Category: Ancient Cilvilizations and Giants

Clay Seal of Isaiah Found But Mystery Remains

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz February 22, 2018 , 4:20 pm

“The prophecies of Yeshayahu son of Amotz, who prophesied concerning Yehuda and Yerushalayim in the reigns of Uzziyahu, Yotam, Achaz, and Chizkiyahu, kings of Yehuda.” Isaiah 1:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Excavations at the City of David in Jerusalem. (Shutterstock)

A prominent Israeli archaeologist announced this week her discovery of a clay seal bearing the Hebrew name of Isaiah which may very well have belonged to the Biblical prophet.

“We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation,” said Dr. Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist from Hebrew University, who made the discovery.

“The clay seal shows the lower part of a grazing doe, a motif of blessing and protection found in Judah, particularly in Jerusalem,” Dr. Mazar wrote in Biblical Archaeology on Wednesday.

Clay impression of Isaiah (Photo courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar)

It is unclear however, if the seal actually belonged to the prophet Isaiah because it remains uncertain that a letter may or may not be missing.

The [clay impression] reads ‘leyesha‘yah[u]’ in ancient Hebrew letters, which means ‘[belonging] to Isaiah’. The three Hebrew letters of nun, vav, and yud also appear. After the letter yud, the corner of the seal is broken off, raising the question if the three letters were also followed by a fourth letter, aleph completing the word, navi (prophet). Alternatively, the damaged space may very have been blank.

Without that missing corner confirming the existence or absence of the aleph, the bulla cannot be fully determined to have belonged to the Biblical prophet. If it can be authenticated, however, this will be the first time that an artifact directly connected to a Biblical prophet has been found.

The seal was discovered ten feet from where, in 2015, Dr. Mazar found another similar artifact that belonged to King Hezekiah who ruled over Judah from 727 BCE-698 BCE.

“The close relationship between the king and the prophet is well known,” Dr. Mazar told Breaking Israel News. “Finding a seal impression of the prophet Isaiah next to that of King Hezekiah should not be unexpected. It would not be the first time that seal impressions of two Biblical personas were discovered in close proximity.”

Dr. Mazar referred to two seal impressions belonging to Yehukhal ben Sheleḿiyahu ben Shovi and Gedaliyahu ben Pashḥur, both of whom were high officials in King Ẓedekiah’s court. Both seals were found just a few feet apart from each other, in the City of David in 2005. She noted that both were mentioned in the same Biblical verse.

Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedalia son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard what Yirmiyahu was saying to all the people. Jeremiah 38:1

The seal itself was not used by the common folk and therefore, symbolizes a person’s high stature in society.

“A seal is not an ordinary thing belonging to normal people,” Dr. Mazar explained. “Important people who need a seal had them to seal documents or to seal packages. No other figure was closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah so it is an obvious assumption that he would have such a seal. If this seal did belong to him, it would indicate his high status.”

The reverse side of the seal shows the impression of woven cloth. Dr. Mazar suggested that the cloth may have been from a package the prophet was sending, marking it as his own. She suggested an intriguing and significant possibility of what that package may have been.

“This is reminiscent of the story of the Prophet Isaiah healing King Hezekiah with figs,” she elaborated, referring to one such Biblical account.

When Yeshayahu said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the rash, and he will recover.” Isaiah 38:21

“Perhaps he brought special figs intended for the king and put a seal so that no one would touch it,” Dr. Mazar suggested. “We don’t know but there are many possibilities.”

Remarkably, a fingerprint is visible on the clay, perhaps that Isaiah himself.

“If the owner of the seal was the Prophet Isaiah, we have here the fingerprint of the prophet,” Dr. Mazar said. “But we cannot be sure of this because of the missing Aleph.”

Even the few clues found on the tiny piece of clay give hints that must be considered. Dr. Mazar noted that most seals are identified by the name of the owner and the owner’s father, which in the case of the Prophet Isaiah would be ‘Isaiah the son of Amotz’.

“That is the normal style.  however there are cases of seals containing the name and the title,” she said, emphasizing that this also was not a definitive clue. “Navi without an ‘aleph’ could also mean ‘from the city of Nov,’ a Kohanic (priestly) city near Jerusalem mentioned often in the Bible.”

Thereupon the king sent for the KohenAchimelech son of Achituv and for all the Kohanim belonging to his father’s house at Nov. They all came to the king. I Samuel 22:11

One other objection to the possibility that this seal belonged to Isaiah the prophet is the lack of the letter hay as a definitive prefix. In the Bible, the word navi (prophet) is usually preceded by the definitive of hay, translating as “the prophet.” The letter Hay, however, does not appear on the clay impression as a prefix to the letters of nun, vav, bet and yud, indicating that the seal did not say, “the prophet.” Dr. Mazar acknowledged this as a potential sign that the seal impression may not be from Isaiah but also noted that many inscriptions in ancient Hebrew have been found without the prefix.

Although she is not religious, Dr. Mazar uses the Bible as a resource for her research.

“I look for the reality behind the stories since reality is clearly written there, but the bible has to be examined according to the archaeological proof,” she stressed. “I was educated in archaeology to relate to the Bible as a most important historical source, to examine it and re-examine it.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9050

Papyrus With Oldest-Known Hebrew Reference to Jerusalem Proves City Jewish 1,300 Years Before Birth of Islam

Feb 18, 2018 by Jews News in ISRAEL

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz

“At that time they shall call Yerushalayim the throne of Hashem; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Hashem, to Yerushalayim; neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” Jeremiah 3:17 (The Israel Bible™)

A 2,700-year-old papyrus that is the oldest known non-Biblical Hebrew reference to Jerusalem has been found, announced the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) on Wednesday. The papyrus, originally stolen by antiquities thieves, was put on display in Jerusalem on Wednesday, coinciding with the second UNESCO resolution attempting to deny Judaism’s connection to its most holy city – a connection this ancient artifact so graphically proves.

The two lines of writing on the tiny scrap of papyrus (4.3 inches by 1 inch) are surprisingly clear: “From the king’s maidservant, from Naharta, jars of wine, to Jerusalem.”

The scroll was originally plundered from a cave in Nahal Hever in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea by antiquities thieves. Professor Shmuel Ahituv of Ben-Gurion University studied the papyrus when it was first recovered. He spoke at the IAA press conference, noting that on the papyrus, the name of the city was spelled with a letter ‘yud’, as it is in modern Hebrew. Pronounced ‘Yerushalayim’, Ahituv noted that it is spelled this way only four times in the entire Bible.

Ahituv also noted that papyrus, made from the pith of the papyrus plant, was more expensive than the more common clay. The text specified a “female servant of the king” sending the wineskins to “Yerushalem”, suggesting the shipment was sent by a prominent woman to a person of high status in the capital.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9036

2,800 Year Old Prophecy Fulfilled As Bible Comes to Life in The City of David

By Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler February 1, 2018 , 2:30 pm

“[The Lord] says: Build up, build up a highway! Clear a road! Remove all obstacles From the road of My people!” Isaiah 57:14 (The Israel Bible™)

Excavations at the City of David in Jerusalem. (Shutterstock)

What is so compelling about a video, originally produced this past summer by Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) and shared by the Israel Video Network earlier this month, that has been watched well over 800,000 times?

The 5-minute video is an interview conducted by Chris Mitchell, Middle East Bureau Chief for CBN, with AnaRina Heymann, Outreach Coordinator at the City of David in Jerusalem. Heymann explains that most of the Old City of Jerusalem is not in fact part of ancient Biblical Jerusalem.

“The only part of ancient Jerusalem that lies in the Old City is the Temple Mount. The walls of the Old City were built 450 years ago by Suleiman the Great. The walls of the City of David are more than 3,000 years old,” Heymann told Breaking Israel News.

The honor of being identified as ancient Biblical Jerusalem is given to the City of David, whose excavations are proving the Bible and fulfilling Biblical prophecy everyday.

“As we uncover the city, the archaeological finds provide unequivocal proof not only of the Jewish presence of more than 3,000 years in the land, but also the Biblical connection to Jerusalem, which UNESCO and the UN vehemently deny,” Heymann said.

Why is the exact location of ancient Biblical Jerusalem so important? Heymann asserts, “I believe that anyone passionate about Jerusalem and serious about the Bible needs to know about the true location of the ancient Biblical Jerusalem. There is a massive realignment, cognitively and spiritually, happening as people are becoming more aware of this.”

In the video, Heymann shows Mitchell two especially powerful Bible-based sites.

First, at 1:47, Heymann says, “Most of the kings of Israel were anointed where we’re standing right now.” Elaborating for Breaking Israel News, she noted that “the anointing of the King of Israel had to take place at a live water source.”

“We know that this is the place where Solomon was anointed,” she continued. “In 1 Kings 1:33, David urged Bathsheba and Nathan to take Solomon to the Gihon Spring and anoint him there.”

The king said to them, “Take my loyal soldiers, and have my son Shlomo ride on my mule and bring him down to Gichon. 1 Kings 1:33

“Tradition also identifies this as the place where most of the kings from the line of Judah were anointed,” Heymann explained.

The second site has prophetic implications. At 2:40, Heymann introduces the excavations at the tunnel that lead from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount and connects them to a prophecy in the book of Isaiah.

This, according to Heymann, is the walk that pilgrims made when they visited the Temple Mount during the Biblical festivals. First, they immersed in the Pool of Siloam and then walked to the Temple Mount. All of this has been hidden for 2,000 years.

“After 2,000 years, the ancient city was rediscovered by Charles Warren in the year 1867. We are now opening up the ancient road between the Pool of Siloam and Temple Mount,” said Heymann. This excavation is fulfilling the exact words of Isaiah.

[The Lord] says: Build up, build up a highway! Clear a road! Remove all obstacles From the road of My people! Isaiah 57:14

Furthermore, Heymann sees an echo of this prophecy in today’s Jerusalem. “I also believe that, as we are opening up the ancient road between the Pool of Siloam and Temple Mount (the final ascent that every pilgrim had to walk), there is a strong parallel to how the modern highways to Jerusalem are opening up too.”

In fact, earlier this month, JNS reported that Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Transportation Minister, had announced that the new high speed train to Jerusalem will launch in time for Passover. “I made a promise, and I will fulfill it. This coming Pesach (Passover), we will allow all of Israel to come en masse to Jerusalem, via the express train from Tel Aviv,” he said. “We are connecting and strengthening our capital city of Jerusalem, and we are connecting to Jerusalem’s history.”

In addition, Heymann said that “the cable car line that will bring masses of people to the Kotel from different points in the city is now being developed.”

Heyman calls the site, “the spiritual nucleus; the touchdown of the End of Days prophecies” adding that “the Bible comes alive 360 degrees in the City of David.”

“Everyone passionate about Jerusalem and serious about the Bible has to reconnect with the true location of ancient Biblical Jerusalem,” she continued. “For all Bible believers, we are talking about the place where kings reigned, prophets walked and epic battles ensued.”

“People can now become a tangible part of prophecy by joining our efforts through the Jerusalem Watch project. Millions of people around the world feel a deep personal and spiritual connection to Jerusalem and are seeking a meaningful way to express their devotion and commitment,” Heymann added.

“In response to this, the Jerusalem Watch initiative offers those passionate about Jerusalem a tangible opportunity to connect by taking an active role in uncovering the glory and history of Biblical Jerusalem, literally becoming part of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9002

Is the Shroud of Turin Evidence of Jesus’ Existence?

Maybe the Turin Shroud is not real after all?

By Christian Evidence | Sat 20 Jan 2018 8:52 EST

Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” (Matthew 27:58-60)

The Shroud of Turin is an ancient, sepia-colored, rectangular, 14.3 x 3.7 foot linen cloth woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill composed of flax fibrils with the front and the back image of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin on it. It is considered to be the linen cloth the dead Jesus was wrapped in after He was crucified. Some have concluded it is the true burial shroud of Jesus. Others have pronounced it a medieval forgery. In my opinion, the evidence completely disproves it being a medieval forgery…

  1. A set of tests conducted on the Shroud place the cloth to the time ranging from 300 B.C. to 400 A.D., well within the time of Jesus of Nazareth (Stanglin, USA Today, 2013).
  2. The bloodstains, as forensic scientists and chemists now know, were created by real blood, specificallyblood of a torture victim. In addition to that, an x-ray-taken showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood. Microchemical tests for proteins were positive in blood areas but not in any other parts of the Shroud. Furthermore, claims are that the blood has been confirmed as authentic hemoglobin and identified as Type AB!
  3. Microscopic traces of the flowers, and pollen, has been found throughout the Turin Shroud. Out of hundreds of flowers on the Shroud,twenty-eight of them grow in Israel. Twenty grow in Jerusalem itself, and the other eight grow potentially within the close vicinity of Jerusalem (Whanger and Whanger, Duke.edu, 2015). Of these twenty-eight plants, twenty-seven of the identified plants are in bloom in March and April.

Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem during the Passover in the Spring of c. 30 AD. (Matthew 26:12; Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1,7: John 18:28) Half of the floral images and pollen grains from the plants are found only in the Middle East or other similar areas but never in Europe, the favored location of the forgery of the Shroud. Most of the flowers were clustered around the head and chest of the man on the Shroud – consistent with Jewish burial custom in Jesus’ time.The pollen also dates to the first-century, further indication that the Shroud was first found in first-century Israel. In addition, many grains of the pollen, Gundelia tournefortii, have been identified. This particular pollen has large thorns, blooms in Israel between March and May, and most of the grains of this pollen have been recovered near the man’s shoulder! Could it have been the crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29)?

“In addition to being unable to explain so many things about the Shroud of Turin, did it ever occur to modern skeptics that no medieval forger would have been able to forge pollen grains and floral images. Pollen grains are able to be seen only through a microscope. A medieval artist/forger did not even KNOW about individual GRAINS of pollen, could never ever have seen a microscopic grain of pollen—until the 1800’s AD.”—Sandra Sweeny Silver

  1. The image is not a stain, it is not painted on the Shroud, nor is it burned on. Instead, it is seared on to the cloth with a technology that has yet to be explained. Scientists can’t even reproduce it with modern technology, let alone medieval technology! Nothing existed in medieval or ancient times that could produce such an X-ray as this. The only explanation would be some sort of large burst of radiation, that was emitted as Jesus was resurrected from the dead, creating the image on the cloth. The process causing the yellowness of the top most fibers of the threads responsible for the image is also unknown.

Italian scientist Paolo DiLazzaro tried for five years to replicate the image and concluded that it was produced by ultraviolet light, but the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst “would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”

  1. The image of the man on the Shroud can be read by 3D imaging technology, something that paintings can’t do. The image on the Shroud is also only a few fibers deep. The image on the Shroud is not a painting, and that’s a fact!
  2. The type of cloth is consistent with fabrics from first-century Israel, but not with medieval Europe. A forger would have had to not only forge the image, but would have had to have detailed knowledge of linen weaves of the first century and then not only reproduce it, but age it convincingly.
  3. Usually, whenever there’s a picture depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, it shows the nail prints in the palms of the hand. However, modern science has shown that a nail through the middle of the palm of a man’s hand would not be sufficient to hold most of the weight of a man on a cross. The nail would tear through the hand. The placement of the nails in crucifixion was most likely in the wrist.

The Turin Shroud shows the nail marks at the lower part of the hand into the wrist, just as expected! Also, experiments conducted on cadavers note that the Turin Shroud accurately depicts how crucifixions would have transpired. In addition, the whip markings on the man’s back match the ends of the flagrums used by the first-century Romans for scourgings, his body shows signs of rigor mortis in a crucified position, some of his blood flows are post mortem, and it even shows marks indicating a spear wound – consistent with John 19:34. It matches the details of Jesus’ crucifixion accurately!

The evidence seems highly probable that the Turin Shroud is genuinely the cloth that covered Jesus of Nazareth before His amazing resurrection from the dead. However, we do not need to rely solely on the Shroud of Turin to provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, since the evidence from both Christian and non-Christian sources alone are enough to verify the reliability of the crucifixion and resurrection account. See: Historical Evidence For Jesus’ Resurrection.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8994

Mystery of 24 black-boxes discovered near Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza

THEY weigh more than 100 tons, they are solid Aswan granite, and they are precision engineered to tolerances which would be deemed remarkable even today.

By Paul Baldwin

PUBLISHED: 07:32, Sat, Jan 13, 2018 | UPDATED: 08:14, Sat, Jan 13, 2018 Mysterious black boxes found in Egypt

So how did the ancient Egyptians build and put in place the 24 strange and sinister coffin shaped black boxes discovered buried in a hillside cave system, 12 miles south of The Great Pyramid of Giza?

And more importantly, why?

The skilfulness of the stone cutting, accurate to just a few microns, is so remarkable that some experts have concluded that they were not built for Egytian pharaos but in fact left on earth by and alien race and simply appropriated by the kings.

 

GETTY

The tombs are believed to be the burial places of Apis bulls, worshipped as deities in Ancient Egypt

The stark black boxes do display some hieroglyphics but they are of such poor quality that the scribbles are regarded as graffiti.

The real purpose and function of the boxes remains unclear, but the were clearly of importance, as they were cut with such precision they would remain airtight for many millennia.

They are known as the Serapeum of Saqqara in the now abandoned city of Memphis, Egypt.

In Egyptology a serapeum is a temple or other religious institution dedicated to the syncretic Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis, who combined aspects of Osiris and Apis in a humanized form.

Serapis was recognised across the Mediterranean region and emerges in both Greek and Gnosyic religions – usually in the guise of a man with a three-headed dog on a chain.

GETTY

It remains a mystery how the ancient culture were able to carve such huge and accurate sarcophagi

The formal burial site is believed to have been built sometime 3300 years ago by Ramesses II.

Recent research suggests it was a burial place of Apis bulls, which were worshipped as incarnations of the god Ptah.

Egyptologists say that because the bulls were honoured as gods Khaemweset, a son of Ramesses II ordered that a tunnel be excavated through one of the mountains at the site and designed with side chambers to contain large granite sarcophagi weighing up to 100 tons each, to hold the mummified remains of the bulls.

Theories about the pyramids that could prove advanced ancient technology

Fri, January 12, 2018

The ancient pyramids of Giza have wowed mankind for centuries, these are the theories the pyramids of Giza could prove that advanced ancient technology existed

EPA

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Researchers discovered a ‘big void’ in the Pyramid by observation of cosmic-ray muons, that are only partially absorbed by stone, an empty space of at least 30 meters long that could be a possible hidden chamber

The temple was discovered by Auguste Mariette, who had gone to Egypt to collect coptic manuscripts, but later grew interested in the remains of the Saqqara necropolis.

In 1850, Mariette found the head of one sphinx sticking out of the shifting desert sand dunes, cleared the sand and followed the boulevard to the site.

After using explosives to clear rocks blocking the entrance to the catacomb, he excavated most of the complex.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8965

What Bible says about Arabian desert

Could Sahara have been a forest just 700 years before Jesus’ time?

Published: 15 hours ago

WASHINGTON – Science has lots of ideas about the ancient catastrophic climate change that almost all agree occurred to create the world’s biggest desert in Arabia.

There are as many theories about what happened as when it happened.

What’s not very well-known even by Bible scholars is what the Bible says – or at least suggests.

The Book of Isaiah chapter 21:13 references “the forest of Arabia shall ye tarry all night, even in the ways of Dedanites.” The Hebrew word behind the English “forest” is ya’ar, which generally means forest. Most every older Bible translation renders it “forest,” while some modern ones translate it to “desert” or “thicket” – probably because they can’t imagine there was once a forest in Arabia.

Yet, many scientists, including secular ones, are not only acknowledging that as a fact, some are suggesting it could have been so only a few thousand years ago.

That raises the question as to whether it was indeed a forest in the renowned Isaiah’s time. Even more interesting is the fact that another biblical prophet, Jeremiah, who lived about 100 years after Isaiah, has this to say in Jeremiah 3:2-3: “Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.”

In other words, Jeremiah, quoting what God spoke to him, wrote that the Arabian forest of Isaiah’s time became a desert because of a Divine judgment. And it’s not the only well-known, sprawling desert in the world that was previously forested.

Jeremiah suggests rainfall in Arabia stopped in his time or before. Could the destruction of an Arabian forest have occurred only 2,700 years ago? Is this biblical evidence of just such a possibility?

One recent scientific paper suggests there could have been an Arabian forest instead of desert between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago.

It sparked popular news stories with 2015 headlines like this by the BBC: “Arabia was once a lush paradise of grass and woodlands.”

Other scientists are jumping in to support this conclusion, including the idea that there were lakes and rivers in Arabia thousands of years ago.

And others still say the climate change that brought about the Arabian desert occurred over millions and millions of years – not thousands.

Some Christian scientists and theologians, however, have long believed what the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah said about the Arabian desert in their times was true. Bodie Hodge, a speaker, writer and researcher for Answers in Genesis, explains why.

“After the Flood, the Earth was obviously well watered,” he told WND.” Regrowth should have been abundant over most of the globe. Furthermore, the heat from which the Lord used to burst the springs/fountains of the great deep (Genesis 7:11), had to be a tremendous heat source. Couple this with continental scale movements, this generates immense heat, warming the oceans. Warm oceans produced more precipitation in the early years after the Flood to continue vegetation growth in places we normally wouldn’t see.”

Hodge continues: “This warming would have been the trend until the ice peaked in the Ice Age, with exceptions of course. Calculations by weather experts like meteorologists Mike Oard and Dr. Larry Vardiman put the peak of the Ice Age at about 500 years after Noah’s Flood. This would have been about 400 years after Babel. At this time, Arabia, the Sahara, Negev, and many other places were likely still highly vegetated. Many science articles have reported on the previously lush regions of Arabia, the Sahara, Negev and even Antarctica.”

Speaking of the Negev, today a vast desert, is also referred to as a forest in the underlying Hebrew in Ezekiel 20:46-48. The prophet ministered in the early 600s B.C., around the same time as Jeremiah and about a century after Isaiah.

While the King James Version of the Bible doesn’t specifically refer to the Negev by name, southern Israel is almost entirely desert today, completely occupied by what we call the Negev or Judean Desert. Here’s what Ezekiel wrote in his time about this vast desert: “Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. And all flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.”

According to this account, the Negev went from being a vast forest to becoming a desert because God burned it in judgment.

“At the time of Abraham and Lot, the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea region, where Sodom and Gomorrah were located, were well-watered and lush with vegetation,” said Hodge. “I would suggest some deserts were already forming in Abraham’s day around 2,000 BC, and others much later, including into Isaiah and Jeremiah’s day. Today, the Dead Sea region is very desert-like. Sometimes deserts form relatively quickly. But that takes a significant catastrophe and long-term changes of climate. It makes more sense that deserts form in waves as different areas within the larger forest diminish and as other parts still have sufficient ground water (i.e., the oasis affect) and enough rain to sustain, until further weather changes occur. But the final desertification may take a little time. The Yatir desert in Israel is at the edge of the Negev desert. This shows how one area can be devastated into a desert while an area right next to it can remain lush.”

The specific area mentioned in Jeremiah and Isaiah may pinpoint the precise time for the formation of the desert of Arabia Petraea. Dr. John Gill, commentator and Hebraist in the 1700s, published notes on Isaiah 21:13 along these lines as have other well-known commentators. They all insisted the Arabian forest was no mere grove of trees, or a “thicket,” as some modern translations put it, but a thick wooded forest. Some modern translations have even “corrected” Isaiah by changing the word “forest” to “desert.”

“As Arabia no longer has such a place (a forest), this change had to occur since Isaiah’s day,” says Hodge. “It is reasonable and even scriptural to suggest that it happened within the 100 years to Jeremiah’s day.”

By the way, both Saudi Arabia and Israel are actively reforesting their respective deserts.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8955

Bible: Explorers Claim They’ve Discovered Noah’s Ark From Book of Genesis

By Kastalia Medrano On 12/28/17 at 5:10 AM

More than 100 international researchers recently convened for a three-day symposium to discuss new evidence that the Biblical ark from the book of Genesis made landfall at Mount Ararat in Turkey, according to the Nation. One “ark hunter” in particular believes he’s found the ark’s final resting place.

“The result of my findings will be published in books, publications and journals, but at this point it is too early to know what we are going to find,” Raul Esperante of the Geoscience Research Institute said, according to the Nation. “Once the scientific community knows about the existence of Noah’s Ark in Mount Ararat, we can make it available to the general public.”

In 2010, evangelical Chinese and Turkish researchers claimed to have found wooden remnants from an “ark-like” structure around 13,000 feet up Agri Mountain, the highest peak in Turkey, according to the Nation. They said that carbon dating had revealed the wood to be around 4,800 years old, which conceivably places it in the same historical period as when the flood was said to have occurred. Esperante asked for funds to be able to continue that work, according to the Nation.

The book of Genesis records that the ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat, which corresponds to Agri, after riding out the great flood for 150 days.

“There have been, from the 19th century through the present, many claims that Noah’s Ark has been discovered around Mount Ararat,” Brent Landau, a biblical scholar at the University of Texas at Austin who was not affiliated with the recent work, told Newsweek over email. “But these claims have almost always been made by biblical literalists, who believe that the Bible is 100 percent true, so they are certainly not conducting their investigations from a neutral scientific perspective.”

The Geoscience Research Institute isn’t an impartial entity; it’s sponsored by the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Esperante hadn’t responded to a request for comment as of publication time.

Mount Ararat (also known as Agri Dagi) is seen outside Yerevan on October 6. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Image

The existence of the great flood itself is highly contested for obvious reasons, but there’s evidence accepted by both religious and secular scientists (including Landau) that such an event could have occurred, even if the timeline differs a bit from what appears in Genesis. Still, a great many people who go searching for the ark itself seem to find it, and the evidence doesn’t usually get much traction. The 2010 discovery was widely debunked as a hoax, according to outlets like NBC. At the time, the Christian Science Monitor also quoted an evangelical scientist (and former member of the research group behind the alleged discovery) as saying he had believed “proper analysis may show this to be a hoax.” Still, Esperante and many like him think otherwise.

“All of the previous claims that Noah’s Ark has been discovered have turned out to be outright hoaxes—with wooden beams or other artifacts planted there by the discoverers themselves—or natural rock formations that look somewhat like a giant boat,” Landau wrote to Newsweek. “I am quite confident that this present claim will turn out to be more of the same.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8943

Seal From First Temple Period Found At Western Wall In Jerusalem Supports Biblical Account Of Judah’s Governors

“The finding of the seal with this high-rank title – in addition to the large assemblage of actual seals found in the building in the past – supports the assumption that this area, located on the western slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem, some 100 m west of the Temple Mount, was inhabited by highly ranked officials during the First Temple period.” Weksler-Bdolah added this is the first time that such a seal was found in an authorized excavation.

by Geoffrey Grider January 1, 2018

 

A rare, well preserved Hebrew-inscribed and stamped piece of clay from the First Temple Period belonging to the “governor of the city” of Jerusalem was recently discovered during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Western Wall Plaza.

“Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.” Ezra 6:7 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is always exciting when they discover artifacts that support and validate the Old Testament accounts related to the First and Second Jewish temples in Jerusalem. Israel’s connection to the great city is well-documented and goes back thousands of years. It also renders the notion that Jerusalem could ever be the capital of a Palestinian country as at once laughable and ludicrous. 

According to Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, excavator of the site on behalf of the IAA, “The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2,700 years ago.”

The relic was unearthed during a joint dig with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation in the northwestern section of the Western Wall Plaza dating to the First Temple period (6-7th centuries BC).

“This extraordinary find is a lump of clay, stamped and pre-fired,” Weksler-Bdolah said on Monday. “It measures 13 x 15 mm and is 2–3 mm thick. The upper part of the seal depicts two figures facing each other, and the lower part holds an inscription in ancient Hebrew script.” (click to see video)

Weksler-Bdolah said she believes that the seal had been attached to an important transport and served as some sort of logo, or as a tiny souvenir, which was sent on behalf of the governor of the city.

“It is likely that one of the buildings in our excavation was the destination of this transport sent by the city governor,” she said.

“The finding of the seal with this high-rank title – in addition to the large assemblage of actual seals found in the building in the past – supports the assumption that this area, located on the western slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem, some 100 m west of the Temple Mount, was inhabited by highly ranked officials during the First Temple period.”

Weksler-Bdolah added this is the first time that such a seal was found in an authorized excavation.

The seal was presented to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, during his visit to Davidson’s Center, near the Western Wall, last week. After the completion of the scientific research, the seal will be on temporary exhibit in the mayor’s office.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8933

Ancient tomb door with stunning menorah carving revealed in Israel

By James Rogers | Fox News

Detail of carved menorah on tomb door.  (Photo by Tal Rogovsky)

As the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah comes to a close, the discovery of an ancient tomb door with a stunning menorah carving is providing a fascinating glimpse into Israel’s rich history.

The basalt tomb door, which is undergoing preservation work, was recently put on display by the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem.

The door was discovered in Tiberias in Israel’s Galilee region in 2010 by archaeologists from the University, but was only revealed to the public a few weeks ago, said Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman, senior lecturer at Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology and Department of Islamic and Middle East Studies.

Cytryn-Silverman, who leads the ongoing Tiberias excavation project, explained that the door attracted plenty of attention when it went on display.

Tomb door with menorah being exposed during excavations at Tiberias in 2010.  (Photo by the expedition)

“As this happened toward the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah ─ which celebrates the liberation and the rededication of the Second Temple by the Maccabeans (second century BCE) and the miracle of the lasting oil, which burned in the Temple’s menorah for eight days ─ we decided to bring the finding to public knowledge, as a good wish for Hannukah and for the Holiday Season,” she told Fox News, via email.

The tomb door is ornamented with a depiction of the seven-branched menorah that stood in the ancient Jewish Temple, one of the key symbols of Judaism. (A nine-branched menorah is lit to celebrate Hanukkah, which this year started on Dec. 12 and will end on Dec. 20.)

The artifact also serves as a reminder of Israel’s multicultural heritage, Cytryn-Silverman said.

Tomb door still in-situ at excavation site.  (Photo by the expedition)

Likely part of a Jewish tomb from the second to fourth centuries, the door was discovered during the excavation of a former mosque and sugar works dating back to the seventh century.

“We found that the top step of a stairway leading to a small room was actually a portion of a basalt Jewish-tomb door,” Cytryn-Silverman explained.

“Such tomb doors, probably originating from the Jewish cemetery to the north of the classical city [of Tiberias], had already been brought to this area during the early eighth century, when the Umayyads transformed the simple mosque of the seventh century into a monumental mosque,” Cytryn-Silverman explained.

The slab was used as the base for a pillar within the mosque, she added.

Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman, excavation director, standing by the door with carved menorah, at the Collections Hall at the Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University.  (Photo by Tal Rogovsky)

At its height, in the eighth century, the Umayyad Caliphate stretched across a vast swathe of the Middle East, North Africa and Spain.

The tomb door’s colorful history, however, did not end there. The mosque was destroyed by an earthquake in 1068 and subsequently abandoned. But then, during the Crusader era, the site became part of a complex devoted to sugar production.

Cytryn-Silverman cites a twelfth-century sugar delivery request from Knights Hospitaller in Jerusalem to their facilities in Tiberias and Mount Pelerin, Lebanon.

The site’s use ended when the building collapsed at the start of the thirteenth century.

Cytryn-Silverman told Fox News there are still plenty of questions to be answered about the door. “The fact that this is the one chosen for a top step is also challenging for our modern mind: was this a positive or negative appropriation of the menorah?” she said. “Were they stepping on purpose? Did the room serve a special function? Were the inhabitants of the house actually aware of its importance? Was this just a beautiful ornamented piece?

While these questions are still hard to answer, the very use [of the door] at this place, and our eventual exposure, revived its long trajectory, going from Jewish hands, to Muslim, and then to Christian owners.”

The tomb seal is one of a host of fascinating archaeological finds in Israel in recent months. Archaeologists, for example, recently used a drone to locate a mysterious ancient structure in the heart of an Israeli military training area.

Last month, new evidence dated Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Roman era, matching historical records.

Archaeologists also recently uncovered a stunning 1,500-year-old Christian mosaic in the ancient Mediterranean coastal city of Ashdod-Yam, now part of the modern city of Ashdod.

Other finds include the skeleton of a pregnant woman, dating back 3,200 years, in Israel’s Timna Valley, at a place once called King Solomon’s Mines.

In October, archaeologists in Jerusalem announced that they have uncovered a new section of the Western Wall that has been hidden for 1,700 years.

Some experts also believe they have found the lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, which was the home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8920

Archaeologists Make ‘Mind Blowing’ Discovery Of The Biblical City Of Corinth Intact And Underwater

The Greek city of Corinth, which was rebuilt in 44 BC by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, holds major significance for Christians. Jesus’s disciple Paul is said to have visited there and wrote two letters about his time in Corinth – featured in the New Testament.

by Geoffrey Grider December 17, 2017

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered “mind-blowing” architecture almost perfectly intact from the ancient Biblical city of Corinth – despite being wiped out by a devastating earthquake 1,400 years ago.

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:1,2 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: During the 2016 primaries, this ancient city came on the secular radar when then-candidate Donald Trump famously mispronounced Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth by calling it “two Corinthians“. This week, however, Corinth is back on the radar for a much different reason. Archaeologists have made the fantastic discovery of the Biblical city that disappeared from view some 1,400 years ago after a devastating earthquake. Unlike the mythical cities mentioned in the book of Mormon, cities mentioned in the Bible keep popping up more and more as we get closer to the start of the last days. But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence (rolling my eyes).

The Greek city of Corinth, which was rebuilt in 44 BC by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, holds major significance for Christians. Jesus’s disciple Paul is said to have visited there and wrote two letters about his time in Corinth – featured in the New Testament.

Just days ago, another group of archaeologists in Italy were amazed to discover the historic resort of Baiae in perfect condition. And new underwater excavations of Corinth’s harbour at the port of Lechaion have discovered wooden foundations preserved so well that they look new.

Roman artefacts including fishing lines and hooks, wooden pulleys and ceramics from Tunisia and Turkey were also found. Experts also think they have found an ancient lighthouse – depicted on coins from that time – and another monument.

The giant earthquake that hit the region caused huge layers of sediment to cover the artefacts and allowed them to barely be touched by decay, despite their age.

Bjørn Lovén, director of the Leichaion Harbour Project (LHP) which is responsible for the excavations, said: “For almost two decades I have been hunting for the perfect archaeological context where all the organic material normally not found on land is preserved.

“The potential for more unique discoveries is mind-blowing.”

Corinth officials built the harbour towns of Lechaion and Kenchreai to take advantage of its two-mile distance from the sea in Greece.

The pair of harbours connected the ancient city to a host of Mediterranean trade networks and helped it become one of the most powerful and wealthy cities in the region.

The project also found vast blocks weighing up to five-tons, which were used to separate basins within the port. Boffins hope to use the research to find out just how much Lechaion changed at different time periods throughout history.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8907