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Israel of the 1980's
Visiting Israel could be a scary thing with all the political unrest. There are armed soldiers on every street corner and at most hotels with foreigners. There is a prevalent presence of military personnel everywhere yet, there is a peace and calmness that prevails. The people living there are aware, but do not let fear rule them. Guards stood on the corner watching a wedding that was being celebrated near a canal in Jerusalem next to the hotel. The scariest things were being pulled from a line into another area by a Lebanese soldier to be searched and crossing the border into Jordan. In Lebanon being pulled from the line which just happened to be all men and being a woman I was to have separate quarters. At the border they pulled a machine gun on us to get us line up against a wall. It was the soldiers way of communicating since he did not speak English. Where is the translator when you need him? He is standing guard over the passports as our visas are being processed.
In 1980 only about ten of the sites visited in Israel were authenticated. Thirty-one years later there has been much development in some of the sites and some new sites have been authenticated. The whole country of Israel is an archaeological site and new things are being discovered regularly. The following are places that were authentic in 1980;
Walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27)
There four stone towers connected by mud-brick walls that were five feet thick and 12 - 17 feet high. It was built on the West Bank for defense and to prevent floods. It held between 2,000 and 3,000 people.
Herod’s Aqueduct of Caesarea (2 Chronicles 32:2-4)
A bridge built with a slant causing the water to move from Shummi to Caesarea which is approximately ten miles.
The Dead Sea Scrolls - Wadi-Qumran Caves (Luke 4:17, 18)
There are 981 different texts, mostly in Hebrew, some in Aramaic. These texts were canonized into the Hebrew Bible.
Western Wall at the Temple Mount (Revelation 11:19)
This is a sacred place for the Jewish people because it is the last remnant of the Temple Mount. It is also close to the location of the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Temple.
Roman Road (Josephus-War of the Jews- book 3, chapter 6, par 2)
Roads built by the Romans that were the major roads during the time of Jesus.
Solomon’s stables - feeding trough (1 Kings 10:26)
The stables are not authentic from the time of Solomon, but from the time of Herod and the second temple. It is an underground vaulted space containing single stalls for at least 450 horses and sheds for 150 chariots. The feeding troughs are from the time of Herod.
Jacob’s Well at Sychar (Nablaus-Shechem)(John 4:6)
This is a well dug by Jacob near Samaria in a place called Sychar. The well is approximately 135 feet deep and encased in a limestone wall. The story in the Bible about the “Samaritan woman” took place at this location.
Foundation Stone or The Dome of the Rock (Genesis 22:1-18)
This is located in Jerusalem over the temples Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed and is thought to be buried. It is the place where Abraham offered Isaac to God. It is now the Islamic Dome of the Rock.
Elisha’s Fountain - Well (2 Kings 2:19-20)
This is called Ain es-Sultan Spring now. It is the spring where the people of Jericho complained to Elisha that the water was bad. Elisha threw a bowl of salt into the spring and purified the water.
Kidron Valley - King’s Valley (2 Samuel 15:23)(John 18:1)
This is also known as Qidron Valley. It is located in Jerusalem. It is the place with the most rock-hewn tombs in Israel. It was the main burial place during the time of the second temple. It starts in the old city of Jerusalem and ends at the Dead Sea.
Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27)(Luke 8:22-25)(Matthew 14:22-33)
The Sea of Galilee is 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long, 8.1 miles wide and 141 feet deep. It is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. It flows from the North to the South.
Jordan River (175 times OT, 15 times NT)
The Jordan River is 156 miles long. It flows from West Asia, runs through the Sea of Galilee and ends at the Dead Sea in Israel.
There is a place called Pilot’s Hall. It is a house that someone said was located in the same place as Pilot's Hall, but is not authenticated. You can visit the place and when visiting they could read the “Description of Jesus” to you. This is information on that documentation;
Description of Jesus
(From a letter written by Roman Publius Lentulus to the Emperor, Tiberius)
The following is a historical description of Jesus by Publius Lentulus (there is no record of this governor), governor of Judea, addressed to Tiberius Caesar, emperor of Rome. It was written in Aramaic, on stone and found in an excavated city.
"There lives, at this time, in Judea, a man of singular virtue whose name is Jesus Christ, whom the barbarians esteem as a prophet, but his followers love and adore him as the offspring of the immortal God. He calls back the dead from the graves, and heals all sorts of diseases with a word or a touch.
He is a tall man (this is sometimes translated as medium not tall), and well shaped, of an amiable and reverend aspect; his hair is of a color that can hardly be matched, the color of chestnut full ripe (some version do not have the color), falling in waves about his shoulders. His forehead high, large and imposing; his cheeks without spot or wrinkle, beautiful with lovely red: (this is the same red coloring that is accredited to David) his nose and mouth formed with exquisite symmetry; his beard thick and of a color suitable to his hair, reaching below his chin. His eyes bright blue, clear and serene, look innocent, dignified, manly and mature. In proportion of his body, most perfect and captivating, his hands and arms most delectable to behold.
He rebukes with majesty, counsels with mildness, his whole address, whether in word or in deed, being eloquent and grave. No man has ever seen him laugh, yet his manner is exceedingly pleasant; but he has wept in the presence of men. (The prior sentence is removed from some versions of this letter). He is temperate, modest and wise; a man, for his extraordinary beauty and divine perfections, surpassing the children of men in every sense."
This letter dates back to the 15th century and because there is not record of this ruler it is not accepted as authentic. There are three other descriptions in history of Jesus; John of Damascus, Dionysius of Fourna and Nicephorus Callistus who all agree on many of the details given in this letter of Jesus.
Do your research.
When visiting Israel you will be shown where Jesus was born. This can one of two places; a temple or a cave. You will be shown where he was crucified, the tomb and a place called Golgotha. The place call Golgotha is authentic, but the crucifixion site, Garden of Gethsemane and tomb are not authenticated. Israel is a fascinating place and there is much to see and do, just do your homework before you go so you know what is a sure thing and what is not.