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Israel Study Tour with The Church at Rocky Peak

March 12-23, 2023

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Day 07 - Galilee - Jerusalem: Nazareth, Megiddo, Mt. Carmel, Caesarea Maritima

Today is March 20, which marks beginning of spring here in Israel! We began our day with an hour and a half trip to Nazareth, which is was the place that Jesus lived after his birth in Bethlehem. 


We were lead to the top of what’s believed to be Mount of Transfiguration, which overlooks the entire Jezreel Valley. In ancient times, if you had control of this mountain, you would be able to control the entire valley, the roads, and even all of Israel, since it was right above the major trade route.


As we were on top the mountain, Joel read from 1 John and spoke about the time Jesus met Nathaniel. Phillip was told by Jesus to bring Nathaniel to meet Him and once Nathaniel heard how the Lord saw him before they even met, that was enough for Nathaniel to follow him and become his disciple. Jesus told him that he would see even much greater things than this, which of course he did!


The message that stuck out to me here is: don’t miss the opportunity to bring someone to come and meet Jesus. You never know how God will work in your life and the great works that can be done through each and everyone of us.


Our second stop was Tel Megiddo, overlooking the biggest valley in Israel, and all the way from Egypt to Jordan. This hill is known commonly through its reference in Revelation 16:16. Many wars took place here throughout history and some believe that this could be the place of the “Armageddon” or final battle between Light vs. Darkness, where ultimately Good will prevail. 


This place was so cool! Archaeologists have found layers of at least 30 different cities built one on top of one and other, like a giant cake! It sat on most important road of the time, the Via Maris and was called a Chariot City (somewhat like a modern day army base).


What stuck out to me here from Joel’s teaching was when Solomon asks God for Wisdom and is bestowed upon him the greatest wisdom, because he knew he could not govern/lead these people on his own. 


If you read 1 Kings 11 - Solomon eventually loses sight of what God had taught him and let his own affluence determine how he lived… Ironically, Solomon is the author of Proverbs and in Proverbs 3: 1-6 “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 


The lesson I received here is to never forget from WHOM the blessing comes and WHY it’s given. If we lose sight of the fact that our gifts are hand selected for each of us from God, we can let our own arrogance and selfishness block the potential blessings God has for us, and the ways he can use us for His Kingdom. This was a reminder that it is always for God’s kingdom and what HE wants to do, and how He can show his good works through each of us. 


Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”


In America, we live in an empire where we have blessings beyond most of the world. In the eyes of the other places on Earth, America is the 1%. Let’s not lose sight of God in our story. #STAYHUMBLE



Our next destination was at the top of Mt. Carmel. The title of this talk was: "Know your Name!"


We learned about the story of Ahab and Jezebel in 1 Kings 18:17-19 where Elijah calls 850 of the false prophets doing works by their “god” Baal to come against his God, the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  He basically said, Whosever God answers with fire, that their God is the true God.  


The way Elijah did this was so powerful… he reminded them THEY are Israel with the 12 stones and that they belong to God the father in Heaven. Elijah calls upon God to change their hearts back to Him, and God responds with fire from the heavens and engulfs the entire altar in fire. 


Joshua 24:14-15: “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.”


My main takeaway here is that God fought against them so that He could actually fight for them… Sometimes life hits us hard, and we can be quick to question God, but what if all of our trials and tribulations are meant for us to learn the lesson being put in our faces… God so badly wants us to repent and come to Him to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. 


Our last stop was Caesarea by the Sea. This city, which was the largest in the world at that time, was built by Herod the great as loyalty to the new Roman emperor. It also was the largest port/harbor at that time. 


Our teaching led us to Acts Chapter 10 when an Angel of the Lord tells the Centurion Cornelius to have Simon Peter brought from Jaffa. The Holy Spirit tells Peter in a vision to go with the three men who are sent to retrieve him. Upon his arrival, Peter proclaims the story of the gospel to Cornelius. Peter proclaimed the Gospel and realized the reason for his vision is to not discredit and believe that any type of person is too unclean/lost to receive God, even a gentile or some who has persecuted others in the past. 


It’s easy for us to be defensive, but keep in mind that we are IN the  world, not of it. God made way for Peter to build that bridge and save even the Gentiles. 


I also found it so cool that this was likely the place that the apostle Paul was kept in dungeon for about 2 years. Paul wrote Galatians, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philemon, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and it’s likely that he wrote them while being held captive here. Keep in mind Paul (before his named was changed) was the one persecuting and killing Christians.


From here that the Gospel spread from Jews to the entire world… It was a powerful day that left me with a few deep questions. How could God be using you in your life to do the His will? How can I ask God daily to reveal His will for me? I believe our true purpose is found in those moments of surrender to God's will over each of our lives.


This place was very special to me because the will of the Father is to spread through the message of the Gospel to the entire world from here! We are now in Jerusalem at our final hotel, and I'm so excited for our last few days here in Israel! 


With Love, 

Hayden Thompson

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