Community and the Church
Here we are on day four of our study tour. We are learning so much every day that my mind is filled to overflowing. We started from below sea level this morning and drove up from our kibbutz to the Golan Heights. This region was covered with volcanic ash from nine volcanos. We visited Qatzrin and walked through a private park with reconstructed buildings. 32 of us sat in the living room of a house much like a house where Jesus visited and taught. The passage of Mark 2 opened up to us in a whole new way. Jesus at home doing ministry. Insula….a community of friends tore open the roof of the house and lowered their paralytic friend down to be healed by Jesus. What expense are you willing to cause to bring your friend to forgiveness and healing?
The ancient Jewish farming village of Katzrin was built around a spring, which still flows. Although there were standing ruins on the site, archaeological excavations have increased the number of accessible ancient buildings. An ancient synagogue was discovered in 1967 and excavated between 1971 and 1984. Other parts of the village were excavated beginning in 1983. Some of the buildings have been reconstructed on their ancient foundations and furnished with replicas of household goods and tools
We were challenged to think differently about family and marriage. Family and extended family live close together. They get together every Friday to eat a meal, talk about what is happening in their daily lives, study the Word and apply it to their lives. We will share a Shabat dinner tonight with our guide Ronen. He is pouring information into us and giving us a visual understanding of life in Israel in bible times and in life here today.
Later we went to Dan. After yesterday in the desert we spent times of refreshing near creeks flowing through lush greenery. Water from here flows into the river Jordan. However this land was conquered by the tribe of Dan when they left the war zone they were supposed to conquer and traveled to this northern area. We climbed up to the city gate, pondered the city gate life of early days in the history of Israel and ate the top of the tel Dan. We came up to the pagan altar built by Jeraboam. What? Golden calves created as objects of worship by a grandson of Moses. 1st Kings 12:26. What do we teach the next generation? Are we passing the torch with the right traditions? Are we soaking in the Word and teaching our children to soak in the truth? By the way, look at revelation 7:5-8. Who is missing from the list?
On the northern frontier of the kingdom, Dan was particularly well fortified. This gatehouse was built in the ninth century BCE, probably by Ahab, and is part of a series of gateways discovered.
This afternoon we traveled to Caesaria Philippi to a Pan worship center! What! On a bible study tour? In Matthew 16:13-28 Jesus walked for two days with his men and brought them here. Then He asked them…“Who do you say that I am?” He took them to the gates of hell and told them….I am going to build my church here. This was an area of full on pagan worship. Think about it. He did not look for a place of retreat and comfort. He calls us to minister where He plants us. He calls us to minister in our homes….to our families…to our neighbors…to our co-workers….in the city gates and at the gates of Hell. Shalom.
This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
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