New Website Page with Interesting Links

All pilgrims who journey with Sacred Bridge Travel will receive a special souvenir guidebook to take along with them during their travels, containing interesting and critical facts about all the sites and other important biblical and archaeological locations.  But before you come with us, consider doing some pre-trip research of your own, starting with the new Interesting Website Links page here!  Only 3-months to go to our next Biblical Travel Tour to Israel & Jordan in April…

sacredbridgetravel.com/sbt-interesting-links/

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Have we found the site of Jesus’ baptism?

“John answered them, ‘I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.’ This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.”
—John 1:26–28

Modern travelers to Israel who, like Jesus, wish to get baptized in the Jordan, flock to a place called Yardenit, a few kilometers south of the Sea of Galilee. Here a somewhat garish tourist trap awaits them, along with easy access to the Jordan from the Israeli side of the border. However, this is most certainly not the location of Jesus’ baptism. That location is described briefly in John’s Gospel as “Bethany beyond the Jordan”. So where is this “Bethany beyond the Jordan”? This is an archaelogical and historical question we will discuss in our travels in Israel and Jordan, but most likely it is the site just north of the Dead Sea, now known as Al-Maghtas (on the Jordanian side and Qasr el Yahud, on the western, Israel side). Recently this location has been added to the Unesco World Heritage List. So is this the “Bethany beyond the Jordan” where Jesus was baptized?  How can we know and  why is it important?

One way to solve the problem of the location may lie in the exegetical principle of typology – where Jesus is the type to which the original nation of Israel was the anti-type. According to a number of scholars, John’s baptismal movement was a deliberate attempt at ‘creating’ a new Israel. If that is the case, where better to stage that than at the point where the Israelite wanderers under Joshua finally crossed the Jordan into the “promised land” to become a nation . The current Bethany Beyond the Jordan is the closest point that we know to where Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan and into the land of Canaan. Thus Jesus, the ‘Israel-in-one-man’ is being baptized at the place where the original people of God left their desert wanderings behind and entered into nationhood. Jesus’ baptism, therefore, becomes the point at which he takes on the role and destiny of Israel. The moment Jesus came out of the waters of baptism, there was a new Israel walking the land. This ‘Israel-within-Israel’ would finally be and accomplish the task the original Israel was given but failed to carry out. Jesus’ baptism, at the location where the desert wanderers finally entered into nationhood, is thus fraught with typological potential. For that reason, locating the place where Jesus was baptized, and then noting its connection to the location where the people crossed into  Promised Land is, in my view, significant.

See BAS article below:

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-places/baptismal-site-bethany-beyond-the-jordan-added-to-unesco-world-heritage-list/comment-page-1/#comment-771936

Emperor Hadrian’s “Second Coming” to Jerusalem!

Bronze portraits of the Emperor Hadrian, from the British Museum (left); the Israel Museum (center);and the Louvre (right)

Rarely is a conqueror received with such fanfare by the city he conquered, but that is what is happening in Jerusalem right now. The man who in the early 130’s C.E. sparked the Jews in Judea to open rebellion and then brutally crushed them and banished them from the land in 132 C.E., is now being welcomed back with open arms. No, I don’t mean the real, living, Hadrian or, Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, as he was officially known.  He is long passed and now only exists in history books, inscriptions and statues. But, yes two of his statues are coming, indeed have already made their “parousia” in Jerusalem.  So, if you want to see the face of the man some Jews thought was the Antichrist, come with us to Israel in April and you will.

Read all about it here:

http://mfa.gov.il/mfa/israelexperience/history/pages/hadrian-returns-to-jerusalem-24-dec-2015.aspx

Famous people who never got to pilgrimage to the Holy Land

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT VISITING THE HOLY LAND

Two very famous people who ardently desired to visit Israel but never got to do so before they died:

  1. One was… wait for it… Moses – the founder of Israel, who very dearly wanted to go into the Holy Land (see Dt. 3:23ff) but never got to enter it in his lifetime, despite leading his people for 40 years towards to the Promised Land. 
  2. The second…. Pres. Abraham Lincoln.

Lincolns-Battle-with-God-bookcoverAccording to his wife Mary, these were Lincoln’s last words to her minutes before he was assassinated:

“We will not return immediately to Springfield. We will go abroad among strangers where I can rest.” (speaking about his retirement after politics)…”‘We will visit the Holy Land” he said as he leaned toward her so as not to disturb the others in the theatre….“We will visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footsteps of the Savior. There is no place I so much desire to see as Jerusalem.”

From Stephen Mansfield’s study on Lincoln.

So, if you would like to do what Moses and Lincoln longed to, but couldn’t, then join us on our next biblical travel tour to the Holy Land, April 7 – 22, 2016.  Email info@sacredbridgetravel.com for more information and sign-up details.  Promotional pricing and registrations close December 20, 2015.

Why should Christians study the Old Testament, when we now have the New Testament?

It is often tempting for Christians to jump straight to the New Testament, as the fulfillment of the Word when God became flesh, and ignore or neglect the Old Testament where it all began – but to do so is like cutting off the branch where you are sitting, or like losing your memory.

For anyone who’s ever wondered why we need the Old Testament or what its role is to the Christian, this short video by leading OT scholar Dr. Bruce Waltke is a must see:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBoswQ9WhW8

.. the church [like people], without a memory, loses its identity – we don’t know who we are.  The Old Testament gives the church its historic memory, so [we] understand who [we] are…  Old Testament theology gives us that history, that memory, so we know how the New Testament took its final shape, and we understand who we are as Christians… It is vital for the Christian to understand the growth of his or her theology…
 – Dr. Bruce Waltke, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Regent College.

A pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan, the lands of the Old Testament story, is eye-opening and will deepen your understanding of your Christian identity and history.  The next Sacred Bridge Travel tour is in Spring 2018 – we hope you will join us on this once-in-a-lifetime journey – email info@sacredbridgetravel.com for more information and sign-up.

 

Why Pilgrimage to Israel? – according to actor Morgan Freeman

“The story of God is one of the greatest mysteries and most important ideas in the world.  For me, this is a personal and enduring quest to understand the divine, and I am humbled by the opportunity to take viewers along on this incredible journey.”  – Morgan Freeman, October 2015

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View The Jerusalem Post article about Morgan Freeman’s recent visit to Israel

For the veteran actor who has portrayed God in several of his Hollywood roles, the quest for truth and to try understand the mystery of God must include a visit to the Holy Lands, the claimed nexus point of the divine and the earthly realms in history.

Whether you are, like Freeman, still searching for God, or seeking to deepen your relationship with Him, a pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan with Sacred Bridge Travel will open up your Biblical and historical horizons.  The land will come alive as a central character in the Biblical story, and you will understand more fully how the terrain has and continues to shape and form the faithful.

As you wonder and pray about our Israel & Jordan Tour in April 2016, ask yourself what you hope to achieve, or rather, what you hope God will achieve in you, by going on this journey.

What are you waiting for?  When could be a better time?  Seize the opportunity to join us April 7-22, 2016 on our Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Lands – Israel & Jordan!  Places are filling up fast.  Email Sacred Bridge Travel now and secure your spot.  info@sacredbridgetravel.com