Israel Day Five: Mt. Arbel (Road To Nazereth), Jesus Boat, Beth Shean, Jericho, Dead Sea

Another unbelievably hot day! We started this morning with a challenge from Kathe Tapp to pray for the Bedouin people of Israel. We heard testimonies of what God was doing through Bedouins in Israel and also learned about the incredibly small group that are actually believers. So our challenge was to pray for this nomadic people group and ask the LORD of the harvest to send missionaries to these people that they might be free from the chains of Islam through the power of the Gospel.

We began our day with a very difficult hike down Mt. Arbel. Although not mentioned in the Bible this mountain overlooked the passageway from Capernaum (Northern Galilee) and Nazareth. We know Jesus and his disciples would have taken this route in route to his hometown. The highlight was being able to sit high atop the mountain and consider the cost of discipleship from the text. We spent some sweet time praying and reflecting on counting the cost of following Jesus Christ and being one of His disciples.

The hike down was tough and Isaac made it all the way down! I was talking to him about this being training for him being a disciple of Jesus Christ and that following Jesus would be hard. He said, “Will it be like Nana (grandmother) taking off the training wheels on my bike?” I laughed and yes something like that. What a challenge from a six year old, far too many of us still have our spiritual training wheels on, when we should becoming mature disciples of Jesus Christ. I was proud of my boy this morning and cherished our time together reading, praying, and hiking.

Mt. Arbel: (Overview of Road From Northern Galilee To Nazareth)

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Jesus Boat Museum

The Jesus Boat Museum houses a first century fishing boat that would have certainly been in use during the days of Jesus. This is always an incredible reminder and picture of the many stories of Jesus and His ministry out of a boat.

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Beth Shean

Our next stop was Beth Shean a city with several references from the Old Testament. This is also called Scythopolis and it was one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis we read about in the New Testament. Alexander the Great gave this city to a band of mercenary warriors called Scythians. They built up the city and lived there until the Romans took control. This was a massive Greek Hellenistic City that gives great imagery to many of the cities Paul and his missionary teams would have traveled to throughout the book of Acts. This was a city of 50,000 during the days of Jesus.

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Although this text was not emphasizing Beth Shean, it gives us a clear mental picture of what the early missionary journey’s of Paul must have felt like as he moved in and out of large Roman Hellenistic cities.

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The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. ” (1 Samuel 31:8–10, ESV)

Jericho Overview

When we got out to take an overview of Jericho and read Joshua 4-6. Isaac looked around and said, “those walls are crushed”; I said, “yes son they are”.

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So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. ” (Joshua 6:20, ESV)

Dead Sea

DEAD SEA — a large lake in southern Israel at the lowest point on earth. In the Old Testament it is called the Salt Sea (Gen. 14:3; Josh. 3:16); the Sea of the Arabah (Deut. 3:17); and the Eastern Sea (Ezek. 47:18; Joel 2:20). Josephus, the Jewish historian, referred to this buoyant body as Lake Asphaltitis. The Arabic name is Bahr Lut, meaning, “Sea of Lot.” But from the second Christian century onward, Dead Sea has been the most common name for this unusual body of water.

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Josh and Katie Kubler The Famous Israel Photographers In The Dead Sea
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Ezekiel’s Prophecy of The Dead Sea coming ALIVE! (Jesus will indeed make all things New)

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” ” (Ezekiel 47:1–12, ESV)

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About George Ross

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