Hello again! It has been a while since my last post. Since then I have been in the midst of finishing up requirements for my masters degree here at JUC. I have taken and passed two comprehensive exams on the Bible and now have only my thesis, my seminar project and two more comprehensive exams plus one final exam standing between me and a masters degree. I’m almost there.
The Israel Museum’s 2nd Temple Model
Have you ever wondered what Jerusalem looked like when Jesus was here? This last weekend I went to the Israel Museum with Dr. Gabriel Barkay, my archaeology professor, and received an overview of the model of Jerusalem from the 2nd Temple period. This is the period of time that stretches from Nehemiah, the return of the Exiles, and the rebuilding of the Temple, up until the destruction of the Temple by the Romans following the 1st Jewish Revolt. Jesus died, rose again and ascended to heaven about 40 years before the end of this period.
The image on the left shows you the view of 2nd Temple Jerusalem looking down from the top of the Hill of Evil Council, which wraps around the southern and western edge of Jerusalem. Extending to the left (west) is the Hinnom Valley. To the northeast goes the Kidron Valley and the base of the Mt. of Olives. Also in the left part of this picture is the Upper City, where the wealthy, including Herod the Great, lived. The poorer class are shown in this model to have lived on the slopes of the Western Hill, dropping into the Central Valley. Down the center of the picture runs this Central Valley, also known as the Tyropean or Cheese-maker’s Valley. To its right, between two walls is the City of David. The buildings of the City of David in this model are probably not at all accurate to what would have been between in this area. Above the City of David you can see the southern wall of the Temple Platform. The platform walls, as they are constructed here, are about a third higher than the walls of the Temple Mount are today!
The picture to the right is a close up of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. This includes the Shushan Gate, which is also called the Golden Gate or the Gate of Mercy. On the left (south) stands the Royal Stoa, which was built by Herod and until the invention of the skyscraper was the largest structure ever built in this region of the world. In the center stands the Temple built by Herod. This and most of the rest of the model was created based on written descriptions in the writings of Josephus. (See the Resources page for a recommended translation of Josephus’ works.)
Events in Egypt
Tonight at church I heard that today the Egyptian army started rebuilding a Christian church that was recently destroyed somewhere in Egypt! A Nazarene pastor in Egypt had told my pastor about it earlier today. This is amazing that the Egyptian military would do such a thing as this in a country where the persecution of Christians has been commonplace. There are many things, both good and evil taking place in the world right now. I am excited that I get to be alive during this time in history.