The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu

February 25, 2011

The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu is one of the proposed sites of the house High Priest Caiaphas, High Priest who presided at Jesus’ “trial” (Matt. 26:57-68). The word “Gallicantu” means cock crowing, and is a reference to Peter’s denial as he sat outside in the courtyard of the High Priest (Matt. 26:69-75). It was on this occasion that Peter denied the Lord three times, “And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ Then he went out and wept bitterly.”

Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. Jerusalem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Note the steps leading up to the church.

Steps leading to Gallicantu. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The value of this view is that of helping us visualized Jesus being led to the house of the High Priest, for that unforgettable night when, “He was led away after an unjust trial– but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded” (Isa. 53:8, NET).

There is imagery on the site to remind the visitor of Peter’s denial.

Peter denies the Lord. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This is a representation of Peter, denying his discipleship of Jesus to a maid. Behind, as soldier stands. What a warning–how easy it is to let down one’s guard and do the unthinkable. Later Peter would warn others about our Adversary, the Devil (1 Pet. 5:8).

View from Gallicantu toward temple area. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Sign commemorating Peter's Denial. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

On another note, tonight we begin a 3-day series on the History and Geography of the Bible in Lafayette, IN. The first lesson in the series is tonight (Fri) on campus at Purdue University, and continues Sat. and Sun. at the Lafayette church building. I’m looking forward to working with my friend Alan Yeater. Check out their website at http://www.lafayettecoc.org/cms/

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Bethany

February 23, 2011

Bethany is designated as the home of Jesus’ good friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1). When Lazarus was sick Jesus deliberately waited until his death, that he might raise Lazarus from the dead, thus demonstrating that He is the “Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). Modern Bethany can be seen in our photo:

Bethany, home of Jesus' friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

There is a tomb shown at Bethany which is said to be Lazarus’ tomb. To me the value of such is for illustration purposes, and not to identify this as the actual tomb of Lazarus.

"Lazarus' Tomb." Photo by Leon Mauldin.

It was from Bethany and nearby Bethphage that Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey in what is knows at the Triumphal Entry, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.

Bethany was the scene of Jesus’ being anointed with the precious ointment in anticipation of His death, Matt. 26:6ff. We learn from the parallel in John 12 that the woman was Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus.

 

Bethany. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

It was also from Bethany, which is on the slope of the Mount of Olives, that Jesus ascended back into heaven: And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen (Lk. 24:50-53).

Street in Bethany. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

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Arad in the Negev

February 21, 2011

Arad is first mentioned in Scripture in Numbers 21:1, “The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners.” This was in the last year of the 40 years wilderness wandering.  Israel prayed for deliverance and the LORD gave them victory.

Map by Bibleatlas.org

BAR notes:

The Israelite fortress at Arad is unique in the Land of Israel. It’s the only site excavated with modern archaeological methods that contains a continuous archaeological record from the period of the Judges (c. 1200 B.C.) to the Babylonian destruction of the First Temple (580 B.C.). This distinction promises to make Arad the type-site for pottery chronology, especially in southern Israel, against which pottery from other sites can be confidently tested and dated. Not only is the pottery sequence continuous, but the timelines between the various strata during which the Israelite fortress was built and rebuilt are for the most part clear and can often be connected with well-known historical and datable events.

Arad is also special for other reasons. The Israelite fortress there was found to contain the only Israelite temple ever discovered in an archaeological excavation.

The excavation of the fortress also yielded a unique series of inscriptions. The inscriptions, written for the most part with ink on potsherds—called ostraca (singular, ostracon)—include political, administrative and sometimes even religious documents. Other sites have yielded ostraca collections—for example, the Lachish letters and the Samaria ostraca—but each of those collections belonged to only one major stratum and time period. At Arad the inscriptions span a period of 350 years and cover six different strata. In all, more than one hundred texts and fragments were recovered. (13:02 March/April 1987).

The 2nd paragraph in our quote above mentioned the Israelite temple which has been excavated at Arad. The ruins can be seen in our photo:

Israelite Temple at Arad. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The raised square platform at right was the altar. This temple was destroyed either in the reforms of Judah’s good king Hezekiah or perhaps Josiah.

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Beersheba, cont’d.

February 16, 2011

Beersheba was to become the chief city of the Negev. Unfortunately it would also become a center for idolatrous activity. When the 8th century BC prophet Amos cried out against idolatrous cities he warned, “But do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal, nor pass over to Beersheba, for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing” (Amos 5:5). Instead, “Seek the LORD and live” (v.6).

Altar at Beersheba. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Our photo shows a replica of an altar discovered in Beersheba; the original was broken in pieces. Many believe the destruction of the altar here may have been during the reformation by good king Hezekiah.

Beersheba is a small tel, comprising only about three acres. A good deal of excavation has been done. Our photo below shows what many believe to be storage room; others believe this to have been stables.

Storage rooms or possibly stables at Beersheba. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

View is to the southeast. Remember to click on photos for higher resolution.


Beersheba, Home of the Patriarchs

February 15, 2011

Beersheba received its name when Abraham made a covenant with the Philistine king Abimelech. Included in that covenant was the recognition of Abraham’s ownership of the well he dug at that site, which was confirmed by Abimelech’s reception of seven lambs from Abraham. “Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because the two of them swore an oath there” (Gen. 21:31). Beersheba means, Well of the Oath or Well of the Seven.

“Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God” (Gen. 21:33). Our photo was taken outside the gate of Beersheba, and shows a well there, and also a tamarisk tree.

Beersheba in the Negev. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Beersheba is mentioned several times in the days of the Patriarchs. Abraham continued to live there after returning from Moriah to “sacrifice” Isaac (Gen. 22:19; cf. CSB: “And Abraham settled in Beer-sheba” (emp. mine, LM). Years later, when Isaac moved there the text tells us that “the LORD appeared to him the same night” and repeated the Abrahamic promises. “So he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD” (Gen. 26:23-25).

Later still, when Jacob moved his family to Egypt it was at Beersheba that God appeared to him and said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there” (Gen. 46:1-3). God had told Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would make of them a great nation. It is in this passage that we learn that He would not do so in Canaan, the Promised Land, but it would be in Egypt. It had amply been demonstrated that the Canaanites were very willing to intermarry with Jacob’s family, and that was reciprocated (Gen. 32,38). Had they remained there they would have been assimilated into Canaanite culture, and never would have become the separate people of God.


Theater of Dionysus, Athens

February 8, 2011

Greetings from Tampa, where we are currently attending the Florida College lectures. This year’s theme is, “Trembling at My Word,” God’s Power for Restoration. It is great to see so many friends, many of whom we’ve known for so long now, and to be able to sing, study, pray and visit together.

Another site we wish to share from ancient Athens is the theater of Dionysus, a major open-air theater and one of the oldest to be preserved. The theater was used in festivals in honor of the wine god Dionysus (same as Greek Bacchus).

Theater of Dionysus in Athens Greece. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This theater was built in the 6th century BC, then rebuilt in the 4th century BC. It seated between 14,000 and 17,000 occupants.

Dionysus the wine god. Athens Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This statue of the wine god Dionysus was discovered at Eleusina, located 18 km northwest of the city center of Athens.

This puts me in mind of 1 John 5:21: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”


Temple of Zeus, Athens

February 1, 2011

The Temple of Zeus in Athens is located southeast of the Acropolis.

Temple of Zeus in Athens. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Wikipedia has the following general info:

The temple of Olympian Zeus . . . is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 years after the project had begun. During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world.

Originally there were 104 Corinthian columns. Today 15 of those remain standing. A 16th column can be seen lying on the ground.

In the early 1800s a stylite made his dwelling on the top of one of the columns. The Greek word for column is stylos; the stylites were ascetics who spent long periods (sometimes years) on the tops of columns.

In the NT book of Acts, when Paul was preaching at Lystra, he healed a lame man. The pagan residents thought the gods had come down in human form. “They began to call Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of the temple of Zeus, located just outside the city, brought bulls and garlands to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them” (Acts 14:12-13). Paul and Barnabas were just barely able to persuade them not to do so.

Right after that, Jews came from Pisidian Antioch, and persuaded those same residents of Lystra to stone Paul and drag him out of the city! (Acts 14:19).

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