Category: Ancient Cilvilizations and Giants

The Equinox Marked at Dawn in the Wheel of the Giants of the Bashan

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz September 22, 2019 , 2:17 pm

Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaim. His bedstead, an iron bedstead, is now in Rabbah of the Ammonites; it is nine amot long and four amot wide, by the standard amah! Deuteronomy 3:11 (The Israel Bible™)

On Sunday morning, a biannual astronomical event was marked on an ancient structure in a remote section of northern Israel. The structure remains an enigma to archaeologists but some link it to Biblical giants.

Stonehenge in the Golan

After the Six-Day War in 1967, archaeologists studying an aerial map of Israel discovered a strange formation of five concentric rings of loose rock located some ten miles east of the coast of the Sea of Galilee, in the middle of a large plateau covered with hundreds of single-chamber megalithic tombs called dolmens. The formation is not recognizable from the ground, appearing as random piles of rocks, but from above it is quite impressive, with an outer ring more than nearly 520 feet wide and eight feet high. It is called Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic, meaning the “stone heap of the wild cat”, and in Hebrew as Gilgal Refaim, or Wheel of the Giants.

At its center is a mound of loose stones over 65 feet in diameter and over 16 feet tall, covering a burial chamber almost 20 feet long. The entire formation is composed of over 40,000 tons of loose basalt rocks. It was estimated that the transportation and building of the massive monument would have required more than 25,000 working days

Estimates as to when it was built vary widely but the site is believed to be between 5,000-6,000 years old. In comparison, the Egyptian Pyramids were built some 4,500 years ago and Stonehenge in England was built some 3,500 years ago. 

Og: the Giant King of the Bashan

It is interesting to note that the region is known as the Bashan, where Og the king of came out against the Israelites at the time of their entrance into the Promised Land but was vanquished in battle.  Og was an Amorite king, the ruler of Bashan, which contained sixty walled cities and many unwalled towns, with his capital at Ashtaroth. Biblical scholars believe that the Prophet Amos was referring to Og when he referred to a giant Amorite.

Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose stature was like the cedar’s And who was stout as the oak, Destroying his boughs above And his trunk below! Amos 2:9

In Deuteronomy and later in the book of Numbers and Joshua, Og is called the last of the Rephaim, a Hebrew word that is sometimes interpreted as meaning ‘giants.’ The Hebrew name of the site, Gilgal Rephaim, hints at an ancient link to these giants. 

Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaim. His bedstead, an iron bedstead, is now in Rabbah of the Ammonites; it is nine amot long and four amot wide, by the standard amah! Deuteronomy 3:11

The Biblical measurement of an amah, literally the length of a forearm, is generally considered to be 19.2 inches, which would mean that Og’s bed was over fourteen feet long and over six feet wide.

Midrash explains that the “fugitive” who warned Abraham that Lot had been captured was Og. Og had escaped the flood in the generation of Noah by clinging to the side of the Ark. 

If Og had been the leader of a nation of pre-Abrahamic giants in the region of the Golan it would certainly explain the existence of the mammoth stone structures. 

An Archaeological Enigma

There is no consensus regarding its function. Since excavations have yielded very few material remains, archaeologists theorize that the site was not a defensive position or a residential quarter but most likely a ritual center.

In 2007, the site was excavated by Yosef Garfinkel and Michael Freikman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Freikman returned in the summer of 2010 for further investigation of the site’s date and function. Freikman believes that the center area was built at the same time as the rings. 

“I wouldn’t call it a religious center,” Dr. Freikman told Breaking Israel News. “It was more of a gathering place for rituals, though not for burials.”

Dr. Freikman noted that by the time of the Bible and the Patriarchs, the site was already abandoned for several hundred years.

“They probably would have known of it as a prominent geographic feature but they would not have known what it was used for,” he said. “There are at least five other similar sites, albeit smaller, with outer circles about 60 meters in diameter and also surrounded dolmans.” 

Circles in the Ground Measuring the Sun and Stars

Dr. Freikman wrote about Gilgal Refaim in the Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University in 2017, noting the astronomical aspects of the site:

“Certain architectural elements of Rujm el-Hiri are aligned with celestial phenomena, namely with the azimuth of sunrise on specific days of the year. For instance, it was claimed that at both equinoxes a spectator standing in the geometrical centre of the complex would see the sun rising exactly in the east through the ‘gunsight’ created by two exceptionally large boulders installed in the outermost wall. Due to the precession of the earth, which gradually changes the azimuth of the sunrise, this phenomenon cannot be observed from the same spot today. However, as this is a very slow process, the spectator must move aside only slightly to witness the sunrise as the architect of Rujm el-Hiri intended.”

Archaeologists Yonathan Mizrachi and Anthony Aveni, studying the structure since the late 1980s, believe the site was used as a celestial observatory.  The entrance way to the center opens on the sunrise of the summer solstice.

The equinox, the instant of time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun, will be taking place on Monday morning. Notches in the walls indicate the precise locations of the sunrise for both the spring and fall equinoxes. 

The walls at Rujm el-Hiri seem to have pointed to star-risings for the period, and may have been predictors of the rainy season, a crucial bit of information for the sheepherders of the Bashan plain.

Remote and Neglected

The rings of Gilgal Refaim contain more questions than answers. The site is difficult to get to and neglected by the antiquities authorities but Dr. Freikman prefers it that way. 

“If it became part of pop culture and easily accessible to the general public, it would become like Stonehenge or the Pyramids,” Dr. Freikman said. “Fast food restaurants and souvenir shops would be built around it and the crowds would destroy or steal anything worth studying. For the time being, it is good that the general public doesn’t come in droves.”

But in addition to being a science, archaelogy in Israel has political and religious connotations.

“I would like to return and study the site,” Dr. Freikman said. “There is so much to learn. But it is difficult to raise funds for sites in the Golan. Even after President Trump recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan, many people are still reluctant to archaeological research in the area.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10082

Biblical Archaeologists Discover The City Of Edom, And Why This Is An Amazing Marker On The End Times Bible Prophecy Timeline

The untold story of a thriving and wealthy society in the Arava Desert – in parts of Israel and Jordan – during the 12th-11th centuries BC has been revealed by a Tel Aviv University study. “Using technological evolution as a proxy for social processes, we were able to identify and characterize the emergence of the biblical kingdom of Edom,” explained. Prf. Ezra Ben-Yosef  of TAU’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, who led the study with Prof. Tom Levy of the University of California, San Diego. “Our results prove it happened earlier than previously thought and in accordance with the biblical description.”

by Geoffrey Grider September 18, 2019

The biblical kingdom of Edom has always been a significant puzzle for biblical archeology. Although evidence of it is present in the Bible, the archeological record has always had trouble interpreting the text, which said that it existed as a kingdom long before the kings of Israel.

Of all the many exciting discoveries in biblical archaeology that we have been bringing you over the years, this one today about Edom is perhaps one of the most exciting. Why? Because the prophet Daniel tells us that, in the time of Jacob’s trouble, some of the only areas that Antichrist will not be able to get his grimy paws on are Edom and Moab. And now, biblical archaeologists in Israel have found the remains of Edom.

“He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” Daniel 11:41 (KJV)

Why won’t Antichrist be able to get his hands on Edom and Moab? Because that is also where the red rock city of Selah Petra is, the place where the Jewish remnant will flee to protection that we read about all through the Bible. How exciting is this? We are getting closer and closer each and every day, keep your eye on the Eastern skies. He is coming.

The Biblical Kingdom of Edom Has Always Been A Significant Puzzle For Biblical Archeology

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: The untold story of a thriving and wealthy society in the Arava Desert – in parts of Israel and Jordan – during the 12th-11th centuries BCE has been revealed by a Tel Aviv University study.

“Using technological evolution as a proxy for social processes, we were able to identify and characterize the emergence of the biblical kingdom of Edom,” explained. Prf. Ezra Ben-Yosef  of TAU’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, who led the study with Prof. Tom Levy of the University of California, San Diego. “Our results prove it happened earlier than previously thought and in accordance with the biblical description.”

“Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest,so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.” Isaiah 16:1-5 (KJV)

According to the study, which was published Wednesday on the open access scientific journal PLOS ONE, the kingdom’s wealth appears to have been built on a “high-tech network” of copper, the most valuable resource in the region at the time. Copper was used in ancient times to craft weapons and tools, and the production process for copper is incredibly complex.

“Copper smelting was essentially the hi-tech of ancient times,” Ben-Yosef told The Jerusalem Post.

Using a methodology called the punctuated equilibrium model, the research team analyzed findings from ancient copper mines in Jordan and Israel to create a timeline of the evolution of copper production from 1300-800 BCE. They found a significant decrease of copper in the slag – the waste of copper extraction by smelting – at the Arava site. This implies that the process became more efficient and streamlined, something the researchers say is a result of the military invasion of Pharaoh Shoshenq I of Egypt (the biblical “Shishak”), who sacked Jerusalem in the 10th century BCE. Rather than result in destruction in the region, the researchers argue that it instead sparked a “technological leap” in regards to copper production and trade.

 “We demonstrated a sudden standardization of the slag in the second half of the 10th century BCE, from the Faynan sites in Jordan to the Timna sites in Israel, an extensive area of some 2,000 sq.km., which occurred just as the Egyptians entered the region,” Ben-Yosef said. “The efficiency of the copper industry in the region was increasing. The Edomites developed precise working protocols that allowed them to produce a very large amount of copper with minimum energy.”

However, as Egypt was a weaker power at this time, it is unlikely that they would have control over the copper trade, allowing it to remain a local enterprise. Ben-Yosef explained that Egypt was primarily an importer of goods at the time, so they had an interest in streamlining efficiency in the region. In fact, this was not the only new innovation introduced to the region by the invasion of Shoshenq I – the camel was first introduced to the region at this time as well.

“Our new findings contradict the view of many archaeologists that the Arava was populated by a loose alliance of tribes, and they’re consistent with the biblical story that there was an Edomite kingdom here,” Ben-Yosef explained. “A flourishing copper industry in the Arava can only be attributed to a centralized and hierarchical polity, and this might fit the biblical description of the Edomite kingdom.”

While archeology had never doubted the existence of the Edomite kingdom, it was widely assumed to have emerged around the late eighth century BCE in Edomite Plateau, located in Jordan near Petra and southeast of the Dead Sea.

“Before they built their capital in the plateau, the Edomites were a complex and organized kingdom, but they were still nomadic,” Ben-Yosef explained to the Post. “They dwelt in tents. They didn’t have villages or cities, but they had cemeteries and smelting sites.” The Edomites eventually did settle in cities on the plateau and built settlements along the trade routes, but these findings prove that they possessed a centralized system of organization long before they settled.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10061

The Biblical town of Emmaus, which is linked to Jesus’ resurrection and the Ark of the Covenant, may have been found

By James Rogers | Fox News

Archaeologists in Israel may have discovered the Biblical town of Emmaus, which is linked to Jesus’ resurrection and the Ark of the Covenant.

Haaretz reports that archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a 2,200-year-old fortification at Kiriath-Jearim, a hill on the outskirts of Abu Ghosh, a village near Jerusalem.

The fortification dates back to the Hellenistic period when ancient Greek influence in the region was strong. Tel Aviv University Professor Israel Finkelstein told Haaretz that the walls were repaired during the later period of Roman rule in the first century A.D.

Finkelstein and his fellow researchers suggest that the site could be the famous Biblical town, or village, of Emmaus. According to Christian tradition, Jesus appeared to two of his apostles on the road to Emmaus after his crucifixion and resurrection.

In Luke 24:13-35 Emmaus is described as being about 7 miles from Jerusalem. This corresponds with the distance between Kiriath-Jearim, Abu Ghosh and Jerusalem.

Emmaus is also described in ancient histories as being a fortified town west of Jerusalem.  The Kiriath-Jearim site is west of Jerusalem.

Kiriath-Jearim is also mentioned in the Bible as one of the places where the Ark of the Covenant stood. Last year Finkelstein and his fellow researchers reported that the site of Kiriath-Jearim is the hill on the outskirts of Abu Ghosh.

The latest research is described in a forthcoming paper published in the journal “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region.”

Other locations, however, have also been suggested as the site of Emmaus, such as the ancient Byzantine town of Emmaus Nicopolis and the modern village of Motza, according to Haaretz.

The dig at Kiriath-Jearim is a joint project of Tel Aviv University and the College de France, supported by the Shmunis family in San Francisco. Finkelstein, who leads the project with Thomas Romer and Christophe Nicolle of the College de France, told Fox News that the latest discoveries offer a fascinating glimpse into the site’s role in the ancient world.

“The finds at Kiriath-Jearim hint at its long-term role as guarding the approach to Jerusalem,” he explained, via email. “This can be seen in the Iron Age, Hellenistic and early Roman periods. The Hellenistic and Roman period remains shed light on the much-debated issue of the location of the New Testament’s Emmaus.” The prominent Israeli archaeologist is renowned for taking an “evidence-based” approach to his research, which acknowledges the complexity of Biblical texts. “Reading the Bible, it is important to distinguish historical facts from the ideological/theological stances of the authors,” he told Fox News in 2017.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10033

2,600-Year-Old Seal with Biblical Name “Adneyahu Asher Al Habayit” Found Near Temple Mount

By BIN staff September 10, 2019 , 12:44 pm

“Adoniyahu is in fear of King Shlomo and has grasped the horns of the mizbayach, saying, ‘Let King Shlomo first swear to me that he will not put his servant to the sword.’ (Kings 1 1:51)

The “Adonayahu Asher Al Habayit” bulla (seal). Photo Credit: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David

CITY OF DAVID, JERUSALEM (12/9/2019) A Bulla (seal) bearing a Hebrew name from 2,600 years ago was uncovered from dirt excavated in 2013 beneath Robinson’s Arch at the foundations of the Western Wall. The seal is inscribed with the name of an individual with the most prominent role in the king’s court in the kingdom of Judea. The Bulla (seal), which was used to sign documents, bears the Hebrew name and title: “Adenyahu Asher Al Habayit” which literally translates as “Adenyahu by Appointment of the House”- a term used throughout the Bible to describe the most senior minister serving under a king of Judea or Israel.

According to archaeologist Eli Shukron, who conducted the initial excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority just north of the City of David at the Foundation Stones of the Western Wall: “This is the first time this kind of archaeological discovery has been made in Jerusalem. The Biblical title “Asher Al Habayit” was the highest-ranking ministerial position beneath the king during reigns of the Kings of Judea and Israel, it is undoubtedly of great significance.”

“This tiny bulla has immense meaning to billions of people worldwide. The personal signet of a senior official to a Biblical King from the First Temple Period. This is another link in the long chain of Jewish history in Jerusalem that is being uncovered and preserved at the City of David on a daily basis.” Said Doron Spielman, Vice-President of the City of David Foundation which operates the site in which the bulla was discovered and the Archeological Experience where it was uncovered.

The bulla is approximately one-centimeter-wide, and according to the type of writing that appears on it dates to the seventh century BC – the period of the Kingdom of Judea.

The term “Asher Al Habayit” describes the most senior role in the royal hierarchy in the kingdom of Judah and Israel and it appears for the first time on the list of ministers of Solomon. This role is mentioned in the Bible in reference to a number of figures that have a considerable influence in the kingdom and it describes a senior minister who was very close to the king.

For example, “Abdihu Asher Al Habayit,” in the Book of Kings I, is mentioned as having served in that role in the Kingdom of Israel, under the reign of King Ahab during times of Elijah the Prophet. As part of his tenure, Abedihu acted against Isabel in administering the kingdom and even saved a hundred of the prophets of the Lord after hiding them in a cave.

Also in this role in the Kingdom of Judea during the reign of King Hezekiah was “Elyakim son of Partiah Asher Al Habayit”. According to the book of Isaiah, Elyakim negotiated with Rabshka, one of the ministers of King Sennacherib King of Assyria, who threatened to conquer Jerusalem.

The name Adenayahu that appears on the bulla appears throughout the Bible:

This name belonged to one of King David’s sons as mentioned in the Book of Kings. Another individual with that name is mentioned as one of the Levites in the days of Jehoshaphat. Lastly, in the days of Nehemiah, he is mentioned as one of the “Heads of, the people…(Nehemiah, 9:16).

It should be noted that some 150 years ago, French archeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau

discovered a burial cave with the inscription: “Tomb of …..yahu Asher Al Habayit.” The beginning of the name had been erased, but the burial site, on the outskirts of the City of David was also dated to the seventh century BC, much like the recent bulla. Although discovered by Clermont-Ganneau, the inscription was only deciphered by Prof. Nachman Avigad some eighty years later.

The bulla was covered in dirt that was excavated in 2013, until three weeks ago, when it was uncovered as part of the City of David’s volunteer Archeological Experience, by an Israeli teenager named Batya Howen, who described the moments of the discovery: “I began sifting through the bucket of dirt by washing it under a stream of water, and suddenly I recognized a small piece of black colored piece of metal. To hold such a significant find from 2600 years ago, from the time of the Kingdom of Judah, is an amazing thing.”

The bullae stamps – were small pieces of tin used in ancient times to sign documents, and were meant to keep the letters closed en route to their destination.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10030

Gold Earring Discovered by Archaeologists Confirms Babylonian Conquest of Jerusalem

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz August 12, 2019 , 1:44 pm

“He burned the House of Hashem, the king’s palace, and all the houses of Yerushalayim; he burned down the house of every notable person.” II Kings 25:9 (The Israel Bible™)

Archaeologists from the University of North Carolina made a remarkable discovery while digging on Mount Zion in Jerusalem that is evidence of the Babylonian conquest of the city in 586 BCE: a golden earring.

Dr. Rafi Lewis, co-director of the project, explained the importance of the tiny earring.

“With finds like this, there is a material value but, more importantly, there is a spiritual and emotional value,” Dr. Lewis told Breaking Israel News. “On that level, this find is quite literally priceless. We can establish the context as the destruction of the First Temple without any doubt. We have made similar finds outside of the city but this is the first time we made such finds inside the city.”

Gold Earring (courtesy: The Mount Zion Archaeological Excavations )

Lewis noted that the earring hinted at many aspects of the era.

“It gives us an idea of the richness of Jerusalem at the time,” Dr. Lewis said. “This is something aristocratic. It could have been a piece of jewelry or hung from an article of clothing or even a bigger artifact. It was clearly something important. If I had something similar, references, I would know more. But this find was really unique.”

The dig has been conducted for over a decade by the Mount Zion Archaeological Project, co-directed by UNC Charlotte professor of history Shimon Gibson, Dr. Lewis, a senior lecturer at Ashkelon Academic College and a fellow of Haifa University, and James Tabor, UNC Charlotte professor of religious studies.

“This is not proof of the destruction of the Temple since the dig is on Mount Zion, some distance from the Temple Mount,” Lewis said, noting that there has been no archaeological work permitted on the Temple Mount due to the political and religious sensitivity. “But this is certainly proof of the destruction of Jerusalem.”

The last time there were studies done on the Temple Mount were under Charles Warren in 1867.

The earring was found in a layer of ash that also contained bronze and iron arrowheads, Iron Age potsherds, and lamps. Lewis explained that the arrowheads were of Scythian origin. The Scythians, believed to be Eurasian nomads, were mercenary archers hired by the Babylonians. Such arrowheads have been found at other archaeological conflict sites in Israel and outside dating from the 7th and 6th centuries BCE. 

“They were like the special forces since the Scythians were the best archers of the time,” Lewis said. “Also from this, we know that this was a scene of a Babylonian battle. We can say for certain that the archaeological context of the site was the taking of Jerusalem.”

The researchers noted that the location helped identify the story behind the find.

“We know where the ancient fortification line ran,” Dr. Gibson said in a press release on Eureka Alert. “so we know we are within the city. We know that this is not some dumping area, but the south-western neighborhood of the Iron Age city—during the 8th century BCE the urban area extended from the City of David area to the south-east and as far as the Western Hill where we are digging.”

The ashen layer was a clear sign to the researchers that they were investigating the scene of a battle.

“For archaeologists, an ashen layer can mean a number of different things,” Gibson said. “It could be ashy deposits removed from ovens, or it could be localized burning of garbage. However, in this case, the combination of an ashy layer full of artifacts, mixed with arrowheads, and a very special ornament indicates some kind of devastation and destruction. Nobody abandons golden jewelry and nobody has arrowheads in their domestic refuse.”

The researchers were able to date the layer by the potsherds found. The disarray suggested that it coincided with a battle.

“It’s the kind of jumble that you would expect to find in a ruined household following a raid or battle,” Gibson said. “Household objects, lamps, broken bits from pottery which had been overturned and shattered… and arrowheads and a piece of jewelry which might have been lost and buried in the destruction.”

The lamps were identified as the typical high-based pinched lamps of the period and were typical of such sites but the jewelry, most notably the gold and silver earring, was unusual for sites that had undergone a battle.

“Frankly, jewelry is a rare find at conflict sites, because this is exactly the sort of thing that attackers will loot and later melt down,” Gibson said.

Gibson associated the site with a section of the Book of II Kings describing the destruction of Jerusalem.

He burned the House of Hashem, the king’s palace, and all the houses of Yerushalayim; he burned down the house of every notable person. II Kings 25:9

 “This spot would have been at an ideal location, situated as it is close to the western summit of the city with a good view overlooking Solomon’s Temple and Mount Moriah to the north-east,” Gibson said. “We have high expectations of finding much more of the Iron Age city in future seasons of work. “

The researchers were excited that their find was linked to an event with such historical and Biblical significance.

Dr. Lewis noted that in the field of archaeology, the Bible and science could coexist.

“The Bible is certainly one of our sources,” Dr. Lewis said. “You have to treat it respectfully. It represents something spiritual and was not written as a history book. It was written as a religious book but there is a historical base and root. But we cannot reject the Bible when studying archaeology. I would not rely on the Bible exclusively just like I would not rely on any other source exclusively. We need as many sources as possible and the Bible can be one of them.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9989

The Fierce Amorites and the First King of the Babylonian Empire

The Amorites, also called Amurru or Martu, were an ancient Semitic-speaking people who dominated the history of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine from about 2000 to 1600 BC. Tribal nomads who forced themselves into the lands that they needed; the Amorites were reputedly fierce warriors.

They twice conquered Babylonia and Mesopotamia (at the end of the third and the beginning of the first millennium), establishing new city states; the most famous of which became Babylon. Their most noted king, Hammurabi, was the first king of the Babylon Empire.

The Amorites Nomadic Ways

The name Amorite literally means the “high one.” In the Mesopotamian sources from Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria, Amorites appear as a nomadic people and are connected with the mountainous region of Jebel Bishri in northern Syria, called “the mountain of the Amorites.” They were an ancient tribe of Canaanites, though technically not of Canaanite ethnicity, which inhabited the region northeast of the Jordan River.

Amorites were apparently nomadic clans ruled by tribal chiefs, who pushed into lands they needed to graze their herds. Some Akkadian literature speaks disparagingly of them, and implies that both the Akkadians and Sumerians viewed their nomadic way of life with disgust and contempt:

“The MARTU who know no grain…. The MARTU who know no house nor town, the boors of the mountains…. The MARTU who digs up truffles… who does not bend his knees [to cultivate the land], who eats raw meat, who has no house during his lifetime, who is not buried after death…” (Chiera 1934, 58, 112).

“Men of Great Stature”

In Egypt, the Amorites were called “Amar” and were represented on monuments with fair skin, light hair, blue eyes, curved noses, and pointed beards. They were supposedly men of great stature. One of their kings, Og, was described by Moses (Deuteronomy 3:11) as the last “of the remnant of the giants,” and whose bed was 13.5 feet (4 meters) long.

Amorite Religion and Language

The Amorites lived in close contact with the Sumerians for a long period of time (preceding their ascendency over the region) and it’s possible they adopted elements of the Sumerian religion over several centuries. The Amorites did merge a new god into the Sumerian religion , Marduk, which they elevated to the supreme position over all the other gods. Known as the storm-god, Marduk came to assume the role of chief deity, and the story of his rise to supremacy was dramatically told in the epic myth known as the Enuma Elish. The Amorites also worshipped the moon-god Sin, and Amurru.

Amorites wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at the ancient city of Mari (modern day Syria) dating from 1800 BC. Since their language shows northwest Semitic forms, words and constructions, it is believed to have been a northwest branch of the Canaanite languages, whose other dialects included Hebrew and Phoenician. The main sources for knowledge about their language are their proper names which survive in non-Amorite text.

Many of these names are similar to later Biblical Hebrew names. In the dark age, between 1600 and 1100 BC, the Amorite language disappeared from Babylonia and the mid-Euphrates. In Syria and Palestine, however, it became dominant and is found in ancient inscriptions which date near to the end of the second millennium BC.

Conquering Mesopotamia and Babylon

The decline of the Sumerian language in Mesopotamia was also the time of the most famous Amorite invasion. The last Sumerian dynasty fell around 2000 BC and Mesopotamia drifted into conflict and chaos for almost a century afterward. Around 1900 BC the Amorites had managed to gain control of most of the Mesopotamian region.

Inscriptions and tablets by the early Babylonians indicate that they occupied parts of Syria, the land east of Israel by 1900 BC. Already established in mid-Mesopotamia, the Amorites started sacking Neo-Sumerian towns, eventually conquering Babylon and making it their capital in 1959 BC. Ur, the capital of the Sumerian civilization, would survive another nine years, until it was taken by the Elamites.

At first, the Amorites were merely an annoyance to the Ur Empire, but eventually they undermined it to such an extent that the position of last king, Ibbi-Sin, was weakened, and his subjects were able to over-throw his rule. By the time of the last days of the Neo-Sumerian Empire, immigrating Amorites had become such a force that kings were obliged to construct a 170-mile (270-kilometer) -long wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates to hold them off.

The Amorites based their capital in the city of Babylon, which was originally called Akkad, and later served as the center of their empire. For this reason, the Amorites are sometimes called the Old Babylonians and the period of their ascendancy over the region, which lasted from 1900-1600 BC, is called the Old Babylonian period.

King Hammurabi and the Eventual Fall of the Amorites

The Amorites established their authority as the absolute Arabian / Semitic dynasty by crushing the Elamites and starting the short-lived Babylonian Empire . They were ruled by their King Hammurabi from 1792 to 1750 BC. He was best known for the set of laws called Hammurabi’s Code, which constitute one of the earliest surviving codes of law in recorded history. With his death in 1750 BC, the empire disintegrated into smaller city states ruled by weaker kings.

In northern Mesopotamia, both the Amorites and Babylonians were driven from Assyria by Puzur-Sin a native Akkadian-speaking ruler, circa 1740 BC. Around the same time, native Akkadian speakers threw off Amorite Babylonian rule in the far south of Mesopotamia. Babylon proper survived for another 100 years.

In 1659 BC, the technologically-advanced Hittites conquered Babylon. After its fall, the Amorite dialect disappeared and was replaced by an Assyro-Akkadian dialect, interrupting the gap between Old and Neo-Babylonian and clearly showing that the East Canaanites had disappeared from Mesopotamia.

In the later second millennium BC, the Amorites migrated or were pushed westward toward Canaan. There, the Israelites treated them as enemies and left several records of their defeat by Israelite heroes such as Joshua. The Amorites disappeared from the historical record as a distinct population group around the sixth century BC.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9981

Archaeologist Says a Stone Pillar in the City of David is Where Abraham Met Melchizedek

07-10-2019

Chris Mitchell

JERUSALEM, Israel – An Israeli archaeologist has uncovered the remains of an altar believed to be from around the time when Abraham met the high priest Melchizedek in Jerusalem. 

Archaeologist Eli Shukron has spent much of his life looking for Bible history in the City of David.  Shukron gave CBN News an exclusive look at what he feels is one of his most important discoveries kept under lock and key that dates back 4000 years – a stone pillar.


Shukron says the pillar, found in the City of David, is just like the one described in Genesis 28 when Jacob had a dream in Bethel of a ladder reaching up to Heaven.  After the dream, Jacob said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!  Then Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it.”

Shukron believes Melchizedek set a stone pillar up in Jerusalem just as Jacob did in Bethel. 

“We are in a very, very important place.  Go back to Melchizedek.  Go back to Abraham’s time.  Understand which way these people are worshipping God in the beginning,” said Shukron.

Shukron says it contrasts with ancient worship in other places. 

“If you’re going at that time to other places in the world in Egypt or Mesopotamia you can see temples, gold and idols and I don’t know pillars.  Here it’s simple.  The stone, animals, animals, sacrifice.  The stone is the house of God.  No gold and diamonds.  Everything is simple.  This is what God wants us to be, simple.  It’s fantastic.  For what? For what reason?  To connect with God.”

Shukron says the combination of the altar for sacrifice, the blood channel, the olive press for anointing oil, the place to tie up the sacrificial animals; where they divided the sacrifice that led him to believe this was the place where Melchizedek met Abraham.   

Genesis 14 describes the meeting: “ Then Melchizedek King of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.   And he blessed him and said:  Blessed be Abram of God most high, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.  And he gave him a tithe of all.”

After Melchizedek blessed Abraham, Abraham gave him a tithe.

“Why give him a tithe?  Because he was worshipping God,” Shukron said.

The blessing of bread and wine is a tradition and way of life that continues some 4000 years later. 

“What are we doing today?  The Jewish, the Christian.  What are we doing?  We are blessing the bread and wine in a different way but blessing bread and wine,” Shukron said. “Where [did] all [of that start?] Here in the City of David in the Temple of Melchizedek.  This is the place.  This is where we are and this is amazing to understand that.”

This area is still being excavated and one day the public should be able to see for themselves where Shukron believes Abraham met Melchizedek.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9937

Archaeologists say they found town where future King David took refuge from Saul

By Amanda Borschel-Dan Today, 10:16 am

In a finding sure to inflame the debate about the historicity of the biblical King David, an international team of archaeologists claims to have identified the lost city of Ziklag.

Based on artifacts and carbon 14 dating results of excavations since 2015, scholars proposed Monday that the archaeological site of Khirbet a-Ra‘i in the Judaean foothills is the site of the elusive Philistine town.

As attested in the books of Samuel, Ziklag, located between Kiryat Gat and Lachish, provided refuge to the future king David when he was on the run from King Saul. After his sojourn in Ziklag, David ascended the throne in Hebron.

According to a joint press release from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority, archaeologists discovered remains of a Philistine settlement from the 12-11th centuries BCE, which was followed by a rural settlement dating to the early 10th century BCE, which is in keeping with the biblical account. Carbon 14 dating supports the archaeologists’ timeline and identification, according to the press release.

As recorded in the Hebrew Bible, David settled at Ziklag for 14 months under the patronage of the Philistine King Achish of Gat, with 600 of his men and their families, and used it as a base to raid neighboring peoples.

While the then-Philistine vassal David attempted to join the army of his Philistine lord Achish to defeat Saul, retaliating Amalekites razed the town and took off with the Israelites’ women and children, along with much booty. (Spoiler: In the end, David prevailed.)

According to the press release, in addition to the cultural transition between Philistine buildings and the presumed later Israelite camp, the Davidic-era settlement shows remains of an intense fire that destroyed it.

Later in the Hebrew Bible, in the Book of Nehemiah, the town is mentioned again as a base for Jews who returned from Babylon.

For decades, archaeologists have sought the location of the elusive Ziklag, for which roughly a dozen sites have been suggested, without scholarly consensus. Those previous sites were largely dismissed due to lack of signs of settlement transitioning from Philistine cultural evidence to Israelite remains from the time of David, or due to lack of evidence of the widespread ruin wrought by the Amalekites, as described in the Hebrew Bible.

According to leading archaeologists Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; the IAA’s Saar Ganor; and Dr. Kyle Keimer and Dr. Gil Davis of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, the proposed site of Khirbet a-Ra‘i has all the required qualifications.

The joint IAA and Hebrew University press release said that after seven dig seasons that uncovered some 1,000 sq.m., the archaeological team found evidence of a Philistine-era settlement from the 12-11th centuries BCE, among which were massive stone structures and typical Philistine cultural artifacts, including stylized pottery in foundation deposits — good luck offerings laid beneath a building’s flooring.

Those artifacts, along with stone and metal tools, are similar to ones found in other Philistine cities, including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron and Gath.

The name Ziklag is of Philistine origin and does not have roots in Semitic languages. Recently, a large scientific study of Philistine DNA matched their origins to the Aegean region, which had similar pottery styles during the 12th century BCE, the time period in which the Philistine ancestors are thought to have migrated to the Land of Israel.

At Khirbet a-Ra‘i to date, archaeologists have uncovered some 100 complete pottery vessels used for storing wine and oil, among other uses. According to Garfinkel, who led excavations at the contemporary fortified Judaean city of Sha‘arayim (Khirbet Qeiyafa), jugs and bowls decorated with a “red slipped and hand-burnished” finish are typical of the period of King David.

The excavations leading to the new proposed identification for Ziklag were funded by Joey Silver of Jerusalem, Aron Levy of New Jersey, and the Roth Family and Isaac Wakil both of Sydney.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9924

Biblical Archaeologists Discover Stunning 1,600-Year Old Mosaic In Northern Israel Depicting End Times Prophecy From Book Of Daniel

Biblical archaeologists in Huqoq discovered mosaics depicting four beasts described in Chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel. The beasts represented four kingdoms preceding the end of days. “The Daniel panel is interesting because it points to eschatological, or end of day, expectations among this congregation,” said Magness, in the statement. “The Elim panel is interesting as it is generally considered a fairly minor episode in the Israelites’ desert wanderings ­­– which raises the question of why it was significant to this Jewish congregation in Lower Galilee.” The excavation marked the ninth year of digs at the Huqoq site.

by Geoffrey Grider July 3, 2019

Biblical archaeologists in Huqoq have uncovered a stunning 1,600-year-old biblical mosaic in northern Israel depicting four beasts described in Chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel. The beasts represented four kingdoms preceding the end of days.

New archaeological discoveries are coming to the surface on nearly a monthly basis now, a veritable flood of artifacts confirming not only the history of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, but shedding new light on Bible prophecy as well. This latest find in Huqoq has to do with both the Exodus of the Jews, and the 4 Beasts of the end times we read about in Daniel 7.

“Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was likethe fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:2-4,9,10 (KJV)

I find it so amazing that as these long-buried archaeological treasures are coming to light, that the human race stands on the very precipice of watching the prophecies they reference about to come true in stunning fashion.

I was not able to locate a picture of the Daniel mosaic the article references, but had a great phone call with Carly from University of North Carolina, the team that found the mosaics and she said she would forward that to me as soon as it becomes available.

1,600-year-old biblical mosaic discovered in Israel sheds light on Bible prophecy and revelation

FROM FOX NEWS: The mosaic, which depicts a scene from the book of Exodus, was found at the site of a fifth-century synagogue in Huqoq. Excavation director Jodi Magness, a professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the mosaic was the first depiction of the episode of Elim from Exodus 15:27 ever found in ancient Jewish art. “Elim is where the Israelites camped after leaving Egypt and wandering in the wilderness without water,” she explained in a statement, noting that the mosaic is separated into three registers or horizontal strips.

One register showed clusters of dates being harvested by loincloth-clad agricultural workers while another showed a row of wells and date palms, she explained. “On the left side of the panel, a man in a short tunic is carrying a water jar and entering the arched gate of a city flanked by crenellated towers. An inscription above the gate reads, ‘And they came to Elim’,” Magness added.

Chapter 7 in the book of Daniel describes four beasts which represent the four kingdoms leading up to the end of days. This year our team discovered mosaics in the synagogue’s north aisle depicting these four beasts, as indicated by a fragmentary Aramaic inscription referring to the first beast: a lion with eagle’s wings. The lion itself is not preserved, nor is the third beast.  However, the second beast from Daniel 7:4 – a bear with three ribs protruding from its mouth – is preserved. So is most of the fourth beast, which is described in Daniel 7:7 as having iron teeth.

Archaeologists also discovered mosaics depicting four beasts described in Chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel. The beasts represented four kingdoms preceding the end of days.

“The Daniel panel is interesting because it points to eschatological, or end of day, expectations among this congregation,” said Magness, in the statement. “The Elim panel is interesting as it is generally considered a fairly minor episode in the Israelites’ desert wanderings ­­– which raises the question of why it was significant to this Jewish congregation in Lower Galilee.”

The excavation marked the ninth year of digs at the Huqoq site. The first mosaics were discovered in 2012. Between 2014 and 2017, archaeologists discovered mosaics depicting Noah’s Ark, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah and the fish and the Tower of Babel, painting a fascinating picture of life at the ancient site.

In 2018 researchers also announced the discovery of a stunning mosaic depicting a biblical scene from Numbers 13:23. Labeled “a pole between two,” the panel showed two spies sent by Moses to explore the biblical land of Canaan.

Another mosaic discovered at Huqoq includes a depiction of Samson. There also has been an ongoing debate about whether a mosaic uncovered in 2016 portrays Alexander the Great. The purported Alexander the Great mosaic was the first non-biblical story ever found decorating an ancient synagogue

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9919

IN HIS STEPS: Biblical Archaeologists In Israel Make Stunning Discovery Of 2,000 Year Old Pilgrimage Road That Jesus Would Have Walked Up To The Temple

When a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighbourhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem in 2004, workers were sent to fix the leak, accompanied by a team of archaeologists. During the repairs, workers stumbled upon some stairs close to where the Shiloah was believed to have once stood. This was the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple. According to Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), almost all Jewish pilgrims would have entered the city along this road. Spielman claims this is a road that Jesus almost certainly used during the Second Temple period.

by Geoffrey Grider June 28, 2019

The Pilgrimage Road goes all the way from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.

The deeper you dig anywhere in Israel, the more you discover remnants of the amazing and storied history of the Jewish people in the land. This latest find, a pilgrimage road dating back to the time of Jesus of Nazareth, is astonishing when you realize what it truly is. It’s the actual pathway that pilgrims, Jewish and gentile, walked to reach the Temple so they could worship God and offer sacrifice as commanded in the Law of Moses. Jesus Himself would have walked these steps, and very shortly you’ll be able to do the exact same thing when it will be opened to tourists.

“And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward. And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;” Nehemiah 12:37,38 (KJV)

When a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighbourhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem in 2004, workers were sent to fix the leak, accompanied by a team of archaeologists. During the repairs, workers stumbled upon some stairs close to where the Shiloah was believed to have once stood. This was the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple. According to Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), almost all Jewish pilgrims would have entered the city along this road. Spielman claims this is a road that Jesus almost certainly used during the Second Temple period.

To me, all these discoveries in the past few years relating to the last standing Jewish Temple sure makes me think that God is preparing the world to see the creation of another one. You know, the one that Daniel 9 and Jesus in Matthew 24 tell us will be used by Antichrist.

NEW DISCOVERY IN JERUSALEM’S CITY OF DAVID: 2,000-YEAR-OLD PILGRIMAGE ROAD

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: In 2004, a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighborhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem. The municipality sent in a crew of construction workers to fix the leak, and as is the case in Jerusalem and especially in neighborhoods adjacent to the Old City, they were accompanied by a team of archeologists.

As the repairs progressed, the construction workers stumbled upon some long and wide stairs a few dozen meters from where the Shiloah – the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple, until its destruction in 70 CE – was believed to have once stood. The steps were just like the ones that lead to the Hulda Gates, a set of now blocked entrances along the Temple Mount’s Southern Wall.

Discovery of the Shiloah Pool led to another monumental find – the central water drainage channel that had served ancient Jerusalem. This channel is the tunnel that visitors to the City of David – known as Ir David – get to walk through today, starting at the bottom of the Shiloah and emerging about 45 minutes later next to the Western Wall.

As is often the case with archeology, though, the first discovery or two are just the beginning. That is how a few weeks ago I found myself on an exclusive tour of an ancient road dug out beneath the village of Silwan and above the now well-known water channel (also the place where Jewish rebels made a final stand against the Roman invaders).

The ancient street is referred to as “Pilgrimage Road,” since archeologists are convinced that this is the path millions of Jews took three times a year when performing the commandment of aliyah l’regel – going up to the holy city of Jerusalem to bring sacrifices to God during Judaism’s three key holidays, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

The Pilgrimage Road goes all the way from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.

Titus Flavius Josephus, the first-century Roman-Jewish historian, wrote that 2.7 million people used to visit Jerusalem during the various Jewish holidays, bringing with them some 256,000 sacrifices. Almost all of the Jewish pilgrims, according to Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), would have entered the city on this road. It is a road that Jesus almost certainly used during the Second Temple period, alongside many of the famous Jewish scholars and leaders of that period.

“This place is the heart of the Jewish people, and is like the blood that courses through our veins,” Spielman said.

Here is one example: Hillel and Shammai – the famous first-century scholars who figure prominently in the Mishna – debate at what stage in a child’s development his father is obligated to include him in the pilgrimage. Shammai, the stringent one, says that a child should be included as long as he can sit on his father’s shoulders. Hillel says only if the child is able to walk up the 750-meter road need he be included.

Walking the road – as of now Ir David has excavated about 250 meters of it – you can imagine the throngs of people parading on it 2,000 years ago. Young boys walking next to their parents. Girls on their fathers’ shoulders. So far, only some of the stores that once lined the road have been partially uncovered, but with imagination you can hear the bartering that took place here – people trading leather for fur, seeds for honey, coins for wine.

For example, archeologists found a set of stairs in the middle of the road alongside one of the ancient shops. But the staircase doesn’t go anywhere. It ends in a platform. When Ir David checked, though, it found just one other similar set of stairs – in Rome, where it was used as something like a Hyde Park-style Speakers’ Corner. Basically, this was a place where people could make announcements and deliver speeches to the pilgrims as they climbed the road to the Temple.

Then archeologists found beside the stairs the burned remains of a male palm tree, one that doesn’t give fruit. Why would there be a non-fruit producing tree right there on the road? To provide shade for the speakers.

“To understand Jerusalem, you need to stand here,” Spielman said. “We were exiled in 70 CE and prayed three times a day and established a state. The last breath of Jews was here, beneath us.” Spielman pointed at some black ash discovered along the road and mentioned the thousands of coins the archeologists uncovered engraved with the words “Free Zion.”

“This was the battle cry during the fight against the Romans,” he explained. “They made coins and not arrowheads, because they knew they could not beat Rome, but they made the coins so there would be something left for the people who would one day come back.”

IR DAVID has changed our understanding of history. It is one thing to read the Mishna and imagine or visualize what life for Jews was once like. It is quite another to walk on the exact same road as they did.

For the last few months, Ir David has been working around the clock to connect the excavated part of the road with the Shiloah Pool. It is tedious work that has to be done slowly. Every inch excavated has to be reinforced with steel beams to protect the modern city above.

The project has so far cost several hundred million dollars, and while the government has provided a portion of the budget, most has come from private donors, such as Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum. Ir David hopes that when the road officially opens in a few months, it will draw approximately one million visitors a year.

Yisrael Hasson, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, noted: “The Road project is a part of the Shalem Plan, which was approved in a government cabinet meeting, the purpose of which is to preserve and develop the area of ancient Jerusalem. The plan relates to the sites of ancient Jerusalem from a comprehensive governmental planning and budgetary perspective, which will create a holistic visitor experience in this unique area. We are currently in the second phase of the plan, which will dramatically improve this entire area

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