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A Tour of Biblical Sites in Israel The entire Land of Israel is rich with Biblical and non-Biblical history. As a believer, traveling to Israel is one of the most powerful and refreshing things you could do for your spiritual walk. Being in the Holy Land brings to life sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures in the words that we read on the pages of the Bible. This slide show is merely a taste of what you can learn and experience from Israel. (during the who presentation, push the Spacebar to move forward, Backspace to go back)
Tel Dan “The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. They named it Dan, after their forefather Dan…” Judges 18: 28 -29 The tribe of Dan was allotted territory in the southern part of the kingdom, near Benjamin. However, they could not take that land, so they attacked a peaceful town called Laish, or Leshem, in the northern part of the land claimed it for themselves. Not only did the tribe not accept the land given them by God, but they engaged in pagan worship under the guise of worshipping the LORD.
Tel Dan They took for themselves a Levite, one who was supposed to be a priest for the Lord, and had him become their pagan priest. Excavations in the ancient mound (tel) of Dan have uncovered the area where a copy of the Lord’s altar was built so they could worship near home. This was a blasphemy of the holy altar, which can only be in Jerusalem. The tribe of Dan teaches a lesson that man doesn’t have the right to modify God’s commands to fit his own convenience. Dan means “judge, ” and Israel has always been invaded - judged from the north first, through the tribe of Dan.
Caesarea Philippi “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is? ’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. ’ ‘But what about you? ’ he asked. ‘Who do you say that I am? ’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. ’” Matthew 16: 13 -16
Caesarea Philippi is located at the base of the highest mountain in Israel, Mt. Hermon, and is the place where the headwaters of the Jordan river flow together. It interesting that there are three main tributaries that combine to create the one major life-giving stream of water - just as there are three persons of the One God who brings us life. The ruins in this place are those of pagan Roman temples. There are niches in the walls where idols were placed and a cave into which human sacrifices were thrown to appease the “gods. ” These are niches into which Roman pagan idols were placed to be worshipped.
Capernaum “Kafer Nahum, ” town of Nahum “Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake…” Matthew 4: 13 Jesus lived in Capernaum, probably in the home of his disciples Peter and Andrew, so it acted as a base of his ministry. Jesus performed several signs in the town. In his own house, Jesus healed a paralytic which had been lowered through his roof. (Mark 2) In the synagogue one Sabbath, Jesus drove out an evil spirit. (Mark 1: 25) Ruins of the ancient town of Capernaum.
Capernaum “Kafer Nahum, ” town of Nahum Capernaum was near the towns of Bethsaida and Korazin, which Jesus cursed along with Capernaum for their lack of belief. (Matthew 11: 21 -24) Ruins of the ancient town of Capernaum.
The Mount of Beatitudes “Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them…” Matthew 5: 1 The “Mount of Beatitudes” is the place that is traditionally accepted as the slope where Jesus preached his Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5. One of the reasons this is likely the place is that “large crowds” had come to hear him speak. This slope is naturally formed in the shape of an amphitheater, which would make a human voice audible at hundreds of feet. Mount of Beatitudes and view of sea of Galilee. View from north.
The Sea of Galilee the “Kinneret” “Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. ” Matt. 14: 25 The area on and around the Sea of Galilee is where Jesus lived and did most of his ministry. Near the lake, he called his disciples, he turned water into wine, he healed many, he taught righteousness, and he miraculously fed thousands. He delivered a man from demon possession along the eastern shore, allowing the demons to enter a herd of swine which they immediately drowned in the lake. On the lake itself, he walked on water and he calmed the storm. View of Sea of Galilee from SE.
The Sea of Galilee the “Kinneret” The Hebrew name for the Sea of Galilee is the Kinneret, which gains its name from the Hebrew root Kinnor, meaning “harp”. This is significant if we look at Psalm 49: 3 -4: “My mouth will speak wisdom; And the meditation of my heart will be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will express my riddle on the harp (kinnor). ” This was a veiled prophecy that Jesus fulfilled (Matthew 13: 2 -3): “Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables…” View of Sea of Galilee from SE.
Caesarea Maritime “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion…” Acts 10: 1 Caesarea Maritime is the town to which God sent Peter in order to share the gospel with the Gentiles for the first time, proving that they are accepted into the Israel of God as believers. In Caesarea, Cornelius had seen an angel which told him to summon Peter. In the meantime, Peter had a vision whose purpose was to show that Gentiles are not unclean. When Peter shared the good news of Jesus, God poured out the Holy Spirit on all who were in that place, and they were baptized in water. View of Herod’s hippodrome, looking north. Herod’s palace is slightly visible on left.
Caesarea Maritime “When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. ” Acts 23: 33 Paul was taken to Caesarea Maritime by the Roman Government to appeal the accusations brought against him by some Jewish leaders. In Caesarea, he made his case with the governor Felix, Porcius Festus who was Felix’s successor, and also King Agrippa. Paul was found guiltless, but sailed to Rome from here because he had appealed to Caesar. View of Herod’s hippodrome, looking north. Herod’s palace is slightly visible on left.
The Spring of Harod “Ma’ayan Harod” “Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. ” Judges 7: 1 Now it is near the location of a beautiful swim complex, but this spring is ancient. It is the place where God told Gideon to choose only the Israelites who lapped water with their hands to their mouths to go with him to fight the Midianites. The three hundred that God chose surrounded the Midianites who were camped in the valley below this spring, and threw their enemy into terror by smashing their pots, exposing their torches, shouting, and blowing their trumpets.
Mt. Carmel is the mountain on which Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 to prove which god was truly God. Elijah and the pagan prophets each put a bull on an altar. The one which would be consumed by fire would prove who is God. The false prophets cried out and cut themselves, but received no answer. Elijah had his own sacrifice even doused with water, then prayed for God to reveal himself. “The fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. ” View from Mt. Carmel east into the Jezreel Valley
Mt. Carmel “You have abondoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. ” 1 Kings 18: 20 Mt. Carmel in the distance. View from Megiddo (SE).
The Valley of Armageddon The valley of “Har Megiddon, ” mountain of Megiddo The valley of Armageddon has always been an ideal place for Biblical ground battles. Under Deborah: “Kings came, they fought; the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, but they carried off no silver, no plunder. ” Judges 5: 19 The death of Josiah: “He would not listen to what Neco had said at God’s command, but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. ” 2 Chronicles 36: 22 View from Megiddo looking east.
The Valley of Armageddon The valley of “Har Megiddon, ” mountain of Megiddo It has even been the site of many historical, extra-Biblical ground battles. Here Pharaoh Thutmose III defeated a Canaanite coalition in 1468 BC. Here the British under General Allenby also ended the rule of the Turks in Palestine by defeating them in AD 1917. View from Megiddo looking east.
The Valley of Armageddon The valley of “Har Megiddon, ” mountain of Megiddo “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. ” Rev. 16: 6 The Book of Revelation prophesies that this is the literal valley in which the world’s military powers will gather in their attack on Jerusalem, which will happen immediately before Jesus’ return. The Jezreel valley begins at the Mediterranean coast, at Haifa, and leads all the way down to Jerusalem, making it an ideal staging area. View from Megiddo looking east.
The Dead Sea Located 1200 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth, and is located in the middle of an arid rocky desert. The sea is so filled with salt, sulfur and other minerals that you literally float like a log. However the Bible tells us that the area was not always so barren. The Bible says this region was as lush as the garden of Eden at the time that Abram and Lot had to part ways:
The Dead Sea “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. )” Genesis 13: 10 But the sin of the region caused the LORD to send judgment, which endures today: “Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities - and also the vegetation in the land. ” Genesis 19: 24 -25
The Dead Sea Despite these events, the Bible prophesies that the land which is so dead because of sin will again be alive, just as our souls that were once dead in sin have now been made alive again through Jesus: “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. ” Ezekiel 47: 8 -9
The Springs of En Gedi “After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, ‘David is in the Desert of En Gedi. ’” … “He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. ” 1 Samuel 24: 1, 3 These are the natural springs of En Gedi in the hills on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Many believe this is the immediate area in which David and his men hid from King Saul, and then spared Saul’s life on two occasions when Saul and his men were sleeping.
The Red Sea “Yam Suph, ” The Sea of Reeds “So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. ” “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. ” “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen - the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. ” Exodus 13: 18, 14: 21 -22, 28 A view southward into the gulf of Eilat from the city of Eilat. Visible in the distance to the left is the country of Jordan. Visible from the shore, looking right (not in photo) is Egypt.
The Red Sea “Yam Suph, ” The Sea of Reeds “That day the LORD saved Israel” Exodus 14: 30 Throughout the Bible and history, this event has proven God’s eternal faithfulness in saving his people from bondage. The deliverance from Egypt has been a pattern of God’s spiritual salvation from our slavery to sin - the salvation that came through Jesus. Furthermore it is a pattern of Jesus’ second coming, when God’s people will once again be literally rescued after a time of plagues and tribulation. A view southward into the gulf of Eilat from the city of Eilat. Visible in the distance to the left is the country of Jordan. Visible from the shore, looking right (not in photo) is Egypt.
The Land ”I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. ” Isaiah 5: 6 The Lord told us that the land would become a barren wasteland because of Israel’s disobedience, just as our souls become joyless and barren when we willfully turn our back on God and disobey him. From the time that the Lord’s Temple was destroyed in 70 AD until the Jewish settlers came shortly before Israel became a modern nation in 1948, Israel was forsaken and vastly uninhabited.
The Land The Ottoman Turks, who ruled the land for a time, even taxed those who did live in the land by the number of trees on their property. Of course, many cut down their trees to avoid the tax, and in doing so caused the prophecies about the desolation of the Land to be further fufilled.
The Land “The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. ” Isaiah 51: 3 Closely associated with God’s justice is his mercy. Although we don’t deserve it, and Israel didn’t deserve it, God had mercy and brought forth new life from barrenness, literally, in the Land, and spiritually in our lives, through Jesus.
The People “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there. ’” Zechariah 8: 4 -5 A city square in the Jewish quarter of Old Jerusalem.
The People “However, behold the days are coming” declares the LORD, “when men will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt, ’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them. ’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. ” Jeremiah 16: 14, 15 A city square in the Jewish quarter of Old Jerusalem.
Jerusalem “Yerushalayim” “In Jerusalem will I put my Name. ” 2 Kings 21: 4 God has always had a plan for the city of Jerusalem and has a plan for its future. There is evidence that Jerusalem was the location of the garden of Eden and the creation of man. God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but stopped him in Jerusalem - in the same place where God would sacrifice His own Son for us thousands of years later. The first and second Temple, God’s dwelling place on earth, stood in Jerusalem. A model of the 2 nd Temple and Temple Mount as they appeared during the time of Jesus. (view looking east)
Jerusalem “Yerushalayim” Jesus taught, performed miracles, and eventually was crucified and rose from the dead in Jerusalem. The Prophets tell us that one day Jesus will set his foot once again on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and it will split in two as an escape for the people, and then he will reign as King and Judge from Mt. Moriah - the Temple Mount. Most powerful leaders have always proven their power by conquering large territories and seeking enemies to defeat. God does the opposite. He shows his power by putting His Name on one place on earth and defying ALL his enemies at once to try to move it: A model of the 2 nd Temple and Temple Mount as they appeared during the time of Jesus. (view looking east)
Jerusalem “Yerushalayim” “On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. ” Zechariah 12: 2, 3 “Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem…the LORD will be king over the whole earth. ” Zechariah 14: 3, 4, 9 The Muslim Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount as the appear today. Mount of Olives in background. (view looking east)
Jerusalem “Yerushalayim” God is not through revealing Himself through Israel. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” Psalm 122: 6 And prayerfully consider taking a tour to Israel and encourage your minister to do so as well. You will be blessed in discovering your heritage as part of the Israel of God.