|May 24, 2008
|Passover-Tabernacles Blood Red Moon Signs of 1949 & 1967 to Occur in 2014-15|
This is a must read issue covering the Return of Christ, the Ark of the Covenant, Recent Discoveries in Biblical Archeology, Giants and the Flood, the Temple Mount, the Gospel and the Word of God - all the things that make worshiping YHWH so exciting!
"There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
Stand and consider the wonders of God
"The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
"Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
"Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, `My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';
Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it."
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
|Shalom in Christ Jesus, |
As the header above
indicates, this is a very exciting and I hope, very encouraging alert. I
thought it about time to put together a series of articles that may remind us
of Daniel's prophecy that in the last days, knowledge would increase (Daniel
12:4). Although we apply that prophecy to many things in a general sense, most
expositors and students of the Bible would say that the fulfillment of that
prophecy is directly related to the increasing knowledge of the scriptures.
That is indeed true, partly as the Lord has drawn together nearly all the
sources of teaching and related communication of teachers through technology,
but also through things such as archeology and other sciences that help to
uncover and/or shed light on the past.
The first article in this
alert I personally find very interesting and exciting. It has to do with the
rare occurrence of four consecutive full Lunar eclipses called a tetrad,
scheduled to take place during Passover and Sukkot (Tabernacles) in 2014 and
2015. What is so interesting about this is that the last two times this
occurred was both Passover and Sukkot of 1949-1950, and again both Passover and
Sukkot of 1967-1968. You may recognize these years as being very historically
significant in the history and regathering of Israel as a nation.
The minister who claims to
have uncovered this speculates that when this occurs again in 2014-15 it may be
the return of Christ. I suppose that could be but we must remember that this is
just a speculation. However, other things could happen as well such as the
rebuilding of the temple or the beginning of the time of Jacob's trouble. The
fact is we just do not know, but I would not doubt one bit that something truly
significant will happen. Nonetheless, this side if the resurrection and rapture
of the saints, we may not immediately understand or see the significance and so
we must be aware and prepare for that and not turn this into another Y2K or
Do your own check of the Blood Moon Scenario
Read the first article, then
if you are interested come back, and follow the remaining instructions to check
out for yourself the Blood Moon Scenario.
Unlike many of these sorts
of discoveries that come out, this one is actually relatively easy to go onto
the Internet and check for yourself. Below, I have provided the stating links
for each period of time, 1949, 1967 and 2014, as well as the Hebrew calendar
and NASA links.
When on the Hebrew calendar
link you will need to follow the arrows on the page to go ahead to the next
year - each grouping of four total eclipses covers three Hebrew calendar years.
Blood moon eclipses: 2nd Coming in 2015?
|Minister uses NASA forecasting to study signals of Jesus' returnWORLDNETDAILY - By Joe Kovacs - April 30, 2008
Will Jesus Christ return to Earth in the year 2015?
And can studying NASA's website provide evidence for such a scenario?
A minister who promotes the Old Testament roots of Christianity suggests a rare string of lunar and solar eclipses said to fall on God's annual holy days seven years from now could herald what's come to be known as the "Second Coming" of Jesus.
"God wants us to look at the biblical calendar," says Mark Biltz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries
in Bonney Lake, Wash. "The reason we need to be watching is [because] He will signal His appearance. But we have to know what to be watching as well. So we need to be watching the biblical holidays."
In a video interview [see below]
on the Prophecy in the News website
, Biltz said he's been studying prophecies that focus on the sun and moon, even going back to the book of Genesis where it states the lights in the sky would be "be for signs, and for seasons."
"It means a signal, kind of like 'one if by land, two if by sea.' It's like God wants to signal us," he said. "The Hebrew word implies --- not only is it a signal, but it's a signal for coming or His appearing."
Biltz adds the word "seasons" implies appointed times for God's feasts and festivals.
"When we hear the word feast, we think food. But the Hebrew word has nothing to do with food. It has to do with a divine appointment, as if God has a day timer, and He says, 'OK, I'm gonna mark the day and the time when I'm going to signal My appearance.'"
In the Old Testament, the prophet Joel states, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come." (Joel 2:31)
In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light --- And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:29-30)Gary Stearman
of Prophecy in the News noted, "When we think of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving her light, we usually think of some astronomical catastrophe - perhaps the sun sputtering and the moon being affected by all this. But maybe it's time to rethink this a little bit and think of it as a natural cycle, the cycle of the eclipses."
Thus, Biltz began focusing on the precise times of both solar and lunar eclipses, sometimes called "blood moons" since the moon often takes on a bloody color. He logged onto NASA's eclipse website
which provides precision tracking of the celestial events.
He noted a rare phenomenon of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, known as a tetrad
He says during this century, tetrads occur at least six times, but what's interesting is that the only string of four consecutive blood moons that coincide with God's holy days of Passover in the spring and the autumn's Feast of Tabernacles (also called Succoth) occurs between 2014 and 2015 on today's Gregorian calendar
"The fact that it doesn't happen again in this century I think is very significant," Biltz explains. "So then I looked at last century, and, believe it or not, the last time that four blood red moons occurred together was in 1967 and 1968 tied to Jerusalem recaptured by Israel."
He then started to notice a pattern of the tetrads.
"What's significant to me is that even before 1967, the next time that you had four blood red moons again was right after Israel became a nation in '48, it happened again in 1949 and 1950 ... on Passover and Succoth. You didn't have any astronomical tetrads in the 1800s, the 1700s, the 1600s. In the 1500s, there were six, but none of those fell on Passover and Succoth."
When checking the schedule for solar eclipses, Biltz found two - one on the first day of the Hebrew year and the next on the high holy day of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the seventh Hebrew month. Both of these take place in the 2014-2015 year.
Biltz says, "You have the religious year beginning with the total solar eclipse, two weeks later a total lunar eclipse on Passover, and then the civil year beginning with the solar eclipse followed two weeks later by another total blood red moon on the Feast of Succoth all in 2015."
"If you think that this is a coincidence, I want you to know that it's time!" exclaimed Prophecy in the News host J.R. Church
. "There are no more of these for the rest of the century."
The prospect of eclipses pinpointing the time of Jesus' return is getting mixed reaction in Christian circles.
After seeing Biltz's interview, Jim Bramlett, an author and former vice president for the Christian Broadcasting Network, expressed excitement.
"I have just watched the program two times and do not think I have ever been more encouraged or excited about the soon return of the Lord!" Bramlett said
But Hal Lindsey
, a well-known biblical analyst and author of "The Late Great Planet Earth," says while he hasn't heard of Biltz's theory, he called it "pure speculation."
"In my 50-something years of studying prophecy, to me the greatest indication of the time of Christ's return is based around the general things of prophecies coming together in the same time frame."
He mentioned not only Israel's birth as a political state in 1948, but the increase in tensions with Muslims, the rise of Russia, China and the European Union, which he says is even "calling itself the revived Roman Empire."
"I see the whole sweep and panorama spinning together in a precise scenario," he said.
During a second video interview [see below]
, Biltz was presented with Bible quotes that many think suggest Jesus' return will be a complete surprise, or at least not specifically known.
The 25th chapter of Matthew features a parable where Jesus likens His kingdom to ten virgins all waiting for the arrival of their bridegroom.
Jesus said in the story, "ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 25:13)
Biltz says people need to examine the quote in its proper context.
"When He says you don't know the day or the hour, He's speaking to the foolish virgins, not the wise virgins," he explained.
Biltz was also asked about the famous statement in Matthew 24:36 when Jesus was discussing the signs of His "coming, and of the end of the world": "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36)
He responded by referring to the annual Feast of Trumpets holiday, saying Israelites never knew the precise moment it began, "because it was based on the sighting of the new moon."
"When He (Jesus) says you won't know the day or the hour, He's telling you it's the Feast of Trumpets because that was known as the feast where no one knew the day or the hour that it would begin," said Biltz. "So it's kind of like if I told you, 'I'm not going to tell you when I'm coming, but "Gobble, gobble, gobble,'" [pointing to] Turkey Day."
Church stressed despite the information suggesting 2015 could be a pivotal time, "We don't know that that will be the concluding year of the tribulation period --- so we're not setting a date and saying this is a warning. We're introducing the possibility of a watch."Read Full ReportTo See Video Interviews select the Read Full Report Link and select those links within the original article.
|Ark of the Covenant altar found in Sheba's palace.|
|Remains of animal sacrifices discovered at home of Ethiopian queen|
WORLDNETDAILY - May 10, 2008
The queen of Sheba's palace at Axum in Ethiopia, purported to once have been the home of the Ark of the Covenant, has been found, archaeologists from the University of Hamburg report.
The Ethiopian queen was the friend and ally of King Solomon of Israel in the 10th century before the Christian era.
According to the Bible, in 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba journeyed to Jerusalem after hearing of King Solomon's wisdom to see if what she had heard was true. So impressed was she that she gave large quantities of gold, spices and precious stones to the king of Israel.
"It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom," she said. "However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness."
Ethiopian tradition claims the Ark, which contained Moses' stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written, was smuggled to Ethiopia by their son Menelek and is still in that country.
The Bible makes no mention of Solomon and the queen of Sheba marrying or having a child.
The university said scientists led by Helmut Ziegert had found remains of a 10th-century-B.C. palace at Axum-Dungur under the palace of a later Christian king. There was evidence the early palace had been torn down and realigned to the path of the star Sirius.
The team hypothesizes that Menelek had changed religion and become a worshiper of Sirius while keeping the Ark, described in the Bible as an acacia-wood chest covered with gold. Remains of sacrifices of bullocks were evident around the altar.
The research at Axum, which began in 1999, is aimed at documenting the origins of the Ethiopian state and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The discovery was made in the last 90 days.
"The results we have suggest that a cult of Sothis developed in Ethiopia with the arrival of Judaism and the Ark of the Covenant and continued until 600 AD," the announcement said. Sothis is the ancient Greek name for a star thought to be Sirius.
The team said evidence for this included Sirius symbols at the site, the debris of sacrifices and the alignment of sacred buildings to the rising-point of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.
|German Archaeologist on Trail of Ark of the Covenant|
|FOX NEWS [News Corporation/Murdoch] and THE TIMES of LONDON [News Corporation/Murdoch] - By Roger Boyes - May 13, 2008
BERLIN - It is only a breathless Hollywood script: treasure-hunter Indiana Jones races with German archaeologists to track down the fabled Ark of the Covenant, the chest that held the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were etched.
Now German researchers claim to have found the remains of the palace of the Queen of Sheba - and an altar that may have held the Ark.
The discovery, announced by the University of Hamburg last week, has stirred skeptical rumblings from the archaeological community.
The location of the Ark, indeed its existence, has been a source of controversy for centuries.
Regarded as the most precious treasure of ancient Judaism, it is at the heart of a debate about whether archaeology should chronicle the rise and fall of civilizations or explore the boundaries between myth and ancient history.
Professor Helmut Ziegert, of the archaeological institute at the University of Hamburg, has been supervising a dig in Aksum, northern Ethiopia, since 1999.
"From the dating, its position and the details that we have found, I am sure that this is the palace," he said.
The palace, that is, of the Queen of Sheba, who is believed to have lived in the 10th century B.C.
After she died, her son and successor, Menelek, replaced the palace with a temple dedicated to Sirius.
The German researchers believe that the Ark was taken from Jerusalem by the queen - who had a liaison with King Solomon - and built into the altar to Sirius.
"The results we have suggest that a Cult of Sothis developed in Ethiopia with the arrival of Judaism and the Ark of the Covenant, and continued until 600 A.D.," an announcement by the University of Hamburg on behalf of the research team said.
Sothis is the ancient Greek name for the star Sirius.
The Ark was made, according to the Bible, of gold-plated acacia wood and topped with two golden angels. It is said to be a source of great power. In about 586 B.C., when the Babylonians conquered the Israelites, the Ark vanished.
For many centuries finding it has been one of the great quests - inspiration not only for the 1981 film "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but also for countries seeking to position themselves in the mainstream of ancient civilization.
Many archaeologists believe that their profession should not be in the business of myth-chasing. Even if the Ark were found, it would be impossible to establish scientifically whether it was the original receptacle for the Ten Commandments.
Iris Gerlach of the German Archaeological Institute in Sanaa, Yemen, believes the religious centre of Sheba is in present-day Yemen.
Although she does not go head-to-head with her colleague Professor Ziegert, the message is clear: A relic such as the Ark would have been stored in an important religious city rather than in Aksum.
Quest goes on
Original Report Here
- The location of the Ark has been put in Egypt, Zimbabwe and even Ireland, where the Hill of Tara was excavated
- The Ethiopian holy town of Aksum is regarded as a more credible site
- Ethiopians believe that it is defended by monks in the church of St. Mary of Zion and is seen only by the guardian of the Ark, making it impossible to verify
|Shroud of Turin's age miscalculated?|
|Questions raised over 'faulty' carbon-dating testsWORLDNETDAILY - May 20, 2008
The mystery of the Shroud of Turin, a 14-foot-long cloth that many thought may have been the burial cloth of Jesus until scientists reported radiocarbon dating established it as no older than Medieval times, is being resurrected.
John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has convinced scientists who performed the age tests on the cloth housed in Turin, Italy, since the 1500s to consider his suggestion that those tests may have been faulty, according to a report in the Denver Post.
The cloth long has posed mysteries because of its age and its negative image of a bloodstained and battered man who had been crucified. Believers claim it to be the miraculous image of Jesus, formed as he rose from the dead.
That theory, however, took a serious blow in the late 1980s when scientists including those at an Oxford University laboratory performed the age-dating process on a fragment of the material and came up with the results that it was no older than the 13th or 14th century, more than a millennium after New Testament times.
But now Jackson, who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado
, a research organization, reports he has convinced Prof. Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, to test Jackson's hypothesis that carbon monoxide contamination could have skewed the test results by more than 1,000 years, the Post said.
The new tests will not involve actual portions of the shroud, but similar samples of linen, and are to determine whether the various conditions to which the shroud has been exposed, including outdoor exhibitions and the extreme heat of a 1532 fire that left the material scorched, would have changed the results, the Post report said.
Jackson told the newspaper that even nominal contamination from environmental carbon monoxide could have affected the dating results.
"Science still has much to tell us about the shroud," Jackson told the newspaper. "If we are dealing with the burial cloth of Christ, it is the witness to the birth of Christianity. But my faith doesn't depend on that outcome."
Ramsey said there simply are questions that need to be answered about the cloth.
David Rolfe, the director of a new documentary called "Shroud of Turin" told the newspaper that it either is authentic or a centuries-old hoax that today's state-of-the art science cannot decipher.
The cloth is in the custody of the Vatican, which stores it in a protective chamber of inert gases in Turin's Cathedral of St. John. History reveals it was exhibited in France about 1360 by Georrfrey de Charney, a French knight who owned it then. It last was shown in 2000.
Jackson led a research team in 1978 given access to the shroud and tests showed it was not painted, dyed or stained. The source of the faint brown discolorations that make up the negative image of a man never yet has been identified, he told the Post.
It wasn't until the invention of photography centuries after the early exhibitions that a clearer positive image was revealed.
The original carbon dating at Oxford was duplicated at the same time in Zurich and at the University of Arizona in Tucson, officials said. Yet the newspaper reported Jackson has assembled evidence contradicting an age of only 800 years or so.Among the findings he cites:
- Bloodstains on the shroud are real, and the blood has not been degraded by heat.
- Historians say the stains are consistent with crucifixion, including puncture wounds from thorns and scourge marks from a Roman whip.
- A puncture wound in the man's side is consistent with a Roman spear. And the wound marks showing nail holes through the wrists and heels are consistent with Roman crucifixion.
A textile restorer, Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, in 2002 announced the stitching found in the material had been seen in material from only one other source: the ruins of Masada, a Jewish settlement destroyed in A.D. 74. And the herringbone weave was common in the First Century but rare in Middle Ages.
Further, the newspaper reported, historians note the shroud's onetime owner, de Charney, was married to a direct descendant of a crusader from France who participated in the sacking of Constantinople.
On Jackson's website, he also notes that tests have revealed pollens on the shroud from plants that grow only in the Middle East. He also addresses the carbon-dating issue.
"We presently think that the most fruitful avenue of research is that inspired by some scientists in Russia who have reported seeing major shifts in the radiocarbon date of linen samples that have been incubated at modest temperature--- This research is interesting because we know that the shroud endured a significant thermal event during a fire in 1532 while in Chambrey, France. The entire cloth has yellowed and in some places scorched and burnt."
The research site continued, "Thus, based on the Russian studies, it is logical to suspect that the 1532 fire altered, perhaps significantly, the radiocarbon date of the shroud."WND reported in 2000
that evidence already was appearing calling into question the process of carbon dating on certain materials - textiles in particular.Original Report Here
|Fit for a Queen: Jezebel's Royal Seal|
|BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW - By Marjo C.A. Korpel - BAR 34:02, Mar/Apr 2008
Thousands and thousands of seals and seal impressions (bullae) from the ancient Near East have been found, including Hebrew exemplars in Israel. Documents would be tied up with string and a blob of clay placed over the string; a seal would then be impressed into the clay to identify the sender and assure the security of the document. Or a seal would be impressed into the handle of a jar to identify the owner- for example, the so-called l'melekh handles ("[belonging] to the king"), of which there are several thousand. Or a seal could be used to prevent unauthorized entry to a storehouse. Deuteronomy 32:34 speaks of the Lord's attributes "sealed up in My treasuries."
Of all the thousands of exemplars with Hebrew inscriptions, however, only about 35 belong to women. This paucity nevertheless demonstrates two things. First, some women did indeed possess and use personal seals. Second, this was true of only very few women. Ancient Israel, like its neighbors, was a patriarchal society. Women possessing seals clearly belonged to the upper classes.
On two seals the female owner is described as a "daughter of the king." Set off against 24 attestations of a "son of the king," this once again demonstrates that women had a harder time attaining a position of influence than men, even if they were princesses.
One of the most famous queens of ancient Israel is Jezebel, the daughter of the Phoenician king Ethbaal, wife of Israelite King Ahab (872-851 B.C.E.) and archetype of the wicked woman. I believe that she had a seal and that it has been recovered, although until now not confidently identified. - - - -
Read Full Report
|Archaeologist uncovers Scriptures' famed wall|
|Emergency dig finds tower built by Bible's Nehemiah|
WORLDNETDAILY - November 11, 2007
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may want to see Israel wiped off the map and its Jews sent to Europe or Alaska, but an archaeological discovery announced this week marks an event recorded in the Bible when his country - Persia, at the time - literally helped put the Jewish people back on the map in their capital city of Jerusalem.
Dr. Eilat Mazar, one of Israel's top archaeologists, ended her presentation Wednesday to the 13th Annual Conference of the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies on "New Studies on Jerusalem," with a surprise announcement. She had discovered remnants of the fifth century B.C. wall built by Nehemiah, the account recorded in the Old Testament book of the same name.
According to the biblical account, Nehemiah served as cupbearer for the Persian King Artaxerxes in the city of Susa. The Persians had conquered the Babylonian empire that had destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and taken most of the inhabitants of Judah into captivity in what is now modern Iraq.
The account reads:
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart."
Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"
Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?"
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it."
Nehemiah's rebuilding of the city began with its walls, a project that was resisted by hostile neighbors who had occupied the area around Jerusalem in the Jews' absence.
But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
With tools in one hand and weapons in the other, Nehemiah's workmen toiled dawn to dusk, completing the wall in a record 52 days.
Archaeological evidence for Nehemiah's project has been lacking. Jerusalem has been rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt in the almost 2,500 years since.
Mazar, who is perhaps best known for her recent excavation that many believe has revealed the palace of King David, was working on an emergency project to shore up remains of a tower long believed to date from the Hasmonean period, 142-37 B.C., that was in danger of collapsing.
According to an account of the conference in "The Trumpet," Mazar said, "Under the tower, we found the bones of two large dogs - and under those bones a rich assemblage of pottery and finds from the Persian period. No later finds from that period were found under the tower."
Had the tower been built during the Hasmonean dynasty, the Persian-era artifacts would represent an unexplained chronological gap of several hundred years. The tower, said Mazar, had to have been built much earlier than previously thought and the pottery data placed it at the time the Bible says Nehemiah was building it.
Todd Bolen, of BiblePlaces.com, noted that excavations in the Philistine city of Ashkelon during the same Persian era, found 800 dog burials like those uncovered by Mazar.
Nehemiah described 10 gates in the wall around Jerusalem as well as several towers designed to protect the entrances to the city, among them the Tower of the Hundred, the Tower of Hananel, the Tower of the Ovens, and an unnamed tower "projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard" in the vicinity of Mazar's most recent dig.
WND reported Mazar's confirmation that what appeared to be chopped-up carved stone, unearthed by recent trenching on the Temple Mount by the holy site's Islamic custodians, were indeed antiquities with attributes of the Second Temple-era during the ministry of Jesus.
Mazar has urged Christians to help save the holy site.
"The Christian world and all those who care about safeguarding the Temple Mount must immediately join us in our efforts to protect the holy site and demand that the Israeli government stop the Waqf construction," she said.
"The Temple Mount is important to people of all religions. Now is the time to act before more antiquities are erased."
Original Report Here
|Israel Museum puts Dead Sea scroll on rare display |
|ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Matti Friedman - May 13, 2008
JERUSALEM - One of the most important Dead Sea scrolls is going on display in Jerusalem this week - more than four decades after it was last seen by the public. The 24-foot scroll with the text of the Bible's Book of Isaiah had been in a dark, temperature-controlled room at the Israel Museum since 1967. It went on display two years earlier, but curators replaced it with a facsimile after noticing new cracks in the calfskin parchment.
The museum decided to put the scroll back on show for three months as part of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.
The priceless manuscript, written by a Judean scribe around 120 B.C., was in a long glass case Tuesday, its neat rows of Hebrew letters distinct and legible. President Bush, visiting Israel this week for the anniversary celebration, will be one of the first to view it.
The Isaiah manuscript was the only complete biblical book discovered among the Dead Sea scrolls, one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. The ancient documents, which include fragments of the books of the Old Testament and treatises on communal living and apocalyptic war, have shed important light on Judaism and the origins of Christianity. - - -
Curator Adolfo Roitman called the Isaiah manuscript the "gem of the Dead Sea scrolls." It is "one of the most important treasures of the Jewish nation, if not the most important," he added.
A far smaller fragment of another Dead Sea scroll will be on display at the Jerusalem convention center where Bush will be speaking along with other dignitaries.
The segment, also rarely shown, contains the text of Psalm 133, which reads: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
Read Full Report
Giant bones challenged 18th-century intellectuals
THE CINCINNATI POST [E. W. Scripps Company/Scripps-Howard] - By Dan Hurley - September 28, 2007
Today, the valley is dry, dusty and unremarkable, but 250 years ago it was one of the most fascinating spots ever discovered in the North America. From the very first time in 1739 that local Indians led a contingent of French explorers to the salt licks near the Ohio River in what is today Boone County, Ky., the spot raised intellectually troubling questions.
European and American scientists understood the importance of salt licks and why thousands of modern buffalo, deer and elk beat broad paths to the marshy lick, but they could not explain why they found huge bones and tusks of "elephants," as well as other giant animals for which they had no names (eventually named giant ground sloth, the moose ox, flat headed peccary, etc.) lying on the ground and exposed in the banks of the nearby creek.
As explorers pushed westward, fantastic reports piled up. In 1751 Christopher Gist acquired two large teeth found at Big Bone Lick from men who reported that they had seen a skeleton with rib bones "eleven feet long, and the skull bone six feet wide, across the forehead."
In 1765 and 1766 George Croghan became the first explorer to collect significant quantities of bones, including two tusks "about six feet long." He sent these to London for inspection by the leading scientists of the day, including Benjamin Franklin, who thought the bones were "extremely curious on many accounts; no living elephant having been seen in any part of America by any of the Europeans settled there, or remembered by any tradition of the Indians."
It is difficult today to appreciate the intellectual shock waves set off by these giant bones in the 1790s and early 1800s. The first dinosaur would not be unearthed until 1824. Scientists, like everyone else, operated with the religiously grounded view of a "perfect creation" in which every creature had its place in a divinely established, hierarchical and stable "Great Chain of Being."
Not until people like French scientist George Cuvier, working with specimens from Big Bone collected by French explorers, and Benjamin Franklin, working with specimens collected by Croghan, did anyone pose one of the shattering question that both reflected the emerging modern consciousness: Is it possible that a species which once existed can become extinct?
With only the first hints from the nascent field of geology that the earth's age had to be calculated in non-biblical terms, and with no knowledge of ice ages, Franklin put forward a very modern hypothesis. He suggested that the best explanation for the extinction of the giant creatures was a significant change in climate in North America.
As a leading citizen of the Enlightenment, no one was more intrigued by Big Bone Lick than Thomas Jefferson, but, like a good scientist, he cautioned against a rush to judgment. With so much of North America unexplored, he was not prepared to conclude that mammoths and mastodons were extinct. They may simply be hiding in the vast wilderness of the American West, leading him to instruct Lewis and Clark in 1803 to be "observant of the animals of the country generally, & especially those not known in the US, the remains & accounts of any which may be deemed rare or extinct."
After the Corps of Discovery completed its famous exploration, Jefferson sent William Clark to the Lick in 1807 to systematically collect bones for him. The next year the President displayed nearly 100 of the specimens from Northern Kentucky in the East Room of the White House and invited fellow scientists to join him and "satisfy your curiosity."
For Dr. Glenn Storrs, the curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Dr. Brenda Hanke, the curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Cincinnati Museum Center, working close to Big Bone Lick means working close to the place where modern paleontology had its beginnings. For Storrs and Hanke, Big Bone remains a source of excitement and the curiosity.
Dr. Hanke just completed work on an interactive touch screen computer kiosk that will be unveiled during a special program at 5 this afternoon on the floor of the Museum of Natural History and Science in Union Terminal. The modern, high-tech program is located in the midst of ancient specimens from Big Bone Lick. As part of the Great Outdoor Weekend this Saturday and Sunday (www.CincyGreatOutdoorWeekend.org), Dr. Storrs will help lead tours at Big Bone Lick itself.
Hanke, a Canadian, always thought of Franklin and Jefferson as political figures, not scientists with whom she shared a curiosity and passion to understand the natural world. Now she sees Big Bone as an exciting human story as much as a scientific story. For her, the enduring lesson of Big Bone is the "infectious curiosity" it created among the greatest minds in America. She believes the site and its bones still have the power to inspire people, no matter what their age, to "explore and follow our curiosities, even if we don't end up writing a Declaration of Independence."
|Researchers: Asteroid Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah |
|THE TIMES of LONDON [News Corporation/Murdoch] - By Lewis Smith - March 31, 2008|
Ed. Note: I usually do not give very much credence to the many scientists who try to figure out what "really" happened while ignoring the truth of scripture. However, there are some muddled truths mixed into many of the pagan myths and legends that are just distortions of the original truth man had of God. I also have no problem with God choosing to use the things of nature such as a comet to bring judgment upon mankind. Just remember that what is truly remarkable is that if He did, He decided that before the foundation of the world and put everything into place for that event to happen at just the right time. That is how amazing our God is and most of these scientists will sadly never understand it.
A clay tablet that has baffled scientists for 150 years has been identified as a witness's account of the asteroid suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Researchers who cracked the cuneiform symbols on the Planisphere tablet believe that it recorded an asteroid thought to have been more than half a mile across.
The tablet, found by Henry Layard in the remains of the library in the royal place at Nineveh in the mid-19th century, is thought to be a 700 B.C. copy of notes made by a Sumerian astronomer watching the night sky.
He referred to the asteroid as a "white stone bowl approaching" and recorded it as it "vigorously swept along."
Using computers to recreate the night sky thousands of years ago, scientists have pinpointed his sighting to shortly before dawn on June 29 in the year 3123 B.C.
About half the symbols on the tablet have survived and half of those refer to the asteroid. The other symbols record the positions of clouds and constellations. In the past 150 years scientists have made five unsuccessful attempts to translate the tablet.
Mark Hempsell, one of the researchers from Bristol University who cracked the tablet's code, said: "It's a wonderful piece of observation, an absolutely perfect piece of science."
He said the size and route of the asteroid meant that it was likely to have crashed into the Austrian Alps at Köfels. As it traveled close to the ground it would have left a trail of destruction from supersonic shock waves and then slammed into the Earth with a cataclysmic impact.
Debris consisting of up to two-thirds of the asteroid would have been hurled back along its route and a flash reaching temperatures of 400 Centigrade (752 Fahrenheit) would have been created, killing anyone in its path.
About one million sq kilometers (386,000 sq miles) would have been devastated and the impact would have been equivalent to more than 1,000 tons of TNT exploding.
Dr Hempsall said that at least 20 ancient myths record devastation of the type and on the scale of the asteroid's impact, including the Old Testament tale of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the ancient Greek myth of how Phaeton, son of Helios, fell into the River Eridanus after losing control of his father's sun chariot.
The findings of Dr. Hempsall and Alan Bond, of Reaction Engines Ltd., are published in a book, "A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels Impact Event."
The researchers say that the asteroid's impact would explain why at Köfels there is evidence of an ancient landslide 3 miles wide and a quarter of a mile thick. - - - -
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|Divers find Caesar bust that may date to 46 B.C. |
|ASSOCIATED PRESS - May 14, 2008|
PARIS - Divers trained in archaeology discovered a marble bust of an aging Caesar in the Rhone River that France's Culture Ministry said Tuesday could be the oldest known.
The life-sized bust showing the Roman ruler with wrinkles and hollows in his face is tentatively dated to 46 B.C. Divers uncovered the Caesar bust and a collection of other finds in the Rhone near the town of Arles - founded by Caesar.
Among other items in the treasure trove of ancient objects is a 5.9 foot marble statue of Neptune, dated to the first decade of the third century after Christ.
Two smaller statues, both in bronze and measuring 27.5 inches each also were found, one of them, a satyr with his hands tied behind his back, "doubtless" originated in Hellenic Greece, the ministry said.
"Some (of the discoveries) are unique in Europe," Culture Minister Christine Albanel said. The bust of Caesar is in a class by itself.
"This marble bust of the founder of the Roman city of Arles constitutes the most ancient representation known today of Caesar," the ministry statement said, adding that it "undoubtedly" dates to the creation of Arles in 46 B.C.
Among other things, researchers are trying to uncover "in what context these statues were thrown into the river," said Michel L'Hour, who heads the Department of Subaquatic Archaeological Research, whose divers made the discovery between September and October 2007.
The site "has barely been skimmed," L'Hour told The Associated Press, adding that a new search operation will begin this summer.
He said the Arles region, in the Provence region of southern France, with its Roman beginnings, and the Rhone are "propitious" for discoveries.
Albanel called the find "exceptional" and said that the Caesar bust is "the oldest representation known today" of the emperor.
Divers also found a huge marble statue of Neptune, dated from the third century.
Original Report Here
|Neanderthal treasure trove 'at bottom of sea' |
|THE INDEPENDENT, UK [APN / INM / O'Reilly] - By David Keys Archaeology Correspondent - March 10, 2008|
Some of the world's best preserved prehistoric landscapes survive in pristine condition at the bottom of the North Sea, archaeologists claimed yesterday.
Academic interest in what are being described as drowned Stone Age hunting grounds is likely to increase dramatically after the discovery of 28 Neanderthal flint axes on the sea bed off the East Anglian coast.
Dating from at least 50,000-60,000 years ago, they were found with other flint artefacts, a large number of mammoth bones, teeth and tusk fragments, and pieces of deer antler. The sea bed location was probably a Neanderthal hunters' kill site or temporary camp site.
The axes - one of the largest groups ever found - were spotted by a keen-eyed amateur archaeologist when a consignment of North Sea gravel arrived at the Dutch port of Flushing.
The cache was found 8 miles off Great Yarmouth and is the most northerly point in the North Sea that Neanderthal tools have been discovered. It had been feared that the ice sheets that destroyed most pre-ice age Brit-ish landscapes had done the same to the land surfaces which existed where the North Sea is now.
But archaeologists now suspect that some Neanderthal landscapes have survived under the North Sea. What's more, they are now certain that hundreds or even thousands of square miles of post-ice age prehistoric landscapes do survive there. On land they have largely been destroyed or degraded by centuries of agriculture, later human settlement and natural erosion.
The North Sea is of immense value to archaeologists and is the largest area of drowned landscape in Europe. "It's vital that parts of it should be considered as a potential World Heritage site," said Professor Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham, a leading authority on North Sea archaeology.
Professor Chris Stringer, Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum, said: "The quality and quantity of material from the North Sea shows what a rich resource it is for helping to reconstruct missing phases of our prehistory. The evidence should be preserved and studied. World heritage status would help in that process."
In the southern North Sea, Dutch prehistorians working alongside North Sea fishermen over the past decade have identified about 100 Neanderthal flint axes, 200 later Stone Age bone, antler and flint artefacts made by anatomically modern humans, and the remains of thousands of mammoths, woolly rhinos and other ice-age mammals.
Detailed archaeological research at the bottom of the North Sea would be likely to solve a host of Stone Age mysteries. It should help establish when Britain was recolonised by humans after a 100,000-year uninhabited period. It may also reveal for the first time the full technological capabilities of Neanderthal Man, because preservation on and in the sea bed is extremely good. Wooden, stone and bone implements have almost certainly survived.
Later this week, British and Dutch archaeologists will meet in Holland to formulate a joint program of North Sea research. German, Belgian, Danish and Norwegian archaeologists and oceanographers are likely to be included in a plan to map and investigate the North Sea's prehistoric landscapes in detail.
The discovery of the 28 Neanderthal axes was initially reported to the Dutch government archaeological agency, who passed the information via English Heritage to the gravel extraction firm Hanson Aggregates.
"This is the single most important archaeological find from the North Sea. We have stopped dredging that area and have created an exclusion zone to protect the site," said a senior Hanson geologist Robert Langman.
Original Report Here
|Megafloods in the English Channel |
|INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH (ICR) - By William A. Hoesch, M.S.* - October 2007|
Sir Charles Lyell, the father of geological gradualism, may have just turned in his grave. A hidden series of gouges on the floor of the English Channel suggests that huge torrents of water once traveled west from Dover Straits. The massive valleys, 50 meters deep and tens of kilometers wide, have puzzled geologists since the 1970s, but a recent high resolution sonar survey has sharpened the focus of scientific research.
The picture that has emerged includes long ridges and grooves that run parallel to the Channel, v-shaped scours that taper upstream, streamlined islands, and at least one "hanging valley." All these features are remarkably well-preserved in the subsea bedrock, and represent geological scars from a decidedly non-gradual event.
The sub-sea features point in the direction of the 21-mile-wide Dover Straits. For over a hundred years geologists have been puzzled by these narrows that connect the English Channel to the North Sea. The scenic chalk cliffs that line the straits on both the English and French sides are familiar to many. What is perhaps less obvious is that the cliffs are the interrupted edges of a once-continuous ridge that spanned the straits, called the Weald-Artois anticline.
At a time when sea level was about 100 meters lower, during the post-Flood Ice Age, this ridge apparently formed a dam that held a large lake, perhaps the size of one of the smaller Great Lakes. Breaching of the rock dam at Dover Straits instigated catastrophic drainage of the lake; peak discharges on the order of one million cubic meters per second (200 times the discharge of Niagara Falls) are demanded to explain the scours in the lowlands below. The scours resemble those caused by the Lake Missoula Flood (17 times this discharge), another Ice Age deluge. When sea level rose to present levels following the Ice Age, the scoured lowland became the English Channel and the Dover "dam breach" became the Dover Straits. The course of English history was forever changed.
The new findings add to a swelling body of evidence for Ice Age megafloods as major landform-generating agents. Evidence suggests that the Ice Age ended abruptly and catastrophically. A few regions of the world that have been shaped by Ice Age megafloods include: a major portion of Washington state, the Snake River Plain of Idaho, the Altai region of southern Siberia, the Black Sea basin, the upper Mississippi River Valley, the Hudson River Valley including New York City, Wyoming's Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Owens River Gorge in California, and the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence drainage basin, including Niagara Falls. Now the English Channel and Dover Straits can be added to the list. A few decades ago it would have been preposterous to appeal to such non-observable events. Mere extrapolation of the processes operant in observed historic floods cannot approximate the power of the megaflood. For example, cavitation is a rock-pulverizing process that operates only when certain thresholds of velocity and power are crossed. There is a need to break away from the kind of linear thinking that was so encouraged by Lyell and others; secular scientists are to be praised for being unafraid to do so today.
Catastrophism has finally come of age.
* William A. Hoesch, M.S. geology, is Research Assistant in Geology.
Original Report Here
|Mount Moran: A Witness to the Flood|
|INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH (ICR) - By William A. Hoesch, M.S.* - November 2007|
Mount Moran, the nonconformist of Wyoming's Teton Range, is distinguished by having a blunt top, a prominent black vertical stripe on its upper part, and a tiny visible cap of marine sandstone on the summit. Its face is made of the same solid granitic stock as comprises the core of the other mountains of the Teton Range, but it differs in other respects. How does this beautiful mountain testify of Creation and the Flood?
First, the core of Mount Moran is comprised of crystalline basement rocks, the same types that make up most of the core of North America. If you drill deep enough in most places on the continent you will find these rocks. Although granitic in overall composition, most of the basement complex consists of metamorphic and igneous rocks that appear to be in crosscutting relationship with one another and which seem to indicate a long history of complex intrusive events. However, these relationships are not nearly as clear as the margins of true intrusive bodies such as the Sierra Nevada Batholith, where adjacent fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks were obviously cooked by the heat of the enormous magma body.
Is it conceivable that the patchwork basement of metamorphic and igneous rocks presents the appearance of a long history of melt, intrusion, and recrystallization, yet the entire body was created instantly? Is it possible these represent the collective work of Day One of the Creation Week? One thing is certain: it is easy to identify rocks like these as forming the core of most of the earth's continents.
Second, there is the peculiar black dike that from a distance looks like a vertical line made by a giant, broad, felt-tipped pen. In this case, the dike is about 150 feet in width, and diabase in composition. Diabase dikes are not uncommon in the rock record, but they are an especially common feature of the "late Precambrian" worldwide and may mark a unique episode in earth history when vertical cracks were opened and infilled with mafic (iron/magnesium-rich, quartz-poor) magma. It was emplaced sometime before the erosion surface known as "the Great Unconformity" was generated, yet after formation of the crystalline basement rocks.
Scripture indicates the Flood began when "all the fountains of the great deep |were| broken up |literally 'faulted'|" in a single day (Genesis 7:11). Could these dikes such as exist atop Mount Moran mark an episode of worldwide tectonic unrest immediately prior to the start of the Flood? The evidence certainly fits with this.
Third and finally, there is what appears to be a tiny wisp of a light-colored cap atop Mount Moran, as if it needed to keep its head warm. The cap is in fact a remnant (the Flathead Sandstone) of a vast sheet of sandstone that once covered the continent like a layer of plastic wrap across a football field. The Flathead Sandstone is the basal part of an entire succession of marine fossil-bearing strata that tilt westward away from the axis of the Teton Range but which are mostly out of view from the floor of Jackson Hole. Geologists universally regard the Flathead Sandstone as the basal layer of a "marine transgression" that flooded most of the continent beneath seawater. Subsequent to this "flood," the mountain block called the Tetons was uplifted and sculpted by glaciers.
The biblical geologist who believes in the Flood can agree with this story; he questions only the necessity of the extreme timescale. An important question to ask is what scientific evidence forbids the possibility that Creation, the world-covering Flood, and subsequent uplift of mountain ranges like the Tetons, took any longer than several thousand years? Apart from uniformitarian prejudice, there is none.
Many are attracted to scenic places like Mount Moran. These wonders grab our attention for a good reason. Among the things the created world conveys is God's "eternal power" (Romans 1:20). Think about His power the next time you visit the Tetons.
* William A Hoesch, M.S. geology, is Research Assistant in Geology.
Original Report Here
Reign of King David highlighted in new museum
|Harps, anointing jars, spices of Temple sacrifice aboundWORLDNETDAILY - By Aaron Klein - March 30, 2008
JERUSALEM - Ancient slings, oil lamps and anointing jars alongside an advanced center charting descendants of biblical King David. On display fashion trends from the streets of Jerusalem during the times of David. Men dressed in Biblical clothing who provide guided tours for patrons.
Welcome to the King David Museum & Genealogy Center
, a new interactive museum that officially opened its doors last week in the heart of Jerusalem's Old City.
Located on Tiferet Yisrael, the main pedestrian district in the Old City neighborhood known as the Jewish quarter, the museum is dedicated to the life, rein and legacy of the second biblical king of Israel.
"The legacy of King David is as important today as during the time of his rule," said Susan Roth, founder of the Davidic Dynasty, which promoted the museum.
"What King David did 3,000 years ago needs to be done again today - that is to unite all Jews together into one nation instead of attempting to separate ourselves due to such things as degree of religiousness or political affiliation," said Roth, whose group seeks to promote awareness about Jewish history and Jewish ties to the land of Israel through the life and leadership of King David.
And the King David Museum does just that. Its three floors and maze-like interiors bring visitors on a virtual and archaeological tour of King David's life. Museum displays feature Davidic artifacts and art, ancient writings, and pieces related to the Jewish Temple, such as spices and salt that would have been used during Temple sacrifices.
To set the mood, the halls are brimming with Davidic harps, art related to David's revered Psalms, a Torah scroll dedicated to the Jewish king and even a designer throne.
Visitors can also learn about David at the museum's audiovisual center, which features 3-D movies about the monarch.
Those seeking to find out whether they are personally related to King David can consult staff members at the museum's genealogy department, which houses a vast, computerized database containing lineage charts, including family trees and birthline connections to Jewish sages descended from David.
Jewish descent from David can be traced through oral tradition, rabbinic sources, historical data and extensive research, explained Chaim Freedman, a renowned Israeli genealogist.
Before exiting the museum, visitors can browse a gift shop that sells everything from Psalms through biblical-era clothing.
Museum curator Yisroel Cohen stated the idea of the museum "is that Jews from all over the world - religious and secular - should come in and feel that they are a part of a spectacular heritage that comes straight from the Bible."
The story of King David is told throughout the Bible's books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. David is believed to have reigned from 1005 until about 965 B.C.Original Report Here
|Another Second Temple quarry uncovered |
|THE JERUSALEM POST [Mirkaei Tikshoret/CanWest] - By Etgar Lefkovits - May 20, 2008|
For the second time in the past year, archeologists have uncovered a Second Temple Period quarry whose stones were used to build the Western Wall, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday.
The latest archeological discovery was made in the city's Sanhedria neighborhood, located about two kilometers from the Old City of Jerusalem.
The quarry was uncovered during a routine "salvage excavation" carried out by the state-run archeological body over the last several months ahead of the construction of a private house in the religious neighborhood.
The quarry is believed to be one of those used to build the Jerusalem holy site because the size of the stones match those at the Western Wall.
"Most of the stones that were found at the site are similar in size to the smallest stones that are currently visible in the Western Wall, and therefore we assume that the stones from this quarry were used to build these structures," said Dr. Gerald Finkielsztejn, director of the excavation.
The stones were dated by pottery found at the site, he added.
"This is a rather regular quarry except that there are really big stones," Finkielsztejn said.
The largest of the stones found at the quarry measures 0.69 x 0.94 x 1.65 m, while some of the stones were apparently ready for extraction but were left in place.
The quarry was probably abandoned at the time of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66-70 CE, he said.
Last year, archeologists unearthed an ancient quarry that supplied enormous high quality limestones for the construction of the Temple Mount in an outlying neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Dozens of quarries have previously been found in Jerusalem, but these are the first two that archeologists have uncovered which they believed were used in the construction of the Temple Mount.
A few dozen quarries were likely used in the building of the Temple Mount, said Prof. Amos Kloner, a former Jerusalem district archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority.
He said it was "no surprise" that the first two had been found, and noted that the neighborhood where the latest quarry was found was in itself built on top of a quarry.
Original Report Here
Western Wall stones in danger of crumbling
|THE JERUSALEM POST [Mirkaei Tikshoret/CanWest] - By Etgar Lefkovits - April 14, 2008
First it was the southern wall of the Temple Mount. Then it was a section of the ancient walls of Masada that were in danger of collapse. Now, it's the turn of the stones of Jerusalem's Western Wall.
Stones at the site are in danger of crumbling, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the Western Wall, said Monday.
The damaged stones that are beginning to disintegrate are not the ancient ones dating back to the Second Temple Period, but, ironically, the small uniform stones that make up part of the wall built in the 19th century and financed by the British philanthropist and financier Sir Moses Montefiore in an attempt to repair the site at that time.
"The original stones from the Second Temple are strong and stable," Rabinovitch said in a telephone interview. "It is the smaller [and more recent] ones that are the problem."
Rabinovitch noted that the needed repair work on the Western Wall will take place shortly after Pessah and will be completed over the summer - before the rainy winter months begin when the danger is greatest of the stones falling on worshipers below.
"This is an issue which needs to be taken care of soon," he said.
Experts were quick to stress Monday that there was no imminent danger to the worshipers at the Wall, which is Israel's top tourist attraction, with an estimated five million people, including both tourists and locals, visiting the holy site last year.
"There is no immediate danger from the stones of the wall," said Ra'anan Kislev, the director of the conservation department at the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The state-run archeological body had been carrying out ongoing surveys at the Jerusalem holy site for the last several years since several pieces of stones loosened and fell down in years past, Kislev said.
Just how to repair the damaged stones at the holy site is, however, another issue altogether, as engineering gets mixed in with religion.
Citing Biblical interdiction, Rabinovitch said that Jewish law or halacha forbids removing any of the stones of the Wall, even to repair them.
He said that - in consultation with the Israel Antiquities Authority - scaffolding will likely be erected in the area where worshipers pray, to prevent them from being harmed by falling pieces, as engineers work to fix the damaged small stones.
In the past, Israel's Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has said that repair work at the Western Wall should only be done by Jews after they had gone through a mikve, and that the work could only be carried out during the day.Original Report Here
|Israel OK with Muslims destroying its history?|
|Islamic trust uses large stones to cover area that might house Second Temple wall|
WORLDNETDAILY - By Aaron Klein - March 9, 2008
JERUSALEM - Did Israeli police allow the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site - to carry out illegal construction on the Mount last week that may have damaged antiquities and make it more difficult for archaeologists to find temple artifacts?
That's the question being asked by Temple Mount activists and archaeologists here after it was discovered the Waqf, the Mount's Islamic custodians, last week used a heavy tractor to lay massive stone tiles over an area of the Mount in which some archaeologists believe a Second Temple wall was recently discovered.
Pictures of the purported wall surfaced after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last summer gave the Waqf permission to use tractors to dig a 1,300-foot trench around the periphery of the Mount. The Waqf claimed the trench was necessary to replace electrical cables outside mosques on the site.
Allowing the use of bulldozers at any sensitive archaeological site is extremely unusual, particularly at the Temple Mount, which experts say contains sealed layers of artifacts as shallow as two to three feet below the surface.
The Mount has never been properly excavated. Heavy equipment could easily damage any existing artifacts, stress Israeli experts, who assert the area should be excavated slowly and carefully by hand.
This week, the Jerusalem police reportedly stopped Waqf workers from continuing what police chief Aharon Franco described to the Jerusalem Post as unauthorized "surfacing work."
"It is our duty to ensure that the status quo is maintained on the Temple Mount," Franco said.
The surfacing work involved the Waqf using a tractor to raise the ground on the northern side of the Temple Mount, according to witnesses speaking to WND. Workers then laid stones that were about nine inches thick along a large area in the north near where some Israeli archaeologists believe a Second Temple wall was found during this summer's Waqf construction.
The stones change the status quo in the area by covering the ground with a thick layer, thus making excavations less likely, Temple activists charged.
The Palestinian Authority's Waqf director Jerusalem Affairs Minister Adnan Husseini labeled the construction as "restoration work" of "deteriorated tiles."
"They are not digging or doing anything there but restoration," Husseini said.
The police Thursday stopped the Waqf work, which was taking place during the two hours in the morning in which Jews are allowed to ascend the Mount.
Due to Israeli restrictions, the Temple Mount is open only to non-Muslims Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered "sensitive" by the Waqf, the Mount's Islamic custodians.
"I personally watched the workers use a tractor and place thick stones into the ground in the area where the trench was dug this summer. It looked like the work began weeks ago. The whole area was raised up, a lot of work was done and big stones were being placed," said Rabbi Chaim Richman, director of the international department at Israel's Temple Institute.
Richman said he was on the Mount Thursday when a scuffle ensued during which the Jerusalem police stopped the Waqf construction. But the Waqf still managed to cover a large section with the deep stone tiles, a Waqf worker told WND.
The Waqf worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was "surprised" the police acted to halt the stone-laying, since, he said, Jerusalem police forces did not stop the Waqf or question the Islamic custodians last month when they transported the large stones onto the Mount.
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmulik Ben Ruby yesterday denied the Waqf construction even took place.
"The Waqf is lying. They didn't do anything or cover anything. What happened was a bunch of Islamic Movement members from the north tried to ascend the Mount and place stone tiles on the floor and we stopped them," Ben Ruby told WND.
The Islamic Movement, a Muslim Temple Mount activist group, denied they were involved in last week's incident.
When quizzed about the witnesses who saw the Waqf construction, the PA Waqf director who commented on the construction and Ben Ruby's own police chief issuing a statement regarding the construction, Ben Ruby persisted: "You can quote me here saying the Waqf is lying."
Yoli Shwartz, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Antiquities Authority, the government agency charged with protecting the archaeological integrity of the Temple Mount, told the Jerusalem Post the police had alerted the authority about the issue, and that it would be "examined" in the coming days.
Prominent, third-generation Temple Mount archaeologist Eilat Mazar slammed the Antiquities Authority:
"They continue to disappoint us. The Authority failed to protect the mount last summer when the Waqf tore into the ground and destroyed priceless artifacts," Mazar, a senior fellow at Israel's Shalem Center and member of the Public Committee for Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities on Temple Mount, told WND.
"The Antiquities Authority is charged with the mission of protecting the Temple Mount but instead time and time again they turn a blind eye to Waqf destruction," Mazar said.
Mazar's much-discussed discovery in the City of David, a neighborhood just south of Jerusalem's Old City Walls, is a massive building that dates to the 10th century B.C. is believed is the remains of the palace of the biblical King David, the second leader of a united kingdom of Israel, ruling from about 1005 to 965 B.C.
In August, when the Waqf dug their massive trench, the Mount's Islamic custodians were caught red-handed by WND destroying Temple-era antiquities. The Waqf had used tractors when the Muslim diggers came across a wall Israeli archaeologists believe may be remains of an area of the Second Jewish Temple known as the woman's courtyard. The Antiquities Authority did not halt the dig.
WND at the time obtained a photograph of the massive Waqf trench. In view in the picture are concrete slabs broken by Waqf bulldozers and a chopped up carved stone believed to be of Jewish Temple-era antiquity.
Mazar analyzed the photo and said the damaged stone displays elements of the second Temple era and might be part of the Jewish Temple wall Israeli archaeologists charge the Waqf has been attempting to destroy. She said in order to certify the stone in the photo, she would need to personally inspect it.
But Israel blocked leading archaeologists from surveying the massive damage Islamic authorities are accused of causing to what may be the outer wall of the Second Jewish Temple.
"It's crucial this wall is inspected. The Temple Mount ground level is only slightly above the original Temple Mount platform, meaning anything found is likely from the Temple itself," Mazar told WND in August.
Fed up, Mazar and other top archaeologists ascended the Mount to hold an August news conference and inspect the site without government permission, but they were blocked from the trench by the Israeli police.
"It is unconscionable that the Israeli government is permitting the Waqf to use heavy equipment to chop away at the most important archaeological site in the country without supervision," Mazar said.
"The Israeli government is actively blocking us from inspecting the site and what may be a monumental find and is doing nothing while the Waqf destroys artifacts at Judaism's holiest site," she said.
After Mazar was barred, the Muslim Waqf custodians of the Temple Mount also banned WND from inspecting and filming their massive trench.
The confrontation was captured on video by InfoLive.tv, a new, Internet-based television network broadcasting in four languages.
WND and the InfoLive.tv camera crew ascended the Mount to obtain footage of the trench, but Waqf guards backed up by the Israeli police stopped the news agencies from approaching open sections of the trench. The guards told WND only closed areas of the trench could be filmed. Sections of the massive trench were being closed up with dirt today before archeologists were able to inspect the site.
After persisting, one Waqf guard asked WND to shut off the camera and vacate the Temple Mount. - - - -
Read Full Report
|Temple Mount: Ancient escape tunnel discovered |
|GULF NEWS (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), AP & Agencies - September 11, 2007 |
Ed. Note: Notice the term "Occupied Jerusalem" from the wonderfully biased reporting in Dubai - Yes, and Planet Earth is occupied with Human Beings. Give me a break!
Occupied Jerusalem: Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old tunnel used by residents to escape the Romans in Occupied Jerusalem.
The underground tunnel was discovered buried beneath rubble of the Second Temple in 70AD. The channel was dug beneath what would become the main road of the city.
"We were looking for the road and suddenly we discovered it," said Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authorities.
The walls of the tunnel-made of ashlar stones three feet deep-reach a height of 10 feet in some places and are covered by heavy stone slabs, Shukron said.
Pottery shards, vessel fragments and coins from the end of the Second Temple period were also discovered inside the channel, attesting to its age.
About 100 yards of the channel have been uncovered so far. Archaeologists think it leads to the Kidron River, which goes to the Dead Sea.
"It was a place where people hid and fled to from burning, destroyed [Occupied] Jerusalem," Shukron said.
Tens of thousands of people lived in Jerusalem at the time, but it is not clear how many used the channel to escape, he said.
Original Report Here
|Messianic Jews Find Fertile Ground in the Bible Belt |
|FORWARD - By Jennifer Siegel - June 13, 2007|
Oxford, N.C. - Ellen and Tim Pitts say they aren't the kind of Jews who go around preaching about Jesus Christ. Although they are self-described "messianic Jews" - the term of art preferred by those who accept Christian theology and assert a Jewish identity - the couple, who live with their three young children in an 18th-century farmhouse 40 miles northeast of North Carolina's Chapel Hill, keep mostly to themselves, growing vegetables and raising chickens and goats. It is an inward-focused existence that seems aptly summed up by the name they've given to their homestead: HaTeva, or "the Ark."
Still, in the past several months the Pittses have quietly launched a unique religious experiment in a deeply Southern community, where the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway is the main road and Baptist theology dominates. Using the Internet, they have offered themselves up as informal tour guides in the hope of attracting other messianic Jewish families to the area and building a small community that, like them, celebrates a Saturday Sabbath and prays in Hebrew.
In its own small way, the family is on the leading edge of the new face of messianic Judaism. With roots in both Christianity and Judaism - Tim, 37, was raised in a mainline Christian church, while Ellen, 32, was raised in a minimally observant Jewish family before converting to Christianity - the Pittess are among a growing number of so-called "interfaith" couples that have found a home in the messianic movement. Unlike many of their messianic compatriots, who view proselytizing to Jews as a central purpose of their faith, the Pittses and families like them have embraced the movement primarily to satisfy their own, admittedly unconventional, religious needs.
"There really is a debate, and a very lively one, within the messianic world about the fundamental nature of messianic Judaism," said Richard Nichol, who has led Congregation Ruach Israel in Needham, Mass., for a quarter-century and is a board member of Hashivenu ("Return Us"), a group founded around the year 2000 to promote greater "Jewishness" in the messianic movement. - - - -
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|Web Space Where Religion and Social Networking Meet |
|NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By Katie Zezima - June 30, 2007|
Caitlin Todd enjoys making friends on social networking Web sites, but is turned off by content that she believes is inappropriate on a number of popular pages.
So Caitlin, 16, meets people only on Christian social sites like www.hisholyspace.com and www.xianz.com, where profanity is prohibited, prayer is urged and content is strictly monitored.
"I use Xianz because it is a place that I can come to and have fellowship with friends. Sharing God's word and helping others," Caitlin wrote in an e-mail message. "Xianz is like a big church!"
Numerous religious-themed social networking groups are now on the Internet, allowing users to create prayer groups, discuss movies and find potential significant others. Creators and users say the sites are family-friendly alternatives to networking sites like MySpace, which says it has more than 100,000 religious groups but also contains content that some, like Robbie Davidson, founder of Xianz.com, find offensive. - - -
Xianz.com bills itself as a "Faith-Based MySpace," while www.mypraize.com calls itself a "Christian MySpace Alternative."
Not all the sites are Christian-oriented. Muslim users can log onto www.muslimspace.com, www.naseeb.com and www.muslimsocial.com. Jewish sites include www.shmooze.com and www.koolanoo.com. - - - -
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Bible translated for Aborigines
|BBC NEWS - By Phil Mercer - May 7, 2007
SYDNEY -- The Bible has been translated into an Australian Aboriginal language for the first time.
The Anglican Church has launched the first entire Bible in Kriol, the most widely-spoken indigenous language in the country.
The task has taken almost 30 years, and involved more than 100 linguists.
Most of Australia's 500,000 indigenous people follow the Christian faith, but they speak hundreds of different languages and dialects.
Originally known as Pidgin English, Kriol is thought to have developed through contact between European settlers and Aborigines in Australia's north. - - - -Read Full Report
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