Here are some of the flowers and trees I saw on my trip to Israel.
Friday, Mar 29, 2019 — Free Day — Jeeps — Wadi Kelt, St. George’s Monastery, Jericho — Shalom — You Are My Peace
Today is the last day of this fantastic journey. We set out for Jericho going the path that is called the Wadi Kelt. This is the path that Jesus would usually take from Jericho to Jerusalem (Luke 19). Wadi Kelt is the path based on three reasons. Travelers typically take the route where there is water, where there is kosher food and where it is politically possible.
From the mountains the Wadi Kelt we could see the Scapegoat mountain and the St. George’s Monastery tucked away in on the edge of one of the cliffs. We saw the nomads (even though they don’t move around anymore) as well as we saw many shepherds watching flock.
We arrived in Jericho after an adventurous jeep drive through the mountains. We wanted to be as close as possible to the original path. Once in Jericho, we had lunch at a traditional Palestinian restaurant. We visited the traditional sycamore tree mentioned in the Gospel about Zacchaeus. We then visited the site that is under escalation and saw the various levels of the city. In Jericho, I rode a camel for the first time. Our drive back to the hotel was less adventurous as we took the highway.
Our guide Ruben was terrific. His historical and biblical knowledge make the trip very informative. Our driver Audi skillfully drove us to our various locations.
We join the team from Emanuel Community Church, on this fantastic journey. Pastor Denny Miller and his wife were very gracious to us and his teaching, and informative commentary provided new and enlightening perspectives. The impact is immeasurable for me. My preaching and teaching will never be the same. Lord may I live a life that always pleases you. I desire to live a life that is of completed dedication to your mission.
My friend Trevor Mattis and I travel the path of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. It was truly amazing time we spent together with our friends from ECC.
I am one of the engrafted one, purchased with His blood.
Thu, Mar 28, 2019
Our focus today is the city of Jerusalem — Walk the path of Christ, Upper Room, King David’s Tomb, Church of Gallicantu (meaning cock-crow), Overlook of Judas and Field of Blood (Map on hand), Holy Sepulcher, Temple Mt, and Garden Tomb.
This was a remarkable day. The entire journey reaches the climax. Jesus of Nazareth came to Jerusalem as the sacrificial Lamb. From the House of Caiaphas and Upper Room, we visited the pit where our Savior was held overnight in darkness. We also saw the Valley of Blood where Judas hanged himself as well as the hills of Golgotha. That moment I entered the garden tomb to see the empty tomb and confirmed with my eyes. Jesus is not here; he has risen.
Upper Room & Caiaphas home
The Upper Room is known as the Last supper; it was interesting to be in the same place that Jesus and his disciples had that infamous last supper.
At Caiaphas’ house, Jesus was held overnight in a pit. As I stood in the pit that is believed to be where Jesus was, I could not help but think, thanks, thanks for all you have done for me. To God be all the Glory. We next went to the courtyard where Peter denied Christ.
The Romas used to blow trumpet three times as a means of telling the time. It became known as the rooster crowing. It is believed that that could be what was indicated before the cock crow three times. From the courtyard, we were able to see the original path that Jesus was led on to be crucified.
The Via Dolorosa
We also walk The Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Way of Grief,” “Way of Sorrow. This is the path that is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is believed that this is the way Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. Today it is a market place with shops.
There are three branches of the Christian community that occupies this church, Catholic, Coptic, and Greek Orthodox. Each of the three churches that hold this holy place has a section that has a specific identity. They also provide access to the tomb. An ecumenical order governs the church. Nothing gets done unless all three groups agree.
There are two possible locations identified as the burial place where Jesus’ body was buried. The first one is in the Church of the Holy, and the other is in the Garden Tomb. While both graves are empty, the Garden tomb seemed the most likely
A ladder placed on the wall above the courtyard by someone doing work on the building. They forgot to remove, and it’s sitting here for 300 years because they can’t agree on how to take it down.
The next stop was the Temple Mount where the dome of the rock is located and where the 2nd temple is located. This is believed to be Mount Mariah where the temple once stood. Abraham brought Isaac to be sacrificed at this location, and it is held that God brought Jesus.
In 1967 after the six-day war the security of the site was in the hands of the Israeli and control of the security of the Mosque that now sits on that site is in the hands of the Muslims. Muslims believed that this is where Muhammad was taken into heaven to receive the Koran. This is one of the three most holy sites for Muslims. Even though the Quran does not mention Jerusalem at all the Bible mentions Jerusalem mention 800 times.
This site is the Holy Place for the three major religions. The Jews worship at the foundation wall of the second Temple known as the Wailing Wall or the Western Wall because they are not allowed to go to the location beyond the wall control by the Muslims. The Christians view the entire location as a holy place.
Muslims believe that this is where the Prophet Mohammed went to the throne of God. In the seventh century, when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, The Dome of the Rock (gold-topped Islamic shrine of the Old City), is where the Muslims built the Al-Aqsa Mosque after conquered Jerusalem.
This place is significant. This garden tomb is where we served communion and had service before we entered the tomb. The Garden Tomb is located in the same vicinity as Golgotha, where Christ was Crucified.
Who is this man? He is Jesus the Christ who died, was buried and rose from the grave, he ascended into heaven and will return. This is the Christian message. This is the hope of salvation. This story of Jesus demands our response. It is indeed the Great Exchange; He paid for our sins and in turn gave us eternal life. He is here with us in our hearts because he has risen even though he is not in the grave.
We are the engrafted ones; Gentiles save by grace. Like the gamer does with the olive tree so God has engrafted us into the tree of life.
Romans 11:17-22 (NKJV) 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief, they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He might not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
Today’s Hebrew name os El Shaddai – The All-Sufficient One
Wed, Mar 27, 2019 — We took a break from the sites in Jerusalem and visited the Dead Sea valley, En Gedi and Masada.
It was at this site that Saul stopped for a while as he was chasing David. While King Saul was in a cave, David when in and cut a piece of Saul’s clothing. He later called out to King Saul informing him of what he has done. This act of David to show that Saul was in his control, but refuses to hurt him. There is a connected to Mount Gilboa, located in the Lower Galilee region, south of the Sea of Galilee since it is here that David showed he had forgiven Saul.
The lesson from En Gedi:
If you cannot forgive those, who have done you wrong you are not ready to serve. I love David because of his humanity and desire to please God. No matter how Saul treated him he refused to do or say anything that would hurt Saul. Will you forgive someone even if they are not able to return the favor?
Masada does not have a direct Biblical except it was a fortress that was built by Herod the Great in the year 30 BCE. It is located in the Jordanian valley. It was the last stronghold of the Jewish zealots. It was later conqueror by the Romans. The 960 Jewish zealots that occupied the fortress fought hard but lost the battle. Ten men volunteered to kill the 950 people, and 1 of the ten men volunteered to kill the other 9 and then himself. Only a mother and two children were spared because they refuse to be apart of the plan. They refused to submit to the Romans a be subjected
Never allow yourself to be in a position that causes you to compromise your values and or belief system.
The Dead sea valley is the place where the recent discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls was found.
The name of God for today is El Roi – The God Who Sees
We are beginning to travel the path to Calvary. It was a moving day.
Tue, Mar 26, 2019 — Bethlehem, Church of Nativity and Shepherd’s Fields, Mt. of Olives, Gethsemane
We began the day visiting Mount Hebron, the burial place of the patriarch. Travel the way of the patriarch into Hills of Rachael. We spent time overlooking Shepherd fields. This is the place where the angels visited the shepherds. It was at this same location that is known as the farming land of Ruth and Boaz.
Bethlehem (the house of the bread) it is located between mountains. Bethlehem is meaningful; the message of his birth reached was not limited to those in Jerusalem. The place of the announcement of the birth of Christ and the birthplace of Christ.
The manager was probably in a cave. In Bethlehem, some of the homes are built above caves.
Dead sea scroll Jar
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was found in three clay jars. One is still located in Bethlehem, one in the Vatican and the other in Israel. In Bethlehem, I had the opportunity to visit with the grandson of the man who discovered the Dead Sea Scroll and to see one of the jars.
Mount of Olives
Our next stop was the Mount of Olives and began to walk the way of Christ to Jerusalem. We celebrate this journey on Palm Sunday. Gethsemane (place of the olive press), was an interesting place. The Garden is is still there, and we stopped and prayed over Jerusalem. You could see what Jesus was looking at as he came down Mount Olives. I read for the group the prayer Jesus prayed over the city (Matt 21:6).
The gates of the city of Jerusalem have many names. For example, the Mercury gate, golden gate, western gate are all the same. Jesus enters on Palm Sunday this gate passing through the Kidron valley.
Garden of Gethsemane
What s moving time as we spent some time in the Garden of Gethsemane praying and meditating. It was here that Jesus was arrested. It was here that it is said that Jesus was press between the father’s will and his will. Like olive, the first oil that comes from the press considered the virgin oil. The next pressed oil is for domestic The 3rd press oil is called, the blood of the oil. It was here Jesus surrender his will to the father’s will.
Lord, I surrender my will to your will at Gethsemane.
Monday – 3/25/19
Our Hebrew Jehovah Mekaddishkem – “the LORD your sanctifier” (Exodus 31:13)
Mon, Mar 25, 2019 — David City, Tunnels, Davidson Center, Kotel, Cardo, St. Annes, Bethesda, Israeli Museum, Model of Jerusalem and Dead Sea Scrolls
Today we finally got settled in Jerusalem. The focus of the journey was about reviewing Hezikiah’s wet and dry tunnels in the City of Jerusalem. The wet tunnel ended in the pool of SILOAM. Next, we went to the Wailing Wall and other sites around the city. We concluded the day after spending time at the Pool of Bethesda. At each of these stops, we read from the scriptures relating to that specific location.
No matter what you will face as you pursue a relationship with Christ keep going forward. In the end, remember that Jesus is a healer. He works on his timing.
It took about three years to build the tunnel. The men started digging from both ends.
THE POOL OF SILOAM
The journey so far has been very informative. This is the place were Jesus used his spindle to form a call. He then touched the man’s eyes and sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. I was able to step on the original stones
THE WAILING WALL or WESTERN WALL
We visited the Wailing wall and prayed to God. This place is very interest. I had the privilege to place the prayer requests for some of the members of our church.
THE POOL Of BETHESDA
Jesus healed the disabled man who was at the pool waiting for his turn to be healed. Since he was disabled.
Whatever you are doing or in need of, trust God! Never give up! Pursue hard after God and extend your faith.
The name of God we are focusing on today is Jehovah Raah – Lord my Shepherd.
Today is Day 4 of what has been one of the most moving moments for me so far. It is challenging to explain what I felt today as I spent time at Shiloh. What began as a tour, for me, turned to a more spiritual and reflective time. Combined with the two stories at Bet sheen and Mount Ghiboa made Shiloh’s experience more moving. Then we enter Into Jerusalem.
Our first stop was at Bet Shan, a Roman metropolis and a Hellenistic city. This is an exciting place. It is located about 27 km from the Sea of Galilee. The city was rebuilt in 63 BC by the Romans and known as Scythopolis, Col. 3:11. After King Saul was killed on Mt. Ghiboa, his head was hanged at this site. Jesus could have stopped here on His way to Judea. Time of Christ, the man healed of legion maybe came here to tell the story. He could have gone to Jordan also.
Interesting Fact: There are seven levels of Tel that make up this site. We drove past the Golan Heights, West Bank, and the border with Jordan today.
Our next stopped was Mount Gilboa Passing, Gideon spring on our way. This mountain is mountain range overlooking the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. It is here that King Saul led the fight against the Philistines – 1 Samuel 28:4. King Saul was killed on this hill. Even though King Saul had the military advantage; He was on the mountain, and the Philistine was in the valley. However, Saul was afraid because God was not with him. With the death of his sons, his royal rule was terminated.
Saul had the crown, the ark was with him, he had the positional advantage, but he was afraid. He went to the witch of Endor to seek help. The only time in Scripture that we see a person come back from the dead to give instructions. The witch was a concern because Saul was the same person who had expelled all witches and this man sort her out to ask for directions.
David took his men to Bet Shan and brought back Davids’ body and burn the body to prevent desecration. David then sang a song of mourning after Saul died. He taught his army to sing that song.
Forgiveness: We should not cheer when our enemies die; we mourn. When there is no possibility of an apology from the person that wronged you, will you rejoice or mourn when they are suffering. The power of forgiveness must rule our lives.
Saul had all the elements identifying with the presence of God, but God rejected him. One of the concerns I have is that whatever I am doing for God that I always seek his anointing. When the Spirit of God departs all that is left is just rituals. I can be a great orator without anointing. Without the Spirit of God the emblems or simply only emblems. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that makes the difference.
The leader of our trip, Pastor Denny Miller, after reading from the scriptures about this story lead us in a time prayer and reflection. He challenged us to leave unforgiveness on Mt Gilboa.
My journey here took on a new meaning. The Holy Spirit spoke to me (not in an audible voice) that this is not a tour that I am experiencing. This was a spiritual journey. Having left un-forgiveness on Mt Gilboa I now enter this Holy Place as the old Patriarch would on their way to Jerusalem. As I think about my experience tears are coming to my eyes. Something is going on, and I am listening to the Holy Spirit.
One of the most notable events here involved Eli. His two sons defied the temple and Eli did not do anything. Hannah offers a prayer, yearly, for a child. Her husband went annually to provide sacrifices with at a place that was corrupted. What if he had stopped taking his wives to Shiloh? Would there be a Samuel? The people came three times to sacrifice at Shiloh.
Do not stop pursuing God even when there is barrenness. Everything you do as a Christian has a more far-reaching impact on those around. Who are you preventing from experiencing God because you gave up?
Are you consistent?
Things that you do or don’t do impact others.
God is always seeking to meet with his people, and he desires a relationship with them.
Do not contaminate the holy place.
Shiloh or Mt of Samera is one of the riches areas in Israel. Bethel is also another area of importance associated with Shiloh. Shiloh was the location of the tabernacle in David time. The two tribes of Two tribes Efrain and Benjamin were given these areas for inheritance. This is an area of Jewish settlement. For 369 years Shiloh was where the tabernacle settled. It is believed that those on their way to Jerusalem would stop at Shiloh before continuing to the Holy City.
We left Shiloh and headed to Jerusalem. What a moment, as we were about 15 minutes outside of the Holy City, Pastor Denny lead us into singing some songs about Jerusalem. We sang all the last Song, The Holy City (Jerusalem) to our stop at the gates. We broke bread and paid before we settle in for the night.
Song: The Holy City (Jerusalem)
Day 3, Saturday 3/23/19
Today was another amazing day. As you can tell each day, we are focusing on a Hebrew name for God. Today we are concentrating on the name El Elyon (The Most High God) – Or you can say the God of the heights.
Our journey took us to:
– A shoe factory in a Kibbutz community (A Collective community unique to Israel).
– Driving by the Golan highs
– Tel-Dan the discovery of the old city of Dan
– Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked His disciples “who do you say I am?”
– We had lunch at a Druze community K
Our first stop was at Karazim. This where Jesus rebuked the leaders of the synagogue about not living what they were teaching. At this site, there were two discoveries in the temple. The seat of Moses which is where the Priest would sit.
Interesting Fact: The other was the discovery of an artifact that was used as a decoration. It was the image of the sun god. This presents a significant dilemma. What was the decoration of a pagan god doing in the Synagogue? Maybe it was used for decoration by the original leaders of this community. One Rabbi explained that the way to rectify this is that these signs can be used for decoration. However, they must not be any adoration of these artifacts. What has happened here is that there must not be a mixing of unclean thing for any purposes with the Holy thing. The thing that is a decoration for one generation can become an act of adoration for another.
We drove by the Golan Highs to the city of Dan. The story is seen in 1 Sam 3:20 & 1 Kings 12:26. Dan was given an area of the promised land known today as Gaza. However, his tribe did not inherit that land; instead, they when someplace that did not have giants. He went far away to a more manageable site. Gaza is what was given to Dan because he did not occupy, Gaza is now a thorn in Israel side.
Fast forward to several years later to the division of the kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam built shrines (made two calves of gold – 1 Kings 12) for the people to be worship rather than going to Jerusalem. This was a great sin against God.
Interesting Fact: The discovery of the city of Dan reveal the Abraham Gate from 18 century BC.
Your decision has far-reaching consequences. God is Holy and requires a relationship with human beings that is holy.
Our Last stop was at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16). Jesus took his disciples 31/2 days from Dan to Philippi to ask them the important question, who do you say that I am?
In Caesarea Philippi, It is believed that that life originated from this location where the water came out of the mountain. The people of Caesarea Philippi could not determine the source of the water that came out of the rock. It is that reason why they dedicated the place to the pagan god, Pan means from which everything emanates. They Hold to the idea that this is the place where god was born. It was here that Peter responded with the statement that “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God.” On this fact, Jesus declared that I would build my church and the gates of hell should not prevail against it.
Interesting Fact: Gates are meant to keep things inside. Pastor Denny reminded us that the place that Satan and his demonic force are located is behind the gate. Secondly, around this time locks were made like our modern day padlocks and keys were used to open locks not to close locks.
Today we visited Boarder of Israel with Lebanon and Syria. We could see the states from a safe distance.
Today I saw the mustard seed plant. Jesus taught that if your faith is like a grain of mustard seed you can move mountains. The plant has these pods that hold about 1-3 seeds. These plants grow wild and sometimes cover a vast area of the mountain side. The plant can grow unto 10 feet. How big is your faith?
Day 2 – Friday – 3/22/19
Today we focused on the name of God, Adonai (Lord). As was true with regards to the first day, today was moving time.
Fri, Mar 22, 2019 — Migdala, Ginosaur, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Baptisms, Kursi,
TOWN OF MAGNOLIA
We began with the first stop in Northern Israel at the town of Magnolia, the town of Mary Magdalene. This site was recently discovered. Artifacts discovered lends credit to the fact of this town is the Town of Mary Magdalene.
Interested fact 1: It is always taught that this Mary was a prostitute, but that is not documented in scriptures. This idea immolated from the 5th century. A bishop at that time in one of his sermon asked what if Mary was a prostitute. It was repeated as a fact from that time. This was a fantastic day; I am truly blessed with this moment in time.
Interested fact 2: There was a discussion about the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. It is said that the same water flows between the Dead Sea and the sea of Galilee. The difference is the soil that is at both locations. The dead sea takes in water from the sea of Galilee, but all living things die in the Dead Sea. However, the sea of Galilee takes in water and pass out water with living things. Application: we must always be willing to give as much as we get otherwise we will become like the dead sea, killing everything we receive.
The next stop was at Capernaum. We took a boat from one end on the Galilean sea and sailed to Capernaum. This region where is where Jesus performed nine recorded miracles. What a time of inspiration as we read from the text about Jesus and some of the mighty works he did in this area. I was moved by the fact that I am on the river that Jesus perform miracles and taught so many lessons.
In Capernaum, we visited the location that is viewed to be the place where Peter lived (Matt 8:35
River Jordan was a fantastic experience. I assisted Pastor Denny in baptizing 17 individuals, and then I was baptized. My friend Deacon Mattis helped in my baptism after I baptized him. What an amazing experience to be baptized in the same river as Jesus was over 2000 years ago.
We stopped at a 4th-century church around the place where Jesus cast out the legion of demons from two men who lived in the tomb.
There are 3 cities where Jesus performed most of his miracles, but the residents did not accept him and repented. Jesus warned in Matthew 11:20-23 (NKJV):
20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Those who are witnesses to the power and working God must endeavor to repent and come in full obedience to God.