My Visit to Israel (Part 7)

This is the seventh part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

We started off the morning with a great breakfast at the Inbal hotel, then packed up our bags and headed to Bethlehem for our final day of shooting video. Since our Jewish guide and van driver were observing Shabbat, we connected up with a Christian guide and his friend, a Muslim driver.

IMG_2484

IMG_2486

The Garden of Gethsemane is a heavily visited location, so we knew that we would have to capture video for that spot in a different place. This olive grove outside of Bethlehem was the perfect location for some peaceful footage.

IMG_2496IMG_2497

This little boy got some candy from our thoughtful Campus Pastor, Mike Baker.

IMG_2499

Beautiful almond tree in bloom in the middle of the olive grove.

Once shooting was done, we drove to the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels brought the message of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, to the shepherds. Unfortunately, like many places, our large tripod bags called a little too much attention to ourselves, and we were turned out when we didn’t have express permission to shoot video in that location.

IMG_2500

So we headed into Bethlehem, the city of Jesus’ birth, and as we scouted out a nativity-looking location, we went ahead and shot a video overlooking the city.

Continue Reading…

My Visit to Israel (Part 5)

This is the fifth part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

IMG_2271

Another delicious breakfast in Efrat where we stayed.

After breakfast, we headed east towards the Jordan River. On the way, we passed through the desert, and as we drove through this area, we could see Bedouins and their camels.

IMG_2274 IMG_2275 IMG_2279

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 1.49.47 AM

We passed by the modern city of Jericho as we neared the Jordan River.

IMG_2280

This area is built up to accommodate the large number of visitors that come to this site each day. The Jordan River plays a significant part in several Bible events such as the Israelites passing over the Jordan with the Arc of the Covenant, Elijah being taken up to heaven, John the Baptist’s ministry, and the baptism of Jesus. Biblical mentions of the Jodan River >>

IMG_2284

Setting up for a video shoot at the Jordan River. The ropes denote the border between Israel and Jordan.

IMG_2285

Continue Reading…

My Visit to Israel (Part 4)

This is the fourth part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

IMG_2220

The city of Jerusalem sits between the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion. Here we are standing on the Mount of Olives and looking down on the city of Jerusalem. All the small boxes in the foreground make up a cemetery.

IMG_2216

This valley is called the Kidron Valley, and the small strip of green in the valley on the right is Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus and his disciples were praying on the night of Jesus’ arrest. On the left of the city, the area outside the wall is where the City of David once stood.

IMG_2482

The Campus Pastors at the Mount of Olives.

Video panorama from the Mount of Olives.

From the Mount of Olives, we went back into Jerusalem into the Muslim Quarter and the Via Dolorosa, the path which in Latin mean “Way of Sorrow”. This passageway has been held to be the path that Jesus walked with His cross before his crucifixion.

IMG_2229 IMG_2235 IMG_2236

Continue Reading…

My Visit to Israel (Part 3)

This is the third part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

IMG_2088

Our third day in Israel began as we awoke in the beautiful small town of Efrat, the home of the Old Testament characters Ruth and Boaz. Biblical mentions of Ephrath >>

Every entrance door post in Israel, including each of our hotel room doors, had a mezuzah (pictured below – excellent Wikipedia article). These were sometimes ornate and occasionally modern, like above. These fixtures each contain a piece of paper with the passage of Deuteronomy hand copied onto it by a scribe. The Jews believe this fulfills the requirement of the Old Testament teaching to write the words of the Scriptures on your doorposts. As far as I could tell, there was no way to open up the container to read the Scriptures inside.

IMG_2087

Breakfast was at a local cafe. The food was absolutely amazing, and our host for the morning, Rabbi Shmuel Bowman made these mornings in Efrat a favorite part of my trip.

IMG_2092 IMG_2093 IMG_2096

Rabbi Shmuel accompanied us on our drive to Jerusalem.

IMG_2097

The next few photos are on the grounds of the Jerusalem Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem.

IMG_2098 IMG_2103 IMG_2108 IMG_2111

One of the box cars used to transport Jews during the Holocaust.

Continue Reading…

My Visit to Israel (Part 2)

This is the second part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

Next up was the ruins of the city of Capernaum (map) on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. This is the town where several New Testament stories take place, my favorite of which is the story of the four guys who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus by digging a hole in the roof. In my photos you’ll notice a very modern (spaceship-looking) Catholic church structure that was built over the ruins that some believe was the home of Saint Peter. Biblical mentions of the town of Capernaum >>

IMG_1947

IMG_1956

The ruins of the ancient city of Capernaum.

Quick video panorama of the area.

IMG_1969

The Catholic church building built over the ruins of the tiny room that might have been Peter’s house.

IMG_1951

The tiny house under the Catholic church building.

IMG_1954

Fish-eye view from the inside of the Catholic church. You can see Peter’s house through the window in the bottom of the church building.

Here in Capernaum there is also the rebuilt ruins of a Jewish synagogue (the white structure). The Bible mentions Jesus teaching in this synagogue at the beginning of his ministry and that the people who heard him were amazed by his teaching.

IMG_1960 IMG_1964

Continue Reading…

My Visit to Israel (Part 1)

It’s been several weeks since I joined several other pastors from Faith Promise on a trip to Israel. Our time consisted primarily of visiting locations to film for our upcoming Easter series, but it also afforded us some time to visit a few locations not included on film. As the time since the trip continues to increase, I’ve finally set out to jot a few notes to accompany the huge number of photos I took in an attempt to share the details of the trip with those who are interested.

For those unfamiliar with the geography of Israel, the land where a huge portion of the Bible is located, it can be a bit overwhelming at first, but just understanding the location of the major bodies of water in the area has been very helpful to me and will make your reading of Scripture much less irritating.

israel-map

Israel is just northeast of Egypt, is about the size of New Hampshire, and is mostly contained between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. I’ve linked the map above to the location in Google Maps, so you can look around and zoom in, if you’d like.

We flew into Tel Aviv, the city that is in the location of the biblical town of Joppa, well know for being the port town from which Solomon’s cedar logs for building his palace and the first Jewish Temple were received. It’s also the town where Peter was staying when he had his vision of the animals descending in a sheet. Biblical mentions of Joppa >>

IMG_1838

IMG_1843

From there, we drove north and east to the west coast of the Sea of Galilee in the town of Tiberias (map). The sun had already set when we arrived, but a few of us walked around the area of the nearby boardwalk. This is the place we slept there for our first night. I remember being particularly touched with the thought that this ocean at night was a common location for Jesus and his disciples, and the event of Jesus calming the storm was specifically on my mind. Biblical mentions of Tiberias >>

Continue Reading…