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Visit Mount Carmel During your Christian Holy Land Israel Tour

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During your Christian Holy Land Israel tour we’ll stop at Mount Carmel for a spectacular view of Haifa Bay. Mount Carmel is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel stretching from the Mediterranean Sea towards the southeast. A number of towns are located in this region, most notably the city of Haifa, Israel's third largest city, located on the northern slope. The 1500-foot high limestone mountain impeded armies and merchants traveling to the Jezreel Valley.

Mt. Carmel is referenced many times in the Bible as a symbol of beauty and fertility. To be given the "splendor of Carmel" was to be blessed indeed (Isaiah 35:2). Solomon praised his beloved: "your head crowns you like Mount Carmel" (Song of Solomon 7:5). But for Carmel to wither was a sign of devastating judgment (Nahum 1:4).

Both Epiphanius and Josephus believed, Mount Carmel had been the stronghold of the Essenes sect that came from a area in Galilee named Nazareth; though this Essene group are sometimes consequently referred to as Nazareans, they are not to be confused with the Nazarene, which followed the teachings of our Lord Jesus, but associated with the Pharisees. Members of the modern American groups claiming to be Essenes, however viewed by scholars as having no ties to the historical sect, believe Mount Carmel has great religious significance on account of the protection it afforded to the historic Essene group.

In Christianity Elijah is indelibly associated with the mountain, and he is regarded as having sometimes resided in a grotto on the mountain. Indeed, one name for Mount Carmel is Jabal Mar Elyas; Mount Saint Elias. In the Books of Kings, Elijah challenges (1 Kings 18:16-45 ) 450 prophets of a particular Baal to a contest at the altar on Mount Carmel to determine whose deity was genuinely in control of the Kingdom of Israel; since the scripture is set during the rule of Ahab and his relation with the Phoenicians, biblical scholars suspect that the Baal in question was probably Melqart.

According to the Bible in (1 Kings 18), the challenge was to see which deity could light a sacrifice by fire. After the prophets of Baal had failed to achieve this, Elijah had water poured on his sacrifice to saturate the altar and then he prayed; fire fell and consumed the sacrifice, wood, stones, soil, and water which persuaded the Israelite witnesses to proclaim, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!" In the account, Elijah proclaimed the end to a long drought; clouds gathered, the sky turned black, and it rained heavily.

Today you’ll find on your tour to the Holy Land two Druze villages situated on Mount Carmel. The Druze religion is an offshoot of the Islam faith from about AD 1000. The Druze people speak Arabic, live also in the hills of Galilee and the Golan Heights, and have good relations with the people of Israel.

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