We started off early again (7:47 am) and enjoyed a much needed Morning Prayer service together on the bus. Our first and longest stop was Masada. I wasn't looking forward to this part of our journey because it is not a biblical event. But the fortress itself is something to behold. Our guide took us to each of the Jewish building built while occupied and discussed the benefits of Jewish practices. A "elephant in the room" question stays with us, "Why should we be impressed with devout Jewish practices when they missed the Messiah?" It is sometimes acknowledged but most of the time it is overlooked. I do care about what the Jews did whether it be cultural or religious but only because I want to better understand how and why Jesus acted toward them the way he did. There is too much more to discuss on the issue so I will save it for later teaching times.
Our next stop was the Qumran where the Essenes left their scrolls and where so much of our Old Testament content is revealed. Consider that before these scrolls were found the latest archaeological evidence for the Old Testament were 900 A.D. scrolls. These were 100 B.C. scrolls and virtually identical to the 900 A.D. scrolls. Add to this evidence that Malachi was written 300 years before the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jeremiah just over 200 years before Malachi and we have the high likelihood that what we have today is a the Word of God.
Our final stop was to take a deep in the Dead Sea and it was worth the wait. There is literally no effort needed to stay afloat and no sting to the skin. Another once in a lifetime opportunity.
We ended our day here at the Christ Church guest house and what a blessing it is. It is in the Old Jerusalem right across from the Tower of David. This will be our home for the next four days. Peace, Pastor Eric