Do you dream about visiting Israel? Al Gibson has been on four tours to the beautiful Land of the Bible and shares his thoughts. If you are planning to visit Israel, know that it is so much more than a holiday, if you are a believer it is an amazing spiritual encounter.
Visiting Israel is life-changing, while you will enjoy so many things during your holiday, like breathtaking sights, delicious Israeli cuisine and make many friends, you can’t underestimate the spiritual journey you will encounter and how it deepens your relationship with God.
For centuries people have set aside time to visit places of significance to their faith – in fact, the idea of going on a spiritual journey is well documented in the Bible. All who were able among the Children of Israel were commanded by the Lord to visit the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feasts of Israel.
The Temple no longer exists, but still, people flock to Jerusalem on pilgrimages and as believers in Christ we do well to follow in the footsteps of our Jewish friends as we begin to understand more clearly the Jewish roots of our faith. Every Christian who is able should be encouraged to undertake a pilgrimage to the Land of the Bible!
Why visit Israel?
There are many reasons for visiting Israel and especially for Christians. Like people of other faiths, it is rewarding to connect with the birthplace of one’s religion, but as believers in Christ we don’t just pay homage to history and archaeological fact, but look also to the future, anticipating the prophesied return of our Saviour. Our Lord Jesus has promised to return to this very land and when He does, He will destroy Israel’s enemies and establish the Heavenly New Jerusalem. Discover Israel, God’s TImepiece.
Another key reason is that we been called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and bless the Jewish people, and nowhere better to do this than in their homeland. That is not to say that we do not love the Arab people equally, but God has a special End-Time destiny for Israel and it is important for us to understand His plans and purposes for this land. Over and above this, there is a very special blessing in visiting Israel, for every pilgrim to the Holy Land as God touches your life in a profound way.
As you visit the places you have read about so often in the Bible, but not yet seen, you will find that the scriptures come alive before your eyes. As you visit the City of David, the site of Solomon’s Temple and the many Ancient Biblical sites, you will be strengthened in your faith as you experience the authenticity of the Word of God in an unprecedented way. What an amazing opportunity for the modern-day believer in Christ to discover first-hand the Land where our Lord was born, to climb the Mount of Olives where He went so often to pray – or sail the Sea of Galilee, where He walked on water.\
Even if you’ve been to Israel, you may want to visit again. I personally think it is not enough to visit Israel just once, there is so much to see and so many different types of tours. Each itinerary is slightly different and will include places you haven’t been before.
For those of us who have been on such a tour before, we know the spiritual benefits are extraordinary and that is why I encourage you to believe God that this will be the year you will finally join the millions of Christians worldwide who have experienced the wonder of the Holy Land. It is such a special time of meeting with the Lord and a privilege to walk where He once walked.
Micah 4:1-2 declares that “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains… and peoples will stream to it. “Many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths’.”
As John Bunyan so vividly illustrated in his book ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ we are all pilgrims on a spiritual journey through life. An extraordinary part of that pilgrimage for Bible-believing Christians who are able, is to discover the Land of the Bible for themselves – don’t settle for just another holiday, visit Israel and have the spiritual experience of a lifetime!