“It is well within my soul” This well known hymn was penned by a gifted Aussie named Horatio Spafford. Our Shoresh Tour guide David masterfully sprinkled us with tidbits of information as we drove to our hotel from the Ben Gurion Airport. “Horatio is also credited for all the Eucalyptus trees you see in Israel as he was the one responsible for bringing the seeds for planting.” As proclaimed disciples of Jesus, we traveled many miles to personally take strides through Israel’s rich landscape and political tensions so that we might better understand the world as it was when Jesus walked on it. Twenty three pilgrims arrived in Tel Aviv to follow in the steps of our Teacher, Yeshua. BEFORE you travel to Israel, read 1st and 2nd Kings. Click on first pic of each set for large view. The Oracle
With eyes wide and ears attuned, the Holy Spirit spoke peace to all when we first met our guide David Westlund and boarded the Mercedes bus with Bishara our born again Arabian driver. The preplanned Shoresh Study Tour was greatly enhanced by the personal input of both David and Bishara. Our goal to obtain a better understanding of the landscape of the Holy Land began with a few lessons in Hebrew by our bilingual, multi-cultural guide David. “In the 2nd month of the 2nd year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak and the rest of the people (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work. They appointed Levites twenty years old and older to supervise the building of the house of the Lord. Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” Ezra 3 All the people on the bus gave a shout of praise to our Lord because we were given a foundational lesson in Hebrew! AMEN To all pilgrims reading this “Bocar Tov” Good day to you in Hebrew and “Toadar” Thank you! *** Click on 1st picture of each set to view slideshow***
We arrived at the Four Seasons hotel in Natanya on the Mediterranean Sea. In Hebrew the town of Natanya was taken from the word Nathan which means “Given by God”. As David described the landscape we drove past, he included a story about Zachariah which means “God remembered” and Samuel which means “God heard her prayer”.
Our Lord asked Zechariah to tell the people “Return to Me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to Me, declares the Lord. Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not My words and My decrees, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors? “Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”…. Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord Almighty, how long will You withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which You have been angry with these seventy years?” The Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel … the angel told Zechariah, “Proclaim this word: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment.’ “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there My house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” First Chapter of Zechariah is a warning to all nations who feel secure. Israel is the apple of our Lord’s eye and through His Spirit we looked with wonder at Caesarea, a well planned city by king Herod the Great. His son king Herod of Agrippa continued to improve Caesarea with impressive ornate sculptures.
The 400 acres of Caesarea took 12 years to develop in 30 BCE. The king named this town Caesarea in honor of his patron Octavian Augustus Caesar. With tremendous ambition king Herod of Agrippa built an amphitheatre, a hippodrome, the port and massive aqueducts. In the writings of Josephus, king Herod of Agrippa adorned himself with threads of silver which made him sparkle in the sun. During an oratory on the theatre stage the crowd shouted “it is the voice of a god”. God struck king Herod down and his body was carried to the palace where he was slowly eaten by worms. “Pride comes before the fall”. King Herod of Agrippa died 4 days later. Acts 12:21-23 *SEE last photos of this post for brief history of the many Herods. Which Herod did the Apostle Paul deal with in the next scene? Acts 25:6 “When he had spent not more than eight or 10 days among them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, seated at the judge’s bench, he commanded Paul to be brought in. When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him and brought many serious charges that they were not able to prove, while Paul made the defense that, “Neither against the Jewish law, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned at all.”
(Pictures are from various photographers among our group. The days and locations are in random order of all that we saw.) We read applicable scriptures at most sites. “So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel….’If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:20 – We peered over the valley of Jezreel and were reminded of the evil Queen Jezebel who had a domineering influence on her husband king Ahab. Repeatedly Jezebel had the opportunity to see that Yahweh was the true God. In a dramatic contest on Mount Carmel, the prophets of Baal failed to call down fire to their alter. Elijah’ simple prayer demonstrated God’s power and authority. God’s judgement fell onto the royal pair. We also learned about Biblical Tels. A TEL, tells us about the civilizations that have disappeared as they are excavated and documented. We visited Tel Dan with a view of the Hula Valley, the Naphtali Mountains, Mount Hermon, and the Golan Heights. The ancient Dan Tel has a command post which was used during the Six Day War in 1967. Archeologists found a large collection of tools as well as the remains of a sparse settlement inhabited by the Israelites before the construction of buildings 12th century BC. We viewed what is known as the ‘Valley of Tears’ where 450 Syrian tanks and 45 Israeli tanks battled it out. Our guide told us the story of the Israel hero, a spy named Eli Cohen. The book “Our Man in Damascus” highlights Eli Cohen’s contribution in the war effort. May our Lord Jesus, through His divine “Whisper System” breathe fresh life into each soul that takes time to read these insights as they view the 2018 photos taken while in the Holy Land. I pray that the Holy Spirit ignites your Spirit with a passion to know Jesus ever more deeply. Continue to count your many blessings, in Jesus name AMEN. Pictured below is our guide David Westlund and his personally chosen friend and bus driver Bishara. “Look well at my handpicked servant; I love him so much, take such delight in him. I’ve placed my spirit upon him.” Matt 12:15 The Message.
As our bus drove through Israel, David would point out many amazing things that happened. “Over there is the spot where Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers….and that was the place where David slew Goliath….those hills over yonder, that is Samaria where Jesus met the woman at the well. On the way back between Jerusalem and Ben Gurion airport David pointed out “the road of Emmaus…and asked us “would we recognize Him?” Our certified guide emphasized the importance of the truth of ‘what’ happened, over where it happened. David was clear to point out “This is where archeologist think this happened.” At our first tour stop at Caesarea National Park we learned that the Phoenicians built the first settlement on the shoreline of the Med Sea. In the year 103 BC, the village was awarded to Herod the Great. David pointed out the public-open-air- lavatories were built near the hippodrome for the benefit of visitors. We visited the ruins in Chorazin, a place occupied by Arabs until 1948. Jesus said “Doom to you, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida…and Capernaum! With all your peacock strutting, you are going to end up in the abyss. If the people of Sodom had your chances, the city would still be around. At Judgement Day they’ll get off easy compared to you…. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:21-30 The Message — The port city Caesarea Maritima served as an administrative center of Judea’s Roman Empire. Later the capital of the Byzantine Palaestina province, then the Muslim conquest in the 7th century. Caesarea had an Arab majority until Crusader conquest. In 1884 Bosnian immigrants settled there in a small fishing village. In 1940, kibbutz Sdot Yam was established next to the village. In February 1948 the village was conquered by a Pamach unit. In 1952, a Jewish town called Caesarea was established near the ruins of the old city, which were made into the national park of Caesarea Maritima.
The next day our first stop was Chorazin, where we saw the first ritual bath or mikveh which was situated near the oldest temple that was excavated. Our guide explained the Arab occupation and burial site. Also some students found some ancient coins on a dig. Exploring these ancient excavations affords all pilgrims with a profound appreciation of the Jewish world of the New Testament. Jesus and His followers lived in the midst of turbulent, yet an exciting period of history. To understand the life and message of Jesus, and the early church as described in the book of Acts, by entering their world, we find deeper meaning of the scriptures. The New Testament reports that the construction of the Temple took 46 years. It is the biggest religious structure ever built by one man. The Temple had over 1000 pillars surrounding all four sides of the complex. Herod trained 1000 priests in stone masonry so that the sacrifices would not stop. The largest stone in the retaining wall weighs up to 570 tons. Five different aqueducts were built, totaling over 36 miles in length. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. In 1967 Israel assigned Muslim control over the area. Both the first and second temples were destroyed. Excavations on the slopes of the upper portion of the Southern Wall are a treasure to those with an interest of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus.
In Jerusalem, the ascent (ophel) was from the south where pilgrims ascended – both physically and spiritually – from the Pool of Siloam by way of the City of the David to the Ophel and its ritual baths, and from there to the Temple Mount. These two-thousand year old ritual baths, or mikvahs, were used by pilgrims visiting the Temple Mount. The Biblical word “ophel” is derived from Hebrew lehaʽapil – which means ascend. We descended into the tunnel dug out along the Western Wall of Jerusalem while staying at Christ’s Church at the Jaffa gate in Jerusalem. This is what we saw.
We also walked near the place where Jesus fed the 5,000. “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” Matt 14:14 KJV We sat in a place commemorated as the Mt Beatitudes. “Great multitudes followed Him – from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain” Matt 4 – 5. After Jesus rose from the Tomb, He prepared breakfast by the Sea of Galilee. “After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias….” Jesus said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast the net as instructed and pulled in 153 fish. They came to land and saw a fire of coals with fish on it and bread. Jesus said ‘come and eat breakfast’. None of the disciples dared ask ‘Who are you?’. John 21 – The resurrected Jesus appeared on the shore of Galilee, and John recognized his voice, but apparently once they were ashore, the face of their Lord Jesus was swollen from having his beard plucked out. Perhaps the disciples reluctant response was a result of His changed appearance.
Jesus was a Jew who lived His life in a land marred by turmoil and dominated by the might of the Roman Empire. These facts are fundamental in understanding His message, His audience, and the response His words elicited from those who witnessed His surprising and supernatural ministry. The hometown of Jesus, Nazareth was in the fertile region known as lower Galilee. We briefly toured the tiny village of Nazareth. Prior to the reign of Herod the Great, the area was populated by farmers. Our bus driver Bishara lives in Nazareth. “So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you…. For which is easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven you or to say Arise and walk?…The multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.” Matt 9 NKV. David took us on a stroll through the fabulous ruins of Caesarea Maritima, the site of the conversion of Cornelius. We sauntered about the ruins of Capernaum and saw what is believed to be Peter’s home, and the place where Peter raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-42).
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”….” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. ” ACTS chapter 10 — Overlooking the Sea of Galilee David informed us that Israel recycles 80% of it’s water. Israel developed the technology to turn the salt water of the Med Sea into drinking water. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 As a tour group, we loved each other well.
Mount Carmel boasted a spectacular view over the North of Israel. Mount Carmel is where David met the generous heart of Abigail. It is also the spot where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Elijah had the prophets of Baal slaughtered at the Brook Kishon in the Jezreel Valley. We concluded our day watching a magnificent sun setting over the ancient city of Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. We dined and slept at the Kibbutz located in Ma’agan overlooking the Sea of Galilee. “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!…I have heeded your voice and respected your person.” 1 Samuel 25:23-36 1 Samuel
While traveling along the Sea of Galilee, David pointed out the spot where the demon filled pigs ran down the hill. He also slowed the bus down so that we could snap a picture of the tomb with a round stone. In Israel, there have only been 3 tombs excavated with round stones. We visited Mt Chorazin, Beitsaia, Tel Dan, Caesarea Philippi, as Mt Tabor was pointed out. God’s living Word comes more fully alive to all those who travel to Israel. The past harmonizes with our present and future as we walk through the Holy Land of Israel. We visited Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The educated and aristocratic Josephus who was born soon after the death of Jesus offers us his eye witness writings. Josephus was a Jewish commander and later switched his sympathies and settled in Rome. He wrote the influential “The Antiquities of the Jews”.
Scholars agree that the Josephus text offers indisputable proof of the existence and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. King Herod was despised in Galilee. During the Roman civil war, with Cassius in nearby Syria, Herod was in charge of Galilee and he taxed the farmers relentlessly. His heavy hand resulted in widespread resentment. The lack of fresh water at Herod’s new city required a lengthy aqueduct to bring water from springs at the base of Mount Carmel nearly ten miles away. In order that the water would flow by the pull of gravity, the aqueduct was built on arches and the gradient was carefully measured. Peter came to Galilee from Jaffa, and God spoke to him through a vision. Cornelius and his house hold were the first gentiles to receive the Messiah. Paul sailed from Capernaum to Rome. In the time of Jesus, Nazareth was an isolated village with a population less than two hundred. Today Nazareth is home to more than 60,000 Israeli Arabs. The Catholic Church has built the largest church building in the Middle East where it is believed the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary. Chorazin gives us a glimpse of village life and the layout of a Jewish synagogue. Capernaum is known to be the town where Jesus lived during the majority of His ministry. 1st and 2nd PETER
We visited the Old Boat Museum where we shopped for souvenirs, scarves and a Mezuzah, to bless our homes in Mexico. The “Jesus Boat”, is a Galilean fishing boat from the First Century. After viewing the Jesus boat, we sailed the Sea of Galilee. Anabel led us in the dancing as we sang songs in English and Spanish. “Si tu vera fe, como una grano de mustarted, el montanya se movidad, Montanya Carmelo, Fuego!” After dinner at the Kibbutz we met a local Messianic Believer who shared his amazing testimony. When we explored Northern Israel it was windy. Mt. Bental, is a lookout spot near the border with Syria and the area of the road to Damascus where the Apostle Paul met the Lord. We also travelled to the Dan Nature Reserve and saw the incredible remains of the OT City of Dan, and the city gate from the time of Abraham.
The Golan Heights belonged to the country of Syria until 1967. During the Six Day War, Israel took this high ground overlooking the Huleh Basin and Sea of Galilee. We saw evidence of Syrian habitation, including military bases and mosques that lie in ruins. We had lunch in a Druze Village. The Druze people speak Arabic, live in the hills of Galilee and the Golan Heights. The Druze have good relations with the Jews of Israel. The strong relationship between Arab Druze and Israeli Jews shows hope for the future of the Middle East. There are 130,000 Israeli Druze who are neither Muslim or Christian. The Druze worship in a secret way, unknown to the rest of the world.
We travelled through Northern Israel and viewed the Golan Heights along the lower slopes of Mount Hermon (Israel’s tallest mountain). This is also the most likely site of The Transfiguration “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” Our God seeks to reconcile us to Himself through Jesus “leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:24 “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”Romans 5:10 We are His voice and hands on earth — Unified by Reconciliation
Our bus arrived at “Yardenit” the most popular baptismal site in Israel along the Jordan River. It was built by Pastor Chuck Smith and it has plaques in every language. (See photo below) “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Phil 2:1-4 Come as you are and receive the gift of salvation! Let the Joy of the Lord flow! “Oh Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you” Psalm 84:12 JOHN
Singing this song today in church “You stood before creation, Eternity within Your hands, You spoke all life into motion, My soul now to stand, You stood before my failure and carried the cross for my shame, My sin weighed upon Your shoulders, My soul now to stand. So what can I say, And what could I do…But offer this heart O God, Completely to You. So I’ll walk upon salvation, Your Spirit alive in me, This life to declare Your promise, My soul now to stand.” We are reminded, encouraged and exhorted “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 — The power of the Word of God is in those who accept Jesus as their Savior. The Bible, God’s living Word has stood the test of time for centuries. The ruins in Israel prove that man cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit, or reverse the promises of God.
Read 2 Kings chapter 22-23. It tells the story about how the Book of the Law had been lost and then found in the house of the Lord. The temple was about to be remodeled to include a corner for astrology. When King Josiah heard the Word of God, he tore his royal robes and God promised Josiah “I will gather you to your fathers , and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.” 2 Kings 22:20 —- “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; not after him did any arise like him.” No matter the tradition of respect for the temples that king Solomon had built for his wives, king Josiah pulverized the alters and threw their dust into the Kidron valley.
Filled with passion for the Book of the Law, Josiah took the bones out of tombs and burned them. King Josiah ruled until about 609 BC. Assyria had been driven out of Babylon in 612 BC. The Assyrian capital then moved to Haran. Josiah hoped to keep Judah’s independence and he intercepted Pharaoh Necho on his way to Haran but was killed at Megiddo. “Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13 — Are we living like Josiah today and living out the Word of God? Or do we hear the Word, read the Word and then put it aside in order to fit through the wide way of the world? Hmmmm —- The pictures below are of Jericho, the oldest (8,000 BCE) walled city on earth and also the world’s lowest city. (1,200 feet below sea level) We were greeted by camels in the parking lot and had lunch. The Bible tells us that the city of Jericho was conquered by Joshua and left as rubble for most of the Old Testament times. Herod the Great built a winter palace not far from the old ruins. This caused a new city to sprout on the plain nearby. Zacchaeus was a resident of the new city. He was the short tax collector who climbed the tree to see Jesus pass by. Luke 19:1 – Jesus healed the blind man Mark 10:46. After lunch we went to Qumran and marveled at the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. Could this remaining wall (pictured below) in Jericho be the house of Rahab? “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
The Qumran site is only 25 miles southeast of Jerusalem and it may just be the Biblical site of the ‘city of salt’ mentioned in Joshua 15. Back on the bus we headed towards our scheduled stop at Masada, just south of Ein Gedi. Masada was originally built by Alexander Jannaeus, then improved by Herod the Great. It was seized by the Zealots in the revolt against Rome. Masada was the site of the mass suicide of 960 Jewish defenders who chose to end their lives rather than become slaves of the Romans in 73 CE. The Southern two thirds of the land is desert, including the Biblical ‘Wilderness of Paran’. (Numbers 10) The desert played a big part in the history of the Jewish people. The story of the Exodus (Exodus 1-40) and the journey of Elijah (1 Kings 19) were the basis of Hebrew education from the time Jesus was a boy. On our way to Masada, we all learned the meaning of “wilderness” in this unpredictable Judean desert. HEBREWS
We missed Herod the Great’s magnificent fortress in Masada because of a cruel flash flood. Our guide David and Bishara drove us back to Jericho for a late night dinner fit for a king! Why? Later we learned that a bus in Jordan tipped over during the flash flood and 14 people were killed. We were singing songs on the bus praising God for His plan for us. Unlike over 100 other tour buses, we stayed in a beautiful Kibbutz near the Dead Sea as many hundreds of other tourists slept on their buses. The next day we toured Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. (1 Samuel 24) Ein Gedi means ‘spring of the young goat’ and today it remains the home of four large herds of Ibex. Due to the storm, the park was closed so we were unable to see the waterfalls and wildlife in the Ein Gedi, however, our guide told us about the valuable perfume that was produced here. Marc Anthony gifted Cleopatra the city of Ein Gedi. Oh yeah, we also sampled Olive oils at Olea Essence and wines while in the area of the Golan Heights near the Dead Sea.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:18 – By 5:00 PM we entered Jerusalem, the City of the Great King and enjoyed a Friday night Shabbat at Christ’s Church. ““Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord and there call out this word: Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who enter through these gates to worship the Lord.” Jeremiah 7:2 Pastor David Pelege led us on a short stroll to a rooftop panorama of the Old City where he pointed out the Dome of the Rock and Hebron where Abraham buried his wife Sara. “In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 The Christ Church guest house was built and is maintained in the Ottoman style; with domed ceilings and Bethlehem stone floors; and beautiful 19th century colonial furniture and architecture. ROMANS
It is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East. The church was finished in 1849 and soon after became known as the “Jewish Protestant Church” —On Saturday October 27 we toured #1 Mount of Olives “Not My will but Thy will be done” The place where our resurrected Jesus ascended and also the place that Zechariah prophesied that Jesus will return. “That day his feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a very wide valley running from east to west, for half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south.” Zechariah 14:4 The Valley between the Mount of Olives and the Dome of the Rock is called the Kidron Valley. #2 We visited an authentic spot where Jesus healed a man by the pool of Bethesda “Pick up mat and walk” #3 We walked through the Garden of Gethsemane. #4 We entered the actual Garden Tomb and then we shared in a holy communion inside a private chapel. “Jesus answered ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
We crossed the Kidron Valley and walked through Stephen’s Gate to examine the Pool of Bethesda. We each enjoyed the Presence of our Lord during a reflective prayer time at the peaceful Garden Tomb. We visited the museum at the Christ Church Guesthouse. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25 Walking the streets of Jerusalem, we came to know God’s Attributes
On Sunday October 28, 2018 many of our group attended the worship service at Christ Church. The location of Christ’s Church was just inside the Jaffa gate, and across the street from David’s Temple. After a day of rest, a true Sabbath for those who wanted to reflect on all that has been experienced so far. A few opted to tour the City of David and the Hezekiah tunnel. Monday we were taken to the Temple Mount and we witnessed the glorious celebration of a few Bar Mitzvahs. Some were prepared with written prayers to tuck into the Western wall. In Mark 11:11-19 we know that Jesus travelled on foot every day to the City of Jerusalem. The dusty roads back then would certainly welcome a foot bath before a meal. Jesus humbled Himself as He washed the disciples feet. The road from Bethany passed north of the vast cemeteries along the ridge of the Mount of Olives. The daily journey that Jesus and His disciples took was to the Temple that stood about where the golden Dome of the Rock stands today. “Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and talked to them. As He was speaking, the Jewish leaders and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and placed her out in front of the staring crowd. …” John 8 JAMES
We were blessed to participate in the Jewish tradition of Shabbat on our first night in Jerusalem. The walks of Jesus back and forth to the Temple were the scenes for a number of important scriptures. Included were the curse of the fig tree. Matthew 21:18, Mark 11:13. Along the slope of the Mt of Olives lays the oldest continually used cemetery in the world. Graves dating back four thousand years rest beside modern ones. Many Biblical scholars relate this area to the ‘Vale of Jehoshaphat’ (Joel 3:2) Important events in the Book of Acts took place in Jerusalem. We passed through security and a few of the women were given modest skirts to wear. We prayed at the Western Wall, the holy site of Judaism. Located in the Kidron Valley, the Gihon Spring was the ancient water supply for Jerusalem. King David’s men conquered the city by crawling through the Jebusite water shaft. (2 Samuel 5) Hundreds of years later, King Hezekiah helped defend the city from the Assyrians. (2 Chronicles 32). On a trip to Jerusalem, Jesus commanded a blind man to wash in the pool and be healed. (John 9). Many chose to walk through the Hezekiah tunnel which ends at the famous Siloam Pool.
On our final day David took many to the City of Bethlehem and to the Holocaust Museum. The tragic annihilation of six million Jews in the Nazi genocide shall never be forgotten. May it serve as a testimony to God’s warning that the Devil seeks to destroy our faith in God. Is the devil real? The Old Testament Scriptures which refer to satan, as the ever present but inferior adversary, accuser, or opponent are found in the comment section. The Bible prophesy about the restoration and spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people is exciting. Time was spent in Yad VaShem, the Israel Memorial Museum to the Holocaust. It was a short drive to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, and the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels heralded the advent of Messiah. Our assembly of saints enjoyed a final meal at Christ Church in Jerusalem before the bus took us to the airport. The evening before His arrest, Jesus ate a meal with His disciples in a secluded place. (John 13) The Last Supper of Jesus is when the establishment of the holy remembrance in Communion. (Mark 12 and Luke 22)
On Wednesday October 31st, 2018 we said farewell to Israel and flew home. We praise God for all the exciting revelations in His living Word an world! The City of David is the original site of Jerusalem. The City of David began over 3,000 years ago, when King David left the city of Hebron for a small hilltop city known as Jerusalem, establishing it as the unified capital of the tribes of Israel. “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5 — Years later, David’s son, King Solomon, built the First Temple next to the City of David on top of Mount Moriah.IN OUR GROUP PICTURE ABOVE: FIRST ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Eli, Mia, Lawrene, Sandie,Carole,George, Janice, Cha Cha. 2nd ROW: Leland, Bernie, Cynthia (now deceased), Terri, Debby, Priscilla, Mike, Vickey, Patricia, Charlotte, Read, Barb, Robert, Gloria, Anabel and all her gringo’s. Today, deep underground, the City of David is where some of the most exciting archeological finds of the ancient world were found. This aerial view of the ministry of Jesus was filmed on a timeline. Priscilla Greer organized our Shoresh Tour through the Holy Land. We walked through archaeological digs that span thousands of years of history including both First and Second Temple Jerusalem. King Hezekiah’s 2,700 year old water tunnel, is one of the wonders of early engineering, continuing to the Shiloah Pool, the major water drawing source in biblical times. We walked where Jesus walked and we read His Word together. What a blessing to tour Jerusalem with a group that shall all meet again at Lakeside to marvel at all the wondrous works of God in us, and through us. AMEN – Ecclesiastes
Our Guide David blessed us with his deep love and respect for Israel. He shared personal stories and insights as a resident, patriot and well read man of God. Right out of high school his sons Ben and Daniel served in the Israeli Army at the Gaza strip. David’s daughter Nadi is a missionary in South Sudan and her husband is from Ethiopia. His daughter Neli is local and his son Ben is studying at the worlds only Hebrew Bible University. His wife’s name is Analie. I ask all pilgrims to pray for David and his entire family. When not giving tours David works as a carpenter. We toured Bethlehem, Caesarea, Mount of Olives, Garden Tomb, En Gedi, Temple Mount, Bet Shean, (Megiddo was missed because of flash flood) Mount Hermon, Western Wall, City of David, Dome of the Rock, Tel Dan, Mt of Beatitudes, Jaffa, Hotel in Netanya on the Med Sea, Nimrod Castle, Shiloh, Emmaus Road entourage to Ben Gurion airport, Cana, King Philip Castle ruin, son of King Herod the Great at Caesarea Philippi, Mount Tabor site of the Transfiguration, Scythopolis Mr Gilboa where Jesus healed lepers on road between Samaria and Galilee, (Luke 17) The Jesus Boat, The Dead Sea, Haifa, Tel Aviv, The Sea of Galilee, The Mediterranean Sea, Nazareth, Kibbutz in Migdal, Tiberius, Kibbutz near Dead Sea, Christ’s Church in Jerusalem site of one of Herod’s Temple across from David’s Temple. Twenty three pilgrims returned to Mexico forever changed and blessed by our joint spiritual journey. Thank you David and Bishara!
Our guide David also taught us about the use of olive wood, known as the Tree of Life which symbolizes the glory, splendor and the very root of both Judaism and Christianity. “His branches shall spread, and His beauty shall be as the olive tree.” Hosea 7 — Many tourists bring home a Mezuzah (pictured above) carved from an olive tree that grew in the Holy Land. The natural grain affords the soul a glimpse of the beauty within the history of the land of Yeshua. TEMPLE MOUNT HISTORY – King David gathered all supplies to build the First Temple, and his son Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem in 957 BC. The Dome of the Rock is where Abraham went up to sacrifice his son Isaac. The Dome of the Rock is also built over the site of the Holy of Holies. “Finally the actual construction of the Temple began. Its location was in Jerusalem at the top of Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to Solomon’s father, King David, and where the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite had been. David had selected it as the site for the Temple.” 2 Chron 3:1 — ““Come,” everyone will say, “let us go up the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Israel; there he will teach us his laws, and we will obey them.” For in those days the world will be ruled from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:3 — “One day, in a vision, God told him some of the things that were going to happen to his nation, Israel. This vision came to him at the time Uzziah was king of Judah and while Jeroboam (son of Joash) was king of Israel—two years before the earthquake. This is his report of what he saw and heard: The Lord roared—like a ferocious lion from his lair—from his Temple on Mount Zion. And suddenly the lush pastures of Mount Carmel withered and dried, and all the shepherds mourned.” Amos 1:2 — “And as he sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives across the valley from Jerusalem, Peter, James, John, and Andrew got alone with him and asked him, “Just when is all this going to happen to the Temple? Will there be some warning ahead of time?” Mark 13:3 — King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s Temple in 606 BC. “The actual construction of the Temple began in June of the second year of their arrival at Jerusalem. The work force was made up of all those who had returned, and they were under the direction of Zerubbabel.” Ezra 3:8 (The 2nd Temple.) “The Temple was finally finished, as had been commanded by God and decreed by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia.” Ezra 6:14 — Zerubbabel finished the 2nd Temple in 457 BC. — King Solomon built a temple on the Mount of Olives for his wives. “He even built a temple on the Mount of Olives, across the valley from Jerusalem, for Chemosh, the depraved god of Moab, and another for Molech, the unutterably vile god of the Ammonites. Solomon built temples for these foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods. 9-10 Jehovah was very angry with Solomon about this, for now Solomon was no longer interested in the Lord God of Israel who had appeared to him twice to warn him specifically against worshiping other gods. But he hadn’t listened, 11 so now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept our agreement and have not obeyed my laws, I will tear the kingdom away from you and your family and give it to someone else.” 1 Kings 11:7-10. — In the year of 636 AD, after the death of Jesus, Rome was defeated by Islam and the Muslims took over the Temple Mount. The golden top of the Temple Mount was built in 691 AD.
Living as a follower of Jesus Christ was not easy. Our Father is looking for people that have been changed by His touch, by His Spirit. People who are willing to be prayer Warriors and fearless. Trusting in God to supply the courage an strength, people who are bold enough to speak and add souls to His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. HOW DID THE APOSTLES OF JESUS DIE? 1. Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound. 2. Mark: Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead. 3. Luke: Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost. 4. John: Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos.John wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully. 5. Peter: He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died. 6. James: The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club. * This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation. 7. James the Son of Zebedee: was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer Walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian. 8. Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel: Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip. 9. Andrew: Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors For two days until he expired. 10. Thomas: Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent. 11. Jude: Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. 12. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded. 13. Paul: Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament. Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of their Faith in Jesus as Lord. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” The enemy seeks to destroy our faith in Jesus. Pray against the schemes of the devil and PRAY FOR ISRAEL. PRAYING for next Messianic Tour in the year 2022?. Contact information for Priscilla Greer who is organizing a future Tour. PRAISE GOD for this Testimony received Feb 2, 2019 “Priscilla stopped by El Jardin de Liz. Both Claude and Dr. Elizabeth Bellon who own the vitamin shop next to Super Lake had testimonies. Claude is studying under his father-in-law to be a Rabbi. Claude was asked to teach a class to Jews at Lakeside who do not know the Savior. Ten people came. He said 9 were open and asked many questions! Praise GOD! Pray for the truth to become real to them. Pray as God opens the hearts of Jews at Lakeside. Dr. Liz’s mother went into the market in Guad and was crying out to God. “God I want to share Yeshua with a Jew.” At the produce counter there was a 17 year old dressed in traditional Jewish attire. Celia said, Shalom! He answered back, Shalom! With that, Celia gave him the FULL Gospel message. He was open to what she shared. This young man… is the son of the Traditional Jewish rabbi in Guadalajara! Celia asked if he would like to talk with her again. He said yes, and she gave him her information. WOW!” God is always as work in and through those who pray to be used. AMEN God is opening the hearts of the Jews locally and worldwide!
HISTORY OF THE HERODS: King Herod the Great was a brutal, paranoid, unpredictable ruler who ordered the executions of 1 of his 10 wives and 3 of his 14 children, and according to the Gospel of Matthew, in an effort to eliminate the infant Jesus, ordered the Slaughter of the Innocents. The ancient texts describe the symptoms Herod experienced in his final days: painful intestinal problems, convulsions in every limb, intense itching, breathlessness, and gangrene of the genitalia. Josephus wrote that Herod the Great’s illness was excruciating. King Herod the Great Matt 2:1 – 3:7 Luke 1:5
SONS OF HEROD THE GREAT:
1) King Herod Agrippa I: Stuck down in Caesarea – Killed James the Apostle. 2) Archelaus; ruler of Judea and Samaria 3) Antipas: ruled Galilee and Perea – killed John the Baptist Luke 3:1, Matt 14:1-3 Mk 6:16 4) Phillip II: ruler of Ituraea and Gaulonitis Trachonitis. HEROD AGRIPPA II: Great grandson of Herod the Great