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Published: June 11th 2005
This is a quote from our Jewish tour guide. The struggle for the promised land makes life difficult for the people of Israel. An air of danger and insecurity is part of daily life. You need not look far to see checkpoints, barbwire, armed guards and security fences. Yet the people are willing to fight to the death to stay in the land they hold dear. On a deeper examination his quote can hold another meaning. Jesus also lived and died for Israel.
After 4 months of travel this is the first escorted tour we have taken. We chose the Pilgrim tour company because we wanted to do more than sightsee. We wanted to see the bible come to life. We are being lead by “Mickey” (his nickname) a Christian Jew. His family immigrated from Russia after the fall of the iron curtain. His knowledge and perspective on Jewish history and his own experiences are real eye openers.
Without a doubt flying into Tel Aviv is a feeling that’s hard to describe. Looking down on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and sandy terrain brings to mind the years and years of history that have taken place in this hallowed land.
Israel, the cradle of civilization has been and continues to be a coveted prize for three significant religions.
Our first visit was to the ancient city of Caesarea which was built by Herod the Great as a tribute to Rome just before Jesus was born. It became the headquarters of Roman government in the year 6 BC when Israel was run by the Romans. Typical of a Roman city it has a amphitheater, hippodrome, temple, bathhouse complex, an aqueduct, and an amazing manmade harbor.
Next was a stop on the top of Mount Carmel to see the overlook of the Valley of Armageddon. Numerous battles have already been fought in the valley. Revelations describes the final battle being waged here. A statue of Elijah sits in the courtyard leading to the overlook that depicts Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal.
We then crossed the valley to the ruins of Megiddo. The Ruins have been excavated to reveal 20 distinct historical periods from 4000BC to 400BC. The city was destroyed more than 20 times only to be rebuilt. King Solomon built a fortified chariot city here in the 10th century.
We stayed on the shores of Sea
of Galilee in the Ein Gev Kibbutz. Nearby were the cliffs where Jesus drove the demons from a man. It was hard to believe we were looking out upon the water Jesus had walked on. At night the lights of Tiberias across the sea were beautiful.
The following morning we drove through Golan Heights to the bunkers and overlook of the Lebanon and Syrian borders. From our view point we could see the snow tipped Mount Hermon. We then drove down to
Herman Spring to walk through the Ruins of Caesarea-Philippi. This is where Jesus told Peter upon this rock I will build my kingdom. The Excavations of the Palace of Agrippa and the Temple of Pan are also here.
After lunch we saw Ancient Dan where Jeroboam built ritual sites and an altar for the Golden Calf. The highlight of the day was a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. We visited the Yigal Allon Center that holds an ancient Galilee Boat. The boat was found in 1986 by two brothers during a severe drought. It has been dated to be around 2000 years old and the type of boat referred to in the bible.
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