The Holy Lands-Day 5

We started today going to the mountain fortress of Masada. We took the tram up, and I walked the 700 steps and two kilometers down. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. About 1000 Jewish nationalists held out against the Roman army until 73 AD. The Jews had enough food and water to last them several years so the Romans had to change their plan of attack. They built a ramp to the top of the mountain and eventually were able to break down the gates. The next day when the Roman soldiers entered to pillage and ransack the city all they found were two woman and three children...all the rest were dead. The Jews had chosen death over slavery. The scroll found in the synagogue there was Ezekiel 37 - dry bones live again. Perhaps the people there were hoping for the resurrection to life. Masada is the Alamo of Israel. In the 1800s Americans cried out, “Remember the Alamo!” The Battle cry of the people of Israel today is “Masada will never fall again.” God has a battle cry for each of us: “For freedom, Christ has set us free. Let us never again become entangled again in a yoke of slavery!”

After Masada, we went to En-Gedi where David hid from King Saul and spared the king’s life in the cave of Adullum. You can’t see the water trickling through the ravine now, but you can see the greenery brought by the streams of En Gedi. It is believed that David wrote Psalm 142 while in the cave here. Reflect on these verses: “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who watch over my way... You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living... Set me free from my prison that I may praise Your name.” Psalm 142:3,5,7

From En Gedi we drove to Bethlehem. We visited the church of the Nativity. I was disappointed at first with how overdone the proposed place of our Savior’s birth looked.

Then we went to the Shepherd’s Field, also called the Field of Boaz. Here we worshiped in a house cave that may have been something like the house where Jesus was born. Someone in our group read the Christmas Story in Luke 2:1-20. We sang, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” A holy hush fell over the room. Every Christmas I will remember this very special moment and the wonderful message from our Palestinian host.

Our last stop of the day was to an olive wood carvings store. The owner, Shibly, is the grandson of the man who purchased the Dead Sea Scrolls. He possesses the largest urn found in the Dead Sea caves. Only three others exist, one is in the Vatican, the other two are in the Israeli Museum. This urn is the one that carried the scroll of Isaiah and the Temple Scrolls. It’s not for sale.

But the olive wood carving you see costs only $100, 000. I thought I should get two: one for my home and one for the office. Just kidding!

Tomorrow we go to the Mount of Olives, the Temple Area, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Upper Room.

It just keeps getting better!

Pastor Dave



Phone: (540) 338-6400


601 Yaxley Drive

Purcellville, VA 20132

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