More on Mt. Nebo

November 30, 2011

Todd Bolen wrote me yesterday with helpful information regarding Mt. Nebo, and my photo in our previous post (Nov. 28).

Todd suggests that Mt. Nebo is further north than depicted in Monday’s photo (i.e., to your left). I value his scholarship and input, and wanted to pass that along to my readers. Look now at this photo:

Mt. Nebo. Looking from west to east. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Look to the upper right of photo. See the long shadow? Look to the left edge and then up to the top of the ridge.  Todd suggests the peak of Nebo is located a little behind (east of) the ridge and a bit to the left of the north side of that shadow. (Click on image for larger view).

Here is a photo Todd send me showing what his present research has determined to be the location of Mt. Nebo, from a different angle:

Mt. Nebo from northwest. Photo by Todd Bolen. Used by permission.

In his photo, Todd identifies Mt. Nebo as the peak at slightly left of center (with some trees at right).

Research in biblical history and geography (as well as other disciplines) is not static; it requires much ongoing research and sometimes course correction. I value such help as that which Todd provided re: Mt. Nebo, and am glad to pass along this info and photos to you.

Ferrell Jenkins has a good article w/photos dealing with various methods by which biblical sites are identified, using Lystra for an example; see here.

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Moses Ascends Mt. Nebo

November 28, 2011

The Lord’s faithful servant Moses was not permitted to cross over with Israel to the Promised Land of Canaan.

Deuteronomy 34 tells of the end of the Moses’ earthly life. He was permitted to ascend Mt. Nebo and view the land promised to the Patriarchs, and then he died.

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. 7 Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished (Deut. 34:1-7).

Mt. Nebo is situated in what was at that time the land of Moab. Our photo shows Mt. Nebo from the western side of the Dead Sea, looking east, i.e., the opposite of Moses’ view in our text.

Mt. Nebo from west side of Dead Sea. Photo by Leon Mauldin, Sept. 2011.

Top center of photo is Mt. Nebo, in the setting of the mountains of Moab.

Click image for larger view.


Shechem, Tel Balata, East Gate

November 17, 2011

In September we had the opportunity to revisit Shechem, Tel Balata. The site had seen further excavation and cleanup since our last visit there (Dec. 2009).

Shechem is located on the West Bank, situated 2.5 km SE of city center of Nablus. The Park brochure states,

In the past urban development and lack of appropriate management threatened the archaeological site of Tell Balata and the main goal of the Tell Balata Archaeological Park project is to safeguard it. It is a potential World Heritage Site as a part of ‘Old Town Nablus and its environs’ and is listed ont he Inventory of Cultural and Natural Sites of Potential outstanding Universal Value in Palestine.

The project aims to make a sustainable heritage management plan for the site and to make it accessible to visitors.

We previously posted on Shechem here. Review this to see somewhat of the biblical significance of this site.

There is a helpful sign as you enter Shechem.

Shechem, Sign at Entrance. Photo by Leon Mauldin. Click for larger view.

Ferrell Jenkins and I wanted to see the old Canaanite gate at the east side of the site.

Shechem, Canaanite Gate on East Side of city. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Dr. Rasmussen observes, “The gate, like the associated Cyclopean Wall, dates to the end of the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1650-1550 BC) and continued in use during the Late Bronze Age.”

 


Jesus’ Ministry, 3+ Years

November 11, 2011

There is general consensus that the earthly ministry of Jesus lasted about three years. How is that determined?

One primary source is the Gospel of John, with its inclusion of feasts.

Jesus' 3+ Yr. Ministry. Chart by Leon Mauldin.

You will note that the reference of John 5:1 just says “feast,” it does not specify. Beauford Bryant notes:

The word for feast (ἑορτή, heortē) was without the definite article in nearly all the earliest Greek manuscripts and versions. If the definite article had been read, then there would have been strong grounds for understanding this festival as a Passover, or possibly as Tabernacles, which was often referred to as “the Feast” (ההג, hahag) (College Press NIV Commentary).

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This week I have enjoyed the opportunity to present 6 lessons in our local county (Cullman) at the Prospect church of Christ. Kent Persall is the evangelist there. 40+ years ago Kent, his wife Diane and I were students at Florida College.


“Be Not As the Hypocrites”

November 1, 2011

In Matthew 6:5 Jesus said,

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

To say, “they have their reward,” means that the only reward such will receive is the praise of men; they will not be rewarded by God. Regarding the words “hypocrite,” and “hypocrisy,” the ISBE states

‘Hypocrisy,’ ‘hypocrite’ are frequent in the New Testament, chiefly in Christ’s discourses in the Gospels. The word hupokrisis (primarily, “an answer,” “response”) meant generally, in classical Greek, stageplaying, acting, the histrionic art; hence, it came to mean acting a part in life, etc. . . but, in general, the meaning is acting a part, false, deceptive and deceived, formally and outwardly religious and good, but inwardly insincere and unrighteous; the hypocrite may come to deceive himself as well as others, but ‘the hypocrite’s hope shall perish’ (Job 8:13, KJV). On no class did our Lord pronounce such severe condemnation as on the hypocrites of His day.

These actors’ masks in our photos below are displayed in Athens near the ancient agora. If the actor were a tragedian, he/she might have a mask like this:

Tragic Mask. Athens, Greece. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

On the other hand, if he were a comic, the mask might look like this:

Comic mask. Athens, Greece. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Jesus does not want His followers to be actors, playing a part, all the while playing a role that is not real. He requires total, genuine, sincere conversion and commitment to Him. “Be not as the hypocrites.”