I don't have sufficient words to speak of the reality of being where Jesus was in a boat 2000 years ago overlooking the places where most of His earthly ministry was spent. When we got to the middle of the sea, we sat there for a bit while the words from Luke 8 of Jesus calming theon the Sea of Galilee and Matthew 11:20-30 were read (we could see Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum). We then sang “It is Well With my Soul” as a group, and it brought tears to my eyes as emotion washed over me.
Our first in-depth visit was at the Elah Valley where David met Goliath for the first and last time (1 Sam. 17). We stood in the (now) dry riverbed where David selected his five smooth stones, and read the story of this exciting narrative other life of young David. Clearly, this story is not about how big Goliath was (and he was nine feet tall!), nor about David and how young and inexperienced in war he was (and he was but a youth without any war experience).
What a strange and enlightening experience to literally step back thousands of years in time - which is exactly what we did at the city of Arad. Though the original Canaanite city dates back before the time of Abraham, these ancient people were anything but primitive, having built an amazing planned city including an entire road system and a deep cistern capable of holding an enormous amount of water - a crucial element in such a hot, arid climate.
This morning began with a descent from 35,000 ft. into the Tel Aviv airport on the Mediterranean coast. Then it was up through the hills to Jerusalem at 2500 ft. elevation. Next we left the lush side behind and descended through the Judean wilderness to the Israeli side of Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where John the Baptist most likely carried on his ministry.
It is my joy as the President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Virginia Beach to share the following announcement with you. Upon the unanimous recommendation of the seminary faculty, and by the unanimous consent of the Board of Trustees, the seminary changed its name on May 6, 2013, to Virginia Beach Theological Seminary.