top of page

Search Results

Results found for ""

  • Chorazin (Korazim): Jesus Cursed Chorazin, Capernaum, Bethsaida |

    Chorazin (Korazim) Photo Gallery Places of Interest Chorazin Location 1. Chorazin (Korazim) is located about 2 miles (3 Km.) north of the Sea of Galilee. 2. From Chorazin, you can see the Sea of Galilee, Bethsaida, and some of Capernaum. 3. It’s located a little off the beaten path. 4. It was built out of black basalt stone which was common in the Galilee area. 5. The construction of the homes in Chorazin are quite well preserved and show how the home where Jesus lived in Capernaum might have looked. 6. The walls of the homes consisted of stone, and the roofs were of either mud bricks, or branches and leaves. 7. This area is very dry, and the water supply was essential for sustaining life in this town. A spring is located on the north-east side of the town, which was the source of the city's water in addition to the cisterns under the houses. 8. In the time of Jesus, Chorazin was about 15 acres (7 hectares) in size and had an estimated population of around 500–1,000. Historical Background 1. Chorazin was one of the three towns (Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum), which made up what scholars call “The Evangelical Triangle.” 2. Jesus set up His home ministry base in Capernaum which was close-by to Chorazin. 3. Jesus spent around 50-70% of His ministry time around the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee so those in Chorazin would have repeatedly heard and seen all Jesus did. 4. A Tree with the kind of thorns that would have been used for the crown of thorns Jesus wore at His crucifixion can be found here. Places of Interest 1. Synagogue Most of the ruins we see today are from the 3rd century. Jesus would have taught here frequently. It has an ornamental shell which would have been the top part of the cabinet where the Torah and Old Testament Scrolls would have been kept. 2. Seat of Moses An unusual find in the ruins of the synagogue was a Seat of Moses carved out of a single basalt block. From it, the Torah would have been read ​ The chair seen here is a replica of the original one found. The original is in a museum in Jerusalem. ​ The “Chair of Moses” was a phrase used by Jesus to signify the place of authority that the Scribes and Pharisees had in interpreting the Law and exercising their authority over the Jewish people. Matthew 23:1–3: Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 3. Mikveh baths 4. Residential homes 5. Trees with thorns (the kind used for Jesus’ crown of thorns) 6. Public buildings 7. Sea of Galilee Chorazin in the Bible 1. Christ pronounced judgment upon the cities and towns that rejected the gospel. Luke 9:1-6: And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 2. Jesus cursed those in Chorazin because they rejected Him, His teachings, and the many miracles He had done in their midst. Matthew 11:21-24: Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless, I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you. 3. To whom much is given, much is required. Luke 12:48: Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. 4. Instead of being blessed, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum chose to be cursed. Today, each town is a testament to God’s curse upon them. Faith Lesson from Chorazin 1. Chorazin is a testament to Christ’s judgment on a people who rejected His teachings, miracles, healing, and salvation. Are we guilty of rejecting Christ and His teaching in some way? 2. Chorazin stands as a warning to us today not to do the same. Are we walking in close obedience, or living in casual obedience to Christ, or even disobedience? 3. In the same way this town lies in ruins, our lives will lie in ruins if we reject Christ and the life He offers. Are we genuinely living for Christ and putting His Word into practice? 4. It appears there will be different degrees of torment and judgment in hell because Christ said it would be more tolerable in the day of judgment for other cities than for Chorazin. What do you think? 5. Following Christ brings life and blessing, rejecting Him bring death and destruction. Romans 8:6–8: For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

  • Pool of Siloam, Blind Man Healed, City of David, Gihon Spring |

    Pool of Siloam Photo Gallery Places of Interest Pool of Siloam Location 1. The Pool of Siloam was uncovered in 2004 during a water pipe break. 2. It is in the lower part of the City of David. 3. It was located on a main road that headed up to the Southern Gate entrance to the temple. Historical Background 1. The Pool of Siloam was a large purification mitzvah for the Jewish holy festivals like the Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Pentecost, etc. 2. The historian, Josephus, who lived during the time of Christ, records that up to a million Jews would make pilgrimages to Jerusalem on these holy festivals. These Jews had to be purified before entering the Temple Mount. 3. It was the size of two Olympic sized swimming pools. 4. It has the same kind of stones and style as the Southern Stairs. 5. Its water source comes from the Gihon Spring in the City of David. 6. The water runs through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which was built in 700 BC to prevent Jerusalem’s water source from being cut off by the warring army of the Assyrians. Places of Interest 1. Pool of Siloam 2. Pilgrim's Road that went from the Pool of Siloam up to the southern entrances to the temple. As they ascended this road, they would sing the songs of ascent found in Psalms 120-134. 3. Southern temple entrances (Southern Stairs & Robinson's Arch Stairway) 4. Gihon Spring 5. City of David 6. Temple Mount ​ 7. Hezekiah's Tunnel Pool of Siloam in the Bible 1. Jesus performed an amazing miracle here by healing a blind man. John 9:1–7: As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 2. Why did Jesus make clay out of dirt and His saliva? To possibly show that He was the Creator and formed Adam and Eve out of the dust of the ground. 3. Why the Pool of Siloam? It was a key purification place, and multitudes of people were likely present to witness the miracle. It was an example of living water. John 7:37–38: Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 4. Confrontation between the blind man and the religious leaders. John 9:28–34: And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. 5. Later this man also received spiritual sight and became a follower of Christ. John 9:35–38: Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 6. Jesus pronounced judgment on those who refuse the light God gives them. John 9:39–41: Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind .” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.” Faith Lesson from the Pool of Siloam 1. The blind man received physical sight because of Jesus. 2. Later, he would receive spiritual sight as well and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Have we received spiritual sight by being born-again? 3. The blind man was cast out of the synagogue which was an enormous price to pay for a Jew. Are we willing to pay any price to follow Christ? 4. If we refuse the light God gives us, we can become spiritually blind like the Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ day. 5. Contrary to what many believe, God does not always heal everyone and has more than one purpose for sickness. Seven Biblical Purposes for Sickness and Ailments 1. Sickness for the glory of God. Example of the blind man Jesus healed at the Pool of Siloam. John 9:3: Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 2. Sickness for disciplining believers living in sin. Example of believers who partook of the Lord’s Supper with sin in their lives. 1 Corinthians 11:30: For this reason, many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 3. Sickness to keep us humble and dependent on God. Example of the Apostle Paul. 2 Corinthians 12:7: So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 4. Sickness that allows us to glorify God in the midst of our suffering as we show our love and devotion to God despite our problems. Example of the life of Job. Job 13:15: Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. 5. Sickness for transforming us into the image of Christ. Romans 8:28–29: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. 6. Sickness that will develop within us a greater appreciation for heaven and all its pleasures. 2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 7. Sickness unto death. Eventually, we’re all going to die regardless of what happens. Example of the great Prophet Elisha. ​ ​

  • Beth-Shean (Beit Shean, Bet She'an): King Saul's Downfall, Roman Decapolis City |

    Beth-Shean Photo Gallery Places of Interest Beth-Shean ​ Location 1. Beth-Shean, also known as Beit Shean or Bet She’an, was a major biblical and secular city for thousands of years. 2. It’s located in the center of several main crossroads between the Jordan Valley and the Jezreel (Yizreel) Valley. 3. It’s about 15 miles (25 km.) south of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee and about 35 miles (55 km.) east of the Mediterranean Sea. ​ 4. It’s located on the Harod Stream, which provides it with much water. This Harod Stream is the same stream that originates at Harod Spring, just west of here (15 miles or 20 km.) and is where Gideon chose 300 men under God’s command to defeat the Midianites and other armies. ​ 5. The main entrance faced the east, as did most other major cities and structures in ancient times. In fact, the word "orientation" comes from the word “orient,” which means east. Because creation, the beginning civilizations, and the sun rose from the east, to be oriented was to position yourself focused on the east. Today, maps use the north for orientation, but in ancient days, maps used the east for orientation purposes. Historical Background 1. Beth-Shean was a key city long before the arrival of the Israelites because of its location. In the late Canaanite period (1600–1400 BC), the Egyptians had political control over the land of Canaan. 2. Later, around 1000 BC, the Philistines also ruled the city for a time because they hung the body of King Saul on its walls after defeating the armies of Israel in the Battle of Gilboa. 3. When King David reigned (1010–970 BC), he conquered Beth-Shean, becoming part of Israel’s territories. 4. Later, in 732 BC, the Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser III, destroyed Beth-Shean after defeating the northern Kingdom of Israel. 5. In the 4th century BC, Hellenistic (Greek) new settlers established a city-state (polis) in Beth-Shean. During the Hellenistic period, the city was named Nisa Scythopolis. 6. In 63 BC, the city was conquered by the Romans and became one of the cities of the Decapolis – a group of cities with a Hellenistic-Roman cultural character, most of them in Transjordan. Beth-Shean was one of the key cities of the Roman Empire in this area south of Galilee. 7. Beth-Shean was not far from Nazareth, and it’s very likely Jesus, as a young man, worked here with His father as a builder. 8. Undoubtedly, Christ ministered here and walked by it on a regular basis. 9. Beth-Shean was destroyed in 749 AD due to an enormous earthquake. 10. The biblical tel of Beth-Shean has around 20 layers of civilizations that have been discovered. Places of Interest 1. Entrance ​ 2. Old Testament Beth-Shean ​ 3. Egyptian Governor’s House ​ 4. Tree marking the place where Saul’s body was hanged. ​ 5. Bathhouse – Often, it was a place of prostitution. Therefore, Christians avoided places like these. ​ 6. Theater – Often, immoral and indecent acts took place there. Therefore, early Christians avoided them and were persecuted as a result. ​ 7. Cardo (Palladius Street) – Comes from the word “Cardiac,” which means the center street of the city. ​ 8. Sigma - A mosaic depicting Tyche, Goddess of the city. ​ 9. Pillars ​ 10. Shopping stores ​ 11. Nymphaeum – Public Fountain ​ 12. Marketplace (Agora) – Paul would be dragged into places like this during his visits to cities in the Roman Empire (Acts 16:19). ​ 13. Temple – Paul spoke against the gods of these temples in each Gentile city in which he ministered (Acts 14:13). ​ 14. Northern Street ​ 15. Valley Street ​ 16. Silvanus Street ​ 17. Eastern Bathhouse ​ 18. Public Bathrooms ​ 19. Sacred Area ​ 20. City Gate during Greek and Roman times. Beth-Shean in the Bible 1. Beth-Shean is mentioned in the division and conquering of the Promised Land. Joshua 17:11: Also in Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth-Shean and its villages. 2. The Canaanites were a strong and fortified people. Joshua 17:16: The people of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-Shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel. 3. The tribe of Manasseh was not able to conquer the city of Beth-Shean and its villages. Judges 1:27: Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-Shean and its villages. 4. The major biblical event about Beth-Shean has to do with the life of King Saul. As a result of Saul’s persistent disobedience and presuming upon God’s grace, his life was taken by the Lord, and his body, along with his sons, were hanged here on the walls of the biblical Beth-Shean, which is the hill above the lower Beth-Shean . Saul’s Disobedient Life 1. Saul had incredible jealousy and tried to kill David for many years. Scripture records many times that Saul tried to kill David: 1 Samuel 18:11, 1 Samuel 18:25, 1 Samuel 19:9–15, 1 Samuel 20:31–33, 1 Samuel 23:9, and 1 Samuel 23:25–26. Saul even gave his daughter, Michal, in marriage to David as a means to ensnare and kill him. ​ 2. When Saul felt pressured during a battle, he offered sacrifices that only a priest was allowed to do. 1 Samuel 13:5-7: And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, 7 and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. 3. Saul's Unlawful Sacrifice. 1 Samuel 13:8–14: He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 4. Saul failed to obey God by not destroying God’s enemies. 1 Sam. 15: 1–3: And Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the LORD. 2 Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." 5. Samuel confronts Saul’s disobedience. 1 Samuel 15:22–23: And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king." 6. In a heated battle with the Philistines, Saul disobeyed God and visited a witch of Endor. 1 Samuel 28:15–19: Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore, I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.” 7. As a result of Saul’s repeated disobedience, God took his life. 1 Samuel 31:1-13: Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi - shua , the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me." But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore, Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled. And the Philistines came and lived in them. 8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh- gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days. Faith Lesson from Beth-Shean 1. Saul cared more about what people thought of him than what God thought of him. 2. He made big decisions without consulting the Lord. ​ 3. Saul always had an excuse for his sin and disobedience. ​ 4. We need to realize that obedience delights God more than asking forgiveness. ​ 5. Rebellion & arrogance are the same as witchcraft because both attitudes fail to obey God and instead, seeks their own will and pleasure. ​ 6. Saul presumed upon God’s grace. In other words, he believed he could disobey God, that God would just forgive him, and there would be no consequences. This attitude proved to be dangerous, sinful, and cost him his life and ministry. 7. Are we committed to submitting to God or do we set ourselves up as our own authority like Saul?

  • 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.

  • Jesus & Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well, Sychar, Shechem |

    Shechem ~ Jacob's Well Photo Gallery Places of Interest Shechem ​ Location 1. Biblical Shechem is also known as Sychar in the New Testament, and as Tel Balata and Nablus, today. 2. Shechem is located about 30 miles (48 km.) north of Jerusalem and about 30 miles (48 km.) northeast of Tel Aviv. 3. It was in the Samaria region of Israel in the territory of Ephraim during Bible times. 4. It was on a main north-south travel route that linked the northern and southern parts of Israel. 5. It was also on a main east-west route that linked the coastal plain of Israel with the Jordan Valley. 6. Shechem lies between the two famous mountains of Gerizim and Ebal. Historical Background 1. Shechem had a significant role in the Bible and is mentioned 58 times. 2. God first appeared to Abraham in Shechem and gave him the promise that he would inherit the land. 3. Abraham and Jacob lived here. ​ 4. Jacob lived here and built a well. 5. Joseph’s bones are buried here. 6. The blessings and curses given on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal took place here. 7. Joshua rallied all Israel and made a covenant with them in Shechem. ​ 8. Abimelech, son of Gideon, reigned wickedly over Shechem for three years. It was he who burned down the fortress temple here called, "El-Berith," and killed 1,000 people who had taken refuge in it. Later, he was killed by a woman who threw a millstone down on his head. 9. The nation of Israel became divided in Shechem. 10. Shechem became the capital of the northern tribes of Israel under King Jeroboam’s rule. 11. The Samaritans worshiped on top of Mount Gerizim and there are substantial ruins there today. ​12. Jesus met with a Samaritan woman (John 4) at Jacob’s Well in Shechem. Today, this well is located in a Greek Orthodox church called, "The Church of Jacob's Well." 13. The Samaritans were a small group of unfaithful Israelites who remained in the land of Israel and intermarried with foreign unbelievers after the deportation of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BC. They established their own religion at Mount Gerizim and built their own temple. They were despised and rejected by the Jews and considered unclean. The Samaritans, likewise, despised the Jews and had few dealings with them. The Samaritans only believe in the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament). Places of Interest 1. Tel Balata Visitor Center Northwest Gate City Wall Fortress Temple Joshua’s Stone (Erected after Joshua made a covenant with the Israelites) Sacred Courtyard Houses Eastern Gate 2. Mount Gerizim 2nd-century buildings Fortified enclosure Citadel Courtyards 2nd-century mansion 12 Stone Altar Byzantine Church Byzantine Gate 2nd-century Gate Byzantine Monastery ​ Eastern Gate 3. Mount Ebal Joshua’s Rectangular Altar ​ Circular Altar below Rectangular Altar (possibly that of Abraham or Jacob) 4. Jacob’s Well (120 feet, 40 m. deep) 5. Joseph’s Tomb 6. Modern Shechem (Nablus) ​ 7. Sychar Jacob's Well and the Samaritan Woman In the Bible Shechem, called Sychar, is the place Jesus met a woman at Jacob’s well and conversed with her. John 4:1–26: Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph . 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep [120 feet, 40 m.]. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain [Gerizim] , but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:39–42: Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” Other Mentions of Shechem In the Bible 1. Shechem is the place where God first appeared to Abraham after he entered the Promised Land. Genesis 12:4–7: So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem , to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land .” So he built there an altar to the Lord , who had appeared to him. 2. It was at Shechem where Jacob settled after reuniting with his estranged brother, Esau, upon his return from Paddan-aram. Genesis 33:18–20: And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem , which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city. 19 And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. 20 There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel (God; the God of Israel). 3. The defilement of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, took place at Shechem. Genesis 34:1–4: Now Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.” Genesis 34:25–27: On the third day, when they were sore [from being circumcised], two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem's house and went away. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. 4. It was in Shechem that Jacob buried his foreign gods and committed himself fully to the true and living God of his forefathers. Genesis 35:4: So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem . 5. To the rich pastureland near Shechem, Joseph came to seek his brethren and was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt. Genesis 37:12–14: Now his brothers went to pasture their father's flock near Shechem . 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem . 6. The bones of Joseph were buried in Shechem Joshua 24:32: Now they buried the bones of Joseph , which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem , in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph’s sons. ​ 7. On the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, Moses commanded the Israelites to pronounce blessings and curses for their obedience or disobedience to Him. Deuteronomy 27:11–13: That day Moses charged the people, saying, 12 “When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people : Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse : Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.” The blessings and curses pronounced on Gerizim and Ebal would become the foundational reference point to which God would refer in punishing Israel and Judah by sending them wars, famines, and pestilences. Eventually, their disobedience would lead to their deportations. Because they had broken the covenant on Gerizim and Ebal repeatedly, they deserved the discipline God gave them. 8. As commanded by Moses, Joshua erected an altar on Mount Ebal with uncut stones. Deuteronomy 27:1–8: Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today. 2 And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster. 3 And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you. 4 And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster. 5 And there you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them; 6 you shall build an altar to the Lord your God of uncut stones . And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God, 7 and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God. 8 And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.” 9. When his end was approaching, Joshua gathered the tribes of Israel at Shechem and gave them his final words of counsel and exhortation. Afterward, he erected a large stone as a monument to mark the covenant with the people and God. This stone can be seen today at Tel Balata. Joshua 24:1: Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God. Joshua 24:14–16: Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord . Joshua 24:25–27: So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem . 26 And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord . 27 And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us. Therefore, it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.” 10. Abimelech, son of Gideon, reigned wickedly over Shechem for three years. It was he who burned down the fortress temple here called, "El-Berith," and killed 1,000 people who had taken refuge in it. Later, he was killed by a woman who threw a millstone down on his head. Judges 9:46, 49: When all the leaders of the tower of Shechem heard about it, they entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith. 49 So all the people also cut down, each one, his branch and followed Abimelech, and put them on top of the inner chamber and set the inner chamber on fire over those inside, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women. ​ Judges 9:52-54:So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the entrance of the tower to burn it down with fire. 53 But a woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. 54 Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” 11. It was at Shechem the nation of Israel became divided, and Jeroboam reigned over the northern section (Israel) and Rehoboam over the southern section (Judah). 1 Kings 12:1–2: Rehoboam went to Shechem , for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 1 Kings 12:16–17: And when all Israel saw that the king (Rehoboam) did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So Israel went to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah. 12. King Jeroboam fortified Shechem and ordered that two golden calves be erected in Bethel and Dan. 1 Kings 12:25–29: Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there . And he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 13. Later, Shechem became the central city of the Samaritans, who built their own temple on Mt. Gerizim. Faith Lesson from Shechem 1. Of all the events that happened at Shechem, Jesus summed up God’s desire for us when He told the woman at the well, “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth ” (John 2:23–24). 2. Do we worship God in spirit? 3. Do we walk in the Spirit and stay in close fellowship with God (Gal. 5:16–26)? 4. Do we worship God in truth? 5. Do we know God’s Word well and the truth it contains (2 Tim. 2:15)? 6. We will only know God to the degree we know His Word. How well do you know God?

  • Sower's Cove by the Sea of Galilee: Parables of the Kingdom |

    Sower's Cove: Parables of the Kingdom Photo Gallery Places of Interest Sower's Cove: Parables of the Kingdom Location 1. Sower’s Cove is located between Capernaum and Tabgha on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. 2. It’s a natural cove with outstanding acoustics. 3. When Christ preached the Parables of the Kingdom, He went out of His house in Capernaum and sat by the sea. Tradition and the natural location of Sower’s Cove make it an excellent candidate for the place where Christ preached the Parables of the Kingdom found in Matthew 13. Historical Background 1. A parable is a story that illustrates a truth by using an example from nature. 2. The parables tell what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. 3. The term “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Kingdom of God” are the same. Matthew’s gospel uses the term “Kingdom of Heaven” as it was directed to more of a Jewish audience. The Jews had such a high reverence for God that they didn’t use His name much. They even took out the syllables in Yahweh to show reverence. The other Gospels mainly use the term “Kingdom of God” in their accounts. 4. Part of the reason Christ spoke in parables was to fulfill prophecies regarding judgment on the Israelites because of their dull and hardened hearts (Isaiah 6:9–10). Matthew 13:13–17: This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Places of Interest 1. Sower’s Cove 2. Capernaum 3. The northern shore of the Sea of Galilee 4. Mount of Beatitudes 5. Bethsaida 6. Tabgha 7. Sea of Galilee Parable of the Sower in the Bible 1. Jesus went out by the Sea of Galilee and told many parables; one of them was the Parable of the Sower. Matthew 13:1-9: That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose, they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear. 2. Jesus used the natural elements of nature found right in this area as illustrations for this parable. 3. Christ explains the meaning of the Parable of the Sower. Matthew 13:18–23: Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. Summary of the Meaning of the Parable of the Sower 1. The seed is the Word of God. 2. The different soils represent the different kinds of hearts people can have. 3. The one who snatches away the seed is the Devil. 4. The hard soil is a hard heart that hears but refuses to let God’s Word enter. They are unsaved and under Satan’s control. 5. The rocky soil represents those who hear God’s Word but don’t continue when hard times and persecution come. 6. The weedy soil represents people who allow the worries of life and the pursuit of wealth to choke out God’s Word, and they wither up and die. 7. The last soil that produces a harvest represents true believers who persevere in their faith, and in so doing, produce fruit. 8. It seems clear that the first 3 kinds of soils represent unsaved people. 9. Only the last soil that produced fruit represents the truly saved person, as fruit is the example used throughout Scripture to refer to genuinely saved people. Other Parables Christ Taught at Sower’s Cove 1. Parable of the Weeds (Tares) 2. Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven 3. Parable of the Hidden Treasure 4. Parable of the Pearl of Great Value 5. Parable of the Net Faith Lesson from Sower’s Cove 1. Part of the reason Christ spoke in parables was to fulfill prophecies regarding judgment on the Israelites because of their dull and unbelieving hearts. Are our hearts dull of hearing? What are we doing to protect our hearts from becoming dull of hearing? 2. What kind of soil (heart) do we possess? Is it hard? Is it stony, shallow, and pulls away from God when trials and suffering come? Is it full of the cares and distractions of this world? Or is it producing much fruit for God? 3. The good soil produced different amounts of fruit; some yielded a hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, and some thirty-fold. How much fruit are you producing for God? ​

  • Israel Holy Land Tour Trip: October 20-November 5, 2023, Registration |

    Holy Land Trip Registration Form October 20~November 5, 2 023 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 acceptance into the tour trip group. 3. Upon being accepted into the group, please pay your $500 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 being accepted into the group, please pay your $500 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

  • Holy Land Trip Final Payment Form |

    Holy Land Trips Final Payment Secure Payment Link Holy Land Trip Final Payment To complete your final deposit payment, please send your payment of $1,350 by either credit card, PayPal, or check. The payment is set up for single and double payments. Just select the one that applies to you. ​ If paying by credit card or PayPal, a 4% fee is added to your total amount due to fees charged by credit cards and PayPal. ​ If paying by credit card or PayPal, click the button below. ​ PayPal does not require you to create a PayPal account to use your credit card. ​ Please refresh your browser before paying for latest button updates. Single Person Payment $1,350 Double Person Payment $2,700 If paying by check, please send your check to the following address: ​ Holy Land Site (make check payable to this name, please) 196 Hambrick Ave. Sutherlin, OR 97479

  • Bethlehem: Birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity, Shepherds, Herod |

    Bethlehem Church of the Nativity Photo Gallery Places of Interest Bethlehem Church of the Nativity Location 1. The Church of the Nativity is located in Bethlehem, about 6 miles (9 km.) south of Jerusalem. 2. It is right beside Manger Square and Manger Street. ​ 3. It is located on the upper mountain plateau route that connects the southern Negev to the upper Galilee region. On this route were cities from the south, like Beersheba, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Bethel, Shiloh, and Shechem to the north. It was a highly traveled route. 4. Today, Bethlehem is in the West Bank but is very safe. Thousands of tourists visit its Christian sites each month with no issues whatsoever. Historical Background of Ancient Bethelem 1. Bethlehem means House of Bread. ​ 2. It had a population of around 1,000-3,000 people in biblical times. 3 . The area of Manger Square, Church of the Nativity, and the area around them actually sit upon a tel. This is called Tel Bethlehem and is where the original town was located. ​ 4. Many of the homes consisted of caves and structures. Often, a home would have both a cave below it and a home on top or beside a cave. ​ 5. The caves would be used for living and livestock as they were cool in the summer and warm in the winter. ​ 6. Discoveries under the Church of the Nativity reveal layers of archaeological evidence dating to the time of Christ, the time of David, and the time of Abraham. They all attest to the location of Bethlehem. ​ 7 . According to the archaeological evidence and eyewitness accounts, Jesus was born in a cave where animals were kept. This is why He was placed in a manger after birth. ​ 8. Justin Martyer (150 AD), Origen (248 AD), Eusebius (313 AD), and Jerome (395 AD) all attest as eyewitnesses that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in a cave. ​ 9. Under the Church of the Nativity is a cave complex where Jesus was born. There are quite a few caves that are interconnected. Historical Background of the Church of the Nativity ​ 1. Shortly after Christ’s ascension back to heaven, worshipers began marking the key places surrounding the life and events of Jesus. 2. Christ’s birthplace was marked out, and worshipers began commemorating this site. 3. In 135 AD, Hadrian, a Roman governor, destroyed the Christian sites and built shrines to false gods on top of many of them. He also renamed Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and banned Jews from entering the city. 4. On top of Christ’s birthplace, he erected a shrine to Adonis, the Greek god of beauty and desire. 5. Evidence that this was the birthplace of Jesus also surfaced in the writings of Justin Martyr in around 160 AD. It was also affirmed later by Origen and Eusebius in the 3rd century. 6. Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, received Christ as her Savior and came to the Holy Land to build churches on key Christian sites. 7. Constantine and his mother, Helena, commissioned that the Church of the Nativity be built over the cave, marking the birthplace of Jesus. It was dedicated in 339 AD. It consisted of an octagonal floor plan and was placed directly over the cave. In the center of the octagonal part, a viewing area with a railing provided a view of the cave. Part of the mosaic of the original floor has survived and can still be seen. 8. Jerome, who translated the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts into Latin (the language of the Roman Empire) to form what is called the Latin Vulgate, did much of his translation work in a cave beside the Church of the Nativity from 382–405 AD. He was later buried here, and today, it’s called Jerome’s Grotto. His remains were carried to Rome by the Crusaders in around 1165. 9. The church was burned down during a Samaritan revolt in 529 AD. 10. Justinian, emperor of the Byzantine Empire, rebuilt a larger church in 565 AD that has survived to date. It is the oldest functioning church in the world. 11. The Church of the Nativity was the only church spared by the Persians during their conquest of the Holy Land in 614 AD because they saw paintings on the outside of the church honoring the Magi from the east, who were fellow Persians. 12. The Crusaders renovated the church in around 1165 AD and painted murals on the pillars and mosaics above the pillars on the walls of the main nave. 13. The church has been neglected and renovated several times since the Crusader period to the present. 14. Today, the custody of the church is in the hands of the Roman Catholic, Armenian, and Greek Orthodox churches. The Greek Orthodox Church cares for the Main Nave and Grotto of the Nativity. ​ 15. A 25 million USD renovation has recently been completed to the Church of the Nativity. Places of Interest 1. Entrance to the church Original columns from the Byzantine Period (339 AD) Door Arch from the Crusader Period (1165 AD) Door of Humility – To provide a humble entrance and keep horsemen and carts from entering the church to loot it during the Muslim Ottoman Period (1500 AD). 2. Entrance Lobby 3. Main Nave The Main Nave i s from the Byzantine Period that Justinian built ( 565 AD). There are 40 limestone pillars with two rows on each side that support the structure. All the pillars are from the Byzantine Period. Many of the pillars have paintings of kings and saints from the Crusader Period (1165 AD). Above the pillars on the walls are Crusader Period mosaics. Some show the genealogy of Jesus. Mosaics of the Byzantine Church under the floor. ​ 4. High Altar (front part of the nave) Mosaics of the original church on the left side of the High Altar. 5. Birthplace Grotto Located under the main altar. The entrance is to the right of the altar, and the exit is to the left. Manger where Christ was placed – on the right side of the grotto. A 14-pointed star marking the birthplace of Christ is in the center of the grotto (14 points for the three sets of 14 generations in Matthew 1:17, and for the 14 Stations of the Via Dolorosa). 6. Church of St. Catherine A Roman Catholic Church named after Catherine, who was a 4th-century martyr from Alexandria. It was built in 1880 AD upon the ruins of a 5th-century monastery and a 12th-century Crusader church. Courtyard Statue of Jerome in the courtyard ​ Several chapels are found in the caves accessed from St. Catherine's Church by a narrow staircase inside on the right side. The Chapel of Saint Joseph commemorates the angel's appearance to Joseph, commanding him to flee to Egypt. Chapel of the Innocents commemorates the children killed by Herod. Chapel of Saint Jerome, where tradition holds he lived while translating the Bible from Hebrew to Latin (the Vulgate). ​ ​ 7. Manger Square – Located across from the Church of the Nativity. Birth of Christ in the Bible 1. Bethlehem was the prophesied birthplace of Christ. Micah 5:2: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. 2. Christ was born in Bethlehem as prophesied. Luke 2:1–7: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 3. Many angels appeared to the shepherds near Bethlehem who were watching their flocks. Luke 2:8–16: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 4. Wise men (Magi) from the east visited and worshiped Christ in Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1–12: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 "'And you, O Bethlehem , in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'" 7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem , saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. 5. God warned Joseph to flee to Egypt because Herod planned to kill Jesus. Matthew 2:13-15: Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt , and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him .” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” 6. Herod had all the male children 2 years and younger murdered here in Bethlehem in his attempt to kill Christ. Matthew 2:16–18: Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” ​ 7. After the death of Herod, Jesus and His family returned to Israel to live in Nazareth. Matthew 2:19-23: Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel , for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth , that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” Faith Lesson from the Birth of Christ 1. Bethlehem was the prophesied birthplace of Christ. 2. Christ fulfilled over 2 00 prophecies regarding his first coming. 3. The birth of Christ was a historical supernatural event witnessed by many. 4. The fulfillment of prophecy proves that Christ was the Son of God and that the Bible is inspired. 5. Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection were all miraculous events, also proving Christ to be the very Son of God. 6. Christ claimed to be God in the flesh and proved it through His supernatural life and miracles. 7. Do we believe Christ is the Son of God, and have we received Him as our Lord and Savior? ​

  • Mount of Olives Overview |

    Mount of Olives Photo Gallery Places of Interest Mount of Olives Location The Mount of Olives is located just opposite the Temple Mount on the east side of Old City Jerusalem. Historical Background 1. The Mount of Olives has played a significant role in the Bible. 2. It is from where Christ ascended back to heaven. 3. It is where Christ, along with all believers, will return to at Christ’s second coming. Places of Interest 1. Kidron Valley (Valley of Jehoshaphat) 2. Garden of Gethsemane 3. Mary’s Tomb (mother of Jesus) 4. Church of Mary Magdalene 5. Church of Dominus Flevit (where Christ wept over Jerusalem) 6. Triumphal Entry Path 7. Bethphage (beginning place of the Triumphal Entry on the backside of the Mount of Olives) 8. Tomb of Lazarus (backside of the Mount of Olives) 9. 3,000-year-old cemetery with 150,000 Gravesites 10. Chapel of the Ascension (where Christ ascended to heaven and will return to at His second coming) 11. Pater Noster Church (where Christ taught the Lord’s Prayer) 12. Absalom’s Monument 13. Tomb of the Prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) ​ Mount of Olives in the Bible 1. When King David’s son, Absalom, tried to take over the kingship, David ascended the Mount of Olives as he fled Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 15:30: But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. 2. It’s where Jesus regularly stayed when He ministered in Jerusalem. Luke 21:37: And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 3. It’s the believed place where Christ taught His disciples to pray after visiting Mary and Martha’s home in Bethany (Pater Noster Church). Luke 11:1: One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 4. On the backside of the Mount of Olives (at Bethany), Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. John 11:32–36: Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 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!" 5. Jesus descended the Mount of Olives during His Triumphal Entry (Triumphal Entry Path). Luke 19:35–38: And they brought it [colt of a donkey] to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 6. Christ wept over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (Church of Dominus Flevit). 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. 7. The Garden of Gethsemane, located at the base of the Mount of Olives, is where the suffering of Christ began. Christ’s sweat became like drops of blood. Luke 22:39–44: And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Peter cut off the ear of the High Priest’s guard. Christ was arrested, and the disciples fled. 8. Christ’s return and the destruction of Jerusalem were foretold from the Mount of Olives. Matthew 24:3: As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" 9. On the top of the Mount of Olives is where Christ ascended back to heaven (Chapel of the Ascension). Acts 1:9–11: And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." 10. On top of the Mount of Olives is where Christ will return at the end of the Tribulation Period. Matthew 24:29–31: Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Zechariah 14:4: On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 11. At the base of the Mount of Olives lies the Kidron Valley (Valley of Jehoshaphat) where Christ will judge unbelievers at the end of the Tribulation Period. Joel 3:2: I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land. Revelation 14:19–20: So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse's bridle, for 1,600 stadia [200 miles, or 300 kilometers]. Faith Lesson from the Mount of Olives 1. Christ’s return on the Mount of Olives is where everything culminates and flips. Righteousness becomes dominant and evil bows its knees. 2. We will return with Christ in power and great glory. What hope believers have in Christ. 3. We will reign with Christ for 1,000 years from Jerusalem during Christ’s Millennial Reign. 4. Because of our hope as believers, are we motivated to serve Christ and live for Him? ​

Holy Land Site

Bringing the Bible to Life by Seeing Where It Took Place!

Digital Book Cover Front - Israel Book (
Israel Biblical Sites Bible Companion (L
Biblical Sites


Israel Overview Tour of All Biblical Sites

Jerusalem Sites


Jerusalem Overview

Jerusalem Holy Sites Overview


Antonia Fortress

Bethany: Tomb of Lazarus

Chapel of the Ascension: Ascension & Return of Christ

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

City of David Overview

Death, Burial, Resurrection of Christ


Dominus Flevit Church: Triumphal Entry

Eastern Gate


Garden of Gethsemane: Church of All Nations


Gordon's Garden Tomb


Gethsemane to Golgotha:

Christ's Path to the Cross

Hezekiah's Broad Wall


Hinnom Valley Overview


House of Caiaphas: Peter's Denial of Christ


Kidron Valley: Judgment of God


Mary's Tomb & Gethsemane Cave


Mount of Olives Overview


Pater Noster Church: Lord's Prayer, Olivet Discourse

Pilate's Palace: Trial of Jesus

Pools of Bethesda & St. Anne 



Pool of Siloam

Prophecy, Proof the Bible Is True: Mount of Olives


Solomon's Temple

Southern Stairs/Davidson Archaeological Site

Temple Mount Overview

Temple Location

Temple Mount: Pentecost


Temple Cleansing by Jesus


Temple & the Early Church

Tomb of King David

Tombs of the Prophets

The Old Testament Feasts & Jesus


The Upper Room

Via Dolorosa


History Of Jerusalem's Walls and Gates


Western Wall & Tunnels Tour

Other Sites In Jerusalem

Sea of Galilee Sites


Sea of Galilee Overview




Calling of the Disciples


Capernaum: Jesus' Ministry Base




Feeding the 5,000

Gennesaret: Jesus Boat


Jesus Walks on Water, Calms the Sea


Kursi: Demonic Man Healed


Magdala: Mary Magdalene


Mount Arbel: The Great Commission

Mount of Beatitudes


Sower's Cove: Parables of the Kingdom


Tabgha: Restoration of Peter

Yardenit Baptismal Site

Other Sites Around the Sea of Galilee

Northern Israel Sites


Beth Shean

Beth Shean Amphitheater


Caesarea Maritima Overview

Caesarea Maritima: Holy Spirit Given to the Gentiles


Caesarea Philippi


Cana: First Miracle of Jesus

Church of the Annunciation & St. Joseph Church

Dan (City of Dan)

Gideon's Spring


Jezreel Overview

Jordan River Overview

Megiddo: Armageddon


Mount Carmel & Elijah

Mount Tabor: Transfiguration of Christ


Nazareth Overview


Nazareth: Mt. Precipice

Sepphoris (Tsipori, Zippori)


Other Sites In Northern Israel


Central Israel Sites






Ein Karem (Kerem)


Emmaus Road 


Gezer: On Crossroads of the World

Gibeon - Nabi Samwil



Inn of the Good Samaritan


Jericho ~ Tell Es-Sultan


Joppa (Jaffa, Yafo) Overview

Jordan River: Crossing into the Promised Land

Jordan River Baptismal Site of Jesus (Qsar al-Yahud)

Judean Wilderness

Judean Wilderness: Testing of Jesus

Mount Nebo & Moses

Philistine Cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Ekron, Gath

Qumran: Dead Sea Scrolls


Samaria (Sabastia)



Shechem: Jacob's Well


Shiloh: Center of Worship

St. George's Monastery (Wadi Qelt)

Timnah: Life of Samson

Valley of Elah: David & Goliath

Other Sites In Central Israel

Southern Israel Sites




Beer Sheba: The Patriarchs


Bethlehem Overview

Bethlehem: Church of Nativity


Bethlehem: David & the Psalms

Bethlehem: Naomi, Ruth, Boaz


Bethlehem: Shepherds' Field

Dead Sea Area


En-Gedi: Living Waters


Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai




Hebron Overview

Hebron Caves of Machpelah

Herodian (Herodium) Fortress

Oaks of Mamre, Hebron


Kadesh Barnea





Mount Sinai


Sodom & Gomorrah

The Philistines & Their City Strongholds


Timna Park: Tabernacle, Moses


Other Sites In Southern Israel

Other Biblical Sites

Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai

Garden of Eden Location

Madaba ( Map), Jordan

Mount Nebo & Moses


Noah's Ark & the Great Flood


Noah's Ark Location


Petra, Jordan

Other Biblical Videos


Life & Ministry of Jesus Series

Jewish Holy Days & How Jesus Fulfills Them

Future of Israel: Its Wars, Conflicts, Prophecies

What Are the Differences Between Islam and Christianity?

Who Has the Rights to the Holy Land? Jews or Arabs?

What Is the Reason for the War and Conflicts in Israel and the Middle East?

bottom of page