Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Garden Tomb Revisited

On Easter Sunday last spring, several of us went to sunrise services at The Garden Tomb. On a pretty fall day in November, a few of us decided to walk there on Shabbat (Saturday). The Garden Tomb, acutally located in "east" Jerusaelm is open to the public on Shabbat (the Sabbath). I met Charles, Charlene, Kevin, and Priscilla at the Jaffa Gate and we would walk together from there to The Garden Tomb. They live directly south of The Old City and I am a little southwest of The Old City in The German Colony. Below is the sign to our destination that day, The Garden Tomb.

As I am walking along Paratrooper's Brigade Road, this sign points the way to the Jaffa Gate, the Jewish Quarter inside The Old City, and the Western Wall down by the Temple Mount. Since it was a paratrooper unit that liberated The Old City from Jordan in 1967, apparently Israel decided to name the road after them.

The road is a decent incline for an old man with a gimpy knee. I knew to leave early enough so I can rest a little at the Jaffa Gate Plaza.

At the plaza area beside Jaffa Gate, camel rides were available today. The gentleman to the left behind the camel may have a touch of "Jerusalem Syndrome". Jerusalem never lacks for people that believe they are prophets, messiahs, or one of the "two witnesses" in Revelation. The Lord Jesus warned us about them. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. Mark 13:6.

Everything is busy inside the Jaffa Gate.

Once again the sky made me think "the Lord Jesus is coming to get us". For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Even for the less fortunate and the handicapped, it was a pretty day for them to be at Jaffa Gate. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed ... John 5:2-3.

The camel graciously goes to its knees for the riders to depart. Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD ... Isaiah 66:20.

As we walked to The Garden Tomb, this is Norte Dame across the street from the New Gate.

This is the plaza area between the New Gate and the Damascus Gate.

The Damascus Gate is easy to recognize. The entrance way is part of the outdoor Arab Market close by. The Damascus Gate gets its name from the direction to Damascus, Syria, about 140 miles NE of Jerusalem. Damascus is one of the world's oldest cities, still standing today, but someday it won't be as God's Word describes. The burden against Damascus. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap. Isaiah 17:1.

Young men of the Israeli Defence Force maintaining calm around the Damascus Gate.

Inside The Garden Tomb, a reminder to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.” Psalm 122:6-7.

On the far east side of The Garden Tomb is a small rock mountain that resembles a skull. And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. John 19:17-18.

This view was quite a contrast. The place of the skull and an Islamic mosque. There is no other God besides the God of Israel, the creator of the universe, the Lord Jesus.... Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath. Isaiah 45:21-23.

This certainly does not have to be the Skull Mountain, but you get a very, eerie feeling when you see it. It is located just outside The Old City walls. And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Mark 15:22.

The Garden Tomb does have its own beauty, too.

One of the scripture links to King David.

The Garden Tomb is a peaceful place to just sit. Many tour groups were there this day. One of them was certainly gifted with many, beautiful voices as they sang hymns.

Many groups choose The Garden Tomb as an ideal place for communion. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1st Corinthians 11:23-26.

Many tour groups today created a long line at the empty tomb.

And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” Luke 24:24.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there ... John20:6.

This sign is on the door of the tomb. When the door is closed, it is on the outside. Because the Lord Jesus is not in tomb, we shall be with Him for eternity. What greater promise can we have? He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 26:6.

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