Archive | June, 2014

Golgotha and the Temple Mount

For many centuries, Christians have worshiped at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the belief that this was the place where Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead. This view was challenged in 1883 by General Charles Gordon, who argued that the Garden Tomb, a site just north of the Old City […]

The Synagogue and Jewish Worship

In cities other than Jerusalem, the synagogue was the center of Jewish worship during the time of Christ. Synagogues were located in most of the leading towns of Israel. Although very little remains of the original first-century synagogue at Nazareth, extensive archaeological evidence exists for a typical Jewish synagogue in the town of Gamla, which […]

Herod’s Temple Complex in the Time of Jesus

When the Gospels and the book of Acts refer to entering the temple or teaching in the temple, it is often not a reference to Herod’s temple itself, but rather to this temple complex, including a number of courts and chambers that surrounded the temple. These latter structures were the great and wonderful buildings referred […]

Herod’s Temple in the Time of Jesus

Herod began construction of this magnificent temple in 20/19 b.c., during the 18th year of his reign. The main construction phase was completed within about a decade. Detailed descriptions of the temple exist in Josephus (Jewish Antiquities 15.380–425; Jewish War 5.184–247) and in early rabbinic writings (esp. Mishnah, Middot). The Roman army under Titus destroyed the temple during the capture […]

The Temple Mount in the Time of Jesus

Herod’s Temple Mount was the focal point of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. Sitting atop Jerusalem’s northeastern ridge, it occupied one-sixth of the city’s area. Under Herod the Great, the Temple Mount’s foundation was expanded to encompass approximately 1.5 million square feet (140,000 square meters). Its foundational walls were constructed using gigantic stones, the […]

Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus

The heavily fortified city of Jerusalem lay atop adjacent hills in the mountainous region of Judea. It therefore proved difficult even for the Romans to recapture during the Jewish revolt, although they eventually did so in a.d. 70 after a bitter siege. The oldest portion of Jerusalem, called “the city of David” and “Mount Zion,” lay to […]

Galilean Fishing Boat

This illustration shows the type of boat that Jesus and his disciples probably used, based on the remains of an approximately 2,000-year-old fishing boat found on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It could hold 15 men, and was 26.5 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 4.5 feet high (8.1 x 2.3 x […]

The City of Nineveh

Nineveh, which was situated at the confluence of the Tigris and Khoser rivers (modern-day Mosul, Iraq), was first settled in the seventh millennium b.c. According to the Bible, Nimrod was the founder of the city (Gen. 10:11). Major excavations took place under the direction of Henry Layard from 1845 to 1854. The diagram pictures the results of […]

The City of Babylon

The city of Babylon reached its zenith under Nebuchadrezzar II (Nebuchadnezzar of Scripture, who reigned 605–562 b.c.). He restored and enlarged it, making it the largest city seen in the world up to that time. The Euphrates River flowed through it, with the oldest quarter of the city lying on the east bank of the river. […]

Ezekiel’s Temple Vision

Ezekiel’s final vision of an ideal temple (and city, and land; chs. 40–48) forms a counterpart to the vision of chs. 8–11. In each case he is taken on a tour of the structure, but whereas in the earlier vision he discovers abominations and perverted worship, in this final vision all is in readiness for the perpetual […]