Imagine a city completely silent, void of the swoosh of automobiles and honk of horn, without music playing, and every shop, restaurant, and department store closed. Jerusalem, along with the rest of the Jewish cities of the Holy Land, is unique on the planet in utterly ceasing before Heaven on the Biblical Holy Day of Atonement.

The majority of Jews here stop to fast and pray in introspection, and confess our sins to our Creator, and one to another. Forgiveness is asked for many types of sin and transgression, for inappropriate word or deed against G-d, and against our fellow men. These are confessed in our synagogues collectively and individually, out loud, together. Though this is also commanded in the New Testament, how many churches and Christians actually take the time to practice this?

The eve of the holy day begins with ancient prayer of Kol Nidre which cancels false oaths enforced upon Jews during the Inquisitions when our fathers and mothers were forced to convert to Catholicism on pain of expulsion or death. With this prayer we honor their memory. And we sing together the Hebrew prayer of King David in psalm 51, “Create in me a pure heart, o L-rd…”, and many other prayers of our people uttered during many generations in the ancient holy tongue. There is none righteous who have not sinned.

After those evening prayers some of us made a small pilgrimage to the Western Wall, the remnant of the second Temple, whose stones radiate the warmth of thousands of years of prayers of the Jewish people. We walked down the empty and silent streets of Jerusalem with our children and grandchildren to the gates of the Old City, with a sense that Isaiah and Ezekiel and Micah and Amos and Jeremiah and David and Abraham and Paul and Peter were all walking with us. My purpose was to dedicate to the Eternal my new granddaughter Liah at the same place that I first arrived alone 31 years before, the same stone where I later dedicated my wife Julie, then our infant son David, then our little daughter Tamar, then our first granddaughter Danielle- all born to us in Jerusalem. I prayed over her the 87th psalm. I thank our faithful King to have been favored to live to have seen all this.

Around this ancient wall were Jews of every flavor and tone and tongue under Heaven, in fervent prayer. And there were people of the nations with us from the Philipines, Japan, Korea, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Finland, Switzerland, Romania, Russia, England, the USA, Africa, Brazil, Uraguay, Mexico, and the Arab too, all called together here by the Jew Yeshua.

Those of us who have found the mercies and forgiveness of the Messiah spent the next day standing in the gap that He has made for us close before the Eternal, and there intercede for our people and nation and land, and even for our enemies who wish to annihilate us, in Him who layed down His life for this nation, according the words of the gospel of Yohanan (John 11:47-52), the prophesy of the High Priest Caipha, who said, “’…it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish’, now this he did not say on his own, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Yeshua was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that He might gather together into one the children of G-d scattered abroad.”

May our prayers and intercession be heard and answered speedily in our days. Now we begin preparations for the final Biblical festival of Succot, the Feast of Tabernacles.



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