Tel Dan, Mt of the Beatitudes;Capernaum; Galilee

Thursday, June 06, 2019
Nof Ginosar Hotel - מלון נוף גינוסר, North District, Israel
Our first stop to day is Tel Dan. As you recall from the scripture, the city of Dan plays a very important, if not infamous, role in the history of Israel. When Israel began to occupy the Promised Land, the tribe of Dan asked for a change in their inheritance from the coastlands they were assigned to the north of the country. They were granted this exception and proceeded to dispossess the residents who were there and occupy the land to the north.  Dan became the northern-most tribe in Israel. One of the great features of this area is the River Dan – the main tributary to the Jordan River.
After the split of Israel and Judah, Dan sides with Jereboam and nine other tribes of Israel. Within a very short time Jereboam shows he does not trust God to keep the northern alliance together. He worries if the northern tribes go back to Jerusalem to worship God at Solomon’s temple - located in what is now the southern Kingdom of Judah –their emotions will cause them to reject Jereboam as king and turn back to Rehoboam the King of Judah.
To prevent this from happening Jereboam shifts the worship of God by moving the Feast of Tabernacles a month later, setting up a new priesthood not of the sons of Aaron, and proclaimed that it was too much to ask people to go up to Jerusalem to worship God. Therefore he constructed two golden calves – centers of worship - and placed one on Dan – the northern-most part of Israel – and one in Bethel – the southern-most part of Israel. He hoped this would keep the Israelites from going back to Jerusalem and rejecting him as king. Of course, this idolatry and worship of God through these golden calves was an abomination to God and a direct violation of the 10 Commandments.
Archaeologists at Tel Dan have uncovered the presumed location where this golden calf was located in the ancient city of Dan by examining the ruins. We hiked up to the top of the tel to see the location of the altar of worship. To help onlookers to imagine the scene as it may have looked when in use, an outline of an the altar has been constructed using metal beams. It was striking to see firsthand the results that come when one rejects what God commands and attempts to worship God by doing what is right in his own eyes. Sin and disaster follow.  Jereboam later pays for this sin with his life and the forfeiture of any of his descendants following him as king on the throne of Israel. Sadly the Kings of Israel follow “the sins of Jereboam" and eventually the ten tribes that composed the Kingdom of Israel go into captivity by the arms of the Assyrian Empire, losing their national identity and becoming history's "Lost Ten Tribes."
From Tel Dan, we drove southward into Galilee. We passed through the town where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding there. The city of Cana still tries its best to make money off this miracle! Since Jesus turned water into wine here in his first public miracle, you, too, can benefit from drinking “Cana Wedding Wine” available from the "Cana Wedding Wine First Miracle Souvenir Store" in downtown Cana. Apparently they found the recipe Jesus used and have somehow replicated it!
We arrived next at the Mt. of Beatitudes. This is the supposed location where Christ presented the essential teaching of God’s way of life in the discourse, often called "The Sermon on the Mount," which took place in this relatively flat area in the hills above the Sea of Galilee. We were able to sit there in a small amphitheater and receive some instruction about the Beatitudes and Christ’s method of teaching.
From this spot we headed over for lunch at “St. Peter’s Restaurant.” Their specialty is “St. Peter’s Fish” – a whole fish – yes, including head, fins, eyes, and tail – deep fried and delicious. But you do have to get used to the fish looking back at you while you eat it!
Following lunch it was on to another historical site on the Sea of Galilee – Capernaum. This was the city that Jesus moved to and made His home after leaving Nazareth. Christ performed many miracles here. The large “White Synagogue” is a standout at this location. It is a replica of the synagogue that was built a few hundred years after Christ.
We ended the afternoon with a brief 45 minute ‘cruise’ on the Sea of Galilee. Our boat was named “King David.” With 100 of us on board, we certainly did not want capsize, get thrown into the lake and take a Bathsheba!
We have an early morning departure, so after dinner we headed off to bed for a good night’s sleep!
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2019-09-20