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(Still on Tuesday...) After the Church of John the Baptist, we drove to the Model of Jerusalem During the Second Temple Period which is only a couple of miles from the church.

In this shot, you can see in the model the area of the original Temple which is now called the Wailing Wall. Some people don't understand what the Wailing Wall actually is. Most people know that the Wall is a remaining portion of the Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD. But it is a part of the perimeter wall, not the inner court wall. (The blue arrow points to the approximate position of remaining section which is known today as the Wailing Wall.)

In this next picture is the representation of the inner court of the Temple. It is believed that this is where the Dome of the Rock now stands.

You can see that there were three courts, each indicated by the blue numbers: the court of the Gentiles (section 1), the court of the Jews (section 2), and the (innermost) court of the Priests (section 3). And then inside the Holy of Holies, the tall Temple in the middle, is where one would expect to find the actual Rock. Somewhere in this building was a part where only the High Priest could enter, and would on only one day a year, on Yom Kippur.

Whenever I would go inside the Dome of the Rock, I would feel this tremendous awe and gratefulness because I knew that if I lived in the day of Jesus, or if in the future for some reason the Dome was destroyed and the Jews were allowed to build a Third Temple, that I would never be allowed to walk on the ground that I was walking on, or even be close to being near to where I was now able to walk. In Jesus' day there was even a sign outside of the court of the Jews that said that any Gentile who trespassed would be killed. So from an historical perspective, any tourist who gets to visit the Dome of the Rock should feel lucky to be living in this generation. And to be fair, we should be thankful that the Moslems who control the area are very relaxed about allowing all manner of tourists to come and visit the site.

After seeing the temple model, Rafael and I separated for the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon. I dropped him off nearby at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. I had been there during my 1995 tour, so I went back to the Old City and walked around and shopped before the holidays started the next day. I did a lot of shopping at Shorashim which is a souvenir/Judaica shop in the Jewish Quarter. (See the Sandalphon Links page for the story and pictures of Shorashim.) I bought a prayer shawl at Shorashim and went to the Wailing Wall and got to use it right away.

Later in the afternoon Rafael and I finally went to the Garden Tomb. (See the Fun Pictures page and the Fascinating Image page for other stories and pictures about the Garden Tomb.) This is a really interesting place, and I was full of anticipation of returning here since I was so awed by it in 1995.

Of course one of the most fascinating aspects of the Garden Tomb is the skull image in the hillside next door, which some believe may be the origin for the reference to Golgotha, the place of the skull, where Jesus was crucified and nearby entombed.

I took about 10 pictures of the skull during this recent trip hoping to get a good image for the web page. Be sure to check out the Fascinating Image page for a lot more information about the Garden Tomb, as well as the Fun Pictures page.

Both times when I took the Garden Tomb tour, this time and in 1995, the guides were very careful not to say "This is the tomb of Jesus." In fact, they've adopted some sort of strategy of saying "Faith belongs in Jesus, not the place," or something to that effect. And it is true, that no one will know from historical evidence whether the Holy Sepulchre or the Garden Tomb has the actual tomb of Jesus (or if either does for that matter). But I will say that if you look at both of our pictures, you can tell how we feel about the matter.

Tuesday was a fun day for me because I got to visit all three of my favorite "high energy" places: the Church of John the Baptist, the Wailing Wall, and the Garden Tomb.

Return to: Pilgrimage 97 Itinerary and Links

Return to: Pilgrimage 97, Pictures and Stories, Part 1

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Go to: Pilgrimage 97, Pictures and Stories, Part 6

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