Pilgrimage in the Holy Land: Israel
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A pilgrimage to the Holy Land (Israel) is the ultimate goal of every Christian and Jewish pilgrim. The Holy Land is the setting of most of the stories in the Scriptures. To enter the Promised Land and see the sites of familiar Bible stories is like traveling back in time. Pilgrim Tours provides the pilgrim with the opportunity to journey back to the time of Abraham, Elijah, Jesus and many other sacred luminaries of Biblical history. The most notable places on the tour are: (1) Caesarea, the famous port city; (2) Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elijah demonstrated the preeminence of his God; (3) Megiddo, where archaeologists have unearthed twenty levels of civilizations; (4) Tel Dan, a nature reserve and the ancient site of a cultic high place; (5) Banias (Caesarea Philippi), the site of a Hellenic Temple of Pan; (6) Capernaum, known as the town of Jesus; (7) the Sea of Galilee, where a song-filled cruise on the waters that Jesus walked on brings joy and peace to the pilgrim’s soul. The best guide in the world, Marian Gavish, brings the history, culture, and religions of Israel into a comprehensive and understandable format with her instructive talks and discussions as we journey through: (8) Beit Shean, a Decapolis city at the juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys; (9) Masada, where the Jewish Zealots made their last stand against the Romans; (10) Qumran, site of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls; (11) Bethany Beyond Jordan, the place of the original baptism; (12) Jerusalem, from the Mount of Olives to the Via Dolorosa; (13) the Temple Mount; (14) museums – the Israel Museum and Yad HaShem. Many more places and experiences highlight a once in a lifetime pilgrimage that is thoroughly covered in this book.
Bus ride to Nazareth Marian: “You know Nazareth as the site of the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel comes to Mary and makes an announcement. And as you probably know, all these announcements – or all these things that happen – in the New Testament are fulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament. And the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah actually says, ‘a young maiden.’ (Isaiah 7:14) The Hebrew word for the woman who is going to give birth to this very special child is, ‘almah.’ ‘Almah’ is a young maiden. “But when this is translated into the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew, they change the word from young maiden to virgin. They may not have realized that it was a problem. They may have thought, ‘all young maidens are virgins.’ So – we don’t think like that today. But at that time, all young maidens were virgins, so it may have not made a big difference when they changed that word. But, of course, there is a big difference between virgin and the word young maiden. Isaiah’s prophecy was, ‘a young maiden shall have a child, and his name will be Emmanuel.’ Emmanuel – God is with us. “So God sent an angel in the form of a man. Now, in the Catholic tradition, the angel Gabriel goes to the house of Mary. And they build on the house this enormous church, which is found in the center of Nazareth. The Orthodox Christians – by the way, Christians in the Middle East are generally Orthodox – the Orthodox Christians, they will say immediately that would not be possible. They’re thinking in the terms of the Middle East as we understand the population, and in this case, of course, a man would not go into a woman’s house. That would discredit her, and her life would be over. She would be stoned. If anybody had seen a man come in, go out – never mind that it’s an angel – it would just not be in the Greek Orthodox mindset to have the angel going in. And for the Orthodox Christians, the site of the Annunciation is a large well that’s found in Nazareth. “However, the Protestant community thought that it would be wiser – instead of trying to find the house of Mary, which is probably almost impossible, because there was no post sign, ‘this is Mary’s house’ – instead of that they made this village, which is what we’re on our way to. “One of the things they’ve reconstructed is a synagogue. So I just wanted to open up for you the subject of a synagogue, because it’s so different from a church. A church is literally from the word ‘kyriakos’ – of God, the room of God; you’re going into the body of God. And a synagogue is nothing like that, at all. A synagogue is just a place for coming together. It’s a place of meeting. And what would the place of meeting be for? Tony: “Worship.” Marian: “Discussion. Now, this is a very big thing with the Jewish people. What you do in the Jewish religion is, you read the Bible, and then you have a discussion. You don’t read it without discussion. So, you know how sometimes there’s something in the Bible, and it doesn’t quite make sense? A lot of people would tend to gloss over those things that don’t make too much sense, but that cannot happen in the Jewish religion, because if something doesn’t make sense, we call that ‘a hook.’ That’s something that you want to look into. If it doesn’t make sense, God is telling us something. So you have to look into that, and see what God is trying to tell us. “So it was quite normal in a synagogue for people to discuss what was written in Scripture. I’m coming, of course, to Luke 4 and the story of Jesus going into the synagogue. And, because I’m not sure how much time I’ll have left when we get to the village, maybe will ask again Leslie to read that small piece for us, from the Book of Luke, and try to understand what happened there. Is that OK? (response, ‘sure’) “And what we want to try and find out is: Why are they so angry with Jesus in this story? What makes them angry?” Leslie reads Luke 4:14-30. Marian’s: “What made them angry?” Ron: “He claimed to be the Messiah.” Marian: “No, in the beginning he’s reading to them and he says, ‘This prophecy is fulfilled.’ They’re not angry at that.” Leslie: “They had lack of faith?” Marian: “Maybe I’ll read it to you again. You got to read it like – listen – he says: “There were lots of widows, but Elijah goes to Zarephath. He says there were lots of lepers, but Elijah cures Naaman. What is he saying to them? He’s saying that God is Universal, for everyone. That made them angry. Once he said that, they want to throw him out the city. “Tomorrow we’re going to be in Capernaum. Tomorrow we’re going to try and work out, when he says these things in Capernaum, everyone’s perfectly happy with what he’s saying. So we’re going to work out what’s different between Capernaum and Nazareth, why no one is accepting him in Nazareth and they want to through him down the hill – they literally want to kill him. And when he speaks the same things in Capernaum, thousands of people are coming to listen to him. “So it’s important to understand that coming to the synagogue and preaching did not make them angry. Reading from the scroll, that is not what made them angry. There was something in the message that they didn’t want to hear. And that was the Universal Message. And isn’t it amazing that in Capernaum, they loved all that, and they’re going after him in thousands. So tomorrow we’re going to check what’s so different between Nazareth and Capernaum.”
Paul John Wigowsky is a lifetime student of comparative religions. He earned two masters degrees from San Francisco State University: English, Russian. He retired from teaching after a productive twenty-seven year career at the elementary and middle school levels in Oregon. He wrote a book (Freedom For an Old Believer) about the religion, customs, and traditions of a community of Russian Old Believers he worked with in the school district. In 2006, he wrote God in Three Persons: A Spiritual Odyssey – a historic-religious romance (semi-allegorical narrative) about three historical persons who appeared almost simultaneously on the stage of the first century AD to transform the world. In 2009, he took a pilgrimage to the Maya world of Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala, and ended up writing a book about it: Maya Pilgrimage: Xibalba, Maximon, and our Galaxy. In 2010, he took a pilgrimage to the South American countries of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, and ended up writing another pilgrimage book: Inka Pilgrimage: Hidden Treasures of Pachamama. In 2011, he took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Israel. The author presently lives in Oregon.
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