Exact Birth Date For Christ Discovered?

Exact Birthdate for Christ Discovered?

Exact Birthdate for Christ Discovered?

Written by: J.R. Church

  • 1982-planets

Published in December 1992

A precise astronomical date may be the subject of a “great wonder in heaven” recorded in Revelation 12:1-5 for the birth of Christ. Yet, no earlier theologians have ever bothered to study it enough to determine its meaning – until now!

Recently, I received a study on the subject by Bob Schlenker of Christian Research Ministry. As I listened to his lecture, I realized the importance of his find. The scene in Revelation 12 is that of a woman, great with child, clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet-and upon her head a crown of 12 stars.

It’s really very simple, yet all have overlooked its significance unto now. The woman not only represents Israel and Mary, but is found among the sun and moon, and crowned with 12 stars. The woman is a star group-a constellation-it is Virgo!

virgo-scan

Every year, Virgo is “clothed with the sun” in September. The moon under her feet would occur on the night or the new moon. Therefore, The woman gave birth to the son of God on the night of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the month of Tishri.

It is called the Feast of Trumpets in the Mosaic Law. First, let’s observe the passage of Scripture in question:

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

“And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered…

“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12: 1-2,5).

Why no one had ever seen this astronomical sign before is amazing to me. Some years ago, I had become convinced that Christ was born on Rosh Hashanah because of various events that are listed in the Gospels. Now, I have seen a verse in Revelation 12 that confirms my theory!

Though Christ was not born on Christmas Day, do not despair. I am convinced that He was conceived in the womb of Mary on December 25! Here is why I believe that.

Luke 1:5,6 (KJV) “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God…”

In Luke 1:5-25, Zacharias, of the course of Abia (Abijah), is visited by Gabriel as he performs his duties in the Temple. We can date the time of his visitation by following the courses of the Jewish priesthood.

The priesthood was divided into 24 groups or courses (I Chronicles 24: 7-18). Abijah was the eighth course. Throughout the year, each group of priests took their turns with the daily administration of liturgy (a fixed set of religious worship or ceremonies) in the Temple. Each group served for one week.

Therefore, it can be determined that sometime around late May or early June (eight weeks after the first new moon of spring), Zacharias entered the Temple to put incense upon the golden altar and had his encounter with Gabriel. After his tour of duty, he went home and presented the good news to his aged wife!

gabriel-visits-mary

When she was six months along bearing John (the Baptist), Gabrielwent down to the little village of Nazareth to visit Mary, a virgin who was a royal descendant of King David. Mary received her good news of bearing the Son of God, sometime around the last week of December!

John was born on Passover that following spring, and Christ was born six months later on Rosh Hashanah!

Luke 2 (The birth of Jesus) dates the birth to a taxing of the people by Caesar Augustus. Such a tax would likely be collected immediately following the close of a year. Rosh Hashanah in September is celebrated as New Years Day in the Jewish calendar.

A Crown of Twelve Stars

Well, it seems fairly certain that we have locked in the birthday for Christ, but what about the crown of 12 stars in the head of Virgo. Could that give us a clue to the very year for the Birth of Christ?

Various theologians have tried to date His birth anywhere from 1 to 4 B.C. to as early as 7 B.C. However, I would like to offer my calculation for your consideration.

As I was thinking about the crown of 12 stars in the head of Virgo, I searched the list of possibilities and could only come up with one candidate.

There are only 7 lights in the heavens that move through the constellations. They are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The days of our week are named after these 7 wanderers.

Only one planet could possibly fit the description of a “crown with 12 stars.” From ancient times, Jupiter has been regarded as the royal planet-the king of the pantheon of planets. Furthermore, Jupiter has 12 moons! And takes 12 years to orbit the sun.

Jupiter spends an entire year in each of 12 constellations until it repeats the cycle all over again. For example, moving out of Leo, Jupiter enters into the head of Virgo. Then, slowly, as the year progresses, it moves across the body and exits out her feet.

virgo-scan

Only once every 12 years will Jupiter be found in the head of Virgo. But rarely will we find Jupiter in the head of Virgo when she is clothed with the sun and the moon directly under her feet!

I called Bob Schlenker and asked him to crank up his computer program on astronomy and tell me in what year Jupiter would be found in the head of Virgo on the evening when the sun was in Virgo and the moon was under her feet.

He has one of those computer programs that can tell you precisely where any heavenly body can be found from any location on our planet at any time from 4,000 B.C. to 10,000 A.D.

It took him about 5 minutes to pinpoint the exact date recorded in the story of Revelation 12:1-5. He found Jupiter in the head of Virgo with the sun clothing the constellation and the moon under her feet on September 28, 2 B.C. The moon was .01 degrees from the sun. On the next evening, September 29, the moon was .04 degrees from the sun and moving into Libra.

Therefore, the date of 2 B.C. seems more likely to me to be the year for the birth of Christ than any other suggested date. Though calendars may change, the movement of the heavens are constant enough to give us a precise accounting of ancient events.

The gestation period for the birth of a human child is 280 days. That corresponds to 40, the number of testing, times 7, the number of perfection (40 X 7=280).

According to my calculations, there are 280 days from evening of December 24, 3 B.C., to the following September 28, 2 B.C., offering a perfect gestation period for our Savior’s birth in Bethlehem.

Why did I choose the evening of December 24? Because, in the Jewish calendar, December 25 begins at sunset on the 24th. By the way, Jupiter again appeared in the head of Virgo on Rosh Hashanah, September 28, 1992! Could that be a sign that the rest of the story in Revelation 12 is about to unfold?

The Star of Bethlehem

the-star-of-bethlehem-2

The December 1991 edition of Sky and Telescope Magazine discussed a triple conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the October 16th pre-dawn sky, suggesting a possible connection with the star of Bethlehem viewed by the wise men.

The remarkable coincidence about this particular triple conjunction is that these two planets met each other in the sky during 1990-1991 on about the same calendar dates as they did 2,000 years ago.

In 3 B.C., about the same period of time when Christ was born, the two planets met on August 12. The following year (2 B.C.) they met again on June 17. Their third meeting in the sky came only a few months later, October14, 2 B.C.

Though there have been other triple conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter over the centuries, they did not occur on or near the same calendar dated until 1990-1991. The first conjunction occurred on August 12, 1990. The second happened on June 17, 1991, and the third meeting in the heavens was observed on October 16, 1991. Or was it a triple conjunction of planets?

German Astronomer, Johannes Kepler

johannes-kepler

In 1603, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler referred to a triple conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the days of Jesus’ birth and suggested that they might be the Bethlehem star seen by the Magi. Such a triple conjunction did occur in the months of May, October, and December, 7 B.C.

Furthermore, according to his calculations, Kepler wrote that conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn coincided with each climactic event in human affairs, including the flood of Noah and the births of Enoch, Moses, Cyrus, and Charlemagne.

In 1480 the Jewish Rabbi, Abarbanel, suggested that such conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn always betoken some great event or beginning in human affairs.

Because a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurred in the year 1480, Abarbanel predicted the coming of the Jewish Messiah.

Well, the Messiah did not come in the months following the 1480 conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. But, 12 years later, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America!

Perhaps Abarbanel’s suggestion that the conjunctions “always betoken some great event or beginning in human affairs” came to pass after all!

flavius-josephusAccording to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived and wrote 2,000 years ago, a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn attended the birth of Moses.

It is written that the Egyptian astrologers reported their sighting to Pharaoh and warned him that the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn foretold the birth of a child among the Jews who, if allowed to live, would bring the Egyptian dominion very low, excel in virtue and glory, exalt the children of Israel to power and honor, and be remembered throughout all ages.

According to Josephus, it was on this premise that Pharaoh gave the order to slay every male child among the Jewish people.

If conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn attended the birth of Moses, the flood of Noah, the birth of Christ, the birth of Charlemagne, and the discovery of America, could they indeed be, as Abarbanel suggested, tokens of some great event or beginning in human affairs?

A Triple Conjunction

1982-planets

In 1981, there was another triple conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn. It followed a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Mars in the year before and preceded the alignment of the planets in 1982, which some called “The Jupiter Effect.”

In the Bible (Luke 21:25) Jesus said that certain astronomical signs would herald His Second Coming.

He said, “And there shall be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity… and then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

Furthermore, He said, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Could the 1990-1991 triple conjunction of Venus and Jupiter along with the 1980 triple conjunction of Jupiter and Mars, the 1981 triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and the 1982 parade of the planets be a declaration from the Great Creator to His creatures on earth that their Savior is soon to appear?

Sign in the Heavens?

leo-scan

In the pre-dawn sky on Rosh Hashanah, September 9, 1991, four planets met in a spectacular conjunction in the constellation, Leo. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter were so close together near Regulus in the constellation of Leo, the lion, that one could cover all four planets with the little finger nail extended at arms length.

It is most unusual that the conjunction should occur on the Jewish Feast of Trumpets, observed as New Years day in the Hebrew calendar.

regulus-star-chart

Their conjunction near a star called Regulus is fascinating. Regulus is located between the feet of Leo, the lion, and means, “between the feet.”

From the term Regulus, we get the word regulation. I think we can see the background for that in Genesis 49:8-11: “Judah, thou art he whom they brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

“Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

“Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes” (Genesis 49:8-11).

These cryptic statements of the dying Jacob revolve around the coming of Christ, who is from the lineage of the tribe of Judah.

The symbol of Leo, the lion, is given to Judah as Jacob tells his children what “shall befall you in the last days” (Genesis 49:1).

The passage is a prophecy of both the first and second advents of Christ. When Jesus came the first time, he rode a donkey and her colt from the Mount of Olives across the Kedron valley to the Eastern Gate (Matthew 21:1-9).

This Triumphal Entry fulfilled the first part of the prophecy in Genesis 49:11. When Christ returns, He will fulfill the rest of the prophecy, which says, “he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”

Isaiah 63:1-4 and Revelation 19:15 predict that Christ will stain his “garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat.” He “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

leo-on-the-neck-of-hydra

In ancient star charts, Leo is seen with his feet on the neck ofHydra the serpent, just as Genesis 49:8 says, “thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies.”

The lion is the king of the jungle as seen in the words of Genesis 49:10, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.”

The Hebrew term, Regulus, is used in that very verse to describe the law-as Jacob says, “nor a lawgiver from between his feet.” Regulus, from which we get the term, regulation or law, is located in the star chart between the front feet of Leo.

Theologians have suggested that the phrase, “until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” refers to the appearing of Christ at the Battle of Armageddon. The“gathering of the people” denotes a massive array of armies moving into the Middle East.

Psalms 91 and 92

Bob Schlenker suggests that Psalm 91:13 may be an important part of that prophecy. The Song of Moses says, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”

It is a message about Christ and His Second Coming. He will fulfill the prophecy in the 12thconstellation of the night sky-Leo.

Is it possible that the conjunction of 4 planets with Regulus-between the feet of Leo-in the pre-dawn sky on Rosh Hashanah, September 9, 1991 marked an important prophecy in Psalm 91?

Well, in Psalm 92:10, another night-time constellation is mentioned. Moses wrote: “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn” Psalm 92:10.

taurus

The unicorn was an ancient term used for the constellation, Taurus. Today, it is seen as a bull. Taurus means, “the coming judge.”

chaim-herzog

On May 31, on the very day the Covenant of Jerusalem was issued and signed by Chaim Herzog, the president of Israel, both the sun and moon were in the constellation Taurus!

Perhaps Moses was referring to Jerusalem when he wrote,“my horn shalt thou exalt…”Jerusalem is being exalted through the Covenant of Jerusalem. Throughout the year, millions of Jews all over the world are signing their covenant with Jerusalem-pledging their eternal loyalty to the city.

All copies of the Covenant will be returned to Jerusalem next May 19 for the closing ceremonies in the year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. On May 19, 1993, the sun and moon will again be in the constellation, Taurus!

Does Psalm 92:10 thus proclaim another prophecy fulfilled in 1992? The possibility of “signs in the heavens” being fulfilled in our lifetime are both awesome and impressive!

https://prophecyinthenews.com/bookstore/beyond-the-christmas-story/embed/#?secret=mbo6xYd3xK

 

About the Author:

J.R. ChurchJ.R. CHURCH (1938-2011)- Founder of PITN Converted at age seven, J.R. Church set out with one main goal in life – to win others to Jesus Christ. He received a B.A. degree with a major in Bible and a minor in history at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, TN. In 2001, he was given an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Immanuel Baptist Theological Seminary in Peachtree, Georgia.  His love for history gave him insight into God’s great “Plan of the Ages” and prompted him to pursue this field of prophetic research. J.R. and Linda were married for 52 years.  They have two children and five grandchildren. After pastoring a church in Lubbock Texas for 17 years, in 1979 he moved his family to Oklahoma City and developed the PROPHECY IN THE NEWS ministry. He has traveled across America many times lecturing on eschatology – the study of prophetic subjects.  He has hosted several tours to Israel and the Middle East. J.R. has authored eight books with chapters in several other books. Prophecy in the News publishes a monthly 48-page magazine as well as a weekly syndicated television broadcast which airs on stations across the country and via satellite network to most of the United States. Before he went to be with the Lord on March 22, 2011, after a three year battle with cancer, J.R. Church was convinced that Jesus Christ would return soon. He was famous for his saying, “KEEP LOOKING UP!”

https://prophecyinthenews.com/product-category/authors/j-r-church/

The Ancient Giants Who Roamed The Earth

There are several entries on this blog site referring to giants; they are in the category: Old Testament Giants.  The first giants in the Bible are mentioned in Genesis 6, and they lived before the flood (antediluvian).  They lived all over the world, and they are mentioned in the historical, anthropological, and archaeological annuls of every major civilization on every continent.  The second group of Biblical giants came after the flood (post diluvian), and are limited to the Biblical lands in the Middle East – specifically to the land of Canaan/Israel and the surrounding nations.  Biblical examples of these giants are Goliath and his brothers, Anak, and King Og of Bashan.  Below, King Og is contrasted with an ordinary Israelite.  As we convert cubits to feet, the Bible says his bed was over 13 feet long and six feet wide.

Image result for king og of bashan in the bible

Image result for king og of bashan in the bible

Image result for king og of bashan in the bible

Image result for king og of bashan in the bible

Image result for king og of bashan in the bible

Image result for king og of bashan in the bible

WND EXCLUSIVE

BIGFOOT? HOW ABOUT A FOSSILIZED GIANT FOOT?

News agency has photo of one in bedrock more than 22 inches long

Published: 19 hours ago
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/09/bigfoot-how-about-a-fossilized-giant-foot/#IlZHt0fkUOJrZlXM.99

 

The Giant Of Kandahar, Afghanistan

Killed in 2002    The Description Is An Exact Match For The Biblical Old Testament Nephilim

There is no absolute proof that this giant was killed in Afghanistan in 2002 except for the testimony of the soldiers.  The writers of the story are reliable however, and the soldiers talk about this story nonchalantly as if it were common knowledge.  The alleged “cover up” by those in charge, was classic and in total harmony with previous incidents, such as the Smithsonian Institute’s hiding of the bones of giants found throughout North America.  [Read Richard Dewhurst’s “The Giants Who Ruled America, The Missing Skeletons And The Smithsonian Cover Up”].

Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur consists of three famous films:

1)The 1925 silent epic which was “state of the art” for its’ day.

2)The 1959 classic, winner of 11 academy awards.

3)Just released-

Image result for ben-hur
Ben-Hur
PG-13

2016 ‧ Drama film/Action ‧ 2h 30m

 
Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) loses everything after his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), now an officer in the Roman army, returns to Jerusalem and accuses the young prince of treason. Stripped of his title and separated from his wife (Nazanin Boniadi) and family, Ben-Hur must endure years of slavery on a galley at sea. When fate brings the estranged brothers to an epic and deadly chariot race, Ben-Hur finally gets the chance to exact vengeance on the man who destroyed his life.
Release date: August 19, 2016 (USA)
Budget: 100 million USD

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I saw the recent release of Ben-Hur and I thought the movie was very good.  I have also seen the 1925 silent film version and the classic (11 Academy Awards Version) 1959 film with Charlton Heston.  The recent release had different slants in the story line which is always refreshing.  The movie went into detail about Judah Ben-Hur and his adopted brother Messala’s boyhood.  Messala helped save Judah’s life when he was thrown from his horse.  Messala felt he did not fit in with the Ben-Hur’s aristocratic family and went to Rome to find his fortune.  Upon Messala’s return, he imprisoned the entire Ben-Hur family.  In the 1959 epic film, a loose tile on the roof of their home fell near the marching Roman leader by accident.  In the new film, the harbinger that lead to the families’ imprisonment was a Jewish Zealot who deliberately shot an arrow at the Roman leader and just missed him.  Once again, the Ben-Hur family was falsely accused of the crime.  Judah Ben-Hur  had no relationship with Quintus Arrius in the new film and did not save his life, leading to Judah’s freedom.  I do not recall Quintus Arrius in this movie at all.  Judah broke free from the chains while the ship was sinking, and ended up on the shore where the Arabian lived, whose horses he ran in the Jerusalem chariot race.  He won the race as well as his freedom.  Judah saw Jesus a couple of times prior to His crucifixion, and this movie emphasized Judah’s conversion much more so; and unlike the ’59 version, Judah was at the cross while Jesus was crucified.  Judah’s salvation was much more personal and highlighted.  The characterization of Jesus Christ was very good, and different from the previous movie.  [Jesus, the God man, is always a challenge to portray, and both movies did a great job].  The chariot race was a technological marvel.  The Jerusalem amphitheater was built into a mountain and the race was extremely brutal.  The graphics were spectacular.  The Roman blood lust was really emphasized!  Unlike the ’59 version, Messala did not die after the race, full of hate.  He observed Judah’s conversion, and he too, laid down his sword and hatred.  The Ben-Hur family was reestablished in their Jerusalem home along with Messala rejoining them.   It was called a box office bust by the critics, but I thought it was a very good movie.  I would encourage Christians to see this classic movie, remade once again.  I will purchase the DVD once it is available.

Pastor Steve  <><

 

2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 40

Bill Federer    ~    The Fall Of The Roman Empire And The Amazing Saint Patrick

The most common form of government in world history is kings (i.e. Pharaoh, Caesar, Sultan, Kaiser).  Our constitution presents documentation that is meant to keep power from going back into the hands of a king, hence the check and balance three branches of government.  In modern times, the Communist Dictator is the new king.  The Communist Party is the new royalty, and the citizens are the new peasant-subjects.  FDR said on Feb. 10, 1940:  “The Soviet Union…is run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world.”  The default setting for human government is “Monarchy.”

Ancient Civilizations:

1)Fascination with stars, heavens.

2)Buildings to observe stars, heavens.

3)A king ascends the building, claiming to be the divinely-appointed political intermediary between the heavens and the people.

-This justifies their totalitarian rule, demanding lives be sacrificed for the state.  (Stonehenge, Ziggurats, Pyramids)

Israel was different and had no special class.  The high priest’s sons Nadab and Abihu were struck dead.  There was no special treatment.  Moses struck the rock rather than speaking to it.  He did not get to go into the Promised Land.  As Israel entered the Promised Land, it was the first instance in world history of people ruled without a king.  Israeli Law and Christianity are the beginning of equality.

Harry S. Truman, 1950:  “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the mount…  If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a TOTALITARIAN government which does not believe in rights for anybody except for the STATE.”

In Ancient Israel, the People had

No police.

No standing army- everyone armed.

No prisons- swift punishment- pay restitution- flee to a city of refuge.

Bureaucracy free welfare system.

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Our founding Fathers esteemed the ten commandments.  Israel is the first country where we possess firm evidence of private land ownership.  Karl Marx and Communists take away possessions and land ownership.

In Athens, 622 BC, King Draco established Athens’ first written laws.  In Athens 594, BC,, King Solon invented democracy.  Greek theater got the people together for decision making.  Theater= Political.

Plato, Republic, 380 B C:

1)Aristocracy- rule of capable.

2)Timocracy- lovers of fame.

3)Oligarchy- insider clique voting themselves favors.

4)Democracy- people rule, but without VIRTUE yield to avarice, overspend, raid treasury resulting in chaos and anarchy.  Tolerance creeps into the families and into the government.  People give up their virtue, paving the way for the next phase…

5)The Tyrant arises!

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Rome was a Republic.  Julius Caesar (100-44 B C).  At a young age, Caesar realized that MONEY was the key to Roman politics.  Caesar formed a triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus in 59 B C.  Crassus died, so Pompey and Caesar were left to struggle for power.  Caesar dominated, made himself a god, and Mark Antony became a high priest of sorts.  The Republic was now an Empire and ruled by an Emperor.

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This brings us to the story of Saint Patrick.  Rome ruled for 400 years and things began to change.  China built the Great Wall which kept out the Huns.  Since the Huns could not attack China, they went west.  They broke up the unity of the Roman Empire.  Rome had a lot of taxes.  The entire city of Rome was on welfare and watched violent entertainment!  There was gluttony as well.  Attila the Hun brought on terrorism.  The city of Rome was abandoned because of the lead poisoning (lead pipes) of the water.  Pope Leo managed to keep Attila out of Italy.  Paris was spared as well.  Because of the unrest and terrorism, Rome had to pull their legions back to Rome.  That left little protection on the frontier, and during this time Patrick was kidnapped to Ireland.  Ireland was ruled by Druids.  Patrick’s faith was strengthened during this time.  He went back to England, but then returned to Ireland as a missionary.  Patrick baptized 120,000 people! The Druids tried to kill him twelve different times.  Patrick started 300 churches.  Patrick came up with laws, called the Code of Patrick.  The Vikings later conquered a great part of France, and then William the Conqueror, a Norman, invaded England in 1066 A D.  Hence, despite the failure of the Roman Empire and the presence of paganism all around him, one man in Saint Patrick made a big difference.

Christianity Is The Only Truth On The Planet, And A Cause Greater Than Our Lives

INSIGHT: After appointing twelve men as His disciples (Matt. 10:1-4), Jesus gave them their first assignment to go and preach the good news that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (v. 7). Jesus warned that people in the world would not want to hear about Him: “You will be hated by everyone because of me” (v. 22). We, too, may be ignored, opposed, rejected, persecuted, and even killed (vv. 16-22). It may cost us to share the gospel with others, and we may experience hostility even from our own family (vv. 35-36). To overcome these challenges, Jesus calls for a commitment to Him that is greater than any other (vv. 37-39). Sim Kay Tee

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Many of the Old Testament prophets were slain.  John the Baptist was beheaded.  All of the original apostles, as well as Paul, were killed for their faith with the exception of John.  There have been more Christians martyred for their faith in the last century than in the rest of the church age combined!  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs includes many of the great saints throughout the church age who gave their lives for their faith.  The only one not martyred in the book was Martin Luther.

Why did they give their lives?  Because they loved their Lord like Patriot Nathan Hale loved his country:

Now, let us rephrase this quotation according to the committed Christian:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my Lord.”

The cause of Christianity is MUCH greater than our lives.  Never forget that:  “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

 ~ Tertullian 197 A.D.

 

Massive Full-Scale Version of Noah’s Ark Comes to Life in Kentucky

 

 

There might not be a flood of biblical proportions in the forecast, but Noah’s Ark is coming to Williamstown, Kentucky, this summer.

Massive Full-Size Version of Noah's Ark Comes to Life in Kentucky

A full-size version of Noah’s Ark is expected to be completed before Ark Encounter, a Bible-themed park, opens July 7.

Ken Ham had the massive ship built to match the dimensions set out in the Bible. The entire project is expected to cost $100 million.

“The message that we have — it’s making the Bible come alive, really. By building Noah’s Ark, we’re saying, ‘This really happened. This is plausible,'” Ham told “Nightline.”

According to Ham, his ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. “It gets bigger and bigger. When you get inside, it gets bigger again,” he said.

Ark Encounter is just a few miles from Ham’s Creation Museum, which attracts nearly half a million visitors a year and teaches a young Earth theory of creation. Ham calls his ministry Answers in Genesis.

“We have a lot of people who are not Christians who come here, and they appreciate the way it’s presented. It’s presented very tastefully,” said Ham. “It’s educational.”

Visitors to the Creation Museum can find exhibits like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, which is next to one showing dinosaurs playfully eating fruit.

One of Ham’s biggest critics is Bill Nye, an evolutionist who is known as the television personality the Science Guy. He dismissed Ham’s creationist exhibits as biblical propaganda. Nye said dinosaurs died out long before human beings ever came along.

“I can prove that beyond any reasonable doubt. That is what’s very troubling. Allosauruses and humans did not live at the same time. Teaching the earth is 6,000 years old is completely wrong and inappropriate,” he told “Nightline.”

“When they dig up dinosaur bones, they don’t dig them up with labels on saying, ‘Hi, I’m 70 million years old,’ or whatever it is,” Ham said. “We’re saying that most of those bones they dig up are actually from the flood of Noah’s day, not from millions of years ago.”

Ham rejected mainstream science institutions as evolutionary doctrinaires.

“Museums like the Natural History Museum inWashington, D.C., Smithsonian or Chicago Field Museum, mostly they teach that we supposedly evolved [from] apelike creatures. Why shouldn’t we be able to use the same technology and really challenge people to consider the Bible as the true history of the world?” he said.

Ham’s Noah’s Ark project took advantage of $18 million in tax benefits and tourism incentives.

The state of Kentucky attempted to block the project from receiving public funding, but Ham took his case to court and won. “Christians pay taxes in this world. We live in this world. We’re not second-class citizens. The federal judge rule in our favor,” he said.

“It’s just inappropriate. To me, [it’s] a clear violation of the First Amendment, for crying out loud,” Nye argued.

To work at Ark Encounter, job applicants must sign a statement of faith, professing a Christian belief in the creation story. For instance, they agree that the “great flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide in its extent and effect.”

Ham said this is necessary because “we are a Christian organization and we have a Christian message.”

Among the construction workers who have helped build the ark are Amish carpenters who said part of their faith included accepting the Bible as truth. The artists who created the ark’s exhibits are believers too.

“There’s a lot of people that scoff,” Ham said. “We get a lot of attacks by some of the aggressive secularists. Sometimes I feel a bit like Noah.”

Admission to Ark Encounter will be $40 for adults and $28 for children, and Ham said he expects that fascination with Noah and his ark will result in 1 million to 2 million visitors in the first year.

“We really do believe that if we build it, they will come. And they’re going to come,” Ham said.

**************

About 4,000 years ago, the people laughed at Noah because he built the ark on dry land.  Today, the people laugh at Ken Ham for building a replica of the ark on dry land.  Yes indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Pagan evolutionists like Bill Nye, actually despise the replica of the ark being built because they hate the truth.  The Scopes’ Monkey Trial of 1925 asserted that evolutionists simply desired an equal voice.  That “equal” voice has snuffed God and prayer out of the classroom, and contributed to moral decadence throughout this once great nation.  Abortion, euphanasia, fornication, and every other form of debauchery find their roots in this godless philosophy.  A mere generation ago, Christianity ruled the land as we enjoyed a wonderful way of life.  We have “sown the wind, and we are reaping the whirlwind.”  Hosea 8:7    Maranatha, Pastor Steve

For comprehensive information on the ark to be displayed in Kentucky on 7/7/16, go to arkencounter.com

 

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 6

Day #6

While eating breakfast at the Shalom we observed a beautiful sunrise over Jerusalem.  While eating breakfast I looked around and observed the Israelites, thinking what a stubborn people they were, and how the Lord still has His hand on them, even though they do not believe in Jesus and the New Testament.  Our hotel gave us a beautiful view of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is a melting pot with all kinds of people.  All of the people in Israel, the men and the women, must serve in the army for two years and take their vows on Mount Masada.  I found the people in Israel to be friendlier, more courteous, and more respectful (especially the children) than Americans.

Today, our first stop was at the model of Jerusalem (The “Model City”).  The model depicted Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple (the time of Jesus).  The Model City displays the many walls, the residences, Herod’s Palace, the Fortress of Antonio, the Temple, and many other things.

Next, we went towards the Mount of Olives.  On our way, we observed an Arab kiss his camel, and give our pastor a ride.  We went up the Mount of Olives to the temple of Ascension which is now a Mosque.  (refer to Acts 1:4 through Acts 1:11).  There is an “alleged footprint” where Jesus ascended from, inside the small temple upon a rock.  Next, we went a short distance away and took several pictures of Jerusalem from this panoramic view.  From our location on the Mount of Olives, we had a view of Jerusalem over the Kidron Valley.  Also observed was David’s City, the Dome of the Rock, as well as the northern end of Jerusalem.  It is interesting to note that the current city walls are only five hundred years old, and built by the Ottoman Turks.  Mount Ophel is David’s old city, and Mount Zion is above David’s City, outside the wall.  We saw Absalom’s tomb in the Kidron Valley.  As we departed from the Temple of Ascension, a burro blocked our path on our way to the Garden of Gethsemane.

We went into the Garden of Gethsemane (“semane” means olive oil).  Gethsemane may have been near John Mark’s home.  We entered the Church of All Nations where the alleged rock is that Jesus prayed at.  This is located next to the Garden of Gethsemane.

We drove up to the Old City of Jerusalem and entered Stephen’s Gate, which is also known as the Lion’s Gate, with a lion on each side of the gate.

Next, we observed a fine site of archaeology – the Pool of Bethesda.  The pool has five porches where people were healed, and is dug out very deep.

The streets of Jerusalem are very narrow.  The women wore robes, and carried large objects on their head.  Beggars and cripples lingered on the street corners.  Walking in the “Old City” is like walking into the past.  Burros carrying loads walk in the streets.  Flutes, and other eastern instruments can be heard.  Muslim people can be heard wailing over microphones.

Next, we arrived at my favorite archaeological site in the whole city – we entered the Judgment Hall at the Fortress of Antonio.  There was a cistern and a water supply here.  We observed areas cut by Herod, which was originally the moat of the Fortress of Antonio.  Next, we went deep into the beautiful, large, and open Strutheon Pool.  Water runs down into the pools from the mountains.  We approached other cisterns and lithostrotos pavement that Jesus walked on.  The pavement was made up of large stones with wedges to prevent slipping.  A church was built above this pavement.  Jesus was tried and judged near here by Pontius Pilate.

We walked down today’s Via Dolorosa, where Jesus is supposed to have carried His cross to Calvary.  The actual road, however, would be many feet underground.  The Via Dolorosa featured an arch overhead, this is an original arch left from the Fortress of Antonio.

The business district was bustling – people commonly walk up to you in order to sell you just about everything.  There are money changers today in Jerusalem just like in Christ’s time.  Many people wear cloaks, robes, togas, and turbines.  Conservative Muslim women wear veils.  We stopped and looked at a Muslim water trough.

We approached the Western “Wailing” Wall and we were frisked on the way into this area.  The wall is near Mount Zion and the Tyropoeon Valley.  The Tyropoeon Valley, filled over the years, is right in front of the wall.  The wall is very long, and is the last part of the temple that was not destroyed – hence the Rabiis, Orthodox Jews, etc. wail there.  We observed the same wall nearby extending underground.  The entire original wall is 150 feet high.  When the rabiis pray – they read their Tora, and they chant, buck their head backwards and forwards, and side to side.  They shake their knees.  Loads and loads of prayers were stuck in the cracks of the walls.  The rabiis wore prayer boxes (Phylacteries; Matthew 23:5) on their foreheads and arms, and were dressed all in black.  In essence, they are modern day Pharisees.  They are very, very zealous.  If they were converted, their zeal would turn the world upside down (like Paul of Tarsus).  When we entered, we put on “cardboard beenies” or Kippurs, like everyone else.  A head covering, they feel, is needed in a holy place.  Orthodox Jews of the law, modern day Pharisees, were seen everywhere.

We observed the excavated Tyropoeon Valley (Old Jerusalem) near the Wailing (Western) Wall.  We passed a Byzantine, Muslim Mosque and approached the Dome of the Rock.  It was built in the eighth century.  Abraham offered the sacrifice of Isaac at the rock in the Dome – the rock inside is the ONLY part of Mount Moriah that Herod left exposed after all of his building.  The best marble available was used to build it.  There is a hole in the rock, and a drainage area below for all the blood sacrifices.  Blood would run underneath, all the way down the mountain.  The Dome of the Rock is surrounded by a Muslim Mosque and worship area.  From this area, one can see the Tyropoeon Valley, the Western Wall, and David’s City beyond.

Jerusalem is a melting pot of cultures, beliefs and different people’s religions.  At lunch time, a man on the tour (Steve Abbott) was drinking a milkshake for lunch and was told to leave – this is NOT KOSHER.  Dairy products cannot be eaten with meat products.  The religions of Jerusalem are 1) Islamic (Muslim) 2) Jewish 3) Christian and 4) Armenian (preceded by Greek Orthodox).  All believe in one God and are monotheistic, and all of them go back to Abraham.

We observed the remains of Byzantine shops.  The shops were Roman streets with columns (pillars), and stores on both sides of the street.  These shops were part of Jerusalem after 70 A.D., when Titus destroyed Jerusalem.  Farther down the row of shops, modern shops are built in the original shops.  We then passed a display revealing the Maccabean, Hasmonean ruins and walls.  These dated from 100 B.C. to 700 B.C., the bottom stones were from the time of Hezekiah and the first temple.  Next, we saw an area where the Israeli and Hasmonean walls joined together.  We passed a Byzantine mosaic map, revealing Jerusalem in the sixth century – showing even the streets with the shops that we previously observed.

In Jerusalem, the people bargain and haggle over everything – nothing has a set price.  The people are friendly and get satisfaction in helping you.  A boy gave me an olive branch, expecting nothing in return.  I bought film from a boy, and he brought down the price for me.

Next, we entered the upper room on Mount Zion.  A Muslim Arab altar was put there when they took over.  This is just the traditional location.  The upper room is traced  back only to the Byzantine period, hence it cannot be real.

We went to Mount Zion, King David’s tomb.  Muslim and Byzantine architecture was observed here also, hence this location is probably also traditional.  We observed the Hinnom Valley off in the distance.

We entered Caiphas’ Palace, which was located below a Catholic Church.  We saw a prison where prisoners were dropped through a circular hole.  Could Jesus have been kept here?  More prisons and dungeons were located below.  This was definitely the main prison of the House of Caiphas.  There were even holes in the walls where the prisoners were strapped into place when they were whipped and beaten.

Caiphas’ Palace was a great archaeological site.  Wonderful views were observed of the Kidron Valley, the Tyropoeon Valley in the lower city in Old Jerusalem, and the ruins of Caiphas’ Palace located outside the Catholic Church.  David’s city is located on Mount Ophel, the original Canaanite stronghold of Jerusalem.

Note:  Since traveling to Israel nearly thirty years ago, there is another school of thought regarding archaeology in Jerusalem.  The “Wailing” Wall is now thought to be from the Fortress of Antonio rather than from Herod’s Temple.  Bob Cornuke’s book Temple is the watershed book regarding this new discovery.  I believe Bob is correct in his assessment.  

 

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 5

Day #5

In Galilee we had cheese and fish for breakfast.  Ramat is located on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, on the northwest corner of the Golan Heights.  Gadara is at the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee.  [We left Gadara by boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee.  The previous evening, my pastor Bill Grimes, assigned me to preach the Gospel on the boat as we crossed over the Sea of Galilee.  I selected the title:  “Jesus Walking On The Water, A Challenge To Our Faith.”  Matthew 14:22-33.  12/30/1987.  Interestingly, our Jewish boat and tour guides, peeked around the corner and took in every word I said.  The Jewish people from Israel are often curious about the Gospel, observing firsthand how born again Christians drop millions and billions of dollars in order to visit their land!  This caption is typed in red because it was not in my original journal.]    As we left our hotel and entered our boat, we proceeded clockwise around the Sea of Galilee, to the east, and we encountered a rocky area full of cliffs.  It came to mind that Jesus sent the swine over the cliff in an area that must have looked like this- where the Gadarenes lived.  Sure enough, we were approaching Gadara!  Every place we come to matches up perfectly with the Bible, and it should, because the Bible is God’s Word.  When we went out on the Sea of Galilee, we looked around and could see the following:  Gadara, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Magdala, Capernaum, the Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha the seven springs church (location of the feeding of the five thousand), and Tiberias.  Our boat left Gadara and arrived in Capernaum.  Capernaum may have been the village of Nahum the prophet.  Simon Peter, of course, was from Capernaum.  Capernaum is best known perhaps, as being the home base or headquarters of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee region.  We saw another ancient olive press here.  Capernaum was owned by the Romans.  We were blessed with the opportunity to observe three different time eras of the town.  There was Capernaum at the time of Jesus.  Another time era was represented by a Muslim Synagogue in the city.  Finally, further archaeological remains depicted Capernaum at a later time, the 5th century under the Byzantines.  We left Capernaum and passed through Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene.  Now, we left the Sea of Galilee, and headed for the boyhood home of Jesus- Nazareth.  Along the way, we passed another of the many Crusader strongholds which were taken over by the Muslims.  The drive towards Nazareth was very scenic, with rocky gorges and mountains.  We drove through lower Galilee.  We passed through Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle in His ministry, turning the water into wine.  Cana kept its name for two thousand years.  The Roman Catholic Church has the “alleged pot” which Jesus used to perform this miracle.  In a postcard I have of the “pot,” it looked in very good shape for its age.  We then passed through Reina, a suburb of Nazareth, near Gath-hepher, the home town of Jonah.  We arrived in Nazareth, which has a population of forty five thousand Arabs, Muslims, and Christians.  There were many crowded streets.  Remember Nathaniel’s comment:  “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  We visited the Nazareth Baptist Church whose pastor was of Arab descent.  The Baptist Church had a dynamic Christian School, and ALL of the many, many students, like the pastor of the church,  were converted Arabs.  Next, we visited the Greek Orthodox Church in Nazareth.  It reminded one of a Catholic Church with all the icons, paintings of Mary, the candles, etc.  “Mary’s well” was inside.  This was the only water source of the city.  This church dates to Byzantine times.

Water is always the bottom line in any potential dwelling area:  1) Where Moses smote the rock near Petra, 2) Where Elisha turned the bitter waters sweet at Jericho, 3) Mary’s well in Nazareth, 4) At the Megiddo tunnel, 5) In Jerusalem at the Canaanite Well, and Hezekiah’s Tunnel which empties into the Pool of Siloam (in Jerusalem is also the Pool of Bethesda), 6) And at En Gedi – the spring where David hid from Saul, also known as David’s Spring or David’s Wadi.

We passed the cliff where Jesus disappeared from the angry people.  Then we came to the eye catching Valley of Jezreel or Valley of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14-16).  Some people think the battle will actually be fought here, such as Hal Lindsey and other literalists of Bible prophecy.  Personally, I believe that “Armageddon” is a symbolic term due to all the battles fought there, just as “Sodom” is symbolic of homosexuality, and “Babylon” is symbolic of spiritual whoredom.

We passed Mount Tabor, where Barak and Deborah the judges had their military base.  Next we approached Megiddo, the strategically located fortress where many famous men died, among these was Josiah.  We were also approaching Mount Carmel.

We observed other fruits in Israel in this area, namely strawberries, grapes, olives, oranges, avocados, cantelopes, etc.

We went by picture perfect Nain, a pretty hamlet on a hillside.  Then we went through Afula.

We came even closer to Megiddo and Mount Carmel (Megiddo is actually a part of the Carmel Mountain Range).  Megiddo is a tell of   about twenty towns which were destroyed.  As mentioned, Megiddo was in a strategic place – blocking the Carmel mountain pass.  Megiddo goes back to 1500 B.C., and Canaanite kings before Joshua.  There is a model of the Megiddo tell on the scene.  The importance of Megiddo lies in the fact that it is the only pass through the mountain range, for the invasion of Jerusalem from the west.  Ancient Megiddo goes back from 4000 B.C. to 500 A.D.  The source of water was an underground tunnel and spring which was camouflaged so the enemy could not poison it.  Mount Carmel is easily scene from Megiddo.  The Catholic “Elijah Church” is seen on Mount Carmel, and is the alleged place where Elijah called down fire from heaven and slew the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal.  From Megiddo, one can see the mountain of Ahab’s Palace to the west, the Gilboa mountains, Mount Tabor, and the Nazareth mountains.  The oldest feature known in Megiddo is a center for Baal worship which dates back to 4,000 B.C.  There were many huge grain silos at Megiddo from the time of Jeroboam.  Ahab had a “chariot city” at Megiddo in the 9th Century B.C.  Also featured in Megiddo are horse stables and a feeding trough from the time of Solomon and/or Ahab.  We went through the water tunnel which leads to the spring, the water source of Megiddo.

Upon leaving Megiddo, we noticed anti-aircraft, Israeli tanks, and military installations everywhere.  We went down the narrow Megiddo pass upon exiting.  We passed one of the largest Israeli Arab settlements in Israel.  During our travels, Pastor Grimes and our Jewish guide Naphtali were talking about King David.  Naphtali said he came from Bethlehem.  In response, Pastor Grimes said that David HAD to come from Bethlehem because he was a type of Christ.  It seems that the best way to witness to Jewish people is to reveal prophetic truths in the Old Testament, show them how the Old and New Testament fit together, show them how the New Testament completes the Old Testament, and show them how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the entire Word of God, and the law, the psalms, and the prophets (Matthew 5:17, Luke 24:44).

We approached Caesarea where Philip the evangelist lived with “his four daughters who did prophesy.”  Caesarea, as you can probably tell by the name, was a Roman settlement.  The town featured all of the attractions of Roman life – an amphitheater, race tracks, administrative buildings, and a regular theater in the round.  Our guides informed us along the way that the Byzantines took over the east after the time of the Roman Empire; the Byzantines came out of Turkey.  This brought to my mind the many empires that have risen and fallen during the ancient history of man.  Here is a list of just a few of the empires that I thought of:  1) Sumerians 2) Babylon 3) Assyria 4) Syria 5) Egypt 6) Neo Babylon 7) Medo-Persia 8) Greek  9) Roman 10) Byzantine 11) Muslims (Arabic) 12) Crusaders 13) The Ottoman Empire of the Turks in 1500.  All of the aforementioned empires had a heavy influence on Israel in the past.  If we thought even more, we could probably add several more to the list such as the Canaanites, Philistines and others.  It is no coincidence that Israel is a “land bridge” where many nations crossed in the past.  In this way, other countries could learn the gospel, and Israel could be humbled by other nations when she stepped out of line.

Herod built Caesarea for the Romans only.  Augustus Caesar made Herod “King of the Jews,” hence Herod named the town Caesarea in honor of the emperor Augustus.  On the way to Caesarea, we passed through the large, modern, contemporary Israeli city of Tel Aviv, where Naphtali our guide is from.

Caesarea was built in the first century by Herod the Great.  We observed an aqueduct built by Herod.  It had two large ducts on top in which to transport water.  The water came nine miles from Mount Carmel and into Caesarea.  We passed the hippodrome (hippo means horse), or Roman race track.  Caesarea also has a “Crusader City” or castle.  The thirteenth century Crusader’s castle is complete with walls and a moat.  The castle was in very good condition.  Caesarea, like many places in medieval times in the Holy Land, changed hands several times between the Muslims and Crusaders.  We stopped and looked at the semi circular Roman theater in Caesarea.  Next, we looked at the remains of the Herodian Palace.  (How many palaces and fortresses did Herod the Great have?)  All of the statue heads were hacked off by Muslims, who despised Roman pagan practices of nudity.  Caesarea is still one gigantic tell – most of which is still uncovered.

We passed through Hadera, on our way to Tell Aviv.  As we again approached Tell Aviv, we observed a beautiful sunset.  Tell Aviv was built in 1909 by Jews from Istanbul.  It is the largest city in Israel, and very modern.

We passed through the city of the Ottomon Empire, which was 500 years old, founded by a Turkish Sultan – New Joppa.  We then arrived in the older part of town, Old Joppa.  This, of course, is the home of Simon the tanner (Peter).  Jonah also went to Joppa, attempting to flee from God’s will.  It is interesting that when we tie Joppa in with Peter and Jonah, with both men the city is significant because it had to do with their respective commissions of taking the gospel to the Gentiles.  There were many narrow streets and shops near the water.  Excavations revealed the third century B.C. Greek occupation of Joppa.  It is a very quaint and pretty town, it reminds one of a fishing port.

Onward, for our one hour drive to Jerusalem.  On our way south, we passed the place where the sun stood still for Joshua’s army.  As we went towards Jerusalem, we gradually ascended.  Hence, even though we were going south, we were going “up” to Jerusalem.  The ONLY way to Jerusalem is a narrow, rocky canyon road.  The Arabs blocked this road in 1948.  Jerusalem is a town of vast hills and valleys.  Jerusalem is over 3,000 feet high and has a population of 450,000.  It has an old city and a new city – our attention will be focused on the old city.  When we arrived for the night, we stayed at the Shalom Jerusalem Hotel in the new city.

 

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 4

Day #4

We were told that we would go near Gilgal when we crossed the Jordan River this morning.  This is where Elisha and Elijah crossed the Jordan River prior to Elijah being taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot, and the beginning of the ministry of Elisha.  Our tour guide in Jordan, Jack, will take us to the border of the Jordan River, where another guide will pick us up and show us Israel.  We were informed that the inspection station at the Jordan, Israel border was very strict because of the tense situation in the Middle East.  Along our way, Dr. Grimes passed along some valuable information to us about Jericho, one of the first sites we will see on this date.  He said that the Jericho of today, or New Jericho, is at its present location because of Elisha’s Spring, where the bitter waters were made sweet.  It is amazing to observe how God’s blessings from thousands of years ago still bless and affect people today.

As we approached Israel from Jordan, we noted more trees, grass and hills.  We approached Mt. Seir which was both high and long.  This is where Esau settled, and Seir means red, the color of Esau’s hair.  Beyond Mt. Seir, we saw the beautiful Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.  The scenery was spectacular.  We passed by Mt. Nebo, from where Moses saw Israel before he died.  We could really appreciate how easily Moses could see the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo.  As we quickly descended the mountains in Jordan our ears popped, and we were whisked to an entirely different atmosphere.  We passed banana trees, and tropical palm trees could be seen as we approached the Dead Sea.  The descent to the Dead Sea became more slow and gradual, and now we observed orange trees and cactus.

We finally reached the border inspection station, and we were advanced in front of other larger touring groups because of our small size.  So far so good.  Then we ran into the biggest snag and disappointment of our entire trip.  We were held up about two hours because we had to wait for a “regulation wheelchair” for Steve Abbott.  Steve’s wheelchair could not be taken into Israel in case someone planted a “pipe bomb” or something else inside it.  Finally, after a lengthly delay we were off again.

We were informed that the Dead Sea is rapidly sinking.  Potassium is the main product used from the Dead Sea.  One can see mountains all around the Dead Sea.  In America, I believe the Shennandoah Valley looks similar to the topography in this area – a low area that is surrounded by mountains.

The name of our new guide in Israel was Naphtali (one of the twelve tribes of Israel), and he was from the Levite Tribe.  It is amazing, I thought, for an unbelieving Jew to “guide” people who know Jesus Christ.

We passed through New Jericho.  The people in New Jericho are not Israelites, but citizens from Jordan.  Arabs also occupy the West Bank (1,200,000 of them), a section of Jerusalem, and other parts of Israel.  Jericho is an oasis or green spot.  We passed the Mount of Temptation on our left.  This, of course, is where Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days in the wilderness.

Next, we visited the palace of the Islamic Muslim ruler Hisham, who ruled from 724-743.  The palace was destroyed by an earthquake only four years after it was completed.  In the realm of architecture, the Muslims copied the Corinthians, Byzantines, Romans, and Greeks.  Hisham stole the ruins from Herod’s palace at Jericho, in order to make his palace.  This place was furnished with bath houses, steam rooms, and spas similar to the Romans.  The palace had mosaics, a mosque, and an ornamental pool.

Now we proceeded towards historical Jericho, passing a couple Refugee Camps for Nomads and Bedouins along the way.  Jericho is the oldest city in human history, dating to about 7300-8300 B.C.  There are various cities in Jericho differing in age – 8000 B.C., 2000 B.C., etc.  The Jericho from the time of Joshua dates to about 1300 B.C.  Despite legendary folklore, the famous walls that tumbled down in Joshua’s battle have never been located with complete certainty.  Finally, in Jericho, we saw the spring of Elisha where he made the bitter waters sweet.  Fruits were plentiful in the area, including tangerines, pomegranates, figs, and dates.

We left Jericho northbound on a long ride towards Galilee.  We could appreciate the good shape that Jesus and the disciples were in to walk such a distance on foot.  Immediately, after we left the oasis of Jericho, the landscape once again became brown, barren, and dry.  As we moved toward Samaria, we saw grapes, fruits, and other crops.  On our left, we passed the mountains of Samaria.  Naphtali pointed out the mountains where the Maccabees hid.  Then we went by the Gilead mountains on our right.  We passed a road to Shechem, which was noted from Jacob’s time for his well.  We passed Jerash, Jordan which was one of the Roman Decapolis cities.  Next, was the Brook Gibok, where Jacob met God.  There is never a dull moment in this incredible land.  We passed a couple of tells, which are mounds containing the ruins of ancient cities.  One tell we passed, may have been Makula, where Elisha came from.  We finally left the Jordan River Valley, noting the Gilboa mountains on our left, where Saul fought the Philistines and killed himself.  We went through Bet Shean, and passed Afula on our way to Tiberias.  We went by another Crusader’s fortress, and fortified mountains on our left as we went north.  The Jordan River is sixty miles long from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.  Finally, we approached the Sea of Galilee.

We entered Tiberias, a Roman town noted for its hot springs.  It was a Muslim town and walled only one hundred years ago.  Tiberias was of importance to the Romans as a place of relaxation and therapy.  The Jewish Talmud was completed in Tiberias by 200 A.D. by Herod Antipas.  Herod built Tiberias in honor of the emperor.  All of the Herods were always trying to placate the Romans, since it was through them that they received their power.  Jesus never witnessed or preached in Tiberias, probably knowing that the gospel was not ready to be received there.

We passed a Jewish stronghold used against the Romans.  Then we passed Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene.  Next, we went by Ginnosar (Ginnessaret).  We saw bananas and olive trees.  It is 600 feet below sea level even at the Sea of Galilee.

We then went to the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, or the Mount of Beatitudes.  We then approached the area where Christ fed the multitude of five thousand.  We saw an olive press outside the church called Tabgha, right off the Sea of Galilee.  Again, this is where it is thought Jesus fed the multitudes.  The Basilica of Tabgha was new.  The original church was built in the fourth century.  The Crusaders built a church on this site, then the Muslims ripped it down.  The Crusaders built it again, and once again the Muslims tore it down.  There were many icons inside the new basilica.  We then proceeded to the Golan Heights region on the north shores of the Sea of Galilee.  We saw barbed wire and many evidences (foxholes, bunkers) of modern warfare.  Nightfall came rapidly and we stayed at the beautiful Ramot, right off the shores of Galilee, opposite Tiberias.  We had fish for breakfast.

One interesting observation of our trip thus far, is the heavy Roman influence, all the way from Petra in south Jordan, to Tiberias in northern Israel.

The Jordan River is a very powerful river from Mt. Hermon to the Sea of Galilee, then tapers off from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.

Another thought is that I believe we should be wary of “traditional sites,” such as 1) Moses smoting the rock at Rephidim, the Wadi Feiran.  2) Where Jesus taught at the Mt. of the Beatitudes.  3) The feeding of the five thousand at the Tabgha basilica.  4) Aaron’s burial place at Mt. Hor, etc., etc.  5) The place of ascension by Jesus on the Mount of Olives.  6) The rock where Jesus prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane.  7) The place of the upper room on Mount Zion.  8) David’s tomb.  9) The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem – the place of the birth of Jesus Christ.  All of the traditional locations show the weak faith of man.  The important thing is that they happened.  In many cases we are just not sure where they happened – and it really does not matter.

I was surprised by the fact that you can see all the shoreline on the Sea of Galilee.  I thought it was larger.  At Lake Okeechobee, Florida, for instance, you cannot see all the way across.  This just added to its’ quaintness.  We could see Tiberias across Galilee from Ramot; at night the cities’ lights were beautiful.  Just as in the time of Jesus, the region of Galilee today is noted for health resorts, spas, saunas, etc.

Note:  I do not agree with the aforementioned dates of Jericho’s age as a city.  I do not believe the world dates prior to about 4000 B.C.  This is what the Bible tells us.  Radio Carbon dating methods are totally unreliable.  Furthermore, since this paper was written in 1988, there is much more archaeological proof about the location and discovery of the famous walls in Jericho that fell down during Joshua’s conquest. 

 

 

 

David Was A Man After God’s Own Heart, And Here Is Why…

David was in a lot of predicaments in his life.  The lord delivered him out of them all.  To refresh your memory, here are a few:  1)From the mouth of the lion.  2)From Goliath.  3)From King Saul.  4)From his son Absalom.  5)From the many enemies of Israel.  6)From his own flesh.  David’s faith and confidence in God never wavered.

The next time that you and I may be tempted to whine about our circumstances, let us reflect on the trials of King David, and meditate on the following scriptures, written of course, by King David:

2 Samuel 22:2-3 King James Version (KJV)

And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

King James Version (KJV) Public Domain

Psalm 18:2 King James Version (KJV)

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

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