Israel Tour: Day 2

Day Two of our tour started out at Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. We took pictures at the precipice cliff overlooking the Jezreel Valley towards Megiddo. Many believe that this is the cliff mentioned in Luke 4:29 where the people of the Nazareth synagogue wanted to throw Jesus off the cliff. Even if this is not that specific cliff, it is very likely that Jesus came here many times as a youth and gazed upon the Gilboa Mountains.

Our group at the precipice at Nazareth.

Our group at the precipice at Nazareth.

Next we traveled through the Jezreel valley to Megiddo. Megiddo is an interesting archaeological site for there are 26 layers of civilization built upon one another dating all the way back to 7000 BC. Megiddo was conquered by Joshua as one of the 31 kingdoms defeated after the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land (Joshua 12:7, 21). Also Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera by Megiddo (Judges 1:27) and King Solomon fortified Megiddo as a strategic military post (1 Kings 9:15, 10:26).

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A tunnel connecting the bottom of King Ahab’s shaft in Megiddo to the spring outside of the city walls. Before its construction, women had to leave the city walls in order to get water from the spring.

Maybe the most well-known detail about Megiddo is that this is the place where Revelation 16:13-16 says that the war of Armageddon will take place before the final return of Christ. Armageddon comes from the Hebrew, Har Megiddo, meaning “Hills of Megiddo.”

As we looked down into the Jezreel Valley from Megiddo we could see the precipice at Nazareth where we had just been and where Jesus must have stood as a youth. It’s humbling to think that Jesus most likely stared back across the valley to the very spot where I was standing, knowing exactly what would happen before his second coming.

Our next stop was the famous Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah stood opposed by the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Jeremiah, Solomon, and Isaiah all commented on the height and beauty of Mount Carmel. It was indeed a beautiful and flourishing site.

We stopped by Capernaum on the north side of the Sea of Galilee next. Most of Jesus’ recorded ministry took place here. It was at Capernaum that Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Levi (who later took the name Matthew). The fishermen stopped what they were doing, left their nets, and just followed him. Their boats were abandoned right here on this shore. Peter’s mother-in-law’s house is also here. Today it is covered by a Catholic Church with glass floors so that visitors can view the house from above. One thing that is clear about Jesus from visiting this city is that He must love great views. It was absolutely beautiful at Capernaum. See the video below for a snippet.

We ended the full day at the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5 -7. We gathered in a picturesque nook overlooking the Sea of Galilee and read the Word of God.

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Dr. Frank Turek speaking about the Sermon on the Mount at it’s actual location on the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

It is striking to see these biblical sites with my own eyes because it solidifies the biblical accounts both archaeologically and geographically. You can walk in the synagogue of Capernaum where Jesus taught so many lessons contained in the Bible. It’s located near another discovery that dates back to the 1st century AD uncovered beneath an octagonal Byzantine martyrdom church. The discovery was a house converted into a church, which is now believed to be Peter’s house or the House of his Mother-in-law. (For more go HERE). While there are many fun points and important conjectures that we could make with regard to this subject, maybe none are as important as the obvious one–this stuff is REAL!

Synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus spent much of his time.

Synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus spent much of his time.

It seems incredibly unlikely that so many details could line up so perfectly across multiple testimonies especially considering the other varying details that are in the texts. We will see in tomorrow’s adventure how even the most minor details interlock and unintentionally corroborate the biblical narrative.

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