This month I had the opportunity with the other single Missionaries in JV to go to Israel for a tour and to learn about being a Disciple-maker. This was an amazing trip for me and very eye opening. Below I have inserted pictures and stories from my time. One of the main things that stuck out to me was how much culture, geography, weather, and politics play a role in the Bible. So many stories in the Bible make more sense or are so much bigger when you add these other factors into the mix. I have written just a few of the things I have learned below. It is a lot, but hopefully you can take time to read it.
From this mount, you can see the Jezreel Valley where Gideon, Barak, Deborah, and Saul fought battles. Saul died on his sword here. Elisha defeated the prophets of Baal here in the valley in an area called Megiddo, also called Armageddon. Hmm? Where have we heard that? It was interesting to learn that in the mountains of Palestine the only place to go East to West is the Jezreel Valley. This is why so many battles were fought here. If Egypt wanted to attack Babylon, it would have to go through the Jezreel valley and vise a versa. Israel had held a very strategic position through the years and still does.
Sea of Galilee
This is the town on the shore of Galilee called Capernaum. This is where Jesus would have called Peter and John from fishing for fish, to fish for men. It was the home base for Christ’s ministry when He was here on earth. Storms can come up out of no where causing huge waves and extreme wind conditions. The wind will dissipate out of nowhere, but the waves take hours to calm. Ever wondered why the Bible says, Jesus calmed the wind and the waves? It is important to realize the significance of calm waves. Wind could have been a coincidence, waves not.
Mount near Galilee
Amazing to sit in the spot Jesus may have preached the Sermon on the Mount. God clothes the lilies of the field and takes care of the birds. We were surrounded by lilies and birds flew in the air.
This is a place Jesus visited a number of times in His journeys. It was a Roman City on the cross roads of the southern part of the Sea of Galilee. This is the theatre in the town. Paul would have given his testimonies in cities at a place such as this. This city was built on ancient Beth Shan, the town the Philistines nailed King Saul’s body to the wall when he died.
Wilderness Road From Jericho to Jerusalem
This path was walked on by many people traveling to Jerusalem from the North. It starts in Jericho and ends in Jerusalem. This is the road that the Parable of the Good Samaritan would have happened. This is the route Jesus took as a child and with His disciples on His last trip to Jerusalem before His death.
The Oasis, where David hid from Saul and cut the hem from his cloak.
I learned one really neat thing here. This is the location of the battle in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat and the people faced overwhelming odds in battle. They prayed to God and asked for help. God told them, through the Prophet, not to worry, the battle was His. He would defeat their enemy. They left for battle the next day in Engedi where the armies awaited. They sent their musicians to the front of the line. This was not a good idea. Musicians are not fighters. Why didn’t they put the best fighters in the front? When they arrived, they came upon a scene of the whole enemy army, dead, in the field. They spent 3 days looting the bodies rather than fighting a battle. So why were the musicians in the front? The answer is simple. God said, He would fight for them, they trusted Him, Instead of worrying, they went into battle rejoicing in the fact that God was victorious already. It is a good reminder to me to be rejoicing always, because Christ has overcome!
The site built as a palace by Herod the Great, where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans in the fall of Israel and the dispersion.
Nothing lives here 🙂
A view of the Old city surrounded by the Ottoman Turk’s wall. This picture is from the top of the mount of Olives.
The Wailing Wall
The Jews picked this spot to worship God, because, in their estimate, it is the closest they can get to where the Holy of Holies was located. They are not allowed closer because of the Sacred Muslim site, Dome of the Rock, where Mohammed ascended into Heaven.
The Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus spot of prayer before His death. The location of His betrayal. The site of Olive trees that are Thousands of years old.
This is the Jewish Court house, where the High Priest would hear the cases of known criminals. This is a very interesting spot with many things I did not know about it. I would like to share something I learned here.
This is the spot where Peter would have stood when he denied Christ his Lord three times. He would from this vantage point be able to see the whole path of the last week. The garden, the triumph entry, the place where they had the last supper, and the temple. He would have also seen Jesus as He looked at Peter denying him. Peter, we know came into this moment desiring to fight for Jesus, saying he would even die for Him. He did not fight, he failed, despite his best intentions. Interestingly enough two months later after being arrested for healing a man on the Sabbath, Peter was here again. He was standing before the same leaders he had denied Christ to. He made the daring statements written in Acts 4. It amazes me that in Peter’s place of greatest failure God allowed him to redeem himself with one of the most powerful stands in the Bible. It is great that even in our failures, God is working for good.
Southern Step of the Temple
This is the place where the Sermon of Pentecost most likely happened. 3,000 people gave their lives to Christ!