We started today taking a hike along the Dan River. It is one of headwaters of the Jordan River. It’s waters come from the melting snow of Mt Hermon. It was much higher than usual due to recent rains and snows. The rushing waters were a powerful force and made such a beautiful sound!
That’s me standing in front of the outside wall of Dan. In Judges 19, 600 men from the tribe of Dan conquered the quiet and peaceful town of Laish. They built their city here. Imagine standing where God’s people lived 3,000 years ago!
During the reign of Jeroboam, Northern Israel built an altar to a golden calf. This idolatry greatly angered the LORD. Numerous prophets condemned the two high places at Dan and Beersheba. They eventually became Israel’s undoing.
We saw the oldest gate in the world. This gate existed in Abraham’s time when he pursued the 4 kings to this entrance to rescue his nephew Lot. Genesis 14:14 says, “He went in pursuit as far as Dan.” Dan didn’t exist as a tribe yet, but the ancient gate of Abraham’s time would later become known as the gate of Dan.
From Dan we went up to Caesarea Philippi where Jesus took His disciples to one of the most pagan and evil places just 25 miles from Galilee. There were numerous pagan temples and shrines there. People engaged in the worship of Pan, Zeus and other gods. There was prostitution, bestiality, even child sacrifice. Notice, the wide opening in the rock. The pagans believed it was a gateway to the underworld. It was called “the Gates of Hades.”
Next we drove up in the Golan Heights to look at the Syrian Border. The nation of Syria refuses to acknowledge Israel as a nation. Their border is just 1.5 miles away. Their capital of Damascus is just 37 miles away. Those of us who live in the US cannot understand what it is like to be surrounded by hostile nations on every side. As believers, we are surrounded by spiritual enemies on every side: the world, the flesh, and the devil. We need to be ever-watchful and vigilant against the enemy who seeks our destruction.
Our final stop was an olive oil factory. We saw how olives can be used for so many things in addition to olive oil: soap, hand cream, skin rejuvenator, and much more. The tree pictured here is 1,000 years old.
Tomorrow we go the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. I can hardly wait!