What Christ’s Manger was Like
Thanks to Christmas cards and holiday movies, we usually think of Christ’s manger as a wooden crib with straw. But it wasn’t so.
Mangers were carved from stone, like the one above. Archaeologists have found mangers at a number of sites in Israel, such as Megiddo, Tekoa, and Ramat Rahel (above).
Most of us give Christmas gifts that are quickly forgotten. After the iPhone gets cracked, or the DVD gets watched, or the sweater gets snagged, they all end up at the landfill. This year, why not give a gift (or ask for one) that will last a lifetime?
(Photo: by Carsten Tolkmit. Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Bible Lands study tools make great gifts because they take your personal Bible study to the next level. What’s more, they don’t wear out.
Here are my top 5 recommendations this year for gifts you’ll enjoy giving (and receiving).
A recent poll by the Barna Group revealed a startling fact about Christians and the Bible: “Just half of all self-identified Christians firmly believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles (not the facts, just the principles) that it teaches.”
The entire basis of Christianity’s faith stems from what the Bible reveals about God, humanity, sin, and salvation. Is the Bible true?
Although any belief is ultimately a matter of faith, it should have a basis of credibility, reliability, and correspondence with reality. In a world where opinions of truth vary wildly, truth has to be based on more than preference.
Is the Bible true? Ultimately, the decision to believe it is up to you.
Here are 8 extraordinary facts that support the Bible as the Word of God.
Whenever I visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, I’m eager to walk to the southwest corner of the Temple Mount.
I’ve never been to this corner on Rosh Hashanah or during the Feast of Trumpets, but I’d love to go there then. Archaeologists have uncovered a large portion of the first-century street that stretched north along the original Western Wall.
One hundred meters north of the corner is the part of the Western Wall where locals and tourists pray. But beneath the ground, Jerusalem’s Central Valley has been filled in with the rubble of the Second Temple’s destruction in A.D. 70. As a result, the beautiful modern plaza stands about 30 feet above the first-century street uncovered at the southwestern corner.
There at the corner lies a reminder of something Jesus predicted 37 years before the temple’s destruction.
And of a promise He made that could be fulfilled at any moment.
For most Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, Jerusalem is the climax of their journey. After all, the redemption of the universe occurred there. History knows no more significant city.
In my previous post, I shared 5 Christian sites in Jerusalem you should know about—including the Mount of Olives, the Pools of Bethesda, and the Pool of Siloam.
(Photo: Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher)
With very few exceptions, we can’t stand on a square foot of ground and claim, “Jesus walked here.” But we can point to areas where biblical history aligns with the geography of Jesus.
Let’s add 5 more Christian sites to the previous list. These are sites in Jerusalem associated with Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Jerusalem is famous for the standard sites tourists visit. The Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Holocaust Museum, and the Israel Museum top the list of many visitors to Jerusalem.
Pilgrims, sightseers, and worshippers from three major religions journey to the Holy City every year. Because Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all see Jerusalem as a Holy City, it’s tough to designate many of the Christian sites in Jerusalem as distinctly Christian.
After all, Christianity has its roots in the faith of the ancient Hebrews. Jesus was a Jew, and so, many Jewish sites are therefore also connected to Christianity.
Even still, I have selected ten Christian sites in Jerusalem that have a direct, historical connection to the ministry of Jesus.
In this post, I’ll share with you the first five of these Christian sites in Jerusalem.
The slopes near the site of Bethsaida offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the Galilee.
In the spring, wildflowers burst open to drink in the sun, and the surrounding meadows paint the whole area a bright green. From certain vantage points, I have looked at the Sea of Galilee from Bethsaida and observed no modern distractions.
Most modern maps, signs, and tourists point to the site of et-Tell as biblical Bethsaida. If so, then this was the place in which Jesus performed miracles.
Peter, Andrew, and Philip had this as their hometown. A hometown that rejected Jesus. But God would still use the boyhood home in the lives these men.
God can use your lousy hometown too.
Most people familiar with the Pentecost—or Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks—associate the Jewish holiday with the Book of Ruth.
After all, the most exciting events of Ruth’s story occurred during the time of Shavuot at Bethlehem’s wheat harvest (Ruth 2:23). It’s no wonder today that many people include reading of the Book of Ruth as part of their celebration of Shavuot.
Although I absolutely love the Book of Ruth, Shavuot more often causes my mind to wander further west of Bethlehem—down into the Shephelah.
It’s unlikely anybody celebrates the Pentecost at such an unlikely place as Beth Shemesh.
But a practical application urges us to do so.
Whenever someone asks how to spend a day in Jerusalem, I try to steer the person away from shopping malls and toward the Tower of David Citadel—Jerusalem’s museum of the city’s history.
The museum does what no book can. In just a few hours’ time, one can catch a glimpse of Jerusalem’s history as well as observe archaeology from the city’s various periods.
Ironically, the museum that does so much to remove the confusion about Jerusalem’s history is named in error.
The Tower of David Citadel in Jerusalem has nothing to do with David.
Location, location, location . . . If history ever compared the land of Israel to the game of “Monopoly,” the site of Tel Megiddo would be Boardwalk.
It was the most coveted spot on the playing board.
Tel Megiddo’s tremendous value came from its strategic location as the sentinel of the most important pass through the Mt. Carmel range.
Whoever held Tel Megiddo in the ancient world controlled the traffic and trade along the International Highway to and from Egypt. That meant both military and financial security.
Taking Megiddo is like capturing a thousand cities. —Pharaoh Thutmose III
Its value simply can’t be exaggerated.