Our final day in Israel was a whirlwind. We went from a full day of touring to our farewell dinner, then almost immediately to the airport and (for me) 25 hours of travel (including layovers, flights, and driving). Consequently, I’m only now able to upload the photos for Day 7.
Our last day included stops at two major museums in Jerusalem. The first is the Israel Museum. It includes two major exhibits – a model of the city of Jerusalem at the time of the 2nd temple (1st century before 70 AD) and the Shrine of the Book which displays fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted in the Shrine of the Book. However, it has long been a dream of mine to visit this museum and see the Isaiah scroll. It was amazing.
In the lower right corner you can see the gate traditionally thought to be the one from which Jesus exited the city while on his way to His crucifixion. The “rock” in the lower left corner is the representation of the traditional site of Golgotha where Jesus was crucified. Closeup photos follow.
The theology of the Essenes, who lived at Qumran and were responsible for copying and hiding the scrolls now known as the Dead Sea scrolls, concentrated on the ongoing war between the Sons of Light (themselves) and the Sons of Darkness. Directly facing the Shrine of the Book is the black wall that represents the Sons of Darkness.
After the Israel Museum, we visited Yad Vashem, the Israel Holocaust Museum. No photography is permitted inside Yad Vashem. I strongly encourage people to visit the museum if they travel to Jerusalem. It is very powerful.
Jaffa Gate – Old City; Christian Quarter
David’s Tomb & The Upper Room
These buildings are “traditional” sites for the tomb of David and the location of the upper room (where Jesus held the Last Supper with His disciples). There is no evidence that David is buried here, and even the Jews don’t believe it is so.
House of Caiaphas
This path is likely the route taken when temple guards brought Jesus from His arrest at the Garden of Gethsemene to the House of Caiaphas to be tried before the High Priest. These are first century paving stones.
Golgotha and the Garden Tomb
Our final stop was at the “alternate” location for the crucifixtion and burial of Jesus – the Garden Tomb. Most evangelicals (myself among them) believe this is a more likely site for these events than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for the following reasons: (1) It is outside the city, (2) it is in proximity to a rocky hill that (even after centuries of erosion) still has the appearance of a skull, (3) it is located along a road, and (4) is the location of an early Christian baptistry and winepress.
The site (except for the rock wall/hill” is privately owned by a Scottish missionary agency. That’s one of the reasons why no large church has ever been built here. They made a conscious decision to retain the site as close to its original state as possible. The guides that take you through the site are faithful to share the Gospel story and the hope of the resurrection with tour groups.