Israel Study Tour with Riverside Community Church

Apr 13-23, 2016

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Unexpected Blessings

We had a great day today!! We started by the surprise of being able to go on the Temple Mount. It is not always open, and especially with Passover right around the corner, it was up in the air on whether we would get to go there or not. Scott said that the peace and ease with which we walked around the Temple was rare and a blessing for us from God! It was incredible walking around where the Temple once stood.

From there, we walked as fast as we could to the bus because we had an exciting event ahead of us! We got the great honor and opportunity to work on an archaeological site where they were sifting dirt from the Temple Mount. This dirt had been illegally dug out of the Temple Mount by those in control of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, so all of the archaeological layers were mixed up. However, that didn't stop archaeologists from still finding great artifacts and more evidence supporting scripture (a stamp with the name of a family that worked in the temple and is recorded in 1 Chronicles). Our part was to sift dirt and find other pieces that may be valuable to the dig. We found glass from the Byzantine era, pottery from several different ages, a mosaic fragment, and many other stones and pieces of marble and mosaics. It was so much fun!

After the dig, we had lunch on the Southern Wall of the Old City and then headed to the Davidson Archaeological Park. Scott showed us remnants of Herod's wall with stones weighing more than our bus! We also saw a pile of stones that were the fulfillment of Jesus prophecy that the Temple would be taken down stone by stone. We went on to the Southern steps where Jesus, Peter, and others certainly entered the temple at times. This is also the place where some believe the Spirit of God poured out on the Day of Pentecost. We talked about the beauty of keeping Sabbath and other holidays that God had set.

We finished our day at the Western Wall where we had the honor of praying. There was something very humbling and awe-inspiring about praying for peace in Israel and the reception of the Gospel there in Israel in the name of Jesus there at the wall. Something else that a few of us noticed was the great love for and attention to the reading of the Word of God. We watched as men crowded around a Torah and sang the Words then kissed it. Do we love God's Word like this? Do we value those words? It was beautiful.

Now we are all at the hotel a little early to get some rest because we have a big day and then end it by getting on a plane and heading back to the States!

By Brian Gunter

Western Wall

The Western Wall is the most holy place accessible to the Jewish people because of Muslim control of the Temple Mount. Known in recent centuries as the “Wailing Wall,” this was built by Herod the Great as the retaining wall of the Temple Mount complex. The plaza was created as an area for prayer when Israel captured the Old City in 1967. At times tens of thousands of people gather here for prayer.

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