Although this is clearly not an end times topic, I thought it might be interesting to post the photos of our latest excursion, this time to the nation of Israel. We went about a month before the prime touring season begins, so it was still a little cold and damp during our visit, but very rewarding just the same.
This is the amphitheater at Bet She'an, which got its notoriety in the Bible as the place where King Saul was killed in battle.
Bet She'an was a rather wealthy city located in a beautiful valley, but it was destroyed during a massive earthquake when the soil in the valley above the city was liquified, completely burying the city in a mudslide. It has since been entirely excavated, which has revealed a city that was undoubtedly very wealthy.
This is the view of the Jordan Valley from atop the hill at Bet She'an, which was the location of the Egyptian Governor's residence. You can still see Egyptian hieroglyphics on many of the stone monuments at this site.
This is the gate of the ancient city of Dan in the Golan Heights, and it was interesting to see how these city walls and gates were constructed, and how the approaches to the gates were always uphill in order to make it more difficult for siege works and battering rams to succeed. All of the ancient cities were built with security as top priority.
These are the ruins of the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus attended and taught. Simon Peter's home is not far from this location, which is on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
This is Pan's Grotto located at the base of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, and this is where the Temple to Pan existed, along with other false deity worship. It's also where Jesus taught that the 'Gates of Hell' (Pan's Grotto) would not overcome His church.
If you refer to the prior post on 'Azazel' in this section, you will note that this cave is located in the mouth of the goat on Mount Hermon.
Here we are, about to take the tram up to the peak at Masada. Several of the younger people in our group chose to walk up to the top on foot paths, but that was way too much of a workout for yours truly. Maybe 20 years ago?....
For some of the older people in this audience, these trams reminded me of those in the WWII movie "Where Eagles Dare."
The view of the Dead Sea from atop Masada is nothing short of spectacular. Sitting a quarter mile in the air provides incredible vantage points, and one can see why Herod commissioned this as his desert fortress.
This is the view of the southern end of the Dead Sea, taken from the 7th floor of the Meridian Hotel. This is where Israel mines minerals to the tune of 60 billion dollars per year, and it's also where tourists routinely go to 'float' in the water.
Here we are on the Mount of Olives listening to our tour guide Eitan describe the history of the Temple Mount.
These are the Southern steps of the Temple Mount, which have had quite a history during their thousands of years of battle and conquest. The original entry arches on the southern side have been covered by a Crusader fortress or otherwise blocked in to limit access to the Al Aqua Mosque complex.
Some of the steps you see in this photo are the original steps that would have been used to access the Temple during the first century A.D., so it's quite possible that we walked on some of the very steps that Christ walked on.
Here we are at the entrance to the Garden Tomb. We'll probably never know if this was Christ's actual tomb, but it certainly fits the criteria - including the correct strata - better than the alternatives.
There are numerous other photos I could include here, but this provides a good sampling from our tour in February. When you actually visit the sites that are described in the Bible, it's much easier to imagine how things transpired in their proper context. As it has been said, it takes the black and white stories of the Bible and turns them to color.