Israel Study Tour with The Kings University

October 27 - November 8, 2016

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Farewell Israel

It has been a wonderful and soul-saturating trip. We're traveling home now, eager to be with those we left! We can't wait to tell you all about what we learned on this trip, but in the meantime, enjoy the blog!

Mount of Olives

Today was the eleventh day of our journey together and the last leg of our tour.  We began our day at the Mount of Olives, where Rod started his teaching by discussing the importance of this historical site.  Prior to the time of Jesus, Old Testament prophets were buried on the Mount of Olives.  They opted for this to become their burial site because many had prophesied concerning the life of Messiah, but died without seeing their spoken words come to fruition. This did not deter their faith because they comprehended biblical passages suggesting the Messiah would return and place his feet on the Mount of Olives.  Basing their faith on the Scriptures, the prophets believed their burial at the Mount of Olives would allow them to be the first to see Messiah at the resurrection. Their devotion to the biblical texts demonstrates an anticipation that dates to Abraham and God's promise of a redeemer.  As believers, we too must maintain our passion for Messiah and never lose hope of his second coming.

As we reflected on the significance of this site it was important for the group to take a moment to reflect on past teachings that had prepared us for the last leg of our journey.  We reviewed the following terms and carefully pondered their meanings:  Shvelah (we are called to be a light on the hill), Desert (we are tested and learning to trust the Lord), Galilee (we are learning to walk the King's path), Jerusalem (we are learning the King's message) and Mount of Olives (is the place where kings are anointed).  Each member of the group was asked to consider their spiritual path to determine if they were willing to lay down their coats (pledge allegiance to Jesus) by laying down their lives for His message. The key passages for this teaching were Zechariah 9:9, 13:7, 14:4, Luke 19:28-29 and Romans 12:1-2.

Mount of Olives

Separated from the Eastern Hill (the Temple Mount and the City of David) by the Kidron Valley, the Mt. of Olives has always been an important feature in Jerusalem’s landscape. From the 3rd millennium B.C. until the present, this 2900-foot hill has served as one of the main burial grounds for the city. The two-mile long ridge has three summits each of which has a tower built on it.

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Per historical evidence over one million people came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, which resulted in 250,000 lambs being slain.  The question was asked, what was causing Jesus so much agony in the garden? Rod provided spiritual insights into the five cups associated with the Passover Seder to answer this question.  Redemption, according to the Scriptures, required a living sacrifice to forfeit their own life, so another life could live.  As one studies the Passover cups in greater depth, they will gain a greater appreciation for the work Messiah accomplished on the cross for all mankind.  The first cup is known within Judaism as the Cup of Blessing.  It served as a reminder to the Jewish people that God brought them out of the land of Egypt.  The second cup is called the Cup of Salvation because God delivered his people from Egyptian bondage. The third cup is the Cup of Redemption, which symbolizes the new birth experience.  This is the cup Jesus shared with his disciples at the Passover meal.

The fourth cup is referred to as the Cup of Marriage, which Jesus will partake of at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  After partaking of the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus led them to the Garden of Gethsemene.  It was at this moment, while in the garden, that Jesus no longer felt the covering of the Father.  Just as Adam and Eve were naked in the garden; Christ too was no longer covered by the glory of the Father.  The absence of the Father’s presence and having to consume the fifth cup, known as the Cup of God’s Wrath, drove Jesus to his knees. But where Adam fell, Jesus would bring victory by bowing his knee to the will of the Father.

This teaching session gave the group a greater appreciation for the spiritual battle Messiah overcame and won for us in the garden.  After the teaching, the pastors came forward and served Communion.  Their act of service was a blessing to the entire group.  As each member considered their communion cup, we, as a family, could not refrain from recalling the importance of the teaching we had recently received a few minutes earlier.  Communion is an act of worship and a sacred part of our Sunday morning services, but what was Jesus truly asking when he invited us to eat his flesh and drink his blood?  Jesus was asking humanity to enter into a covenant relationship with him by accepting his marriage proposal.   To conclude our time together in the garden, we sang several songs thanking God for the blood of Messiah and a renewed covenant.  Key passages for this teaching included the following: Exodus 6:6-7, Malachi 4 and Psalm 96.

Pool of Bethesda

This is the location where Jesus tells the paralytic man to rise and walk.  Near this site stood a Roman barracks.  It was from this military compound that Pilate carried out Roman justice as he passed through Jerusalem.  Not entirely fond of Jerusalem, Pilate typically visited the region when the biblical feasts were about to commence to ensure law and order were maintained throughout the region.  This would have been the location where Jesus' hands were bound as he knelt to be scourged.  The Romans, being masters of intimidation and torture, beat Jesus within inches of his life.  His flesh was torn from is back and he was beaten beyond recognition for all humanity.  What kind of love is this?  This is Godly love put on display for a lost and dying creation.  Prior to departing this site, the group spent a little time singing inside Saint Anne's Cathedral.  We sang together as a Bet AV (Father's House), Great is Thy Faithfulness and Amazing Grace.  As we sang, fellow brothers and sisters from China enter the cathedral, took pictures and applauded after Amazing Grace.  It was a wonderful picture of what the Body of Messiah looks like.  People from all nations coming to worship Messiah at his holy hill.  We also applauded them as they lifted praises to the Lord inside the sanctuary.  It was beautiful to see one section of the body encouraging another portion of the body; as both continued to travel on their respective journeys.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

This is the placed many believe Jesus was crucified and buried.  Crucifixion was a Roman form of torture that involved driving nails into the wrists and sides of the ankles; making it difficult to breathe and support one's body weight.  To breathe more efficiently, victims on the cross would push themselves up, but this resulted in tremendous pain being applied to the wrists and ankles.  Due to the severity of the pain victims would lower themselves back down on the cross.  It was not uncommon for victims to remain alive on a cross for six days.  This is the death Messiah endured for us.  He hung naked on the cross, undoing the works of Adam in the garden.

Where Adam and Eve stood uncovered in the garden, we now stand covered in Messiah.  Walking through the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was a strong reminder of what Messiah has accomplished for all humanity.  He stretched his arms out wide, so all of humanity can come to the Father's table.  How can we neglect so great a sacrifice?


This trip began with fifty-three students, pastors and teachers coming from various parts of the world to participate in a Kathie Lee Gifford orchestrated tour.  Throughout the entire trip, the Holy Spirit moved mightily amongst the group.  Some received spiritual impartations, the awakening of new spiritual gifts, calls to ministry and a fresh anointing to continue the race.  On the other hand, members of the group sacrificed fears, past disappointments, discouragement, hurts, and other spiritual woundings on the mountain of God; equipping ourselves for the call.  I firmly believe this group, representing The King's University, will answer the call of God in our lives, spiritual and cultural communities and wherever the Lord my lead us.  We can no longer reside in the Shvelah, but we must rapidly move toward the coastal plains (places of influence) and become bright lights to a rapidly decaying world.  Prior to boarding the bus for the last time, we had one last meal together as a family.  Numerous people shared their hearts with the group as they expounded upon the impact this trip had upon their lives.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and a great way to conclude such a heartfelt experience.

Closing Thought

At the beginning of our time together, we were asked two questions.  Who are you? And why are you here?  These two questions should cause us to take pause and ask ourselves, are we walking in the footsteps of the Master Rabbi? Are we living our lives to such a degree that they reflect his yoke resting upon us?

Special Thanks

Students from The King's University would like to thank Katie Lee Gifford for her generosity toward the university.  Without her vision this reality would still be a dream for many of us.  Stephanie, you worked tirelessly in the background binding up loose ends, establishing family groups, praying for the trip and keeping us organized.  Thank you for your labor of love.  Rod, Libby, Steve, Egal, Nadav and Rich, thank you for hosting an awesome tour.  We want you to take comfort in knowing that your spiritual deposits into this group of men and women was not in vain.  The lessons you taught, your hunger for God, the stories you shared and the loving support you demonstrated toward each member of the family, at just the precise moments has forever transformed our lives.  Most importantly, we want to acknowledge and thank God for making all this possible, so we can all develop a deeper more intimate walk with him.

Closing Prayer

Father, as I sit on this plane and look around, I see many of my brothers and sisters resting from a wonderful encounter with you.  I know you are faithful to complete the work you began in each of them eleven days ago, but if any should grow weary on the journey, remind them of their time in Israel under your huppah.  Bring to their recollection Masada, Sinai, and all the other obstacles they overcame in the wilderness with you. It was there Father, that you purged, anointed and equipped them for such a time as this. Like the Master Rabbi, you have made them spiritually strong.  Every step they took in Israel strengthened their spiritual legs.  Each rock they grabbed strengthened their spiritual hands in preparation for spiritual warfare.  With great precision, they can now execute justice and mercy as they properly utilize the Sword of the Spirit.  Father, you believe in all of us, but help us to believe that we too can walk as Messiah walked.  As we go to our respective homes, gives us divine strategies to take the world for you.


Terry Jackson

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