The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began

The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began

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Overview

As a lifelong student of Scripture, Kathie Lee Gifford has always desired a deeper understanding of God’s Word and a deeper knowledge of God Himself. But it wasn’t until she began studying the biblical texts in their original Hebrew and Greek—along with actually hiking the ancient paths of Israel—that she found the fulfillment of those desires.

Now you can walk with Kathie on a journey through the spiritual foundations of her faith:

  • The Rock (Jesus Christ): Hear directly from Kathie about her life-changing and ever-deepening connection with Jesus, the Lover of her soul.
  • The Road (Israel): Explore dozens of ancient landmarks and historical sites from Israel, the promised land of God’s covenant.
  • The Rabbi (God’s Word): Go beyond a “Sunday school” approach to the Bible by digging into the original languages and deeper meanings of the Holy Scriptures.

As you journey through The Rock, The Road, and The Rabbi, you’ll also find additional content from Messianic Rabbi Jason Sobel throughout the book. Jason’s insight into the Hebrew language, culture, and heritage will open your eyes to the Bible like never before.

Come! Begin your journey toward a deeper faith through The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785215967
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 94,898
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kathie Lee Gifford is the three time Emmy-winning cohost of the fourth hour of TODAY, alongside Hoda Kotb. The Gifford-Kotb hour has been hailed as “appointment television” by Entertainment Weekly, and “TODAY’s happy hour” by USA Today. Gifford has authored three New York Times bestselling books, including Just When I Thought I’d Dropped My Last Egg and I Can’t Believe I Said That.

Rabbi Jason Sobel is a thought leader, spiritual guide, and Jewish follower of Yeshua (Jesus). He is cofounder of Fusion with Rabbi Jason, a ministry dedicated to sharing teachings and resources that reconnect ancient Jewish wisdom with the teachings of the New Testament. Learn more at www.rabbisobel.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

ISRAEL

May 14, 1948, was a pivotal day in human history. On that afternoon, a car carrying Jewish leader David Ben-Gurion rushed down Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv and stopped at the Tel Aviv Art Museum. Four o'clock was only minutes away, and inside, Jewish leaders and press representatives from all over the world were assembled in an auditorium, awaiting his arrival. Ben-Gurion bounded up the steps. Precisely at four o'clock, local time, he stepped to the podium, called the meeting to order, and read these historic words:

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

Accordingly we ... are here assembled ... and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.

Six thousand miles away, President Truman sat in the Oval Office reading a statement. He signed his approval and noted the time: 6:10 p.m. One minute later, the White House press secretary read the release to the world. The United States had officially recognized the birth of the modern nation of Israel.

Isaiah's prophecy, written 740 years before the birth of Jesus, declared, "Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?" (Isa. 66:8). Secular Israel was born that day.

In the past seven decades, this tiny nation with a population of 8.5 million has become the geopolitical center of the world. Why is this so? Why is a fledgling country with a total land space smaller than New Jersey mentioned in the nightly news more than any other nation except the United States?

To answer these questions, we must understand what happened on that day in 1948, what is happening today in Israel, and how these events affect the entire world. For answers we turn not to the evening news or the front page of the newspaper but to the Bible.

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

The story of Israel begins in the book of Genesis. The almighty God of heaven and earth made a binding covenant with Abraham, who was to be the father of the Jewish nation. The provisions of that covenant are recorded in Genesis 12:1–3, in which God said:

Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

God's covenant with Abraham consists of four unconditional promises. First, God promised to bless Abraham. That promise has been lavishly kept; Abraham has been blessed in many ways. For thousands of years, Abraham has been revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

Second, God promised to bring out of Abraham a great nation. Currently, more than 6 million Jews live in Israel alone. Another five million live in the United States, and a significant Jewish population remains scattered throughout the world.

Third, God promised to make Abraham a blessing to many. Just think what the world would be missing had it not been for the Jews. Without the Jews, we would have no Bible. Without the Jews, there would be no Ten Commandments, the basis of jurisprudence among most of the civilized nations of the world. Without the Jews, there would have been no Jesus. Without the Jewish Jesus, there would be no Christianity.

Fourth, God promised to bless those who blessed Israel and curse those who cursed her. He has kept that promise faithfully. I believe one of the reasons America has been blessed as a nation is that she has become a homeland for the Jewish people. Here Jews can retain their religion. Here they have economic, social, and educational opportunities. Today, the Christian church in America stands firmly between the Jewish people and the repetition of any further anti-Semitism.

God's covenant with Abraham reveals both the mission and future of God's chosen nation. Studying these promises will give us great help in understanding the present unrest in the Middle East, the future of the Israeli nation, and how the destiny of today's nations will be affected by their stance toward God's chosen people.

This historic document includes seven important features. The Abrahamic covenant is ...

AN UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT

Seven times in Genesis 12:1–3 God declared in emphatic terms what He would do for Abraham. His covenant with Abraham was unconditional, and He ratified it in a ceremony described in Genesis 15. In The Jeremiah Study Bible, I explain the meaning of this ceremony:

To establish and confirm a covenant in Abram's day, usually the two parties would walk between the pieces of the sacrificial animals, saying, in effect, "May what has happened to these creatures happen to me if I break the covenant." ...

Because this was Yahweh's sovereign covenant with Abram, not an agreement between equals, symbols of God (a smoking oven and a burning torch) passed between those pieces; Abram did not. The Lord made the covenant with no conditions — independent of Abram — and He would fulfill it in His time.

No provision was made for this covenant to be revoked, and it was not subject to amendment or annulment.

A PERSONAL COVENANT

In His covenant with Abraham, God promised extravagant blessings not only to Abraham's descendants but also to Abraham himself: "I will bless you and make your name great" (Gen. 12:2).

In Genesis 12:1–3, God addressed Abraham using the personal pronouns you and your eleven times. The promises are ultimately far-reaching and eternal, but they were made first of all to Abraham personally and each has been fulfilled.

God directed Abraham to travel to the land He promised to his descendants, and Abraham found it to be, as Moses later described, a rich land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:8, 17; 13:5; 33:3). His flocks and herds increased exponentially, and he became an extremely wealthy man (Gen. 13:2). Yes, this land would be the eternal possession of his descendants, but it was also Abraham's personal home throughout his life (25:7–8).

God's promise to make Abraham's name great has also been lavishly fulfilled. Even in his own time, Abraham was known throughout the land as a rich and powerful leader who was highly respected and feared.

A NATIONAL COVENANT

In the second verse of God's covenant with Abraham, He said, "I will make you a great nation." The ultimate greatness of the nation of Israel awaits the Millennium, but by all the common standards of evaluation, Israel is a great nation today. Professor Amnon Rubinstein gives us an impressive summary of Israel's national achievements:

Minute in size, not much bigger than a sliver of Mediterranean coastline, it has withstood continuing Arab onslaughts, wars, boycotts and terrorism; it has turned itself from a poor, rural country to an industrial and post-industrial powerhouse. ... It has reduced social, educational and health gaps ... between Arabs and Jews. Some of its achievements are unprecedented.

A TERRITORIAL COVENANT

Of all God's covenant promises to Abraham, I believe the most amazing is His promise concerning the land. God told Abraham to leave his country, his family, and his father's house and go "to a land that I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). God then led Abraham to the land that would belong to his descendants forever.

The land promised to Abraham and his descendants was described with clear geographical boundaries. It takes in all the land from the Mediterranean Sea as the western boundary to the Euphrates River as the eastern boundary. The prophet Ezekiel fixed the northern boundary at Hamath, one hundred miles north of Damascus (Ezek. 48:1), and the southern boundary at Kadesh, about one hundred miles south of Jerusalem (v. 28). If Israelis were currently occupying all the land that God gave to them, they would control all the holdings of present-day Israel, Lebanon, and the West Bank of Jordan, plus substantial portions of Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

The strange thing is, Israel has never, in its long history, occupied anywhere near this much land — not even at the height of its glory days under David and Solomon. This fact has caused many biblical scholars to spiritualize the meaning of the term land and equate it with heaven. Others claim these promises were conditional and were forfeited by Israel's disobedience. In refutation of these interpretations, Dr. John F. Walvoord wrote:

The term land ... used in the Bible, means exactly what it says. It is not talking about heaven. It is talking about a piece of real estate in the Middle East. After all, if all God was promising Abraham was heaven, he could have stayed in Ur of the Chaldees. Why go on the long journey? Why be a pilgrim and a wanderer? No, God meant land.

Any normal reading of Scripture recognizes Canaan as an actual place, a piece of real estate, an expanse of soil that belongs to Abraham's descendants forever.

The fact that Israel has been dispossessed of the land in three periods of its history is not an argument against its ultimate possession. Occupation is not the same as ownership. After each dispossession, God brought Israel back to its originally promised land. God has consistently kept His promise to Abraham, and that gives us absolute assurance that He will keep it in the future.

The turmoil over Israel's right to its land will not cease till the end, for the land provision of the Abrahamic covenant is at the core of the hatred of Middle Eastern nations for Israel today.

But ignoring God's care and protection of Israel is extremely dangerous. The land of Israel is so important to God that, according to Deuteronomy 11:12, it is "a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year."

A RECIPROCAL COVENANT

God also promised protection to the nation that would descend from Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you" (Gen. 12:3). Leaders and nations that ally with Israel to preserve, protect, and defend it will likewise be preserved, protected, and defended. On the other hand, those who stand in the way of Israel's well-being will find themselves standing against God — which means they will not long stand at all.

The prophet Zechariah declared that God would plunder the nations that plunder Israel, "for he who touches [Israel] touches the apple of His eye" (Zech. 2:8). History tells the tragic story of what has happened to nations and leaders who dared to oppress Israel. Egypt, the first nation to enslave Israel, was brought to its knees by ten devastating plagues (Ex. 7–12). The Amorites, who resisted Israel's march toward their promised land, were soundly defeated (Num. 21:21–30).

One of the most notable examples of God's vengeance against an enemy of Israel was the annihilation of the Midianites who joined with Moab in trying to stop Israel. After their failure to bribe the prophet Balaam into pronouncing a curse on Israel, they used Midianite women to seduce Israel's men into immorality and idolatry. Moses prepared Israel for war "to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian" (Num. 31:3). The battle was quick and decisive. All the Midianite cities were burned to the ground, and the Israelites took as plunder massive amounts of gold, silver, bronze, tin, lead, and wood, along with cattle, sheep, and donkeys (Num. 31; Rev. 2:14).

Babylon, the empire that destroyed Jerusalem and deported the Jews from their homeland, was soundly defeated seventy years later by the Persians. And one of history's worst persecutors of the Jews, the Greek-Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV, died a horrible death shortly after hearing that his army had been defeated in the Jewish Maccabean rebellion.

In modern times, Russia confined Jews to ghettos and harassed them with pogroms under the czars, who were overthrown in the communist rebellion of 1917. Under communism, the Jews were forbidden to practice their religious rites, and many were arrested, deported, or executed. Hitler's Germany, which destroyed some six million Jews, was crushed in World War II.

Israel's Six-Day War of 1967 stands today as the most spectacular modern example of God's punishment on those who curse Israel. Although Israel became an independent nation in 1948, the Palestinians and Islamic states surrounding it didn't recognize its statehood and vowed its extermination. In 1967, the United Arab Republic (UAR) allied with Jordan, Syria, and Palestinian guerrillas to attack Israel from the north, south, and east. Israel was hopelessly outmanned. The Arab armies numbered more than 500,000 men; Israel had only 75,000. The Arabs fielded 5,000 tanks and 900 combat aircraft, whereas the Israeli total was only 1,000 tanks and 175 planes. Yet when the smoke cleared six days later, the UAR had lost almost its entire air force (about 20,000 lives), and Israel had taken over significant Arab-controlled territory, including the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and West Bank.

In a powerful speech to the United Nations General Assembly on October 1, 2015, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu summarized the miraculous preservation of the Jewish people:

In every generation, there were those who rose up to destroy our people. In antiquity, we faced destruction from the ancient empires of Babylon and Rome. In the Middle Ages, we faced inquisition and expulsion. And in modern times, we faced pogroms and the Holocaust. Yet the Jewish people persevered.

And now another regime has arisen, swearing to destroy Israel. That regime would be wise to consider this: I stand here today representing Israel, a country 67 years young, but the nation-state of a people nearly 4,000-years-old. Yet the empires of Babylon and Rome are not represented in this hall of nations. Neither is the Thousand Year Reich. Those seemingly invincible empires are long gone. But Israel lives. The people of Israel live.

History records that Israel stands at the graves of all its enemies.

A UNIVERSAL COVENANT

Here we reach the overarching reason for all the promises we have studied in God's covenant with Abraham: "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).

This is the root of God's promise to Abraham and His purpose in creating a new people for Himself. Abraham's descendants were to become the repository of God's glory, wisdom, love, and redemptive grace. This saving grace was to overflow from the Jews to the rest of the world.

Through Abraham, God gave His written Word to the world. With the possible exceptions of Luke and Acts, every book of the Bible was authored by a Jewish writer. And through Abraham, God gave His Son to the world, blessing all humanity with the means of escaping the grip of sin and death, "that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14). All the other promises in God's covenant with Abraham are in support of this one universal promise that affects every person who has ever lived.

AN ETERNAL COVENANT

God's promise to Abraham came in three stages. It was initiated in Genesis 12:1–3, formalized in Genesis 15:1–21, and then amplified in Genesis 17:1–18:21. In Genesis 17, Abraham was approaching his one-hundredth birthday, and his faith was frail — it had been nearly twenty-five years since his first encounter with the Lord. Then God appeared, reminding Abraham that His promise was a forever promise, an eternal promise "between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (vv. 7–8).

The promise to Abraham is an everlasting promise because it is an unconditional covenant based on the grace and sovereignty of almighty God. There may be delays, postponements, and chastisements, but an eternal covenant cannot be abrogated by a God who cannot deny Himself.

WHY DID GOD CHOOSE ISRAEL?

When I first began studying prophecy, I remember reading an offbeat little rhyme about Israel by British journalist William Norman Ewer: "How odd of God to choose the Jews." When you think about it, this poetic quip expresses a valid observation. Doesn't it seem a little odd that of all the people on earth, God selected these particular people to be His chosen nation? Why would God choose the Jews?

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Book of Signs"
by .
Copyright © 2019 David Jeremiah.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Preface 1

Meet the Good Rabbi: Jason Sobel 3

Meet the Tour Guide: Ray Vander Laan 7

Chapter 1 The Brook of Elah 11

Chapter 2 En Gedi 18

Chapter 3 The Judean Wilderness 22

Chapter 4 Mount Carmel 25

Chapter 5 Caesarea and Herodium 29

Chapter 6 Bethlehem 34

Chapter 7 Nazareth 40

Chapter 8 The Judean Desert 46

Chapter 9 The Seven Streams 49

Chapter 10 Cana 56

Chapter 11 Capernaum 62

Chapter 12 The Sea of Galilee 70

Chapter 13 Magdala 74

Chapter 14 Galilee 82

Chapter 15 Caesarea Philippi 90

Chapter 16 The Pool of Siloam 98

Chapter 17 The Decapolis 102

Chapter 18 The Mount of Olives 107

Chapter 19 The Upper Room 115

Chapter 20 Bet Av 122

Chapter 21 Garden of Gethsemane 126

Chapter 22 Golgotha 130

Chapter 23 Jerusalem 140

Chapter 24 The Upper Room and Temple Courts 148

Chapter 25 The Temple Mount 153

Chapter 26 The Dead Sea 163

Chapter 27 Masada 166

Chapter 28 The Qumran Caves 169

Chapter 29 Tel Aviv 173

Conclusion 175

Going Home 177

Afterword 183

Appendix 185

Notes 203

About the Authors 207

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The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kathy does a fabulous job of bringing the Holy Land to the reader. I actually feel like I have experienced this trip. This book has made the Bible more meaningful to me. I am so grateful that I experienced this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Left me with a new-found sense of closeness to our lord Jesus Christ. So happy I found this writing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Bible, the history recorded in it, the culture of biblical times, and so much more come to light in this book! Highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting look at the bible I have been reading for years. The times and culture are so extremely different from today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed re-traveling Kathi's visit.
Bassocantor More than 1 year ago
THE ROCK THE ROAD AND THE RABBI is a unique book. At first, I wondered if it would be all that interesting, but it is! Whilst reading this book, I kept on thinking, “Hey, I want to go on that tour!” The reason that Kathie Lee Gifford wrote this book, is that it goes to the heart of what she values most. This land is the land of the Gospel: “I believe with all my soul that the answer to every question any person will ever ask is hidden in that land and in the Word of God.” The author takes the reader to many famous Biblical places. Then, with the help of two Bible experts, Rabbi Jason Sobel and Ray Vander Laan, she explains what happened here in Biblical times. The two theologians do a good job of setting the stage, and explaining the meaning of the Biblical passage. In my favorite chapter, we visit the Valley of Elah, where David killed Goliath. Here, the author and her late husband each pick up a stone. The question for them is, “What is your stone? What is your gift? What is the one thing that you can do that no one else can do but you?” And that’s how the book works. We visit the scenes of the Bible, we get an expert explanation of the passage, and also a practical lesson. In visiting the places where Jesus lived, the guides discuss how people lived at that time I was flabbergasted to hear that a more accurate translation of Jesus’ occupation was “stone mason,” not carpenter! This fits the Bible narrative well, since “Jesus is the promised master craftsman and architect of creation who brings order out of chaos and shalom to our lives.” The author sums up her book with this challenging word of encouragement: “I encourage you to find your stone and throw it at the chaos of this world. Serve the living God and find your purpose in Him.” Nicely said! When does the next tour leave?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would love to take the Tour!
callista83 More than 1 year ago
This was an unusual book in that its different from most other religious books I’ve been reading. It focuses more on the WHERE of the Bible than what happened. Kathie Lee Gifford (of Regis and Kathie Lee and other fame) along with Rabbi Jason Sobel take us on a tour of the middle east through the lens of someone who knows the Bible well and knows the places that common bible stories took place. Going on the tour she went out would be unbelievable but reading this book comes as a close second. I feel more in tune with the Bible somehow. It feels less like some supposed story and more real when anchored by specific places in the middle east that people can actually visit. The book doesn’t just cover the obvious Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum and Galilee but also En Gedi, The Judean Desert, Magdala, The Mount of Olives, Bet Av, Golgotha and The Dead Sea and even more. For each section, you get a general overview of what the significance is of that place and what happened when they visited that section (the autobiography parts of the book). Some sections also include more from Rabbi Jason that gives you more of an educational background but that isn’t boring or dry. I found the whole book very interesting. I received a copy of this book for review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I could have walked the ground with them,to know I was walking the same path as Jesus! To be in the Garden of Gethsemane, the same place where Jesus knelt to pray. The Jordan River, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, all these places come to life. What a journey this would be!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have loved reading the book. Now, to pray about making the trip to Israel myself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After having been on the same trip with RVL, it was wonderful to remember the truths of our trip as we walked the land where Jesus walked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After having been on the same trip with RVL, it was wonderful to remember the truths of our trip as we walked the land where Jesus walked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After having been on the same trip with RVL, it was wonderful to remember the truths of our trip as we walked the land where Jesus walked.