Decades ago I worked in a travel agency sending people all over the world, but had hardly been out of my home state. While I loved planning trips and dreamy vacations, I could only read and dream of someday traveling to exotic places.
If you had told me back then that one day I would travel to Israel, I probably would have laughed while suppressing a heavy sigh.
This is not my first time to visit the land of the Bible. Our first visit was 20 years ago, and when we came home from that visit saying, “We HAVE to go back!”, we knew that with one visit our minds would never fully grasp all that this special place had to offer…
Israel is so full of history that it changes your perspective on the world.
Traveling to the land of the Bible for the second time was no less thrilling than our first. Walking in the land of the Bible doesn’t just change your perspective on the world and it’s events, it changes your perspective on the Bible.
I have been home for several weeks now, and am still trying to wrap my head around what I experienced. The sights. The people.
And the sense that this is bigger than the tiny nation you see on a map.
History consumes you the minute you walk off the plane. (And even on the plane you experience its rich heritage as Orthodox Jews stand to face Israel and dutifully pray on this 12 hour non-stop flight!)
Landing in Tel Aviv, Israel, you see a bustling city with ancient buildings next to skyscrapers and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. The mix of old and new is everywhere, from Jews who are Orthodox, conservative or modern to the multitude of tourists coming from all over the world.
The Lord of Armies says this: “Peoples will yet come, the residents of many cities; the residents of one city will go to another, saying: Let’s go at once to plead for the Lord’s favor and to seek the Lord of Armies. I am also going. Many peoples and strong nations will come to seek the Lord of Armies in Jerusalem and to plead for the Lord’s favor.” The Lord of Armies says this: “In those days, ten men from nations of every language will grab the robe of a Jewish man tightly, urging: Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” [the prophet Zechariah 8: 20-23]
One visit is never enough to take in all that there is to see, but on this particular tour we visited Caesarea by the Sea, Joppa, Nazareth, Caesarea, the Golan Heights, Bethlehem, Magdalena, The Sea of Galilee, Masada, The Dead Sea, and of course, Jerusalem.
Each of these sites could be written of individually, but I know from past experience that most people aren’t all that interested in itineraries and schedules. What I do hope interests you is how this journey will impact my writing. Some of the photos I took will undoubtedly end up in future blog posts and scripture graphics.
The truth is, one thing stood out very clear in my mind–from my first visit until now.
I didn’t need to see evidence to validate the authenticity of my faith. My faith was authenticated when I trusted without seeing.
I know in my heart that the Bible is true, and that the events of the Bible really happened. Every single one of them. Enjoying the privilege that it was to visit Israel didn’t confirm anything–it only enhanced the beautiful truths that I already held dear to my heart.
I don’t know if a visit to The Holy Land is on your bucket list, believer, but it really should be. There is no place like it on earth.
I absolutely love this passage in 2 Corinthians:
“For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. Yet still today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-18
While this passage is talking about those who still look to the Old Testament Law for salvation (Orthodox Jews), I think it is also a vivid picture of our life before Christ. While many in our world would say they believe in God, they fail to see the need for a true heart change–a saving relationship through Christ–so they are still “veiled” with a contorted view of who God is.
For me, visiting the land of the Bible was more than eye-opening–it was a “veil-lifting”. More than just knowledge, it became more of a journey toward clarity. The people, the sights and the foods are obviously so different than what we are used to, but this ancient culture captivates all of your senses in such a way that you wonder how in the world you can see things in the same way.
This post was shared at the Salt and Light Facebook Link-up.