Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jerusalem, Day 1

We got an early start on this first full day in Jerusalem, going by bus to the Dung Gate on the south side of the Old City so that we could get in line early to go up to Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount.  Non-Muslims can only enter through the Maghrebi Gate, which is accessed by a curved wooden bridge that runs along the Western Wall Plaza.

One is always hit by a feeling of holiness as one walks on to the Mount, the Har HaBayit to the Jews or the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.  Though it has less religious significance to Christians generally, other than the fact that Jesus taught and acted here (such as when he cleansed the temple), Latter-day Saints, as a temple-worshiping people, perhaps have a stronger attachment to it.

The Al Aqsa, or "Farthest Mosque," is on the southern end of the Temple Mount

The Dome of the Rock is believed to be over the rock where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac and where the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple stood.
Group shot to the south of the Dome of the Rock
The Jewish dome of the rebuilt Hurva Synagogue as seen from the Mount

We exited the Mount from the northeast gate, coming off not far from St. Anne's.  This Crusader-era church honoring Mary's mother is next to the archaeological remains of the Pool(s) of Bethesda, along with the ruins of Byzantine and then Crusader churches built to recall the miracle of John 5.  Next to the pool I talked about that miracle and its symbolism before we went in to St. Anne's to take advantage of the great acoustics by singing.

Exiting the St. Anne's compound, we proceeded on the Via Dolorosa, stopping at the Church of the Condemnation where we sang "O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown" and talked about the role of the suffering of Jesus in the atonement.  We then stopped, or at least looked at, several of the stations of the cross as we proceeded to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Although the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is foreign to the religious sentiments of many Protestants and most Latter-day Saints, there are many factors that argue for its authenticity as the site of Jesus' crucifixion and nearby burial.  Among these are the fact that it was outside the city in Jesus' time, was identified by early Christian tradition even by the time of the emperor Hadrian, and has on its site, as seen in the chapel of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea behind the rotunda, typical kokkhim tombs of the first century.

The rock of Golgotha is now almost totally enclosed by the Chapel of Adam below (door to the left) and the Latin and Greek altars of Golgotha (above)

I did not get a picture of the exposed rock of Golgotha today, but it appears here in this picture of my children in August 2012

The Stone of Anointing

On the roof of the Austrian Hospice: some of the best views on the Old City!

With Brad and Debi Wilcox and Lori and Royd.

Outside the traditional site of the Last Supper, we read from 1 Cor 11, talked about the sacrament, I recited the sacrament prayers, and we sang "Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King." We then went in and saw the Crusader-era structure built on the location of the Holy Zion Church, traditional site of the Last Supper. 


Our final site of the day was St. Peter's in Gallicantu, or "St. Peter's of the Cock-crow," that is near first century stairs up which Jesus would have been dragged after his arrest. It is also the place of Peter's denials and Jesus abuse in the hands of the Jewish authorities.  After discussing the denials  we spoke of his complete rehabilitation in John 21 and his empowerment in Acts 2 and sang "Be Thou Humble"


 George the Driver, hamming it up.

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