Update 2016-10-11: Okay, we had lots of interest for the information night. Applications close 25 November 2016, or sooner if we have 40 applicants. Contact me if you need a copy of the info booklet.
Riverview Church is planning its first trip to Israel 11–27 May next year, and I will have the pleasure of joining you and explaining the significance of the places we’ll visit. The information night is this Monday (10 Oct), 6pm, in the newly opened Riverview Church building (Burswood, Western Australia).
I was there two years ago, with New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III. There’s something significant about experiencing these places for yourself. It really does help you visualize the Bible’s narratives.
The Sea of Galilee is a special place, smaller than I’d pictured, nestling down among the hills. To the north is Capernaum where Jesus lived with his fisherman friends during much of his ministry. Nazareth is through the hills to the west, and there’s a small village there depicting what life would have been like in Jesus’ time.
“Who do you say I am?” Jesus asked his disciples after taking them on a long walk to the north. Why had he taken them to Caesarea Philippi? See for yourself.
It’s about the Old Testament stories too. You’ll see Mount Carmel where Elijah demonstrated that YHWH is the one true God. From there you can see the rich Valley of Jezreel, with the hills of Nazareth in the distance. There are many stories to tell about the strategic Tel Megiddo.
Jerusalem just oozes history, 3,000 years of it: the city of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the mount where the temple stood, the Mount of Olives, the tragedy of Jesus’ rejection and crucifixion, and the birth of the church that proclaimed his resurrection. Those iconic walls date from the time of the Crusades. Its four quarters alert you to its chequered history. Its museums remember its stories, from ancient times to the Holocaust.
Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus and of King David, is today in Palestine. You’ll get a chance to swim in the Dead Sea, and to visit Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. See the fortress of Masada where the Jews made their last stand against the Roman invasion.
We’ll drive south through the Negev to Eilat, Israel’s port on the Red Sea. Then we’ll cross into Jordan to visit Petra, where the Nabateans built into the rocks.