We went to Israel to witness where Jesus walked and where He will return to reign. Archeology saturates this ancient land. One can scarcely plant a tree in Israel without striking another level of antiquity.
The landscape in Israel is intriguing, from the rocky hills of the Galilee and The Golan Heights to the misty expanse of the Dead Sea. But as our guide often said, Israel is a very small country–no larger than the state of New Jersey.
Above is a picture of the ruins of Masada with the Dead Sea in the distance.
It is also a young nation, born in 1948, just a year before my birth. In the brief span of its existence, it has seen about five major wars and several more periods of serious unrest; yet its people tenaciously cling to the only real estate the Jewish race can claim as its own from the time of Abraham.
Israel was brought back from swamp and desert by returning Jewish settlers beginning about 1900 and now bears four seasons of fruits, grains and vegetables–enough to supply the fresh produce of Europe. Our son noted that the lifestyle of regions is often more apparent seeing how the locals shop and what they eat. Our first day in Israel we experienced first-hand some typical “fast food” of Israel–shawarma pita sandwiches stuffed with seasoned lamb and chicken. We entered a cool, rock-walled cafe’ in the ancient city of Joffa and were quickly served the savory hot sandwiches and canned pop. After a ten-hour plane trip and morning touring Caesarea and Joffa, we both quickly finished off our sandwiches.
Above is a Jewish open-air market in the Old City of Jerusalem. Most residents buy fresh produce daily. Our Jewish guide mentioned that his children had three favorite staples for breakfast every morning–tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, all grown locally. I can do fresh fruit easily for breakfast…but onions would be a stretch. Our lovely breakfast buffets in the three hotels in which we stayed did indeed have a varied assortment of fresh vegetables as well as fruits for breakfast.
The second picture is of Butch and I with our friend and tour coordinator Cindy Winkler of Peoria Charter Coach. We are posing outside a small Arab market. Pastor Farrell bought a bunch of fresh bananas and passed them around our group as a treat.
The Roman aqueduct above brought spring water from the foothills into the Mediterranean coastland city of Caesarea. Caesarea was built by Herod the Great, the governor of the Roman region of Palestine at the time of Christ.
Snapshots of Israel would be incomplete without an iconic picture of the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. It is said that Israel is the center of the world [Ezekiel 5:5], Jerusalem is the center of Israel and the Temple Mount is the center of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount or Mount Zion is where the culmination of world history called The Times of the Gentiles will take place. The ruler who takes the Temple Mount will take the world. The final battle called Armageddon will pit the forces of Antichrist against the armies of Jesus Christ. The result is swift and devastatingly final. Christ’s win is decisive [Revelation 14; 19].
I took this picture from the Mount of Olives where Christ will alight at His return [Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1]. He will then ascend Mount Zion where the 144,000 select Jewish forces are waiting to welcome Him [Revelation 7, 14]. These Jewish Christians will have received Christ as Lord and Savior during the seven-year Tribulation and are specially sealed for evangelism in preparation for their Messiah’s return. Zechariah 13 reveals that two-thirds of the Jews will die in the Tribulation but the remnant of one-third will be refined in the fire and will be brought into the Millennial Kingdom, redeemed, to repopulate the earth.
My husband and I even ventured into the Dead Sea for a quick dip in the heavy, mineral waters. The water of the Dead Sea is similar to swimming in soft-set gelatin; the water is so buoyant, it can take one off their feet. The brave ones in our group smeared themselves with the black mud in order to get the maximum benefits of spa bathing.I chose this last picture as an example of life in Israel. Daily routines are filled with the same maintenance we experience here, but young soldiers stand guard at check points and borders with M16 rifles. Both young men and women are required to serve for two years in the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces. Defending their right to exist is daily life in Israel.