My Journey To Jerusalem The Gospel According To Terrence
Terrence at Tel Dan - the Golan Heights
by Terrence G. Clark Chapter Five - Day 4
In the Heights of Israel Sabbath, Dan, Volcanos, Druze, Vows renewed on the Galilee
It didn’t really originate in Israel the country. Yahweh, observed it, after He created the heavens and the earth. A fitting rest for all He had done. It was instituted, for the observance for Israel the people, at Sinai, at the giving of the law. This was before possessing the Promise Land. The “day of rest” by Jewish tradition had extended to incorporate perhaps more than the Lord intended. Nonetheless, the
command was to remember it and keep it holy. The idea of not doing work, included in modern days, not pushing the button on the elevator. We were warned not to use the Sabbath elevator. I saw the sign when we checked in and figured it had something to do with orthodoxy. The moving room stopped at every floor, on the multi-floor building, so work did not have to be done. The drawback was that it was going to take longer to get where you needed to go. At least vertically on Shabbat.
A brisk walk to the bus this morning, around the block, up the hill. There was a bicycle marathon or something, and buses weren’t allowed to the front of the hotel. Gershon led us and Albert was waiting. During our walk, I noted that here in Galilee, Mickey Dees was still on the landscape. I wondered if they had fillet-o-fish like in the US or was it St Peter’s Tilapia as well.
On route was our first citing of the flocks of storks. These birds migrate back in forth from Europe to Ethiopia. It was the chant of the dispossessed, Ethiopian Jew who would sing to the birds as they flew by in their journey. Gershon told of a song.
The Stork A stork flew to the Land of Israel Spreading its wings above the Nile To the far-off land Beyond the mountains where Beita Israel Sit and wait, White-necked stork What did you see? Sing me a story The stork is silent and does not open her beak Resting on her leg, soon she will stretch out a broad wing On her journey to the cold, she will make a stop In Zion, the land of light Red-beaked stork Will Jerusalem still remember us? White-winged stork Inquire how fares the city How fares Jerusalem Lyrics: Haim Idissis, melody: Shlomo Gronich https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NauLC43hAc0
Terrence on Mt Banias - Upon this Rock I build my church
I’m not sure which way these birds were flying, but our journey today was north. The first stop Tel Dan. Dan was one of Israel’s sons. His name means to judge and from this tribe some noteworthy individuals have come. As with any Tel, Dan was the remnant of the ancient city. Dan went north (Genesis 49:16-17). The pre-conquest name of the city was Laish.
The city’s history includes where Jeroboam, post-Solomon king, erected the golden calf (1Kings 12:25-33). There are the remnants of an altar. On the hilltop are bunkers and trenches used by the Israelis to defend the water resource which Syria attempted to divert in 1964. Dan sits at the borders of Lebanon and Syria.
Housing this northern fortress of Israel is the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. It was gorgeous. we walked the long ascending and descending path enjoying the scenery at every stop. It’s beautiful here, I thought,
with my fondness for parks, praying here would be wonderful. The park is also the source of the Dan River, a tributary of the Jordan River---Yor (flow from), so to flow from Dan. Our team flowed back to the bus stopping to catch the outside of the closed “arch” exhibited actually predating Roman arches (and my previous reference to McDonalds).
The next stop was Banias or Panium, a Greek-Roman city with a temple and grotto for the mythological god Pan. It is also known scripturally as Caesarea Philippi. Pan is where the English word “panic” is derived. Jesus was never moved by such things. But strategically picking the locations of his unveilings, it was here that the great revelation of the church began.
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13-20). The disciple’s responses varied. Peter’s great revelation after Jesus asked his followers. “Who do you say that I am?”
“Thou art the Christ the son of the living God.” Peter sounded back.
“I say that you are Peter ‘little rock.’ Upon this rock, (Peter's God-given revelation) I build my church and the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it. Banias was looming in the background as Jesus miniaturized its height with his decree.
The lesson, as then now, in a world of chaos, panic and terrorism, God’s Word encompasses all. Despite what Pan was the thought to be, Jesus, on what was thought the devil’s territory, declared the great immensity of Himself, the kingdom of God, and his body the Church. We took a group picture here.
Lunch was up another mountain. An inactive volcano, its slopes---the home a Druze community. At the top a view of Berekhat Ram (Lake Ram), a crater lake. I don’t know how much this meant to the rest of the team, but I was fascinated. Gershon words, “we don’t know where the water comes from or where it goes.” It was confirmation for me for several reasons. A water source for which man could not explain. My Pentecostal expression---I receive that.
I drank grape juice, with my goat cheese, spread on a pizza sized pita, grilled on a flat pan, folded over, with what I believe was hummus, and again served with stuffing from the fixings bar. Lunch seemed quick. I’m still fascinated by the lake view. I trailed behind snapping selfies. I also captured the picture of the Reese’s containers. Yes, I could be at home here.
Back through the mountain community, more Druze spottings. The Druze men were recognizable. Labeled to us as the men with the (shirwal)“baggy pants” You have to say it, rushed---imitating Gershon accent. Druze in Israel are Arabic speaking yet some align with Israel and other align with Israel. Although active in communities all over the world where they reside. They are a society within themselves having their own social systems.
Druze are in some reference are broken off from Islam yet holding their own distinct views. They also share an interpretation of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Reincarnation is one of their distinct beliefs. Although many have given up their historical garb, distinguishable for the men, in the Golan Heights, along with the loose fitting black pants are the kufiya caps on their head and beards. The Druze believe that messiah is yet to come, but when he comes, it will be through a man---biologically, and, suddenly. The sack-like front of their trouser is to catch the savior when this happens. And, some people have a hard time believing the virgin birth.
Mount Bental was the next stop, another dormant volcano. From its heights can be seen Mt Hermon Israel's highest point. It is snowcapped. Today there’s a ski resort. Psalms 133:3 speaks of its dew as the anointing of God flowing down in the place of Unity of brethren. Its there God commanded the blessing. Also to view is the border of Lebanon and Syria. It is also the site of Yom Kippur War and the 6-day war. Existing still are IDF’s military bunkers and observation posts, which we took the tour. Tunnel like corridor to hold military and a watch post for the border.
“Where is the border or Israel, Lebanon, and Syria?” quizzed Gershon, as we all stared over at another breathtaking mountain valley view over the railing. In the far distance, the sound of artillery could be heard. We stuttered before the obvious. “Where its green it’s Israel,” he answered his self. As seen throughout, the hand of God was upon the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The last stop of the day was downslope. Right on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. There’s a church there---Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. To the overview first, where Pastor Jason read from John 21:19. After his resurrection, perhaps unsure of what to do next, Jesus disciples retreated to fishing—Peter and Andrew’s old occupation. Peter may have been most despondent. He had denied his Lord and friend three times.
Again Peter and company have fished all night and have caught nothing. As they approached the shore, Jesus is there waiting. He says again, cast your nets on the other side. They obeyed again and caught a bunch of fish again---153 to be exact, which numbers expresses the name of God.
Peter recognizing, this must be the Lord Jesus, jumps into the water and swims to shore. Jesus has a meal of fish already prepared for his team. After breakfast, Yeshua asks the sobering question to Peter three times. In reference to the fish, “Simon Peter, do you love these me, more than you love these?”
Three times Peter responds. Yes Lord, probably repentance, affirmation, and response to his three denials of Christ at the crucifixion. The last question from Jesus to Peter was the sinker. Peter passion was rediscovered. “Lord, you know I love you.”
Jesus seals the deal. “Then feed my Sheep.”
Pastor Jason and Damaris were set up. They had bought new rings. Song of Solomon rings, engraved---“I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.” The folks traveling from their church wanted them to renew their vowels, with the rings, in Israel. “We’ve renewed our vows before,” they responded.
But on the Galilee beach, they caught them off guard, and there where Peter renewed his vows to the Lord, they renewed theirs. I officiated.
Rona's Report - Day 4
Day – November 7 (Sat) – Golan Heights
ruins of the ancient city belonging to the tribe of Dan (Genesis 49:16-17)
Believed to be where Jeroboam erected the golden calf (1Kings
12:25-33) Structure at the city gate is featured a place for the king (2Samuel
Canaanite gate (which was covered during our visit) is said to be
the oldest arch
On the hilltop are bunkers and trenches
used by the Israelis to defend the water resource which Syria attempted to
divert in 1964
known as the ancient Caesarea Philippi (older name is Panium) where Jesus asked
His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13-20)
of a Greek-Roman city with temple and grotto for the god Pan; built at a time
when paganism was widespread
Lunch at Berkat Ram (Druze community), with view of the Ram, a crater lake
volcano with a strategic view of Syria, Lebanon, Mount Hermon and the Hula
of the historic Yom Kippur War in 1973; with existing military defensive
trenches/bunkers and observation posts
of conflict seen in the numerous signs that warn of
mines and the distant sound of bombs
Mensa Christi/Church of the
Primacy of St. Peter, Tabgha
chapel built along the shore of the Sea of Galilee; believed to be where Jesus
greeted his apostles after his resurrection and where Jesus gave Peter
"the keys to the kingdom" (John 21:1-19)
Hebrew expression for “Son of God” has a numeric value of 153, the number of
fishes hauled by Simon Peter