Beginning the Christian’s Pilgrimage Tour of Holy Sites Outside of Jerusalem
Mapping Today’s Pilgrimage Tour Stops
Today is our third full day in Israel.
Today we leave Jerusalem and start our trek throughout the land of Israel on a Pilgrimage tour of Christian sites.
Before we begin our several day journey, it is a good ideal to get a perspective of the size of the country and the relative location of its principal points of Christian interest.
Click on the images to see an enlarged view.
We start at Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean Coast (lower left). From there we will head a short distance inland and northward to Mount Carmel where Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal. We continue from there a short distance southeastward to Megiddo (Armageddon) and finally, a longer distance northeastward to the Sea of Galilee.
I hope you can pick out these locations on the enlarged map section. Click on the image and it will enlarge. If you have any difficulty, try the link and zoom the map as needed.
There are two cities named Caesaera, this one and another, Caesarea Philippi which is north of the Sea of Galilee.
There is a lot of Christian significance at Caesarea Maritima and it is also a National Park.
King Herod had a summer palace here and during the early time of the spreading of the gospel, Apostle Paul, accused by the Jewish authorities, was brought here to be examined by then Governor Festus. Paul famously declared, ” I appeal to Caesar” and Festus replied “”Then to Caesar you will go.” This set the stage for Paul’s journey and shipwreck on the way to Rome where he was kept in varying degrees of confinement until his execution.
The Caesarea area is rich in archeological diggings and completed explorations.
There is an amphitheater, a hippodrome for games, a harbor and a temple ruin all quite interesting with explanatory plaques for tourist’s information.
Here is a slideshow of some of the pictures we took.
Mount Carmel has Christian significance because it was here that the prophet Elijah confronted the 450 prophets of Baal and challenged them to a test to determine which was the true God of Israel. The challenge had each group build an alter and place sacrificed animals on it. Each group was to call upon the name of their god to strike the alter with fire and consume the sacrifice.
The prophets of Baal were unsuccessful after hours of trying but as soon as Elijah called upon the name of the God of Israel, Jehovah, the sacrifice was consumed by fire.
Here is an image of the modern day Catholic Carmelite Monastic Order’s crypt of Elijah, where he was though to live.
Megiddo is a high hill with a flat plateau at its top.
It has been the site of major battles over many centuries. It is featured in the Book of Revelation (as Armageddon) as the site of the ultimate battle between the forces of the God of Israel and the forces of evil. This battle will end this age and usher in the new heaven and the new earth for all eternity.
Our tour group walked among the excavations and viewed the Valley of Jezreel pictured in the accompanied photos.
We reflected soberly on this piece of land and wondered what it would be like to witness the biblical prophecies being fulfilled.
Sea of Galilee
From Megiddo we drove northeastward to the Sea of Galilee.
Our first stop was in Capernaum at a site where Apostle Peter had lived on the shore of the lake.
There is a small but fascinating museum there featuring a carefully preserved fishing boat from the time the apostles used them for fishing and that Jesus and the disciples crossed the lake in as Jesus preached throughout the region.
After the museum we traveled a short distance past Magdala (home of Mary Magdala) to the modern port facilities of the touristy city of Tiberias. Here we boarded two enlarged and motorized versions of the fishing boats of biblical times and enjoyed a restaurant meal of tilapia (except for me and a few others who opted for chicken instead)
We will be spending more time in and near the Sea of Galilee tomorrow.
So our long and interesting day comes to a close.
We continue to be awed by seeing these sites with our own eyes and walking in the same places that Jesus and other major biblical figures walked and remembering the biblical accounts that describe them.
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