Sunday, July 7, 2013

NT Day 3: Herodian Jerusalem Part 2

I'm still a few days behind in getting pictures uploaded :) ... We are currently half way through the Jesus and His Times class. Tomorrow morning we will be heading up to Galilee for a few nights ... 

July 4th: 

1st Century Stairs leading up to an a gate in the city wall. According to one
theory, it was these steps that Jesus walked up before Pilot. 
It's Independence Day!! Except not here in Israel – that was a few months ago … We concluded our Herodian Jerusalem Walk this morning. We began by walking in the direction of Jaffa gate, just like we do every day. This time, however, we stopped to look at the wall. Nothing "new" – we have looked at these walls for the last several weeks. Dr. Wright pointed out the various periods found in this portion of the wall. Walls sometimes move as they are torn down and rebuilt. For example, JUC is actually built on a portion of the old city wall from the first century, but today the wall turns a bit earlier, putting us just outside the wall. However, in this location, they used the same foundation stations when rebuilding the wall. Remains of stairs and gate may be seen here dating from the first century. To make a long story short some think this could be location where Jesus was tried before Pilot. It is not the "traditional" location, but the traditional location does not quite fit the text. With Herod's Palace on this side, Pilot was likely on this side of the city with a roman praetorium. It is logical that it would be here that Christ would be brought for trial between the double gates. How amazing!

Church remembering Peter's Denial - a rooster is positioned upon the steeple.
This would also be a possible location for Caiaphas' house
We then turned back and looped around to the City of David. We began with an overlook of what used to be the walled city of Jerusalem. Today, the oldest part of the city is outside the city walls. While here, we stopped at what could have been Caiaphas' home. It may have been here that Jesus was held for his trial. It would also have been here where Peter denied the Lord three times. This is specifically what the church commemorates. There are a couple chapels (the upper one having much better acoustics by the way). In the basement, one can view the potential holding cell of Christ. We headed out from here and up into the old city to the burnt house museum. Here on the Western Hill is where more of the upper class would have lived in the first century including many of the priests. Excavations have revealed a mansion that has been quite well preserved considering. The houses on this hill are just down from Herod's Palace. Walking through the site, one is overwhelmed by the luxury.  From the private mikvah baths, bathrooms, mosaic floors, stone dishes, frescoes, and patterned ceilings – life was good. What is significant about the the stone dishes? This goes back to Jewish kosher laws – if potter becomes ceremony unclean, it must be broken. However, stone dishes do not become ceremonially unclean, but stone dishes would be expensive! The walls were even plastered to look like dressed stones found in the temple! Roman glass and the latest luxuries have been uncovered.

Looking up the Roman Street
We then proceeded back out of the present city walls to the Pool of Siloam. Again, this is where Jesus sent the blind man to wash his eyes that he may be healed. The pool was only rediscovered in 2005 while trying to fix a water line. Presently, only a small side of the pool has been uncovered. The Orthodox Church owns the remaining property, but at present the land is being leased by a Muslim man for his home and orchard. He is elderly, widowed, and his kids have moved away. When he passes, excavations may be able to continue. But before then, we pray he may come to know the Healer who gave sight to the blind. Passing through a tunnel what was once one of the roads, the magnificence of Herod's Jerusalem shines through. Down to the very drain caps, the details have been designed magnificently. Again, dressed stones are found in the streets. Down to the building of the sewage/water line, Jerusalem was modern impressive city! This speaks much of Hared's investment into the city. He was out to impress! We finished the morning by climbing up through the ancient sewage/water line and back to JUC. During the destruction of Jerusalem, many Jews tried to hid in the sewer line to escape the Romans. However, the Romans broke through to the sewer lines and retrieved the captives. Interestingly, since we were here last time, a new discovery has been made! Archeologists found whole cooking dishes! (in the sewer). This must have been from the destruction of AD 70. People were literally living in the sewer trying to avoid the Romans. Now that is determination! (Though at this point in time the sewer is not the same as we think of it today.) Herod set the tone for the prestige and splendor of Jerusalem for decades to come. Although many of the projects were not completed in his lifetime, he set the stage and ideas.

In the afternoon, a small group of us winded our way through the Old City and back out through the Damascus gate to the Garden Tomb – an alternative site for the death and burial of Jesus. The warm inviting atmosphere struck me immediately. It is one of the only Protestant sites in Jerusalem. Although I still tend to cast my lot with traditional site, they do have a decent argument. However, this is not their emphasis. Rather they have the opportunity to share the gospel with every visitor who enters. A man by the name of Caesar gave us a free tour from Golgotha, to the Garden, to the EMPTY tomb. Praise the Lord! The present tomb looks quite different than it would have in Jesus' era. When the crusaders invaded the land, they turned the cave/tomb into a stable for their horses.
We then caught the light rail to visit the markets on Ben Yahuda Street – quite the experience! Items are much cheaper here than I have seen them previously. Everything from clothes, cleaning supplies, and lots of food!! 

Can't see it too well, but there would have been a second gate and stairs where
the city wall is now. Previously, the city wall would have been out toward the
end of the first set of stairs. In the middle is where Pilot would have met with
Jesus. This theory makes a lot of sense with the Biblical record. The traditional
location of Antonia's Fortress has several problems. First, Pilot is not likely
to be staying in the garrison if he can stay in the palace. Second, there would
not have been room for the crowds by the Antonia Fortress. Here however,
is soldier entrance right next to Herod's palace where Pilot likely would
have been staying. Golgotha is just up the way - assuming we have the
right Golgotha - otherwise right across the Hinnom Valley could work too
- why not. Fascinating proposal! Until recent excavations we had no
idea there was even a first century gate in this location. 

Dr. Wright explaining the theory. 

Outlook down to where the Hinnom and Kidron Meet

Looking up the Tyropean and Kidron Valleys toward the Temple Mount

Church remembering Peter's Denial

The Courtyard

1st Century Road passing by the home

"I do not know the man"

Caves below the church / home

Lower chapel with a look down the possible cave
where Jesus was kept before his trial

It may have been down there that Jesus was held
for his trial. 

Standing in the Chapel

The upper chapel - much better accustics

Looking over model of Byzantine Jerusalem - pictured is what the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre used to look like. Over the centuries of conquest,
the church has diminished to only 1/3 the size. 

Down in the Wohl Museum of a very rich man's home in the first century -
some speculate Caiaphas the High Priest. The home is extreemly
elaborate ceiling patterns, indoor baths, stone vessels, etc.

Standing in the courtyard. Assuming this was as least similar to what Caiaphas
house would have been like, it would have been in the courtyard that Peter
was warming himself by the fire. There is a room off to the right of the picture
where Jesus would have been questioned - close enough to look over and
see Peter. 

Amazing Frescoes 

Looping back around the Temple Mount as walk down to the Pool of Siloam 

Looking back toward the Pool of Siloam

Even the drain tiles in the street are elaborate

Just a couple weeks ago (since we were here last) a new
discovery has been made - whole cooking pots in the
drainage system. When the Romans sacked Jerusalem in
70 AD, many Jews tried to hid in the tunnels. Here the Romans
broke through the street to retreave them, leaving thier
cooking utensils behind. In this particular tunnel - it's only
 a couple feet tall.

On the North side of the Pool of Siloam - once the land above the pool is
unoccupied, excavations may continue. 

Many other shafts lead into the drainage system we are walking up through

Archaeologists are hard at work today. - Not just here but I've seen them
working at several locations.

Walking along the wall back to the Western Hill

Looking again toward the location where Jesus may have come before Pilate 

Better view looking up the steps - from you can see the second
 set going up into the wall.

Walking down Damascus Gate Road in the Old City

And that is a talented woman!

At the Garden Tomb North of Damascus Gate

Caesar pointing out the original image of the possible site
of Golgotha. 

From here you can see the "skull" - specifically the eye sockets

Beautiful Gardens

And here is the empty tomb! This is the only protestant "holy site" in
Jerusalem. Although I don't think it's the actual location. It does have
a wonderful atmosphere. The tour guides here have the opportunity to
share the gospel message with all who come to visit. - It may be the
only time they truly here the message while in Jerusalem.

Yep, it's empty. Although they claim it is a first century tomb, most
archeologists say it's from the 8th Century BC. The Byzantines seem to have
built a chapel here, but the crusaders damaged the site greatly by enlarging the
opening and clearing out the inside to use as a stable. 

Wherever Christ's tomb is, the important thing is that it
is EMPTY!! He is Risen.

Walking back toward the Damascus Gate

Arriving at Ben Yahuda Street Market by the Light Rail

Lots of goodies for sale!
The nuts are excellent - particularly the chocolate roasted walnuts!

And your meats ... 

whole fish ... 

Never had Halva before coming to Israel - it's really good stuff - and even
more amazing here with so many different flavors! The shop was giving
away samples of their coffee halva - although I can't stand coffee, this was
really good. 

Fresh Olive Oil - Amazing! 

Children playing in the street. 

Back at Damascus Gate. 

Walking through the Muslim Quarter - just off Damascus
Gate Road

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