Tomorrow is Simchat Torah and then we head to Ariel for the Congress, so we made our last trip into Jerusalem today. Not having visited the Kotel yet, we made that our very first priority and, like last time, it was an emotional walk. So many men praying. It was a bit more crowded than last time we went, but nothing like three days ago during the Priestly Blessings when tens of thousands packed into the plaza at the base of the Wall.
It is an interesting thing. In Christendom, Scriptures speaking to the dwelling of God with man in a spiritual sense are emphasized while the Beit Hamikdash, House of Prayer (for all nations, as Solomon prayed for it to be) is de-emphasized. Still, on this trip I have met many, many Jews who are spirit filled, but may not understand the Messiah in the same way I do. The trip to the Kotel, the western Wall, dashes the Christian de-emphasize.
Along with my three younger sons, I carefully slipped through the praying mass toward an empty spot on the Wall where we could approach and pray. As I reached out and placed my hands on the wall, immediately the hair on my arms stood up and I could feel the Presence. It was electric, and the tears began to flow as I literally felt Him say, ‘welcome back.’
I want to go back. I want to live here, close enough to visit often, not that He isn’t everywhere and not that He does not hear my prayers in other places, but this is HIS place, where His eyes are promised to always be. Christendom focuses on 2 Chronicles 7, but ought to go back and read carefully 2 Chronicles 6. The eyes and ears of the Lord are attentive to prayers offered in this place and He is here. Further, Ezekiel 40-47 promises He will again dwell on this Mountain. Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 promise that His Torah will go forth from this place. Oh to remain so close.
After our time at the Kotel, three of us decided to try to go up onto the Mount where the abomination sits. Al and I tucked in our tzitziot, but Joseph didn’t get the memo… Needless to say, getting through security was more involved than it should have been. After 5-7 tense minutes in the guard shack, me talking and Joseph wisely saying nothing, we moved through to catch up with Al.
Security at the top was very tight with uniformed guards, Israeli and Jordanian, as well as many plainclothes Muslims with walkie-talkies sitting or sauntering nonchalantly. Again, Joseph was approached and they demanded that he take his hat off and put it in his pocket. Apparently, the Israeli flag on the side was not noticed in the tzitziot brouhaha.
Our long slow walk around the Mount was surreal. It was an odd disappointment as I saw how unkempt, even dirty, the grounds were. There was no Presence there other than His personal still small voice within. Later, as I visited with a Jewish shopkeeper and related what we had done, he asked for my honest assessment. I told him that ‘it felt like we were in occupied territory.’
There was no joy, only tension. No smiles, only glares. In the bright sun, it felt strangely dark. And, rightly so.
But, one day!
We stopped to take pictures of the Eastern Gate from the inside. Besides being sewn with graves on the other side, there are locked fences on the inside as if either can prevent the Messiah from coming through. From our vantage, overlooking the Gate, we could see the top of the Mount of Olives. Oh that He would rend the heavens….
After walking around both the perimeter and around the platform the abomination sits on, we exited through the Cotton Gate. Taking a page from the Orthodox Jews that exited right before us, we turned at the door and backed off the Mount to not turn our backs on the place of the King, even if He is not currently seated on His throne in that place.
It was definitely a mixed bag. His Presence was so very palpable at the Wall, but not so much on top of the Mount…
But, one day!!
The three of us wound our way through side streets in the Jewish quarter and stopped for a short visit in the Shorashim Shop with Dov. (A Divine appointment awaited us there… More details in the future. 😉 ) Then, we found the rest of our troop and joined them in their shopping venture.
Kelly excitedly introduced me to the owner of the Blue and White Gallery. What a kind and gentle man!
He was interested in where I had been. I guess Kelly had let him know we were headed to the Mount. When I told him, he asked, “How did you feel?” I explained the disappointment and sense of ‘occupation’ and then I contrasted it with the glory at the Wall with all of the worshipers. I teared up. I could not help it.
He came out from behind his desk with a knowing look and we embraced. I related that Abba is doing amazing things in our day and thanked this dear brother. He nodded and gave a knowing smile.
Some time later, as a couple of the boys stood with me on Ben Yehuda street, we paused so Silas could go in a shop to buy some gum.
I turned to Jeremiah and it all welled up. “I hate this part,” I said.
“What do you mean,” he asked.
“I hate leaving, knowing I might not be back for a while. I don’t want to go.”
“Maybe we won’t have to. Simchat is tomorrow,” he replied, referring to some compelling studies that postulate that the Mashiach comes at Simchat Torah.
If not tomorrow, one day!!!
Until then, I will be back, often. This city, this land, like no other, has my heart. It is here I wish to dwell, worship and raise a family.