Could this be where Jesus was crucified?
Here stands a graveyard, which is very ancient, and it is a minor miracle in itself how it has managed to survive thousands of years’ worth of wars right here in the middle of Jerusalem. Personally, we see God’s hand directly shielding it from harm, to ensure that the memory of Abraham’s sacrifice, and later of his own son Jesus Christ, would never be lost.
Let’s go now to the Plain of Mamre, Abraham's Oak. This is believed to be the area where the Lord and two angels visited Abraham’s camp and informed him that he would have a son named Isaac. Abraham built an altar here.
Genesis 13. v 18 tells us, “So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord”.
A very ancient and gnarled oak tree stands behind railings, supported by various means. According to tradition it is opposite the very spot where Abraham dwelt in his tent when the angels promised him a son and heir. Here also, he negotiated with Ephron the Hittite for Sarah’s burial cave.
Josephus is probably referring to it in Jewish Antiquities 1:10 No 4, where he writes, “ now Abraham dwelt near the oak called Ogyges”. The place is in Canaan and is not far from Hebron.
The exact age of the tree is not known. Due to its great age, it has to be supported by both metal frames and wooden props. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. While they ate he stood near them under a tree. The Lord said to Abraham I will surely return to you about this time next year and Sarah your wife will have a son”. Is it possible that this is the very tree? It is certainly very ancient.
HOUSE OF DAVID INSCRIPTION
What about King David who was the King of Israel? This is a story that many of us have also laughed at, the story of the boy David challenging the giant Goliath, striking Goliath in the forehead with a stone from his sling knocking him out and then chopping off Goliaths head with his sword.
What's so funny about that you may ask?
Well this was just one of many stories in the Bible with no evidence outside the Bible to prove it.
Now we can stop laughing as for the first time ever there is clear archaeological evidence which was discovered in 1993 at Tel Dan called THE HOUSE OF DAVID INSCRIPTION also known as the Tel Dan Stele and Mesha Stele.
This is proof and is circumstantial evidence that David had once lived, or at least that the Judahites believed he had.
When we were children many of us heard of famous Bible stories like Samson and Delilah who you may recall was the Israelite hero who had strength granted by God. Samson was granted supernatural strength in order to combat his enemies and perform heroic feats such as wrestling a lion slaying an entire army with only a jawbone of a donkey and destroying a blasphemous temple
With stories like this it is easy to believe it is just a fairy tale like Father Christmas coming down the chimney to surprise us with wonderful presents. Not until we grow up we then discover there is no evidence concerning the reality of Father Christmas and we then realise our parents tricked us into believing in a fairy tale. However when we start to seek we then start to find.
We now find archaeology has been found to support yet another biblical story. Most of the events of Samson’s life took place in the Sorek Valley near Beit Shemesh Israel.
Recent excavations have shown thriving cities and villages here from the Middle Bronze Age through the Iron II period and the buildings contained fragments of numerous pottery storage vessels.
Ancient remains of the city where we believe Samson, Judge of Israel, lived.
Copyright ©2011 iStockphoto LP.
All the places in the Bible like Zorah and Eshtaol where Samson's mother prophesied his birth and Samson grew up and wanted to marry a Philistine girl from Timnah have been found including Excavations of Beth Shemesh and the Sorek Valley. It is near this area where he killed the lion.
His last girlfriend Delilah also lived somewhere near here.But what about Samson's fate, what can cause such a mighty man with great strength to fall, have his eyes torn out; and become a slave, weak ,blind helpless, mocked and shamed at a Philistine stronghold?
UCG Portland Mini Study Archaeology supports the story of Samson and Philistine temple
Critics, of course, have doubted the story and called it a myth. They have argued that a Philistine temple would not have had two central pillars supporting the roof since this wasn't a typical architectural design of Middle Eastern temples.
Archaeologist Bryant Wood explains the significance of the discoveries:
“Two Philistine temples have been uncovered by archaeologists. Both temples share a unique design, the roof was supported by two central pillars!
“The pillars were made of wood and rested on stone support bases. With the pillars being about six feet apart a strong man could dislodge them from their stone bases and bring the entire roof crashing down. The archaeological findings match the Biblical story perfectly and attest to the plausibility of the account…
“The Bible writer knew his facts. He knew that Philistine temples were supported by two pillars and that this was how Samson pulled the temple down. The report is that of an eye-witness, again demonstrating that indeed the Bible is the world’s most accurate textbook” (“Samson and the Temple of Dagon.” Bible and Spade, 1974, pp. 53-54). By UCG Portland Mini Study Archaeology.
If this story of Samson is true for someone who was so famous then why can’t we find his grave as after his death we are told that Samson's family recover his body from the rubble and bury him.
Just off the motorway that leads to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is a road that runs through the Jewish National Fund (JNF)’s President’s Forest. This beautiful area is studded with eye-catching sculptures and serene picnic areas.
As you continue through the road it comes into the land and country of the famous Samson, as told in Judges 13. Located in this area is the burly champion’s birth and burial “between Zor’a and Eshta’ol” (Judges 13:24). This book tells of Samson's mother - the woman who gave birth to the strong young boy. Samson grew and the LORD blessed him; and whilst he was in Mahaneh Dan (between Zorah and Eshtaol), the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him.
Here is the tragic hero’s burial place. Here you can see the white-washed, blue-domed traditional tomb of Samson and that of his father Manoah.
Samson may have lost his eyes but after his repentance God saved his soul and Samson’s legacy lives on.
ST PAUL'S TOMB UNEARTHED IN ROME
What evidence is there to suggest that this is the famous Apostle Paul, Saul of Tarsus, now known as Turkey, and Saint Paul of c. AD 5 – c. AD 67 who wrote half of the New Testament.
There is evidence that people traveled here since the first centuries of Christianity.
3600 coins were found in the tomb believed to have been left behind by visitors from around the world. The coins are from different time periods before and after Christ. They left the coins to show the long journey they had taken to get to the apostles tomb.
Why would people travel many miles if they did not believe this tomb to be something of significance? Strangely enough we still do a similar thing to day by traveling to places and throwing coins in a well. Let St Paul's tomb remind us, whether this tomb is true or false, St. Paul's legacy lives on.
Tomb of St Philip
Is this the tomb of St Phillip one of Jesus disciples? An Italian professor believes he has discovered the Tomb of St Phillip in the ancient city of Hierapolis in the Aegaen province of Denizil Turkey.
The leading archaeologist D'andria discovered the remnants of an unknown church forty metres away from the St Phillip church after excavations at the ancient city for 32 years.
The Tomb Jesus (YESHUA) Raises Lazarus From the Dead
Let’s visit the place where one of the greatest miracles was performed by Jesus - The Tomb of Lazarus.
Here is believed to be the tomb, where Jesus raised Lazarus who had been dead for 4 days, as told in John 11.
Tomb of Lazarus
Here is an Orthodox Church, which was built in the town over the tomb of St. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. It is believed He died here and was buried in the church named after him. In 890 A.D. his tomb was found bearing the inscription "Lazarus the friend of Christ".
Bones Of John The Baptist
1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:“A voice of one calling in the desert,‘Prepare the way for the Lord,make straight paths for him.’”
Do you remember one of the greatest Prophets ever to have lived, the man who prepared the way for Jesus,
The man who foretold the coming of Jesus before being beheaded on the orders of King Herod, with his head served up on a plate.
Yes, St John the Baptist as told in Mathew 3:1
Bulgarian archaeologists have claimed to have found the remains of fragments of his skull, bones from a jaw and an arm, and a tooth in ancient reliquary, which was then discovered embedded in an altar in the ruins of the ancient monastery on the island in the Black Sea.
Let’s continue to travel over dangerous terrain, over mountains to the city of Shechem in Canaan where still today remains the very water well Jacob dug and drank from.
The very place Jacob purchased from the sons of Hamor in (Gen. 33:19).
Genesis 33:1818 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, [b] he arrived safely at the [c] city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver, [d] he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel
This is the very same place Jesus meets and speaks with the Samaritan woman, telling her secrets about her self that only she knew.
Jesus speaks with a Samaritan Woman 4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Capital city of Ramses II
Let’s journey back from Jacobs well over the highest heights of the many mountains of Jerusalem, over the centre of the world, through dangerous terrain, over mountains and seas, to the capital city of Rameses II.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!" 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh King of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 The Egyptian, all Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen and troops pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
A German-Egyptian archaeological team located the capital city of Ramses II, featuring a stunning horse stable, believed to be where the 500 horses were kept for the EXODUS, using high-tech equipment, known as cutting-edge imaging.
"This is the biggest and oldest horse stable ever found in the world," said Ali Gaballa, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). It was found on the site of the 3,300-year-old city of Piramesse (Per Ramses or House of Ramses), 115kms northeast of Cairo at Qantir, a farming village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya.
Let’s travel far and wide over the Red Sea to the most famous rock in the world in Saudi Arabia, discovered by Jim and Penny Caldwell Of Split Rock Research Foundation. Here is the Rock at Horeb, or the Split Rock,
Here is where: all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? 3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? 4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. 5 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, where with thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not? Ex 17:1-8
Let’s go back even further to Jacob’s son, the Biblical Joseph in Genesis 37, famously known to most people today as Joseph with the amazing technicolour dreamcoat.
Archeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian coins bearing the name and image of the biblical Joseph.
Thank you for joining me in seeking out life-changing experiences from the lowest depths of terrain, over mountains and seas, traveling together to the most famous places in the world.
We pray you have seen that God and his treasures are most certainly real, always remembering, one more thing, Gods greatest treasure, yes that’s you my friend.