I’m homesick for Jerusalem. It is my spiritual home, and I have not been able to go there for the past four years because of my wife’s illness.
Between 1979 and 2014, I visited Jerusalem 45 times — either leading pilgrimage groups, directing video crews or speaking at special events.
I will never forget my first visit in the summer of 1979. My first morning in Jerusalem, I was so excited to be there that I got up at 4am and took a taxi to the top of the Mount of Olives. I sat down on the mount looking west over the Kidron Valley toward the Old City, the Temple Mount and the Eastern Gate. I took the glorious sight into my soul as I watched the first rays of sunlight come up behind me and illuminate the old walled city, reflecting off the gold dome of the Muslim shrine called The Dome of the Rock.
I listened to the sounds of an ancient city awakening. It seemed like there were roosters crowing everywhere, accented at times by the braying of donkeys. Horse drawn carts began passing in the streets.
The scenes, the smells and the sounds of those moments are etched into my memory.
But the most significant thing I experienced was spiritual. I sensed in my spirit that I was sitting at the center of the earth and the focal point of all history — where God became flesh and where He taught, healed, died and rose from the dead.
In fact, it occurred to me that I was sitting at the very site where He ascended into Heaven, and I was reminded of His promise to return to that very place on the Mount of Olives.
As I contemplated these things, I was suddenly struck with how fortunate I was to be living in the season of the Lord’s return — a time when I could witness end time prophecies being fulfilled before my very eyes. I’m referring to things like the regathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth, the re-establishment of their nation and the re-occupation of their ancient capital.
Jesus Himself told His disciples that in the end times when the Jewish people returned to their homeland and re-occupied their capital, He would be at the very gate of Heaven ready to return (Luke 21:24-28).
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth… the city of the great King.” – Psalm 48:1-2