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Jerusalem: City of David – part 1

Jerusalem–the holy city for the world’s three monotheistic religions.  It evokes life-changing events for millions and history unparalleled for centuries with political,  religious and archaeological claims to every holy square inch.  To see it for the first time, perhaps standing on Mt. Scopus at sunset, is to have a moment forever etched in memory.

 

Byzantine mosaic map in St. George’s Church, Madaba, Jordan.

The city’s importance through the Byzantine period, in the 6th century CE, is tangibly seen in Madaba, Jordan.  Here a mosaic map, created to show not just locations of sites, but their importance by size, reveals Jerusalem as the center of the world.  As the photograph reveals, “The Holy City of Jerusalem” contained six gates and twenty one towers surrounded by city walls, all displayed in stunning mosaic that covers 15′ square feet of floor in the St. George Byzantine church.

Today, 3000 years later, the City of Jerusalem, working capital of the country of Israel since its founding, continues in daily news headlines as a center of political and religious controversy. Whether it is the potential relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, or the response of Palestinians to sharing their beloved city with others, Jerusalem seems anything but the city of peace.

Bible Roads will be sharing four brief videos from a recent trip to Jerusalem, each one explaining a different facet of the city.  This current vlog (video blog) highlights the Dome of the Rock, that iconic gold dome in virtually every city skyline photograph of this ancient capital city.  It serves as a sacred destination for Jews since it is thought to be the rock on which Abraham started to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  It also is thought to be the site where the holiest of holies was located for both the Temple Solomon built in the 9th century BCE, and the second Temple built after return from the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BCE.

For Muslims, this site is a shrine — not a mosque–for those pilgrims who want to commemorate where Muhammad was supposed to have ascended, and was built in the 7th century CE.

The Dome of the Rock sits on what is known as The Temple Mount, which rises above the Kidron Valley and sits directly across from the Garden of Gethsemane.  Following his night in the garden praying, Jesus was taken to the Temple Mount where the palace of Annas, the High Priest, was located.  After his questioning, Jesus was transferred to the palace of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, nearby.   As mentioned, every square inch:   holy ground.

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Welcome to the Bible Roads Blog

Bible Roads BlogIf you’re hungry to discover more of the Bible’s treasures, or have a place to bring some curious question, this Bible study blog is for you.  At least twice monthly we will be providing brief 300-word pithy (hopefully!) statements about some aspect of understanding the Bible in a more informed way.

We’ll look at questions like:  When did Jesus promise the Comforter would come?  Why do so many Biblical women not have names?  What was Jesus’ last directive?  Who is one of the earliest prophetic voices to foretell the Messiah?  Where is the answer for bullying found in the Scriptures?

Insights and guidance about money, relationships, health, business, and everything in between, is why people keep opening their Bibles.   Just because the setting is another part of the globe, and centuries ago, doesn’t mean God’s presence and guidance can’t be felt now.   If you have a special question, we hope you’ll ask it here, because we’d like this blog to meet your current needs and questions.

How about reading the Bible through in a year?  That’s on a lot of people’s bucket lists but most get stuck around Leviticus.  We’ve got what looks like a quirky way to accomplish this and it even holds your interest with some surprising ‘connective tissue’ in it.  We’ll write about our own response to doing this plan and include others’ experiences as well.

Are you in a Bible Study group, or interested in starting one?   What kind of materials and resources do you need to be theologically supportive but accessible? Many are doing this kind of in-depth Bible study with friends for the first time and finding it a hugely helpful way to dig into the Scriptures. We’ll look at some tips for facilitating a Bible Study in the months to come.

Primarily, we wish you success on the most important journey any of us can take, exploring the Scriptures.  Welcome!

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