By Margie Harding
Ever since I was a young adult I have wanted to visit the Holy Land; not because I wanted to check it off my “bucket list” as just somewhere to visit, but because I felt as a believer I needed to go. It was a pilgrimage I longed for with all my heart. My husband, however, adamantly refused to even discuss the idea given his Viet Nam experience and injuries. The media hype of people brandishing weapons at will, only intensified his feelings. Yet God performed a miracle, changing my husband’s heart and granting the desire of my heart.
So what makes it so important for a believer to visit Israel? There is first and foremost an intimacy with the Father that can only be felt in Israel. It is God’s Holy place; in this special place, He was crucified and was raised again. It is to Jerusalem that He will return. To experience the feeling of oneness with the Father is overwhelming and can cause emotions to overflow.
To walk where Jesus walked, visit the tomb where he lay before rising again; to ride in a boat on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus calmed the storm and walked on water fills a body with awe. Standing in the synagogue where Jesus taught suddenly becomes a personal experience. When reading his teachings in the Bible, you feel yourself sitting at his feet, being taught by the Greatest Teacher who ever lived, while the words read time and again now become clearer.
With this vision in your heart, inspiration to turn the focus from yourself to Messiah for guidance in life is greatly enhanced as thought processes for the believer are forever changed. Geographically, the dots are connected, so are images within the mind’s eye while reading become sharper because you’ve walked in the same space Yeshua walked, or Paul, or any of the disciples.
Yet it is a sobering experience to come face to face with the ugliness of Golgotha. Calvary is no longer something in your imagination or depicted on a television screen, but something you share in your heart with the Lord. The image is crisp and clear in your mind even as your brain rejects the agony while your heart rejoices in the promise of eternal life.
The volatility of the area as represented via the media does create fear in the traveler, as in my husband’s case, but is horribly inaccurate. Young men and women do bear arms, but in the spirit of protecting their country, not random shootings. The countries all around Israel would love to eradicate the Jews from the face of the earth and a grim reminder of this is witnessed with a visit to the Holocaust Museum. But God saved a remnant, and in 1948 the country was again united as a country, fulfilling the prophecy in the Bible in Ezekiel 37:21-22.
Independence for Israel is just one of the miracles being fulfilled during our lifetime. As we read and study God’s word, we can see God’s hand even as the end times draw near: false gods, prophets, and religions as mainline churches join together as a one world religious system, a one world monetary system and language, worldwide communication, earthquakes, famines, plagues, growing violence, terrorism, crime, and all kinds of evil continue to rise.
Israel invites those who believe in Messiah Yeshua to call this land “home.” Come be refreshed, revived, and filled with the Spirit of the Lord like never before as you walk the streets and see the sites where our Savior grew, taught and offered himself as the perfect sacrifice.
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