
Some sources report that there are 3,000 year-old trees in that grove that are not much more than stumps now, but still, pretty amazing.
I would have loved to have walked through that garden, but alas, it was not on the standard tour.
Mount of Olives
4In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east;and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
The Bible tells us that in the end times the Messiah, Jesus, will return on the Mount of Olives.
view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Church of St. Mary Magdalene
Church of Dominos Flevit, built in memorial of Jesus weeping.
Jesus wept and lamented the future, “set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side . . . crush you to the ground . . . and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognise the time of your visitation from God.” (Luke 19:37-44)
Not 40 years later, the prophecy was fulfilled when the Romans burned the temple and destroyed Jerusalem.
Jesus wasn’t the only one to weep on the Mount of Olives.
David also went up the mountain weeping with his followers in 2 Samuel 15:30.
so much history here
Because the Bible says the Messiah will return via the Mount of Olives, many people want to be buried nearby for that day. This is a picture of the thousands of graves on the mountain, over 70,000 to be exact.
Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives
Some of my pictures are mysteries to me…It’s pretty though.
DaddyO did some research for me. It turns out this church is Church of Dormition.
outside wall of Jerusalem
I went into this whole thing expecting a moving, spiritual experience.
The thing was that there was an excellent tour guide to listen to, pictures to be taken, you are pouring sweat, and you have to stay with the group. Therefore, pausing for reflection or prayer? That didn’t happen much, I am sorry to tell you. We all piled back into our bus, made a stop by a souvenir shop, and then headed on over to Old Jerusalem.
a view of our touring group from the back of the huddle
Our group was a hodgepodge of folks from Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, and the States. Who knows where all we were from? Thankfully, everyone seemed to understand English.
This sign is for a school that trains students in the Torah.
Beautiful flowers abounded everywhere. That’s no small thing considering that when the great move back into Israel began, the land was desolate.
Normally, the standard tour includes a visit to the Holocaust museum. Unfortunately, we were there on Saturday, which is the holy day for Jews, so all Jewish establishments were closed, to include the museum.
We have been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., which I am told is similar to this one, but I bet in Israel it’s even more powerful.
It was actually awesome to be in the Holy Land on the Sabbath day.
In Hebrew, it’s not “sabbath”, it’s “shabbat.”
It’s not just a nod to the law of Moses, either. They take this thing seriously. Everywhere you went, everyone would joyfully greet each other with, “Shabbat shalom!”
Shabbat is their day of rest, which is important, because they work hard the other 6 days of the week. On Shabbat, they are supposed to do no work at all, according to their tradition, not even to push a button.
Therefore, there was always one elevator in “shabbat mode”, which means that it automatically stops at all the floors.
Jerusalem wall with view of the bell tower on the Russian Monastery of Ascension in the background
We entered Jerusalem through the Zion gate. Our first stop was King David’s Tomb and the Upper Room, where Jesus and his disciples had the last supper.
And here’s the part that surprised us: the upper room is above David’s tomb.
My jaw dropped open when she told us that.
David’s tomb has rules. Men visit it on one side, women on the other, not together.
The Muslims liked the building, so they didn’t tear it down. They used it for a mosque instead.
Remember, Jerusalem has been sacked many times over the years, so these are not the same buildings as the ones standing during Bible times. You see these beautiful buildings? They were built by the Crusaders around 1099.
the windows to the upper room
People were leaning everywhere, praying, in groups and out loud. It was so noisy, I couldn’t carry a thought. Our tour guide couldn’t either, and she chased them all out. Yep. It reminded me of Jesus chasing the money changers out of the temple, only she didn’t turn over any tables, and these people were only praying, though they were terribly noisy.
Our tour guide had a name that sounded like Molly. She was a former officer in the Israeli Army, and she was seriously awesome. Molly was sharp and quick, with an answer for any question about the Holy Land, past or present.
The excited crowd in the Upper Room
Alan in the Upper Room.
Me in the Upper Room
Notice my wardrobe.
If you are touring holy sites, be sure you have your knees and shoulders covered. It’s a matter of respect, but also rules. They will give you a shaw if your shoulders are uncovered, or a long skirt thing if you are showing too much leg.
In Jerusalem, the only place we went that was strict about it was the Wailing Wall. In Capernaum, only the monastery said anything to women with bare shoulders.
Our group in the upper room. Certain features in this room were added hundreds of years ago when the building was used as a mosque.
King David statue
These beautiful flowers seemed to be everywhere in Israel. I wanted to pack a few of these trees in my bag. Don’t worry. I settled for photos instead.
Building with the Upper Room. No, the original Bible-era building didn’t look like this. This is the Crusader created version.
The Zion Gate, with damage from war in 1948. This gate/wall was built in the 1500s.
War-worn Wall of Jerusalem
These are bullet holes in the gate from the war of 1948, between Israel and several Arab nations.
Our tour guide said that this is the truly ancient wall, from Solomon’s times. I got all giddy when she said that.
More ancient B.C. ruins
This was inside the Armenian quarter.
It was Shabbat, so the Jewish Quarter was silent, but you could tell that there are normally many shops open.
Also, this white tile is so prevalent because it is found in Israel. Therefore, they are able to build large cities with all matching buildings. It has a lovely effect.
See those columns? These are the ruins from an ancient Roman road through Jerusalem.
So exciting! We don’t have buildings in America that are that old! You can even arrange a tour, though don’t ask me how, to go through these tunnels that run under Jerusalem to see way more of the ancient ruins.
I wish I could remember what this is…
arches by David’s Tomb
The Upper Room
Alan, in the Jewish Quarter, by the Roman road ruins
Hope you enjoyed the tour!! On the next post, we’ll see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Golgotha, and maybe even the Via Delorosa!