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Tiny First Temple find could be first proof of aide to biblical King Josiah

Rare seal impression from 8th century BCE, bearing the name Nathan-Melech, found in dig at large Iron Age administrative center in Jerusalem’s City of David

By Amanda Borschel-Dan 31 March 2019, 12:48 pm 23 Edit

Two minuscule 2,600-year-old inscriptions recently uncovered in the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavation are vastly enlarging the understanding of ancient Jerusalem in the late 8th century BCE.

The two inscriptions, in paleo-Hebrew writing, were found separately in a large First Temple structure within the span of a few weeks by long-term team members Ayyala Rodan and Sveta Pnik.

One is a bluish agate stone seal “(belonging) to Ikkar son of Matanyahu” (LeIkkar Ben Matanyahu). The other is a clay seal impression, “(belonging) to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King” (LeNathan-Melech Eved HaMelech). Nathan-Melech is named in 2 Kings as an official in the court of King Josiah.

This burnt clay impression is the first archaeological evidence of the biblical name Nathan-Melech.

The inscriptions are “not just another discovery,” said archaeologist Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Rather, they “paint a much larger picture of the era in Jerusalem.”

According to Shalev, while both discoveries are of immense scholarly value as inscriptions, their primary value is their archaeological context.

The ‘Natan-Melech/Eved Hamelech’ bulla found in the City of David. (Eliyahu Yanai, City of David)

“What is importance is not just that they were found in Jerusalem, but [that they were found] inside their true archaeological context,” Shalev told The Times of Israel. Many other seals and seal impressions have been sold on the antiquities market without any thought to provenance.

This in situ find, said Shalev, serves to “connect between the artifact and the actual physical era it was found in” — a large, two-story First Temple structure that dig archaeologists have pegged as an administrative center.

“It is not a coincidence that the seal and the seal impression are found here,” said Shalev.

It is not a coincidence that the seal and the seal impression are found here

According to archaeologist Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University, in the 8th century BCE, this area of the City of David becomes the central administrative center of Jerusalem. The newly unearthed two-story public building, constructed with finely cut ashlar stones shows, illustrates the beginning of a westward move of the administration area in the large sprawling city.

Mendel-Geberovich believes “Ikkar” refers to a personal name rather than an occupation. If so, this would be the first evidence of such a name. The other portions of the inscription are more familiar to biblical Hebrew linguists: “The name Matanyahu appears both in the Bible and on additional stamps and bullae already unearthed,” said Mendel-Geberovich.

What is most likely to capture popular interest is the burnt clay seal impression, which features the words: “(belonging) to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King” (LeNathan-Melech Eved HaMelech).” The fact that it was written without a surname indicates his fame is on par with celebs of today, such as singers Madonna or Adele.

The name Nathan-Melech appears once in the Bible, in the second book of Kings 23:11. An official in the court of King Josiah, the biblical Nathan-Melech took part in implementation of widespread religious reform: “And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech the officer, which was in the precincts; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.”

While the biblical account uses a different title than that impressed on the ancient clay, the title “Servant of the King” (Eved HaMelech) does often appear in the Bible to describe a high-ranking official close to the king. According to the IAA, the title appears on other stamps and seal impressions that were found in the past. In ancient times, seal impressions, or bullae, were small pieces of clay impressed by personal seals (such as the “Ikkar” seal) to sign letters.

But is this the very same biblical Nathan-Melech? That’s still a matter of interpretation.

Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation, which operates the City of David National Park, said, “This is an extremely exciting find for billions of people worldwide. The personal seal of Natan-Melech, a senior official in the government of Josiah, King of Judah, as described in the second book of Kings. The ongoing archaeological excavations at the City of David continue to prove that ancient Jerusalem is no longer just a matter of faith, but also a matter of fact.”

However, scholar Mendel-Geberovich isn’t as quick to confirm the tie.

“Although it is not possible to determine with complete certainty that the Nathan-Melech who is mentioned in the Bible was in fact the owner of the stamp, it is impossible to ignore some of the details that link them together,” said Mendel-Geberovich diplomatically.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9708

Government Warns Of Historic, Widespread Flooding “Through May” – Food Prices To Skyrocket As 1000s Of Farms Are Destroyed

We have never seen catastrophic flooding like this, and the NOAA is now telling us that there will be more major flooding for at least two more months.  On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned that “historic, widespread flooding” would “continue through May”.  More than 90 percent of the upper Midwest and Great Plains is currently covered by an average of 10.7 inches of snow, and all of that snow is starting to melt.  That means that we are going to transition from one of the worst winters in modern history to a flood season that has already taken an apocalyptic turn for farmers all across America.  At this moment, millions of acres of farmland are already underwater.  Thousands of farmers are not going to be able to plant crops this year, and thousands of other farmers that have been financially ruined by the floods will never return to farming again.  This is already the worst agricultural disaster in modern American history, and it is going to get a whole lot worse.

I posted an article about this crisis yesterday, and I am troubled by the fact that most Americans don’t seem to understand the gravity of what we are facing.

Millions of bushels of wheat, corn and soybeans have been destroyed by flood waters, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of livestock have been lost, and all of us will soon be feeling a lot more pain at the grocery store.

And this would be a complete and utter national nightmare even if the flooding was all over, but the NOAA just told us that we should expect more catastrophic flooding for the next two months

Our #SpringOutlook 2019 is out today: Historic, widespread flooding to continue through May. Find map, highlights video & more at https://bit.ly/2JqDsIG  @NWS #Spring #Flooding

In fact, the NOAA is using the words “unprecedented flood season” to describe what is coming, and they are warning that “more than 200 million people” are at risk…

Forecasters warned the floods would likely to continue through May, and could worsen in the coming weeks.

“This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk,” Ed Clark, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said on Thursday in the agency’s spring outlook.

Of all the natural disasters that we have seen in recent years, this is the biggest, and U.S. food production is going to be dramatically affected because many farmers will not be able to grow crops at all in 2019…

“The reality is this isn’t going to be over for a very long time,” Jorgenson said. “It took years after 2011 for people to come back. For me as a farmer, there are flooded acres here that to think that I’ll be able to plant a crop in 45 days is just virtually impossible.

And many farmers will never recover from this disaster at all.

According to one farmer in Iowa, somewhere around half of the farmers in his entire county will not be able to come back from this…

“I would say 50% of the farmers in our area will not recover from this,” Dustin Sheldon, a farmer in southwestern Iowa’s flood-devastated Fremont County near the swollen Missouri River, said this week.

I said it yesterday, and I will say it again.  This is the worst blow to U.S. agriculture that I have seen in my entire lifetime.

The amount of food that has just been lost is absolutely staggering.  Due to the trade war, farmers were storing more wheat, corn and soybeans than ever before, and now the floodwaters have destroyed much of what had been stored

As prices plummeted last year amid the ongoing trade fight, growers, faced with selling crops at a loss, stuffed a historic volume of grain into winding plastic tubes and steel bins. Some cash-strapped families piled crops inside their barns or outside on the ground.

Farmers say they are now finding storage bags torn and bins burst open, grain washed away or contaminated. Jeff Jorgenson, a farmer and regional director for the Iowa Soybean Association, said he has seen at least a dozen bins that burst after grains swelled when they became wet.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, any wheat, corn or soybeans that are contaminated by flood waters must be destroyed.

I know that I shared the following quote yesterday, but in order to give you an idea of the scope of the losses we are looking at, I want to share it again

As of Dec. 1, producers in states with flooding – including South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and Illinois – had 6.75 billion bushels of corn, soybeans and wheat stored on their farms – 38 percent of the total U.S. supplies available at that time, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

And remember, the flooding is just getting started.

In just one county in Iowa, 1.8 million bushels of corn and soybeans have already been destroyed.  Nationwide, the losses are off the charts.

Needless to say, prices will be going way up at the grocery store, and they will keep going up for the rest of the year.

Sadly, even after the flood waters are gone the damage that has been done to our agricultural infrastructure will take years to repair

As the waters began to recede in parts of Nebraska, the damage to the rural roads, bridges and rail lines was just beginning to emerge. This infrastructure is critical for the U.S. agricultural sector to move products from farms to processing plants and shipping hubs.

The damage to roads means it will be harder for trucks to deliver seed to farmers for the coming planting season, but in some areas, the flooding on fields will render them all-but-impossible to use.

In Nebraska alone, hundreds of miles of rural roads have been completely washed out, and farmers such as Annette Bloom are having an extremely difficult time just getting to a main road

“We are having to travel three miles through pasture and cropland just to get out because our roads are gone,” she says. “And the corn fields are going to be devastating to get in and plant and get that going, because usually we’re planting within the next two weeks and it’s not going to happen.”

Many of America’s farmers will bravely keep going after this disaster, but for many others a financial breaking point has arrived.

Farm bankruptcies had already surged to the highest level since the last recession prior to all of this flooding, and now this crisis will end up driving many of them away from the profession for good.  The following comes from NBC News

Some farmers in Fremont County will probably not return to till their soil, many farmers here said.

“Lot of folks won’t be able to continue after this,” said Julius Schaaf, 66, who said 1,500 of his 4,000 acres were currently under water.

In the end, it is going to be a while before we know the full extent of the damage to America’s farms and our food supply, but all of the experts agree that it will be unprecedented.

Food prices are already high, but the truth is that this is as low as they are going to get.  Much less food will be produced in our heartland this year, and that will mean skyrocketing prices at our grocery stores.

And this is just one element of “the perfect storm” that is emerging.  Our society is starting to be shaken in many different ways, and 2019 is certainly shaping up to be a very “interesting” year.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9705

Mysterious 4,000-year-old lost city discovered

By James Rogers | Fox News

A team of French archaeologists has located the remains of a lost ancient city in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Over the course of six excavations between 2012 and 2018, researchers uncovered the ancient city at Kunara near the Zagros mountains. Previously, experts had been prevented from exploring the site near the modern city of Sulaymaniyah by Saddam Hussein’s regime and conflicts in the region.

The discovery is described in the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) journal.

Located on the western border of the Mesopotamian Empire, the city may have been an important center of an ancient mountainous people known as the Lullubi, according to experts.

The first of the cuneiform tablets discovered during the Kunara excavation. The tablet records the delivery of different types of flour. (A. Tenu / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

The first of the cuneiform tablets discovered during the Kunara excavation. The tablet records the delivery of different types of flour. (A. Tenu / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

Large stone foundations were discovered at the site, which dates to around 2200 B.C. Dozens of clay tablets covered with cuneiform writing were also found, shedding light on the city’s agriculture. For example, the first of the clay tablets discovered records the delivery of different types of flour.

The archaeologists’ research indicates that the city’s demise occurred about 4,000 years ago when it was ravaged by fire.

However, the city’s name is still unknown. Further excavation of the site will take place in the fall.

The small cup-shaped indents in this structure may have served a ceremonial purpose, according to archaeologists. (D. Sarmiento Castillo / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

The small cup-shaped indents in this structure may have served a ceremonial purpose, according to archaeologists. (D. Sarmiento Castillo / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

Ancient sites in other parts of the world are also revealing their secrets. Last year, archaeologists in Greece located the remains of a lost city believed to have been settled by captives from the Trojan War.

Separately in 2018, archaeologists in Western Mexico used sophisticated laser technology to discover a lost city that may have had as many buildings as Manhattan.

In 2017, archaeologists harnessed spy satellite imagery and drones to help identify the site of an ancient lost city in Northern Iraq.

An arrowhead fragment made of obsidian, or volcanic glass. that was discovered at the site. The obsidian comes from Anatolia, which is several hundred miles from Kunara, according to experts.

An arrowhead fragment made of obsidian, or volcanic glass. that was discovered at the site. The obsidian comes from Anatolia, which is several hundred miles from Kunara, according to experts. (F. Marchand/Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

The Qalatga Darband site overlooks the Lower Zab river at the western edge of the Zagros Mountains, is part of a historic route from ancient Mesopotamia to Iran.

Experts recently created a stunning digital reconstruction of a centuries-old lost city discovered in South Africa. In another project, researchers have shed new light on the events that led to the demise of the ancient Cambodian megacity of Angkor.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9702

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Pope Francis Meets With Muslim King In Morocco And Declares That Jerusalem Should Never Belong Solely To The Jews

Pope Francis joined the Moroccan monarch in declaring the city the “common patrimony” of Christians, Jews and Muslims, on the first day of a visit to the North African country. The spiritual leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics was invited by King Mohammed VI for the sake of “inter-religious dialogue,” according to Moroccan authorities. The statement Thursday made no mention of any Jewish link to Jerusalem.

by Geoffrey Grider March 30, 2019

Pope Francis and Moroccan King Mohammed VI called on Saturday for Jerusalem to be preserved as a symbol of peaceful coexistence where Jews, Muslims and Christians can be allowed to worship freely.

Just like everything that comes out of the mouth of the Roman pope, it was a tiny nugget of truth encompassed about with layers and layers of lies. Yes, Jerusalem is claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims, absolutely, but of those three only the first two are mentioned in the bible as being ordained by God. The Muslims are the bastard children of Abraham, and are specifically mentioned in the Bible as have none inheritance. The children of Abraham through Hagar are to be “cast out” as we see here:

“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” Galatians 4:22,23,30 (KJV)

So that takes care of Lie #1 of Pope Francis, let’s move on to the second whopper he told in Morocco. This idea that Jerusalem cannot belong solely to the Jews because it “has to be shared” is another oft-repeated fact that is just not so. The bible says  that the Battle of Armageddon, seen below in Joel 3, is fought over the fact that somebody, namely Antichrist, has “parted” God’s land of Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular. That’s right, Jerusalem belongs to God.

“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” Joel 3:1,2 (KJV)

Isn’t it funny how whenever the Roman pontiff talks about Jerusalem, he never mentions that it is the capital of Israel and as such is not up to be shared by whoever feels like grabbing a piece of it? He speaks of Jerusalem like a commodity that can be bought and sold, and indeed it will be. By Antichrist in the time of Jacob’s trouble.

Pope in Morocco urges Jerusalem be protected for all religions

FROM THE TIME OF ISRAEL: Pope Francis joined the Moroccan monarch in declaring the city the “common patrimony” of Christians, Jews and Muslims, on the first day of a visit to the North African country. The spiritual leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics was invited by King Mohammed VI for the sake of “inter-religious dialogue,” according to Moroccan authorities.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said Jerusalem was “common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions,” during the pontiff’s visit to Rabat.

“The specific multi-religious character, the spiritual dimension and the particular cultural identity of Jerusalem… must be protected and promoted,” they said in the declaration released by the Vatican.

The statement contrasted sharply with a joint communique put out by Mohammed and Jordan’s King Abdullah on Thursday vowing to safeguard Jerusalem against attempts to change its Islamic or Christian identity.

The statement Thursday made no mention of any Jewish link to Jerusalem.

Improving relations with other religions has been a priority for the Argentine pontiff, whose papacy has been marred by a wave of child sex abuse allegations against clergy.

ANTICHRIST: POPE FRANCIS TELLS CATHOLICS IN ROME THAT A ‘PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP’ WITH JESUS IS ‘DANGEROUS AND HARMFUL’

Addressing thousands of Moroccans who had braved the rain to attend the welcome ceremony, Francis said it was “essential to oppose fanaticism.”

He stressed the need for “appropriate preparation of future religious guides”, ahead of meeting trainee imams later on Saturday.

Catholics are a tiny minority in the country where 99 percent of the population is Muslim. The king is revered across West Africa as “commander of the faithful.”

Speaking at the ceremony at the Tour Hassan mosque and nearby mausoleum in Rabat, Francis defended “freedom of conscience” and “religious freedom.”

“Live as brothers,” he told a crowd of around 25,000, after arriving from the airport in his Popemobile, passing rows of Moroccan and Vatican City flags.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9699

Secret Underground Church Started By James The Half-Brother Of Jesus Discovered In Jerusalem On Mount Zion

The 21st century keepers of this 2,000-year old church are certain it was started by the half-brother of Jesus, James. Jewish Christians were under heavy persecution from the Roman Empire in the days before Rome created the Catholic Church. The other early Christian church from around 300 AD has tile mosaics on the floors illustrating scenes from the book of Revelation.

by Geoffrey Grider March 18, 2019

There are two notable men named James we read about in the New Testament. There was James Zebedee, the brother of John, who the Bible refers to as the “sons of thunder”. The ‘other’ James is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Recently, I came across these amazing videos of archaeological discoveries dating back to the First Century AD, showing what is purported to be perhaps the very first Christian church in Jerusalem, one that was started by James, the half-brother of Jesus. Not to be confused with James, the brother of John, who wrote the book of James that bears his name.

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.” Galatians 1:18,19 (KJV)

I present these videos to you for your viewing pleasure, and hope that you will all check them out by comparing them with scripture to see if they match up with the biblical timeline. I am by no means a biblical archaeologist, but I have watched them many times and remain fascinated by what they show.

Secret Church From First Century Discovered On Mt. Zion

The 21st century keepers of this 2,000-year old church are certain it was started by the half-brother of Jesus, James. Jewish Christians were under heavy persecution from the Roman Empire in the days before Rome created the Catholic Church

Amazing Discovery Shows Scenes From Book Of Revelation

This one really sent chills down my spine, an early Christian church from around 300 AD that has tile mosaics on the floors illustrating scenes from the book of Revelation. 

The Two Men Named James

FUN FACTS: There are two notable men named James we read about in the New Testament. There was James Zebedee, the brother of John, that the Bible refers to as the “sons of thunder”. Along with the apostle Peter, this trio was blessed to be allowed to witness some amazing things.

“And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:” Mark 3:17 (KJV)

Peter, James and John were there in the ‘inner circle’ in Matthew 17 where they witnessed the miracle on the Mount of Transfiguration, and listened in rapturous wonder as Jesus told them of the last days and the end of the world in Mark 13 and Matthew 24.

“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” Galatians 2:9 (KJV)

The ‘other’ James is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Himself, and he was used mightily as well. James was personally acquainted with and sought out by the apostle Paul at the start of his ministry as recorded in Galatians, and later was the chair of the Council At Jerusalem in Acts 15 where Paul’s gospel of the grace of God was formally adopted by the church leaders.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9695

U.S. sees Turkey’s Russian missile deal as national security problem for NATO

Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Turkey’s pending purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system presents a national security problem for NATO, which would not be able to deploy F-35 aircraft alongside the Russian systems, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday.

The officials, who briefed a group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system was not tantamount to it withdrawing from NATO, but that Ankara’s purchase should be viewed as a national security issue, not a merely commercial decision.

“We are continuing to work on a range of options to ensure that Turkey’s participation in the NATO alliance and bilateral relationship can continue unabated and unimpinged,” one of the officials said.

“The gravity of the risk to the F-35 both to the United States and to NATO allies is such that the two systems cannot be co-located.”

NATO member Turkey has repeatedly said it is committed to buying the Russian missile defense system, despite warnings from the United States that the S-400s cannot be integrated into the NATO air defense system.

The U.S. State Department last week said Washington had told Turkey that if it buys the S-400 systems, the United States will have to reassess Ankara’s participation in the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter program.

Washington has sought to persuade Turkey to instead purchase the American-made Patriot defense system, but Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara remains committed to the deal for the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system.

The senior U.S. officials said Washington’s offer to sell Patriots to Turkey continued and that the two sides remain in negotiations about it.

The Turkish government has already missed a “soft deadline” set by Washington to decide whether to buy a $3.5 billion Raytheon Co. Patriot missile shield system. The formal offer expires at the end of this month.

On Thursday, Erdogan repeated that it was not possible for Ankara to back out of the deal with Russia.

Turkey’s insistence on buying the Russian system risks triggering a fresh diplomatic crisis with Washington. If Ankara goes ahead with the Russian deal, Turkey also could face sanctions under a U.S. law known as Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

The last diplomatic crisis between the two NATO allies contributed to driving the Turkish lira to a record low in August. Disputes over strategy in Syria, Iran sanctions and the detention of U.S. consular staff remain unresolved, and the issue of missile defense threatens to widen the rift again.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9692

Satellite Images Show Likely Iranian Military Installation in Syria

By JNS March 14, 2019 , 2:43 pm

“I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. Zechariah 10:6 (The Israel Bible™)

A military installation near the Lebanese-Syrian border may be producing precision surface-to-surface missiles, likely with Iranian backing, according to an intelligence report. (Credit: ImageSat International.)

A military installation near the Lebanese-Syrian border is being utilized to produce precision surface-to-surface missiles, likely with Iranian backing, according to an intelligence report published on Wednesday by ImageSat International.

The firm mentioned that neither warheads nor missile engines are being manufactured at the compound in the northwestern Syrian city of Safita, which is almost five miles from the border with Lebanon.

The factory, which is being built in the town of Safita, east of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast, is in an area controlled by the Syrian regime and in the vicinity of Russian SAM (surface-to-air missile) deployment.

“The construction patterns, the compound location and the activity signs at the compound and its region, increase the probability that this is a missile manufacturing site,” (ISI) said, adding that “if this site is indeed related to SSM manufacturing it is possible that the two hangers include production line and the third is for manufacture or assembly.”

The firm added that there has been increased vehicular activity to the compound in recent months, in addition to a new water tower constructed there.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9689

Cahokia: North America’s massive, ancient city

It was a sprawling civilization.

Matt Davis

22 February, 2019

  • Near modern-day St. Louis, Missouri, you can find towering mounds of earth that were once the product of a vast North American culture.
  • Cahokia was the largest city built by this Native American civilization.
  • Because the ancient people who built Cahokia didn’t have a writing system, little is known of their culture. Archaeological evidence, however, hints at a fascinating society.

Mesopotamia had Ur, a wealthy city from 2100 BCE and a towering ziggurat. Egypt had Memphis and Alexandria, with their great pyramids and library, respectively. The Toltecs or Totonacs, who resided in modern-day Mexico, had Teotihuacan, which hosted over 125,000 people in its monolithic architecture.

Ancient cities seem to have sprung up all over the world, each of which must have been magnificent sights in their day. But it seems like a handful of these cities hog all the limelight. Though Teotihuacan may be known, for instance, few are familiar with North America’s other great ancient city, Cahokia.

Mysterious mounds near St. Louis 

Monks Mound, the largest remaining mound in Cahokia. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

About 10 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, 80 mounds of earth dot 2,200 acres of land, the largest of which covers 13.8 acres and rises 100 feet high. These 80 mounds are the remainders of 120 mounds built 1,000 years before Columbus reached North America by a forgotten people called the Mississippians, named after the great river they lived near. All told, the mounds would have required the excavation of about 55 million cubic feet of earth.

The Mississippian civilization is poorly understood; they had no writing system, and by the time Europeans bothered to seriously document their culture, they had been scattered, wiped out by European diseases they had no immunities to.

Instead, much of our understanding of the Mississippians has come from archaeology, and the city of Cahokia represents the greatest trove of archaeological evidence. The city was named after the Cahokia tribe that lived in the area when the French first arrived, though they were not its original inhabitants. In fact, by that time in the 17th century, Cahokia was abandoned.

Though the Mississippians had no writing system, Cahokia was clearly the product of some kind of centralized planning. Its many great mounds are a testament to that, as well as the 50-acre leveled plain of the city named the Grand Plaza; the remains of a copper workshop; a palisade that surrounded its central, ceremonial district; and large henges made of wood.

When Cahokia was at its greatest between 1050 and 1200 CE, it hosted an estimated 40,000 Mississippians, more than the city of London at the time. The bulk of these people flocked to the city between 1050 and 1100, where they built homes, established the Grand Plaza, and built more mounds that raised important buildings over the thousands of other homes in Cahokia.

Life in Cahokia

We can glean some other features of Cahokian life from the fragments they left behind. We’ve found carved discs throughout Cahokia that were used in a game called “chunkey” that was played on the large flat field of the Grand Plaza. Participants rolled the chunkey stone across the field and threw spears toward where they thought the stone would come to rest. Huge audiences watched chunkey players, and players often gambled on the outcome.

But life in Cahokia wasn’t entirely fun and games. There is also evidence that the Cahokians engaged in human sacrifice. At one mound in particular, dubbed Mound 72, researchers found the remains of 272 people. In one instance of sacrifice, 39 people were lined up in front of a pit and clubbed one by one, falling into a mass grave. Two dozen different mass graves populate Mound 72, all of which contain the remains of people who had been strangled, clubbed, and even buried alive.

But there’s also a more reverent grave at Mound 72: a man buried on 20,000 beads made from seashells, which were status symbols and luxury items in Mississippian culture. These beads were arranged in the shape of a falcon. The falcon was an important symbol in Mississippian culture, typically associated with great warriors and chunkey players.

The city’s decline

By the time Columbus and other Europeans arrived in America, Cahokia was abandoned and had been since approximately 1300. What drove the Mississippians away from the vast city is unclear. It’s possible there had been some kind of conflict with another people — the palisade that encircled part of the city speaks to that.

Or, it could be that the unique density of Cahokia led to its downfall. Few other places in North America had tens of thousands of humans living in close proximity with one another. It could be that disease wiped out the Cahokians or that the area was overhunted, overfished, and overfarmed. Some evidence also suggests that the area was severely flooded twice: once between 1100 and 1260 and again between 1340 and 1460. Possibly a combination of these factors led the mound-builders to abandon Cahokia.

Today, Cahokia is preserved as a historic site that anyone can visit. However, Cahokia only gained its protective status in the 1960s. Prior to that, it was the site of heavy development — some of its mounds had been leveled for farming, airfields, housing, and highways. Fortunately, much of the site still remains, and it represents one of the few ancient cities left to visit in North America.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9686

Another Kind of Religious Leader Must Arise

Shane Idleman | Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com | Tuesday, February 26, 2019

As I’ve stated before: With rapid-fire changes within a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask if there is any hope for America. If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around—the vessel has been struck; what’s inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival…if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him…there is tremendous hope. Revival means to awaken, restore, renew, or repair. In churches across America, crowd appeal and pleasing the masses tends to be the goal rather than calling out destructive lifestyles, which can result in revival and renewal.

A.W. Tozer in an article entitled, Prophetic Preaching, hit the nail on the head when he wrote this, decades ago: “If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher.”

Tozer also said, “The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.”

He concludes, “Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.”

Those who have been called to preach, much like the prophets in the Old Testament, will confront compromise, condemn moral digression, and powerfully denounce sin in the hope of reconciling man to God—they speak the truth in love. The world, and carnal Christians, despise them because they challenge the sin they enjoy.

Preachers will ruffle feathers and step on toes from time-to-time, but it should be the result of the truth being spoken in love verses the preacher having an arrogant and judgmental heart. In a sense, a preacher is called to break the heart, a pastor to mend it; one concentrates on repentance, the other restoration. Although there can be a mixture of both preacher and teacher in a person, there is often a clear difference. Pastors (and teachers) aim for the mind; preachers aim for the heart, will, and emotions—to stir and to convict. Often…

The pastor builds—the preacher tears.

The pastor counsels—the preacher convicts.

The pastor rejoices—the preacher weeps.

The pastor plants—the preacher uproots.

The pastor teaches—the preacher preaches.

The pastor mends—the preacher breaks.

The pastor is full of hope—the preacher is full of fire.

The pastor loves to listen—the preacher needs to speak.

The pastor sees the good in others—the preacher sees the depravity in man.

The pastor desires to be among the people—the preacher desires to be alone with God.

As the famous Puritan Richard Baxter said, “I preach as a dying man to dying men”… as a dying man to a dying nation. The church, and our nation, desperately needs to hear “the voice crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict, and restore.

All pastors should ask, “Does the world love the way we ‘do church’?” Do they appreciate that your church never challenges, or calls things into question? Do they like the fact that your church never makes them feel uncomfortable or offended? Are they grateful that you never discuss controversial issues? If so, you may want to reconsider Jesus’ words that true disciples will be hated by the world because they speak the truth, not because they avoid it.

Leonard Ravenhill, in Why Revival Tarries, wrote, “God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown of the nation and the church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness. Such a man is likely to be drastic and radical; the curious crowd that gathers to watch him will soon brand him as extreme, fanatical, and negative…and, in a sense, they are right…for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost.”

I pray that God would raise up many humble preachers—men who allow God to shape their sermons and penetrate their hearts to bring America, and the world, to her knees.

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Damascus To Become A “Ruinous Heap”?: Syria Threatens To Attack The Golan Heights And Israel Prepares For War

The winds of war are blowing once again, and it isn’t going to take much to spark a major conflict in the Middle East.  This week is the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the civil war in Syria, and after the nightmare that the people of Syria have been through, you would think that the Assad regime would be eager for peace.  But instead, Assad appears to be ready to go for broke.  If Syria can spark a Middle East war that results in the complete destruction of Israel, Assad would be remembered as a hero in the Islamic world forever.  Instead of a legacy of civil war and crushing poverty, Assad’s legacy would be one of wartime leader that brought total victory over Syria’s most hated enemy.  But of course such a conflict would be a huge risk, because if it went badly the city of Damascus would be completely flattened and the nation of Syria as we know it today would be entirely destroyed.  And considering how overwhelmingly powerful the Israeli military is, it would seem to be a very foolish risk to take.  Unfortunately, Assad does not appear to be thinking rationally.  On Thursday, Syria officially threatened “to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights”.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post

Syria vowed to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights, World Israel News reported on Thursday.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad submitted an official warning to the head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Kristin Lund, in what seemed to be an attempt to prevent official US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan.

Of course Israel is never going to leave the Golan Heights.  We all know how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels, and on Monday his main opposition in the upcoming election expressed similar sentiments

Blue and White party politicians Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon visited the Golan Heights on Monday and vowed never to give it up.

“We will increase the numbers of residents in the Golan, sending a resounding message to all – we will never relinquish the Golan Heights,” Gantz said.

Let us hope that Syria is bluffing, because if Syria attacks the Golan Heights it will start a war.

And it is a war that Syria could not possibly hope to win on their own.  But Assad doesn’t plan to take on Israel by himself.

Over the last several months, Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian forces inside Syria.  The Iranians have been fighting on Assad’s side in the Syrian civil war, and the Israelis are afraid that when everything is all said and done that the nation of Syria will end up being totally dominated by Iran.  The following comes from Haaretz

For Iran, its domination of Syria is key to achieving its long-standing dream of a “Shiite crescent,” extending through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to the Mediterranean and of establishing a permanent ground, air and naval presence on Israel’s border. Iran’s ability to do so has been impeded to date only by the small and dwindling U.S. force in eastern Syria and hundreds of Israeli airstrikes that have, so far, successfully thwarted Iran’s efforts.

Although Israel has become a powerful and essentially secure state, capable of demonstrating restraint in the face of the many challenges it faces, this would constitute a dire and unacceptable change in the balance of power, one that Israel cannot tolerate and must prevent – even at the expense of war.

The Iranians have stated that they are no longer going to tolerate Israeli airstrikes, and their military leadership is fully ready to go to war.  If war does erupt between Israel and Syria, it seems very unlikely that Iran would stay out of it.

And without a doubt, Iranian targets would be among the first to get hit in a war between Israel and Syria, and the Netanyahu administration has been very clear that Israel is preparing for a war with Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu startled Iranians and even the White House on Wednesday with a strident call for Israeli-Arab action against the government in Tehran that was translated by his office as urging “war with Iran.”

Although Israeli officials tried to soften the reference by altering the English translation, the provocative comment was likely to further the perception that Israel, its Gulf Arab neighbors and the United States are interested in using military action to topple the government of Iran. It comes at a particularly delicate moment, as the Trump administration uses a U.S.-organized summit in Warsaw and this week’s 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution to try to rally the world against the government in Tehran.

Such a war would be incredibly bloody, and the moment that missiles began to fall on Tel Aviv the Israelis would not hesitate to use nukes on Damascus and Tehran.

Let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Meanwhile, the situation in Venezuela continues to unravel as well.  Sunday was the fourth day for the nationwide blackout, and Nicolas Maduro is blaming the failure of the power grid on a U.S. cyberattack

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro – who is facing a challenge to his rule by the leader of the opposition-led congress, Juan Guaido – has blamed the blackout on an act of “sabotage” by the United States at the Guri hydroelectric dam, but experts say it is the outcome of years of underinvestment.

“The national electrical system has been subject to multiple cyberattacks,” Maduro wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “However, we are making huge efforts to restore stable and definitive supply in the coming hours.”

Hopefully the U.S. was not behind the cyberattack, because a cyberattack is an act of war.

And since nobody has asked the U.S. Congress for permission to go to war, such an attack would be in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition, relations with North Korea are rapidly deteriorating as well.  In fact, Kim Jong-Un appears to be preparing to provoke the U.S. by launching a missile

Following President Donald Trump’s stalemate talks with Kim Jong-Un, it appears North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or rocket some time soon.

Earlier this week North Korea sparked outrage after satellite images revealed the nation was ‘rapidly rebuilding’ its Sohae Launch Facility, a long-range missile launch site.

New images reveal activity may have also resumed at a second site near Pyongyang, known as Sanumdong, where intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-launching rockets are assembled.

We truly do live at a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and this could very easily be a year of war for the United States.

Unfortunately, our military is not in very good shape right now.  In fact, in RAND’s recent “simulated World War III scenarios” the U.S. just kept on losing

In simulated World War III scenarios, the U.S. continues to lose against Russia and China, two top war planners warned last week. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said Thursday.

RAND’s wargames show how US Armed Forces – colored blue on wargame maps – experience the most substantial losses in one scenario after another and still can’t thwart Russia or China – which predictably is red – from accomplishing their objectives: annihilating Western forces.

“We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,” he warned.

Over the past decade, the U.S. military has been dramatically transformed, and not for the better.

But even if our military was in the condition that it should be, we should still not desire war, because in this day and age weapons of mass destruction have made full-blown war between major powers absolutely unthinkable.

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