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Kavode Tour: Israel 2019-Day 3

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

We began our day where the world ends, Megiddo. I'll be honest with you, the weather felt like it was the end of the world as the wind almost blew us over several times. The weather hasn't been the greatest for sight seeing, but it has also allowed us to see and experience things that normally are not as phenomenal in Israel. But before we headed to Megiddo, we woke up to one last sunrise on the Sea of Galilee, and I had one thought while watching the sunrise: "Jesus chose Galilee as his place of ministry specifically for the sunrises and sunsets, and every time he watched them he thought, 'I made that,' and enjoyed his creation."


The settlement of Mediggo dates back 7,000 years, and in that 7,000 years the civilizations built there have been destroy and rebuilt 22-27 times. When King David concurred Megiddo, it was already in its 16th reconstruction. Megiddo sits in the Jezreel Valley and is one of most important strategical locations in all of Israel. Megiddo controls the most important land pass between Egypt and Mesopotamia, and so throughout the history of the ancient world kings were always trying to control this pass because it made them wealthy and powerful. This is why the city of Megiddo was destroyed and rebuilt so many times until it was finally abandoned in 586 B.C.


View of Jezreel Valley from Tel Megiddo

In Revelation 16, Megiddo is known as the location for the last battle between Jesus and the kings of earth, which is known "in Hebrew as 'Armageddon.'" The reason that we call it Armageddon is because quite literally it means: the valley of the mountain of Meggido. The final battle will take place in the valley of this important strategical location to the ancient world where so much blood has already been spilled.


Due to the constant destruction and rebuilding of the city there are many amazing features at the excavation sights that date back to 5,000 B.C. The earliest structure found in the tel is a temple and prayer structure of the Canaanites, which is the largest structure of its time found in the Levant. There was also discovered a large stone altar that dates to 2700 BC during the time of Abraham. This altar is one of the darkest places in all of Israel as it was the place where Canaanites would sacrifice their children to the pagan god, Moloch.


However, there are many great features that still remain from the time of Israel's reign. From the time of King Solomon: the great city gates and stairway, a giant horse stable that held up to 450 horses, two palaces (one serving as the governor's residence), a public greenery, and a silo for food storage. Likewise, one of the greatest features of the city comes from the time of King Ahab, who created a water tunnel to protect the city's water source for sieges. By hand, with hammers and chisels, men of Israel created a tunnel into the bedrock to reach an underground spring as a source to an unlimited supply of water that their enemies would never know about.


Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worst so that when we arrived at Caesarea, the weather was so bad that we couldn't enter the city. Our tour guide told us that this is the worst he has ever seen the Mediterranean Sea. It was so bad that the waves were breaking over the walk way and turning the hippodrome into a swimming pool. The city of Caesarea was one of my favorite locations we visited the last time I was in Israel because of its significance to the early church. Caesarea is where Paul is taken and put on trial in Acts 24-25, and it was in the palace that we briefly got to see where Paul would've made his case before Felix and Festus, and it was also the palace where he was held in prison. Likewise, it was in Caesarea that we found the only source outside of the Bible that confirms the existence of Pontius Pilot, which we saw the actual stone later in the Israel Museum.


Because of the terrible weather and the potential for snow in Jerusalem, we finished our day at The Israel Museum. We began looking at a massive model of how the city of Jerusalem would have looked in the time of Jesus. The model demonstrates how large the Temple was in comparison to the city (it's massive). We then proceeded to the Shrine of the Scroll where the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls is laid out and many of the dead sea scrolls are stored. Last time, I missed out on seeing the Aleppo Codex because of too many people being in the shrine; however, this time I spent my entire time examining it. The Aleppo Codex is a 10th century Masoretic text, and it is the oldest and most accurate still in existence; therefore, it is the bases to many of our Old Testaments today.


We finished our time in the museum in the archeology wing examining the history and artifacts of Israel. Here are a few of my favorites:


  • The Tel-Dan Steele - The Tel-Dan Steele is the only extra-biblical source that we have for the existence of David. Up until its discovery in 1996, some scholars believed that David was just a myth, a sort of Robin Hood character for the people of Israel. However, with the discovery of the steele, we can believe with confidence that David was truly a king of Israel, not just by faith but also by evidence.


  • The world's oldest written scripture on two small pieces of metal - Our oldest recorded writings of scriptures contain something profound, it is the priestly benediction found in Numbers 6:23-27. A person would have rolled up this metal blessing and carried it around or wore it as a pendent.


  • The ossuaries of Caiaphas and Herod the Great - I find it interesting that these two ossuaries once contain the bones of two men in Jesus life. The first, King Herod, who tried to have Jesus killed as a young boy, and secondly, Caiaphas, the high priest who had Jesus killed. While staring at these boxes you see a stark contrast from the tomb of Jesus. These two men who tried to rid themselves of Jesus eventually died and were put in a box; however, Jesus died and yet is alive forever more. Who can thwart the will of God? Not a king. Not a high priest. Not even death. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


Blessings.


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