I know you are probably thinking, “Mike says the same thing every day.” You are right! Each day is amazing! We are seeing sights and gaining understanding into God’s Word that is mind-boggling. Let me tell you what we’ve done today.
We began our day in the Old City. We had the great opportunity to take a tour under the Western Wall. When they show the Western Wall on television it is always a small place, about 30 yards long where you see the Jews praying. Originally, Herod’s wall was 180 feet tall and 1500 feet long on the western side. We were able to go on a special tour of the excavations taking place underground, under the Moslem Quarter in the Old City. This was such an amazing opportunity for us because the Israeli authorities are taking reservations three months in advance for these tours. When we got down underground we saw stones that were cut by King Herod the Great’s workers that were unbelievably big. There is only one crane in Israel today which can lift these huge stones. It was such a blessing for us to see what has been done and what is taking place even now as the excavations continue. I can tell you this–King Herod had some crazy building skills!
From the Western Wall we went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum here in Jerusalem. I had been here two years ago, but I have to tell you that I was worn out by the time we finished our two hour tour. There are many video screens with survivors of the Holocaust telling their story. When you realize that they were little kids when they watched their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, taken away from them–it is almost too much to drink in.
We left the Holocaust Museum and made our way to Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity, the oldest church in the world. For some time now not too many tourists venture into Bethlehem since it is in the West Bank. I had heard that most Christian tours of the Holy Land leave Bethlehem out of the program, but I wanted our people to see the area where Jesus was born. I also wanted our people to see the Church of the Nativity.
Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother, had the church built about 400 A.D. There is a large mosaic tile floor that is the original floor laid more than 1600 years ago. The Church is really interesting because today there are Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian monasteries that are housed right next to the church.
While we were in the Church of the Nativity we were given the opportunity to go down underneath the church and visit the cave where Jerome translated the Hebrew and Greek Bibles into Latin. Jerome also wrote many commentaries on the books of the Bible and was a powerful apologist for the faith. Needless to say, it was a huge day for the BCC crew!
Tomorrow is going to be so full we are going to have to begin our day early once again. We are scheduled to go to Caiaphas’ House, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and even more. I had better get a good nights rest.
In His Steps,