This is # 2 in a 4 post series featuring a few pictures from my travels in Israel with the Fuller Seminary crew.
Sites from the Old testament
Part 2 (this one): “Intertestamental” and New Testament
Part 3: Early/Medieval Church
Part 4: Contemporary Israel
Under each picture will be a quick description.
The archaeological site “Banias” is home to the temple of the goat-footed god, Pan, erected in the Hellenistic period (4th/3rd century BCE). The remains of ritual sacrifices were thrown into the subterranean waters at the back of this cave- if they disappeared all was well, if blood showed up in the water down river it meant the gods rejected the sacrifice.
The Snake Path leading up to Herod’s desert fortress, Masada, built in the 1st century BCE. Josephus described the trail as “nothing but destruction in case your feet slip, for on each side there is a vastly deep chasm and precipice, sufficient to quell the courage of everybody by the terror it infuses into the mind.” Today there are wide steps and railing, however, these do not protect one from the punishment of 115 degree heat… so we discovered.
From the top of Masada, overlooking the desert surrounding the Dead Sea. Shortly after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, the Roman legion “X Fretensis” stormed this Jewish rebel compound. The remnants of Roman siege camps are located in the distance.
The harbor at Caesarea Maritime was part of Herod’s extensive building program and part of a plan to build up the city’s cultural appeal. Caesarea was the site of Herod Agrippa’s death (according to Josephus / cf Acts 12), the home of Cornelius (baptized by Paul Acts 10-11) and Philip the evangelist – in whose house Paul took refuge (Acts 21:8). This picture shows the remains of a mural with water-logged ruins in the background… which evidently made for the coolest fishing spot in the world.
The hippodrome at Caesrea Maritima, site of horse and chariot races.
Path of the Patriarchs
A Roman “milestone” placed alongside the Path of the Patriarchs.
Stones volleyed by catapults during the Seleucid siege on Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE.
Qumran is the site where scrolls of the Hebrew Bible (along with commentary) were found in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, possibly a settlement of the Essene Jewish sect. Before their discovery, the oldest complete Hebrew Bible was dated to the 1000’s ACE. The “Dead Sea Scrolls” found in the caves were dated to the late 2nd century BCE through the 1st century CE.
The “Wailing Wall” is a portion of the West-facing remains of the foundation to Herod’s Temple complex in Jerusalem, the Temple Jesus knew. For more of my experience at the Wall, go here – The God of Place and Time
Prayers are traditionally written and placed within the cracks of the wall. At some point each year, Israeli authorities gather up the notes and bury them.
The partition separating genders at the Wailing Wall.
Steps leading up to the southern wall of the temple complex. Possibly the spot Jesus referenced in his prophecy about the destruction of the temple (“not one stone on top of another” Matt 24:2), but certainly steps he would have walked.
(c.) 5th century synagogue in Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, built upon what was possibly the remains of the synagogue where Jesus preached his first sermon from the Isaiah scroll (Luke 4). [This specific photo is courtesy of Nate Harrison, all other photos in the Israel series are copyright Allen O’Brien]
Mentioned several times in the Old and New Testaments, the pool of Siloam is the site where Jesus specifically commanded the blind man to wash and receive his vision (John 9). These steps lead into the unexcavated pool.
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee was home to much of Jesus’ ministry. Although it is in many ways difficult to historically reconstruct Jesus or the culture in which he lived, Christians have pointed out that the post-resurrection Jesus who met the disciples on this lake is the same Jesus we connect with today- the risen Christ.
Tomorrow’s post (Part 3) will include sites of Early and Medieval Church significance.
Part 1 [Old Testament] <– | –> Part 3 [Early/Medieval Church]
Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.
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