Why you must do this--go to Jerusalem!
You Must Get to Know the Land . . . in person or even in pictures! In this briefing, I want to make Israel come alive for you - especially places that are pertinent to our wonderful historic Christian faith. You see, it is the people, it is the land, it is the language . . . the sights and sounds of the Middle East. Upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, >> we peer down at black-clad passengers waiting to board an airplane and realize "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore."1 As indicated in the picture, Judaism literally looks different in Israel, particularly Orthodox Judaism. From kippas to wigged women to black hats, we do not experience this 'separate' style of dress or thinking--unless in an ultra Orthodox neighborhood. After landing in Tel Aviv, we travel north near the Mediterranean Ocean with the first important stop being at Herod's Caesarea Maritima. King Herod the Great built the city to be a major international port and named it after his patron, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus. Completed between 22 and 10/9 B.C.E., Caesarea Maritima had all the elements of a major Roman city and more, including a palace, forum, theater, temple dedicated to Augustus and Rome, and an elaborate harbor complex. Caesarea Maritima is also important because Paul was imprisoned here and because Christianity's first Gentile convert had a significant visit from God, Acts 10. This is the view from the Mt. of Beatitudes looking across the Sea of Galilee back toward the old town of Tiberius which I love. >>>> Standing there, it is easy to imagine folks coming up the hillside to listen to Jesus' teaching ~ what we call the Sermon on the Mount. The undisturbed hillside is a very important place for those who love the teachings of Jesus! Wait . . . stop! This is a good time to explain the land and the setting a little more. Simply, two places serve as launching pads for our pilgrimage: Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee >>> and Jerusalem. From these two stops, many of the places mentioned in Old and New Testaments are experienced, often seeing as many as five venues in an afternoon. And then there is Nazareth, the village where Jesus lived and grew. The geographic setting alone impacted me greatly, picturing Jesus as a boy climbing the hills, watching caravans pass by, and I loved seeing the Church of the Annunciation. Nazareth was not on either of the first two tours I took, but I HAD to see the town, so I caught a cab on my own. It was very informative and the historic grounds excavated around and under this church are awe-inspiring. >>>>> But nothing is like the anticipation of going Up to Jerusalem! Psalm 120-134 capture songs that Jewish pilgrims would have sung three times a year going up to the Temple, should you like to refer to them. As the bus climbs the hillside, a growing anticipation within mounts--seriously, like, I get butterflies! The day pictured in this briefing is the Western Wall on Shabbat - the square teeming with people, literally abuzz. The men on the left, davening and praying, the women on the right, praying; young IDF women circled together, dancing and singing loudly in Hebrew, with their guns swinging from their belts. Nothing like it...truly. Temple Mount? These are the southern steps of the Temple, where Jesus often taught. Neil Armstrong visited the Southern Steps and said, "I am more excited stepping on these stones than I was stepping on the moon." He then knelt down and kissed the slab of stone where Jesus stood and where the Church was born. Does it get any better than that? I submit to you it does not! We see a lot of the Judean Desert which boasts the Mount of Temptation, the Qumran Caves - where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, not far from amazing Masada and the Dead Sea. >>>>> The historic meaningful Jordan River, which looks different and changing, depending on where we are traveling: Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and you can be baptized too in the Jordan. >>>>> This is our knowledgeable, affable second-generation tour guide Ezer. Besides being a terrific, intelligent way pointer, he is a believer in Yeshua. Having traveled two different times with Israeli guides who did not believe Jesus is the Messiah is a totally different experience, let me tell you! He is standing atop the Mt. of Olives, pointing back to the old city of Jerusalem. You will be amazed at the close proximity. >>>>> Then there is Bethlehem--which most Christian tours will not visit; the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial . . . Capernaum, town of Jesus' ministry headquarters, the pools of Bethesda, the Via Dolorosa, boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and a time of devotion in the Garden of Gethsemane. >>>>> We are a blessed generation to be able to experience the land of the Bible - in person, if possible, but certainly there is terrific footage on youtube too. If you want to join me in February, 2023, deposits are due now and I am capping the trip at just 40 people. Registration closes this week. Please email me: email@example.com if you have other questions. And now this great song: Jerusalem! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hy5VxG6q98 Shalom~ needless to say, this is just a taste of what you will experience Christine