My wife and I had the opportunity to travel with a tour group to the nation of Israel in 1998. It was an exciting trip but it was disappointing to see how many of the biblical locations have become commercialized. Everywhere we went there were shops, roadside stands, or people who would approach the tour bus with religious memorabilia to sell. All of us bought some items as souvenirs and gifts for folks back home. You can’t blame those folks for taking advantage of their opportunity to make a living by selling items to the tourists. It was interesting to see that at most locations there was a church building, a mosque, or some other shrine, most of which were obviously built at great cost. More than once the thought came to me, “I wonder what God thinks about all this?” There is no way to know for sure but it is possible to get an idea from Bible passages like Acts 7:48-50 and Acts 17:22-25.
Still, it was a blessing to get to go. Even with the commercialization you know you are in the land where so many of the events of the Bible happened. Abraham and Sarah coming into the land of Canaan by the direction of God to begin the nation of Israel. Joshua bringing the people across the Jordan River to take the city of Jericho through the miracle of the walls falling down. Ezekiel confronting the prophets of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel. Jesus—God in the flesh—walking these very hills and being in the cities that you can still visit today. The apostles fulfilling God’s plan to bring the church into existence on the Day of Pentecost at the temple mount in Jerusalem.
To visit the Bible lands and to see these locations helps to bring greater conviction of the historical truth of the Bible. These events really happened. They are neither fairy tale nor fiction nor fantasy. Men who experienced these things were then directed by the Holy Spirit of God to write the Bible. Forty men during a period of over 1,500 years wrote it. Most of the writers did not know each other, had never met, and many had never seen what another writer had written. Nevertheless, there is a harmony and unity throughout the Bible that cannot be denied. How could that have happened except by the involvement of God?
If the Bible is not from God then we can safely ignore it and not give it a second thought. If the Bible is from God then there is no more important book for us to know. Eternal salvation depends upon it. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)