The Discovery of God’s Love
It came unexpected.
The greatest discovery an archaeologist could ever make.
The discovery of God’s love.
I did not deserve it.
But He loved me anyway, and showed His love for me by giving His life for me and then showering me with blessings.
God knew my heart, my deepest pain and also my deepest desires, better than I knew myself.
I am a biblical archaeologist and a few years ago my husband and I were attacked by witchcraft and trapped in kabbala. As scientists we were shocked to learn about the spiritual world and stunned to find out Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and still alive today. But in our deepest hour, when we saw no way out, He rescued us. He showed himself to us in dreams and visions and cast out the darkness. And then He bestowed His blessings on me, by fulfilling the dreams I had lost and forgotten. During my darkest days, I had given up all hopes of ever returning to the land I had once loved. But He remembered for me. And showed me He loved me not just when He rescued me, but He loved me for who I am.
“Thank you Lord. That you ransomed me. And that you redeemed me from the hand of him that is stronger than me. And I will go and sing in the height of Zion! I will thank you in Zion.” Jeremiah 31:11,12
This is a journal of my first trip to back to Zion after the Lord ransomed me and I came to know the Messiah. I did not plan this trip. God organized it. Three months before the Lord had told me in a dream He would meet me in Jerusalem. Everything was timed perfectly. Suddenly, my mom and sisters had time and money to go on a trip we had always dreamed of. As I landed in Ben Gurion Airport tears rolled down my face. Everything I had experienced in the last four years flashed before my eyes. All my emotions welled up, as if it was the first time that I arrived in the Holy Land.
When I got off the plane I breathed a quick prayer of thankfulness to Jesus for saving my life, physically and spiritually. I was consciously aware that without him I would not be here. I have excavated the sacred area at Armageddon (Mount Megiddo), and worked with famous scientists to undermine the Bible. I spent ten years digging in Israel, in the Philistine city of Ashkelon, in an Egyptian fort in Jaffa, in the caves of Beth Guvrin and I have been involved with the excavations in Jerusalem. I studied only the history of the physical world and believed in God as a distant unexplainable force and Judaism as tradition. To me the Bible was a book written by people in the past trying to explain nature, and manipulated by man for their own political ambition. In the past I thought Jesus was just a historical figure, a smart rabbi, who man had turned into God. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that when I returned to the land of Israel I would believe Yeshua-Jesus was the Messiah and the Bible was the literal Word of God.
It all changed on September 11, 2012 when I was giving a lecture about the archaeology of the tree of life. Afterwards we met someone who called herself a teacher of kabbala and said she had secret knowledge of technology and the past. A red apple temptation that is hard to resist for Jewish scientists. Since we did not believe in a real spirit world, or in evil with its own conscious, we were easily seduced. Little did we know that instead of science, we were stepping into a world of witchcraft and demons. Archaeologist meets the spirit world became reality. Within a short time we were faced with an invisible world we had not believed existed. But was very real. It was terrifying and went on for months. And we did not know how to get out. Until one day we were rescued by someone who we thought had died long ago. He came in a dream, and spoke through the Bible. The very book I had undermined for so many years turned to life and said: “Follow me”. As a scientist I was shocked that Jesus was alive, and was dumbfounded that He was the Messiah and the Son of the living God. But demons listened to him and his name was higher than the angels. He rescued us out of the darkness. He was my shepherd in time of need, my savior, my teacher.
It was during that time dark time I felt like I had lost myself and my own dreams. Now, as I watched my mom and two sisters coming toward me in Ben Gurion airport, I felt like two worlds colliding. Dreams that I had had years ago flooded back into my memories. Most of my time in Israel I had been alone and often imagined showing it to my family in America. Incredibly, Jesus was giving it back to me. A physical dream with real places and people I loved. A step into history with loved ones of the present. I ran up to my sisters and my mom and saw the smiles on their faces, hats ready. They too were excited and had dreamed of this moment many years. I felt so blessed. 100% a child of God. As if the father opened his arms and said: “Welcome home, I love you.” He truly cared about me. My father invited me to His land, asked my family to come along and Jesus was leading the way.
On the first day of our journey we drove south through the Judean hills, past the Ella valley where David had fought Goliath. I used to think these stories were just myths and legends of an ancient people. But now I knew better. They were more than just stories, these were people who truly had experienced God and their stories were written down through the Holy Spirit to help us understand how God works. God used these words to speak to each generation. We continued driving south through the rolling green hills and past a kibbutz called Beth Guvrin, where thousands of underground caves were carved into the limestone. Years ago, my own archaeological journey had started here. It was in this kibbutz that I had first dreamed in my early twenties of bringing my family. Now it was the first place we stopped. It looked different and I could barely remember the two summers that I had spent here, climbing the caves in the most adventurous time of my life. You see, when we were attacked by witchcraft, it was truly a battle of the mind. When demons attack, they try to take over your mind, your thoughts. It is so intense that the entire world around you seems far away. You forget everything. Therefore the Lord had to completely renew my mind. As He did, everything from the past fell away. Now it felt like God was giving me my own memories back. He loved me so much! Slowly I was starting to remember. I cried as I saw my sisters climb the caves where I used to work and remembered my dreams. I felt the Lord saying: “I saw you here Jennifer. I know you had those dreams. I love you so much, I brought your family to see what you saw.” It felt as if God was restoring my memory. Giving me back what I had forgotten. Healing my heart.
On our drive through the Holy Land the Lord continued showing me different parts of my life. We spent two nights in the desert, went to Massada, slept in Bedouin tents, rode a camel, and headed to Armageddon: my home away from home. No kidding. Armageddon literally means “The Mount of Megiddo” and is an ancient hill in northern Israel. It is a biblical city with remains of over 31 layers of cities from 5000 years of history. I excavated there many years, and was the supervisor of the temple area. My husband and I even got married there. Most of those times I was there alone, without my family, dreaming about what it felt like to show them the beauty of Megiddo. As I gazed out over the battlefield where so many wars had already been fought and one more was to come, I thought about my own Armageddon: it had not been against flesh and blood, but against principalities of darkness. The T-shirts we use to wear on the dig with “I survived Armageddon” slogans became an eerie reality, and Jesus literally tore open the heavens, fought the battle for me and overcame. We strolled over my beloved stones where I used to walk at 4 o clock in the morning wishing my mom could see the beauty of the sun rising over the Mount of Transfiguration in the distance. I cried again, that the Lord restored my memory and loved me so much that he brought me here with my family.
We drove to the Sea of Galilee. Memories of my miraculous rescue flooded my mind as we strolled along the pebbled beaches. I remember sitting outside on my porch four years ago, my mind dazed from the attacks of witchcraft. The wind took the pages of a Bible and I read only two words: “Follow me!”. The next day it happened again! “FOLLOW ME”. I ran away frustrated and then read for a third time in my daughters Donald duck magazine: “Follow me, or it is too late!” I was speechless. Who said that? It was as if the words were alive and personally meant for me. Calling me out of the darkness. Through these words the Bible had literally come to life for me. I did not know the person who said these words. But it is through them that I recognized His character. It was through them that I had recognized my savior. Now, we were here in the place where He called His first disciples with the exact same words. I felt His words ringing again in my ears, as if He was right there beside me. It is astounding how Jesus is still calling His disciples today in the same way all over the world. I have a friend from Iran, a former Muslim. One day she also had a dream about Jesus calling her and He said to her in her darkest hour: “Follow me”. As a Muslim, she had never heard those words before either! These words prove that Jesus is alive today. With these words we first recognize our savior and through them we feel His love. His being. As I overlooked the sea of Galilea, sitting on the stones by the Mount of Beatitudes with my mom and two sisters, I felt like a true disciple and followed him with all my heart
Blessings of His reality continued. It was the Thursday before Easter; time to go to Jerusalem. A silent foreboding dwelled in our heart, mixed with trepidation. We drove along the same road Jesus had walked on his way to Passover, along the Jordan river, past Jericho, and through the Judean desert. A year ago the Jewish and Christian calendars had coincided exactly as they had been during that fateful year 2000 years ago. It was just after we found out Jesus was the Messiah. We celebrated our freedom with 400 disciples in the greatest Passover Holland had ever seen. Now, one year later, it was Easter again, but not Passover, painfully separating the connection of the fulfillment of the Messiah from Judaism.
We arrived in Jerusalem on the evening of the last supper, the night Yeshua had taught us the meaning of Passover. That night He passed the cup of salvation to His disciples and said: “Do this in remembrance of me”. Then he passed the last cup and said He would not drink it until it had been fulfilled in the kingdom of heaven. At dusk, we entered Christ Church and drank the cup of salvation with other disciples. Afterwards, the pastor invited us to walk with them to the Garden of Gethsemane. It felt like an unforeseen gift from God. Just like the disciples, we got up from the table and walked the streets of Jerusalem and crossed the Kidron valley under a full moon.
At the foot of the Mount of Olives crowds of people were gathered. We followed the pastor to a small door behind the traditional Garden of Gethsemane church and were welcomed by a sister into a private garden of the church of Mary Magdalene. Immediately the silence underneath the ancient olive trees filled our spirit with awe. The light of the moon shimmered off the walls of the church. Someone brought a guitar, and we worshipped The Lord with reference and holiness. It felt as if we were in the garden of Eden, communing with the Father and the Son next to the tree of life. I sat on a bench in the back underneath the low shrubs listening to the music, tears streaming down my face… again.
Photo: Esther Havens
Thanking him for bringing me to this incredible place so close to His heart. We wanted to stay in the garden underneath these trees all night. We wanted this night to last forever. Probably He did too. Tormented by the thoughts of what was about to happen to him. I felt His pain. His love for us. In His deepest hour He asked the father to take the cup of affliction from him, The second cup of Passover, which was the cup of plagues and judgement. The cup that was meant for us because the price of sin was death. He drank it for us. As he prayed here He must have seen the same view we had of the Temple Mount. The priests would soon slaughter the lams of Passover right next to the place where He would be crucified the next day. As if peace was staring hell in the face. The bliss we felt in the garden was painfully shattered when we realized it was also here that Judas came from under the bushes and betrayed him with a kiss, by pretending to love him.
Photo’s: Esther Havens
The next morning the Lord continued to show us how much He loved us. Eli Shukron, the archaeologist who excavated the City of David, suddenly had time and took us on a special tour through Jerusalem. The sun was shining and we were filled with anticipation as we followed Eli through the streets of the Old City. Along the way we talked about the real location of the Via Dolorosa, the road Jesus walked with the cross. Then we turned south towards the City of David. My legs were shaking when we descended along the steep hill. I felt like I was visiting there for the first time, but I wasn’t. I was not the same person I was before. It felt like everything was different. But it wasn’t. It was me that had changed, and these old stones had stayed the same. We followed Eli into a well secured area, behind a fence and he took out a key. Then we entered into a dark cave, with wooden beams holding up the ceiling. Built into the bedrock, along the side of the hill, we saw four small rooms. This was an extra blessing, since I had written four children’s books about the City of David, inspired by a sacred place above the spring that I had never visited. I had given up the dream of visiting this place long ago. Almost forgotten. Now we were here, and Eli took out another set of keys and opened a steel box at the back of one of the rooms. The door swung open. Behind it was an upright stone set in smaller stones.
I gasped in awe. This was more beautiful than I could have dreamed of. I was staring at a real upright stone in Jerusalem placed purposely above the spring, next to a sacrifice area, and an olive press for anointing oil. These stones symbolized a covenant made between God and man on this spot. I was in awe and reminded that this was also Good Friday and it was almost 12:00, the hour that the Romans erected the cross that Jesus hung on. Just as Melchizedek had done to Abraham and Jesus had done for us, I took out bread and wine and we had the first communion in thousands of years by the sacred area above the spring. Four woman disciples returned to Jerusalem to thank the lam for His great love for us. A few hours later we visited Golgotha. The lam was led to the slaughter. I had experienced the spiritual world, and was humbly aware that thanks to His blood that had flowed here I was literally alive and free from demons.
Photo: Esther Havens
Sunday morning. We rose early and went to the garden tomb Easter sunrise service. We knew it wasn’t the real tomb, but that did not matter. It is seeing a real empty tomb that makes the difference. As we sang and gave Him glory, I gazed again at the empty archaeological stones and was stunned by the reality of the power over the grave. For a Jew, it means the prophecy of the dead rising has come true. The realms of darkness are defeated and life wins over death. For an archaeologist it means God’s power defies the laws of science. It is supernatural. We cannot try to scientifically explain it. When you see an empty grave, the reality of His power becomes real in our own world. This really happened. It is because the laws of science and archaeology have been defied that we know a miracle took place. Since we know the laws of science, we know when they are defied and a man is raised from the dead! Gods miracle power can be understood if we also understand that God can create matter and make history. He can work through people. He makes and modifies out of nothing. When we see the power of the resurrection of the dead and healing this changes our physical world around us. God does that… Not science. There has been much theological and archaeological research about the historical Jesus. None of it brought me closer to God. As I gazed at the empty tomb I felt like calling out to my archaeological colleagues: “Why do you look for Him among the dead? He is not here. He has risen.” (Luke 24:5,6).
As I stood in the garden that Easter morning, I felt so loved. The father loves me! I was literally alive because he defeated Satan at the grave. It is something so overwhelming. He loved me by giving His life for me at Passover and rescuing me from the Pharaoh of darkness; but it didn’t stop there. He also loved me for who I was and blessed me with the promises of goodness in the land. Love means you care about the other person, their well- being, their aspirations, their family, and their lives. I realized that when God says He loved us. It is personal. He didn’t just show me the meaning of Passover, but he even brought my family along and remembered my dreams!
Many times we are so hurt or disappointed in life that we lose a part of ourselves. We think we are too lost for Him to love us. Or that we are not good enough. Some of us have given up our dreams, or put our lives on the sideline for another. We are afraid that God is mad at us, because we don’t hear from him on our own time. But on this journey the Lord showed me He knows our deepest desires and loves us so much that He wants to give us what we have always dreamed of, deep inside our soul. Not what we think will make us happy in a certain situation but what is in our deepest being. Even if things might be hard right now, God’s love for us is far greater than we can ever imagine. Don’t become bitter if your dreams have not come true yet. If He died for you, than He also cares about who you are, your family, your dreams, what you do. He knows what you go through. He cares for your pains, and He cares about your hopes. Accepting His love is sometimes harder than giving it. So sit still, cry out as if you are in the Garden of Gethsemane with him, and feel the weight of His love for you. Can you trust Him enough that He knows best for you? This is what I truly felt from this journey. I felt loved by God for he knew my dream even before I could think of it. He knew what would make me happy. After years of struggle, He gave me what I longed for years ago, even though I had completely forgotten or given up on that dream.