Wednesday 25th March
Day 3
Today we start by heading north to Tel Dan, the site of the ancient city of Dan. This marks the northern most border of the biblical kingdom of Israel. After which we will visit the beautiful Nature Reserve of Banias / Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon. It was here that Yeshua said the “gates of hell” would not overcome His congregation. We will then visit the Valley of Tears, which witnessed a miraculous Israeli victory during the 1973 Yom Kippur War with Syria.  Israel was down to one brave tank unit, when the Syrians inexplicably fled. We will then ascend the breath-taking Mount Bental, with its stunning views over the Syrian / Israeli border and the snow-capped peak of Mount Hermon. We will conclude the day in a time of prayer, praise and fellowship, with Lindell Cooley leading worship, before you have the opportunity to be baptised in the River Jordan at Yardenit. After dinner, we will gather together to share an evening of ministry and worship with our GOD TV guest speakers. A chance to reflect on the sights and sounds of the last few days, before leaving Tiberius and heading ‘Up to Jerusalem’ the Holy City and centre of the World.
Overnight in Tiberius
Tel Dan
Tel Dan

Archaeological Nature Reserve
This half-square-kilometre reserve is one of the most important sites for the archaeological and historical recovery of ancient Israel. The city of Dan represented the northern border of the biblical kingdom of Israel. It was here, 2900 years ago, that King Hazael of Damascus punctuated his invasion of Israelite territory with the erection of the famous House of David inscription, the oldest document to mention the historical King David. It is here that visitors can explore King Jeroboam’s temple, which the Hebrew Bible indicates he established to house the golden calf and challenge the temple in Jerusalem for religious supremacy. It was here that Bronze Age inhabitants constructed the world’s oldest known gated archway more than 1500 years before the Romans supposedly invented the arch.

The Hebrew Bible attributes the city’s name to the eponymous Israelite tribe of Dan, but the site was clearly significant for millennia before the ancestral traditions of Israel’s prehistory. There is evidence of settlement dating to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities of the sixth to fourth millennia BCE. Massive Early Bronze Age stone fortifications ring a site that would boast even more impressive mudbrick structures during the Middle Bronze Age. The Egyptian execretion texts and cuneiform tablets from the Mesopotamian city of Mari both attest to Dan’s significance in the early second millennium BCE. Throughout the Iron Age, Israelites, Aramaeans, and Assyrians vied for control of a city whose cultic significance stretched well into the Greco-Roman period. A Greek dedicatory inscription reading “for the god who is in Dan” indicates not only the memory of the city’s religious history, but also confirms beyond doubt the identification of Tell al-Qadi (as the site is known in Arabic) with the biblical city of Dan.

Banias / Caesarea Philippi

Archaeological Nature Reserve
The gushing springs, waterfalls and lushly shaded streams of Banias Nature Reserve form one of the most beautiful, and popular nature spots in the country.

The name ‘Banias’ (an Arabic pronunciation of Panias (there is no p in Arabic), derives from Pan, Greek god of the countryside — a half-man, half-goat deity often depicted playing a flute, to whom a temple here was dedicated back in Roman times built by Herod’s grandson, Agrippa II. Banias was built around the Banias spring, which still today, gushes from the massive rock face and flows into one of the streams that form the Jordan River.

The cult of Pan flourished here and today East of a large cave entrance, the remains of shrines to Pan and inscriptions, from the 2nd century, bearing his name can be seen.

Situated 40km north of the Sea of Galilee, the region of Caesarea Philippi was the furthest north Jesus took his disciples. When Jesus passed this way, the city had been renamed Caesarea. To distinguish it from the coastal Caesarea Maritima, it became known as Caesarea Philippi.

Since Jesus liked to use local imagery for his metaphors and parables, it is easy to visualise him standing by the steep cliff of the Banias spring, announcing that he would establish a church on the site and give authority over it to the apostle Simon — whom he renamed Peter.

When Christ asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” it was Simon Peter who was inspired to answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” In reply, Christ declared: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the

kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-20).

In Scripture:

Peter calls Jesus the Messiah: Matthew 16:13-20

Jesus foretells his death: Mark 8:31—9:1

Valley of Tears
Valley of Tears

Archaeological Nature Reserve
On October 6, 1973 massive Syrian and Egyptian forces launched a surprise attack on the State of Israel. It was the holiest day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement, and Jews all over the country had been fasting and praying since dawn. No one in Israel on that fateful day will ever forget the piercing shriek of sirens which shattered the Yom Kippur silence and called men and women out of their homes and synagogues into uniform.

Syrian tanks penetrated Israel’s front lines on the first day of the Yom Kippur War and raced across the Golan Heights. Syria’s task force comprised of 700 tanks, against Israel’s 175; their infantry carried state-of-the-art anti-tank missiles which Israel hadn’t known were part of the Arab arsenal. Syria’s superior weaponry had a devastating effect on Israel’s tanks and, following a rapid advance into Israel, the Arabs stopped near Mitzpe Gadot, only five minutes from the Jordan river.

Israeli reservists who had been rushed into battle succeeded in blocking the Syrian advance on the second and third days of the war. Syria then intensified its efforts to break through Israeli lines.

On the fourth day of battle the Syrians launched a new and formidable attack from a valley north of Kuneitra. In a major assault hundreds of modern Arab tanks began moving up from the bottom of the valley hoping to take higher ground. Had they gained access to the plateau, they would have been able to spread out their forces and control the central Golan Heights. From here it would have been easy to penetrate even deeper into Israel.

Battalion commander Avigdor Kahalani was sent to the valley in a last-ditch effort to stem the Syrian advance. Calling his men to join him in a rush towards the enemy he was shocked to find that a commander’s worst nightmare had come true and he was moving forward alone. Physically and emotionally at the end of their rope, the men had simply not responded.

When Kahalani’s tank reached the crest of the hill he found himself face to face with three Syrian tanks. Yet his crew managed to destroy first one tank and then another, a mere 50 meters away.

As a third tank aimed a cannon in his direction, Kahalani’s guns jammed. Nevertheless the Syrian tank burst into flames, hit by Israeli troops who had finally rallied to his support.

The battle raged all day long until the Syrians, who had suffered their own heavy losses, retreated down the hill. Over 500 destroyed tanks and armored personnel carriers were left behind from the battle and following their defeat the Syrian offensive was effectively stopped.

After the war the battleground became known as the Valley of Tears (in Hebrew, Emek Habaha). Today it hosts a Jewish National Fund memorial site for fallen members of the armored corps from the 77th Brigade. The memorial is called Oz 77, from the Hebrew word for “strength.”

Part of the monument consists of a T62 Syrian tank, one of those which spearheaded the Syrian attack. Look for a gaping hole in the front where it was hit in the crucial battle.

Trees at the site were planted in memory of fallen Israeli soldiers who fought here: their names are written in Hebrew on plaques below the trees and in one central memorial.

Yardenit Baptism Site

The River Jordan is an incredibly significant river, running through the land as much as it does through the history of the Bible, giving its waters a spiritual significance that sets it aside from other rivers.

The Jordan is significant for Jews because the tribes of Israel under Joshua crossed the river on dry ground to enter the Promised Land after years of wandering in the desert.

It is significant for Christians because John the Baptist baptised Jesus in the waters of the Jordan.

The prophets Elijah and Elisha also crossed the river dry-shod; and the Syrian general Naaman was healed of leprosy after washing in the Jordan at Elisha’s direction.

The place where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist is believed to be in Jordan, on the east bank of a large loop in the river opposite Jericho.

A site less than 2km east of the river’s present course, at Wadi Al-Kharrar, has been identified as Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This is where John lived and baptised, and where Jesus fled for safety after being threatened with stoning in Jerusalem.

Until the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, the area was a Jordanian military zone. Whilst the believed Jordanian site of the Jesus’ baptism remains inaccessible, a modern site commemorating Christ’s baptism was established at Yardenit.

Yardenit is a hugely popular, eucalyptus-shaded baptism site, 100m south of where it flows out of the Sea of Galilee. All around the site, panels made of Armenian tiles, sponsored by Christians from around the world, quote Mark 1:9–11 in 102 languages. The perfect site for you to renew your baptismal promises — or for new Christians to be baptised in the same waters that Jesus made his baptismal promises.

In Scripture:

The Israelites cross the Jordan on dry ground: Joshua 3:14-17

Elijah crosses the Jordan on dry ground: 2 Kings 2:8

John baptises Jesus: Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34

Naaman’s leprosy is cured in the Jordan: 2 Kings 5:1-14

Tel Dan
Valley of Tears
Yardenit - Baptisms
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