10 Reasons To Tour Israel Sooner Rather than Later

I have never recovered from my travels to the Holy Land. As many times as I’ve been to Israel, every trip impacts me. Every single one. There’s a reason.

10 Reasons To Tour Israel Sooner Rather than Later

(Photo: Temple Mount and Western Wall. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After Cathy and I took our first tour to the Holy Land, the truth hit home harder than it ever had: my faith is rooted in events that occurred in real places.

But after the initial trip, I began to unpack the incredible benefits of traveling to Israel. I’m convinced there are at least 10 good reasons to go.

And why sooner is better than later.

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The Source of Our Peace—Reflections from Yom Yerushalayim

Why Peace Requires One Thing More than Anything Else

The holiday, Yom Yerushalayim, “Jerusalem Day” always reminds me of the T-shirt my grandmother bought me when she went to Jerusalem in 1987. (We men keep clothes way too long.)

The Source of Our Peace—Reflections from Yom Yerushalayim

(Photo: The Jaffa Gate, celebrating Jerusalem’s 40th Birthday. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Printed in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, the T-shirt celebrated “The 20th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem.” Yom Yerushalayim is a Jewish holiday annually celebrating the first time the Jews controlled Jerusalem since the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in AD 70.

Now almost 70 years since the beginning of the State of Israel, the land has just as much tension and heartache as ever. And much of the conflict cloaks its true motives in the name of religion.

One day in Jerusalem I saw a humorous sign that tried to bridge that religion gap.

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How God Connected Passover, Redemption, and the Holy Land

God told the Hebrews when to observe the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. At first, to be honest, the command seems random. But now it makes total sense.

How God Connected Passover, Redemption, and the Holy Land

(Photo: Passover Seder cup, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The feasts were to occur at the appointed time of Abib, or Aviv (Exodus 23:15)—a Hebrew word that refers to the time in spring when the grain begins to ripen. The first Passover occurred on the fifteenth day of Nisan, which became the first month of the Jewish calendar.

This timing occurred for good reason. The Lord gave His people a plain explanation why the celebration should coincide with spring:

For [then] you came out of Egypt. —Exodus 23:15

God linked the Passover celebration with their redemption.

But why the springtime? There was a problem with the calendar that had to get fixed. Its fix offers a lasting lesson.

Even for us as Christians.

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What Makes the Holy Land Holy? Or You, for that Matter?

As often as we use the name, “Holy Land,” amazingly, the phrase only shows up in the Bible on rare occasions. In fact, you can count them on one hand.

What Makes the Holy Land Holy? Or You, for that Matter?

(Photo: Painting of Moses and the burning bush, Mar Saba monastery. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The first man, Adam, had a name that means “man,” and it relates to the word adamah, meaning “ground,” from which God formed him. Accordingly, when Adam sinned, God cursed the ground to which Adam would return when he died.

It seems surprising, then, that the first use of the noun form “holy” in the Hebrew Bible finds its connection with the ground. God told Moses at Horeb:

Remove your sandals, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. —Exodus 3:5

So, what makes the holy land holy? Or for that matter, what makes you holy?

Same answer.

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Unwrap the Bible’s Treasures in 4 Steps

After I bought my 1897 edition of  The Historical Geography of the Holy Land, I opened its dingy, yellow pages and discovered I couldn’t turn some of them. The London publisher had made an error.

Unwrapped treasures await

(Photo: I have to read this book with a pair of scissors.)

The book was printed on large sheets which were then cut and bound into the book. But some of the edges never got trimmed. I had to cut each pair of pages myself. At first this was a real hassle.

But then it hit me . . . I am the first person ever to read these pages!

The book sat on the shelf of some library or study for over a century—untouched! All its benefits . . . hidden. Nobody read them. Each time I cut a page seemed like cutting the ribbon on an unwrapped present. The rich descriptions George Adam Smith has written are the next best thing to pictures.

I bought a used book no one had used.

An Awkward Question

Then a question popped in my head: How long would it take me to notice if pages of my Bible were stuck together? The Bible is a book of treasures, often unwrapped, because we simply don’t realize its tremendous value to our lives.

I want to share with you 4 steps that can help you unwrap the Bible’s treasures.

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Great Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

I’ve just returned from another Holy Land tour. It was great! After a tour to the Holy Land, it’s easy to forget the many lessons you’ve learned and the sites you’ve seen. The Holy Land can soon seem a distant land again. But it doesn’t have to.

The Best Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

(Photo: Pilgrims on Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

One of my recommendations for making your holy land tour stay with you for years includes getting some great resources that will last you a lifetime.

In this post, I’ve highlighted the best of what I suggest you pick up after your Holy Land tour. I include videos, pictures, devotionals, and atlases.

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My Top 10 Posts of 2013

I always find it amazing that 3 out of every 4 visitors to my blog are brand new. The same was true last year. Most new readers come as a result of a Google search. Here’s why that’s significant.

My Top 10 Posts of 2013

(Photo by Photodune)

People are searching for what these posts talk about:

  • Relief from guilt and freedom from sin’s entrapments.
  • Practical connection of the Bible and its lands to life.
  • Getting the most out of a Holy Land tour.

Of the hundreds of posts on my blog, these are the top 10 for 2013. Let’s start with number 10 and work down to number 1.

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Thirty Days in the Land with Jesus [Book Review]

It’s pretty rare to find a devotional book written about the Holy Land.

stars 5

Thirty Days in the Land with Jesus

In fact, one of the reasons I wrote two of my books was to help fill the void in application of Holy Land study.

True, there are other books that do this. It’s just that so many of them waffle between inaccurate and superficial.

Charles Dyer offers us a refreshing alternative.

As I read Thirty Days in the Land with Jesus, I felt like I was on tour in Israel with a great Bible teacher. The book takes 30 events in the life of Jesus and gives you a geographical and devotional tour of the places where they occurred.

Bethlehem, the Temple Mount, the Judean Wilderness, the Sea of Galilee are only a few places Dr. Dyer leads us on this virtual tour through key places in the life and ministry of Jesus. “Watch your step as you get down from the bus,” it reads in one place.

I felt like I could easily take the book in hand and stand at the very places in the Holy Land. The book could serve as a pocket guide devotional.

If you’re looking for a unique devotional on a part of the Bible most people miss, Thirty Days in the Land with Jesus is a journey worth taking.

I read the Kindle edition, but you can also pick up the softcover edition.

P.S. Charles Dyer has written two other books about the Holy Land also worth having in your library (I have them both):

Question: What place in the life of Jesus would you most like to see? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

8 Tips to Maximize Your Holy Land Tour

In my previous post, I offered some suggestions for how to prepare for a Holy Land Tour. After all, you’re investing a lot of money and significant time for this journey. It makes sense to prepare yourself beforehand so that you get the most from your experience in Israel.

8 Tips to Maximize Your Holy Land Tour

(Photo: Western Wall and Temple Mount, courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But after you arrive in Israel, there are a number of ways you can ensure you get the most from your Holy Land tour.

The following 8 tips include both practical and spiritual ways to maximize your experience every single day you’re there.

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How to Prepare for a Holy Land Tour

You’ve finally decided to take a spiritual journey to the Holy Land—to the land of the Bible. I can promise you, you won’t come home from Israel the same! But there’s something else you need to know.

How to Prepare for a Holy Land Tour

(Photo: the aqueduct at Caesarea)

You already realize you are investing a lot of money this trip, and you want to make the most of your time. But you will get twice as much out of your Holy Land tour if you’ll also invest some time preparing for it.

Here are some ways that will help you maximize your trip—by preparing mentally, practically, physically, and spiritually.

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