Many people know about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. However very few understand the Supernatural timing of this event. Take 3 minutes to be amazed at the timing of the Lord.
scroll down or video
I had a wonderful opportunity to minister at Celebration Church’s First Friday last week in JAX. I start speaking at 1:03 in the video, but I recommend watching the whole video, as the worship time led by Paul Wilbur was electric. At the end there was a powerful time of prayer for the Jewish people and then Paul closed it with The Song of Ezekiel — which led to more intercession and declarations. It was a truly blessed meeting.
We were privileged to have another Tel Aviv pastor there, Avi Mizrachi, who shared a powerful testimony of Jewish and Arab reconciliation. May it bless you!
In Mt. 16 Yeshua takes His boys on a Field Trip: to the Gates of Hell!
Imagine that you wake up one day in the Galilee and Yeshua says to you and the other disciples, “Come on guys—we’re going on a field trip!”
In Matthew 16 we see Yeshua and his disciples heading north from Capernaum, His headquarters. By car, it only takes an hour. But by foot, it is a good 12-hour hike. So why would Yeshua take His disciples on such a journey and to where they going?
Would you believe me if I told you, “To the gates of Hell?”
Matthew tells us that they visited Caesarea Philippi. Not be confused with the port city of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, Caesarea Philippi was an utterly pagan city. It was there that they worshipped Pan, the half goat, half man god of Greek mythology. He is often associated with every kind of perversion one can imagine.
Caesarea Philippi was so steeped in immortality that the rabbis reviled it and taught that no good Jew would ever go there. And yet, Yeshua, the greatest Jew of all, takes His Jewish disciples there on a field trip. But why?
When you come with us to Israel, we like to stop here as well. It is quite an impressive site. There are a few things you will notice.
This city can be found at the foot of Mount Hermon. There is a colossal rock wall, referred to as the ‘Rock of the Gods’, as there are many pagan shrines built into the rock. However in the center of the massive rock is a huge cave called the “Cave of the Gods” and inside is a very deep pool and a powerful stream of water flowed. This cave was called the “Gates of Hells”, and these pagans were convinced that this was the passageway for the gods between earth and the underworld.
Yeshua arrives at this most awful city with His disciples and begins a conversation. Let’s read:
When Yeshua came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Yeshua replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter—Which is Greek for Rock—and on this rock I will build my congregation, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. (Matt. 16:13-18)
So Yeshua, standing before this massive rock that was thought many to be the source of immense spiritual power, says to Peter, who would lead the body of believers in its early days, in me you are far more powerful than this rock. He was saying that powers of Satan and pagan worship are not worthy to be compared to the Gospel message in the mouths of his apostles and prophets—whom Paul calls the foundation of the New Testament congregation (Eph. 2:20)
But then he says, “The Gates of Hell” will not prevail against the Messianic community. Now Gates do not typically go on the attack. Gates do not move. Of course in context He is referring to the Cave of the Gods, which was only a few meters from where they were standing. He was saying all the powers of hell could not overcome the body of believers.
Yeshua was not just another Greek god or mythical figure… as Peter said, he was the Messiah, the Son of the living God and the Gates of Hell will not overcome his congregation.
As I was driving home today I felt that the Lord wanted me to write something about safety and travel to Israel. When I got home I received a confirmation in a message from an old college friend. She was asking if it was safe to come on our upcoming Living Stones tour. It is a valid question that I wrestled with before moving here. I used to ask those who lived here if it was safe and they always looked at me as if they didn’t understand the question. After getting settled in the Holy Land, I understood how they felt. Thus, I submit the following.
“Everybody should go on a tour of Israel at least once. I’ve been 6 times and each tour has been different, with new things to see, but Ron Cantor’s tour stood out to me because it is led by Messianic Jews, who know that Jesus is the Messiah. We also visited some Messianic congregations. That makes a huge difference from being shown round by unbelieving guides, who may know the land and its history, but not its King. I would also urge Christians never to be afraid to go to Israel, even when there is bad news in the media, because it really is safe for tourists. In fact, I have always felt safer there than in England, and so have many others I have spoken to.”
So, if you feel that the Lord has called you to visit this amazing country, don’t be afraid. Once you are here, you will know what I mean. The truth is, we live in a dangerous world. We must make God our refuge, not a geographical location. Whether on one of our Living Stones Tours or someone else’s, Israel will change your life. I have never seen anyone leave Israel without having had an amazing experience.
For more information, go to www.LivingStonesIsrael.com. You have until October 31st to make your $100 deposit and save $100 on the total cost.
Kfar Nahum (the town of Nahum), or Capernaum as it says in your English Bibles, was Yeshua’s headquarters. The house of Peter
has been preserved and it is a stone’s throw from the ruins of a 1st century synagogue that has a later synagogue built on top of it. It is certain that Yeshua taught there:
Yeshua returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Luke 4:14)
Just imagine Yeshua, after being immersed by cousin John and then fasting for forty days—he returns a new man. He has three years to raise up a leadership that will take his message to the ends of the earth. He chose Capernaum as his base. Anointed by the Spirit, He brings one of his first sermons and the people are blown away by His authority.
They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28)
It was here in Capernaum that he called his first disciples to follow him. Luke tells us the story that blew the disciples away. Our Israel tour group walked upon the very same shores of the Galilee where this took place. (And you can too in April www.LivingStonesIsrael.com)
One day as Yeshua was standing by the Sea of Galilee, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Yeshua’s knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Yeshua said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Imagine this dramatic scene. Yeshua tells the experienced fisherman to cast his net again. Simon does so, even though he knows that it makes no sense, and a miraculous catch is brought in. The nets are breaking. Simon, on the shores of his hometown Capernaum, falls of his knees, as he, a sinner, realizes he is in the presence of Holiness. The soon-to-be disciples are frightened. But Yeshua tells them not to be afraid and calls them to a higher level of fishing—they will be fishers of men.
I would love to take you to Capernaum (and the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and more) in our next tour in April. You can save $100 if you sign up by Oct. 31. Just go to www.LivingStonesIsrael.com.