Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Mount of Beatitudes
This picture was taken from the mount of the beatitudes, overlooking the Galilee.
Yeshua taught about blessings that overflow from our heart attitudes at this place. He said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
To be called sons of God is to truly follow in our Messiah’s footsteps. He is The Son of God, The prince of peace. He came to bring peace between man and God, to remove the barrier of sin that separates us from God and to teach us to be peacemakers. Share His message of peace with others!
Masada is an ancient mountaintop fortress in southeastern Israel. A historical site with the most beautiful sunrise views. This is the site of the Jews’ last stand against the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 ce.
A group of nearly a thousand Jews sought refuge in Masada. After a long siege their hope dwindled and they decided to take their own lives rather than become Roman slaves. Masada fell on the first day of Passover (15th of Nisan in the Jewish calendar).
Josephus the Historian recorded their leader’s, Eliezer Ben Yair, speech: “Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself… We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom.”
Masada became a symbol in Jewish History of the fight for freedom even to the point of death. As believers we are fighting to resist the enemy of our soul, the one who would seek to make us his slaves. We take refuge in the Lord. He is our Rock and our fortress. For it is for freedom that Messiah died for us, so that we may be free from the bondage of sin. Indeed Messiah the Passover sacrifice died for our freedom.
Sea of Galilee
This is the beautiful Sea of Galilee located in the northern part of Israel. Many miracles took place here.
“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Matthew 14:28
One such miracle was Peter daring to walk on the water. I say daring because this required courage. Stepping out of the boat unto the raging waters at His command required courage!
It is interesting that Peter asks the Lord to -command- him to walk on the water. This disciple has seen the immediate response to His command and he knew that at His command the water will hold him. But what he would soon realize is that in order to stay upfloat, he must keep his eyes on the Lord and not let fear enter in.
Stepping out requires our courage, we have to look past the storm, He is there. He will not leave us, even when we fear and begin to sink He is there. When Peter cried out -immediately- the Lord reached out his hand and caught him.
Bethel is the second most mentioned place in the Bible (the first is Jerusalem). Abraham built an alter to the Lord there when he first came into the land (Genesis 12:8). Later Jacob dreamt of a ladder leading to heaven in this place and named it Bethel (“House of God”). The ladder in the dream was connecting heaven to earth and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. Jacob was so awe struck when he woke up from that dream that he said: “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:16-17)
Yeshua identified Himself as that ladder, the one who came down from heaven so that men could come up to heaven. He is the way and He is the gate – if anyone enters through Him he will be saved. (John 10:9 and 14:6 )
The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth (1,292 feet / 394 meter below sea level). It is 10 times saltier than the sea, it is referred to in the Bible as the “Salt Sea” and has also been called the Sea of Sodom and the Sea of Lot hinting to the events believed to have taken place there.
With such a name and such a shallow posture you might think of it as an example of death and despair. A place where judgement left its final stamp. But the prophet Ezekiel prophesies about the restoration of this sea in the millennium kingdom. The water shall be healed and will contain life once again (Ezekiel 47:6-12).
I there anything too difficult for the Lord? The Lord is able to bring back to life that which is completely dead. He has done it with The Messiah, He has done it with the state of Israel and He will do it with the Dead Sea.
With the Lord there is mercy, and mercy always triumphs over judgement.
Tel Hai, home to a famous Jewish National monument in northern Galilee of a stone roaring lion which has become the symbol of victory in death. During battle over the land eight Jews died along with their commander, Joseph Trumpeldor whose last famous words: “It is good to die for our country” greatly influenced Israeli culture and politics.
Jacob’s testimony book starts with reflections about this very location, here is a short excerpt: “Up in Tel-Hai (Living Hill) were the grave sites of some of the national heroes who had been laid to rest in that cemetery… Am I alive today by the merit of their shed blood? If those eight heroes of Tel-Hai had not sacrificed themselves on the altar of the national resurrection, would I have been born and raised on foreign soil? With every visit to that site came the arousal of profound thoughts and unanswerable questions: How is it to live as a Jew among anti-Semitic Gentiles? Why were the Jewish people so severely persecuted during all their exiles? Why did my forefathers forsake their homeland originally? Why were they exiled from their land for so many years, only to be returned now? Our rabbis taught that the first seventy-year exile from our land was because of our “idolatry, incest, and bloodshed.” Similarly, they told us that because of our “hatred without cause,” we were driven away from our country for the last two thousand years. Was this true? How many days, weeks, and months are there in two thousand years? To whom was this “hatred without cause” directed?
The road to Emmaus is the place where the greatest Bible study of all time took place. It is the story of the post resurrected Yeshua appearing to two of His disciples on the way to a village called Emmaus. Yeshua walked and talked with them but their eyes were “closed” so that they did not recognize Him. It was while their eyes were “closed” that He “opened” the Scriptures to them explaining all that Moses and the prophets wrote concerning Himself.
How would you have liked to be a part of this Bible study?
This is a picture of the remains of the synagogue in Capernaum. Yeshua made this town His headquarters and spent a lot of time teaching and healing there. Many miracles took place there yet the people didn’t repent and believe. Yeshua later compared this town to Sodom and said that if He had done all of these things in Sodom they would have repented.
Why do we struggle so much with faith? We may be tempted to think: if I could just see Yeshua, if I could hear Him speak to me, if I could see Him heal I would believe, and yet the people of this town did see but didn’t repent and believe.
The disciples, those who were so close to Yeshua heard the Lord say time and again: “O you of little faith” Why did you doubt? Why did you fear? Why did you worry?”
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
Lord please teach us to trust and obey you! Increase our faith and help us to cling to you! “Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe.” John 20:29
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