Strategic Access to Galilee and Israel
Harvest of Asher Congregation is
located in the ancient city of Akko in northern Israel. Jutting into the
Mediterranean Sea, Akko boasts the best natural harbor in Israel and served
throughout much of history as one of the most strategic cities in the world
- a central axis point connecting East and West, Asia and the
Mediterranean. Numerous empires fought for possession of this key access
city into the northern heartland of Israel and major land routes of the
Near East. This article gives context and background regarding the city
and the spiritual/human dynamics with which the Messianic congregation
there interacts today.
The city of Akko is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the
world, starting about 5000 years ago. Among those who ruled it were:
Phoenecia, ancient Israel, Tyre, Greece, Persia, Egypt, Rome, the
Byzantine Empire, Mamluk Muslims, Crusaders, Ottoman Turkey, Britain,
and now modern Israel.
The fortified city of Akko is mentioned in the Bible several times, first
in Judges 1:31 as belonging to the territory of Asher. Israel was not
able to conquer it at the time of Joshua. Later King David conquered
additional areas of the Promised Land, including Akko. His son, Solomon,
inherited the kingdom and built the temple in partnership with Hiram,
king of Tyre. In exchange for Hiram's help, Solomon gave him 20
cities including Akko.
Akko is referred to in the New Testament in Acts 21:7 under the name
Ptolemais. The Apostle Paul entered the city by way of the sea and met
with believing brothers there.
It was from Akko, in the year 67 A.D., that Roman generals Vespasian and
Titus staged their attack on the Great Revolt. The battles continued from
there through the Galilee and eventually culminated in the tragic seige
of Jerusalem prophesied by Yeshua in Luke 19:41-44.
King Richard the Lionheart also came to Akko, and made it the capital of
the crusader kingdom in the Holy Land in lieu of Jerusalem, which he
failed to conquer. Many times throughout history, controlling Akko was
the key to defending Jerusalem. Control of Akko dictated control of the
bay coast line now called the "Krayot" where the Tents of Mercy mother
congregation is located. The Jezre'el Valley curves past Nazareth
and Megiddo ("Armageddon") ending at this same bay. So we see a future
connection with Armageddon and the events leading to the conquering
return of King Yeshua. This gives us additional motivation to embrace the
challenge of spiritually preparing the way of the Lord in this strategic
Jewish - Arab Coexistence and Akko Today
When the modern state of Israel was established in 1948, there was much
tension between Jews and Arabs in Akko. Since that time, relations
between the two communities have steadily improved, resulting in the
formation of joint cultural and business ventures. Remarkably, now there
are some neighborhoods which have integrated populations of Jews and
Arabs. Today Akko is one of the few cities in Israel inhabited by large
numbers of both Jews and Arabs.
There is still some tension and distrust which occasionally erupts in
episodes of violence, as happened 5 years ago, when hundreds of young
Arabs took to the streets with clubs, destroying cars and property.
However, in general, most of the Arab and Jewish populations of Akko
desire to live in peaceful coexistence. The local tourist economy has
prospered in recent years due to the many Christian, Bahai, Muslim and
Harvest of Asher Congregation opens its doors to all who live in Akko and
the surrounding region. Due to the city';s contested history, one
can often feel a certain heaviness upon its residents. The Lord invites
all who are thirsty, weary and heavy laden to come to Him, and He will
give them rest.
Our place as believers is to proclaim freedom for the captives through
prayer and intercession. We seek to share the good news through
friendship and a helping hand to the needy. This includes serving the
local population via a soup kitchen, humanitarian aid, and pro-life
ministries. We also seek to strengthen our congregants by teaching the
Word, establishing foundations of faith and creating vibrant
children's programs. We appreciate your prayers for all the
peoples of this strategic city.