Thursday, June 24, 2010

06/16/10 Last Day in Israel....

Today was the last day of our trip. Our awesome bus driver, Avi, was ready to get on the road.

We stopped at Nazareth and visited a place that reconstructs and reenacts village life in the time of Jesus. We got to see how farm, domestic, and craft work was performed two thousand years ago.


The way the scrolls were read in the synagogue.

Making yarn and weaving.

The carpenter's shop

Next we went to Megiddo. On this mountain there have been at least 27 different settlements here and as we walked around everyone found many pieces of pottery, most dating back to the Roman times.

From the top of Mt. Megiddo, is this valley which is identified in Revelation 16:16 as the site of the final battle between the forces of good and evil at the end of time, known as Armageddon.

We also toured more water tunnels of the Megiddo Springs.

Then on to Mt. Carmel. Here was the place where Elijah and the prophets of Baal had their confrontation. We read the whole story found in I Kings 18:16-45.

"When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!" I Kings 18:39

View from top of Mt. Carmel

Our final stop was Caesarea, located on the Mediterranean Sea. It is another place where King Herod the Great built a palace, as well as a Roman type theater and a hippodrome for horse races and other events.

Caesarea is mentioned several times in Acts. We read the account of Paul and King Agrippa in Acts 25: 13-27.

The water was so beautiful here. It was the first time to see the Mediterranean Sea and we wished we could have stayed longer than just a few minutes!!

After a farewell dinner in Tel Aviv, we arrived at the airport to catch a 11:30 p.m. flight home. It was a wonderful trip. Everything was perfectly planned and we did so many interesting things. Our guide was awesome, our group was great, and I feel like it was a once in lifetime trip, to really get to see the Bible come to life. I loved every minute of it!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

06/15/10 Day 7 - Sea of Galilee area

shToday we drove to the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. We walked about 2 hours on a beautiful, lush, and cool path beside the running water. Here at the foot of Mt. Hermon are springs coming out of the mountain that are the head waters of the Jordan River. This area is named for the Israelite tribe of Dan. The tribe of Dan moved here and conquered the Canaanite town of Laish and among the archaeological excavations that were discovered was the city gate as well as a pagan altar that may have been the shrine on which King Jeroboam of Israel sacrificed one of his golden calves.
"So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit--the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan" 2 Kings 10:28-29.

The ruins of the city of Laish

City gates of Tel Dan

Next we go to Caesarea Phillipi. This is the area where Jesus told Peter "on this rock I will build my church" as well as the possible place of the transfiguration of Jesus. Mt. Hermon is the highest point in Israel and some bible scholars believe it happened here. (Matt. 17:1-13)
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ."
Matthew 16:13-20

There were also pagan temples found here.

Danny,our guide, was so good explaining things to us, especially dates. He would always use his arms and head as a time line. His left arm was BC, his head Jesus, and his right arm AD. So he would point to the appropriate place on his arm "timeline" for each date. This would be about 100 BC.....

or 1000 BC......

or about 200 AD.....

We had lunch at another local restaurant. We had the standard "salads", humus, pickles, wonderful pita bread, and these "poultry" (hopefully chicken) shishkabobs
cooked outdoors on a grill. And yes, all meals come with french fries, even pita sandwiches are filled with french fries. We also had soft goat cheese with olive oil and honey.....very tasty.

Then on to the Golan Heights, on the Syrian border. There has been fighting here over the control of borders.

Just beyond the green fields is Syria.

We walked through the army bunker that is there.

Last stop today.....the Golan Heights Winery.