My Journey To Jerusalem The Gospel According To Terrence
Full Model of the City David in the background
by Terrence G. Clark Chapter Nine - Day 8
Memorials---Tears & Triumph Today was solemn.
The tour itinerary had manipulated us
We had spent days amongst the history of Israel. Traveling its roads. Touring it sites. We became closer to its ancestors and heroes. Many of them, if not all, were ours also. We were amazed at the contribution of its legends. Some more known to us such as Elijah, David, Solomon, and Hezekiah. Others not known biblically as well---such as Herod the Great, the Zealots of Masada, and the Qumran shepherds.
More learned, was that Israel was more than just a fought over crescent of fertile land. Israel was alive. It was a people. The Bible, of its origin, traces its name to a person. Jacob, the son of Isaac, son of Abraham---as the bible would say it---was given the name. Jacob was surplanter--- one who maneuvered himself into his destiny, although, to it, he was always called.
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. Genesis 32:28
And so it began. Israel took his places in the lineage of the sons of God. It was through him, and subsequently his people, all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
As with Jerusalem, Israel as a people is a “tel”. I dribble with the pronunciation and quip the song, “Go tell (Tel) it on the mountain. Tell the story, of the people on the mountain of Jerusalem, and that’s what we did.
They didnt care who they destoyed
an eternal flame to tell the story of those who gave their lives
Our first tour today Yad Vashem Museum---Israel’s Memorial to the Holocaust. We knew we were going there. The museum was very extensive, covering with multimedia, artifacts, news clippings, books, and personal effects---of the souls of victims, from every stage of the holocaust. The mentioned of the word “holocaust” itself brings to the heart memories of the dullest days of humanity. The terror, tyranny, and treachery which was imposed on a people by another. I purposely left out “Jewish people” as the name of the victimized--being appalled by how such horror and hatred can be imposed on any people by another. I am also continually amazed at how the power of propaganda, fueled by deceit and evil can bewitch a society and its individuals to turn against their neighbor---unprovoked.
Adolph Hitler pulled it off.
Six million Jews (the number in deeper delve is much higher) plus others were sentenced to exile and torture, enslavement, and death. His intention was clear. It was to annihilate the seed of Abraham.
As with any liar, you either convince yourself of you own lies, or you just literally sell your own soul to your own selfishness. Hitler may have admired some Christian leaders, but this ex-catholic was by no means a religious zealot. He is believed to have been an atheist. His plans of genocide were not only for the Jew, but Christianity was on the list. He falls in line with other criminals and self-exalted potentates of history. Like Lucifer himself, who thought with pomp to exalt his own throne. The scripture response---the nations would one day look on him and say is this the man that deceive the nations.
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; Isaiah 14:16
Where was God?
I’ll answer the question now. He was working with the Oskar Schindler’s that came to aid and helped deliver 1200 Jewish people from the Nazi ovens. God was working in America who finally came
to aid in the war and helped silence Germany and its thugs. But he was also waiting and speaking to all those who turned their heads and just hope the Hitler’s of the world would just go away.
I was born years from the Second World War of the CE (I will always prefer AD). However, there were children born and living in Poland and Germany. Hitler had them killed---over 1.2 million Jewish children not including gypsy children and handicapped children. We visited the Children’s Holocaust Museum first. My eyes watered at the memorial. Inside are the appearance of stars in the darkness and can be heard, in a whisper, the names of the young victims. I fought back the tears. As I looked around. I believed we all did.
The visitor’s egress of the museum opened to a triangular view overlooking Jerusalem (the only place you could take pictures). A spectacular view projecting hope. Evil could not annihilate the holy nation. Evil will not be allowed to annihilate a nation.
Our visit at the Israel Museum was impressive, on the outside, gardens of sculptures, from the world’s greats. Inside were artifacts. Outside, a complete to scale model of the Second Temple---which is work of wonder. It is a wonder why other historical buildings such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt have received more accolades. It’s true the temple no longer stands, but just its ruins and history is worth praise, standing 22 stories high and 7.5 football field in linear dimensions. Displayed in the museum everything from Israeli and Mid-eastern time-periods as well as many civilization. Many connecting pieces of history were preserved, such as the remnant of the Holies of Holies that was in the temple itself---one of the most sacred places of all time.
It had been a day of museums---history told by relics and objects to be seen, read, and heard. In the design of things, the last museum we visit was the smallest. It was the Garden Tomb. Its person or remnant of history was not there. There were no pictures or remnants. This museum told the story by being empty. In truth, we were actually the remnants and proof of whose story the empty tomb told. In fact, the only signage displayed posted on the wall read,
HE IS NOT HERE FOR HE IS RISEN.
We took turns going in, to examine where He was laid, after He bore our sins. In contrast, it was the examination of our hearts which revealed where He sits after He arose.
This location has only been believed by Protestants since 1867 to be Joseph of Arimathea’s family burial plot. He had loaned it to Jesus. It was only a temporarily loan, a good reason why, Jesus did not have his own. The Catholic, Armenian & Greek Orthodox tradition, put Jesus’ burial site at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, on the Via Delarosa.
The wonders of the Temple
The Holies of Holies from the second temple
Up the path, from this Garden Tomb, where we had worshiped, is a grave landscape. I had seen it in pictures, in magazines, and read about it in the scripture itself. There stood Calvary (Latin)---Golgotha (in Greek). It means the place of the skull (or Skull Hill)---eroded somewhat from time and vehicle emission. Some of its connecting ground has been removed because of construction.
Here, it is believed to be the place, where the bible says, Jesus hang upon the Roman cross---Mathews 27:33. Pictures place Him on top of it between to thieves. The tour guide explained it was most likely on the roadway beside the ominous hill. The Romans did this to further drive the point of civil obedience. It was public ridicule and examination---further judgment to the one crucified and a message to their family, friends, and supporters—stymieing insurrection. This supported the bible’s account of scoffers at Jesus saying if you be the Son of God come down off the cross. He would have been there, right as they pass by—-a public display.
We worshiped at the place in the Garden. It was a solemn place for us. Pastor Jason shared from the scriptures. Richard, from the tour company, played the keyboard leading us in resurrection hymns. We all fellowshipped together in communion, partaking ceremonial of the body and blood of Christ. We did, there, in Jerusalem at the empty tomb.
I thought someone had to see the connection. The wrath of a sinful man—in a world war, was poured out on the Jewish people. The wrath of God was poured out on Jesus, a Jew (as pertaining to his body), for the sins of all men---the whole world.
The time was closing and it was a time to head back to the hotel. The word "hotel" stood out this time as possibly another semblance to what Gershon has first taught us. A city like edifice with layers, filled with the stories of people from backgrounds of all sorts. Lives in passing sometimes melt together.
To clarify, the word hotel actually comes from the word "hostel" the same as a "hospital" and simply means a place where visitors come---like the 15 of "Team Possible." My sister and prayer intercestor, back home, had named us.
A sidebar quite interesting---The hotel's dining rooms were also meeting places of old fashion traditions of betrothal. Marriage aged youths were meeting, as arranged by their respective families, for compatibility assessment for marriage. Diane and others reported on the play by play interactions one night of the custom.
Its Empty---He has Risen!!!
This was the night that we would be saying goodbye to our new found friends who had led us on this journey. Thursday was to be a free day and we would have to set out on our own. Missing the familiar hustle of this historian and his familiar trump of “Lets Go” (lesgo—said with the accent) after we arrived at every planned stop.
Hugs and handshakes were the action of each goodbye as the 15 of us departed the bus. I was the last to dismount. I did not understand why, in the last 7 days, I hadn’t taken a buddy picture with Gershon. I got someone to do it. Still thinking Star Trek, Yet I forget to ask Gershon to join me in the Vulcan greeting---with parted fingers, “Live long and prosper.”
I felt a bond. I am sure we all did. I also understood more of Gershon’s relationship to the history he had exposed to us. I could understand his view and reception of the outside world. The
Holocaust and the victimizing of his people played a great part---I know. As an African American man---in part, my people were also dislodged from their land. Although not cited to be exterminated by the whims of a madman, but enslaved for the greed of manipulative men.
Forgiveness is what we are taught to do. Memorials are designed not to fester wounds, but to heal, cleanse, and vaccinate. “Less we forget,” is what I wrote, in the guest book, at the exit of the Museum. “Thank you and shalom” is what I left with Gershon.
I freshened up in my room. I had agreed to walk with Linda and Denise, before dinner, down the old city streets, to the Mamilla Mall---a modern, open-air, mall connecting into the Old City Walls. We made it there fairly easy, careful not to look too much like tourist. We walked passed merchant shops and vendors. The daylight was starting to disappear. We had a map but did not look at it. Linda was grabbed by the third store.
Terrence and Gershon - Lets Go!!!
After about 45 minutes (or more) in the store and several purchases, we started back. It was dark. At night traveling without a GPS, things looked much different than it did coming. We trekked down several streets asking young, old, Jew and Arab hot to get back to our hotel. About an hour later we saw it and headed downhill towards it.
A man from behind said are you alright. I looked behind. Denise had fallen on the hard cement path. I turned and grabbed her by the forearm and under her shoulder. “Get up. I said In the name of Jesus get up and walk with no complications or pain. She did. I had heard that more in Jerusalem. It was on the way to the temple. I had asked the Lord to let me see healing in the streets of the city.
This was our last dinner at the Grand Court Hotel. We sat reminiscing at the table fellowshipping with each other---planning tomorrow. Jason and Damaris were going to go back to the Friends of Zion Museum and hang out. There were some things they needed to see. The rest of us scheduled to go on our own back into Holy streets.