Holy Land Travel Blog

Ashdod- The Land of Turmoil and Promise

Ashdod is a city along the Mediterranean Sea that is home to the largest port in all of Israel. Modern Ashdod is responsible for 60% of the incoming merchandise and goods into the nation, making it very important to the well-being of the whole country, but it’s history goes back much further, all the way back to the stone age in fact! Ashdod in the Bronze Age While there were some neolithic artifacts discovered, the first major population of the area likely occurred around the 17th century BC, which would be the bronze age. It was known as a major center for dyed purple fabrics, which throughout history was a rare and expensive product, probably giving some economic clout to the area. The area was then defeated however in the 13th century BC by the Seas People, a mysterious people who are still not [...]

The Temple Mount: The Most Important Real Estate in the World

Is there is one site that is iconic to Israel and immediately is recognizable it is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel. While it is now known for being recognizable by the golden “Dome of the Rock”, its history goes back to the 4th century BC. Israelite Period The site of the Temple Mount is on a plateau located between the Kidron Valley and the Tyropoeon Valley. It was known at the time as Mount Moriah and is where God provided Abraham with a ram to replace his son as a sacrifice in Genesis 22. It is also where according to the Talmud, God gathered the dust to create Adam. Solomon then chose to build the first temple here, as is notated in Chronicles 3:1: Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared [...]

2021 COVID Update

While the whole world has been affected by Coronavirus, or “Covid-19”, beginning at the end of 2019, here we are in 2021 and we are still grappling with the horrible effects of this global pandemic. Israel has been no exception and this issue has caused the county to suffer sever health, social and economic consequences since. As we move into a new year, many are wondering what the 2021 Covid in Israel update is as we hopefully move out of this dark moment of history. The last tourist to have entered Israel was last March, in what was supposed to be a record year for travel to the Holy Land. We never dreamed we would go through the rest of 2020 without a single visitor. Since that time, there have  been three national lockdowns in which not only were visitors not welcomed to enter [...]

Biblical Archeology Discoveries in 2020

Here we are at the end of another year, and it’s safe to say that everyone is ok to see 2020 go and hope for better days in 2021. While 2020 was definitely difficult for our families,  Immanuel Tours, Israel and the whole world. However, even in the midst of such difficulty and reduced archeological exploration, there were still new biblical archeology discoveries in 2020 made that continue to validate the Biblical account of Israel’s history, even with the cancellation of most scheduled excavations. Here are some of the most amazing biblical archeology discoveries made in 2020: A Mikveh in the Garden of Gethsemane While the Bible has of course maintained that there had been an active olive tree grove and garden in the location, there was little evidence of actual activity in the spot. There are trees, but some argued that perhaps they were [...]

The Church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity is located in Bethlehem in the West Bank and is located on the site that is traditionally believed to be where Mary gave birth to Jesus. Many pilgrims include this stop in their tour of the Holy Land and have since pilgrimages began. So what is the so special about this site and what makes people believe this is where it occurred? History of the Church of the Nativity The church is located in Bethlehem, the hometown of King David and known for being a small village with many sheepherders located in its hills. Joseph and Mary were compelled for the matter of a census to go from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and while there she went into labor and gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus. “…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in [...]

The Childhood Home of Jesus, Found?

Nazareth is a town that immediately brings images of Jesus’s youth and early life. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth when according to Luke 1:26 that the angel Gabriel came and told Mary that she had found favor with the Lord. Jesus was then referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth” throughout his life. Is it possible that they could find the actual childhood home of Jesus? There are some researchers who do believe they have in fact found the childhood home of Jesus and have some compelling evidence to support that belief. Professor Ken Dark of the University of Reading believes he may have found the actual home that Jesus was raised in by Joseph and Mary. What makes him think that this is possible? The home in question was first considered in the 19th century when it was discovered under a church that [...]

Celebrating Hanukkah in 2020

Yet another celebration of judaeo-christian significance will be celebrated this week a little differently than usual, Hanukkah. Hanukkah, like Christmas this year will not be celebrated in normal fashion with large family gatherings and travel, but it makes the observances no less significant, and possibly even more so. Hanukkah, also spelled as “chanukah” is a festival that has been celebrated within the Jewish faith since the 2nd century BC in celebration of the rededication of the second temple after it had been desiccated by the Seleucid Empire who repressed the practice of Judaism. The Maccabees were what Mattathias the Hasmonean, a rural Jewish priest and his sons were called. It comes from Matthathias’s son Judah’s nickname, Maccabbeus, taken from the Jewish word for “hammer”. The revolt lasted for seven years, but Hanukkah is the celebration of the recapturing of the Temple. The menorah needed [...]

Next Year, IN JERUSALEM! – The Reopening of Tourism in Israel

2020 has without question been the most challenging year for tourism in Israel. While there have certainly been difficult times before, never has tourism been completely banned… and for nearly a year now! the Covid-19 pandemic has been a horrible challenge for Immanuel Tours, tourism, the nation of Israel and the entire world. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are eagerly anticipating the reopening of tourism in Israel! With the recent results of testing of vaccines from several pharmaceutical companies, there is a very bright optimism for approval and use of the vaccines very soon, possibly within weeks! While this will not be quickly available to everyone, it is a light at the end of the tunnel and believed that along with several other measures, will bring the possibility for the reopening of tourism in Israel in [...]

Thanksgiving Israel Style

It is nearly Thanksgiving for all of our American friends! In Israel, the giving of thanks to the Lord is a very important holiday that stretches an entire week, known as Sukkot. But did you know that the American Thanksgiving is patterned after the Sukkot? So what can you do to celebrate Thanksgiving Israel style? The Pilgrims saw themselves in a a version of replacement theology where they saw themselves as akin to the Hebrews being taken to the “Promised Land” but instead of the Promised Land being Israel, in this case it was the “New World” of America. The Pilgrims had taken refuge in Holland before leaving for America and had likely seen Sukkot be celebrated by their Jewish neighbors who had fled persecution in Spain. It’s likely they adopted the celebration as their own act of thankfulness. With that in mind, how [...]

The Twelve Disciples

The land of Israel is a treasure trove of artifacts and locations of the Bible, including those to do with Jesus’ closest followers and friends, the Twelve Disciples. Throughout the country, from the Galilee to Samaria and Jerusalem, there are places you can still visit that tell the story of the men who were part of Jesus’ life and ministry and spread Christianity to the world, carrying out Jesus’ Great Commission. Who Were the Twelve Disciples? Peter- Born Simon, Jesus began to call him Peter when he chose him to be the leader of His Church. He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. James- Brother of John and Son of Zebedee, referred to by Jesus as “Sons of Thunder”.  A fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. Was the first to be martyred of the twelve. John- Brother of James and Son of [...]

Acre Israel

Acre Israel, also known as Akko is a port city in Northern Israel at the end of Haifa Bay. It has been continuously inhabited since 2000 BC, making it one of the longest continuously inhabited citied on Earth. What else makes this ancient city stand out? The Founding of Acre Israel While it has been continuously inhabited since 2000 BC, the first evidence of civilization goes back to 3000 BC, during the early bronze age. It was likely just a farming community that lasted a few centuries before disappearing. It was re-established during the Middle Bronze Age and has been continuously occupied since. The History of Acre Israel With such a long history, Acre of course has had its share of interesting world history. One of these was being conquered by Alexander the Great. It became an important place of positioning for his invasion [...]

The Quarters of Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem is a city that is said to be the “center of the world”. This city which is relatively small at just .35 square miles holds cultural and religious significance for at least half the world’s population. There is truly nowhere on earth like it. A city that the world converges on however is divided… into four distinct quarters of Jerusalem. While Jerusalem proper is actually much much larger than the .35 square miles at 48.3 square miles, most of the world immediately thinks of the Old City when it comes to Jerusalem. Within it are four distinct quarters of Old City Jerusalem; The Jewish Quarter, The Christian Quarter, The Armenian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter. Where Did the Quarters of Jerusalem Come From? The quarters of Jerusalem are actually a very common system in cities in the Middle East. [...]

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