I spent a good 9 hours or so exploring Jerusalem today.
The beauty and the spiritual weight of the city is staggering.
Thing that impacted me most was the Kotel, the Western Wall: a remnant of the old Temple wall nearest the Holy of Holies.
Now I had heard some folks speak about the weightiness of that place. But I had also heard Christians – even a Jewish Christian friend – describe it as a bunch of people praying to a wall. I went in with an opened mind.
Experiencing it first hand has decided the issue for me, and forever etched the place in my mind:
As you approach the wall, a few landmarks tell the story:
My friend Jonathan and I walked towards the wall, each grabbed a kippah. The place was almost entirely the ultra religious Jews, the Black Hats, who were some 20 feet from the wall, singing and parading a Torah scroll around, touching their fingers to the scroll, then to their lips. Others were at the wall davening, praying the traditional prayers while swaying back and forth.
I told Jonathan I’d like a few minutes to pray.
I started walking up to the wall and I realized how inadequate I was – dressed like a I-don’t-give-a-shit westerner, button-up shirt and shorts, holding a water bottle and tilly hat. I buttoned the top button of my shirt and put everything down to lessen my rather dishonorable appearance.
I placed my palm on the wall.
I gave thanks: that God has allowed me to see His city, preserving me until now, bringing me to this land. It was as if a bolt of lighting shot through my spine – sending a sensation head to toe.
I began to offer praises and blessings, and again, the feeling of lighting shooting through my body, even reaching my fingertips.
I brought before our Father private issues in my life, asked him for help, bringing these supplications and again, the feeling this thing shooting through my whole body.
I removed my hand from the wall.
Tears clouded my vision.
I just stood there in awe. I cleaned myself up a bit, cleared out the tears, and Jonathan came over for me.
Folks. I’m struggling right now, as I type this, to put into words the weight and overwhelming presence I felt right there at the Kotel. I can’t do it because everything I say sounds cheesey, contrived. Go to the Kotel. I think God’s there unlike any other place on earth. Maybe you’ll experience nothing. Maybe something greater. But I am now certain, convinced in my own mind, God is at that place.
As we left the Kotel, I turned around and snapped some memories of the place:
I hope Messiah’s disciples who read this blog can experience that place. I don’t believe the wall itself has any power, but rather, God’s presence is there, where the Temple once stood, the wall near the Holy of Holies, the place which Yeshua Messiah repeated referred to as, “My Father’s House.” God is there.
When placed next to the Kotel experience, everything else on the trip seems mundane, heheh.
The UN headquarters just outside the city has a ridiculous “tolerance” monument:
No, that’s not an ejaculating penis, it’s a United Nations tolerance monument! Basically, 2 big pillars with a (fake) olive tree growing in the center. Here’s what it looks like from below:
What does this symbolize? Why, tolerance, of course!
“Two halves of a broken column stand divided but still linked on the ruins of a nameless and ageless temple. An olive tree grows in the middle of the split column and with its leaves seeks to encompass and shade both halves. The tree enables the two parts of the column to link together in symbolic coexistence. It cannot be known when the break will heal, when the two sides will grow back together, but it can be seen that between the branches of the olive tree a new seed is sprouting a golden grain of tolerance.”
Done vomiting yet? Coexist. Tolerate. An unnamed temple with no age. WTF?
So typical of the UN to push the western false-value of tolerance-of-evil onto a situation it has no understanding of, nor business putting it’s nose in. So typical of the United Nations to overlook evil, pretend it doesn’t exist, and then push tolerance and coexistence with said evil.
Folks, the groups running the Palestinians – Hamas and Fatah – are evil groups that wish to destroy the Jewish and Christian people in Israel. They are enemies of God’s people, frankly, and they are extremists in a false religion that was forged in violence and murder and plundering, and inherits these values to this day.
Tolerating evil is not the answer.
Ahhh…this statue symbolizes well all that is wrong with the United Nations.
From the UN Headquarters, I hiked out to the city, snapping photos along the way of the beautiful land of Israel:
Making our way through the Old City, there’s a labyrinth of narrow streets, packed with tiny marketplaces, mostly Palestinians, selling various things from t-shirts with political slogans, to slaughterhouses, to shops peddling warez (pirated) movies and video games, repackaged in cheap Chinese bags, complete with Arabic titles. (I recall seeing an Arabic Mr. Bean, as well as a light-haired Palestinian Dora the Explorer.)
We got some tasty food for lunch from an Palestinian shop that was very proud of, and advertised repeatedly on the menus, that theirs was “the only branch we have.” I had shawermas (flour tortilla stuffed cucumber, tomato, veggies, chicken, hummus, and some sort of vegetable white sauce).
Also, that green drink was possibly the best thing I’ve had yet: a mint and lemon iced slush-like thing. Very tasty, and I had to have seconds.
When we went to pay, the owner tried to rip us off $20 shekels (about $4 or $5). I caught him in the act and he backed off, “Oh, it was mistake! It was mistake!”
After the Kotel, we made our way to the Jewish Quarter.
I came across the Temple Institue and the Biblically-sized menorah which, to my understanding, will be used in the 3rd Temple:
In the Jewish Quarter, ultra-religious Jews living in packed, tiny apartments next to the Kotel. Narrow streets, a few shops, and several synagogues.
One particular synagogue that stood out was the Chabad Synagogue, maybe a half mile from the Kotel:
As you approach the synagogue, you’re greeted with this sign etched into the front wall:
“Help Build the 3rd Bais Hamikdash…By Doing Acts of Goodness & Kindness”
I’ve heard the Chabad say goodness and kindess will usher in the coming of Messiah, but this is the first I’ve heard that it will speed the building of the Temple. Perhaps they believe the Messiah’s coming and the building of the 3rd Temple are intertwined. (Maybe they’re right.)
That image of a Temple coming down from the clouds is reminiscent of Revelation 22 in the Christian Bible, which prophesies of a New Jerusalem coming out of heaven.
This is the same passage that has inspired various Messianic art, including Joel Chernoff’s album art for his Messianic music album, Restoration of Israel:
…as well as Messianic songs like LAMB's Jerusalem Descending.
More interesting still is the Chabad poster’s list of acts of kindness and goodness that will usher in the 3rd Temple. If you look closely at the top of the image, you’ll see some listed: good things like loving your fellow, studying Torah, Jewish-centric ones like buying Jewish books and putting up mezuzot and binding tefillin, to this shocker:
“Learn about Moshiach”
Learning about the Messiah is one of Chabad’s acts of goodness that will usher in the 3rd Temple.
Hey, amein and may it be.
Unfortunately, the Chabad are confused about who the Moshiach is. Plastered through Israel, on bridge underpasses, on sign posts, in Jerusalem itself, and especially in the ultra-religious city of Mea Shearim, are posters of who they think the Messiah is: the late American rabbi Menachem Schneerson:
Maybe they’re right – after all, Schneerson brought billions of gentiles to know the God of Israel, was born in Beitlechem, fulfilled prophecies of the suffering servant, prophesied correctly of the Temple’s coming destruction, took our sin on his back, and was raised from the dead.
Oh, wait, no, that’s Yeshua, not Schneerson.
The respected Schneerson was born in New York, never visited Israel, and despite his good works, had zero impact on the greater non-Jewish world. (Know any gentile Schneerson Messianics?)
Anyways. The Chabad are wonderful people, and one day Yeshua will reveal himself to them, and he’ll bring his loved people, the Jewish people, back to himself.
They’re not the only ones. Some of the ultra-religious, the Breslovers, hold the 18th century European rabbi Nachman of Breslov to be a revered near-Messiah figure:
Speaking of which, Messiah’s got a lot of work to do, folks. Islam in Israel is shouting down Judaism and Christianity. Even at the Chabad synagogue, the whole place is surrounded by minarets that blast Islamic chants through the city. It’s disturbing. Here’s one right smack next to the Chabad Tsamach Tzedek synagogue:
That’s the synagogue on the left, the minaret towering above it on the right. That the Chabad tolerate loud, megaphone-amplified Islamic chants is puzzling in itself.
Even around the wall – perhaps the holiest place in Judaism today – you have specially-positioned minarets, blasting Muslim prayers to the whole city.
Remember, folks, Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an. Jerusalem is the holiest place for Judaism – the whole of the Jewish Bible revolves around Israel and its capital, Zion Jerusalem. It’s, specially relevant for Christians, where Messiah was birthed, and the Messiah movement went forth from it into all the world, and with special prophecies of Zion (a new Jerusalem) and her people (all Israel will know Messiah).
And yet, it’s as if Muslims own the city. I sensed in these things a certain spirit of domination through forced submission to Islam’s god; where there are Jewish holy sites, like the Temple, they’re replaced and built over with Islamic shrines. Where there are gatherings of Jews or Christians, there are placed minarets, blasting Muslim chant to all with ears, willing or not. Even as I type this – now 3am in the morning Israel time – the minarets are blasting Islamic chants. I can see why there’s intense spiritual warfare here. I can even see it on the faces of the believers.
I have no idea how Messiah – the real one – will handle that. He’ll find a way, probably a merciful one, too. But I do hope the evil people are judged, and righteous and truly pious folks will see vindication and justice carried out.
Folks, there’s so much more I can relate to you: visiting the Austrian Catholic youth hostel, a group of Christians re-enacting the passion at the Via Delorosa, the traditional road where Messiah carried his cross towards his place of execution, bartering with Palestinian market owners, Lego Hamas, the Jaffa Gate with bullet markings from the war, to walking the the ultra-Orthodox city of Mea Shearim, with it's 3rd-world European city feel and its trash-lined streets…so much, and yet, it’s 3am here in Israel, and I need to sleep before the sun comes up.
I’m looking out the patio to my left, overlooking the city as I type this, and it’s amazing, folks. If you are a disciple of Messiah, you need to be here.
Signing off for the night, shalom from Zion.