Saturday, January 1, 2011

Israel day 5

I am sitting in front of the ampitheater at Cesarea Maritima on the coast of the Mediterranian Sea. This impressive structure was built by Herod the Great around 20 BC to bring some Greek culture to Israel in hopes of attracting tourism and business to his area. Acts 12 records that around 34 AD Herod's grandson, Herod Antipas I was having disputes with surrounding people groups but they came to gather here to ask for peace. While this stadium was packed with over 4000 people he came out in his silver-stranded robes and as he spoke to the people the sun glistened off it so the people cried out 'these are the words of a god and not a man'. Because he did not give glory to God an angel struck him with intestinal worms and he died 4 days later.

I am standing in Herods' pool that he carved out of solid rock on the shores of the Mediterranian in front of his palace. He could literally walk out of his front door (where the picture was taken from) and recline down to his salt water pool. There were beautiful mosaic tiles at the entrance to the pool just like in many of our pools. His palace and the harbor he built here by using the first cement that could harden underwater was a marvel of the ancient world and still is to this day.

This is the view from Mount Carmel where Elijah famously called a battle to the death between himself as the lone prophet of Israel's God, Yahweh, and the 450 prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. The people of Isreal packed around this mountain to watch the death match to see who really was the living God. After the prophets of Baal could not get their god to respond to their cryings to set fire supernaturally to their altar for a whole day, Elijah prayed to God to send down fire and God sent fire from heaven and burned up the altar, the rocks that were there, the water and even the dirt around it. The people then turned to God and Elijah took the prophets of Baal and killed them all by the stream near the trees in the picture below.

Barrett and Tracy sitting on the top of Har Meggido. This is the outpost developed by Solomon to protect Jerusalem from invasion through the valley. It has amazing technology such as a huge underground tunnel for water during a seige. There were many horse stables here in a small example of the sin of Solomon to trust in horses rather than God as he was prohibitted from having many of them for war by God. Revelation 16 states that in the future the hill and the valley below will be the staging area for the nations of the world when they come to war against Jerusalem after the anti-christ has broken his promise of peace to Israel. At their darkest moment Jesus will descend and destroy all the men and women in this valley with the word of his mouth killing 200,000,000 in the largest bloodbath in history. This battle is famously called 'the battle of Armeggedon' which will happen at the end of days.

I am standing on one of the high cliffs just outside of Nazareth. This is where Jesus was chased to after speaking in the local synangoge about the fact that He was the Jewish Messiah prophesied about in Isaiah--but that God also loved Genitles as much as the Jews in Luke 4. This enraged the Nazarenes and they tried to throw Him off a cliff like this one but He supernaturally walked through the mob.

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