Scripture for today
Genesis 14: 11-16
Four kings seized all of the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram was told and he took all of his men and chased them to Dan where he recovered all of his goods and people.
1 Kings 12:25-30
Jeroboam caused two golden calves to be built so his people would not go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. Instead they would stay at Bethel and Dan.
Christ comes and asks who is the Son of Man? Peter – you are Lord. Jesus says “.. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom…”. Jesus tells disciples what must happen to him. Tells them they must deny themselves and take up the cross and follow him.
Blind man healed – the remainder is very similar to Matthew 16:21-38
Magdala at Sea of Galilee is of major importance to Jews and Christians. Largest urban center prior to Tiberius. Birthplace of Mary of Magdalene. Also home of Jewish leader Matityahu who was governor of Galilee who revolted against the Romans 66-73 E. Magdala was center of people for the revolt. It ended up being defeated and totally destroyed.
So we started at Magdala which was fairly close to the hotel. An interesting site in that a Mexican pastor wanted to build a retreat for women. Once he got started, they quickly found ruins on his site. This shut him down until the Israeli archaeological people could ‘survey’ the site. They did the survey and the Mexican pastor has continued to build his facility around the site of ancient Magdala. Found an old synagogue which could have been one where Jesus preached. Not sure, but it certainly is in the area where he lived. Some nice mosaics and painting remain are here. Could also see where it looked like the residents had built fortifications for the war. We’re not here long then went up to Dan in the far north of Israel.
This was certainly a very interesting site in terms of the Old Testament. This is the area of Caesarea Philippi. The tribe of Dan was given this area when they came into the Promised Land. Dan was originally given land further out but due to issues with the Philistines, they moved north to Caesarea Philippi. They had to fight against the Leshent which they did and hence renamed it Dan. Before we went to Caesarea Philippi we walked through the Dan National Park. Quite interesting in that it was still forested and this is where the headwaters of the Jordan originate. Very thickly wooded and very interesting in this regard. Lot of bamboo, oaks, etc. We passed by the Gate of Dan which was an entrance to the city of Dan. Little excavation has been done but the area of the gate was fairly well redone. As people passed by Dan they had to stop here and pay a tax. We did take a side track to the location (fairly certain) of the site where Jeroboam built an altar (one of two) for a golden calf. From here could easily see Lebanon. Continued on to the next site which was the Gate of Abraham. Built around 1700 BCE, probably before Abraham but is mentioned in his context. It was also a gate to what would become Dan. Three very interesting sites mentioned in the scriptures above.
Scripture also says that Jesus went to “the district” of Caesarea Philippi but not to the city of Caesarea Philippi. Not sure exactly where. I believe it was mentioned that this was the farthest north he went. After we left this site we went to the temple of Pan. At one time this was a Roman city on the road to Damascus. The Romans built a rather extensive temple complex to Pan – the God of the forest. A temple was also built to Zeus and Nemesis and a tomb to the Sacred Goats. There are also niches cut into the cliff wall where figures of other gods ‘of Pan’ were placed.
After this, we went to eat at a Lebanese restaurant – was quite good! This completed our tour of the northern part of Israel so now we headed back toward Tiberius to view a 2,000-year boat and a cruise on the Sea of Galilee.
After we got to the Museum that housed the boat, some people went to the hotel to change clothes – light rain most of the day so far. The boat was discovered by accident. Two men walking along the shores of the Sea of Galilee saw some old nails and started scratching around and found some more nails as well as some old wood. The Sea of Galilee is way down due to drought hence why it became uncovered. The archaeologists came in and found it was a well preserved 2,000-year boat. It was ‘dug’ up and now is in its own museum as a national treasure of Israel. They do have a small model of the boat but the original is shown as it was found. Quite interesting.
After the boat, we all got on a ‘real’ boat and went out on the Sea of Galilee where the Bishop (David Graves) gave a short talk to all of us. It was very interesting in that as soon as we went out the rain and winds came and then about the time we returned it all quit.
After this, we headed back to the hotel – got in about 4:30. We need to pack today as we will be leaving here and head to Jerusalem and other parts tomorrow.