Monday, March 06, 2006

Reflections on Israel

Two months ago today (this was written on Feb 28th) we were arriving in Israel for what would be an unforgettable experience. This was definitely the trip of a lifetime, changing forever the way we read the Bible and understanding what life was like for our fathers in the faith. Some of our favorite memories include:

Bill and Angela in front of the Shrine of the Dome of the Rock (Place where temple would have been standing.)

1. Visiting Jerusalem and seeing the remains of the Temple Mount that Jesus had visited many times. To actually stand upon the main steps that led up to the temple court, knowing that He would have walked up those same stairs on His way to teach, heal and cleanse the temple was amazing.

Angela on the temple steps.

2. Archeological sites like Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer, Aphek, Beth-Shan, Capernaum, Bethsaida, and the list goes on. From these places we learned things about how Solomon built his gates, what New Testament times were like, how cities were fortified and invaded. These sites encouraged our faith in confirming events listed in the Bible. They were also sober reminders of the consequences of idolatry and rebellion toward God.

(Left) Angela with Jen in a "temple" at BeerSheba. (Above) The ruins of Arad in the Negev. (Below) The fortified gates at Gezer.

(Below left) Bill at Qumran cave. (Middle) The Spring at En Gedi - "fountain in the desert". (Right) The Dead Sea. (Bottom) Masada.

3. The Dead Sea and some of the amazing places along its edge. One of those places was Masada. We hiked up there early one morning and watched the sun rise. What an amazing fortified place that is. Up on the top there are the remains of a luxurious palace along with a city boasting cisterns, homes, baths, storehouses, places of worship – all you would need to live there permanently. Another very meaningful spot along the edge of the Dead Sea was Qumran where the scrolls were found. We later visited the Israel museum and saw the scrolls containing God’s words to His people from a couple millennia back.

With our trust in God strengthened and our knowledge of how He worked in times past within the confines of that part of the world greatly increased we have returned to life in the USA. We pray that the lessons we learned of His total control over history in bringing about His will in His time through His chosen One will be remembered and shared with those we influence.