Near Caesarea Philippi


Caesarea Philippi

Near the city of Dan in its setting of a lush paradise is place filled with beautiful ponds and lush woods. This area is fed by a tributary of the Jordan River, the Banias (the Arabic pronunciation of Paneas). This gem of a site is set against the russet cliffs of Mount Hermon. In antiquity, the large rock hewn cave and the nearby niches contained statues of Pan, the Greek god of hunters, flocks and shepherds. The excavations near the cave have revealed foundations of large buildings, possibly a temple to Augustus Caesar mentioned by Josephus. Archaeologists are currently excavating the market area to the right of the road that was used to enter the pools and caves of Panias or, as it was known in the time of Christ, Caesarea Philippi.

It was at Caesarea Philippi that the disciples understood Jesus’ true identity. Here He taught His disciples for the first time that His mission was to go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed, and be raised up on the third day. This week long teaching session was capped by an event witnessed only by Peter, James and John: the transfiguration. It was here that Jesus put together for His disciples the twin truths of His humility and His glory.