Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Holy Land Tour: Mount of Transfiguration

The Mount of Transfiguration is in the Golan Heights, and the area belonged to Syria prior to 1967. The ancient site of Caesaria Phillippi is located there. Herod Phillip built a temple to Pan to curry favor with Augustus Caesar here. In fact the ruins of other pagan temples are on this mountain.

There is a stream that runs through the mountain and you pass by a beautiful grotto before you get to the site of the old pagan temple. It didn't take long for us to grasp the importance of water in this arid region, so it is not surprising that these temples were built near a spring.

Here's the area where the temple dedicated to Pan once stood.

I'll never think about the Transfiguration in the same way after seeing this area. The pagan altars would have been all around Jesus when he asked the disciples "who do you say I am"? (Matthew 16:15).

The anthem from Mendelsohn's oratorio Elijah kept playing in my head for the rest of the day: "Baal, We Cry to Thee", the chorus of those who placed their trust in false idols.

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