Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What a Hiding Place!

Have you ever read Revelation 6 and wondered why in the world would any one in their right mind run underground in the midst of the world's worst earthquake?  I mean it's suppose to be a doozie of an earthquake with the moon and sun doing ecliptical things at the same time.  Men are suppose to want the caves and rocks to hide them from God and from the wrath of Jesus.

First of all, living in Texas I found this irrational.  In a land that, albeit slowly, continually shifts and cracks, who would want to run into a cave that might just collapse on you during a great earthquake?  Or, suddenly burst open from underneath and allow water from the aquifers below to fill the caverns? 

What I didn't know was that someone in Turkey or Ethiopia reading that same passage would have complete understanding.  Watching "Cities of the Underworld" my eyes were opened in a whole new way.  Now, I get it.

In the area known as Cappadocia there are hundreds of cities lying beneath the towns and cities that populate the country side.  What looks like caves lead and open up into vast rooms and tunnels leading to other rooms, even cathedrals.  The builders included ventilation systems, communication channels, food storage areas, water holding tanks, even burial rooms.

Initially, these cities were built for protection from attackers.  And, rather than creating strongholds above ground that would hold off the enemy the people dug down deep into the ground.  It's incredible how these places have survived the test of time, weather and earthquakes.

Throughout the centuries other peoples have utilized these tunnel systems.  And I imagine for those who know where the cities are at, when that great earthquake hits, that's where the people from all walks of life will run.

Now, Revelation 6 makes total sense.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tidbits of Info

The program "Day of Discovery" is a great resource of knowledge regarding Israel.  I have learned so much from watching their shows.  Thought you might enjoy some little tidbits of information I've gleaned from them.

Did you know the fault line running through the African Rift Valley continues up through the Jordan Valley?  It's interesting how different parts of the world can be connected.

Did you know that there are lava rocks on the hillsides of the Galilee?  This means there's a dormant volcano in the area.  I have to wonder how many times lava flowed from it, and just how did it shape the land of Israel we know today.

Did you know that the Sea of Galilee lies 640 feet below sea level?  It's the lowest fresh water lake in the world.

Did you know that the temple in Jerusalem was thought to be about 18 stories high?  That's a tall building.  And sitting on top of the highest hill in the area it's no wonder it could be seen from far away.

Sometimes it's the overlooked facts that can change how we look at an old object or subject.  Knowing these things has helped me see Israel in a different way.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Going There Again?

As you know I'm researching Biblical history, and discovering some little known facts.  In reading A Visual Guide to Bible Events my eyes were open, so to speak, to a connection I never saw before.

The first time Jesus takes the disciples to the Decapolis region a whole herd of pigs die, and they're asked to leave.  Thank you very much.  The second time was preceded by the disciples witnessing the healing of a Phoenician woman's daughter.  As if seeing that wasn't enough, he takes them back to the 'other side.'

According to Mark 7 they went by foot this time, not by boat like they did before.  I have to wonder if the disciples thought they'd be killed before they could high-tail-and-run.  Any fears the disciples had was pushed aside by the greeting they received.

Upon arriving to the Hippos area a deaf man is brought to them for healing.  (According to Matthew 15 the list of ailments is longer.)  The people are amazed this time.  Not only do they not ask him to leave, they don't leave him.  In fact, they stayed three days before Jesus tells his disciples to feed the four thousand people who are there.

What can be easily overlooked, well at least I overlooked it, is that these people were gentiles.  And just how did these people know to go to Jesus when he arrived to the Hippos area?

Well, remember the man whose freedom from demons killed that herd of pigs?  Remember Jesus told him to share what had happened to him with his family and his people?  Well, he did a good job.  Because the next time Jesus came their way the people were open to hear what he had to say and what he had to offer.

So in one trip away from the Galilee region, Jesus shows his disciples that he came for every one, even the ones Jews felt didn't deserve it. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To Heal Or Not To Heal

Have you ever wondered why Jesus referred to the woman in Matthew 15 as a dog?  The gospels don't report him specifically calling any one else a dog.  Even the Romans who made requests didn't receive an insult like that.  So, what did she do to deserve such a comment?

The rest of the story lies in location, location, location.  She was from the area of Tyre and Sidon, along the coastline in the region known as Phoenicia.  So? You might think.

Well, the country of Phoenicia started out by helping Israel.  Over the years, Israel accepted the idolatry brought in by a Phoenician queen.  Then by the time Israel was invaded by the Babylonians, the Phoenicians turned their backs on them, celebrated their removal from the land, and sold those who escaped captivity as slaves.  It was so bad that God himself spoke against them through his prophets Amos, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah.  (A Visual Guide To Bible Events)  So, of course the people of Judea and Galilee had very little respect or compassion for anyone in this area.

It's no wonder the disciples were begging Jesus to send the woman away in verse 23.  They didn't want to give anything to those who had treated their ancestors so poorly.  (I'm sure they had already attempted to keep her away from their leader, but she wouldn't go.)

Here's an aside thought.  They were 60-90 miles away from where Jesus was doing his teaching and, yet, she already knew about him and his work.  Oh, how news travels.  Seeing a large group of strangers coming into town, wearing clothing from the Galilee area got her attention.  Finding him at the center of the group, she kept calling out to him by a proper description too . . . Son of David.  She knew, he had the solution to her daughter's problems.

And, what does Jesus do?  After a faith-filled answer he gives her want she desires.  Can you say forgiveness?

So, I see two things here.  Jesus' move to Capernaum was working and the word was getting out. And, he allowed healing to any one whose faith caused them to call out to him.  He still does.