The Lord being willing, Tabernacle Bible-Presbyterian Church will be
embarking on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 3 -15 July. The burden to
embark on this pilgrimage came at the end of last year as my wife and I were
praying on whether we should go for a personal spiritual retreat some time in
2023. However, all the destinations which we considered did not seem to
appeal. Finally, Yu Jie brought up Israel as a possible destination. “Israel?” I
replied. “But it is pointless to go to Israel alone for a spiritual retreat.” “Are you
saying that we should have a pilgrimage?” exclaimed Yu Jie. Thus, with the
blessing of the church Session, preparations began for the Holy Land

Why do we call this trip to the Holy Land a pilgrimage and not a tour? It is
because this trip is not just about sightseeing, nor is it about shopping. We are
going with a spiritual focus to draw near to God and to learn more about our
Saviour. If we go with an open Bible and a prayerful spirit, the Lord will surely
bless us richly during this pilgrimage. We will be full of praises of our good
Lord. “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy
name.” (Ps. 103:1)

In the weekly of Life Bible-Presbyterian Church, 7 February 1970, the Rev.
Timothy Tow wrote concerning his stay in his Holy Land from August 1969 –
January 1970:

“Living in the Holy Land has acquired a deeper dimension to our understanding
of the Bible, not only in its geography, topography etc., but also meteorology. It
was wonderful to behold how the autumn rains came precisely after the farmers’
harvesting and after the land was ploughed over and sown with new seed. It was
just as wonderful to see how the winter rains fell intermittently and increasingly
as the plants grew, with the climax reaching in spring. The Lord has promised
these former and latter rains abundantly to His people, who are given, ‘a good
land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of
valleys and hills’ (Deut. 8:7). It is timely sending of the Former and Latter Rains
to the Promised Land that makes it a land of brooks and water, a land ‘flowing
with milk and honey’.”

Thus, we must understand that it is not the land that makes the Bible alive.
Rather, it is the Bible that makes the land alive. Thus, if we embark on the
pilgrimage with the eyeglasses of faith, we will learn more about God and His
Word. It will also prevent us from being taken in by the ever multiplying
superstitious shrines constructed by man and fall into gross idolatry. Our eyes
will instead be focused on Christ and the rich spiritual lessons that we can learn
from the Scriptures.

Since we are travelling as pilgrims, it is important to remember that we should
love one another in the truth. Pray for one another and bear one another’s
burdens (Gal. 6:2). Be considerate of your fellow pilgrim. “Behold, how good
and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1)
With gracious words seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6), the pilgrimage will be a
joyous experience.

These gracious words and actions should also be extended to all we may meet
in our pilgrimage. We are there not only to receive from the Lord, but also be a
blessing to others. We are the salt of earth, and the light of the world (Matt.
5:13-14). We seek to do good for the Lord in the land.

Lastly, just like in all travels, we must never take safety in our pilgrimage for
granted. We must be in constant prayer during the journey. We rest in the
comfort that we are always under the watch of our Father. We walk the land in
the same spirit as the pilgrims of old who will sing Psalm 121 on their way up
to Jerusalem. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my
help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” (Ps.

“O Jerusalem, Thou City bright and fair, my heart is yearning to be
there.” (T.Tow)

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

Extracted and edited from Pastor’s testimony of
FEBC’s 15th Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

During the pilgrimage, we had the privilege of visiting several “tells” and
excavation sites in the Holy Land. A “tell” or “tal” is a mound that is formed by
several cities, each one built on top of the other throughout time. In the ages
when the Bible was written, they did not have cranes and dozers like we have
today. Hence, whenever a city or village was conquered, the conquerors would
build the new city upon the stones of the one previously destroyed. With time, a
mound or a “tell” is formed.

One of the “tells” we visited was that of Jericho. Over there, we were told how
the archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon through her studies at the excavation sites
concluded that there was no evidence of the destruction of Jericho by Joshua and
the children of Israel. She claimed that Jericho was destroyed by the time of
Joshua. Why did Kathleen Kenyon “lose” her “faith”? It is because she put
fallible science above the Bible. She wanted to see in order to believe. However,
we must believe in the Bible in order to see (Heb. 11:1).

Later excavations by Bryant G. Wood uncovered evidence that the excavated
city was indeed the city destroyed by Joshua. The Bible is always right. As
Wood adopted the method of “Believing Bible Study”, he ended up having his
faith strengthened. Christ and His Word must be first in my life.

We also visited Tal-Dan where we witnessed the great apostasy of Jeroboam I in
making a duplicate of the Jerusalem temple and installing the worship of the
golden calf. This syncretic worship in the Northern Kingdom is exemplified by a
grove uncovered by archaeologists. On the top of this grove was a big stone
dedicated to the worship of Jehovah, and a small stone dedicated to the worship
of Asherah. The people of Israel bowed down to worship both stones. The
people had two “masters”, but the Bible tells us that we cannot serve two
masters. Therefore, the people ended up loving their idols instead of the one
living and true God. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is
the first commandment.” (Mk. 12:30)