North America, Asia · 14 Days · 230 Moments · January 2017

Marvin's trip to the land of Israel


14 January 2017

Hand carved olive wood souvenirs.
Chocolate 🍫 for my girls.

12 January 2017

Flight from Israel to Istanbul, Turkey 🇹🇷.

11 January 2017

Said to be the place where Adam and Eve are buried. They want everything under one roof but this is really not likely to be accurate.
Armenian church. Cross engravings from people visiting the church.
Armenian Greek Orthodox segment of church. Burned in a fire 212 years ago. They are not allowed to renovate. Burial tomb used to hold Chozim.
Ceiling of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Said to be the spot where Jesus' cross was placed in the ground. It is marked by a silver star. Many people come and stick their hands down into the hole believing that his sweat and blood ran down into this hole when he was crucified.
Where they laid Jesus after the crucifixion. This is not the tomb though.
Our final stop. The church of the holy sepulcher. Crusader architecture. This site was outside the city. What seals the deal is that we know there are first century tombs here. Convergence of evidence that this is the very site where our Lord rose. This was the place of Roman executions. Holy place is built upon holy place upon holy place. Once a site is holy it is always holy. For 800-years the Muslims control the church and allow the Christians to use it. The same family has held the key for hundreds of years.
Likely the gate where Jesus carried his cross through.
In 8th century Hezekiah is preparing for the Assyrian siege. He fortified cities including Jerusalem. The broad wall Hezekiah built in Nehemiah. This was a wide wall built by Hezekiah.
This is what the Corridor Maximus used to look like.
Mark Twain wrote about Israel and stayed near here calling it a dry and angry land.
The Via Dolorosa.
Saint Anne's church is the traditional birthplace of Mary.
Pool of Bethesda. John 5 healing of lame man. Water reservoir north of the Temple Mount. Very big. This wall was added later, but is where the sick would come to get in the water. The first to get in when the angel troubled the water would be healed. Similar structure to the pool of Siloam. Also served as a mikvah.
The Lions Gate also called saint Stephen gate. Said to be where Stephen was stoned.
Orthodox burial place of Mary. There are two other places claiming to be the burial place.
Judas kisses Jesus on the cheek because it was dark and filled with people. He brings the Roman guards to the camp and betrays him.
Passover was like resurrection day is for us. After the Passover was the exodus. The exodus theme is woven throughout the Torah. Jesus and his disciples were headed to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Passover had to be celebrated within the city walls and at night. Singing of songs, Hillel (113-118) Psalms. The head of the household or the head of the group would lead the way to Passover. This is a lively festival and not a somber meal. They are likely reclining at small tables. Mark 14 sharing of a common cup. Four cups of wine. 1. I will bring you out. 2. Freed from being slaves to them. 3. I will redeem you. 4. I will take you as my own people. Mark 14:25 suggests that Jesus refrained from the fourth cup. 50,000 to a million pilgrims in Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus and the disciples came out and goes to the garden of Gethsemane. Judas left when he found out that there wouldn't be an overthrow. The church of all nations has a rock that some believe is the rock Jesus prayed at.
Church of all Nations.
The meaning of Gethsemane. Where wine or olive oil is made. Here they made olive oil. This is the garden Jesus prayed in. The garden of Gethsemane.
Olive trees that are at least 11.5 hundred years old. Likely from the time of Jesus. Some say the Mount of Olives was called this because of the large and/or old olive trees.
Old olive trees.
Every other church prays to the east. This church prays to the west.
Jesus' triumphal entry was a political revolution. Hosanna means "God save us!" Save us from who? The Romans. Psalm 118 is quoted here, "Blessed is the name of the Lord." Military talk in 118; we see it as spiritual, but they saw it as political speech. This is the day; means the day of yahweh. This is apocalyptic language. Read the next verse. It is times like this that Pilate would enter the city to quell revolts. Mark 11
A big opening is not necessary for ossuaries tombs.
Burial places from the time of Jesus. This is the style of burial tombs. Cohim - slots for ossuaries.
Jewish cemetery. There is a Muslim cemetery on the other side near the dome of the rock.
Zechariah 14 - a day of the Lord. Speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem. Speaks of living water. Pictures of the New Jerusalem. Apocalyptic is an Old Testament genre. David fled from down the valley up to the Mount of Olives. Israel expected a battle and all nations coming crawling in their bellies. We know that Jesus issues in a very different kingdom. The first reason why the temple was built in a hill is for water. The Gehon spring. Water was very important and scarce during that time.
Jerusalem used to be Jordanian until 1967. Helena the mother of Constantine came to Israel and started to build churches. The Dead Sea scrolls are in the Rockefeller museum in Jerusalem.

10 January 2017

Israel does not recognize Palestine as a state. The Zionist movement of the 1800s led them to Israel desiring a homeland. There were Jewish terrorists against the British. After the unilateral Declaration of Independence. Hamas is sworn to the destruction of Israel. There are extremist Jews and Muslims that want full out war. Left wing and right wing Jews. 1948 was in the wake of the holocaust and the world was sympathetic. There is a large Ethiopian population in Israel. They are Jews and Christians. There is a thriving Palestinian evangelical Christian and catholic population here as well. We have brothers and sisters that are Palestinian. They experience violence and persecution. Palestine has a museum commemorating atrocities. Jimmy Carter did more than anybody to mediate peace in Israel.
Out and about in the old city with a couple of my trip-mates. I didn't buy anything but it was fun to look at the wares and listen to the shop-owners haggle and try to get you to buy. The chess set was really cool and the Alabama shop was a little strange. Nothing in the shop was Alabama gear but he shopped had its namesake🤦🏾‍♂️.
At the wailing wall. This washing place is used by the Jews to cleanse their hands before praying at the wailing wall.
The wailing wall is not the original holy of holies. It was made significant because it is the closest they can get to the holy of holies. They walk 2 and a half hours each way to make it ton he wall on Saturday without breakfast. Very few dressed in black are rabbis. It is an ultra orthodox tradition. It is important for them to show what kind of rabbi they are. There is a website to access the wailing wall 24-hours a day.
When Peter stood up and said repent and be baptized they were likely baptized in the pool is Siloam. Some of the same priests and Pharisees who were shouting "crucify him" were likely amongst them and were saved.
Matthew 23. Seven woes. The gospels are describing Jesus as am Old Testament prophet. Many of Jesus' encounters with the Pharisees were in the palace courts. When we hear these stories we think of ourselves on Jesus' side. We Pharisees if we were to go back in time. They do everything for show. The long tassels in the prayer garments. Ask yourself your motive why you want to be called pastor, professor, teacher, rabbi. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. The Pharisees were one of the first sects to evangelize. They were doing this during this lifetime. They were so careful to tithe but still oppressing the poor. So worried about cleaning the outside but inside full of greed and self-indulgence. Looks good on the outside but rotten on the inside.
The priest blew the trumpet 6-times to announce the Shabbat. If there were three-stars the priest would blow the horn and end Shabbat. Alarm to announce it and an alarm to end it.
These are not herodian but herodian stones were used to build the two palaces here. Using these stones. The lightest stone on the western wall are two- tons. They are 15-feet deep. The wall was 75-feet high from the street.
Armana letters. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. We have symbols that have been stripped of their symbolism. Like the Christmas tree.
The entrance fee into the temple was half a shekel. The priests were cheating people. This is why Jesus flipped the tables over.
Bagel
The location of the pool of Siloam. This is at the bottom of the long staircase down from the temple. Ritual cleansing was done here for all three festivals. His was this way at he time of Jesus. The miracle that happened here (John 9). Jesus healed the blind man. He told him to wash in the pool of Siloam. The man was blind and had to walk all the way down from temple. He healed him on a sabbath.
Comic relief.
The spring of Gehon. I Kings 1:38-39 Hezekiahs tunnel
Spring tower. Notice two walls.
Canaanite pool. Before Hezekiah built the tunnel the spring water would come up.
City of Shelem turned into the city of David. The Jebusites built a tower above the spring.
Nehemiah's wall. At the end is likely David's tomb.
Built on top of Jewish tombs.
Lots of fish bones were found here. From Mediterranean so they were rich. Many bullae (used to stamp/seal letter) were also found here. Jeremiah 38:1-3. The Babylonians are all around the city. This is when Jeremiah was thrown into the cistern. Two seals and full names of the advisors was found here. Shimiel. Jeremiah 36:10. The son of "" seal was found here. Also found a toilet seat here. They were suffering from digestive system worms. All of this was found in this Israelite 4-room house. Very likely this is where the Judahite palace was.
Evidence of Israelite architecture.
Mount of Olives.
The Temple Mount down is the beginning of Jerusalem.
Pool built to be a reservoir.
For the temple sacrifices they needed lots of water so there were tunnels used to transport the water. A dam was built that emptied into a pool.
This is the end of the western wall. It looks as though they never finished it. We walked through the tunnel on the original road.
Closest entrance to the holy of holies. The Jews are not to pray here, so that's why they pray at the west wall. It is the closet place to the holy of holies.
This stone is about 30-feet long and 15-feet deep 11.5 tall. 570-tons. They definitely lifted it but how? They didn't use any cement but chiseled it very accurately. This was a very high wall.
After the council at Nicea there was a rise in anti-Semitism.
Mount Moriah. Means teacher. In order to show the Jews that he was a Jew, Herod built on the mount moriah. But the new temple. The Romans destroyed it in 70AD. In 695 AD muslims built the dome of the rock. The temple was two times the size of the dome of the rock. The muslims built a city right in front of it. There was a bridge from the temple to Herod's palace (over by Jaffa gate). The temple before and after it was destroyed.

9 January 2017

Caiphus ossuary. Ossuaries were the traditional burial method for the Jews. Ossuaries contain the bones of dead people.
Second Temple Period there was much concern for ritual purity.
Herod's sarcophagus.
Yahweh and his Asherah.
Reconstructed burial caves.
Sennacherib, Assyrian king. Replica of the original.
Said to have been found beneath Israelite remains. Likely smashed in ritual desecration.
Worshiping with music.
The first and only inscription mentioning King David. "The house of David."
Mark of Israelite architecture.
From the 900's BC. A calf at the top. A sun disk suspended at the top. Figures behind the curly q's. A tree and two goats (an association of mother goddess), flanked with two lions. Two human faces with lion bodies and wings. Female figure grasping the ears of lions. Flanking cherubs. This is a blend of Yahweh and Asherah. Some thought it was ok to represent Yahweh riding on a calf. Even good Yahwists thought sundisks were appropriate. Yahweh, Asherah, Yahweh, Asherah. There are inscriptions of Yahweh and his Asherah. The time of Jeroboam. This archeological find supports the idolatry spoken of in the Bible.
Liver model.
Late Bronze Age. There was even a drug trade then of poppies/opiates. Poppies and pomegranates look similar.
Original Stella from Beit-shan.
The sheep gate.
The original city of David to the right.
The western wall of the temple.
Herod's palace and the other red roofs is where the Levites, rich people and priests lived. Where we are standing is the Mount of Olives.
Pre-Constantinian sites are more probable to be accurate.
The Church of the Nativity. Where Jesus was born. The star marks the spot of where he was born.
Jesus born here in 6 BC.
The oldest church in the world. The church of the nativity. Where Jesus was born. There is an Orthodox Church, Arminian and Catholic within.
Not Starbucks but Stars and Bucks.
Where Herod's sarcophagus was found. There were actually three found. Likely his wives.
Herod's mausoleum built on top of the third cistern. This is what the mausoleum may have looked like.
Jesus was born in the shadow of the tyrant Herod. Herod was a paranoid evil king. He even killed his own sons. So it is easy to understand why he would have tried to i Øő Jesus. Tale of two kings and two kingdoms. Darkness is disorienting and dangerous. Revelation means "Jesus wins!"
Herod was a genius paranoid tyrant. Built lots of monuments to Caesar. He was a very complex figure. He knows he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. He built an Augustium in Caesarea. To a Roman he's a Roman. To a Jew he's a Jew. He was highly paranoid. This is a highly fortified palace. Similar bathhouse to Massadah. This is the earliest done in this area. Herod was a trendsetter. He made a lush garden and pool in the desert. There was a focus on entertainment. He built all this stuff in less than 20-years. He was very very rich through exports. "Better to be Herod's pig than his son." Augustus may have said this.
Tekoa. This is where Amos was born. A master of growing sycamore trees.
Afrata, Jewish town.
Highest peak of the Judean desert. Mount of Olives.
Mount Herodian. Here the Hasmoneans were after Herod the Great. He escaped and never forgot it. That's is probably why he came back and built the palace here. Very well fortified due to its cone shape. From the tower of the palace Herod could see the Jerusalem temple.
Most of the buildings in Jerusalem are built with limestones. British in 1920's. we are currently traveling on the patriarchal highway. Headed south. Same route biblical figures would have taken. 805k people in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is very big in relation to the size of Israel.

8 January 2017

Jerusalem Hotel
Aqueduct is 6-miles long.
The inner court of the temple. Distinguished guests entered through here. It was all about Rome here though Herod was half Jewish.
Early Christians were accused of having orgies. They were persecuted after Jesus' death. The physical persecution was the worst. They died here on this sand. Herod was the first one to offer three medals/places for the games in order to convince them to come. The only time the Olympics were in Israel.
Where Paul may have been held.
Herod executed people in swimming pools. Acts 21 records the events of Paul. Acts is about the Holy Spirit and the spread of the gospel. Example of convergence. Is the Pontius Pilate inscription.
Stones used.
Caesarea
The way you can tell a Roman statue is Roman is because they didn't know how the balance the statue. You can tell by the bottom.
Caesarea. King Herod's palace and his Great Wall. Built with pillars on top of one another. City was demolished. There was a lighthouse second only to he one in Alexandria. No electricity but fire was used. Temple then a mosque. There is an Augustium here built for Augustus. He was setting Roman culture. He would have been in magazines.
Mt. Carmel get more than 32 inches of rain a year. The Lord roars from Zion and even Mt. Carmel is withered. Cosmic mountain. One of the highest in the region. 3,090 feet high. I Kings 18 - Elijah missing in action. He met Ahab here. This is the northern kingdom. This is likely where Elijah had the showdown with the priests of Baal. Iron Age period this was likely a location for Baal worship. Elijah told Gehazi to go look for rain. His is the highest point he could have gone.
Tunnel was likely Canaanite and taken over by Israel. This is also the location of the Megiddo spring.
841 coup of Jehu. Conquered the Omri's. Ahab son of Omri is found in an inscription. Probably the most powerful king of Israel next to Solomon. Ahab boasted 2,000 chariots. Chariots were like tanks are today. A powerful war machine. Ahab had the most. He was one of the most wicked kings. Political greatness does not equate to spiritual greatness. Ahab is an example of this.
Protoaleolic
An alter. 4300 years ago.
Megiddo also known as Armageddon. From left to right: Mt. Tabor, Mt. Morah. Many battles as recent as a decade ago. We were at the Tel. This is the guardian city of this valley. The pictures in Revelation are very relevant for the original audience. Why the final battle here? See 7-bowels of Revelation. One word is uttered: done. There is no chaos conflict in the beginning and it will be he same way in the end. Done. This is a reminder of who God is.
Model of Megiddo. This was one of the chariot cities of Israel.
Megiddo. Guards the narrow Aruna pass from the coastal highway into the Jezreel Valley. Many conflicts at the site of Megiddo. Egypt has an interest in this land and controlled the Llots of conflict at this place. evant in the superpower age. Always on conflict with peoples from Mesopotamia. Tut mose the third took the pass and won the battle at Megiddo. Iron Age I. Not until the time of Solomon was Megiddo conquered by the Israelites. Sheshenk/ Sheshak of the Bible. A Stella was found with an inscription of his name. The lion image was used for Yahweh.
Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus. Mt. Gilboa is where Israel was camped while Saul went to talk to the witch at En Dor (I Samuel 28). He had to go behind enemy lines to get to her. Jezebel died at Jezreel. This is where the people wanted to throw Jesus off the cliff. They were pleased with him and then ticked because he stops reading Isaiah at the point of reference to judgment. He is saying that the nations would be part of his kingdom. Israel believed that the nations would come crawling on their bellies. Are you so quick to decide who is out and who is in?
This is Nain.

7 January 2017

Laundry at 11:00 at night. This was the first opportunity to wash as the only machine was being used until now.
Mexican church at Magdala. The fresco on the wall is of the woman with the issue of blood touching the hem of Jesus' garment. She heard about what he was doing and her faith led her there. At this time Jairus' daughter died. They said it's too late now. The king is here, and this is what his kingdom looks like. POINT THEM TO JESUS!!!
Olive tree
Magdala synagogue. Evidence of the revolt of 70AD is found here. The remains of a 1st century synagogue; the time of Jesus. To get to Nazareth Jesus would have come through Magdala and by this synagogue. The earliest example of a menorah was found here. What was Galilean Judaism? This is a mixed ethnicity area. This is likely one of the synagogues Jesus would have taught or healed in. His sandals walked on these stones. Location for dried fish production. The homes here had their own mikvahs (ritual baths). They were likely wealthy here.
This is known as the Jesus boat. It seats 14. This is the type of boat Jesus and the disciples would have been in. A 3-foot or 6-foot storm would have been harrowing.
Sycamore Tree. Amos was expert at harvesting these trees.
The inscription provides the evidence of who paid to have the synagogue built. It was the centurion whose son Jesus healed. Minorah,shovel. The temple on wheels was the solution for praying towards Jerusalem.
This was the synagogue of capernaum. From the fourth century. Evidence for the 1st century synagogue is under the current synagogue remains. All original from the fourth century. Second floor was for women. All entrances for synagogues were from the south (facing Jerusalem). It caused a problem here. Jesus comes from Nazareth to Capernaum. Mark 3:1-6. The man with the withered hand was healed by Jesus here. Mark 3 ends series of six conflict stories. In Mark 2 Jesus says he is lord of the sabbath. We'll see that in Mark 3. They (Pharisees and Herodians) were looking to see if Jesus would work on the sabbath. He asked the man to stand in the middle of everyone so everyone could see. Jesus was angry and disappointed and then healed the man. This was a life or death situation for this man. He is not only lord of the sabbath, but lord of everything. Afterwards the Pharisees and sadducees sought to kill Jesus. The temple was destroyed in the earthquake of 749AD.
Capernaum was approximately 900-feet along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Second Temple house. Not exactly like the biblical houses but similar. Symbols and words of the first Christians was found here. The Mishnah is the oral tradition. They warned against people in Capernaum. Beware of them. Families stayed in the same house for generations. THIS IS MOST PROBABLY THE HOUSE OF PETER. Jesus may have been in this house. Pre-4th century remains are likely during the time of Jesus.
Lunch
Four room house Storehouses were usually located by the gate.
A temple alter. Destruction in the 1200s (mid-12th century). Idols were decapitated. Hazor, Jericho and Ai were burned during Israels conquest.
Six chamber gate. I Kings 9:15. Methodology, Hazor and Gezer all had these gates. This is considered evidence of king Solomon 10th century architecture. Monumental architecture at the time of Solomon.
Hazor. This is the only passage way to the Hulah Valley. This was a powerful kingdom. Hazor the head of kingdoms. Ibni or Yabin was the king of Hazor. Same name in Joshua. 15,000 people were here. This is the lower city mostly unexcavated.
The disciples would have known about the Pan and Caesar worship. This was temptation to deny their God. Everyone has to make the claim that "Caesar is Lord." What Peter said was a denial of Caesar worship. This was the backbone of the early church. When Jesus rebukes Peter, this is reminiscent of his temptation on the mountain by Satan. He tells him to take up his cross. How much would I suffer for the gospel?
This is Caesarea Philippi. Evidence of the Greco-Roman God Pan. This cave was thought to be the entry to the underworld. The seat of paganism. Matthew 16:13 - Jesus brings the disciples up here. Pan and a temple to Augustus was built here by Herod. Called an Augustium. Josephus describes regions of Caesarea Philippi as pagan. Jesus brings them here and asks "Who do people say I am?" "Peter says, "You are the sons of the living God." There were images of Caesar Augustus as the son of God. He had been dead during the time of Jesus but people were still worshipping him.
Hosea was speaking to the establishment in Samaria. Amos addressed the north. He said he can't despised their religious feasts. He didn't accept them. These people thought they were looking good, but their hearts were rotten. Who cares what it looks like on Sunday morning. What does it look like all week?
The only thing the priests get to keep from the sacrifice are the skins. Evidence of that are hooves/toe bones. These were found in this room. Small alters found against the wall. Three shovels and a bowl. Two shovels were found cupped together. A lot was found filled with fine ash. Determined to be burned animal remains. Bowl, pair of shovels, ash pot, incense shovel, a fork. Five elements of a priestly sacrifice kit. The alter was for burning the leftovers. They were not to keep the remains. Amadi ya / Emanuel - Yahweh with us. This is the only place you can see royal functioning Israelite religion.
A temple at Dan. Animal. Animal found here. Best parallel to Solomons Temple in Jerusalem ever found. There is an inscription found here, "To the God who is at Dan." I Kings 12. The main shrine was in Jerusalem in the south. One temple was built at Bethel and one at Dan. Here he installs golden calfs. In the north Yahweh riding upon a calf was acceptable. In the south cherubim. The sin of the calf becomes the downfall of the north. In the first few chapters of Leviticus are instructions for offering sacrifice. This temple matches these instructions precisely.
At this spot is where professor Greer spent lots of time last summer. Micaiah who was like Yahweh. The Danites plan to overthrow Laish. The come and kill everyone and setup a shrine that the Israelites worship. The priest was named Jonathan son of Moses (not the Moses of exodus). Lots like this were found which some consider evidence of Israelite occupation. Mixed population group here. He Danites described in the Bible (Sampson married one). Connections made with the Sea people's. When Israel came out from Egypt they came up with a mixed multitude.
The first mention of David was discovered here at Tel Dan. Who wrote this stella? Written in Aramaic. Likely an Aremian stella. Powerful Aremian mentioned the Bible. II Kings 9 - says Jehu killed Azehiah in a coup. Destroyed Baal worship. Kills all the prophets of Baal. Also killed these two Armenian kings. Jedi did it under the authority of Haza'el. A Stella is a large tombstone.
1700 BC. The oldest archway in the world. Building style from Assyria. Well fortified middle Bronze Age city. A principal city of the international highway. The flow of ancient traffic came through here. Abraham came up from Ur and would have come along this road and through this city. So they call this the Abraham gate. When the Danites took over the city it was called Laish. At the time of Abraham it was not called Dan. He pursued the enemies of Lot unto Dan. Was Laish at the time.
An inset/outset wall. Associated with the North. The actual wall went much higher than this. Dates to the ninth century.
Mulberry Tree
From the largest spring in all the Middle East.
Golan Heights
5-miles from our hotel is ISIS; 7-miles the other way is al Qaeda
High and low Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake. These Israelites were born in Egypt. Only 120-feet deep. The lowest fresh water lake in the world. Twelve different kinds of fish today. Tilapia
Jesus didn't set up his ministry in Jerusalem, but rather near the sea Galilee. When you think headquarters think preparation. This was a very strategic location. The whole world passes through here. There was a Roman outpost here. A Roman servant was healed by Jesus. Colossians 1, transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God. The gospel invades he kingdom of darkness. They believed that in he depths of the water was the underworld. They would have never jumped in the water. Despite how hot it was (up to 110 degrees). The fact that Peter would get out of the boat is even more amazing now. Mark 4, Mark 6. Jesus showed that he had power and authority over the powers of hell. In between Mark 4 and 6 Jesus told them to go over to the other side. It was very cross cultural here. The bulk of the gospel occurred within the Roman Empire. They were headed to a pagan place. There were pigs there. There was a cemetery there. Jesus was teaching and preparing the disciples.
In John 21, when the disciples launched out and caught so many fish that the net started to break, the number of fish they caught was 153. In Hebrew, I am God has 153 characters. Mount Hermon is the source of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan river. The other side is the side of Capernaum. That is actually the other side of the Jordan river. When you move from one county to the other you have to pay taxes to cross.
He cast the demons into the pigs and the pigs ran right into the sea of Galilee, the water world. The greatest injustice is Satan trafficking people's souls to hell. We need to know that Christ has power over the forces of hell. Instead of in my boat, he lives in me. His year is he 500th anniversary of Martin Luther (1517). How mighty is our God. Confidence, conviction and courage.

6 January 2017

This is the amphitheatron. The first christians were killed here. We are literally standing on the same ground Christians died. The floor is covered in sand to soak up the blood. Amphi means double. Theatron is 180 degrees amphitheatron is 360 degrees.
Theatron
Destroyed by the earthquake in 749AD. This is how Tels are formed. They build on top of ruins. 4th century street. Tikeh the goddess of fortune.
This is how the city looked in the 3rd century. City was likely demolished by the earthquake.
Beit-she'an / Scythopolis is the gateway city to the Jezeeel Valley. Strategic area. This was a way to protect the city. Greco-Roman outpost. Lots of Egyptian evidence here. The temple here is more like a Canaanite temple. More than 50 anthropoid coffins (may be philistine sarcophagus'). Egyptian in style. We know that philistines were here as Egyptians employed them in this outpost. At one time, Egypt ruled from here. End of Bronze Age.
Drove through town at Beit-She'an.
The wall is actually a fence per our guide.
It is much greener in the north. They get more rain there.
Some say this mountain is the Mount of Temptation.
Israeli Jews are not allowed to go into Jericho or Bethlehem. This is zone A and run by Palestinians. Zone B also. Zone C controlled by Israel. Zones A and B can be on either side of Zone C roads.
Lunch
The Essenes are in line with the New Testament writers. They had the same problem with the Romans. They expected them to be overthrown just like the disciples. Preparing themselves in ritual purity for the messiahs return. This is the wilderness of Judea near Jerusalem. John the Baptist may have lived here. Just speculation, but they had he same kind of thinking.
The people here had money and did ritual baths (mikvah). The baths were used for ceremonial cleansing. Very concerned with ritual purity. Extraordinary to have so many in one locations this size like this. These people may have been Essenes. Clues to this are many bones buried in jars. Likely sacrifices. Josephus mentions this as well. The Qumran community had non-biblical books. One was called the Rule of the Community. Pliny mentions them as well and notes the location as well. They the top three books with an eye towards the messiah or dual-messiah. Described him as the branch or the new Moses. After the order of Mechelzidek. They also had an idea of an apocalyptic battle. They describe this in cosmic cycles. They speak of a New Jerusalem. They called the Jerusalem establishment as "those brood of vipers" and spoke of themselves as following "the way." They speak of resurrection, communal living, new covenant, the tongues of men and of angels, a final battle, etc.
When speaking of the land of milk and honey, the honey was not bee honey but rather date honey. That's how the people of Qumran had so much money.
Ritual Bath
MLK reference of Amos of justice rolling like a river and a ever ending stream. That citation has a powerful impact when understanding the geography.
Qumran. More than 700 manuscripts dating 3rd century BC. Every book from the Hebrew canon except for Esther is represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls. 350 compositions; 250 are books of the Bible. The greatest archeological discovery ever. This sets the clock back. 1000 AD Masoretic text tradition is what translations had been based on (OT). The DSS sets the clock back. They match the Masoretic text and it essentially confirms the accuracy while dating it older. There is clarity, complementarity, but there is also complication. The Septuagint differs from the DSS. There are small percentage in the Septuagint tradition and Samaritan Pentateuch. This is where textual criticism comes into play. There are some scrolls that date before the time of Jesus. Books found with multiple copies: Psalms, Deuteronomy and Isaiah are the most common copies (the top three); Exodus, Genesis, Leviticus, Book of Enoch. Dry river beds led to a settlement here. Called wadi. Flash floods occur without warning.
Palm Tree Dates. Really good!
The only life in the Dead Sea is bacteria and algae. Neither are harmful. They have figured out how to use this water to grow things, but they choose not to.
Jeremiah 15:16;3:12-13 Psalm 25 Drink the Living Water of God. Broken cisterns leak. We try to build these instead of drinking the living water of the Lord. Broken cisterns do not satisfy or nourish. They cannot sustain us. You can become dehydrated. Feast of tabernacles example: the priests brought Irma of water for the celebration. John 7 - Jesus stood up and shouted, "If anyone thirsts, let them come into me..." "Out of heart will flow rivera of living waters."
Acacia Tree and animal spoken of in Psalm 104:18, rock badger.
Isaiah 3 - the women would stomp on perfume and make the men crazy. It is said that they got the perfume from Ein Gedi
Ein is the spring, Gedi is goat. Eibecks can climb up and down steep hills and mountains. See Psalms 104:18. Acacia Trees. There are hundreds of creatures on the trees. God created an insect that looks just like a tree or stick. You can make tea out of the acacia tree branches. Only 2-inches of rain per year. It takes 20-years for he rain water to flow down from the mountains into the waterfall here.
Turtle on a fence-post. Someone put it there. God places us where he wants us. There may be a gap between graduation and effectiveness. This is Ein Gedi where David was fleeing Saul. These are the caves he fled to. Saul pursued him. Would you question Gods call if this happened to you. I Samuel 23. When Saul was relieving himself, David could have killed Saul, but he waited on God's timing. To train a shepherd to be a king, you take 300 misfits as an army, you learn the terrain, etc. Maximum effectiveness may take some time. Ministry is about what God is teaching you. You will always have critics. God may be trying to tell you something through your critics. That keeps you blessedly insecure. You'll be chased by your failures. By your success. Success is a long-term endeavor. Bloom where you're planted.
Itinerary
Breakfast
Day 4 view from the hotel.

5 January 2017

The Israelite house Amos - woe to you that go the way of Beer-sheba. It was a cultic site. There is evidence that there was ritual destruction of a cultic temple. They dug down deep and removed all traces of the temple. May have been during the time of King Hezekiah.
Horned alter Abram associated with Beer-sheba in Western Negev. Abraham put God's promise in jeopardy. God still protected the promise. Water is once again a problem in the Negev. The Bible speaks of issues over water rights. Abram lived much like the Bedouin. Some place Abram at about 2000 BC others later. 8th century BC remains of a fort, known as Fort Abram. Royal elements, domestic and cultic elements
There were lots of Negev forts guarding the route from Egypt. The outpost at Arad has walls 13-feet deep. Strategic location of the nation of Israel. 107 Hebrew letters found here. There is an alter here with an important step. Called the foundation platform in the Bible. Blood was poured out on this platform. Matches the exodus alter in the Bible. This may have been the size of the Tabernacle. There are standing stones in the holy of holies. It has been suggested that this may have been a temple for Yahweh and Asherah. This temple was destroyed; likely by Hezekiah. According to the Bible there should have only been one temple. So what's up with all of these temples? This is the only temple found in the kingdom of Judah.
Arad;The Negev Massive city; 2500-3000 people. The walls are 2 and a half meters thick. Water would be a major problem here. There is a wall built around the water shed. There are remains of homes. All of the homes are the same size, so that would suggest that it was an egalitarian society. Very sophisticated and powerful city. They had two temples side by side. A pair of deities? Dates at the Early Bronze Age. A hugely important site for archeology. No written record of what was going on in this age. So we don't know what was going on here. No other evidence of it. There are also remains from the tenth century. This would imply that the Israelites didn't have a city to conquer during their time. This is an example of Complication. Conflict between the Bible and archeology. Live in the tension. There are two Arads on the map.
Camel ride Bedouin Tent - used goat hair rugs as cover. Even if a man kills the bedouins son he will treat you as a guest in his tent. He will give you three days to get away and then he will hunt you and kill you. The reason why hospitality was so important to them is because if someone is in the desert and can't find water or someone to help them they will die. The Bedouin are nomads, they know where the water is. The stories of the patriarchs such as Abraham are reminiscent of Bedouin hospitality. They didn't have coffee in biblical days.
The Jews hated Herod. He saw himself as a Jew but the Jews did not see him that way. Peaches and olives were found in storage rooms here. Lots of lots of dates were also found here. It took 3-years for the Romans to build a siege ramp in order to breach the wall. Pictures are from the base of the mountain. The Dead Sea begins opposite Massadah.
Mount Massadah The intertestamal period. Ptolemies in the south. Selucids in the north. Hasmonean revolt. Antipiter rises to power. He was an Edominian and gained favor with Caesar. 37-BC Octavian named king of the Jews. Nephew of Caesar. Octavian defeats Marc Antony. Herod sided with Marc Antony and Cleopatra. He was politically savvy. Jerod is then made king of the Jews by Rome. He was half-Jewish. Herod was very loyal to Rome. He has big ideas and an amazing builder. Herod the Great. He is a massive builder. We only see him once in scripture but we see him multiple times in the Land. He is paranoid. He kills two of his sons, wives. Josephus describes him going out disguised at night to hear what people are saying about him. The Magi cone to Herod and ask, "where is the king of the Jews?" This paranoid king them sets out to kill the newborn king. He was afraid that Augustus would change his mind and he was also afraid of the Jews. He killed everyone from the Hasmonean dynasty tha
Mount Massadah
Mount Massadah
Mount Massadah
Mount Massadah
The view from the hotel on day 3. Absolutely amazing.

4 January 2017

At dinner in the Isrehotel
On the bus on the way to the hotel in the Rift Valley, near the Dead Sea.
Lachish
Instead of focusing on the problem and judging God by the problem, go to God with the problem first as Hezekiah did. They had every reason to fear Sennacherib, but they sought that Gods glory would be shown. The battle is not yours, it is the Lords. Be faithful anyway even if he doesn't deliver you. Be still means cease striving. Psalm 46:10
President Stowell teaching at Lachish.
Lachish
Lachish Tel. The primary route into the Hill Country is Lachish. Iron Age II II Kings 18 - The story of Hezekiah. Both him and Josiah dealt with the idolatry of Israel. Hezekiah was a very good and powerful king who dominated the Philistines. He rebelled against the king of Assyria by not paying taxes. King Sennacherib threatens to attack Hezekiah but sends a messenger to tell them to surrender. Hezekiah prepared for the onslaught if Assyria. He built a huge wall and a tunnel to redirect water from a precarious location to a safer location. There is Sennacherib's siege ramp here. Tons of archeological evidence here. Sennacherib was here and decimated the city of Lachish. This was his greatest victory. Isaiah prophecies that they will never take Jerusalem. The angel of the Lord shows up and kills Sennacherib's troops. He would cut off hands and feet. He would skin people. Jeremiah 34:6-7 Lachish and Azekah and Jerusalem were the only cities left but were eventually destroyed.
Pigeon cave. These kind of caves were made to cultivate pigeons for eggs and meat.
Azekah. Strategic area. Between here and Socoh is where the Philistines and the Jews were shouting at each other and where the battle between Davis and Goliath occurred. The Philistines were sophisticated and smart. Goliath was over 9-feet tall. 6-cubits and a span. The earliest textual evidence has Goliath at 4-cubits and a span; that's about 6-and a half feet tall. (I think I'll stick with 9-feet tall) He is dressed as a micenean warrior; the greatest latest war technology against a shepherd boy. Joe Stowell 2 Chronicles 16:9 The champion of the Philistines went out to fight the shepherd boy. Jesus is our champion.
Apparently, guns are very common in Israel. Our guide said that everyone has one. I saw military men in the gas station with their weapons strapped to their sides.
Our bus.
Beit shemesh
This is the valley where Samson was born. Beit shemesh Sorek Valley. He was born in Zorah. Between the Coastal Plains and the Hill Country. Samson was a Danite. He had his vengeance in the temple at Gaza. There was always conflicts in the valleys.
Coastal Plain discussion about the reasoning behind the conflicts between the Philistines and the Jews. Geography played a major role. Evidence of Philistines in many ways: pig bones, cuisine, etc. This was part of the land Israel was to conquer. Philistines were a sophisticated people.
When burying the dead it was important to state that they wanted a "sincere" burial so that rocks would not be used but rather wax for a good seal to prevent hyenas from getting to the body. Hyenas eat everything including the bones.
It is a bit rainy today but not too bad. It's about 37 degrees now but should get up to 50 today. Strangely, it doesn't feel like 37 degrees like in Michigan.
Various sites at the first hotel. Yad Hashmona
Not sure what all of this is, by but it looks good.
Good morning. Day 2. It begins. View from the first hotel.

3 January 2017

Touchdown in Israel!
In Turkey! Just the airport though.
Tools for the trip.
Almost time to get on the bus.

1 January 2017

Also go to this site for regular updates about our trip. http://gtitours.org/online-tour-journal/cornerstone-170103/

31 December 2016