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  • Holy Land Trip: May 3-19, 2024, Registration Form |

    Holy Land Trip Registration Form May 3~May 19, 2 024 Trip How to Register and Secure Your Spot on the Holy Land Experience Trip 1. Fill out and submit the online registration form below. ​ 2. Upon receiving and accepting your form, we will notify you of availability and a cceptance into the tour trip group. 3. Upon acceptance into the group, please pay your $500 non-refundable deposit to confirm your spot. ​ Registration Deposit Link Final Payment Link ​ CONTACT INFO: Pastor Todd Fink Phone: (541) 603-0881 Email: Websites: NEXT STEPS ​ 1. Upon receiving and accepting your form, we will notify you of availability and acceptance into the tour trip group. 2. Upon acceptance into the group, please pay your $500 non-refundable deposit to confirm your spot. ​ Registration Deposit Link Final Payment Link ​ 3. In the meantime, check out our video teachings to the left or see other info about Holy Land Trip orientation, etc. CONTACT INFO: ​ Pastor Todd Fink Phone: (541) 603-0881 Email: Websites: TOUR HOSTS Dr. Todd & Letsy Fink - Tour Hosts More about the Finks

  • Exodus Route from Egypt, Red Sea Crossing Site, Mt. Sinai Location in Arabia |

    The Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, & Mt. Sinai Photo Gallery Places of Interest The Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, & Mt. Sinai Location 1. For many years it was believed that the Israelites crossed the Suez finger of the Red Sea just southeast of what is now Cairo, Egypt. However, there are no deep bodies of water in these areas but just shallow marshes and lakes. For this reason, the biblical account of this astounding miracle has been attempted to be discredited or erased altogether by liberal scholars. 2. Many recent archeologists and scholars now believe the Israelites crossed the Red Sea at the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea and that Mount Sinai is in Midian, which is part of modern-day Saudi Arabia. Historical Background 1. God called Abraham and promised him He would make a great nation out of his offspring. Abraham obeyed and left everything to follow God. 2. Abraham birthed Isaac, who birthed Jacob, who birthed 12 sons. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. 3. Jacob and his 12 sons moved to Egypt according to God’s sovereign plan (about 70–75 total people). 4. The Israelites spent 430 years in Egypt (30 years as free people under Joseph and 400 years as slaves). During this time, they grew into a nation of around 2.5 to 3 million people. 5. God performed a miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt by performing 10 amazing miracles. 6. The last miracle, known as the Passover, happened when God killed the firstborn of all the Egyptians who did not put the blood of a lamb over the doorposts of their homes. Places of Interest 1. Egypt 2. Goshen 3. Suez Finger of the Red Sea 4. Traditional Red Sea Crossing Place 5. Sinai Peninsula 6. Aqaba Finger of Red Sea 7. Nuweiba Beach 8. Saudi Arabia Beach 9. Red Sea Crossing 10. Marah 11. Elim 12. Magna Oasis ​ 13. Wilderness of Sin 14. Caves of Jethro 15. Rephidim 16. Mount Sinai The Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, and Mount Sinai in the Bible 1. How many Israelites left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea? Exodus 12:37: Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. Using the number of 600,000 men only, we can estimate that there were probably 2.5 to 3 million Israelites. 2. How many Egyptian soldiers were chasing them? Exodus 14:6–7: So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him; 7 and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. According to Josephus, a historian writer, there were 50,000 horsemen and 200,000 footmen, all armed. 3. Did the Israelites cross the Red Sea by Egypt? It has been generally believed for many years that the Israelites crossed the Suez finger of the Red Sea just east of Cairo, Egypt. However, the sea is not very deep there so many have discredited the biblical miracle by claiming the Israelites crossed in shallow marshes of water. It should be noted that over the years, no archaeological evidence has supported this Red Sea crossing location. It also would have been virtually impossible for such a large army to drown in the shallow lakes and marshes in this area. 4. Over the past several decades, substantial archeological investigation shows convincing evidence for a different location for the Red Sea crossing. The new location places the crossing at Nuweiba Beach on the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea about 40 miles (64 km.) south of Eilat, Israel. 5. God said he brought the Israelites out of Egypt on the very same day they left. Exodus 12:51: And on that same day the Lord brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. The Red Sea crossing happened after they had left Egypt. The border of Egypt at that time was the Suez finger of the Red Sea. Any place the Israelites would have crossed the sea in this area they would still have been in Egypt and not outside of it. 6. The Suez finger of the Red Sea is about 72 miles (116 km.) south of Goshen (place where the Israelites lived and departed Egypt). However, the land directly east of Goshen is dry and easily crossable. The Israelites had exited Egypt on the same day they left. The route directly east of Goshen would have allowed them to leave Egypt on dry ground. Afterward, they would have been in the wilderness of Sinai, which fits well with the biblical narrative, as we will see in the next point. 7. Scripture strongly indicates that the Israelites traveled a long time through a wilderness before crossing the Red Sea. Exodus 13:18-22: Hence, God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea ; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.” 20 Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night . 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. These verses clearly reveal that the Israelites walked a long way traveling both day and night through a wilderness before crossing the Red Sea. Because the miracle of the Red Sea crossing happened several days after the Exodus, it couldn’t have happened at the Suez finger of the Red Sea because Goshen is just 20 miles (32 km.) from the sea, a distance of just a few hours walk. Moreover, between Goshen and the believed traditional crossing place of the Red Sea is not a wilderness. The Sinai Peninsula is a wilderness that would fit the biblical narrative of the Israelites traveling by day and by night before crossing the sea. Research shows that a person could cross the Sinai Peninsula in 3 days traveling day and night at a normal walking pace of just 3 or so miles an hour. Scripture also says that there were no feeble ones among them and that God carried them supernaturally on eagle’s wings during their exodus. These factors provide more evidence that the Israelites could have easily crossed the Sinai Peninsula and arrived at the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea at Nuweiba Beach. ​ Meaning of Yam Suph Now the reason some believe that the Israelites crossed the Sea close-by to Egypt is because of how the Hebrew words Yam Suph, and specifically, Suph is translated. The translation of the word Yam means sea, or large body of water, and Suph mainly means end, edge, shoreline, red, and a few times as reeds. Therefore, some believe the Israelites crossed just east of Egypt because there are many shallow waters with reeds there. However, the words Yam Suph together are mentioned 24 times in the Old Testament, with 7 of them referring to specific locations which are around the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea and not by Egypt. For example, in Exodus 23:31, the word is used to describe the boundary of Israel going from the Aqaba northern tip of the Red Sea by Eilat to the Sea of the Philistines which would be the Mediterranean Sea. In 1 Kings 9:26, Yam Suph refers again to the northern tip of the Aqaba Finger of the Red Sea and is where Solomon had a fleet of ships stationed at Eloth, which is modern-day Eilat. Therefore, the term Yam Suph does not only mean reeds and refer to the area east of Egypt. The term is mainly used of the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea. Taking this into account, the Aqaba Finger of the Red Sea is referred to as Yam Suph as well in the Bible. 8. There has been found in the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea at Nuweiba Beach amazing evidence of coral growth on objects that look like old chariot wheels, axles, etc. These same objects have also been found on the shore across from Nuweiba Beach on the Saudi Arabian side of the Red Sea. Coral doesn’t grow in sandy areas and must have some object to grow on. The Red Sea is very sandy from Nuweiba Beach to the Saudi Arabian shore, so there’s no reason coral would grow in this area unless there were foreign objects for it to grow on. 9. Nuweiba Beach is very large and could have easily accommodated the 3 million or so Israelites. The beach at Nuweiba is large, flat, and sandy, a perfect place for the 2.5 to 3 million Israelites to camp. 10. The ocean floor of the Red Sea by Nuweiba Beach gradually goes down and then gradually goes up to the shore of Saudi Arabia. Just north or south of this area, there are deep impassible ravines on the ocean floor. The Nuweiba Beach location is the only place on the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea that would have allowed the Israelites to cross. It seems reasonable to suggest that God, in His sovereignty, divinely created this sandy, gradual crossing place for the Israelites to use for this magnanimous miracle. The maximum depth of the ocean floor at this crossing place is about 2,500 ft. deep (762 m.). This fits the biblical narrative that God divided the “mighty waters” of the sea. Exodus 14:29: But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea , and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Exodus 15:10: You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters . Isaiah 51:10: Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep ; who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over? The shallow lakebeds and marshes by Egypt were certainly not waters of the great deep. 11. Solomon referred to the Aqaba finger of the Red Sea, and archaeological discoveries have found two pillars he erected on each side of the Red Sea crossing. 1 Kings 9:26: King Solomon also built a fleet of ships in Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth [modern-day Eilat] on the shore of the Red Sea , in the land of Edom. At Nuweiba Beach, and on the beach of Saudi Arabia across from Nuweiba Beach, are pillars Solomon erected marking the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites. 12. When the Israelites arrived at the location of Nuweiba Beach, they were certainly hemmed in as Scripture says. Exodus 14:1–3: Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea , in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea . 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in .’” The landscape at Nuweiba Beach is unique and mountainous and would fit the biblical narrative. 13. As a result of being hemmed in and threatened by the Egyptian army, the Israelites cried out to Moses in anger and desperation. Exodus 14:13-14: But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” 14. Then the hand of God performed one of the greatest miracles ever recorded in Scripture. Exodus 14:15-31: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. 16 As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. 17 As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.” 19 The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus, the one did not come near the other all night. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. 22 The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. 24 At the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. 25 He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.” 26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea . 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained. 29 But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea , and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses. ​ The entire Egyptian army drowned in the sea, and if the army was around 250,000, this couldn’t have happened in the shallow marshes east of Egypt. So it had to occur in a wide and deep body of water. 15. After crossing the Red Sea, the Bible says the Israelites then traveled to Mount Sinai. Does the location of Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia, which was biblical Midian, fit the biblical narrative? When Moses fled to Egypt, to save his life, Scripture says he went to Midian. Exodus 2:15: When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian , and he sat down by a well. Midian is in Saudi Arabia, not in the Sinai Peninsula. Galatians 4:25: Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. When God appeared to Moses in a burning bush at Mount Sinai, God said that Moses would bring the people out of Egypt and worship at the same Mount Sinai (also known as Mount Horeb). Moses was in Midian when this event occurred, so it seems very convincing that Mount Sinai is in Midian. Exodus 3:1–2: Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian ; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God . 2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. Exodus 3:12: And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain .” 17. Evidence from the places the Israelites camped on their way from the Red Sea crossing to Mount Sinai supports Mount Sinai's location in Midian. Location of Elim Exodus 15:27: Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters. The location of Elim has been identified in Saudi Arabia, about 26 miles (42 km.) south of the Red Sea crossing. ​ Magna Oasis We then find in Numbers 33:10 that the Israelites then journeyed from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. Now we have strong and convincing evidence of where Elim is so taking into consideration the geography of the land, the most obvious place would have been south of Elim a bit at the modern-day location of Magna Oasis by the Red Sea. You can see that this is a large area with plenty of water that would fit the biblical requirements for this place. There is also a well here called by the Saudis as the well of Moses. ​ Wilderness of Sin From the Israelites’ encampment by the Red Sea, which we believe is modern-day Magna Oasis, Numbers 33:11-14 tells us they traveled to the Wilderness of Sin. Now the name Wilderness of Sin does not refer to something sinful but is just a name. It says: And they journeyed from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. It appears they backtracked to Elim and then went to the Wilderness of Sin from there. Exodus 16:1-3 provides the details: Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. 2 But the whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The sons of Israel said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread until we were full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this entire assembly with hunger!” At the encampment at the Wilderness of Sin, several major events would take place. Because the Israelites grumbled against God, He supernaturally gave the Israelites Manna; of which they would eat until the day they entered the Promised Land some 40 plus years later. He provided quail, of which they became sick on, and then He instituted the Sabbath Day. Caves of Jethro There are caves named after Jethro the Midianite (Moses’ father-in-law) that have been found by the route the Israelites took from the Red Sea crossing to Mount Sinai. This shows that Jethro lived in this area and that it was the land of Midian at that time. Split Rock at Rephidim Exodus 17:1: Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim , and there was no water for the people to drink. Exodus 17:6: Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it , that the people may drink.” This rock at Rephidim is believed to have been found. It is a large rock that is split from top to bottom and shows water grooves where massive amounts of water ran down from it. 18. Evidence for the location of Mount Sinai in Midian. ​ 1. Large area to camp at the base of the mountain. Exodus 19:2: When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. ​ 2. Burnt top of the mountain and surrounding mountains. Exodus 19:18: Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. ​ 3. Plateau partway up the mountain where the seventy elders could have worshiped while Moses continued up the mountain. Exodus 24:1: Then He said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. ​ 4. Altar of Moses at the base of the mountain. Exodus 24:4: And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Then he got up early in the morning, and built an altar [b]at the foot of the mountain with twelve memorial stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. ​ 5. Speaking platform partway up the mountain. Exodus 24:3: Then Moses came and reported to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!” ​ 6. Golden Calf Altar. Exodus 32:1: Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we do not know what happened to him.” ​ 7. Streams of water and dry lakebed at the base of the mountain. Exodus 32:19-20: And it came about, as soon as Moses approached the camp, that he saw the calf and the people dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 Then he took the calf which they had made and completely burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water and made the sons of Israel drink it. ​ 8. Wells at the base of the mountain. ​ 9. Massive graveyard close by to the mountain. Exodus 32:27-28: And he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘Every man of you put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. ​ 10. Cave of Elijah at the mountain. 1 Kings 19:8-9: So he arose and ate and drank, and he journeyed in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 Then he came there to a cave and spent the night there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” ​ 11. Artifacts found in the area. Items like a menorah drawing, writings, and footprint drawings all give further evidence that the Israelites were in this area. ​ 12. This area is a designated archaeological site by the Saudi government. Today, sections of the area, along with the mountain, are fenced off by the Saudi Arabian government and designated as archeological sites. However, there are no excavations permitted on them at this time. Other Evidence from ancient historians. Several Jewish documents dating 600 years before Christ locate Mount Sinai in Midian, and Philo and Josephus (Jewish historians) also locate Mount Sinai in Midian of Arabia. Faith Lesson from the Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, and Mount Sinai 1. The miracles of the Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, God’s supernatural leading of the Israelites, and all that happened at Mt. Sinai, are massive miracles that reveal God’s glory and greatness. 2. They teach us deep theological truths that God wants us to believe and embrace. Truths like God’s greatness, ability to help and rescue us out of our sin and problems, how God is able to provide for us, protect us, and lead us are foundational concepts these miracles communicate. 3. God wants us to believe them instead of doubting and trying to explain them away, or believe they happened by natural means, as many liberal scholars attempt to do. 4. God calls unbelief a sin in His Word, the Bible. Hebrews 3:12 says: Take care, brothers and sisters, that there will not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 5. While the miracles of the Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, and the events that happened at Mt. Sinai are massive in size, they are tiny in comparison to God’s greater miracles of creating everything that exists, giving life to everything that exists, and sustaining everything that exists. Acts 17:27 says: He [God] is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist. It is God who gives life to our bodies and spirits and is allows us to live, move, and exist. 6. When I listen to liberal theologians explaining away the miracles of the Exodus, Red Sea crossing, events at Mt. Sinai, and so forth, I can’t help but think that if God was to remove His sustaining power from their lives they would cease to exist in the very moment they are speaking and denying God’s power. 7. God was deeply grieved with the Israelites who doubted His power and ability on many occasions. He can also be deeply grieved with us today when we do the same. 8. Unlike Moses, who tried to fulfill God’s promise in his own strength and wound up killing an Egyptian, we should wait on God’s timing and not force things when they don’t happen as we think they should. We should never have to do evil or manipulate things in fulfilling God’s will for us.

  • Church of Dominus Flevit |

    Dominus Flevit Church Photo Gallery Places of Interest Dominus Flevit Church Location 1. Dominus Flevit (Latin for "the Lord wept") is a Roman Catholic church on the Mount of Olives, opposite the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem in Israel. ​ 2. It's located halfway down the western slope of the Mount of Olives and marks the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem's future fate. 3. The Triumphal Entry begins at the upper part of the Mount of Olives and winds its way down to the bottom of the mountain to the Garden of Gethsemane. Historical Background 1. The present church (finished in 1955) was built upon the foundations of an earlier Byzantine church from the 5th century, which, like most churches, faced east. ​ 2. During the Crusader era (1095-1291 AD), people began commemorating the location. ​ 3. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, the church fell into ruin. ​ 4. Around 1525 AD, the Turks claimed to have built a mosque or madrasah using the remains of the earlier church. ​ 5. For quite some time, the Franciscans could not obtain the ruins of the original Dominus Flevit Church. In 1891, they solved this problem by purchasing a plot of land nearby and building a small chapel on it. 6. In 1913, a private home was built in front of the Franciscan chapel. The home went to the Sisters of Saint Joseph, though they eventually sold it to a Portuguese woman. During the construction of the boundary wall of this private home, the workers found the remains of ancient tombs. The site was then thoroughly excavated from 1953 to 1955. ​ 7. During the sanctuary's construction, archaeologists uncovered artifacts dating back to the Canaanite period, as well as tombs from the Second Temple and Byzantine eras. ​ ​8. Other artifacts found were a tomb from the bronze era and a necropolis (building used to encase tombs) dating back between 136 BC and 300 AD. This particular necropolis spanned two different periods, as suggested by the two very different tomb styles. The Second Temple era tombs are in the Koki style and the Byzantine period tombs had an arcosolium from the 4th century. ​ 9. In 1940, the Benedictine Sisters sold part of the property to the Franciscans. The old boundary wall was moved at this time to make the division. In 1953, the Franciscans began construction of another wall. While digging the foundations, workers unearthed ancient tombs. ​ 10. The modern church, designed by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and constructed between 1953 and 1955, is held in trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Places of Interest 1. Triumphal Entry Path ​ 2. Entrance to Dominus Flevit Church Property ​ 3. Just after entering the church property, to the right are ancient burial caves with different kinds of tombs. This is also called a N ecropolis, which is a building used to encase tombs. The first type of tomb is a slab with an arch. This was a common tomb style during Christ's time. It was used for wealthier people. The second tomb style is an open shaft and was used for middle-class people. Lower-class people were just buried in the ground with little or no markers. During this time period, the bones would be gathered for a second burial after about a year (when the bodies had decomposed) and placed in boxes called "Ossuaries." ​ 4. Outside the Modern Church It was designed by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and constructed between 1953 and 1955. It is held in trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. It is shaped in the form of a tear. Signifying Christ weeping over Jerusalem because of the future destruction He knew would come because the city rejected Him as their Messiah. It has four jars on the upper corners for holding tears, which was common in Jesus's time. A tear bottle is a small glass bottle representing sorrow described in the Bible. Tear bottles were used to capture an individual’s tears during moments of grief as a sign of mourning or repentance. The bottles on this church represent the tears Jesus shed over Jerusalem. The Bible says that one day, God will wipe away all our tears: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). 5. Pillars from the Crusader Period It appears these pillars were part of a Crusader Church from around 1150 AD, built over the ruins of the original Byzantine Church. 6. Mosaic from the Byzantine Church Just to the left of the modern church is a Byzantine mosaic floor dating to the beginning of the fourth or fifth century AD. Ribbons and wave motifs surround the floor. The center of the carpet is divided by squares containing round frames. The circles contain fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fish. The motifs reflect the importance of agriculture in Jerusalem's Byzantine era. Parts of the mosaic can also be seen inside the modern church building, with a limestone slab bearing a large cross in the middle. ​ 7. Inside the Modern Church Apse of the Byzantine Church — After entering the modern church, the original apse (semi-round circle marking the front of a church) can be seen. The original Byzantine church faced east, as did all churches during this era. Some of the mosaic floors have been preserved from this church. A cross from this period can be seen at the center of the floor. Ceiling—The ceiling is covered with gold. This color represents heavenly tears, namely, those of Jesus as He wept for Jerusalem, knowing its coming destruction. Four carved reliefs on the sides of the ceiling show the (1) Triumphal Entry, (2) the destruction of Jerusalem, (3) Mary, the mother of Jesus and other women, and (4) Peter, James, and John, disciples of Jesus. The western window of the Dominus Flevit Church provides a beautiful view of the Temple Mount. A mosaic on the altar of the Dominus Flevit Church illustrates a hen gathering her chickens, according to Luke 13:34: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings , and you would not have it! ​ 8. Crown of Thorns Tree Right in front of the modern church is a tree with huge thorns. It was from a tree like this that the crown of thorns was most likely made and placed on Jesus' head. ​ 9. Location Where the Ashes of the Red Heifer Were Offered Some believe the ashes of the Red Heifer would have been offered in this area. It was right across from the Temple and fits the biblical description. Numbers 19:1-3: Now the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come. 3 And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him. ​ 10. Winepress While the Mount of Olives consisted mainly of olive trees, it also had vineyards on it. Here is an ancient winepress that was used for processing grapes. People would crush the grapes in the large pit (barefoot so they wouldn't crush the seeds and make the wine bitter), and then the juice would flow by gravity down the lower part into wine barrels for making wine. ​ 11. Bethphage (beginning point of the Triumphal Entry) 12. Mount of Olives ​13. Garden of Gethsemane 14. Temple Mount ​ 15. Kidron Valley ​ Triumphal Entry Background ​ 1. The Triumphal Entry was a major event in the life of Jesus wherein He entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before He would be crucified (Friday the Passover) and rise from the dead the following Sunday. 2. Christ designed this event to broadcast to the Nation of Israel that He was their Passover Lamb. 3. It is also called Palm Sunday because palm branches were laid on the road as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. 4. It would mark Christ’s last days of intensive teaching and condemnation of the Jews for rejecting Him and His message. 5. It would begin Christ’s last week on earth. ​ Triumphal Entry in the Bible 1. The Triumphal Entry was prophesied in the Old Testament. Some 450–500 years earlier, the Prophet Zechariah prophesied: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” ( Zech. 9:9). ​ 2. The Triumphal Entry was fulfilled in the New Testament. Matthew 21:7–9: They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” 3. Palm Sunday was also the fulfillment of the Prophet Daniel's "seventy-sevens" prophecy. Daniel 9:25: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. 4. The Triumphal Entry, which occurred the Sunday before the Passover, was also lamb selection day for the Passover. According to Exodus 12, this was the day set aside for each Israelite family to choose the lamb they would kill for their Passover meal. The blood from their lamb was to be put on the doorposts of their homes so the angel of death would not kill their firstborn children. The Passover was celebrated each year to mark their deliverance from Egypt and how God had miraculously saved them. The fact that Christ entered Jerusalem on this very day was no accident. He was proclaiming Himself as the Passover Lamb, not only for the Israelites but for all humanity. 5. Christ entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Luke 19:28–35: And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say this: 'The Lord has need of it.'" 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 And they said, "The Lord has need of it." 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. The meaning of a donkey. A donkey was a symbol of peace; a horse was a symbol of war. Christ came to make peace with mankind at His first coming by dying for our sins. However, at His second coming He will come riding a horse to wage war with mankind and judge them for their sinful rejection of Him. 6. The crowd took branches of palm trees and cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” John 12:12–13: So, they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" It was a cry for deliverance from Roman occupation. The last time the Israelites had their freedom, during the Maccabean rule from 167–63 BC, their money had the symbol of a palm branch as a sign of freedom. It was like the national flag of a country. It was the Jew’s way of saying that they wanted Christ to be their King and deliver them from the Romans.The meaning of the palm branches. ​ 7. At the place marked by the church, Dominus Flevit, Christ paused and wept over Jerusalem. Luke 19:41–44: And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation." There are only two times in the Bible where it is noted that Christ wept. The first time was at the death of Lazarus, and the second during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Both places are located on the Mount of Olives. In this account of Christ weeping, He wept for those who aren’t saved and the judgment that awaits them. Within 40 years, in AD 70, Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled. Roman legions besieged Jerusalem and, after six months of fighting, burnt the temple and leveled the city. 8. The first time Christ wept took place at the death of Lazarus just a week or so earlier on the backside of the Mount of Olives. J ohn 11:33–36: When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" In this account, Christ weeps for those who suffer. ​ Faith Lesson 1. The Triumphal Entry was a prophesied event from the Old Testament and reveals the validity of Scripture and God’s sovereignty. 2. Christ wept over Jerusalem because of their rejection of Him and the judgment that would await them as a result. Does Christ weep for you because you don’t know Him and will be separated from Him in hell for all eternity? 3. Christ wept with those at the death of Lazarus. Does Christ weep with you as He understands your pain and suffering?

  • Judean Wilderness: John the Baptist, Testing of Jesus, Qumran, Jericho |

    Judean Wilderness Photo Gallery Places of Interest Judean Wilderness Location 1. The Judean Wilderness runs from north of Jericho to the southern end of the Dead Sea. 2. It lies on the western side of the lower Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area. 3. It’s about 60 miles (95 km.) long and about 13 miles (21 km.) wide. 4. It receives less than 2 inches (50 mm.) of rain per year. 5. Average high temperatures in the winter run in the 70s (21 C.) and highs in the summer run over 100 (40 C.). 6. Water is scarce and hard to find, and very little vegetation grows in the wilderness due to its lack of water and poor soil composition. Historical Background 1. Even though the Judean Desert is dry and barren, it was settled long before recorded history began. Jericho, which dates to 5000 BC, is the oldest city in the Judean Desert and the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. 2. En Gedi is another notable place that dates to about the same time as Jericho. It’s a large oasis that had cities built around it for over 5,000 years. 3. Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other three cities around the Dead Sea date back to ancient times as well. 4. It appears God changed the climate of the Judean Wilderness after He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities. Scripture says that this area used to be like a watered garden of the Lord. Genesis 13:10: And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord , like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah .) 5. God will cause the Judean Wilderness to flourish during the Millennial Reign of Christ on this earth. Ezekiel 47:6–10: Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. 9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From En Gedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Places of Interest 1. Judean Wilderness 2. Jordan River 3. Jericho 4. Qumran 5. Dead Sea 6. En Gedi 7. Masada Judean Wilderness in the Bible En Gedi and King David 1. En Gedi was one of David’s main hideouts when Saul was pursuing his life. 1 Samuel 23:28–29: So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore, that place was called the Rock of Escape. 29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi . Qumran and the Essenes 1. The Essenes lived in the Judean Wilderness from about 200 BC to around 68 AD. They were a spiritually devoted group who left Jerusalem due to their belief that the priesthood had become corrupt. They devoted themselves to the study and strict obedience of Scripture. 2. They also devoted themselves to copying and translating the Bible. When they saw the nation of Israel falling to the Romans in 68 AD, they hid their translations in caves by the Dead Sea. 3. These translated manuscripts are called the Dead Sea Scrolls and were discovered in eleven caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between the years 1947 and 1956. John the Baptist 1. He was the prophesied forerunner of Christ, whose purpose was to prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3). 2. His main message was a message of repentance. Matthew 3:1–12: In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea , 2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'" 4 Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist [similar to Elijah], and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, therefore, that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. 3. He had the privilege of baptizing Jesus. Matthew 3:13–17: Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him . 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, 17 and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” 4. He was beheaded for taking a stand against sin. Herod Antipas became the ruler (‘tetrarch’) of Galilee and Perea from 4 BC to 39 AD. He ruled from his capital at Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. He divorced his first wife in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Herod Philip. He imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist for criticizing his marriage (Matt. 14:1–12). Testing of Jesus 1. After Jesus was baptized, He was immediately led into the wilderness to be tested. Matthew 4:1-11: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted [tested] by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Faith Lesson from the Judean Wilderness 1. John the Baptist was a strong and serious witness for Jesus. John’s life is an example to us of the seriousness with which we are to approach the Christian life and our call to ministry. 2. John shows us how to stand firm in our faith no matter what the circumstances. Paul reminds us that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). 3. Christ was tested and overcame each test of Satan with Scripture. 4. God tested many of His servants before He called them to ministry, i.e., Moses, David, and the Prophets. 5. We are often tested by God as well. 6. Scripture says that leaders are to be tested before being placed into ministry (1 Tim. 3:10). 7. Has God tested me in various ways in my lifetime? 8. How have I responded to the tests He sends my way? 9. Do I know God’s Word so I can overcome the temptations of Satan? ​

  • Petra, Jordan Tour: Home of Nabataeans, Biblical Sela, Edomites, The Treasury, Indiana Jones Filmed at Petra |

    Petra, Jordan: Biblical Sela Petra, Jordan: Biblical Sela Tour & Overview The Ancient City of Petra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Jordan and even all the Middle East! It's considered one of the "Seven Wonders of the World" and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With breathtaking buildings carved into deep red rock cliffs, it's a mystic place sought out by many. It also has many biblical events that have happened here and prophesied events that may very well take place here in the future. ​ In this video, we'll look at the location of Petra, take a trip through time as we behold its history, see its outstanding sites like the famous Treasury carved tomb where Indiana Jones was filmed, other monumental tomb carvings, the amazing Monastery that sits high upon a mountain, the remains of the ancient city, a huge theatre, walk the deep canyon into the city that has breathtaking high walls on each side and more. You will be amazed at this site as we see it unfold. This will be a unique video looking at every aspect of this ancient place that has captured the imagination of millions. So, let's explore this site and behold its wonders. ​ Location 1. Petra is located about fifty miles south of the Dead Sea and 170 miles southwest of modern Amman, Jordan. Located in the southwest of Jordan, near the town of Wadi Musa, the landscape surro unding Petra is stunning, with re d, rocky mountains at the east of the Arabah Valley. ​ 2. Ancient Petra’s main access is via a narrow crevice called the Siq, which winds for about a mile through mountainous terrain. The Siq provided an excellent natural defense for Petra’s inhabitants. Many moviegoers are familiar with the Siq and the Treasury Tomb of Petra, which were featured in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. ​ 3. To support the ancient city’s large population, its inhabitants maintained an extensive water system, including dams, cisterns, rock-carved water channels, and ceramic pipes. Historical Background 1. The name "Petra," which means "rock" in Greek, replaced the biblical name "Sela," which is Hebrew for "rock." 2. The first inhabitants of Petra were the descendants of Esau, called the Edomites. Esau moved to this area from the Negev region around 1900 BC, according to Genesis 36. Remains from early periods confirm that the Edomites occupied the area as well. ​ The Edomites raided traveling caravans and then hid in Petra for protection. They became arrogant and abusive. For this reason, God judged them. Obadiah 3-4: The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, the one who lives in the clefts of the rock , on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, "Who will bring me down to earth?" 4 Though you make your home high like the eagle , though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord. ​ 3. Around 400 BC, the Nabataeans, the descendants of Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, Abraham's firstborn son by Sarah's handmaid, Hagar, occupied Petra and made it the capital of their kingdom. ​ The vast majority of what can be seen today was carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans. They became extremely wealthy and turned the city into an important location on a trade route that linked China, India, and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece, and Rome. Petra became so influential that it became the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom that stretched from Damascus to Petra and beyond. ​ 4. The Nabateans , living and trading in Petra, soon accumulated significant wealth, and an envious Greek Empire attacked the city in 312 BC by Seleucid forces, who failed to seize the city. The Nabateans successfully fought back the Greek invaders by taking advantage of the city's mountainous terrain. The mountains effectively served as a natural wall, buttressing Petra. Under Nabataean rule, Petra prospered as a spice trade center that involved China, Egypt, Greece, and India. The city’s population swelled to around 30,000. ​ 5. Because the Nabataean Kingdom was so prosperous, the Roman Empire set its sites on it. The Romans defeated the Nabataeans in 106 AD , and Petra became part of the Roman province of Arabia. The Romans enlarged and glorified the city even more by building a Cardo, a huge theater that accommodated around 6,000 spectators, and other buildings and improvements. It appears that in around 200 AD, a flash flood did catastrophic damage to the city, dealing it a major blow. 6. After the Roman Empire was divided in 330 AD, Petra was ruled by the Byzantine (eastern half of the Roman Empire) until Muslim occupation in the 7th century AD. In 363 AD, an earthquake destroyed many of its buildings, dealing Petra another blow. And again, in 551 AD, another earthquake struck, causing a significant population reduction. Christian churches and a large monastery were built here during the Byzantine period. 7. The Islamic invasion occurred in the 7th century, bringing Muslim reign to Petra. 8. Around 1100 AD, the Crusaders conquered the Muslims and built a fort and outpost at Petra. The Crusaders would occupy Petra until the latter part of the 12th century. 9 . Due to changes in trade routes, earthquakes, and more, b y the 14th century, Petra was completely lost to the West, and so it remained for around 400 years. Only a few nomads and locals inhabited the area. 10. Then, in 1812, a Swiss traveler, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, persuaded his guide to take him to the site of the rumored lost city. Secretly making notes and sketches, he wrote: “It seems very probable that the ruins at Wadi Musa are those of the ancient Petra.” ​ 11. Excavati ons in 1993 revealed several more temples and monuments that provide insight into the ancient city's political, social, and religious traditions. In 1985, Pe tra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sites of Interest There is so much to see at this site as it's so rich in history and places. We'll look at the 18 top sites that are the most visited and important. ​ 1. Moses Spring Nearby to the town of Wadi Musa, which means Valley of Moses in Arabic, is Moses' Spring. According to tradition, this is the rock Moses struck in anger when the Israelites wanted water (Numbers 20:1-13). This act prohibited Moses from entering the Promised Land. ​ 2. Pe tra Visitor Center It is located at the entrance to the park and has a museum where you can see the history and artifacts of ancient Petra. ​ 3. Djinn Blocks Not far from the Petra Visitor Center, there are three enormous, squat monuments known as Djinn Blocks or God Blocks. Many visitors miss the blocks in their hurry to reach the Siq, but they are worth a pause to speculate about their purpose. Some suggest they represent the start of tombs or were associated with funerary dedications or the worship of water and fertility. ​ 4. Obelisk Tomb & Bab As Siq Triclinium Nearby to the Djinn Blocks is a tomb with four pyramidal obelisks, built as funerary symbols by the Nabataeans in the 1st century BC. The four obelisks, together with the eroded human figure in the center, probably represent the five people buried in the tomb. ​ 5. Al-Siq (Siq) Th is is a long road (1 mile, 1.2 km.) with breathtaking high walls on each side that leads to the ancient city. It served as protection to the city in ancient times. Its narrow, vertical walls are undeniably one of the highlights of Petra. Along this road is a water channel once used for transporting water into the ancient city. The walk through this magical corridor, as it snakes its way towards the hidden city, is one full of anticipation for the wonders ahead – a point not wasted on the Nabataeans, who made the passage into a sacred way, punctuated with sites of spiritual significance. ​ ​6. The Treasury (Khazn e h) Among the first sites viewed from the Siq is the Khaznah (“Treasury”), which is actually a large tomb. Known locally as Al Khazneh, this tomb is where most visitors fall in love with Petra. The Hellenistic facade is an astonishing piece of craftsmanship. Although carved out of iron-laden sandstone to serve as a tomb for the Nabataean King Aretas III (100 BC–200 AD), the Treasury derives its name from the story that an Egyptian pharaoh hid his treasure here (in the facade urn) while pursuing the Israelites. ​ 7. Street of Facades Just beyond the Treasury Tomb and on the way to the main area of the ancient city of Petra lies many large facades. These line the street in a majestic manner, giving prestige to the city. Some of these buildings have large carved-out rooms in them. ​ 8. High Place of Sacrifice It's a hike from the valley floor up to the high place, but is well worth it. The summit has a table for sacrificial ceremonies and is reached up a few hundred steps, working through the cliffs and ravines of the hill. This place has spectacular views of the ancient city below and gives you a great view of everything below. It's the most accessible of Petra’s High Places. This well-preserved site was built atop Jebel Madbah with drains to channel the blood of sacrificial animals. The area was mainly used to sacrifice animals to the Nabatean God Dushara. It provides a sober and sad reality that false worship took place here. Many were misguided in believing that the worship of false gods helped them. ​ 9 . Theatre Originally built by the Nabataeans more than 2000 years ago, the Theatre was chiseled out of rock, slicing through many caves and tombs in the process. The Romans enlarged it in around 106 AD to hold about 8500 (around 30% of the population of Petra) soon after they arrived. Badly damaged by an earthquake in 363 AD, the Theatre was partially dismantled to build other structures, but it remains a Petra highlight to this day. ​ 10. Royal Tombs Downhill from the Theatre, the wadi widens to create a larger thoroughfare. To the right, the Royals Tombs loom over the valley. Within its west-facing cliffs are carved some of the most impressive burial places in Petra, known collectively as the ‘Royal Tombs.’ They look particularly stunning, bathed in the golden light of sunset. Among these tombs is the famous Urn Tomb, known as such by a large urn above the tomb. Also in this area is the Palace Tomb. It's distinctive among the Royal Tombs for its rock-hewn facade, the largest in Petra. 11. Nymphaeum At the start of the Colonnaded Street, or Cardo, is the Nymphaeum, a public fountain built in the 2nd century AD and fed by water channeled from the Siq. Little can be seen today, although it’s recognizable by the huge 450 -year-old pistachio tree, giving welcome shade in summer. 12. Byzantine Church The Byzantine Church at Petra, also known as The Petra Church, is a prime example of monumental architecture in the Byzantine era of Petra. It sits on elevated ground in the city center, north of Cardo Street. It's one of three Byzantine churches on the hillside, the other two being the Ridge Church, or Red Church, and the Blue Chapel Church, from the 5th - 6th century. The Byzantine Church is notable for its lavish and well-preserved mosaic decoration. Found within its ruins were 140 papyri, which have provided scholars with valuable information about life in Byzantine Petra and its rural surroundings. An awning covers the remains of the church. Inside are some exquisite Byzantine floor mosaics, some of the best in the region. The mosaics originally continued up the walls. The Nabataeans originally built the structure, which was redesigned and expanded by the Byzantines in around 530 AD. ​ 13. Temple of the Winged Lions The Temple of the Winged Lions is a large Nabatean temple complex that dates to the reign of King Aretas IV in around 9 BC–40 AD. The temple is located in Petra's so-called Sacred Quarter, where other temples are located as well. The temple was likely dedicated to the supreme goddess figure of the Nabateans, but the exact identity of this goddess is uncertain. The temple was ultimately destroyed in the massive earthquake of 363 AD. ​ 14. Colonnaded Street (Roman Cardo) Downhill from the Byzantine Church, the Colonnaded Street marks the center of ancient Petra. The street was built around 106 AD by the Romans. Columns of marble-clad sandstone originally lined the wide road and covered porticoes on each side, giving access to shops. You can still see remains of the original stones of the road. ​ At the end of the Cardo is a massive gate built by Roman Emperor Hadrian in around 135 AD. It's called the "Tem enos-Tor Gate." It was one of the main entrances to Ancient Petra at this time. 15 . Great Temple The "Great Temple" occupied a prime spot in ancient Petra: from its ruins, you can see the Siq to the southeast, the Qasr al-Bint to the west, and the Lower Market/Petra Pool Complex to the east. It appears to have been a major Nabataean t emple of the 1st century BC. It was badly damaged by an earthquake not long after being built but remained in use until the late Byzantine period. It also appears that it might have been used as an administrative building at different points in its history. It's also somewhat unclear as to what deity it was dedicated. It is certainly one of Petra's most distinguished buildings, located at a key place in the city. As you can see, it was located directly to the right just after entering Petra through the western main gate. This means it held prominent value to the city. ​ 16 . Qasr Al Bint Just after leaving the Cardo through the Tem enos-Tor Gate, it's a short walk down the road to Qasr Al Bint. This road would have been the main access to Petra during most of its existence. Qsar Al Bint is one of the few free-standing structures in Petra, Qasr Al Bint was built in around 30 BC by the Nabataeans. It was later adapted to the cult of Roman emperors and destroyed around the 3rd century AD. Despite the name given to it by the local Bedouin – Castle of the Pharaoh’s Daughter – the temple was originally built as a dedication to Nabataean gods and was one of the most important temples in Petra. 17 . The Monastery (Ad-Deir) The Monastery is one of Petra's remarkable rock-hewn buildings, standing at 160 feet tall and 148 feet wide (50 meters tall and 45 meters wide), making it the tallest facade in Petra. Its original purpose is uncertain, but it is believed to have been a temple dedicated to a Nabatean king, Obodas I, although it may have also served other functions. It was likely built in the middle of the first century AD. To visit 'The Monastery,' visitors must take an 800-step path from the Basin and can enjoy views of the Wadi Araba valley. It's quite the hike, but well worth seeing this amazing monument. ​ It's certainly one of Petra’s best-known rock-cut monuments. It has an unfinished tomb facade that, during Byzantine times, was used as a church. Hidden high in the hills, the Monastery is one of the legendary monuments of Petra. It's similar in design to the Treasury but bigger. Its name comes from the crosses carved on the inside walls, suggesting its use as a church in Byzantine times. ​ 18. Mount Hor This site is about 3 miles or 5 km. from ancient Petra and is reached by vehicle and climbing. Crowning th e top of Jebel Haroun, this tomb encased in a 14th-century, whitewashed shrine is thought to be the last resting place of Aaron, Moses' brother, according to Jewish, Christian, and local Muslim tradition. Christians have adopted this site as the authentic place since the Byzantine period and built a monastery here serving as a pilgrimage center. The local Muslim tradition places Aaron's tomb at the same site. The history of the current building dates back to the Mamluk era during the beginning of the 14th century AD. The mausoleum (burial place) consists of a room and a small courtyard. It has a white dome covering the entirety of the main room. Above the shrine's door is the date of its last renewal. The shrine of the Prophet Aaron is located at the highest point in Petra at an altitude of 3,281 feet or 1,350 meters. The locals record the stories of its construction. It is visible from afar, catching the first and last of the day's light above the Petra hilltops. ​ Petra in the Bible 1. The city of Petra is called by its Hebrew name, Sela, in the Bible. Both Petra and Sela mean “rock,” an appropriate name since much of the city is carved into sandstone cliffs. Isaiah 16:1: Send the tribute lamb to the ruler of the land, f rom Sela by way of the wilderness to the mountain of the daughter of Zion. 2 Kings 14:7: He killed ten thousand of the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela by war, and named it Joktheel, as it is to this day. 2. Petra was in the land of the Edomites, who were descendants of Esau. Israel and Edom constantly had conflicts, starting with Edom’s refusal to allow Moses and the Israelites to pass through their land on their way to Canaan. Numbers 20:18-21: Edom , however, said to him, “You shall not pass through us, or I will come out with the sword against you.” 19 Again, the sons of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the road, and if I and my livestock do drink any of your water, then I will pay its price. Let me only pass through on my feet, nothing more.” 20 But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against him with a heavy force and a strong hand. 21 So Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; then Israel turned away from him. ​ 3. According to tradition, Moses and the Israelites passed through the Petra area in Edom. Local tradition says that the spring at Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), just outside Petra, is where Moses struck the rock and brought forth water (Numbers 20:10-11). This could be true if Petra was outside the border of Edom at this time and not inside of Edom. The Bible is clear in Numbers that the King of Edom refused the Israelites entry into his country as the Israelites journeyed to the Promised Land. ​ 4. Also, according to tradition, Jebel Haroun, located at Petra, is Mt. Hor, where Moses’ brother Aaron was buried. Numbers 20:23-24: Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people. 5. King Saul and King David both fought the Edomites. 1 Samuel 14:47: Now when Saul had taken control of the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, the sons of Ammon, Edom , the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines; and wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment. 2 Samuel 8:13-14: So David made a name for himself when he returned from killing eighteen thousand Arameans in the Valley of Salt. 14 He also put garrisons in Edom . In all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the Lord helped David wherever he went. 6. During the reign of King Jehoshaphat, Edom invaded Judah but failed, and Israel was victorious in battle (2 Chronicles 20). 7. Later, King Amaziah fought against Edom and took control of Petra, renaming it “Joktheel.” 2 Kings 14:7: He killed ten thousand of the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela by war, and named it Joktheel , as it is to this day. 8. When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC, the Edomites gave aid and comfort to the enemy (Psalm 137:7). For this, they were strongly condemned by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Obadiah (Isaiah 34:5-8; Jeremiah 49:16-18). ​ 9 . The Edomites raided traveling caravans and then hid in Petra for protection. They became arrogant and abusive. For this reason, God judged them. Obadiah 3-4: The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, the one who lives in the clefts of the rock , on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, "Who will bring me down to earth?" 4 Though you make your home high like the eagle , though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord. 10. Petra seemed secure in its unpenetrable fortress of rock for centuries, but today, its ruins lie uninhabited, fulfilling Scripture. Jeremiah 49:18: As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, along with their neighboring towns, says the LORD, so no one will live there; no people will dwell in it . 11. Evidence of the Nabateans in the Gospels. Nabatean King Aretas IV’s daughter married Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great (Herod’s mother was Nabatean). Aretas had a good relationship with Antipas until he divorced Aretas’ daughter to marry his brother’s wife, Herodias. Antipas’ marital decision caused John the Baptist to condemn him, to which Herodias got her revenge when she persuaded her daughter to ask for John’s head as a birthday present (Matthew 14:6-12; Mark 6:21-29). ​ 12. The Apostle Paul and the Nabateans We later see evidence of the Nabateans in both the books of Acts and 2 Corinthians. ​ When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, the city was under its second Nabatean control. King Aretas I gained control after Antiochus Epiphanes was assassinated in 164 B.C. His grandson, Aretas III, regained control of the city after Antiochus XII of Cele-Syria was defeated in the battle of Cana (Josephus, Antiquities, 13.15.1-2). ​ After Paul converted to Christianity in Damascus, the Bible says he immediately went out to preach the Gospel. Those who heard him were astounded that the same guy they had heard was killing Christians was now preaching that Jesus is the Christ. Paul’s enthusiasm greatly upset the Jews in Damascus, and they set out to kill him, causing Paul to go into hiding. ​ Acts 9:23-25: Now, after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. Paul recalls the incident in 2 Corinthians 11:32: In Damascus, the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of Damascus with a garrison, desiring to arrest me. But I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped from his hands. Acts 9 says it was the Jews who were after Paul, but Paul says it was Aretas who wanted him. The indication is that the Jews had stirred up the Nabatean authorities against him. They continued to do so several more times as they made repeated attempts on Paul’s life (Acts 13:50). ​ 13. In his letter to the Galatians, while describing his conversion to Christianity, Paul mentions his time in Arabia. Galatians 1:15–17: When God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia , and afterwards I returned to Damascus. ​ Many believe that Arabia, at this time, included Petra. 14. It is believed to be where the Israelites will flee and be protected by God during the second half of the Great Tribulation Period. Revelation 12:5-6: And she gave birth to a Son, a male, who is going to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness [Petra]where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for 1,260 days. ​ Micah 2:12: I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israe l; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah , as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men (KJV). Bozrah is in the area where Petra is located. It is also the Hebrew word for sheepfold. ​ Psalm 60:8-12: Moab is My washbowl; I will throw My sandal over Edom ; Shout loud, Philistia, because of Me!” 9 Who will bring me into the besieged city ? Who will lead me to Edom ? 10 Have You Yourself not rejected us, God? And will You not go out with our armies, God? 11 Oh give us help against the enemy, for rescue by man is worthless. 12 Through God we will do valiantly, and it is He who will trample down our enemies. Faith Lesson from Petra 1. Petra is where many biblical events took place that were prophesied and where it's very likely more biblical prophecies will take place. Prophecy proves the Bible is true. Do we believe and trust the Bible as our guide and source of truth? ​ 2. Petra is a witness to the rising and fall of its inhabitants. It reveals how short our time on earth is and how God blesses and curses those who follow Him or don't. What about us? Do we realize our time on earth is short and that what matters most in life is that we are right with our Creator and prepared for eternity? ​ 3. Pride and arrogance are an ever-present danger to our souls. It's something with which we can all battle. The Edomites and Nabateans certainly fell to this temptation and fell as a result. ​ Obadiah 3-4: The arrogance of your heart has deceived you , the one who lives in the clefts of the rock , on the height of his dwelling place, who says in his heart, "Who will bring me down to earth?" 4 Though you make your home high like the eagle , though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord . James 4:6: God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud .

  • Is It Safe for Israel Tour Trips During Tension & Unrest? |

    Is It Safe to Travel to Israel During Unrest? Safety In Israel We know the current war might be causing you to reconsider going to Israel at this time. However, here is some information and context to help you. 1. We have tour guide colleagues in Israel leading teams there right now. Things are safe with no issues. They are having a great time and enjoying all the sites. ​ 2. Right now, we can see all of the sites on our itinerary except about three (Caesarea Philippi, Shechem, and Hebron), and we are very optimistic these sites will also be open before our trip. If they are not, we'll see other sites of great importance. ​ 3. Security in Israel is better than ever right now. There have been virtually no terrorist attacks inside Israel since the war began. ​ 4. Israel is open for business: all restaurants, hotels, parks, services, etc., are functioning normally. ​ 5. Ben Gurion Airport is functioning normally, with all major airlines operating without issues. 6. Israel is winning the war with Hamas and should have Gaza under full control soon. 7. The war is happening in Gaza, not within the country of Israel. We will not be touring any sites in or close to Gaza. 8. Our tour bus driver assures us things are safe for tourism in Israel right now. 9. There are far fewer tourists in Israel, so some of the sites that are difficult to see due to long lines are very accessible. So, now is a great time to see Israel. 10. We know the current situation could seem scary to you, but we have traveled throughout Israel many times during tensions and have not felt unsafe. Virtually all of the country functions normally with no issues. ​ Therefore, we want to assure you that we are moving forward with our tour trips and have no plans to cancel them. ​ Other Safety Concerns ​ Good News Before I share the inside perspective of tension and unrest in Israel, let me share good news from our bus driver, whom we are in contact with regularly about safety for tour trips we lead to Israel. Here’s his quote: “Do not worry, my brother, the conditions here are not as the media presents. I now have an American group in these conditions during this month of Ramadan [Muslim Holy Month], and everything is going on safely, and there are no problems.” ​ This quote comes during a time of high tension in Israel during Ramadan. Okay, now let’s talk about the inside story of what’s happening in Israel and if we should be concerned. ​ Spiritual Warfare All that’s happening can be traced to spiritual warfare. The Israeli government has been passing new laws allowing Jews to go up on the Temple Mount. The Muslims don’t like this, so they gather rocks and things inside the Al Aqsa Mosque to throw at the Jews when they’re up there. We saw this firsthand recently. The Israeli police have therefore gone into the Al Aqsa Mosque to clear this out and arrest the Muslim protesters. The Temple Mount authority has been given to the Muslims, but the Israeli police control the security there. The surrounding places like Gaza and Lebanon support the Muslims and therefore are aiding them in this spiritual warfare. ​ Ramadan Ramadan is a Muslim holy month. During this time, there is always more tension because the Muslims engage more in Gihad. So this explains why there is more tension during this time. After Ramadan, things will settle down considerably. This is why we don’t plan our trips to Israel during Ramadan. Also, it’s hard to go onto the Temple Mount during Ramadan because it’s so busy with Muslims. ​ Most Arabs Are Very Friendly Every experience we have had with Arabs has been highly positive. They tend to love tourists and see them as positive. ​ Our Experiences In Israel During Unrest We have been in Israel during some terrorist attacks and didn’t even know it until we heard it on the news or someone told us. I’ll briefly share two incidents. ​ A few years ago, my wife and I were filming a Bible teaching on the Mount of Olives and heard some helicopter noise. It was somewhat annoying, but we thought nothing of it, as airplanes and helicopters are quite common in Israel. They patrol their skies quite well. Later, we learned that an Arab had run into some Jews by the Damascus bus station. We were just a quarter mile away from this incident. It was dealt with, and life went back to normal very quickly. Later, we took the light rail train that departs beside the Damascus bus station, where this event happened, to our hotel. We didn’t even know what had happened until later. ​ On a recent tour trip to Israel with a group, we were at Pilate’s Palace talking about the trial location of Jesus. During the teaching, we heard some sirens and so forth. Later, we learned there had been a terrorist attack inside Old City Jerusalem. After our teaching, we entered the Old City and would never have known anything had happened if we hadn’t been told. We have to understand that things happen in a moment in time and then go right back to normal. This is normal for Israel. ​ We’ll Avoid Any Hotspots If, by chance, there is an incident happening, we will just avoid it. Our bus driver is an Arab Christian and has been driving tour buses for many years. He will not lead us into any danger. While in Jerusalem, the Israeli police are incredible and provide fantastic security. Also, tourists are not targeted. In fact, they are welcomed. The tension is between Muslims and Jews. ​ Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System Israel has developed a sophisticated Iron Dome that shoots most rockets fired into Isreal. These rockets can’t reach very far anyway and are not that precise. The chances of us being hit by a rocket are a million to one. It’s not like there are rockets raining down from heaven everywhere in Israel. ​ God’s Sovereignty The hairs on our heads and our days are numbered. We won’t die one minute sooner or later than what God has determined for us, so we can rest in His sovereignty and enjoy His peace and will for us. I tell those who think I am taking a risk in going to Israel that if God determines it’s my time to die, I couldn’t think of a better place to go to be in the presence of the Lord (which is much better than this life) than the Holy Land. ​ We are not worried about safety issues in Israel. We fully trust the Lord’s perfect will for us, so we are at peace with our trips. We have gone to Israel many times in the midst of some unrest and haven’t had any issues. There are incidents that happen on occasion, and most of the time, those in Israel don’t even know what’s happened until they hear it on the news. We won’t be canceling any upcoming tour trips to Israel as we have been there many times during unrest, and virtually all of the country functions fine regardless of what’s taking place in a certain area. However, if you feel uncomfortable, we understand. ​ We Don’t Cancel Our Trip s Unless There Is Extreme Danger Based on the above info, we have no plans to cancel any upcoming tour trip to Israel. We know it’s hard for some to understand this without having been to Israel. However, life goes on as normal for 99.9 percent of the population, and for those whose lives are interrupted, it’s only for a short time. Then it quickly passes, and life goes back to normal.

  • Holy Land Israel Tour Trip: October 25 - November 10, 2024, 17-Day Trip |

    Holy Land Tour Trip to Is rael The Holy Land Experience Trip of a Lifetime October 25 ~ November 10, 2024 17-Day Trip ​ Our Holy Land Trips are open to anyone worldwide with a valid passport for travel to Israel. Would you like to have a life-changing and never-to-be-forgotten experience? If so, it is our joy to invite you to join us on a trip of a lifetime to the Land of the Bible, where you will find a new dimension in understanding the Bible and the life of Jesus. We will take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, visit places where Jesus walked, lived, taught, performed miracles, walked on the water, calmed the sea, and where He was crucified and raised from the dead. We will immerse ourselves in the Land of the Bible and experience it to the depths of our souls.​ You will never be the same or read your Bible the same after a trip like this.​ ​ If it's Bible you want, then this trip is for you. At each site, we will give biblical and historical teaching along with a faith lesson. Therefore, this trip is designed to provide an in-depth study and perspective from the Scriptures of the events and places of the Bible. ​ ___________________ ​ "An absolutely amazing trip with a guy who knows his Bible and can relate it to you in-country. I've gone to Israel with this dear friend of mine twice. It's an 11 out of 10 trip!" Dan Reeves ​ "I've looked and looked, but I just haven't found any groups with the same approach I got spoiled by when we went with you to Israel. Also, they're not really Bible-teaching tours. Your teaching tour is still head and shoulders above anything else, so if it works out, I'd like to go with you again next year." Todd Yaney ​ Status of Our Holy Land Tour Trips ​ We know the current war might cause some to reconsider going to Israel at this time. However, all of our trips are scheduled to go, with no plans of cancelation. Quick Links ​ Holy Land Trip Registration Form (Required for each person) ​ Deposit Payment ~ $500 USD ​ Final Payment ~ $1,350 USD ​ Hotel Reservation Booking Section ​ About Your Tour Hosts Trip Registration Info ​ ETA-IL (Electronic Travel Authorization) to enter the state of Israel ​ Itinerary ​ Holy Land Trip Travel Orientation ​ Helpful Holy Land Learning Resources Anchor 5 The Holy Land Experience! 17-Day Trip ​ Holy Land Site Fee: $1,850 USD Items covered by Holy Land Site Ministries: ​ Transportation in Israel Via a Deluxe A/C Motorcoach ​ All Park & Entrance Passes ​ Holy Land Site Tour Guide and Bible Teacher, Dr. Todd Fink ​ Wireless Headsets for a Better Listening Experience Individual Costs: $2,800 USD This cost can change depending on individual preferences and location. ​ To keep our trips as affordable as possible, we allow individuals to book their own lodging and airfare. Also, to see as many sites as possible and keep costs down, we have folks pack a sack lunch. The hotels will provide breakfast and dinners if desired. We recommend eating breakfast at the hotels for time and convenience sake. For those desiring to experience the culture, you can enjoy eating dinners out at the local restaurants of your choice. Items to be covered by each individual: ​ The costs below are close estimates. Your price may vary depending on airfare from your location, room selections, and how expensive you want to eat. ​ Sack Lunch & Dinner Meals in Israel $450 per person (Breakfast included in Hotel cost) ​ Lodging in Israel (found on itinerary) $1,200 per person (Based on private, double occupancy rooms.) ​ Airfare $1,100 per person ​ Personal transportation In Israel $50 per person Note: Personal transportation means travel from Ben Gurion Airport to Kfar Maccabiah Hotel & Suites in Tel Aviv, and from Prima Park Hotel in Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport. Taxis are the best method for this transportation. Due to multiple arrivals and departures from passengers, it is not possible for us to attend everyone’s various time schedules. However, we are happy to help in any way possible with these arrangements.​ ​ Total Estimated Cost of Trip ​ Holy Land Site Fee $1,850 ​ Individual Costs $2,800 ​ Total $4,650 USD THIS IS A CUSTOM-DESIGNED TRIP If you want to spend more time in Israel and see more holy sites, then this trip is designed for you. Most trips to the Holy Land allow only around 7-8 full days in Israel. This severely limits what can be seen. Therefore, most who go to the Holy Land miss out on many significant holy sites as a result. This trip will have you in Israel for 13 full touring days. You will, therefore, see almost everything significant there is to see in Israel. A 17-day trip like this normally is quite expensive (if you can find one). Why can we do it so inexpensively? Because we are eliminating tour companies, travel agencies, tour guides, etc., and are providing these services instead. We are also allowing you to book your own airfare, lodging, and some of your meals. And lastly, we are staying in nice, clean hotels/hostels instead of expensive hotels. It is our pleasure to serve you and our Lord Jesus Christ in offering you this special and affordable trip of a lifetime. Because this is a custom trip, each participant will be required to book their own airfare, lodging, and purchase their own meals. PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS This trip is not for the weak and faint of heart! There will be a fair amount of walking, some hiking, climbing stairs, times when it could be warm (Dead Sea area), etc. Those considering this trip need to be in good shape and able to withstand some discomfort at times due to heat, walking, stairs, steps, hiking, etc. Our estimated walking distance will be about 3 - 5 miles (4 - 7 km.) a day. Those considering this trip need to be prepared for a rewarding but full schedule of about 8 - 9 hours a day. However, if at any time you want to take time off for rest during the trip, you are welcome to do so. GROUP SIZE LIMIT In order to have a more intimate and better experience, we limit our group size to around 40 people. This allows us to be more efficient and see more places in Israel. Larger teams bring a different dynamic that slows things down and makes travel more difficult. AIR TRAVEL Each person will be responsible for booking their own air travel to Israel (to and from Ben Gurion Airport). Please plan to arrive with plenty of time to attend our required orientation and get acquainted meeting at 7:00 pm at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel & Suites in Tel Aviv. Due to customs and obtaining visas, please allow 3 hours from airport arrival to hotel arrival. The hotel is about 15 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic. ​ Note: For those having the time and resources, arriving a day early will give you a chance to rest up and get better prepared for your experience in Israel. TRANSPORTATION IN ISRAEL We will be transported via a large, air-conditioned motorcoach . Our bus driver is an Arab Christian who is able to take us to all sites in Israel, even in the West Bank. LODGING IN ISRAEL We will be staying at hotels with private rooms and bathrooms during our time in Israel. Our itinerary shows the hotels where we will stay (a total of three: Tel Aviv, Tiberias, and Jerusalem). Click here for hotel reservation links ​ LUGGAGE SIZE AND AMOUNT We don't have a luggage size and number allo wance per person, but we suggest not exceeding over 40-50 lbs (18-22 kg) per piece of luggage as it makes it hard to handle. The lighter, the better. You will be responsible for handling your own luggage on the trip, so don't pack any heavier than what you can lift. MEALS IN ISRAEL Each person will be responsible for paying for their own lunches and dinners. ​ Breakfast - The hotels will provide breakfast if desired. Some will provide dinners as well. These can be paid for when you book your lodging or at the hotels. It's ideal to eat breakfast at the hotels as it's handy. However, you can eat your breakfast if desired at a local restaurant or made by hand. ​ Lunch - Because eating out is expensive in Israel, time-consuming with a large group, and we will not always be close to a restaurant, each trip participant will prepare themself a daily sack lunch. Each day around noon, we will take a break to eat, or you can eat and snack as you wish. Lunch items can be purchased at local grocery stores or extra items from the breakfasts buffets at the hotels can be taken (the hotels seem okay with this). The hotels will have refrigerators in the rooms if needed. ​Dinner – On your own. Enjoy the local culture as you eat at local restaurants or the hotel if you prefer. PARK & ENTRANCE PASSES Holy Land Site Ministries will pay for all park and entrance fees to all sites. You will be responsible for paying for any entrance fees you want to see during your free time. WHAT WILL OUR VISITS TO EACH SITE BE LIKE? Our visits will normally last around two hours. We will begin with some orientation of the site. Then we'll do a walking tour to see the site and its points of interest. Afterward, we'll find a quiet spot to reflect on the main events from the Bible that happened at the site and close with a faith lesson to learn the key truths God would desire to teach us. Some of the Bible teachings might be filmed for publishing on our website. We'll then end our visit with some free time. PASSPORT INFO Our Holy Land Trips are open to anyone worldwide with a valid passport for travel to Israel. Passports must have at least six months left before expiration. ​ ELECTRONIC TRAVEL DOCUMENT FOR ENTRY INTO ISRAEL (ETA-IL) Travelers from visa-exempt countries (meaning they don't have to get a visa before arrival in Israel; they get it upon landing in Israel) must obtain an ETA-IL before their planned travel to Israel. ETA-IL is designed to smoothen border control upon arrival in Israel and ensure Israel's national security. How long is an ETA-IL valid? Obtaining an ETA-IL indicates you can travel to Israel as a tourist and stay up to 90 days. Your ETA-IL authorization is generally valid for multiple trips over up to two years from the date your application is approved or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. What does the ETA-IL application cost? 25 NIS ($6.83 USD) per applicant. How to apply for an ETA-IL? The application is made online through the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority website. Here's the link: ETA-IL ( When to Apply? Please do so no later than two weeks before the Israel trip departure date, but you can do it sooner if you'd like. TRIP PREPARATION Please utilize the videos and information on our website, which provide help and orientation to better understand many of the biblical sites we will be visiting, the history of Israel, and other helpful information. In addition, we will provide helpful information leading up to our trip that will help prepare you to get the most out of your holy land experience. ​ We also ask that you acquaint yourself with our Travel Orientation Material found on our website. You will find it extremely helpful. TIME OF YEAR FOR THIS TRIP We’ve chosen these dates to visit Israel because the weather is stable, the days are longer, and there are no Jewish Holidays that will interfere with our travels. DAILY ITINERARY Please take into consideration that there might be slight adjustments to the schedule depending on things out of our control. Additionally, if the team would like some flexibility in seeing sights, we are happy to do this if possible. ​ MONEY IN ISRAEL Credit cards and Dollars are readily accepted, and Shekels can be drawn from ATMs. INTERNET IN ISRAEL Phone SIM cards can be purchased for around $39.99 if you want Internet service at all times while in Israel. You can also activate your phone for international service. ​ If you don't have Internet via your phone service, at each hotel where we will be staying, free Internet service is provided. Also, the tour bus has free Internet service as well. ​ DIGITAL MAPS OF DAILY TRIP ITINERARY For each tour trip itinerary , you will see at the bottom of each day's itiner ary a link to see a Google Map of the route and sites we'll be seeing each day. Here's an example: Tour Day 1: Google Map Itinerary DAILY SCHEDULE We will leave our place of lodging each day at 7:45 am and return around 4:00 - 5:00 pm. From this time on, you will have free time to eat, relax, see the local sites and culture, etc. ​ PERSONAL TRAVEL IN ISRAEL You can take a taxi, walk, use the bus or light rail train system. The best option is to make sure you have Internet in Israel (you can activate your phone or get an Israeli SIM card) and use Google Maps. It will tell you exactly which bus, light rail train, or walking route will best suit you. It also works in real-time, so you can see exactly when buses and trains are arriving and departing. ​ AGE LIMIT The minimum age for trip participants is 12 years old unless other arrangements have been made with tour hosts. ​ ITINERARY Please see our detailed itinerary below. Anchor 1 TOUR HOSTS Todd & Letsy Fink More about the Finks TRIP REGISTRATION INFO HOW TO REGISTER & CONFIRM YOUR SPOT 1. Please fill out the online registration form, and we will notify you of your acceptance on the tour trip team. ​ 2. After being notified of your acceptance on the tour team, please pay your non-refundable registration deposit of $500 USD. Your deposit is what confirms your spot on the tour team. ​ REGISTRATION, DEPOSIT, AND FINAL PAYMENT LINKS ​ Holy Land Trip Registration Form (Required for each person) ​ Deposit Payment ~ $500 USD ​ Final Payment ~ $1,350 USD ​ REGISTRATION DEADLINE DATE Your trip registration, deposit, and final payment deadline is August 1 , 2024 . Tourism is growing quite rapidly in Israel, and things need to be done earlier than in previous years. Therefore, booking lodging, bus transportation in Israel, etc., needs to be done no later than 2 months before trip departure to ensure availability (booking lodging is even recommended 6 months in advance for best availability). For these reasons, we have set August 1 , 2024 , as the deadline for trip registration. For those who desire to attend this trip after August 1 , 2024 , we will handle each person on a space availability case basis. Thanks for your understanding. ​ CANCELATIONS & RE FUNDS Deposit Payment to Holy Land Site Ministries All deposit payments are non-refundable. ​ Refund of Final Payment to Holy Land Site Ministries 1. If you need to cancel your trip for personal reasons before August 1 , 2024 , Holy Land Site Ministries will only be able to refund one-half of your final payment. ​ 2. If you must cancel your trip for personal reasons after August 1 , 2024 , Holy Land Site Ministries will not be able to refund any of your final payment due to expenses already incurred that cannot recuperated. ​ Transferring Payments to a Different Tour Trip Date No payments to Holy Land Site Ministries can be transferred from one tour trip to a different tour trip date. ​ Refunds from Purchases of Airline Tickets, Lodging, etc. Holy Land Site Ministries will not refund any of these funds because they were not paid to Holy Land Site Ministries. ​ Refund if Trip is Canceled Due to Events Out of Our Control like Covid, Other Viruses, War, and So Forth 1. 100% of the final payment to Holy Land Site Ministries will be refunded. 2. Refunds from flights and lodging will be the responsibility of each person as these were booked personally. ​ TRIP PROTECTION INSURANCE If you would like trip protection insurance to protect you, or if the trip is canceled for any reason, many third-party insurance agencies provide travel protection insurance in the case of cancelations due to unforeseen reasons. Travel Protection Agencies (Rated the Highest by ​ Adviser (compares many companies): ​ Allianz Travel Insurance: ​ Travel Guard (AIG): ​ Seven Corners: ​ WHEN TO BOOK AIRFARE & LODGING Please book your lodging at your earliest convenience, as lodging fills up fast in Israel. You can book your flights around 6 months before trip departure or as desired. HOTEL RESERVATION BOOKING LINKS We show as an option because they offer no upfront charges, and cancelations can be done 72 hours in advance with no fees. However, if you want to book using another booking platform, you are welcome to do so. ​ Kfar Maccabiah Business & Sport Hotel, 7 Peretz Berenstein Street, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv Check-in: October 26, Check-out: October 27. One night stay. Hotel Reservation Link: or Kfar Maccabiah Direct Booking (It seems best to book directly with this hotel as bookings on aren't available until around six months before the dates.) ​ Prima Galil Tiberias Hotel, El Hadif Street 1, Tiberias Check-in: October 27, Check-out: October 31 . Four nights stay. Hotel Reservation Link: (booking becomes available about 1 year in advance) ​ Prima Park Hotel Jerusalem: 2 Vilnay Street, Jerusalem Check-in: October 31 , Check-out: November 9. Nine nights stay. Hotel Reservation Link: (booking becomes available about 1 year in advance) ​ Note : For those with the time and resources, arriving a day early will allow you to rest up and get better prepared for your experience in Israel. If, for some reason, the hotels are full, just book a hotel of your choice nearby and meet us at the check-in lobby of the main hotel by 7:45 am. Bus departure is scheduled daily at 8:00 am from each hotel. ​ ​ CONTACT INFO: Todd Fink Phone: (541) 603-0881 Email: Website: Anchor 2 Anchor 4 DAILY ITINERARY FRI, OCT 25 DEPART FOR THE HOLY LAND Please plan to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, no later than October 26, by 3:00 pm if possible. This will give you plenty of time to attend our orientation and get-acquainted meeting at 7:00 pm. We'll meet at the main check-in lobby of the Kfar Maccabiah & Suites Hotel and then go to our meeting place. ​ Note: For those with the time and resources, arriving a day early will allow you to rest up and get better prepared for your experience in Israel. ​ Clic k to see "Ben Gurion Airport Arrival Orientation Video" ​ SAT, OCT 26 TEL AVIV After arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, you will proceed through customs. Please don’t lose your small tourist visa provided to you. Afterward, you can take a taxi to Kfar Maccabiah Hotel & Suites, 7 Peretz Berenstein Street, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv. Due to customs and obtaining visas, please allow approximately 3 hours from the airport to hotel arrival. The hotel is about 15 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic. Orientation and get acquainted meeting at 7:00 pm. Please meet in the main hotel lobby. Free time afterward. Lodging at Kfar Maccabiah Business & Sport Hotel, 7 Peretz Berenstein Street, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv. One night total. Google Map from Ben Gurion to Kfar Maccabiah Hotel ​ SUN, OCT 27 TEL AVIV – SEA OF GALILEE AREA Refreshed from a good night's sleep, we’ll visit Old Jaffa (Joppa), the traditional home of Simon the Tanner, the port from which Jonah sailed and the logs arrived for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. We’ll then pass through the fast-growing towns and farms of the Plain of Sharon en route to Caesarea Maritima , where the Holy Spirit came to the Gentiles and the site of major events in the lives of Peter and Paul. We’ll drive through the rolling hills of Galilee to Nazareth , where Jesus grew up, and visit the Church of the Annunciation , where the angel, Gabriel, announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah. We'll then drive through Cana , where Christ performed His first public miracle. Then it’s on to Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee , which will be our base for the next 4 nights. Free time afterward. Lodging at Prima Galil Tiberias Hotel, El Hadif Street 1, Tiberias. Four nights total. Tour Day 1: Google Map Itinerary ​ MON, OCT 28 SEA OF GALILEE AREA This day alone is worth the trip! We are now literally walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We'll start the day at Gino sa r , where we'll see an ancient boat (Beit Yigal Allon Museum) from the time of Jesus. We'll take a most memorable boat ride on the Sea of Galilee in a replica of an ancient wooden boat used in Jesus’ day. We’ll visit the Mount of Beatitudes , the location of the beautiful Sermon on the Mount, where Christ preached his longest and most famous sermon. From the Mount of Beatitudes, we'll walk in the footsteps of Jesus down the hill to Tabgha by the Sea of Galilee. Then on to Capernaum , where Jesus set up His home ministry base and often preached in the ancient synagogue. We will continue our drive around the Sea of Galilee to Kursi , where Christ cast out a legion of demons out of a demon-possessed man. Time permitting, w e'll end the day at a breathtaking spot overlooking the Sea of Galilee , where we'll see many sites around its shore, one of which is where the Feeding of the 5,000 took place. Free time afterward. Tour Day 2: Google Map Itinerary ​ TUES, OCT 29 SEA OF GALILEE AREA We’ll journey north to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16). We’ll visit Chorazin , one of the cursed towns, which has one of the most preserved synagogues in the Galilee area. Then it's on to visit the most likely place Jesus called many of His disciples and the area where Peter was reconciled with Christ after denying Him three times. We'll wrap up the day with a visit to Magdala , the hometown of Mary Magdalene, from whom Christ cast out seven demons. At Magdala, we will visit a natural beach where you can dip your feet in the Sea of Galilee or swim if you'd like. Free time afterward. Tour Day 3: Google Map Itinerary ​ WED, OCT 30 SEA OF GALILEE AREA We’ll drive along the Jordan Valley to Beth Shean , a stunning Roman Decapolis city and the place where Saul and his son’s bodies were hanged after defeat in battle. We’ll visit Gideon’s Spring , where Gideon selected his soldiers to battle against the Midianites. We’ll return to the Sea of Galilee and finish the day on top of Mt. Arbel , the believed place where Christ gave the Great Commission, which provides a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee. Free time afterward. Tour Day 4: Google Map Itinerary ​ THURS, OCT 31 JORDAN VALLEY AREA We’ll drive south along the Jordan Valley, following the footsteps that Jesus and His disciples would have walked arriving at the Baptismal Site of Jesus, where Jesus was baptized by John. We'll provide an option for those who would like to get baptized to do so. Then to Jericho , the oldest known walled city and the first place Joshua and the Israelites conquered upon entering the Promised Land. We’ll then visit Qumran , where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. Then, we'll ascend and enter Jerusalem as pilgrims did since ancient times to fulfill the words of the prophet "I was glad when they said unto me: 'Our feet shall stand within thy Gates, O Jerusalem'" (Psalms 122:1–2). Free time afterward. Lodging at Prima Park Hotel Jerusalem: 2 Vilnay Street, Jerusalem. Nine nights total. Tour Day 5: Google Map Itinerary FRI, NOV 1 DEAD SEA AREA We’ll begin the day by driving to Masada , a massive fortress rock column that overlooks the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth). We'll ascend Masada by cable car to visit the remnants of Herod's Palace, where in 73 AD, the Zealots made their last stand against the might of Rome. We’ll visit ancient Gomorrah , one of the cities God destroyed by fire and brimstone due to their wickedness. Then, what would a visit to Israel be without taking a dip, or rather a float, in the Dead Sea ? Free time afterward. Tour Day 6: Google Map Itinerary ​ SAT, NOV 2 BETHLEHEM – JUDAH AREA We'll begin the day with a visit to Bethlehem, Manger Square, and the Church of the Nativity, where Jesus was born. We'll then visit the magnificent Herodian Fortress. While there, we'll view the Shepherds' Fields, the Fields of Boaz and Ruth, and see where David kept his sheep as a young man. We’ll then travel to the Valley of Elah , where David slew Goliath. Then on to Beth Shemesh , where key events in the life of Samson took place and where the Ark of the Covenant miraculously was returned to the Israelites by the Philistines. Free time afterward. Tour Day 7: Google Map Itinerary ​ SUN, NOV 3 SAMARIA AREA Today we’ll travel north to the ancient Samaria region of the Bible. We visit Shechem , where Abraham first entered the Promised Land and erected an altar. We’ll see and drink out of Jacob’s Well , where Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman. We’ll see where Joseph’s bones were buried at the Tomb of Joseph . We’ll see ancient Shiloh , where the Tabernacle resided for 369 years, and where Hannah prayed for a son (Samuel). Then it’s on to ancient Bethel , where Jacob saw a ladder to heaven, where the tabernacle resided, and where Jeroboam erected a Golden Calf. We'll drive by the site of ancient Ai , the second city Joshua and the Israelites destroyed. Free time afterward. Tour Day 8: Google Map Itinerary ​ MON, NOV 4 JERUSALEM We’ll start the day with a magnificent view of the Old City from the top of the Mt. of Olives and orient ourselves to the layout and places of Jerusalem . We’ll then visit the Chapel of Ascension , where Christ ascended back to heaven and where His feet will touch down at His glorious second coming. We'll visit Pater Noster Church , where Christ taught His disciples how to pray. We'll see the Tombs of the Prophets , where Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are believed to be buried. We’ll take the Palm Sunday Walk to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations . Along the way, we’ll visit Dominus Flevit , where Christ wept over Jerusalem. We’ll see Mary’s Tomb and underground caves that were part of Gethsemane . Free time afterward. Tour Day 9: Google Map Itinerary ​ TUES, NOV 5 JERUSALEM Today, we’ll visit and walk on the Temple Mount , the location where Solomon’s Temple was and the holiest and most battled-over piece of land in the world. We'll then see the Western Wall , the Jew’s most holy site in Israel. We’ll visit the Southern Stairs Area , the main entrance to the Temple Mount, a place Christ and His disciples would have often been, and the likely place where those who received Christ at Pentecost were baptized. We’ll then walk through part of the Cardo , an original Roman street, and then see the amazing remains of the massive Broad Wall built by King Hezekiah. Free time afterward. Tour Day 10: Google Map Itinerary ​ ​ WED, NOV 6 JERUSALEM Today we will visit the Upper Room , the location of the Last Supper , and the place an early church/synagogue was built by early Christians shortly after the time of Christ. Next, we'll see the House of Caiaphas , where Christ was tried before Caiaphas, Peter denied Christ three times, and where Christ was beaten and spent the night in a dungeon . While at the House of Caiaphas, we'll see a model of Jerusalem from around 135 AD . Then we'll have the privilege of visiting the City of David , where everything began in Jerusalem. While in the City of David, we'll see David's Palace , ancient ruins, the remains of Nehemiah's Wall, and King David's Tomb. For those who would like, you can walk through Hezekiah's Water Tunnel , which diverts the water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. For the others, you can walk the Canaanite Dry Tunnel . We'll then all meet and see the Pool of Siloam , where Christ healed a blind man. We’ll then walk part of the Kidron Valley (Valley of Jehoshaphat), where God’s winepress of wrath will be poured out on the gathered nations at Christ's second coming and from where the blood (the height of a horse’s bridle) will flow to the Dead Sea and beyond. Free time afterward. Tour Day 11: Google Map Itinerary ​ THURS, NOV 7 NEGEV AREA Today, we’ll travel to Hebron , where Abraham had many encounters with God and from where King David reigned over Judah for 7 1/2 years. We'll begin by visiting the Oaks of Mamre , a preserved site over the place where Abraham lived for a period of time and had several amazing encounters with God. Just a short distance from the Oaks of Mamre is the place where the patriarchs are buried in the Cave of Machpelah . Close to Machpelah are the ruins of ancient Tel Hebron . We’ll then travel to Beersheba , where Abraham lived and made a covenant with Abimelech. Farewell Dinner at 6:30 pm for those who are able. Free time afterward. Tour Day 12: Google Map Itinerary ​ FRI, NOV 8 JERUSALEM We’ll begin the day by seeing Pilate’s Palace and Gabbatha (stone pavement and judgment place where Christ was condemned to crucifixion). From there, we'll walk the biblical Via Dolorosa (painful path to the Cross) to Golgotha , where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is today. We'll then visit and explore the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and see why it's the best candidate for Golgotha. We’ll walk the traditional path of the Via Dolorosa and see the Stations of the Cross . Then we'll walk to the Lions' Gate and see the famous Eastern Gate and Eastern Wall , where we'll see ancient stones dating back to the time of Solomon and see the evidence of the original Temple Mount and its expansions over the years. Then we'll see the Church of St. Anne, where the Pool of Bethesda is located, the place Jesus healed a sick man after he had waited 38 long years. Free time afterward. Tour Day 13: Google Map Itinerary ​ SAT, NOV 9 ISRAEL - HOME Unless you plan on continuing your stay in Israel, you’ll transfer to the airport and arrive home with wonderful memories of a visit to the Land of the Bible! ​ The hotel in Jerusalem ​(Prima Park) ​provides several options for direct transportation to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv​ right from the hotel. All of them can be prearranged so you have no waiting time whatsoever. It is recommended to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport at least 4 hours in advance. This means you should leave Jerusalem 5 hours before your flight departure. Following are your transportation options: ​ 1. Taxi: C osts around $100 USD for up to 4 people (depending on how much luggage each person has). ​ 2. Shuttle Taxi: Costs around $120 USD for up to 6 people (depending on how much luggage each person has). ​ 3. 12-passenger Shuttle Bus: Costs around $25.00 USD per person. Please arrange transportation with the hotel front desk a day in advance. All transportation options take about an hour to reach the airport and run every day of the week, even on Shabbat (Saturday), the Sabbath. Google Map from Prima Park Hotel to Ben Gurion Airport ​ Cli ck t o see "Ben Gurion Airport Departure Orientation Video" SUN, NOV 10 ARRIVE HOME Return home filled with an overflowing heart, knowing that you walked in the footsteps of Christ and experienced the actual places where many of the events in the Bible took place. ​ ​ Anchor 3

  • Antonia Fortress: Military Headquarters Overlooking Temple Mount |

    Antonia Fortress Photo Gallery Places of Interest Antonia Fortress: Pilate’s Judgment Hall Location 1. The Antonia Fortress was located just outside the Temple Mount area on its northwestern side. 2. Today, Umariya Elementary School and a convent of the Sisters of Zion lie atop its ruins. 3. Some of the ruins can be accessed through the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. 4. Tradition places the Antonia Fortress as the beginning point of the Via Dolorosa (painful path). Historical Background 1. The Antonia Fortress was a military headquarters and barracks built to protect the Temple Mount. Later, it was renovated by the Hasmoneans (164 BC) and Herod the Great (19 BC) to protect the Temple Mount area and the city of Jerusalem. It was named after Herod's patron, Mark Antony. 2. Some believe Jesus appeared before Pilate here and was condemned to death by crucifixion. 3. Others believe that Pilate’s Headquarters, also called Pilate’s Palace or Praetorium, was the place Christ appeared before Pilate. It’s located on the northern side of Jerusalem, just south of the Jaffa Gate. The evidence points strongly in favor of this location as the place of Christ’s trial and condemnation. 4. Some believe that the Antonia Fortress encompassed all the current Temple Mount and that the original Temple Mount was in the City of David. However, Scripture clearly states that at the dedication of the temple that Solomon built, in 2 Chronicles 5, that the Ark of the covenant was brought, “out of the City of David ” to the temple. “Then Solomon assembled to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the City of David , which is Zion” (2 Chron. 5:2). If the Ark was brought out of the City of David to the temple, then the temple couldn't have been in the City of David. There is also overwhelming historical and archaeological evidence, and the writings of the famous Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, that contradict the belief that the Antonia Fortress encompassed all the Temple Mount. Evidence that the Temple Mount was not the Antonia Fortress. ​ 1. Contrary to what some say, the current Temple Mount existed long before the Romans arrived. The Temple Mount foundation, or platform, was first built by Solomon. Then Hezekiah enlarged it. Later, its foundations were repaired during the time of Zerubbabel when the second temple was built. We see evidence of this in the ancient stones around the Eastern Gate. They date back to the time of Solomon, Hezekiah, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah. 2. Later, in around 141 BC, the Hasmoneans built an extension to the southern end of the Temple Mount. This can be seen in the Eastern Wall, where the bend in the wall exists. Thus, there is a change in stone styles from earlier periods to the Hasmonean period. 3. Then, in around 19 BC, Herod the Great began to enlarge the Temple Mount Platform. He would double the size of what it was during the Hasmonean period. This can be seen in the Eastern Wall as well, where there is a seam in the wall. The stone styles change from Hasmonean to Herodian. Josephus confirms this: “Accordingly, in the fifteenth year of his reign [23-22 BC], Herod rebuilt the temple, and encompassed a piece of land about it with a wall, which land was twice as large as that before enclosed. The expenses he laid out upon it were vastly large also, and the riches about it were unspeakable” (Wars of the Jews, Bk 1, Ch. 21, Sect. 401). Therefore, the current Temple Mount existed long before the Romans arrived and was not expanded to be a Roman Fort. 4. There are also no historical records that a Roman Legion was stationed in Jerusalem before 66–67 AD. At this time, the Jews had revolted and recaptured Jerusalem from Roman control. The 10th Roman Legion was then moved to Jerusalem to conquer it. This was a fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy. The city was destroyed and conquered in 70 AD. 5. Facts about the 10th Roman Legion. It was founded in around 41 or 40 BC. It was also called the X Fretensis or Legio X. ​ It was never stationed in Jerusalem until it arrived to overthrow the Jewish rebellion that had taken place wherein the Jews overtook the Roman Soldiers who were in Jerusalem and regained control. It was the 10th Roman Legion, led by Vespasian, that would win the battle to recapture Jerusalem from the Jews in 70 AD. ​ From 67 onward, X Fretensis fought in the war against the Jews. It was commanded by Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, the father of the future emperor. The supreme commander of the Roman forces in Judaea was general Vespasian, who was to become emperor during the civil war that broke out after the suicide of Nero in 68 AD. ​ After the conclusion of the Jewish revolt in around 73 AD, Legio X was garrisoned at Jerusalem. Their main camp was positioned on the Western Hill, located in the southern half of the old city, now leveled of all former buildings. The camp of the Tenth was built using the surviving portions of the walls of Herod the Great's palace, demolished by order of Titus. The camp was at the end of the cardo maximus of Aelia Capitolina (Pace, H. Geva, "The Camp of the Tenth Legion in Jerusalem: An Archaeological Reconsideration," IEJ 34, 1984, pp. 247-249). ​ 6. Josephus clearly describes and clarifies that the Antonia Fortress was destroyed by the Romans when they conquered and tore down the temple in 70 AD: “Titus now ordered the troops that were with him to raze the foundations of Antonia and to prepare an easy ascent [into the Temple Mount] for the whole army” (Wars Ch. 6, Sect 93). “Meanwhile, the rest of the Roman army, having in seven days overthrown the foundations of Antonia, had prepared a broad ascent to the Temple” (Wars Ch. 6, Sect. 149). It is vital to understand that when Josephus wrote this, it was in 70 AD, more than 70 years after Herod enlarged the Temple Mount Platform. Also, the Tenth Roman Legion never was stationed in Jerusalem until after it was conquered in 70 AD. So, the idea that the current Temple Mount Platform was built for the Tenth Roman Legion is entirely false. 7. If the Antonia was destroyed in seven days, it reveals that it wasn’t that big. Also, it was destroyed, so there is no way the current Temple Mount could be the Antonia Fortress. Places of Interest 1. Ecce Homo Arch (behold the man) 2. Convent of the Sisters of Zion 3. Cistern hewed out of the rock. 4. Pavement stones with Roman carved games on them. 5. Pavement stones with carved grooves. 6. Temple Mount Antonia Fortress in the Bible 1. The Antonia Fortress is the believed place where the Via Dolorosa begins. Tradition places the Antonia Fortress as the beginning place of the Via Dolorosa. However, the site with the best evidence for being the beginning place of the Via Dolorosa is Pilate’s Palace, located just south of the Jaffa Gate. 2. Paul addressed an angry mob from the Antonia Fortress. Acts 21:27–40: When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him [Paul] in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid! This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people and the Law and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. 31 While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran down to them; and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up and took hold of him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done. 34 But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks . 35 When he got to the stairs , he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob; 36 for the multitude of the people kept following them, shouting, “Away with him!” 37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks , he said to the commander, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Then you are not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.” 40 When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect. Faith Lesson from the Antonia Fortress 1. Paul suffered at the Antonia Fortress for his faith. Are we willing to boldly proclaim our faith and suffer as a result if necessary? 2. Paul shared his testimony often. Do we have our testimony memorized, and do we share it when talking to others about God?

  • Nazareth, Israel: Mt. Precipice, Jesus Hometown, Christ Rejected, Attempt to Throw Jesus off Cliff |

    Nazareth: Mount Precipice Nazareth: Mount Precipice Location 1. Nazareth is in the northern part of Israel in the lower Galilee area. 2. It’s about 15 miles (24 km.) southwest of the Sea of Galilee, about 3.5 miles (5.6 km.) southwest of Cana, and about 23 miles (37 km.) inland from the Mediterranean Sea. Historical Background 1. Nazareth had an estimated population of around 300 during the time of Christ. 2. It’s a famous town because this is where the Angel Gabriel announced the miraculous virgin birth to Mary. 3. Nazareth is also the place where Jesus grew up. 4. It was a small farming town where everyone knew each other. 5. For some reason, Nazareth had a bad reputation (John 1:43-46). Places of Interest 1. Nazareth ​ 2. Hometown of Jesus ​ 3. Mt. Precipice ​ 4. Church of the Annunciation (Basilica of the Annunciation) ​ 5. Mary’s Well ​ 6. Greek Catholic Church ​ 7. Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation ​ 8. St. Joseph’s Church ​ 9. Mensa Christi Church ​ 10. Greek Catholic Church ​ 11. Synagogue Church Now, this synagogue where Jesus preached here in Nazareth still exists to this day. According to Christian tradition, the church is built on the ruins of the ancient Nazareth synagogue where Jesus studied, prayed, and then preached at in His visit here when they attempted to throw Him off the cliff. This synagogue is simply named today, “the Synagogue Church.” Ancient tradition maintains that this Synagogue Church stands atop the synagogue where Jesus worshipped as a young man. In fact, in A.D. 570, the anonymous northern Italian “Pilgrim of Piacenza” — the last western Christian writer to visit Palestine before the Muslim conquest that occurred less than a century later — claimed to have seen not only the ancient synagogue itself but the original Scriptures from which Jesus had read, as well as the bench on which Jesus used to sit as a young man. During Byzantine times, Christian believers started attending this place, and in Medieval times the synagogue was turned into a church. The church was later destroyed, but a stone structure marking the location of the first-century synagogue is still intact. Its floor is 6 feet lower than street level, and its roof is arched, a typical element in medieval architecture. A marble pillar next to its entrance is dated to the Roman period. This column is the only possible genuine remnant of the ancient synagogue. A raised platform in its northern end holds an altar. By local tradition, this is where Jesus read from Isaiah to the local congregation. The current “Synagogue Church” is a 12th-century Crusader structure located in the area of Nazareth’s medieval market, just a few minutes’ walk from the Church of the Annunciation and directly adjacent to the Greek Catholic Church of the Annunciation. The Synagogue Church is visited by just a fraction of those coming to see the Church of the Annunciation, perhaps because of its hidden location. The site is maintained by the Melkite Greek Catholics, who added an adjacent modern church which was completed in 1887. Nazareth In the Bible ​ 1. Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary and the place where the angel Gabriel was sent to announce to the Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of Christ the Messiah. There has been a church built here to commemorate this announcement called, “The Church of the Annunciation.” Luke 1:26-38 says, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.” 2. After living in Egypt for some time after Christ’s birth, His parents returned to Nazareth where Jesus grew up. Matt. 2:19-23: “But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: "He shall be called a Nazarene." 3. Jesus lived Nazareth until He started His earthly ministry at the age of 30. From Nazareth, Christ relocated and set up His ministry home base in Capernaum. Matthew 4:13-17: “And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 4. Jesus was rejected by His own townspeople at Nazareth and was unable to perform many miracles there due to their lack of faith in Him. Luke 4:14-27 - And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself.' What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well." And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." 5. Those who knew Christ the best rejected Him and attempted to throw Him off a cliff close-by to their town. Today, this place is called, Mt. Precipice, named after this event. Luke 4:28-30: “When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away. Faith Lesson ​ 1. Am I oftentimes misunderstood by my family and friends like Christ was? ​ 2. I should love my family and friends, but if they don’t understand my commitment to Christ, I shouldn’t allow them to negatively affect my relationship with Christ and be discouraged. Jesus said we must love Him more than our closest relationships. 3. Do I love Christ more than my family and friends? In Matt. 10:37 Christ said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

  • Ekron: One of the 5 Philistine Stronghold Cities |

    Biblical Ekron Photo Gallery Places of Interest Ekron ​ Location 1. Ekron (Tel Miqne) is located east of Ashdod and the Mediterranean Sea about 13 miles (20 km.) Historical Background 1. In archeological terms, Tel Ekron (Tel Miqne-Ekron) is significant because it is one of Israel's largest Iron Age sites. 2. More than 100 oil presses were found here, as well as the Ekron Inscription, which clearly identifies the site as Philistine, Ekron. 3. Just to the west of Tel Ekron is Kibbutz Revadim, where a Museum of the History of Philistine Culture shows a reconstructed Philistine street with many artifacts. ​ Places of Interest ​ 1. Tel Ekron 2. Kibbutz Revadim Philistine Street ~ Archaeological items from Tel Ekron have been brought here and preserved. ​ Ekron in the Bible ​ 1. Joshua and the Israelites failed to conquer Ekron in the conquest of the Promised Land as found in Joshua 13:3. 2. It was allotted to Judah in the division of the land and then to the tribe of Dan as found in Joshua chapters 15-19. ​ 3. However, the tribe of Dan failed to conquer the area and moved to the northern part of Israel. Judah wound up conquering Ekron and inhabiting it as found in Judges 1:18. ​ 4. Ekron was one of the Philistine cities where the Ark of the Covenant resided before being returned to the Israelites at Beth Shemesh. 1 Samuel 5:10: So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And as the ark of God came to Ekron , the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people!” ​ 1 Samuel 6:13-16: Now the people of Beth-shemesh were gathering in their wheat harvest in the valley, and they raised their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced at seeing it. 14 And the cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stopped there where there was a large stone; and they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 And the Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the saddlebag that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices that day to the Lord. 16 When the five governors of the Philistines saw it, they returned to Ekron that day. ​ 5. After David killed Goliath in the Valley of Elah, the Israelites pursued and defeated the Philistines all the way to Ekron. 1 Samuel 17:52: Then the men of Israel and Judah rose up and shouted, and they pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron . And the Philistine dead lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron . ​ 6. Ekron is included, among other cities, in pronouncements of judgment by the prophets Amos 1:8, Jeremiah 25:20, Zephaniah 2:4, and Zechariah 9:5–7. ​ Faith Lesson from Ekron 1. The Israelites failed to conquer Ekron and the surrounding cities of the Philistines. For some reason, they lacked the faith, willpower, and trust in God to fulfill His command to conquer the inhabitants of the Promised Land. Do we fail to trust in God and conquer the tasks God calls us to do? ​ 2. However, David, as a young man, and later as the king of Israel, would defeat the Philistines and fulfill God's original command to subdue and conquer all of the Promised Land. Do we exercise faith as David did and step out and do mighty things for the Lord? ​ 3. From Ekron the Ark of the Covenant was returned to the Israelites at Beth Shemesh. It was done in a miraculous way by cows carrying the Ark on a wagon arriving at Beth Shemesh all by themselves. Miracles are one way God reveals Himself to skeptical and unbelieving people. Do we share miracles God has done in our lives with others?

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