The Temple Mount
Robert Stearns first traveled to Jerusalem in 1991 and has been back 18 times for the Feast of Tabernacles. All told, he has made more than 40 trips to Israel. He admits the Western Wall is his favorite place, but he also names The Temple Mount and Masada as must-see sites.
The Temple Mount, also known as Mount Moriah, contains the holiest site in Judaism. Hotly contested over the years and possibly one of the most recognizable sites because of the golden dome atop the Islamic shrine-the Dome of the Rock-Israel and the Palestinian authority both claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
Masada is the name for a site of ancient palaces in the southern district of the country. Some consider a hike up the Snake Path on the eastern side of the mountain part of the Masada experience, but a cable car is available. The remote location and arid environment has kept the site well-preserved for thousands of years.
"Jerusalem, more than a metaphor, is a literal place to which the nations of the earth are turning once again," says Stearns, who claims, "It is a Biblical mandate for us as Christians to pray faithfully for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6) and for all of Israel (Rom. 9-11)."
Garden of Gethsemane
Joni Lamb, co-founder, vice president and executive producer of the Daystar Television Network-like other leaders Charisma interviewed-did not hesitate when asked to reveal her special spot, the Garden of Gethsemane. Although she will take only her fourth trip to the Holy Land later this year, the significance of the garden inspired her book, Surrender All.
Located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the garden is where Lamb believes the ultimate surrender took place. "I think of the emotional anguish that Jesus felt," Lamb says. "That place is very significant and very spiritual because of that surrender. It's the place where He cried out [to the Father], ‘Not My will, but Your will be done.'"
She adds: "Had He not surrendered there, He would not have been able to walk to the cross. I'm sure it was tormenting with the drops of blood and the emotional anguish that He felt. That surrender changed the world."
Sea of Galilee
No place in Israel means as much to Ben Kinchlow as the Sea of Galilee. "This was a vital place in Jesus' ministry," Kinchlow says. Of the nearly 30 miracles Jesus performed, roughly 20 were performed in this region and a dozen right on the shores.
"I can't find a more unchanged place than the Sea of Galilee. Nothing has changed there," says Kinchlow, who notes the area is mostly free of buildings and tourist attractions.
At nearly 700 feet below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. Kinchlow, founder of Americans for Israel and the co-host of the Front Page Jerusalem radio show, who first went to Israel in the 1970s, recommends sitting on some of the rocks and hills.
"This is a place away from the tourist stuff," Kinchlow claims. "This is such a place of solitude."
Off the beaten path, Nimrod Fortress is a site Perry Stone visited for the first time on his most recent trip to Israel-even though he's traveled to the country more than 30 times. He definitely plans to go to the site again.
Ruined by an earthquake in the 18th century, the fortress is situated in the northern Golan Heights on a ridge rising about 2,600 feet above sea level. This is the place where God made His covenant with Abraham.
"From up there you can see the opening of the Promised Land," says Stone, excitement rising in his voice. "This is the view Abraham saw."
Many tours don't visit Golan Heights because of time constraints, but Stone said the trip is worth the time. His group spent more than two hours there.
"It's worth sitting there and soaking it all in. It's historical and the scenery is beautiful," says Stone, a fourth generation minister, who directs one of America's fastest-growing ministries, the Voice of Evangelism. "You're going back in time with Abraham. This is where it all began. This is where the covenant was made."
Jonathan Bernis, the executive director of Jewish Voice Ministries International and host of the weekly television program Jewish Voice Today, loves Jerusalem. He has visited 50 times since his first trip in 1984.
The epicenter of the Christian faith and site of "intense spiritual warfare," Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. Considered the spiritual center of the Jews, the Old City, despite being less than .5 square miles, contains a number of significant Christian sites-the Temple Mount, Western Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulcher, to name a few.
"I feel a closeness to God there like no other place in the world," says Bernis, the founding Rabbi of Shema Yisrael Messianic Congregation in Rochester, New York, where he served as senior Messianic rabbi from 1984-1993.
Although not an exhaustive list, these 10 sites are a great place to begin your first-or next-trip to Israel. You may find other places that touch your heart more, but according to those who have been, your life will never be the same after taking a trip to the one nation no Christian should neglect to visit.
Larry J. Leech II is a ghostwriter, freelance writer and editor based in Longwood, Florida.
Watch video footage from some of Benny Hinn's and Perry Stone's treks through Israel at israelministry.charismamag.com.
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