links to the land

 

Bethsaida: A Bethsaida Lesson—Jesus Wants to Teach You Much More [required reading]

“For the faithful follower of Jesus, there is another danger beyond complacency. … We limit our understanding of Jesus when we require Him to act within the limitations of our understanding. … To deepen your understanding of Jesus, set your mind on God’s interests above your own.”

Golan Heights: Golan Heights Tour

“The Golan Heights, Israel’s mountainous north-eastern region, is one of the most beautiful areas of the country.”

Tel Al-Elealeh: The Moabite city of Elealeh

“After the Israelites occupied the area the city was given to the tribe of Reuben as part of their territory (Numbers 32:3, 37).”

Temple Mount: The Most Contested Real Estate on Earth? [essential reading; outstanding diagram!]

“Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jews and Christians call it the Temple Mount. Built atop Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, this 36-acre site is the place where seminal events in Islam, Judaism and Christianity are said to have taken place, and it has been a flash point of conflict for millenniums.”

links to the land

 

Bird migration & Lake Hula: Cranes at the Hula

“… report 35,300 cranes at the park last Wednesday. They spend the night on the lake and in the early morning fly off to forage for food. It is an incredible sight to see thousands of cranes take to the sky.”

Hannukkah & the Temple Mount: Likud MK Regev: Police Must Allow Jews to Visit Temple Mount on Hanukka

“Jewish groups and activists who regularly visit the Temple Mount frequently complain that the police do not treat them appropriately and hamper their wishes to go up to the site, especially on Jewish festivals.”

Mount Precipice (aka: Mount Kedumim) & Nazareth: * Proposal for Huge Jesus Statue in Nazareth; * Mount Precipice

* “Bishara Shlayan, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, is hoping to build a huge statue of Jesus on Mount Precipice, near his home city. Shlayan … has already begun fund-raising for the project and … is getting positive feedback from the Israeli Arab Christian community as well as some Jews. He sees the statue as being similar to but larger than the huge Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

* “The hill that we call Mount Precipice is not the hill on which the ancient city was built.”

Patara: Patara (southern Turkey) and the US House of Representatives!

“… the ‘Lycian Confederation’ is mentioned four times in the Federalist Papers that were produced between 1787–1788 (#9, 16, 45). Over 2,000 years ago it met in Patara—the same place where Paul and Luke changed ships on their way to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1-3). … The Lycian Confederation is the first known democratic union in history!”

Tel Kabri & wine: One of Civilization’s Oldest Wine Cellars?

“A team of archaeologists discovered this storage room while excavating the site of Tel Kabri in northern Israel. The room measured approximately 15-by-25 feet, and held 40 wine jars that were 3,700 years old.”

links to the land

 

Aizanoi: Aizanoi (Turkey) — A Monumental Site — Visited by Paul?

“One of the best-preserved temples of the ancient world is located there as are the impressive remains of a stadium, theater, bathhouse, meat market, etc.”

Archaeology & children: An Unlikely Dig

“The archaeological site at Tel Esur, on the coast south of Haifa, allows students to discover ancient artifacts – as well as their own capabilities.”

Ephraim/Taybeh: Tour Taybeh – Not just for Oktoberfest Anymore

“‘Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim …’ (John 11.54).”

Herodium: * Herod’s Tomb at Herodium; * A Look into Loggia at Herodium

* “Haaretz newspaper carried an article today by Nir Hasson, reporting on the seventh annual conference, ‘Innovations in Archaeology in Jerusalem and the Surrounding Area.’ During that conference, two archaeologists, Joseph Patrich and Benny Arubas challenged Ehud Netzer’s identification of Herod’s Tomb that was found at Herodium near Bethlehem.”

* “At the Herod exhibit at the Israel museum there is a room that is a reconstruction of the loggia, the VIP box from the Herodium theater …”

Jerusalem: Walking Atop the Walls of Jerusalem

“I have seen the Old City of Jerusalem from every direction. … But the most unique way I’ve seen the city is from atop its walls. … A visitor can walk atop most of the Old City wall of Jerusalem … This quick tour travels atop the wall of Jerusalem from the Jaffa Gate to the Dung Gate.”

Shechem: Joseph’s Tomb at Shechem

“Eventually, Joseph’s bones were buried at Shechem.”

Solomon’s Temple: Searching for the Temple of King Solomon

“For centuries, scholars have searched in vain for any remnant of Solomon’s Temple. The fabled Jerusalem sanctuary, described in such exacting detail in 1 Kings 6, was no doubt one the most stunning achievements of King Solomon in the Bible, yet nothing of the building itself has been found because excavation on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, site of the Temple of King Solomon, is impossible.

“Fortunately, several Iron Age temples discovered throughout the Levant bear a striking resemblance to the Temple of King Solomon in the Bible. Through these remains, we gain extraordinary insight into the architectural grandeur of the building that stood atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount nearly 3,000 years ago.”

Temple Mount: Underground Battle for the Temple Mount

“… the story of the underground excavations and the struggle that took place inside Warren’s Gate in 1981. Warren’s Gate is the northern-most of the four original Herodian gateways that gave access to the Temple Mount through the Western Wall.”

links to the land

 

Ancient Israelite daily life: Ancient Israelite House

“Photos of a replica of an ancient Israelite house from the Houses of Ancient Israel exhibit at the Semitic Museum at Harvard University.”

Jacob’s well, Joshua & Shechem: Shechem Still Shouts for Us to Choose God Today

“I’m convinced that’s why Joshua gathered the young Hebrew nation to Shechem, which lay between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. The geographical context of his words played a significant role. What he said that day still applies to us.”

King David & Khirbet Qeiyafa: Claim: Palace of David Discovered in the Foothills of Judah

“Professor Yosef Garfinkel has announced the discovery of two royal public buildings in his excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa. According to the press release, one is the palace of David and the other was the king’s storehouse. … To my conservative friends, I’d urge caution before making any bold claims based on Garfinkel’s work. Or any claims at all. Let’s wait and see how credible archaeologists evaluate his stratigraphy. If he’s correct, we’ve lost nothing by being patient.”

Kir-hareseth: The Topography of Kir-hareseth

“Kir-hareseth figures prominently in a story recorded in 2 Kings 3.”

Mount Arbel & the Sea of Galilee: The Sea of Galilee and Mount Arbel from the NW

“From this point we can see the east side of the Sea of Galilee. Today we know it as the Golan Heights. In Old Testament times it was known as Bashan (Joshua 21:27). Golan was one of the cities of Refuge located in the area. In New Testament times this was the area of the Decapolis (Mark 7:31), and probably the country of the Gadarenes (Matthew 8:28).”

Nazareth: The Quest for the Historical Nazareth

“… the historical existence of Nazareth at the time of Jesus has been a controversial topic. … religious scholars tend to talk up the size of Nazareth, while skeptics tend to question whether Nazareth even existed at the time.”

Slavery: What Was Life Like for Roman Slaves?

“Archaeology in Aphrodisias, Turkey, reveals the story of Zoilos the slave. … Life was horrible for most Roman slaves, and their names are long forgotten. But Zoilos is one who made it past his difficult circumstances.”

Temple Mount: Temple Mount Virtual Tour

[Since the site is written in Hebrew I can’t comment on the text, but the photography of a “virtual tour” is helpful]

Writing: Roman Writing Tablet from c. 80-120 AD

“Scratched onto a wax layer, the lettering on this early 2nd century wooden writing tablet has survived. It is a deed of sale for a young female slave called Fortunata, described as ‘healthy and not liable to run away’. She cost 600 silver denarii – 2 years’ pay for a legionary soldier.”

links to the land

 

Ancient peoples: The Lost Faces of the Bible

“Simcha Jacobovici, popularly known as ‘The Naked Archaeologist,’ is working on a documentary, Lost Faces of the Bible, in which a group of forensic and facial reconstruction specialists will study four skulls and make an attempt at creating a face to match the skulls. … The people who will be working with Jacobovici are experts in their fields. …  Facial reconstruction is a common practice in archaeology as well in police work. To add a little Hollywood flair to the show, David Berman, an actor who plays a forensic investigator in CSI: Crimes Scene Investigation, will host the four programs. The four-part series will be shown on the National Geographic channel.”

Antiquities & archaeology of Israel: Israel Antiquities Authority

“The Israel Antiquities Authority is in charge of the country’s antiquities and antiquity sites, their excavation, preservation, conservation, study and publication thereof, as well as the country’s antiquity treasures. … The Israel Antiquities Authority will serve as the leading professional body for the study of the archaeology of Eretz-Israel. It will preserve, conserve and study the archaeological heritage of the country at the highest scientific level, and will maintain a balance between development needs and antiquities preservation. … The Israel Antiquities Authority will aim to increase public awareness and interest in the country’s archaeological heritage.”

Dalmanutha: The Traditional Site of Dalmanutha

“I doubt that this identification is correct but thought it was significant enough to pass along.”

Flowers of Israel: Flowers of Israel – Caper

“Whether growing in the cracks of the Western Wall or in the Judean desert, in places like Ein Gedi, people are surprised when I point out this bush and they learn that it is a caper bush (Capparis spinosa) and that the flower buds are the capers that they’ve eaten pickled in salads or with salmon.”

Mosaics & synagogues: New Mosaics Discovered in Synagogue Excavations in Galilee

“Excavations in the Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee, have brought to light stunning mosaics that decorated the floor. … Last summer, a mosaic showing Samson and the foxes (as related in the Bible’s Judges 15:4) was discovered in the synagogue’s east aisle. This summer, another mosaic was found that shows Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders (Judges 16:3). Adjacent to Samson are riders with horses, apparently representing Philistines. … Biblical scenes are not uncommon in Late Roman synagogue mosaics, but only one other ancient synagogue in Israel (at Khirbet Wadi Hamam) is decorated with a scene showing Samson.”

Roads & travel in ancient times: Greetings from the Roman Empire! A Section of an 1,800 Year Old Road was Exposed in Jerusalem

“An ancient road leading from Yafo to Jerusalem, which dates to the Roman period (second–fourth centuries CE), was exposed this past fortnight in the Beit Hanina neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. … The wide road (c. 8 m) was bounded on both sides by curbstones. The road itself was built of large flat stones fitted to each other so as to create a comfortable surface for walking.”

Temple Mount excavations: Ancient Timber on Temple Mount?

“In recent years there have been several articles and news items that argue that some of the timbers that were discarded after the remodeling of the el-Aqsa Mosque on the Haram esh-Sharif in Jerusalem are quite ancient—possibly even from the Temple that Herod built (the Second Temple) around 15 B.C.”

this went thru my mind

 

Andy Griffith: * Andy Griffith: A Life Remembered; * Sheriff Who Gave Stature to Small-Town Smarts; * ‘Andy Griffith’ Theme Song Also; * What Faith, Family Meant to Andy Griffith; * Andy Griffith: Celebrity Profile

Archaeology: Temple Mount Time Bomb

“… ordinary cement was used in the repairs of walls and pavements. Large areas of new pavement have been laid in the southern part of the Temple Mount, again with ordinary cement in between the joints. This causes a greater flow toward the outer walls, which simply cannot absorb so much water. … It is only a matter of time when large sections of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount will collapse. When that happens, the Muslims will predictably incriminate the Israelis, when, in fact, they only have themselves to blame.”

Calvinism: Why are Young People So Drawn to Calvinism? by Matt Dabbs

“Calvinism is all over the place. Many of the best known young preachers are Calvinists. Many of the most well read blogs are from a Calvinist perspective. … What is the story?”

Change & the United States: Things I Would Change About America If I Could by Ben Witherington

“I could easily come up with another top twenty, but let’s fix these things first.”

Counseling: How Pastor-Counselors Differ from Secular Counselors by Justin Taylor

“Every counselor brings a ‘message’: an interpretation of problems, a theory that weighs causalities and context, a proposal for cure, a goal that defines thriving humanness.”

Dreams: Are Your Big Dreams as Big as Your God? by Wayne Stiles

“As Christians, we have more to do than get up, work hard, and come home for a few hours of television … only to rise and begin again.”

Fireworks: * How Fireworks Work ; * The U.S. Spends $600 Million on Fireworks [infographic]

Flags, patriotism & worship: * If You Love That Flag, Don’t Put It in the Sanctuary by Robert A. Ratcliff; * Just Jesus & Unjust July 4th: Why I Don’t Celebrate Independence Day (Annual Unpopular Post) by Kurt Willems

“… placing the flag in the sanctuary presents us with two untenable options: either ignore the flag, and treat your country with disrespect; or honor the flag and commit an act of idolatry. I’m sorry, but this is not one of those times when we can have it both ways. The only good option is the third one: leave the flag out of the sanctuary. If we love that flag, we won’t make people choose between it and God.”

* “Even if one holds to the possibility of a ‘just war,’ historically, the victory we celebrate as Americans every 4th of July, does not count. May we quit appealing to pseudo ‘just war’ theories and start appealing to just Jesus, because the only Independence Day worth celebrating is Easter – which reminds us that violence doesn’t win because the tomb is empty!”

Hospital visitation & introverts: How to Hack Your Introversion and Warmly Visit Someone in the Hospital (Even If You’ve Never Met) by Eric McKiddie

“Jesus went out of his comfort zone for you. Go out of your comfort zone …”

Humor: The Percontation Point: A Desperately Needed New Form of Punctuation by Marc Cortez

“Finally, a punctuation mark for those of us who think sarcasm is the highest form of communication but are afraid that other people will miss the point.”

Ministry: An Example to Follow by Jeff Anderle

“What if I burned up all my exit strategies and climbed up on the altar and said my life is not my own, but it belongs truly to the sheep to which you’ve called me, Lord. What if …”

Mormons: I’m a Mormon, Not a Christian by David Mason

“I want to be on record about this. I’m about as genuine a Mormon as you’ll find — a templegoer with a Utah pedigree and an administrative position in a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also emphatically not a Christian.”

Online habits: Are People Sharing Too Much Online?

“… 78% of ex-cons believe that social media is one of the essentials steps to identify the next target.”

Prayer: A Prayer for America

Preaching: Preaching the Good News as GOOD News by John McClure

“… the heart and soul of preaching is the good news of God’s redemptive grace and mercy.”

Salvation & Southern Baptists: Thoughts about “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” by Roger Olson

“Recently a group of non-Calvinist Southern Baptists wrote and signed ‘A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation. I certainly have no objection to a group of non-Calvinists pushing back against the tidal wave of Calvinism surging over contemporary evangelical and Baptist life in the U.S. (and other places). … I have thought, upon reading some of their writings … that they are Arminians who just don’t want to wear that label. Now, however, I’m not so sure. Here is their statement about original sin and depravity …”

Social media: 15 Social Media Scams

“From Facebook phishing lures to Twitter and Tumblr hoaxes, here are 15 scams to watch out for on social networking sites.”