Maccabees – Story of Hannukah

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish observance that remembers the Jewish people’s struggle for religious freedom about 2 centuries before Christ.

Chanukah – the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev– celebrates the triumph of lightover darkness, of purity overadulteration, of spirituality over materiality.

More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G-d.

When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah (the seven branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.

Source & Photo credit – http://www.chabad.org You can read more on the history of Hanukkah at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah

VIDEO by se7ve7ns

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Pillar discovered from Solomon’s First Temple

A mysterious First Temple-era archaeological find under a Palestinian orchard near Bethlehem is increasingly gaining attention — despite attempts to keep it quiet.

In February, a tour guide leading a group through an underground tunnel in the rural West Bank, not far from Jerusalem, was surprised to stumble upon the remains of a unique carved pillar. The pillar matched monumental construction from the 9th or 8th centuries BCE — the time of the First Temple in Jerusalem. That signaled the presence of an important and previously unknown structure from that period. Buried under earth and rubble, the pillar was now two yards below the surface.

The guide, Binyamin Tropper, notified antiquities officials. He was surprised when they encouraged him to leave the subject and the site alone, said Tropper, who works at an educational field school at Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. “They told me — we know about it, keep it quiet,” he said.

The remains are in the politically charged West Bank, on the outskirts of an Arab village and on land privately owned by a Palestinian — all reasons the Israeli government might deem attempting an excavation there a major political headache to be avoided. When it became clear that antiquities officials did not intend to excavate what he believed to be a potentially huge find, Tropper went to the Hebrew press, where several reports have appeared on inside pages in recent weeks. Tropper has kept the location secret to avoid attracting the attention of antiquities thieves.

Early this month, several prominent Israeli archaeologists were brought to inspect the site. Among them was Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeology professor from Hebrew University.

There is no doubt the remains are those of monumental construction from the time of the First Temple, Garfinkel said. The top of the pillar, known as a capital, is of a type known as proto-aeolic, he said. That style dates to around 2,800 years ago. The pillar marks the entrance to a carved water tunnel reaching 250 yards underground, he said, complex construction that would almost certainly have been carried out by a central government. At the time, the area was ruled by Judean kings in nearby Jerusalem.

In its scale and workmanship, Garfinkel said, the tunnel evokes another grand water project of First Temple times — the Siloam Tunnel in Jerusalem, now underneath the modern-day Arab neighborhood of Silwan. That project is believed to have been undertaken by the biblical king Hezekiah to channel water into the city ahead of an Assyrian siege in the 8th century BCE, according to an account in the biblical Book of Kings. The existence of a large water tunnel at the new site suggests the presence nearby of a large farm or palace, Garfinkel said. “The construction is first-rate,” he said. “There is definitely something important there from biblical times, the 9th or 8th centuries BCE.”

Archaeology in the Holy Land has long been caught up in modern-day politics. The Zionist movement always viewed unearthing remnants of the ancient past as a way of proving the depth of Jewish roots in the land. Palestinians, for their part, have increasingly taken to denying the existence of any ancient Jewish history and tend to condemn all archaeology conducted by Israel as an attempt to cement political control.

Palestinians would thus be unlikely to be sympathetic to the discovery of a new site of significance to Israel on land they claim for a future state.  Tropper, the guide, said he hoped interest from professional archaeologists would prod the government to conduct an excavation. The site could be a source of income for the Palestinian owners and the nearby village, he suggested. The Israel Antiquities Authority has been careful in its public responses to reports of the new finding, but did not rule out an excavation. “This is indeed an important find, which preliminary information dates to the time of the kings of Judah,” the authority said in a statement Sunday. “At the same time, it should be known that the subject is sensitive and requires treatment that is delicate and responsible. The Antiquities Authority, along with all other relevant authorities, has been dealing with this for some time in an attempt to bring about the complete excavation of the remains, and will continue its attempts to do so.”

source : thetimesofisrael.com

What implements have been made for the new Temple?

It is fascinating to watch, as the Jews in Israel await the coming of the Messiah. They have produced all of the utensils needed, in order to be able to serve in the Temple, according to the qualifications God had required in the First Temple period. The harp maker is very much looking forward to seeing King David. May the Lord open their eyes to see the true Messiah, that already came, and who showed us the Father, and through whom we have eternal life.

John 12:45 – „He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.

John 14:9 – Jesus answered: „Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 6:40 – For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

What Solomon’s Temple looked like

temple esv

http://www.esvstudybible.org/sb/objects/illustration-solomons-temple.html

For more photos and Historic Bible study from II Chronicles

click here – http://www.ccmanitowoc.org/Library

Almost two thousand years ago, after nearly two years of terrible seige, the brutally efficient legions of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and burned the Temple to the ground. Led by General Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian, the Roman army completed its mission of destruction on the ninth day of Av (August) in A.D. 70.

The glorious temple, built by King Herod, was the second of the sacred temples to stand on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The First Temple had been built by King Solomon approximately 1000 B.C. and was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B.C.. The Second Temple that was built by the Jews who returned to Jerusalem following the Babylonian Captivity in 536 B.C. remains in ruins today. However, exciting developments are taking place in Israel that will result in a Third Temple being built again on the ancient foundations that Solomon put in place nearly three thousand years ago. You and I are part of the prophetic generation that will live to see a Temple of God once again stand in Jerusalem, the spiritual crossroads o the world.

The rebuilding of the Temple has profound prophetic significance equal to the appearance of the Antichrist or the forming of the pagan armies to invade Israel in the coming Battle of Gog and Magog. Many students of biblical prophecy have debated the role that will be played by the Third Temple in end-times developments. But the scriptures make it clear that just before Christ returns, the Third Temple of God must stand once more on its original location on the Temple Mount.

Preparations to build the Third Temple have progressed on several fronts in recent years, with detailed plans and practical preparations that go far beyond the awareness of most people.   (Grant Jeffries)

Yeshua (Jesus) Kadosh (Holy) ! from Rodica on Vimeo.

The Temple at the time of Jesus

photo (more on site) from – http://www.katapi.org.uk

12 – Court of the Israelites

17 – Holy Place

19 – slaughtering place

20 – altar

21 – laver

22 – Court of the Priests

23 – porch

Illustration adapted from: 4. „The Lion Handbook to the Bible” ed: David & Pat Alexander (page 567). Lion Publishing. 1973.
Illustrations (1, 2 & 3) are of the 1/50th scale model by the late Prof. Avi Yonah of the Hebrew University, in the Holyland Hotel, Jerusalem. (4) is a model of the sacrificial area by Alex Gerrard.
Temple area today: „Picture Archive of the Bible,” ed: C Masom & P Alexander, Lion Publishing, 1987.
Solomon’s Stables: „Jerusalem – die lebendige stadt,” Armon, Jerusalem, 1969.

See more photos and descriptions here –  http://www.katapi.org.uk

Jerusalem – the making of a city

This is a BBC production that aired in Europe, thus you will hear the narrator giving equal footing to the 3 major religions and at one point stating that although Christians believe every word is inspired, the narrator being in the ‘historical thinking mode’ says some of the Bible is mythological. Putting aside this caveat, the video is an excellent and useful tool in learning the history of the city, while looking at the actual places being discussed. There is a chronological timeline of historic events, some taken from the Bible. And  the BBC’s cinematography is of course excellent, with some  rare footage, including a clip from the underground, 90 feet under the site of the Holy of Holies part of where Solomon’s temple once stood (in video part 1).

Part 1

From Antiquity to Constantine

Part 2

From Islam’s rise to the 13th Century

Part 3

The divided city – 13 th Century to Present

Does archaeology support the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)? Part I

Excerpted from James M. Arlandson

Inerrantist Wayne Grudem writes:

… Our understanding of Scripture is never perfect, and this means that there may be cases where we will be unable to find a solution to a difficult passage at the present time. This may be because the linguistic, historical, or contextual evidence we need to understand the passage correctly is presently unknown to us.” (Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994, p. 99)

He wrote those words in the context of supposed contradictions in the Bible. But they can apply to archaeology and history and the Bible. His humility about our imperfect understanding of Scripture is refreshing.

The Synoptics and Scripture as a whole have often been shown to be right in matters of history. In fact, that’s what’s so remarkable about Scripture. Its authorship spans about 1,500 years. They lived in different regions and cultures and flowing, changing history, so the chances of their being wrong are high. However, there are so many things Scripture gets right includeing even simple things like where Jerusalem is located or the village of Capernaum being located on the Sea of Galilee, or the name of the god Baal or of a ruler like Pontius Pilate or Nebuchadnezzar.

The historical facts and data outside of the Gospels go a long way to support their historical reliability, and here is an excerpt of a massive body of work done by James M. Arlandson (it is also featured at Bible.org) :

Archaeology and the Bible have an uneasy relationship. Many textual scholars have little use for archaeology. Discoveries happen often, so the data change, whereas the written text is stable, by comparison. Plus, the stones, so to speak, are sometimes difficult to interpret in relation to the text.

Nonetheless, let’s bring onto the web what archaeologists are saying in their books.  Though I’m far from being an archaeologist, I decided to include some findings that are more or less stable (but see some of the examples, below). For me, the Biblical text and its historical reliability have been demonstrated again and again, so I don’t put myself on an emotional rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows, depending on this or that discovery.

(Here the author suggests to open up two separate windows; one with this link of map of Israel and the second with map of Jerusalem).

1. So  how  does  archaeology  relate  to  the  Synoptic  Gospels?

Let’s begin with a sad example – sad, but true. Jesus grieved over his prediction (Matt. 23:37, Luke 13:34) destruction of Jerusalem

Luke 21:20 says, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near” (see Luke 19:42;Matt.24:15-20; Mark 13:14-19). Rome destroyed the temple and Jerusalem in AD 70. The suppression was led by Roman general Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian (ruled 69-79), and Titus later ruled 79-81.

Closeup image from Arch of Titus- Menorrah and Temple goods being plundered.

The Arch of Titus stands at the highest point on the Via Sacra in Rome. The procession carved in marble shows the Roman General Titus returning victorious, having crushed the Jewish state, carrying the spoils of war stolen from the very Temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

This wall relief on the Arch of Titus reveals one of the most troubling scenes in all history, Roman soldiers carrying spoils from the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The Temple Menorah* and the Table** of the Shewbread shown at an angle, both of solid gold, and the silver trumpets which called the Jews to the festivals. The Romans are in triumphal procession wearing laurel crowns and the ones carrying the Menorah have pillows on their shoulders. The soldiers carry signs commemorating the victories which Titus had won. This group of soldiers is just a few of the hundreds in the actual triumphal procession down Rome’s Sacred Way. The whole procession is about to enter the carved arch on the right which reveals the quadriga at the top, Titus on his 4-horsed chariot with soldiers. The Arch of Titus with its Menorah Relief are high on the list of importance in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it stands today as a testimony that the words of Jesus miraculously came true.

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44)

41And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying,  42 „Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

(2) Inscription about Pontius Pilate

He is mentioned in all four Gospels, particularly at the trial of Jesus, but the inscription is dealt with here because the synoptic Gospels mention him. He authorized Jesus’ execution. In the inscription at Caesarea Maritima, on the Mediterranean coast, he is referred to as the prefect of Judea, which is the southern region that encompassed Jerusalem.

Click picture to read about this inscription.

Until recently, there was no contemporary evidence outside the Bible for Pilate’s existence (although Tacitus, Josephus, and Philo all wrote about him). Then in 1961, Italian archaeologists excavating the theatre at Caesarea found this stone inscription of Pontius Pilate. Coins have also been found dating from Pilate’s rule as governor.

You can click for more on Pontius Pilate and if you click on the picture on the right you can read more on the inscription that was excavated.

(3) The boy Jesus in the temple

In Luke 2:41-50, he is in the temple dialoging with the rabbis. He impressed them with his wisdom. Where did this dialogue take place?

The discovery of a stairway south of the southern wall of the Temple Mount makes it clear that it was here that the young Jesus amazed the rabbis by his knowledge. A fragment of an inscription found on the stairway, along with another fragment … mentions the elders (zeqenim). Probably a place was allotted to them. The Talmud refers to three tribunals in Jerusalem. One of these „used to sit at the gate of the Temple Mount … engaged in deliberations and expounding” … . (Barhat, p. 307)

But the most interesting evidence says in the Talmud (t.Sanhedrin 2.6) that Rabban Gamaliel (probable teacher of Paul) and the elders were sitting on the stairway, along with a scribe. Then the tractate goes on to reference the people of upper Galilee and lower Galilee (Dan Barhat, p. 307).

(Here is a link to pictures of the simulated reconstruction of the temple, these pictures are very useful in shedding a light on the Gospel events that took place there, especially notice how big the Temple structure was. For more/bigger pictures on the Temple Mount you can visit the UCLA site and the Jerusalem Archaeological Park which has interactive maps and material on persons and events; this site is worth book marking and studying Biblical history at leisure)

(4) A winepress, stone-walled terraces, and three towers

In all four Gospels, Jesus is called “Jesus of Nazareth.” In the Parable of the

Tenants, he says that “a man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower” (Mark 12:1, Matt.21:33) but  Luke 20:9 omits most of the elements). Since the 1990s these textual data have been confirmed by archaeology “less than half a mile from the center of first-century Nazareth” to the west … . “A winepress has been exposed, and beautifully constructed stone-walled terraces are now visible. Most importantly, three circular stone towers only about fifty feet [about 16m] apart now rise majestically above the rocky terrain” (Charlesworth, “Jesus Research,” p. 38).

(5) The farmers in the Parable of the Tenants

In this parable (Matt. 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19), the landlord rents out his land to farmers. When he sends his servants to collect some of the produce or profits, the farmers beat them and eventually killed the landowner’s son.

So were the farmers peasants? From the larger contexts of rabbinic traditions, Greek papyri, a true-life story from Cicero himself (106-43 BC), and the Old Testament, it is clear that they were not necessarily poor peasants who were oppressed, so that they were in some sense justified in taking the land. Some of the evidence in the papyri parallels Jesus’ parable remarkably closely. A landowner leases his land to a farmer (the same Greek word both in the New Testament and the papyri). The landowner sends servants to collect the profits. The farmer assaults them and runs them out of the village (Evans, pp. 245-47). So instead of being dispossessed peasants, the farmers in the parable could be the powerful who were greedy for profit and the acquisition of more land. Thus, the farmers and their actions are consistent with the ruling priests in Jerusalem, according to Jesus’ assessment of them, as the end of the parable indicates.

Craig A. Evans, “Are the Wicked Tenant Farmers ‘Peasants’?” pp. 231-50.

read the rest of this article here .

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