This blog post is a little bit different to our usual. One of our members has recently travelled to Israel and has very kindly agreed to share their experience with us on the blog. Enjoy!
“It was a pleasure to visit Israel for two weeks in August this year. I was able to develop an understanding of the history, both modern and ancient, of a land which God calls ‘most glorious of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:6) We visited many places.
Ashkelon, where Samson went to kill thirty Philistines for their garments, after they had tricked him, into revealing the answer to the riddle he had set by threatening his wife with death if she did not get the answer for them.(Judges 14:14-20) ;
Ashdod Philistine Cultural Museum which gives a context to the David and Goliath account, and to the endless struggle which Israel had with the surrounding people until the Babylonian captivity;
Masada where the Jews took refuge after fleeing Jerusalem after revolting against the Roman conquest of their land Jesus foretells the conquest in Matt 24:32-35.(Israel is symbolised as a fig tree).
The Mount of Olives Jerusalem where King David wept as he fled from Jerusalem when Absalom rebelled against his father (2 Samuel 15:30)
The Temple Mount Jerusalem where archaeologist Dr Leen Ritmeyer has found evidence of the First Temple Period platform from which Ezra spoke to the people who ‘sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain’ Ezra 10 (The children of Israel had been unfaithful by taking foreign wives after returning from the Babylonian exile)
The Jordan Valley where John baptised Jesus (Mark 1: 1-8) and where the Children of Israel crossed over when entering the land (Joshua 3)
Ein Harod, where Gideon separated the 300 men who were to go to war from those who were to go home (Judges 7)
Mount Carmel where Elijah met more than 850 false prophets of Baal and .all the people .to prove that the Lord is God.(1 Kings 18:20-40).
Independence Hall Tel Aviv where the modern state of Israel was confirmed by the UN vote in 1948. This was the fulfilment of Bible Prophecy which foretells the return of the Jews to the land of Israel.
Seeing such places as Shechem helps me to understand the different choices the Children of Israel had to make; did they want the blessing by obeying God or the curses because of disobedience, Mt Gerazim or Mt Ebal – the symbolic act described in Deut 27. Shechem, translated as Shoulder, lies between these two mountains emphasising that there is a great gulf between God’s blessings and His cursing, between choosing good and choosing evil.
Beersheba, a town in the far south in Israel, a city whose ruins are excavated and preserved well enough for tourists to see the ouline of the city and some of the rooms clearly. It reminds one of how, in the latter period of the judges, the prophet Samuel’s sons Joel and Abijah “were judges” in Beer-sheba but that they “turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes and perverted justice”,
(1 Sam 8:6). This led the people of Israel to demand a king.
The well in Beer-Sheba, 26 metres deep, reminds me of the fact that this was the foundation name of the city, the name chosen after Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant between them where “two of them took an oath”.(Genesis 21:22-31)
Another interesting location was Perath. In Jeremiah 13:4, the prophet is told to go to this location, normally translated ‘Euphrates’, though it is actually more likely to be a location not too far from Jerusalem. This was misunderstood by commentators until recently.
These sorts of things help me to understand the ‘beautiful land’ which God talks about and the relevance of it to my understanding of God, His Scriptures and the prophecies they contain for the future of our world.”
*To find out more about the Christadelphians in Ammanford, their faith and how you can be a part of it, please visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk