Our first stop was Nazareth, which is about 1 hour from Tiberias. Nat’zereth means “offshoot” which came from the fact that it was established by religious Jews as an offshoot of Bethlehem to start a village without Gentiles. We are reminded Jesus was noted to be “the offshoot” or branch as well.
The Branch out of the root of JesseIsaiah 11:1, Revelation 5:5
We visited the “Nazareth Village” which was a reconstruction of various aspects of Nazareth life in the time of Jesus: the shepherd’s fold, a vineyard, olive press, carpenter, spinning & weaving & synagogue (Beit Knesset: House of Meeting).
The guide noted that in Jesus’ day did not eat olives as they are too bitter and it took a long time to find the recipe to make them taste good. Amos was overheard exclaiming “My goodness I’m glad they discovered that!”
I was especially fascinated by the winepress as it was authentic and dated by archeologists to near the time of Jesus based on pottery found there. Notice the trampling area, the notch to drain and the holding trough in front of it.
We passed through the fertile Jezreel Valley and passed Har’Meggido (aka Armageddon) on the way to Mount Carmel. This was an important passage for travelers and armies. Because of this it was the site of the significant battles of the ages like Deborah & Sisera and others.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ evokes the showdowns of Har’Meggido to indicate the victory ahead for Jesus & His Kingdom.
Next we arrived at Carmel. We learned that in Hebrew Carm’el means “the vineyard of God”. If you see “el” in a Hebrew word it usually designates “God”. For example: Isra’el. Mount Carmel is of course the sight of the great showdown & victory of Elijah. (Notice the El’Ijah: God is My God!) 1 Kings 18:22. Baal was supposed to be in charge of the rain, but Elijah demonstrated that Yahweh was *actually* in charge of the rain.
From here we grabbed lunch and headed to the modern city of Haifa. Our guide, Sufian, noted that Haifa is the place where Muslims, Jews & others lives together in harmony unlike many other places in Israel.
Caesarea Maritime is the city built by Herod on the Mediterranean Sea. No expense was spared in its building. It sported seaside palaces with seaside pools, a hippodrome (race track), theater and harbor that was envisioned to compete with Alexandria.
It is here at Caesarea that Peter made the monumental transition to accepting a Gentile and all people as God does. Paul said “I appeal to Caesar” in this city.
A stone with the Latin inscription: “Pontias Pilate, the prefect of Judea [erected a building] to [the emperor] Tiberias”.