Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bethlehem - The City Where Jesus Was Born

This is the story of the shepherds in Bethlehem at the announcement of the angels of Jesus' birth. The verses are as read from Luke 2:8-16. So that you understand, I will quote the verse and then in parenthesis, I will explain what the picture is.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (A shepherd's field in Bethlehem. This area is under lock and key by the YMCA.)

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (Another view of the field that would have been used by the shepherds of that day - not particularly the ones used by those who saw Jesus, but very similiar)

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (Look at how beautiful these fields are with all their greenery. No wonder, the shepherds used fields like these.)

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (This is the view of the city that the shepherds would have had when the angel came and made this announcement of the birth of Jesus.)
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
(This is the rear entrance to a shepherds' cave, like the one used by Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem.)

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
(Inside view of the shepherds' cave where Joseph and Mary would have stayed on that glorious night. This would not have been a very comfortable place to stay.)

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (Hopefully, you could tell that this would be a manger. Jesus would have been laid in something similar to this when he was born on that Christmas night.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bet She'an

This is a picture from the top of the Tell here. Quite an amazing few from the top here. Off to the top right hand corner would be the bathhouse. The top left hand corner would be the theatre and in the bottom left hand corner would be the temple to the pagan gods.

Here are two more overview pictures from the top of the Tell that we climbed.
This is an idol that was found from the time of the Philistines. It is actually of the Pharoah of Egypt, Ramses III. The Philistines took these idols and chopped off their arms and legs as a mockery to the religion of the Egyptians. When a country would conquer a nation, not only were they conquering the nation as a whole, but it was a symbol of a religion conquering a religion and thus they made a mockery of this idol.
These are the first century steps that lead up to the temple to the pagan gods. Everything here in the city was destroyed by an earthquake. Excavators have stood some of the pillars and things up in different areas, but this temple shows the ultimate ruin of the city.
Standing here on Paladius street, one can see a beautiful mound called the Tell. This is where the military would have been in this city. On the top is a palace from the king. His throne room is up there, and some artifacts from the city.
This is an overview of the city of Bet She'an. The city is about six times as large as the little area that we went into, but we went to where most of the remains would have been. The rest is all houses and motels now.

This is your sauna, as we would know it today. You can see on the far side of the room, there are some passage ways for heat to enter the room. These checker-like pieces are actually under the floor. They will heat up to extreme temperatures and obviously heat up the floor itself to temperatures unbearable to the feet. Then one would enter the room and pour water all over the floor, creating a steam room. This would be for use after a workout in the gymnasium just outside of the bathhouse.

This is a layout of the bathhouse here in Bet She'an. It is a rather large building. Numerous things would go on here. One could take a cold bath, hot bath, or use the heat room that was already mentioned. The people of the city could also come here for their ritual baths before going to the temples. They also could perform baptisms here and even workout here. The gymnasium would be a large building just at the entrance to this complex. Many exercises could be done here in the gymnasium, just like we can do many workouts in our gyms today.
This is one of the baptisms that is still visible today in the bathhouse. Just to note here, quickly, that these people obviously believed in immersion for their baptisms.

After exiting the bathhouse, one will find themselves on this first century street. The street is called Palladius street after a man named Palladius. Our Greek scholar, Mr. Armacost, read this in a mosaic inscription there on the street. This would have been the main street in the city.

This is the Theatre. The Romans would open these up for all to attend for free. It would give the people a sense of excitement over the Romans being in control. These were used for plays and other things. Underneath the stage is the changing rooms. We entered into this theatre and heard a man singing some soul music in here and were able to hear how well the accoustics are in these Theatres.

Scripture events in Bet She'an: After Saul and his sons were killed on Mount Gilboa, they were taken here by the Philistines and hung in the streets for all to see. They would have cut off Saul's head and placed it on a pole at the top of the Tell for all to see.


Arbel Pass

The actual Arbel Pass. Jesus
would have passed through this same pass.

Look how green and beautiful this country is!

You can see caves at the bottom of the mountain.
People hid from the Romans in these caves.
The Romans repelled from the top down to these caves
And killed these Jews. Talk about another Holocaust.

They say that now when you go into these caves,
You can find wild cows and bulls in the back of them.
They must be following in the steps the Jews.
Hiding from the one who seeks to slaughter them.

This is a large mountain range.
Again, you can see the caves here.

The Front of the Arbel Pass.
We did not hike down it as the last trip did,
but we still enjoyed the beauty of the area.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Zao Island

I have been desiring to keep my sisters informed as to what has been going on here. We have been enjoying ourselves and keeping our time busy. While dad was gone over to Israel, Lindsey and I were able to take a few outings and have some fun together. I am telling you that we had a blast. I am putting a few pictures from our times together in this post and others in the future.

The first Friday that dad was gone, we took the afternoon and went to Zao Island in Valparaiso. Following our expensive go-cart ride and some time in the batting cages, we found ourselves at the local McDonald's and then ended up across the street at Oberweis Ice Cream shop there in Valparaiso. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Look Out Racing World. Here comes the world's second woman Nascar Driver. She'll beat them all!
AND THE WINNER IS: LINDSEY LESLIE. Even though she came in behind everyone else on the track and they even had to turn her engine down on the throttle so that she would slow down enough to stop. But Her hand was raced in victory and she is proud of that fact

You might have thought Nascar was in for a surprise awakening but I am telling you that Major League Baseball has a bigger star than that on the horizon.

And to top that off, she has just added a third sport to her professional athletic resume. How many athletes do you know that play three different sports, in one day at that. She just added motorcycle racing. Hey, she would probably do better than I would, but really, can you picture Lindsey riding on a motorcycle. It is quite the site to imagine.
Folks, I hope that you enjoyed these pictures. Let me know your thoughts that I may better the pictures in the future. Thanks alot!

Jim Leslie