Travelujah3

You read the bible in Black and white print, you got to Israel it becomes in 3D.

Even with all the technology and high-speed internet seeing via social media, what we see is not quite the same as being in the Holy Land in it of itself. For example, we can see the grander of the Grand Canyon on maybe perhaps with a panoramic picture, it is quite different from seeing from the standpoint of the south of the great Grand Canyon by itself!

That is true of Israel; If you want to expereicne the sight and sound of Israel and want to dig deeper into scripture, you have to go see it. What is this land like? Why did God choose this nation to bring Jesus into the world?

Knowing the great stories of David and Goliath, knowing that this happened only 100 yards away (Ein Gedi) from where we were at, it really put flesh and bones on those characters. That was honestly my experience.

Masadda is often people’s highlight. “Matsuda” where most likely it was David’s stronghold it was as well. We look at it and it is known obviously by many as Herod’s construction rather than David’s stronghold, but by human nature we think we are smarter and got more literature, technology available, scholarship that we may understand what it is like. However, if you and I lived in that time period, then we don’t need scholarship. Because it was our life and world! David or Saul, Caesarea Philippi, Megiddo, Beth Shean…. etc all these instructive we see, as where people dig in Israel, you always find something! They just found more Dead Sea scroll in the Assyrian community last month, we won’t know the content of it, but everything they find confirms with all of scripture. They have not found any archeological dig that made people question about the stories of scripture or the authenticity of the scripture.

The people are different from our culture for certain. However though at the end of the trip, you will fall in love with the people and the food, and many people in fact say, “It feels right at home being there”

herodium-palacefortress

After our arrival at Tel Aviv, we’ve gone north on the port called Caesarea Philippi that was built by Herod the Great. The Word, “Tel” think about a “layer” when a city was remade, whether misuse, whether, or someone took over, they will push everything over, people come back and rebuild the city again. So for Megiddo, they find 21 different Tel of layers there. Everywhere you dig, you find something new, it is an archeological dream for people to spend time there. This is probably the top 21 of the wonders of the world! It is an incredible port. About the time of Acts 23, we see the Romans invented the Aqueduct, entertainment center, they had chariot races, amphitheater that’s still in use today, invention of cement, they have the hippodrome…. etc It was a place where architectural engineering and technology advancement were on displayed that people marveled and were in absolute awe.

The name “Caesarea” tells us, attribute to Caesar. It was a self-described title! In fact warms itself to the word in German, “Kiser” Julius Caesar was a self-appointed God-man. Caesar ruled and reigned over the largest empire of the world at that time. It was a port without any equal that was guild by Herod the Great, magnificent display of engineering and technology of the day.

The Herodian Theater sits about 20,000 people there, we stand close to the center of the theater. We begin with the story of Acts 8, Philip goes and preaches in Caesarea. Acts 10, Peter is hungry and has a vision, falls into a trance, sky opens, great object of sheet comes down, all sorts of 4 creatures of animals comes down, ‘Peter, slay and kill’ the voice comes and we can understand the story. This happens three times, the object was taken into the sky.

Peter goes to Caesarea and he meets a man named, “Cornelius” and in that exchange with the vision that he had, Cornelius had, Caesarea, the gospel was going to the Gentiles in a very dramatic way.

One of the great wonders is there is a stone that has been uncovered by archeologist that has the inscription of, “Pontius Pilate” inscription on it. The way we think of building materials is a bit different compared to 2nd Temple Judaism period. When we build a house, we build them from scratch and tear them down the building that was there. Perhaps we may reuse the doors only for special reasons, though stone was a stone and the people in the past reuse them. We could use those on and on in any way possible for the same of efficiency and being resourceful! If part of the fortress was destroyed in a war and tumbled down, the stone was reused, and there the people found the face of the stone, “Pontius Pilate” inscribed. As a tetrarchy society, we understand that most likely Pilate may have made residence there and had a home there in Caesarea Philippi. Archeology confirms these reality of the stories as being true.

Therefore, as we walk through the ruins of Caesarea and see the amphitheater, we know for certain the apostles Paul must have been present there during that time. Paul according to the book of Acts, stood before the Felix the governor. In Acts 24, Paul stands before him, Luke gives the great detail of the story of this account. We don’t know exactly where Paul stood, we can picture where he spoke before Antonius Felix said, “‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you” with an unwavering faith with a cheerfully defense with a crystal clear conscience that resulted of Paul being imprisoned for 2 years and there the gospel spread out like wild-fire all across the nations.

The question is for us, what are we doing in order like Paul, to risk all things to even the point of imprisonment we are willing to see the kingdom of God advance throughout our community? What is our role in advancing the gospel of Christ? Let’s not just take these truth and by-pass them. Let’s remember what we are called, to fulfill the Great Commission at whatever cost.