By Nathan Jones
Day 10 of Lamb & Lion Ministries 2014 Israel Tour was a sobering, educational journey into the tremendous sacrifices the Jewish people have made to produce the miracle that is by God's hand the resurrecting of the nation of Israel from nearly 1,900 years of death. This is just as Bible prophecy had foretold would happen (Ezek. 36-37; Mat. 24:32-34).
We climbed Mount Herzl to visit the cemetary of Israel's fallen heroes. We walked through World War II at Yad Vashem and mourned for the six million Jews that had their lives forcably taken to the Nazi death machine, though not in vain. We saw the physical proof that our Bible today has remained unaltered over the millennia by looking over the Dead Sea Scrolls. And, we learned at the Ministry of Tourism how tourism can keep the peace.
- So many Jewish children died at the hands of the Nazis that at the rate the Yad Vashem memorial reads off the names it will take 1.5 years before the next time that name is read again.
- When Christians boycott Israeli goods, they need to remember that was the act that started the downward slide into the Holocaust.
- Pilgrims to Israel are given the title "Tourism Goodwill Ambassador" and a certificate by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
- My hotel towels have all smelled like honey. Is that smell of dryer sheet even offered in the States?
Day 11 and 12
The final two days of our tour will fit in some exciting biblical spots. God willing, on Day 11 we will hold a special worship and communion service at the Garden Tomb and visit Golgotha. We will move on to what was Kireath Jearim where the Ark of the Covenant was stored in a farm house for 70 years (1 Sam. 7:1), and where Elvis lives on in the hearts and gas pumps of the locals. We'll have our last Israeli meal at the Messianic kibbutz, Yad Hashmona. And hopefully, we will get all this in before heading to the airport for the toughest part of this trip - Day 12 with a stopover in Frankfurt, Germany and onwards for the loooong flight home.
How can I sum up this tour?
I used to balk at the word "pilgrimage," as it had connotations of some works-based act for attaining salvation. And yet, "pilgrimage" is what this tour really is, not in the sense that we are seeking salvation, which we already have, but to better understand our salvation and the things we were taught in Sunday school that we long have taken for granted.
For some, it was the trip of a lifetime. For others, a valued learning experience where new friendships were formed. But, for me, it was also a worship experience, for I got to explore Bible prophecy with my new-found brothers and sisters in Christ while in the echoes of my Savior's time here on earth.
It was a journey well worth the taking.