Jerusalem2In January 2014, I sat in Row B at IMAX for a one-of-a-kind, 3D immersion into parts of Jerusalem and the Holy Land that most tourists and pilgrims never see.

I was hooked.

Over the past three decades I’ve always declined invitations to lead a tour to Israel. Not that I don’t revere “the Holy Land” but I never felt compelled to travel there.

Now, Jerusalem had become irresistible.

Within a week of viewing the film we booked a tour to Israel and Jordan with International Tours. We’re going back again in March 2019 and you could join us.

10 Irresistible Things About Israel and Jerusalem

1. Jerusalem, not Toronto, is the center of the Universe.

Jerusalem lies close to the junction of Africa, Asia and Europe. In Hebrew, it is “Yerushalayim.” In Arabic, it is al-Quds: “the Holy City.” It is considered one of the holiest places on Earth by three major religions.

2. Jerusalem is “the most contested piece of real estate on earth.”

There have been 118 conflicts in and for Jerusalem over the past 4,000 years. Jerusalem has been conquered 44 times. It has been besieged 23 times, completely destroyed twice and has seen 11 transfers from one religion to another.

3. Every stone in Jerusalem has many stories.

It is the collective power of all these stories that makes the city so endearing to billions of people. The Dome of the Rock is built upon the same stones where Jews, Muslims and Christians believe Abraham offered Isaac in sacrifice, where David prayed, and Solomon built the 1st Temple.

4. Jerusalem is not just a tourist destination…its the destination of pilgrims.

Jerusalem is not only the capital of Israel, it is a destination for the devoted. Pilgrimage was a key aspect of worship. The Temple in Jerusalem has always been associated with an uphill journey; ascension as essential for getting closer to God. Going to Jerusalem is more than a holiday…its a pilgrimage.

From my study of the Bible I understood the purpose of the Old Testament Jewish Festivals, but I missed the value of pilgrimage in those Festivals.

5. Jerusalem has a spiritual magnetism to it.

When the Jews were captured and taken to foreign lands all they could think about was getting back to Jerusalem.

“Next Year in Jerusalem” is an expression of spiritual hope – that Jerusalem be rebuilt spiritually, as the spiritual center of the world, with the Holy Temple at its center.

With God, next year is always a certainty.

6. Jerusalem must be seen through Middle Eastern eyes.

I am a North American Christian trying to understand a Middle Eastern Jerusalem. There are nuances to the New Testament to which I have been oblivious, that become obvious when seen through Jerusalem’s eyes.

7. A radical shift in faith is revolutionizing. Being in Jerusalem will do that for you.

The westernization of Christianity has not served the Gospel well. Jerusalem will balance off the Western influence.

8. The Judaism, Christianity, and Islam of Jerusalem have more in common than we realize.

The film features three young women who live in Jerusalem – Nadia Tadros, a Christian, Revital Zacharie, a Jew and Farah Ammouri, a Muslim – they have much in common. Their hopes, faith and morality have a shared foundation.

9. Israel was blessed to be a blessing, however indifference can accompany success.

Despite the warnings by prophets across the centuries, Israel did not always practice justice and righteousness. While the people placed their confidence in the temple of the Lord, their actions did not always reflect God’s calling to welcome the stranger or care for the widows and orphans.

10. Just being in Jerusalem is a blessing to the Jewish people.

Tourists or pilgrims to Jerusalem stand in solidarity with Israel as a safe place in the midst of the threats of terrorism. The presence of Westerners and particularly Christians, is a boost of support to an embattled nation.

APPLICATION: Have you been to Israel? Share your best memory of your trip. Please leave a comment below.

I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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