SYNTHESIS OF A TOUR TO ISRAEL
When I went to Israel in October 2010, and for the first four days before heading over to Jerusalem, I stayed about 50 feet from the shore of the Sea of Galilee (in John 6:1 it is also called ‘Sea of Tiberias’). In view at this location is also an open field near the sea where I believe to be the location where Jesus fed the multitudes as stated in Mark (6:35-44) and John (6:1-13). He tested his disciples (specifically Philip), of whom did not appear to have the faith to carry out the command of the master. Jesus instructed them to “sit down in groups on the green grass” (Mk. 6:39). He then worked one of the greatest miracles known to mankind, by supernaturally multiplying “five loaves and two fish” and fed five-thousand men, that did not also include all the women and children that were present (which well could have exceeded over 10,000 people. As I stood on this very spot where this miracle was performed, it gave me lots of time for reflection of the Scriptures that record this miracle.
Any one that loves reading the Bible should consider visiting the Holy Land at least one time in their lifetime. In doing so, the student of God’s Word will gain enlightenment, as you actually walk in the places you read about in the Bible. It has a way of ‘coming alive’ so to speak. The Bible and its message have to be read and accepted by faith. But most of all, if the readers never visit Israel; it is not required in order to know the God of the Bible. The point is that, by visiting the Holy Land only renders a personal reward of self-satisfaction. The experience brings the Bible even more alive to the person.
While tracing Jesus’ journeys from Galilee to Jerusalem, a person develops the feeling that Jesus is still present walking on the land alongside them. For expenditures rightly stand out as you trace His steps: Bethlehem, Nazareth, Caparnaum, Cana, and Jerusalem. For instance, He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, He relocated to Caparnaum at the time His earthly ministry began in which also became the launch-pad for much of His ministry, and culminating with His crucifixion in Jerusalem. After His resurrection, He stood on the Mount of Olives and ascended up into heaven. Ten days following His ascension, His disciples received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in an upper-room in Jerusalem. This signified the beginning of the New Testament church.
What it means pragmatically to follow the footsteps of Jesus shows that the person believes on Jesus. If he (or she) did not believe on Jesus they will probably be less inclined to invest money in studies and travels to Israel. Spiritually it contributes to maturity because of the way the Bible can be experienced in a much heightened sense of awareness. And emotionally it becomes an aroma of self-fulfillment and personal accomplishment.
While not exhaustive, but another reason to visit is Biblical prophecy. The Mount of Olives, the rebuilding of the temple, and the valley of Jezreel all play a huge role in Biblical prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled.
(1) The Mount of Olives is the place where the disciples witnessed Jesus ascending to heaven forty days after his resurrection (Acts 1:3, 12). The two men in white apparel were the first ones to proclaim a second coming of Christ to the earth. They said His second coming to earth would be the same way and at the same location He ascended up into heaven (Acts 1:11). As was foretold by the prophet Zechariah (14:4), the Lord’s coming to earth would be at the Mount of Olives. And “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will split apart making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south.” This prophecy still awaits a future fulfillment.
(2) A little more than a decade before the birth of Christ, Herod the Great renovated the post-exilic temple. The entire temple covered approximately one quarter the entire size of Jerusalem. After its destruction and the Jewish Diaspora, the area was mostly unoccupied by the Jewish people. The Muslims moved into the area centuries later and built a Mosque and Dome. In order for the Jews to rebuild their temple would require them to drive out the Muslims and remove all Muslim artifacts, that currently occupy the space Once more the temple will be desecrated due to the abomination of desolation (see Mat. 24:15; Mar. 13:14).
(3) The apocalypse of John proclaims a coming battle that will evidently end all battles. This is the battle of Armageddon. In Revelation 16:16, all the armies on the earth will gather in the Valley of Jezreel (i.e. Valley of Jehoshaphat and Valley of Megiddo) to fight against Israel. At some point before or during the attack on Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ will descend from heaven with the armies of heaven and destroy all those nations that reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Lord will then come to Jerusalem and sit on the throne of David as King of kings and Lord of lords.
It makes a journey to the Holy Land all the more important as well as educational in light of this information the Bible declares will take place in the future. We should always continue learning as long as we are able to do so. In a sense, Walker is right in saying that “Jerusalem has moved on.” And as I alluded to earlier, that a person does not have to go to Jerusalem to know Jesus or the Bible. The Lord is everywhere present, and standing by to save anyone from the far reaches of the earth; for anyone who places faith in Him and His promises. In another sense, it is Jerusalem is still Jerusalem and its forever here with us as long as the earth remains. It is still God’s land and the Jews are still God’s chosen people. The New Testament church is also God’s distinct group and chosen people that includes both Jews and Gentiles. In a final analysis, there is still much for us to learn and unearth about the Holy Land where so much of the Bible has been unfolded. I encourage anyone to make a journey to Israel at least once in their life if they are able. It may be a life changing experience to the curious traveler.
Peter Walker, In the Steps of Jesus: An Illustrated Guide to the Places of the
Holy Land (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2006),166.
A FOGGY DAY OUT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE
A NICE DAY OUT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE
Caparnaum is where Peter and Andrew lived. It is also the town where Jesus relocated after He was rejected in Nazareth.
Caparnaum today is not the booming town is it was when Jesus lived there; it is not to far from the Sea of Galilee. It is located on the Northwest shore, down from the sea.
A FIG TREE IN OLD CAPARNAUM
MOUNT CARMEL. I went up to the top of MT Carmel and walked around. The very spot that the prophet Elijah stood is uncertain, because MT Carmel is a range of mountains in one area. It is situated behind an area called the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
Overlooking the City of Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives.
INSIDE THE TOMB OF JESUS (nevertheless Jesus Rose from the Dead on the 3rd Day
Such a Huge Stone outside the empty tomb that Jesus was placed in after His Crucifixion (note: this is not the actual stone that covered the entrance of the old tomb.
Such a busy day in the town of Cana. It is in this town where Jesus performed His first miracle, recorded in the Gospels; around two-thousand years ago.
IT IS SO CONGESTED HERE IN NAZARETH
THERE IS SO MUCH SALT IN ON THE SHORE OF THE DEAD SEA.
THE DEAD SEA. NOTHING LIVES IN THIS WATER; TOO SALTY.
BACK UP NORTH AND IT’S TIME TO TAKE A STROLL AROUND JERICHO.
THE LUNCH HERE IN JERICHO IS TASTY.
BACK AT THE WAILING WALL IN JERUSALEM. ONLY EVERYONE HERE COULD BELIEVE AND LEARN TO CRY OUT FOR THE NAME OF JESUS!
STAY TUNED FOR MORE PICTURES TO BE ADDED…