Israel Day Two: Antipatris, Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Nazareth

Today we started out with Bro. Dennis Landrum leading us through our prayer guide as we prayed for the Jewish community of Israel. It was our prayer that we would be testimonies for Christ in such a powerful way, that those that were blinded and in darkness with legalism and religion, would see the light of Christ in our team.

After a great breakfast in Tel-Aviv we started out early and went to Antipatris, which is also the Old Testament reference to Aphek. There is an old Crusader fort their today, but we know of several important stories that took place here:

The Battle with the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant (I Samuel 4-6)

And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle. And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. ” (1 Samuel 4:1–5, ESV)

The Arrest of Paul in Jerusalem and His Roman Escort to Caesarea (Acts 21-23)

And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.” So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. ” (Acts 23:30–33, ESV)

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Our next stop was Caesarea the port on the coast of the Mediterranean build by Herod the Great and dedicated to Caesar. This was one the largest seaports and magnificent cities of its day. Herod was one of the first to master the art of using Roman underwater cement. He build a huge port that still has many of the wall breakers ports still visible. There were many incredible Bible stories that took place here:

Peter sharing the Gospel with the Roman Centurion Cornelius, who lived in Caesarea (Acts 10)

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. ” (Acts 10:1–5, ESV)

Paul on Trial Before Felix and Agrippa (Acts 24-26)

So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium. ” (Acts 23:31–35, ESV)

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From Caesarea we went to Mt. Carmel and studied the famous battle between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (I Kings 18)

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” ” (1 Kings 18:17–19, ESV)

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The Overview of the Jezreel Valley (Valley of Armageddon)

And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. ” (Revelation 16:16, ESV)

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Then we headed to Nazareth where the Birth of Jesus was Announced to Mary

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. ” (Luke 1:26–38, ESV)

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We finished the day with on overview of Israel outside the city of Nazareth. We had an incredible view from the eastern border all the way to the Mediterranean. Our second day ended by reading the accounts of Jesus reading out the scroll of Isaiah in Nazareth and the beginning of his public ministry in Galilee.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away. ” (Luke 4:16–30, ESV)

And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, ” (Matthew 4:13, ESV)

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About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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