Join Us! This afternoon, my wife and I board a plane in New Jersey headed for Israel. We were just there in January with a group of young people. It was a great trip and we are looking forward to this one. Noemi was telling a friend that we were getting ready to go again. Her response was “Why?”
There are many reasons we keep returning to Israel. At Disciple Daily, we see it as part of our calling. It is one of the tools we use to equip people for the disciple making process. On this tour, we will be joined by Olivier and Ellen Melnick. Friends for many years, Oliver serves as the Northwest Regional Director of Chosen People Ministries.
This posting is being written as an invitation to you to join us via our blog. We will attempt to post regularly, probably every other day. Follow our journey as we explore the Promised Land from Dan to Beersheva. Invite others to join us too. As we post from the various locations, if you have traveled with us before and would like to chime in on something you learned during your tour with Disciple Daily, feel free to share in the comments box. If you haven’t toured with us before and you would like to join the conversation, feel free as well.Yalla (Let’s Go)!
Why We Go!
Born in El Paso, I came of age in the late 1960s and 70s. My hometown was also home to many Jewish people, some of whom were Holocaust survivors. The Hebrew word for the Holocaust is Shoah. The numbers tattooed on their arms spoke volumes of the horrors they faced in Hitler’s death factories. Edie Eger was such a one. She survived Auschwitz. Mrs. Eger was my psychology teacher at Coronado High School. Oozing joy and peace, Mrs. Eger’s life story captured my heart and mind. She has had a profound impact on my worldview, a worldview rooted in the Bible. It stands on the four-thousand year history of the Jewish people.
I am not Jewish. But many of the friends I had growing up are. I was invited to their homes for Shabbat and the Jewish holidays. I went to synagogue with them. Some of my Jewish friends decided to make aliyah, to immigrate to Israelfollowing graduation. Their reasons for going sprang from a commonly held, passionately driven desire. They wanted to help the Jewish people who had been persecuted all over the world create a nation that was theirs, in the land that God had unconditionally promised to them in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. By nature, teenagers are pretty idealistic. I will never forget the fire in the eyes of my Jewish friends who would soon be “going up to Jerusalem.”
The Starting Point
On December 21, 1971, I trusted Jesus as my personal Savior. He paid the price of my own personal sin by dying on the cross as a perfect sacrifice, just like the Hebrew Bible said He would. Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb and on the third day, He rose from the dead, just like the prophets declared. Since the night I believed, my life has never been the same. That night, I started reading Genesis. Within weeks, I had read through Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament. Then, I turned the page.
The first book of what is known as the New Testament opens with these words. “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1). I couldn’t believe it. These were the guys I had been reading about for weeks. I thought to myself, “Jesus is a JEW! Wow, my Jewish friends need to know about this!” I started telling my Jewish friends what I had discovered. Some listened politely. Others, not so much. Very quickly I realized they thought Jesus was only for Gentiles like me. They didn’t want to have anything to do with Him.
Their reaction to my Good News proclamation was at first very discouraging. But that discouragement quickly turned into a desire very similar to my friends, those who had left El Paso for the Promised Land. I began to dream of going to Israel, too! I wanted to understand their story, a story very connected to my own.
So, you think you might like to go to Israel. Maybe a tour of the Holy Land has been a lifelong dream, to walk where Jesus walked. You’ve likely heard over and over again by people who have been there, “A trip to Israel will change the way you read the Bible forever.” That’s true. My question is why is this important to you? What do you expect to return with that you don’t already have?
There are a lot of Israel tours to join. How you answer the questions above should play a huge role in deciding what kind of tour you want to participate in. The majority of the tours we see people on in Eretz Yisrael have certain things in common. They are about ten days long. The itineraries are built around sites that provide an emphasis on the life of Jesus. Accommodations are selected which are adjacent to lots of shopping options. Everything is arranged so that the people who participate in these tours return home with good feelings of a great time and mementos to put on a shelf, reminding them of the best vacation they have ever had. There is nothing wrong with wanting to go on a tour of Israel like this. But, let me say this as clearly as possible. If this is the type of experience you are looking for, there are many tours available to choose from. Don’t waste your time reading the rest of our tour overview. You won’t be happy traveling with us.
Why We Go To Israel
It has been many years since I discovered that Jesus was a Jew, the Bible is a Jewish book, and that my own faith rests on the history of the Jewish people. These are irrefutable facts. Yet sadly, over the years I have come to understand that most self-identifying Christians have very little knowledge concerning the roots of their faith. Why. It is because biblical literacy is alarming widespread, even in the Church. This realization has provided the backdrop for the ministry of Disciple Daily and our motivation for taking people to the land where heaven meets earth.
We have three major objectives for the people who participate in our Israel Training Tours.
The record of God’s eternal plans for all of history begins in the book of Genesis. Moses is credited with writing Bereshit, the story of the beginning of all things. By the time a reader of the Bible arrives at Genesis 12, a very clear picture of the depravity of mankind comes into focus. The questions about why there is evil in the world are addressed. Very contemporary issues devolving out of mankind’s sin nature are illuminated. Our tours present the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, as one long continuous story. In this, our first tour objective is to provide a systematic re-orientation of the Bible that looks at the New Testament through the lens of the Old Testament. For this reason, the discipleship training tours we conduct start in the south, the Negev. This was the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… the Patriarchs of the Jewish people. While in the south we investigate the forty year wilderness wandering of Moses and the twelve tribes of Israel, followed by their conquest of the Promised Land under Joshua. Gradually moving north to the Galilee, The 400 year period of the Judges is illuminated. This is followed by the United Kingdom period under Saul, David, and Solomon as the backdrop to the 400 years of the Divided Kingdom. This sets the stage for the exile of the Jews from the land they were promised as an eternal inheritance and their return to it. Only then do we start talking about the centerpiece of all of the Old and New Testaments, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah. Our tours are designed to help followers of Jesus understand why He had to come as He did two-thousand years ago and explain why He did the things He did within the context of the Israel’s geography, culture, and history.
On our discipleship training tours, those who travel with us are introduced to the disciple making tools central to our overall ministry approach. Everyone has the opportunity to couple their touring experience with exposure to Bible training resources that are easily transferred to the people God intentionally places in their lives. Using Walk Thru the Bible’s unique training methods, our touring companions memorize 154 hand-signs and key words that highlight the major people, places, and events of the Bible from Genesis through Acts. Our own Stories of God training equips participants to teach the grand story of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation, one story at a time. This was the way the Bible was learned for the first 5,500 years of human existence. It is a Bible training system so old it seems new. Our objective is to equip our tour group participants as disciples who make disciples, generation after spiritual generation.
Most of the Church has lost sight of the fact that we are at war. This war began in eternity past. In our own time, evidence of the war is observed every day. It will continue to be waged until this earth is destroyed and a new heavens and earth takes its place. The war is between those who seek God’s glory for themselves and the One who never shares His glory with anyone. The combatants are comprised of men, women, boys, girls, angels, demons, Satan, and God.Satan knows the Scriptures far better than any follower of Jesus. He is aware of what is going to happen. He knows that the epicenter of this cataclysmic confrontation is Israel and the Jewish people. His flawed strategy for winning the war is clearly observed by astute students of the Bible. Unfortunately, most of Christendom no longer believes the Bible. Therefore, they no longer believe that the unconditionally irrevocable covenants that God established with Israel are still in operation. Their unbelief does not change the fact that these covenants are driving history to its climax. Sixty percent of self-professing believers in Jesus hold to a theological bent known as Replacement Theology. Replacement Theology posits that the Jewish people were at one time God’s elected chosen people, but not anymore. Replacement Theology teaches that because of Israel’s unbelief in Yeshua, the Jewish people are no longer God’s chosen people and that the Church now holds all the rights to the promises once held by Israel exclusively. The Church has replaced Israel. The Bible does not teach this. Those that hold to Replacement Theology have unknowingly become pawns in Satan’s war against God!One of the major reasons we take people to Israel is to help them get equipped to battle Replacement Theology wherever its insidious tentacles are found. To that end, I invite you to watch an incredible video series produced by Shadows of Shoah founder, Perry Trotter. I have been blessed by Perry’s friendship and collaboration on various projects for many years. For almost their entire married life, Perry and Sheree (wife) have invested everything they have in combatting the false doctrine of Replacement Theology. Each installment of this video series is about five minutes in length. It was filmed in Israel last year. Here is the first installment.
What About You?
Before you make a decision about which tour you would like to join, take some time to think about your reasons for wanting to go to Israel in the first place. If it’s to see a few sites that are connected to Christianity and to shop, to have a really neat vacation, there are lots of other tours to choose from. We will even recommend some of them if want us to.
If you are driven like we are to make the best use of your time, talents, and treasure to get better equipped to obey Jesus’s Great Commission command (Matthew 28:18-20), then join us. We promise to make every effort to insure that your Israel tour investment produces an eternal dividend.