Tour Rewind: Lebanese and Syrian Borders and Caesarea Philippi

Beauty of Banias

Hi friends! I hope you are enjoying our tour rewind! While touring, there was so little time to share all that we saw and experienced, yet there is so much worth sharing! For example, our time in far north Israel was definitely a tour highlight!

For starters, the Lord prepared a genuine surprise for us! I had worked for months to get us on the Ramat David Air Force Base in the Jezreel Valley. (You’ll see a picture of it from Mt Carmel here.) However, when the day came, the base was closed to visitors, as they were “taking care of business” with missions in Syria.

However, thanks to the efforts of our tour coordinator and our guide, we were given the opportunity to visit an IDF outpost near Metulla, surrounded on three sides by Lebanese borders! On the map below, find Metulla! Wow!

We were met by a tank commander and his unit, and were told they “had activity” the night before. Hezbollah rockets had been fired from Lebanon toward Israel, but those rockets never reached Israeli soil. This unit had carefully followed activity, and activated the iron dome once the rockets were launched.

Now….before you get up in arms about “the danger” we were in, understand that “nuisance” attacks are part of life in those parts, and due to very superior intelligence, virtually nothing happens in that area that Israel doesn’t know about beforehand and neutralize immediately. Unless and until you have been to Israel to experience it, you will likely not understand the peacefulness, even there on the Lebanese border.

From our vantage point, mere feet from the border wall (and overlooking it), we could see a relatively new village (pictured below), built by Iranians less than a mile away, yet not a person or vehicle was stirring. (Likely “homes” with basements to be used as weapon storage and launch sites one day, if Iran is successful setting up camp on Israel’s border.)

The kibbutz, Misgav Am, has a recently developed visitors center, complete with indoor and outdoor viewing platforms with panoramic views of the beautiful Hula Valley to the southeast, as well as Lebanese territory on all other sides. From there, we clearly saw an area near Metulla in which the IDF recently destroyed a Hezbollah terror tunnel. (See photos below.) It is literally only a half mile or so from Metulla. (And well within eyesight of where we were.)

The center is also home to a prayer chapel, allowing visitors to pray for Israel, as well as pray over the lands of Lebanon, and nearby Syria. How grateful I am the Lord changed our plans that day! In my estimation, the “missed opportunity” at Ramat David revealed a “must see” destination for Christians committed to prayer and support of Israel, and who want a meaningful experience in connecting with IDF soldiers. Check out Misgav Am’s website for fantastic information.

Just a short distance east of Misgav Am is the area of Dan and Caesarea Philippi. (You will find Dan on the map above.) Also known as Banias, Caesarea Philippi has great history and Biblical significance as the place in which Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, and Jesus responded:

Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

~Matthew 16:13-20

It is there we see remains of pagan temples and niches in the wall where pagan idols were once placed. Additionally, a cave known as the “gates of hell,” believed to be where the spirits would descend and ascend to/from the depths of the earth, dominates the site.

Today, it is surrounded by a beautiful park graced by waterfalls and a peaceful brook. Amidst the ruins of an ancient village, Pastor John shared encouragement from God’s Word.

Our final stop on the Golan was Ben Tal Overlook, an old military outpost on the Syrian border. Gazing across the border, we could see the embattled old and the newly-rebuilt city of Qunietra, Syria.

Here, we discussed Israel’s war history and studied Ezekiel 38. One day, the very place where we visited will be the scene of an invasion from the north, made up of the coalition named in Ezekiel 38 (primarily Russia, Iran and Turkey, along with others). We see those nations establishing themselves in Syria today…just to Israel’s north.

We also know the invasion will not be focused on destroying Israel (as past wars have), but on capturing spoil and seizing plunder (Ezekiel 38:13). That invasion has been the focus of many posts, and we saw earlier what is believed to be the hook that will draw them down: Israeli oil and gas. (In a previous post, we saw the gas well in the Mediterranean, now pumping natural gas, making Israel a significant player on the world stage.) The invasion is coming. It is only a matter of time.

Another fantastic day. Current events come starkly into view, and the Bible proves more relevant than today’s headlines.

Thanks for following our journey. Stick with us. There is more “tour rewind” to come! Shalom!

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