The Galilee area is beautiful. As I mentioned, Tiberias is a popular resort town. It’s strange hearing the party music going until late at night and seeing a McDonald’s within a stone’s throw of the lake. At the same time, most of the area is undeveloped and allows you to get a feel for what life was like there two thousand years ago.
On our second day in Israel, we drove up to see the ruins of Korazin. You may remember this as one of the towns that Jesus pronounced judgment on. He criticized it because he had done many miracles there, so we know that Jesus spent a good amount of time in this little village.
From there we drove up to Dan, which has a beautiful nature reserve. Dan was known for being the northernmost part of Israel, as well as a famous site of idolatry. There’s a reason the tribe of Dan is left out of the list of tribes in Revelation.
Dan has many springs, from which flow the Jordan River. How did I never connect the name Jor-dan with Dan? Jordan means “coming down from Dan.”
We saw an ancient gate that has been discovered, dating back to what would have been the time of Abraham. Did Abraham himself go through this gate? Possibly.
Caesarea Philippi is in the same area. There was an area of temples there: temple to Caesar Augustus, temple to Pan, temple to Zeus, and temple of the dancing goats (goats were said to dance to Pan’s music). The first two were standing at the time of Jesus. As Jesus spoke of building his church, it’s quite possible that he was standing before these symbols of Roman authority and pagan deities.
We then went back to the lake area, to the Cliffs of Arbel. Besides offering a panoramic view of the lake area, these cliffs are also of historical value. Josephus writes of the killing of some of the last Hasmonean rebels at this site; there are replicas of the cages by which the soldiers lowered themselves down to the rebels’ caves. Josephus tells of a great massacre of men, women, and children, so great that the soldiers begged the rebels to surrender.