Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dancing in Jerusalem

          There are few places on earth that can bring about a variety of emotions at the same time, excitement and tension, as well as joy and uneasiness. Jerusalem is one of those places. The contrast between the Galilee and Jerusalem is comparable to the tranquility of Hawaiian beaches and the tumultuousness of New York City. However, Jerusalem is one of the most desirable destinations in the world, with over 2.5 million visitors a year.

It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! Psalm 48:2    (Photo courtesy of                         

            We eagerly looked forward to being here. Our group even adopted a song, produced in Jerusalem, that we have been singing leading up to our arrival.

            Although, our Israeli guide tried to dissuade us from going on the Temple Mount, because of the tension, we wanted to at least attempt to go up, knowing that we might not be allowed or it might only be a short visit. Our group was up early and we arrived in line for the security check at 6:45 am.

The Temple Mount is much larger than we imagined.

           The Temple Mount is a remarkable structure, and with 37 acres, it is much larger than we imagine. David’s son, King Solomon, built the first temple on it 3000 years ago. The Babylonians destroyed it, and years later, Herod the Great built the second temple. During that time, Mary and Joseph dedicated baby Jesus there. He also worshiped and taught there. The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD, and was never rebuilt. However, the platform, or mount, that the Temple was built on remains. The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine, was built on the very place where God’s temple once stood.  Judaism, Christianity and Islam claim the Temple Mount as one of their most holy sites. It also remains a major focal point in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Walkway on the Temple Mount. Huge!

This small dome covers original bedrock, lines up with the Eastern Gate and is called the Dome of the Spirit.

           The Jewish Rabbis believe that Mount Moriah, where the Temple Mount stands, is where God created Adam from the dust of the ground. This is also the mountain where Abraham bound his son, Isaac, before God provided a ram sacrifice. Later, King David purchased the land from a Jebusite, named Araunah, for 50 pieces of silver.
           The Jebusite wanted to give the land to King David, but David refused the gift and said those famous words we read today in 2 Samuel 24:24-25:
“No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
Remains of columns on the Temple Mount. (Photo from trip advisor)

Keeping the peace.
What do you see on this wall of the Dome?
Our group was able to make it up on the Temple Mount without incident. We were in awe. It was quiet, with groups of Muslim men and women, sitting in circles reading the Quran and praying. There were several clusters of Israeli police, keeping the peace, for which we were grateful.                   

           We walked quietly as Vince told about the different significant places. Of course, we all took pictures of the iconic golden dome. We also went to the closed Eastern Gate, which is sealed off with stones and cement. 
Eastern Gate or Golden Gate from the Temple Mount.
            This gate faces the Mount of Olives, with a graveyard outside of the gate. Some believe this was done to keep the risen Messiah Jesus from returning through those gates as He promised, in Ezekiel 44:1-3. This Eastern Gate or Golden Gate is the only one of the eight gates that leads directly on to the Temple Mount. This is the gate Jesus rode a donkey through, while the people waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” Remembering that day and the anticipation of His return, sent chills up and down my spine as we gazed at the sealed gate.

An outside view of the sealed Eastern Gate, taken from the Mount of Olives.

          The tension, the political division, and previous wars over the Temple Mount, could not take away the specialness of this place. Even though we know that the spirit of the Lord, lives inside believers now, it is still breathtaking to be on the very spot where His holy Temple resided. This is the place where the Holy God chose to ‘dwell with His people’ and be their God.
           You can’t help being here without thinking of Matthew 23:39
 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’
           After seeing and hearing all the Lord has done for His chosen people Israel, and for us who have been grafted in and adopted through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, we remember what was written centuries ago:
              “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.”  Psalm 122:6
          We were grateful to be able to walk on the Temple Mount. Even without a temple on it, we knew we were walking on holy ground.

The Dome of the Rock stands where the Temple of the Lord once stood.

According to Ezekiel 40, the Temple will stand here again.


  1. Amazed and in awe! Such a special part of your tour, for sure!

  2. It really was Michele. We were so glad that we were able to go up there.

  3. Loved the video. Can't imagine what it would be like to be there with you. Awesome indeed!

  4. Deanna, our group tried to duplicate that dance video while we were there. We even got a Jewish shop owner, who we knew from before, to dance with Vince for the video! --He later emailed and said he didn't want his part put on the internet. LOL! But we gave it a try.