Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Israel and Rome

Overlooking the sight of the ancient Temple Mount in Jerusalem as the the day gives way to night.

The last two weeks marked my 32nd visit to Israel. Though I've been to these biblical sites since 1978 and seen the development of this nation over the past thirty years, I love seeing the transformation that happens to people who go on a tour with me to Israel. The land is beautiful and diverse; the people are a combination of sweet and tough; the biblical places are magnificent. But the best part of all is that one walks away with a deeper conviction in the veracity and power of the Bible and the Scriptures "come to life" well after the tour has ended. What one sees while being in the Land of the Bible helps correct and "focus" what one reads thereafter. We traveled from Joppa to Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee to the valley of Armageddon to Jerusalem. After our tour with 150 people, about 40 of us went to Rome for a few days and were able to have our closing Bible Study on the steps of a church that face the Mammertine Prison in Rome where Paul spent his final days before being sentenced at the Basilica Julia and then beheaded on the Apian Way outside the walls of Rome in 67AD. I only wish that Lenya, Nate and Janae could have ben my traveling companions. They stayed behind due to the circumstances of Nate's broken leg that still needs quite a bit of care. Here are some visual highlights:

The "Banias" river--the headwaters of the Jordan River that feeds all the land of Israel from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.

This is an entrance to a building in Old Joppa (where Jonah tried to run from God). Taken on a tripod with a long exposure to blur the people in the doorway and give them a ghostlike appearance.

A lone figure ascends the stairs of an ancient walkway in Old Jerusalem near the sight of where Jesus was condemned by Pilate.

Remains of the Roman City of Beth Shean where Kings Saul's bopdy was desecrated (New Testament Scythopolis of the New Testament, the capital of the Decapolis)

Inside one of the many ancient churches in Rome.


Laura said...

How beautiful! I am definitely going to go on one this trip one of these years, maybe once I finish nursing school!

Anne Marie said...

Pastor Skip, did you take those pictures? They are beautiful!