Our tour group enjoyed a thorough pilgrimage of the Holy Land during the last two weeks. The greatest thing about the trip was actually being where Jesus walked, and taught. We could imagine Him teaching the crowds on the shores of the Galilee, or being on a boat with Him there. We pictured His ministry in Jerusalem while we stood on the Temple Steps. And we visited the empty Garden Tomb and saw the Place of the Skull where He was sacrificed for our sins!
But we were also there at a time that reminds us that the prophecies of the last days are being fulfilled. While we listened to our guide at Bethsaida, we could hear the distant explosions of a full-scale military drill involving all the officials of the country and the children in school. Air-raid preparations were practiced and gas masks were passed out in the cities.
Another day we were on the same cable car taking tourists to the top of Masada with President Obamaâ€™s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. This reminded us of the fragile peace process that was going on at the time and of the deteriorating relationship between Israel and the U.S.
And then, on our last full day in Israel, we visited the Temple Mount. We saw the Islamic holy sites built there where the Jewish Temple once stood, and understood the importance of this most valuable piece of real estate in the world. Within minutes of our visit, while we were still on a walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount was suddenly closed to visitors because of the conflict between Israel and a flotilla of ships bringing aid (and hundreds of activists) to Gaza!
Yes, we were there, and the past came alive for us. And we were there as the ancient prophecies continued to unfold!