According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The City of Jerusalem - Its Archaeology, History, and Pictorial Maps, Part 1

Jerusalem Within These Walls
(an hour long documentary of Jerusalem's History)

Beginning about a year and a half ago I began taking "half-semester" classes at a local Christian college to help me remember subjects from my deep past or to fill in those areas I've always wanted to know about but have had little time to study or investigate since my university days long years ago. Hence, I've taken diverse classes on Economic Monetary Supply and the Modern American Banking System; The Science and Politics of Albert Einstein during the rise of Nazism; Michigan Regiments in the Civil War; read and discussed the very, very long Roman Classic poem The Aeneid by the poet Virgil (phenom!); studied ancient Athenian Greece (my fav city-state!) through the eyes of Greek/Persian historian Herodotus, the Father of Ancient History; read and discussed William Shakespeare's Hamlet (phenom!); undertaken a study of 1&2 Samuel (since religious America seems so interested in modern day Kings and Empires); studied the interconnectivity of Michigan's Environmental Watersheds; and even taken a World Christianity course (so I might hear from non-American Christians of their theology, worship, and convictions from around the world).

One of the classes I'm currently taking is an archaeological course on the City of Jerusalem. Here is a very short history of the city through its historical eras:

  • beginning as a religious city under the reign of Melchizedek's time (Genesis 14.18-20) to Abraham's time where God prevented the sacrifice of his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah (the very same place where today's modern Islamic Mosque now rests along with Ishmael's bones);
  • later becoming known as "Jerusalem" to serve as the capital city of Israel beginning in King David's reign through to the later occupations of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Rome;
  • into the InterTestamental period between the Old and New Testaments (539 BC - 69/70 AD) when Jewish exiles to Jerusalem undertook a second rebuilding of the temple under Ezra and Nehemiah until its later destruction nearly 600 years later by Rome;
  • through to its brief Christianized period after serving as a Jewish citadel of religious importance for much of its ancient history;
  • then into the Byzantine period of Turkish domination of the Ottoman empire as it swayed between Christianity and the nascent Islamic religion developing during this time;
  • into the early and middle medieval periods of the "Christian" Crusades and Muslim defense of their lands from Westernizing influences;
  • and finally, as a deeply segregated city housing all three of the world's major religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) within its modernized borders brought about by the  wicked holocausts of World Wars 1&2.

Topography of Israel

Maps and Pictures of Jerusalem

Aerial View of Jerusalem

French Map of Old Jerusalem

Landmarks layout of Old Jerusalem

Synopsis of Old Jerusalem

Jerusalem may be considered the fountainhead of three major world religions housed within its city walls offering to the visitor a kaleidoscopic view of the city and its people as they are today - a remarkable outcome of 3,000 years of history, hope, and faith.

Model representation of Ur David

Model representation of Ur David

Model representation of Ur David and Ur Solomon (further up the hill)

Model representation of Ur Solomon with the Temple of Jerusalem within

Jerusalem's Jewish Period

Starting with Ur Jerusalem (the City of Jerusalem) during the reign of King David. There is a large model representation in Jerusalem of Ur David, Ur Solomon (further up the hill), and Mt. Moriah (further up still, where God stayed Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac). It was on Mt. Moriah where the Temple of Solomon was built (after 970 BCE) to be later destroyed by Babylon (587-6 BCE). Fifty years later (539 BCE) Nehemiah and Ezra rebuilt the walls and temple of Jerusalem (it was a much poorer version to the original) which was destroyed 600 years later in 69/70 CE by Rome. Since the Christian church had no use for the temple site, and the Jews held no power under Rome, it slowly transformed to become the city garbage dump over the next 500 years until Persia came in to rule Jerusalem (638 CE). At which point the site was cleared of refuse and the Muslim Mosque built and dedicated to Muhammad's (570-632 CE) resurrection from this spot until its present day's use:

"Although the Qur'an does not mention the name "Jerusalem", the hadith assert that it was from Jerusalem that Muhammad ascended to heaven in the Night Journey, or Isra and Miraj.[citation needed] The city was one of the Arab Caliphate's first conquests in 638 AD; according to Arab historians of the time, the Rashidun Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab personally went to the city to receive its submission, cleaning out and praying at the Temple Mount in the process. Sixty years later the Dome of the Rock was built, a structure enshrining a stone from which Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven during the Isra. (The octagonal and gold-sheeted Dome is not the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the south, the latest version of which was built more than three centuries later). Umar ibn al-Khattab also allowed the Jews back into the city and freedom to live and worship after four hundred years.
"Under the early centuries of Muslim rule, especially during the Umayyad (650–750) and Abbasid (750–969) dynasties, the city prospered; geographers Ibn Hawqal and al-Istakhri (10th century) describe it as "the most fertile province of Palestine",[citation needed] while its native son, the geographer al-Muqaddasi (born 946) devoted many pages to its praises in his most famous work, The Best Divisions in the Knowledge of the Climes. Under Muslim rule Jerusalem did not achieve the political or cultural status enjoyed by the capitals Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo etc. Interestingly, al-Muqaddasi derives his name from the Arabic name for Jerusalem, Bayt al-Muqaddas, which is linguistically equivalent to the Hebrew Beit Ha-Mikdash, the Holy House."
- Wikipedia (

Did you know?

The Ark of the Covenant of Israel came as an adaptive type from Egypt? The Egyptian's used "processional arks" to honor their gods, culture, and Pharaohs. Having left Egypt from bondage, and being well acquainted with Egyptian culture after many years of servitude, Israel established a "processional ark" for their God, Yahweh. Here are some drawings showing the similarities (Israel's ark is the last picture typically seen in the movie, "Indiana Jones").

Egyptian hieroglyphic of a ceremonial ark in processional

Egyptian ceremonial processional of  Pharoah

Egyptian ceremonial processional using on ark to carry one of their gods or goddesses

Egpytian processional of an ark in ceremonial usage

A depiction of the Ark of the Covenant

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