and the Dome of the Rock
from the top of the Mount of Olives,
east of Jerusalem.
Interestingly, the speaker (lower left) spoke of the humility of Christ as he rode the donkey on Palm Sunday from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. Here I had a real donkey standing in front of me!
The Mount of Olives has a lot of cemeteries on it's slops. These are still open for business. You see the coffins above. Why are there so many stones on them? I learned that when people visit the burial site of their loved one, they leave a rock as a remembrance and sign of their visit.
It had been this very morning that we had received the news that Wilma's youngest sister's cancer had returned with a vengeance. She had had a bout with cancer, had an operation and just over a month ago, had been declared free of cancer. Then on the Aug. long weekend, having a backache, she had gone in to emergency. The result was that her cancer had returned with a vengeance. Today, this morning we had received a commination that the diagnosis now was terminal. She had at best a few weeks to live, that is without treatment. So our hearts were already heavy, as we entered the gates above to see the place Jesus agonized and suffered with the expectation of pain, suffering and the death, for us, that was to come. It was a very emotional experience for all four of us.
The photo beside it is of the beautiful "Basilica of Agony" located beside the Garden of Gethsemane.
Since many of us unfortunately never read about or hear about this kind of prophetic stuff in our churches, let me just give you an inkling of what prophecy has to do with this particular gate.
In the book of Ezekiel the prophet is writing about a "tour" God is giving him of the future temple during the Millennium. In chapter 43 God gives him a vision of God's glory entering this Millennial Temple from the east, through the Eastern Gate. In v. 7 he says, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of my feet where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever." Then in 44:1-3 He reveals that the Eastern Gate will be closed and will not be opened until the Messiah returns in glory.
Four hundred years ago in 1517 the Turks ruled Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. He commanded that the ancient walls be rebuilt. But, ordered that the Eastern Gate be sealed up with stones.
There are many story's as to why he did this. Probably the most believable one suggested by commentators is that there was a rumor while the walls were being rebuilt, that the Messiah was coming. He called a meeting with some Jewish Rabbis and asked them to tell him about Messiah. He learned from them that he was a great military leader who would be sent by God from the east and enter the city through the Eastern Gate and liberate the city from foreign control.
In response, he had the gate sealed. Plus he put a Muslim cemetery in front of the gate, thinking that no Jewish holy man or Messiah would defile himself by walking through a Muslim cemetery.
Since that time the gate has remained sealed. All the other eight gates are open. Could this mean that we are living in the latter times, and that this gate is waiting it's opening, with the return of the Messiah? According to the Bible this time he would be coming with all of his saints as a victorious conqueror riding a white horse. This is a different Jesus than we are used to. Here He will be splattered with blood. He will have a tattoo, He will be conquering warrior...He will be awesome! And He will open this gate and enter Jerusalem through it like he did when he rode the donkey 2000 years ago. Only this time to stay and rule forever. (Check Rev. 19, Isa. 61, Zechariah 14. & Psa. 24.)
Next stop was a store of antiquities where we could part with some of our shekels.
I found something interesting also, only it was in a far corner of the store. Ancient knives and daggers.
I've just finished a Throne of Swords so these old blades caught my interest.
There is one more thing we did on this day, but I will explain it in my next blog.