By Mark Ellis –
Noted pastor, author, and preacher, Francis Chan, returned from a whirlwind six-day tour of Israel September 13th, and came back with a fresh infusion of passion for Jesus and appreciation for the Scripture.
“I’m so fired up right now” he told Pastor Jimmy Seibert in a video podcast on Instagram. “Since 3 am, I’ve been crying, praising God, just blown away. I think I’m reading the Bible for the first time. I’m just pumped!”
At the outset of the trip, he had been reading through Joshua, so when he visited the place where Israel crossed the Jordan and Jesus was baptized, he could scarcely contain his awe and wonder. “I was standing in the Jordan River the other day,” he told Siebert. “So I’m picturing it because that’s the exact spot where they say Joshua crossed in, and the Jordan stopped and they would walk through there.”
“I never put it together that that’s the same spot that Elisha crossed when he threw his cloak and parted the water.”
Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. (2 Kings 2:11-14)
“It’s the same spot that John the Baptist entered and baptized Jesus,” Chan explained. “So think about this. You’ve got Joshua, who crosses at that point, and enters the Land of Israel, the Promised Land, you have Jesus starting his ministry entering that land. You’ve got Elijah, who’s taken up to heaven right there.
Chan told Seibert he was struck by the continuity of Scripture. “The Ark goes in the water and Jesus goes into the same water — the presence of God — the continuation of that one thing after another. For the first time in my life I was piecing it together and thinking, This is insane! The continuity of Scripture was blowing my mind.”
Later on the trip, while Chan stood on the Mount of Olives, he was imagining the triumphal entry, but also thinking of the way another Old Testament event juxtaposed itself. “I’m just picturing that same spot where Abraham took Isaac, and this is where they set up His temple. This is where all the sacrifices came. Before that, you’ve got Abraham going there to the king of Salem, Melchizedek. The offering was there and all of this happened in that same place.
“And I’m staying on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascended into heaven. And you’ve got those guys in white saying he’s going to come back the same way. It’s the same spot where he’s (going to) split the ground.”
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)
“I’m with my kids and I was explaining it to them…and they’re going nuts!”
“This last week was mind blowing,” Chan continued. “I’m so in love with Him. I’m so in love with the Scripture. I love the Bible so much more than ever. And I’m learning so much like, (telling) God, how did I not see this? It’s amazing!”
Francis Chan will join Jimmy Seibert at the World Mandate conference in Waco, Texas, October 7th and 8th. Lindy Cofer will be leading worship. For more information go here