Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Had a Birthday

Family... together!  Marshal and kids made breakfast oven pancake.

Two are better than one.  The "March Mustache" is for Lydia; a promise kept.  Isn't he handsome?!


Marshal and Lydia baked the cake.

Gabe lit the cake.


Jerusalem Shalom

 Last day in Israel and celebrating Purim in Jerusalem.
Shopping corridor, street in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City Jerusalem.

A newly constructed synagogue in the Jewish Quarter and plaza of Jerusalem.

Celebrating Purim.  Notice the Tzitzit, tassels at the four corners.

Bar Mitzvah
Headed through the high security check point again to visit the Western Wall.  Not as long a wait as to get into that walking bridge into the Arab controlled Temple Mount.

Red poppies or anemones grow everywhere right now in Israel.

There is a barrier between the men and the women on the Western Wall.  Many Bar Mitzvahs on the Wall this day.
Some women stand on chairs to watch the events on the men's side.

Large group of women read the story of Queen Esther aloud for Purim.  They all roared, waved flags and noise makers to drown out Haman's name during the story.
Prayer along the wall.
Where the Western and Southern Walls meet.  Original stones from the time of the second temple.

A Bar Mitzvah on the Western Wall outside the place on the wall where the Orthodox are gender separated.  Mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers can be present here.

On the Southern steps where Jesus departed from the temple following His last public address.  His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple....  "Do you not see all these things?  Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."  Matthew 23-24:2
Sitting on an original step up to the temple.  A step that Jesus taught from.

The exit gate was just above these steps.

An early Christian cross marking this 2000 year old garden tomb with the symbols for the Alpha and the Omega.  Revelation 1:8, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Shalom for now, Jerusalem.  The Lord will return.  He will return as he ascended on the Mt of Olives.  The mountain will be split in two.  The ancient doors will be lifted up.  The King of Glory will enter into His city.  Oh what glory!

More Judean Desert

At the top of Masada.  The Dead Sea is about 1300 feet BELOW sea level, so at the top of Masada we are just about at sea level!  No altitude sickness here!

Once a spectacular palatial fortress of King Herod.

Square drawn in the desert was once a Roman camp coming against the last Jewish fortress.

The Romans toiled in the scorching desert to build a ramp to the top.  900+ Jewish rebels lived here during the Roman conquest.

This is the Jewish Israeli Alamo - the Last Stand.  The inhabitants died "free" before the Romans entered the city.  The throats of all were slit by families and the last men remaining, alive by drawn lots, had to fall upon their own swords.  The Romans walked into a deathly quiet fortress and were denied the thrill of victory.

Descending by tram.

A South African man requested to be baptized in the Jordan River at Kasr El Yahud, the Fortress of the Jews.  The place where the Israelites are believed to have crossed the Jordan, where Elijah ascended, where John the Baptist baptized in the desert.  I'm sure you noticed the muddy color of the water.  Two days before the desert roads were impassable due to heavy rains and flash floods.  It hadn't rained for months on end, and the blessing of rain came with us.
My own Lydia's first public confession of faith and baptism, and in the Jordan where the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as a dove.  She was looking forward to this day.
Qumram in the late afternoon sun.

A Bedouin shepherd boy was throwing rocks in the caves, looking for his sheep.  He heard the sound of shattering pottery when he threw his rocks in the cave above.  He found seven ancient pots upon returning with his family to investigate.  They took the pots to an antique dealer to see if they were valuable and sold them for a moderate sum.  The real treasure was within.  The Dead Sea Scrolls - early complete manuscripts of the Scriptures.

The scrolls were originally attributed to the Essene community that lived here in Qumran, but as thousands of parchments and texts were discovered throughout the Qumran caves while the Bedouins hunted for this hidden treasure in the 1940s-50s, it has become recognized that these are the sacred writings and scrolls of the Jerusalem Jewish scribes, carefully hidden before the complete conquest and fall of Jerusalem.

Judean Desert - Take a Walk through the Oasis of Ein Gedi

Walking into beautiful Ein Gedi.  Rock Hyrax among the stones.

Ein Gedi means "Spring of the Ibex" or has been known as the "Crags of the Wild Goats."  The Nubian Ibex has always made its home here.  See them camouflaged amoung the stones as well.
David fled from Saul as his army pursued into the Ein Gedi.

A place of many streams in the desert.

Saul was given into the hands of David in one of the Ein Gedi caves.  David cut off the hem of of Saul's robe, perhaps his Tzitzit, fringe at the four corners.  David's conscience greatly troubled him.  He recognized God's kingly authority placed on Saul, and he realized that he did not have the right to lay a finger on the Lord's anointed.  David honored Saul to the end.

Hyrax feeding on the leafy greens.

Beautiful desert waterfalls.

David's Waterfall

Young male Ibex.