Israel Study Tour with North Pointe Christian School

Jun 6-17, 2016

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The historical context of the Bible

Quotes of the day:
"I prefer my tongue on tacos" - Zac denDulk (we had beef tongue with dinner)

"We're riding capitals today" - Abbey Bradley (she meant camels, we're obviously sleep deprived)

Hi, Kayla here! We are currently staying at the lowest place on earth 1,200 ft. below sea level so in honor or that here some of the highest points of our day! (Pun intended, so please laugh).

Day two we began nice and early at 8am with a hike up to Masada in the 100° heat. Masada is a military stronghold that was conquered and controlled by Herod the Great and was turned into his headquarters for international trade and also contains 3 of Herod's palaces. Masada, being a stronghold, must be difficult to access so we climbed the Snake Trail (the original trail). Picture Cannonsburg times 10 and then there are switch backs and 100 flights of stairs (thank to the fit bit we know this) and then it's 100° in the desert. That's what we climbed, and it was beautiful. We took it slow though and we'll just say that we took it slow to enjoy the views and not that it was because we thought our feet were going to fall off and that our hearts felt like they were going to pound out of our chests. Nope, it was all for the views! While up there we talked more about the historical context that surrounds the Bible because Masada itself is not mentioned in the Bible. We were reminded just how important it is to understand the historical context of the Bible in order to help us understand the Bible itself better.

Masada

The summit of Masada sits 190 feet (59 m) above sea level and about 1,500 feet (470 m) above the level of the Dead Sea. The mountain itself is 1950 feet (610 m) long, 650 feet (200 m) wide, 4,250 feet (1330 m) in circumference, and encompasses 23 acres. The “Snake Path” climbs 900 feet (280 m) in elevation. From the west, the difference in height is 225 feet (70 m).

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We then moved on to a sample Bedouin camp. There we got to ride camels! Happy Hump day to us! We also were given a Bedouin hospitality experience. To the bedouins hospitality was extremely important and we also discussed how important hospitality is in our own lives. We are called by God to show hospitality and to love those that God has placed in our lives, especially those in our communities.

Our final stop was at Tel-Arad. Here we first talked about the Sinai event and the giving of the Ten Commandments. It was compared it to a wedding and how the Israelites were committing to a marriage with God. This meaning that they would honor, love and be faithful to God. This then explains why the first commandment says you shall have no other gods before me, because like a spouse is to the other spouse we must be faithful to God. But the Israelites cheated on God during the "reception", when Moses was on his way down the mountain. This event didn't happen at Tel-Arad but the comparison still struck me (Kayla) very deeply because so often we head the comparison on the church as the bride of Christ and there is a similar image as well in the Old Testament. Back to taking about Tel-Arad. Here they actually have a exact replication of Solomon's temple. However it was destroyed (most likely by King Josiah) because there were to be only one temple and he had all shrines and other temples destroyed.

We finished out our day by caking ourselves in mud and then washing it off in the Dead Sea. Turns out the Dead Sea is warmer than bath water and that you will deeply regret getting the water in your eyes or mouth.

Thank you for all your prayers we really appreciate it! More things to pray for include health, protection from the heat and heat exhaustion, and for us to continue to crave the Lord and for our eyes to be opened to the work that God has already done in the land and also the work He wants to do in our lives.

Dead Sea

Known in the Bible as the “Salt Sea” or the “Sea of the Arabah,” this inland body of water is appropriately named because its high mineral content allows nothing to live in its waters. Other post-biblical names for the Dead Sea include the “Sea of Sodom,” the “Sea of Lot,” the “Sea of Asphalt” and the “Stinking Sea.” In the Crusader period, it was sometimes called the “Devil’s Sea.” All of these names reflect something of the nature of this lake.

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Featured Upcoming Tour

GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020

Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.

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