Tuesday 6th April, 2010

Today was to be another day in and around Jerusalem. We started at the Church that marks the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest who was involved in the trial of Jesus.

We then went to the 'Upper Room' believed to be where Jesus shared the last supper with his disciples (Matthew 26). Located on Mount Zion, just outside of the walls of Jerusalem, the Upper Room was rebuilt by the Crusaders after it was razed to the ground by the Muslims. This was also the room in which the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples during Pentecost after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

The Temple Mount Complex

The rest of the day was spent on the famous 'Temple Mount'. The temple mount is one of the most controversial and hotly contested sites in the world. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, it has special significance to the Jews as it was the site of both the First and Second Temples. Many Jews also believe that this will be the site of the Third and Final Temple to be built in the time of the Messiah. The Western Wall, part of the retaining wall of the Second Temple is one of the most sacred structures in Judaism. Jews have been praying here for centuries, believing it to be the holiest site on earth after the 'Holy of Holies'. The site also has great significance to the Muslims, as the Dome of the Rock is thought to be the place where the prophet Muhammad ascended with the archangel Gabriel to be with God. The Al-Agsa mosgue is also situated here. This location is also where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac and where Jesus was presented in the temple by his parents. Excavations around the area have unearthed the Southern Steps, a first-century street, a series of public bathing wells, and the ruins of Solomon's stables.

We were also able to take the Western Wall Tunnel tour - seeing the original wall underneath the area in which the Jews currently pray. For those who are interested, an 'on-line' version of the tour is available at http://international.aish.com/seminars/tunneltours/westernwall.asp

So, there you have it - a full day at the temple mount in Jerusalem. After which we departed Jerusalem for Emmaus and Bethlehem. Take care and keep in touch! Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx