Take a Journey Along Route 60 — the Biblical Highway
For thousands of years, the historic road has carried pilgrims and other travelers through the heart of the Holy Land
Route 60 is a concrete and asphalt road that cuts 146 miles through rocky desert and historic ruins in the Promised Land, connecting Jerusalem with Nazareth on the north, and with Beersheba on the south. People long ago would travel that ancient road to reach Jerusalem for three feasts each year. The biblical spine of the Holy Land, sometimes referred to as the “Path of the Patriarchs,” has been the site of frequent unrest and violence, but also the site of many familiar Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments.
This month TBN and Fathom Events will release a film about the historic road, Route 60: The Biblical Highway. The movie is a modern-day TripTik that uses visual techniques, graphics and maps to bring to life the history of the Holy Land along that famous route. Two familiar figures in American politics will lead viewers along the storied highway: David Friedman, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Friedman is Jewish and Pompeo is Christian; together, the two weave a historic narrative of the Old and New Testaments, at the sites where the classic stories actually occurred.
Ambassador Friedman recently spoke with me about Route 60’s rich history and about his work in international relations, including his success in negotiating the Abraham Accords which normalized relations between Israel and five Muslim nations. “We did that after we supported Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he revealed, “and we recognized the rights of the Jewish people to live in the United Arab Emirates.”
The Muslim world, Friedman reported, “is a very religious world; and they do respect other people’s faith. I was happy, as I got to know them, to see the respect that they had for people of faith. In the region, people respect one another’s beliefs, and we were able to exploit that.”
For Friedman, a visit to the Holy Land is a seminal experience in the life of a believer. “There is a difference between studying the Bible or reading the Bible, and visiting the Bible,” he explained. “To walk in the footsteps of biblical heroes is powerful and important, because it elevates these Bible stories from the world of myth to the world of truth. You can see evidence that these stories actually happened. These people actually lived.”
As an example of evidence confirming the veracity of biblical stories, Friedman cited Jacob’s altar at Bethel, which was constructed deliberately, following the direction given by God. “You don’t just stand at the site of Jacob’s ladder or Joshua’s altar,” Friedman said, “and not react. For people of faith, it has the capacity to really reinforce one’s faith, concretize it with events, and to recharge your batteries a little bit. For people who don’t believe, I hope [seeing the archaeological artifacts and structures] helps them to better understand why those who do believe care about it so much!”
The singular most important location in Israel, Friedman believed, is Jerusalem. “I see that people who visit — whether it’s Jerusalem or Hebron or Rachel’s Tomb — are all deeply affected. Travelers are often jet-lagged and tired, but here, they understand that they are standing in a place where their greatest biblical heroes once stood and lived and preached and performed their miracles. Their reaction is so energizing — it’s almost as though you open your eyes for the first time.”
Ambassador Friedman acknowledged that while he had a commanding knowledge of Old Testament events, he relied on Mike Pompeo for the New Testament stories that Christians understood and loved. From his co-host Mike Pompeo, Friedman learned about what had transpired at the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as the stories from the life of Christ that occurred in Nazareth and Jerusalem.
What does he want viewers to take away from Route 60: The Biblical Highway? Friedman hoped that those who see the film will understand that this territory of modern-day Israel is deeply holy, and we should all care about it. He hopes that many viewers might, at some point in their lives, take the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land and visit the holy sites, because it will help people to convert all of their holy stories to truth.
Route 60: The Biblical Highway will open in select theaters across the United States for two days only: Sept. 18 and 19. Ambassador Friedman expects that it will at some point be available for streaming as well. He hopes, too, that it will be offered in other countries — in Israel, and throughout Europe.