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.
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?
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s pretty rare to find a devotional book written about the Holy Land.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
If you regularly read my blog, it’s likely you share my interest in the Holy Land. Where biblical events took place are more than throwaway mentions in the pages of Scripture. Often, they have significant bearing on God’s participation in the lives of His people.
Unfortunately, because we’re unfamiliar with geography we often miss these nuggets. I have found a lot of help in several Holy Land blogs that open up the Bible’s lands to my understanding.
I want to share with you 5 of my favorite Holy Land blogs and provide you an easy way to follow them.
Sometimes fear keeps us from enjoying what God has promised. We want so badly to have faith in what the Lord says. But fear of what we see seems more compelling than mere words.
Gideon longed to believe God. But the enemy army before him was enormous.
It was almost as large as the fears we face today.
Whenever I visit the ancient Cardo street in Jerusalem, I like to look at the replica of the Medeba Map mosaic.
It depicts the Holy Land as it looked in AD 580 and shows Jerusalem sectioned by crossroads. The divisions paved the way for the four quarters of today.
(Photo: Replica of the Medeba Map mosaic, showing the Cardo street. The Greek letters read: “Holy City of Jerusalem”)
The annual celebration of Jerusalem Day, or Yom Yerushalayim, reminds me of the T-shirt my grandmother bought me when she went to Jerusalem in 1987. I think I still have the shirt. (Some of us men keep clothes way too long.)
Printed in English, Hebrew and Arabic, the shirt celebrated “The 20th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem.” But can we really call the city unified?