Journey to Jerusalem
We have ended our time in the Galilee region and have begun to journey toward Jerusalem. Today we made some key stops along the way that continues to paint a vivid picture of what the Scriptures say.
We began our day on Tel Meggido. This is also known as Har-Meggido, where we get the word Armegeddon. It was a surreal feeling to look upon nearly 7,000 year old Canaanite ruins, including one of the biggest, in tact Baal alters. This region, which used to be full of people devoted to the one true God, had been become the epicenter of all kinds of unthinkable evil. This is the result of slippage. We were challenged to reclaim, in the name of Christ, the things culture has taken.
From the earliest times (EB) to the earliest historical records of the area (Thutmose III) to the future (Revelation 16), Megiddo assumes a prominent role. This is largely owing to its strategic location astride the Megiddo Pass (Wadi Ara) and inside the busy Jezreel Valley.
We then traveled to Mount Carmel and reflected on the ministry of Elijah who had trust in a big God to do big things. We also thought about Elijah’s discipling of Elisha and the impact that he had in light of Elijah’s investment. We were challenged to think about who we were investing in. Who is following us?
Biblically, Mt. Carmel is referenced most often as a symbol of beauty and fertility. To be given the “splendor of Carmel” was to be blessed indeed (Isa 35:2). Solomon praised his beloved: “your head crowns you like Mount Carmel” (Song 7:5). But for Carmel to wither was a sign of devastating judgment (Nahum 1:4).
After a very long hike down Mount Carmel we stopped for lunch and some time at Caesarea Maritima, otherwise known as Caesarea by the sea. This was the location of one of Herod’s palaces. We traveled through what once were magnificent grounds. We took in an opera and even saw a race on the hippodrome. What Herod had built seemed like it would last forever. However, the picture became clear as we neared the end of the land and stood on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and picked up Herodian palace marble that had wash ashore. What once seemed like a kingdom that would never end is now washing ashore in ruin.
The city and harbor were built under Herod the Great during c. 22–10 BC near the site of a former Phoenician naval station known as Stratonos pyrgos (Στράτωνος πύργος). It later became the provincial capital of Roman Judea, Roman Syria Palaestina and Byzantine Palaestina Prima provinces. The city was populated throughout the 1st to 6th centuries CE and became an important early center of Christianity during the Byzantine period, but was mostly abandoned following the Muslim conquest of 640. It was re-fortified by the Crusaders, and finally slighted by the Mamluks in 1265.
We ended our day with the journey to Jerusalem. On our first night in the city we took in a special treat, the celebration of Jerusalem day. It was a huge party for the Israeli people outside the temple mount. It was definitely an experience none of us will forget.
We will journey deeper into Jerusalem tomorrow. Please pray for us as we journey; that we would have eyes to see, ears to hear, and feet for the path in front of us.
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