Local pastor excited to lead Holy land pilgrimage
over the past few years, pastor paul robinson and his wife Carol from Tillsonburg have led several pilgrimages to the Holy land, but the trip they have planned next april will be especially memorable when world-famous archaeologist, eli shukron, will be their guide.
“We’ve always had amazing trips,” said pastor robinson, “but we’re absolutely thrilled to have eli shukron as our guide for this one. He comes with amazing credentials!”
The Jewish archaeologist’s reputation is indeed legendary. employed by the israeli antiquities authority, shukron has served for the past 20 years as co-director of the City of david archaeological dig. That dig - in the heart of Jerusalem - has gone down to the time when the biblical King david ruled Jerusalem!
“What they’ve discovered is remarkable,” says paul. “one of the finds was a massive 3,800-year-old fortress near the gihon spring.”
Called the “spring Citadel” by archaeologists, the huge structure is believed to be the fortress the book of samuel says King david conquered. as the bible tells it, david and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites who inhabited the land. and though the Jebusites believed their fortress would never fall, “nevertheless, david took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the City of david.” (2 samuel 5:7)
The world-renowned archaeologist made several other significant finds along the way. in 2004, he and colleague ronny reich from the university of Haifa discovered the famous pool of siloam named in the new Testament as the site of a healing by Jesus.
Three years later, the two excavated a water channel that drained ancient Jerusalem and found evidence that it was the very tunnel described by Josephus as the escape route used when the city was eventually torched.
add to that the 2014 excavation of the famous Citadel of david along with several other astounding discoveries, and one can see why the Tillsonburg pastor is excited about the trip.
says pastor robinson, “added to all the other traditional sites we’ll visit, these more recent discoveries really do take it over the top!”
some of those usual sites include mount Carmel where, according to the bible, the old Testament prophet elijah had a dramatic showdown with the prophets of baal.
as fascinating as the site is for its old Testament history, “What really impacts folk,” he said, “is the view from the mountain because stretching out below is the plain of Jezreel. a natural battlefield it’s seen 34 battles over history, including one between british and Turkish forces in 1918, as well as one in 1948 and another during the six-day war in 1967. it is also known as The valley of megiddo after a town that sits in the middle of the valley.
“in Hebrew the name is ‘Harmegiddo’ from which we get the word ‘armageddon.’ because that is where the book of revelation predicts the final ‘battle of all battles’ will take place!”
The trip next april - the fifth such pilgrimage the robinsons have led - will also include floating on the dead sea, ascending to the masada Fortress, a visit to the Holocaust memorial, shopping in the arab market in old Jerusalem, a visit to the garden of gethsemane and golgotha, Communion in the garden near the empty Tomb, there, and a multitude of other unique, once-in-alifetime experiences.
“We know it’s going to be another deeply moving experience,” says pastor paul.
He may well be right! anyone interested in knowing more about the trip can email paul at email@example.com.
Pastor Paul Robinson and his wife Carol near the Jordan River.