In 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.
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I haven’t been to Jerusalem but am motivated to see the documentary. If I did go to Jerusalem I think I would be most interested in the centuries of people history in the rocks, building and soil. I would have to reach out and touch something just to feel a connection to it. Of course I also would like to walk where Jesus did.
My husband and I traveled to Jerusalem for our honeymoon back in 1997. We traveled to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey. It was an amazing experience. Floating in the Dead Sea was pretty cool, sleeping in the desert over night was kind of scary, seeing En Gedi where David fled from Saul was incredible,putting my toe in the Sea of Galilee – wonderful, and climbing to the top of Mount Sinai in the wee hours of the morning really sticks with me. But, I think just feeling the dust on my feet where Jesus walked was the most surreal thing ever.
You have had some incredible experiences, Adena. What a way to start your marriage! I have not been inclined to travel to Israel until after the experience at the IMAX. Glad you were so enriched by your travels.
Great documentary. I’ll let you know if we purchase group tickets for IMAX for later in February.
That would be awesome!
Imagine being closer to God than you ever thought possible. It is only in Israel that you can experience looking through the windows into the Bible and the miracles of Jesus’ life and ministry.
“Jesus said Come and see” (john)
Thank you for posting Avie. Soon, maybe, in Jerusalem. Shalom!
Imax presentation of “Jerusalem” was great. Having been in Jerusalem in the fall of last year and seeing some those on 3D was quite the experience.
Bro. Bob jones it would be such an honor 2 me visit the holy land. I have allways dream being there just to be their where my jesus was .
Well the time has come! I remember when you announced the trip last year. How exciting and so meaningful this will be for you and the group. We as your church family look forward to hear about your insights and thoughts. We pray for a safe trip, filled with rich and deep memories, Shalom!
I saw the same film last year. In November 2014 I went to Jerusalem for the first time. It was Lord led – went to a christian conference – the 8:22 Gathering. I felt the spirit at the wailing wall – we had one day to tour outside the conference. Felt the spirit everyday at the conference, I feel there was a change in me that I carried back, more of His presence. Very cool. Have a wonderful time, be blessed 🙂
So glad you had such an enriching experience in Israel! We are looking forward to our trip as well. Shalom.
Looking forward to the possibility of traveling with to Israel in the future sometime. Thank you.
Maybe sometime in the future, Janie.
We were in Israel 2 years ago. We stopped in the desert, built an altar & spent time in worship & prayer for loved ones & Israel & had communion. While we were worshipping there were 2 or 3 clouds that looked like angels & they stayed in that shape as they slowly moved past us & beyond us. It was a reminder of God’s presence. When we were on the shore of Galilee praising God I looked up into the sky & saw a vision of Jesus – just for a second. He was standing holding His hand out to me. I just felt very close to God in Israel.
Being in Israel has made the Bible come alive for me. A place is mentioned in the Bible & I can picture it because I had been there. They aren’t just names now, they are real places.
Thanks, Faye, for sharing. We are looking forward to our own experiences in Israel shortly. Glad that Pastor Zowa and his wife are able to join us.
Bob, I am truly glad that you are going to visit Israel. I am confident that it will be a life-changing experience for you.
One of our most meaningful visits to Israel for us took place two years ago when we spent the better part of January at Tiberius and then Jerusalem. We were deeply morning the loss of our precious daughter Crystal and being in the holy land helped us in our healing process in ways that I cannot possibly articulate in this brief post. Being, seeing, feeling, smelling, hearing, laughing, loving and crying in the Holy Land in the very places that Jesus, the apostles and ancient prophets walked was deeply therapeutic. Our physical presence in Israel helped reinforce our faith in Gods Word which was and is our foundation of faith. Being in Israel will strengthen your resolve that God is awesome and His Word is yes and amen! Maranatha!
Dear bro. Bob I have never been 2 jerusalem it would be very nice to be baptized there. Never been baptized. It would be a good experience. And it would also be sch a great blessing a beautiful place to vivist just to be there where jesus christ walked . All the ones that go are so blessed. Im 57 my husband is 70 and I look after him cuss he can see with one eye. But he also looks after me due to my certain issues. Thank you for sharing. God be with you and your fam.
Visiting Israel was like going home to connect with my roots – the roots of my faith. It can’t be explained, it must be experienced. To walk where Jesus walked, to think what He thought as He looked across the Kidron Valley to Jerusalem, to sail the Sea of Galilee, to feel His presence in the temple at Capernaum, to stand where David stood, facing Goliath, to take in the view from the top of Masada (and wonder what I would have done if threatened), to have Communion in the Garden…You will be changed forever!! Blessings and Shalom
When is NP’s next trip to Jerusalem? I am starting to save now. It has been my dream for 15 years to visit the Holy Land! I have a modern day map and look over it now and then hoping one day I would go. Thanks for the awesome write up on Jerusalem Pastor Bob. Do you have a sign up list for the next trip? I want to be on it.
Hi Debbie. So glad for your interest in seeing Israel! Our next trip will be in February 2017. We depart around Feb. 7th. We’ll firm up details around June 2016. It would be great to have you on the trip. I’ve put your name down.
I have always wanted and dreamt of travelling to Jerusalem. Since last year I’ve been praying and considering it seriously that Rene and I would be able to travel to the Holy Land in the near future if the Lord is willing.
I hope you’ll come to our Info night on Feb. 8th. Nothing to lose and great hummus to gain! 7:00pm
Hi Pastor Bob. I’m hoping Rene & I would be able to attend on Feb 8 as long as he is not working that evening. Thanks.