Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Tel Dan

      One of the farthest points you can travel in modern Israel is Dan. As you make your way north from Jerusalem or the Sea of Galilee to Tel Dan, the border with Lebanon is within sight. Conflict along this border has continued for many years. Hezbollah, which was designated a Foreign Terror Organization by the U.S. State Department, is a terrorist organization backed by money and resources from Iran which does not believe in the legitimacy of Israel, and seeks its total destruction. When you visit the area, you will see that Israel’s enemies are very close to her, and it is only through diligence that Israel is able to keep the enemies at bay.
      Dan and the surrounding area has many natural springs. One of three springs that feeds the Jordan is located near the ancient city of Dan (Tel Dan). It is a beautiful area all year round with lush greenery, trees, and rushing water.
      The city of Dan was formerly called Laish or Leshem. The Bible describes the people of Dan brutally defeating the people of Laish and burning the town to the ground and then building their own town on the same spot (Judges 18:7) The city is mentioned approximately twenty-four times in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and it was typically the first city to be lost to invaders from the north because of its location very close to the northern border.

Dan
Dan
Location of the golden calf – place of false worship. The metal frame is meant to give you an idea of how big the altar would have been.
The seat of the chief elder of the town at the gate of the city.
Close up of the gate – dating from approximately 1750 BC. (the time of Abraham)
“Abraham’s Gate” at Tel Dan

You can visit our website or email us for more on upcoming trips to Israel. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

Bethel

Bethel (“house of God”), formerly known as Luz, is a town located in the land of Canaan, the land given to the tribe of Benjamin. Bethel is mentioned seventy-one times in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The only city mentioned more times is Jerusalem. That information alone speaks volumes about the importance of Bethel to the Bible narrative. Bethel is where Jacob saw the ladder ascending and descending from heaven and where God blessed him. We’re told in Judges 4:5, that near Bethel is where Deborah sat and heard the people when she was the Judge of Israel.

 

Pictures of Bethel and from Bethel

Read Full Post »

Coming upon the story of David and Goliath in our study of 1 and 2nd Samuel, I was reminded of my recent visit to Tel Azeka in Israel.

Tel Azeka gives us a vantage point over the valley of Ela (Elah), the area where the story of 1 Samuel 17 took place. Looking west from the Tel, we can see where the three coastal cities of the Philistines would have been, Ashkelon (to the Southwest), Gath (the inland Capital), and Ashdod (to the Northwest).

The Philistines wanted the mountains in the area surrounding Tel Azeka because they wanted oil–olive oil. The pictures give you a glimpse of the fertile land on the low hills in this area.

P1040434

View of Valley of Ela from Tel Azeka

P1040437

View of Valley of Ela from Tel Azeka

P1040435

View from Tel Azeka

From the photos above, you can view the valley of Ela (Elah) where the armies of Israel met the armies of the Philistines. The open area between the hills is where the armies were faced off.

Being on that Tel, it wasn’t hard to imagine the scene that day. It was probably sunny and bright as it was the day we visited. David would have traveled down from Bethlehem to bring supplies and to get news for his father.

The story opens . . .

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle and were assembled at Socoh, which belongs to Judah; and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and they camped in the Valley of Elah, and assembled in battle formation to meet the Philistines. The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.  I Samuel 17:1-3.

The rest is, as they say, history.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

Outside of Jerusalem as you travel east, you will find Wadi Qelt. A wadi is a common feature in Israel. It is a ravine or stream bed that dries up until the raining season when it may become a rushing river or a generous stream depending on the rainfall, the run-off and the ravine itself. Wadi Qelt is such a ravine that originates near Jerusalem and extends to the Jordan River near Jericho.

Some have suggested that David may have been thinking of such a ravine when he wrote Psalm 23:4 (CJB), Even if I pass through death-dark ravines, I will fear no disaster; for you are with me; your rod and staff reassure me.

This very familiar verse reminded me of God’s guidance and correction in my life and how they prove His love for me. Moreover, my love and acceptance of God’s correction speaks of His imprint on me. In that I can see that He has brought me to this point of sanctification. I also know that He will continue to sanctify me until I am made perfect when I see Him face to face.

P1010361

Wadi Qelt

P1010354

Wadi Qelt

P1010355

Wadi Qelt

IMG_4012

Wadi Qelt

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

One of the places that you may visit if you visit Northern Israel is Caesarea Philippi. It is where Jesus asked His disciples the pointed question, “Who do you say that I am? and of course, it is where Peter responded, “You are the Christ!”

But Caesarea Philippi is largely a pagan spot. It is also known as Banias (or Panias).  It was made famous in ancient times for being where the Greek god, Pan, was said to have visited a nearby spring. During those days, Pan worship was prevalent here.

What I enjoy about Caesarea Philippi is the abundance of living water. Water literally comes out of the rocks. The pictures below give you an idea.

IMG_9025P1040716P1040719P1020094P1020095

At the time Jesus and His disciples visited Caesarea Philippi it would have been a city filled with temples to a variety of pagan gods including those of the Greeks and Romans. Only the ruins of some of those temples and others built later remain today.  See the photos below of some images of the ruins and the cave of Pan.

IMG_5633

Temple of Pan

IMG_8997

Caesarea Phillip (1)

IMG_8992

Caesarea Philippi (2)

IMG_9002

Caesarea Philippi (3)

IMG_5670

Caesarea Philippi (4)

IMG_5668

Cave of Pan (Caesarea Philippi)

Read Full Post »

Have you ever been to the Mediterranean Sea? It is beautiful. The seaport of Caesarea is on the coast of the Mediterranean, and it is spectacular although most of what is left of the man-made harbor and the ancient city is only ruins. The varied blue hues of the sea captivate. I have been to Caesarea on several occasions and most recently when I was there, the sea was rough and tempestuous as compared to earlier visits. Below are some of the photos I have taken on my visits:

 

DSC_0045DSC_0042

dsc_0053

Caesarea Maritima

img_3432

Caesarea Maritima

img_3451

Ruins of Herod’s Port at Caesarea

img_3442

Caesarea Maritima

IMG_3454

Caesarea Maritima

The photos below are from my visit in 2020. The sea was very different that day than I had seen it in the past.

IMG_9511P1050046P1050095

In Caesarea, no natural harbor existed. It was Herod the Great, the master builder, who built a huge man-made harbor here. It was a great feat of design and engineering. Unfortunately, Herod’s structure was no match for the forces of nature.

Caesarea has a new visitor’s center which opened last fall which features a short movie about Herod and provides lots of interesting information about Caesarea.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

Tel Dan

In the north of Israel, almost to the border with Lebanon, is some of the most beautiful landscape in Israel. Here one can find the head waters of the Jordan River, and some very important places in the history of the people of God.

You may not know this, but Dan is the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. When each of the tribes was given its portion of the promised land by lot in the Book of Joshua, the portion given to the tribe of Dan was in the south of the country. A portion of the land given to Dan bordered the coast of the Mediterranean, but unfortunately, to the south of the land given to Dan lived the Philistines, arch enemies of Israel. Because they were unable to defeat the Philistines and ended up in constant conflict with them, the Danites decided to relocate to the north to a city previously known as Laish.

Dan was part of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) when the kingdoms were divided after Solomon died. They worshiped idols including a golden calf which was located at Tel Dan.

DSC_0257

Spring at Tel Dan

DSC_0277

Spring at Tel Dan

IMG_5723

Beautiful greenery and water at Tel Dan

IMG_3910

P1020011

2020 with the rains, the water flow was tremendous at Tel Dan

P1040672

Head waters of the Jordan River

P1040671

Snow melt from Mt Hermon (Head waters of the Jordan River)

IMG_5709

Head waters of the Jordan River

The pictures above show you how green it is in the Spring at Tel Dan and the tremendous flow of water. This water will end up flowing in the Jordan River.

Below are photos of the site where the altar was in Dan. It was a pagan altar and not a place sanctioned by God for worship by the Israelites. The northern kingdom was ultimately destroyed by the Assyrians which God clearly stated was because of Israel’s idolatry.

DSC_0269

Altar site at Tel Dan

DSC_0267

Altar Site at Tel Dan

DSC_0266

Altar remains at Tel Dan

Also at the Tel Dan Nature reserve are the remains of the ancient city of Laish and the gate of the city which is sometimes called “Abraham’s Gate” because it is believed that this is the city gate that Abraham would have come through when he was looking for Lot and his family who had been kidnapped. (See Genesis 14) That will be addressed in a future post.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

Read Full Post »

So you know you have a fabulous tour guide when you get into a site that isn’t open to the public yet.

We were able to get a brief look at the Pilgrim’s Passageway in February of this year. The passageway is being excavated under a street in an Arab neighborhood close to the city of David. There is quite a stir and much excitement among archaeology and Bible history buffs about this discovery.

The Pilgrim’s Passageway leads from the pool of Siloam up to the Temple. Pilgrims coming to give their sacrifices would have made their way along this paved road in the 1st century. It would have been a route that Jesus could have taken when coming into the city and making His way to the Temple.

P1050298

Pilgrim’s Passageway Jerusalem

P1050299P1050303P1050306

It is clear in the pictures that the ceiling had to be braced with steel brackets. Above the passageway are homes and a street. In the picture above, you can see the small booths that lined the passageway where vendors sold their goods to pilgrims entering the city.

The project has been slowed recently because a large portion of the passageway was gone and either needs to be restored or other provisions made before the site can be opened to the public. Despite all that is going on in the world today, in Jerusalem and all over Israel, the past is coming to light.

Read Full Post »

Magdala was an ancient city on the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret, several miles north of Tiberias. Today, if you visit the area, you will find the ancient city has been excavated and the ruins of the city reveal volumes of information about Jewish life in the first century in this area.

Magdala is in my top 5 favorite spots for New Testament insight. It is one of the few places in Israel where you can say with almost certainty that Jesus was here. In fact, he may have been here many times during his life and ministry. He may have even read and taught in this very synagogue.

IMG_9246

Magdala 1st Century Synagogue

P1040803

Magdala 1st Century Synagogue

As the pictures above reflect, the synagogue is largely intact. It was never built over, it appears much as it would have in the 1st century when Jesus of Nazareth would have visited and probably taught there on a Sabbath.

One of the the significant artifacts found at the site was a box (see images above) on which there were carvings of the menorah in the Temple. It was likely that there were members of the priestly family in Magdala who would have served in the Temple and been familiar with the menorah.

P1010977

Mosaic on the floor of 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala

P1040821

Plaster on walls with decoration from 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala

P1040820

Plastering of a pillar from the 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala

P1040818

Mosaic from the floor of 1st Century Synagogue in Magdala

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

As with all things Jerusalem, debate exists over the place where the tomb of Jesus would be located. Everything has been rearranged and built over because of the destruction of the city and most holy sites by invading conquerors over the past centuries. One is left to rely on the geography, the customs of the time and the New Testament passages that describe where the trial, the crucifixion and the tomb were located.

In the first century, the historians tell us that the graves in Jewish communities would have been located in caves and rock faces that were not close to centers of commerce or living areas given the prohibitions against touching the dead or things associated with the dead. The graves from the first century look like the graves in the pictures below.

IMG_0010

Circular tomb from 1st Century located in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

IMG_0009

Circular tomb from 1st Century located in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This view is looking directly into the tomb.

 

IMG_0012

Circular tomb from 1st Century located in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This tomb is sealed, so you can’t see into it.

The following are photos of a complex of 1st Century graves in system of caves on the Mount of Olives called the Tombs of the Prophets. This is not a likely location of the grave of Jesus, but it is the type of tomb he was likely to have been buried in at the time. The photos are to help the reader understand what the graves looked like.

 

IMG_8582

Entry to the system of caves of the Tomb of the Prophets in Jerusalem.

IMG_8591

1st Century Tomb in the Tomb of the Prophets on the Mt of Olives, Jerusalem

IMG_8592

1st Century Tomb in the Tomb of the Prophets on the Mt of Olives, Jerusalem

IMG_8594

1st Century Tomb in the Tomb of the Prophets on the Mt of Olives, Jerusalem

IMG_8594

1st Century Tomb in the Tomb of the Prophets on the Mt of Olives, Jerusalem

IMG_8595

These photos help you to see that the graves were hewn into the rock face. They were cylindrical (circular/oval openings). They were on the level of the ground, so that one would have to stoop to look into them or bend down to enter or exit the tomb.

This is consistent with Luke 24:12 (NKJV) which providess, “But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.”

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »