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Bible Lands Seminar

Biblical Israel

Copyright 2008 by Crossway. All rights reserved.


Available at: http://www.esvbible.org/media/esvsb/images/big/map-back-01.jpg

TOUR RESOURCE GUIDE


Compiled by Steve Brown
March 2019

PO Box 1888, Lenox, MA 01240 Ph: 413-637-4673 www. berkshireinstitute.org

(For education purposes only, not for sale)


Welcome to the BICS Bible Lands Seminar!

This compilation of resources will supplement the information you receive from the guides on the Bible
Lands Seminar tour of Israel.

The articles, maps, and diagrams are arranged according to the program schedule as much as possible.
While you might wish for more (or less) information about a site or issue, you will see that there is never
enough time in the touring day to fully explain (if that is possible) the geography, archaeology, and his-
tory of each stop. I hope these resources will help in that regard.

This is a “Bible Lands” tour and our primary objective is to help you understand the relationship of the
Land and Word in the biblical eras. However, you will be learning about modern Israel as well, and our
hope is that you will gain an understanding and appreciation for the mosaic culture and varied peoples
who live there today in what is a complex and often tense area of the Middle East. We are privileged to
be guests in the country and encourage you to learn about and respect the people who work in the hotels,
manage the shops and kiosks, sell on the streets, serve in the travel industry and venerate the Lord in
customs unlike our own.

The last section in these resources contains several articles relating to the restoration of Israel to the land
as predicted in the Bible. There is a significant debate in evangelicalism (and in the Advent Christian
Church, BICS’ heritage denomination) as to whether the Israel of the Old Testament has been “replaced”
by the church of the New Testament. One of the reasons we tour the Holy Land is to see the modern
State of Israel. We believe its founding on May 14, 1948 was a fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham
reiterated by Moses and the prophets. We want you to understand and feel the reality of divine blessing
on the regathered Jewish people as we expect their future turning to their Messiah, our Lord and Savior.
Through Him we have become participants in the promise plan of God with them.

We always look for ways to improve or supplement these resources. Please, let us know how it might be
improved to aid travelers in subsequent years. What information would you include?

Above all, we sincerely pray that our Lord will bless you in our travels together. May He fill your heart
with His love, infuse your learning with joy, and seal to your heart the “Promise Plan” of God’s love for
both the Jews and Gentiles revealed through the pages of Holy Writ.

Enjoy the journey!

Steve Brown, President Emeritus


The Berkshire Institute for Christian Studies
Table of Contents

Holy Land Chronology 7


Keys to Understanding Archaeology in Biblical Lands 8-17
Recent Archaeological Discoveries That Lend Credence to the Historicity 18-28
of the Scriptures
Galilee in the Days of Jesus 29
Capernaum, House of Peter the Apostle 30
Diagram: The Synagogue and Jewish Worship 31
Contested Conflagration: Joshua and the Conquest of Hazor 32-37
Cult Worship at Tel Dan 38-53
Megiddo: The Place of Battles 54-61
Shechem: Its Archaeological and Contextual Significance 62-72
The Israelite Tabernacle at Shiloh 73-79
Joshua’s Lost Conquest 80-84
Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus 85
Pool of Bethesda, Pool of Siloam and the Tomb of Lazarus 86
Site of the Last Supper: 4 th Century Church of Holy Zion 87
The Church of the Nativity 88
Calvary and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher 89
Who Moved the Ladder? 90
Masada Desert Fortress 91-97
Tomb of King Herod Discovered at Herodium 98-102
Patriarchal Burial Site Explored for the First Time in 700 Years 103-120
Sound Proof: How Hezekiah’s Tunnelers Met 121-128
The Restoration of Israel in the Modern Era 129
The Restoration of Israel: Key References 130-132
The Land of Israel and the Future Return 133-151
The State of Israel is Born 152
An Assessment of Replacement Theology 153-164
Observations on the Restoration of the Jews in Advent Christian Thought 165-189
Faith and Politics in Today’s Holy Land 190-214

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HOLY LAND CHRONOLOGY

Archeological-Historical Biblical-Historical
Creation-2100 Pre-patriarchal Period*
Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) ? -10,000* 2,100-1,800 Patriarchal Period
Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age 10,000-7,500 1,800-1,406 Egyptian & Exodus Period
Neolithic (New Stone Age) 7,500-4,000 1,406-1,050 Conquest & Judges Period
Chalcolithic 4,000-3,150 1050-931 United Monarchy Period
Early Bronze Age 3,100-2,100 931-722 Divided Monarch Period
Middle Bronze Age 2,100-1,550 722-586 Southern Kingdom Period
Late Bronze Age 1,500-1,200 586-535? Babylonian Exile Period
Iron Age I 1,200-930 535?-332 Persian Period
Iron Age II 930-586 332-63 Hellenistic Period
Babylonian Period 586-538 168-63 Maccabean/Hasmonean
Persian Period 538-322 63 B.C. Roman Period Begins
Hellenistic I Period 332-152 5 B.C. ?-30 A.D. Life of Jesus Christ
Hellenistic II Period (Hasmonean ) 152-37 30-40 Jewish Church
Roman I (Herodian) 37 B.C. -70 A.D. 41-47 Jewish Gentile Church
Roman II & III 70-324 48-68 Pauline Mission
Byzantine Period 324-640 66-70 Jewish-Roman War
Early Arab Period 640-1099 70-98 John at Ephesus/Patmos
Crusader Period 1099-1187 135 Bar Kochba Rebellion
Mameluke Period 1187-1517
Turkish Period 1517-1918
British Period 1917-1948
Israeli Period 1948-2015 *Note: The “Biblical-Historical” chronology in the earlier
dates is different from what you might find in other tour
resources, including those supplied by our tour agency. It is
based on the traditional dates for the patriarchal period, the
Exodus, and Israel’s conquest of Canaan. Stone Age dates
are pre-historical and may need adjustment downward.
Modern History A.D.

637 Muslim conquest of Jerusalem


1099-1187 Crusader occupation of Palestine and Jerusalem
1517 Ottoman Turks conquered Palestine (Suleiman “the Magnificent”)
1916-1918 Arab Revolt against Turkish occupation (Lawrence of Arabia)
1917 Balfour Declaration, Britain endorsed Jewish homeland in Palestine
1918 British occupation of Palestine (British Mandate, 1928-1948)
1947 United Nations partition of Palestine
1948 Israel’s War of Independence – State of Israel established
1956 Israel’s Sinai Campaign
1967 The Six-Day War—occupation of the Old City and the West Bank
1973 The Yom Kippur War
1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty
1982-1985 Israel-Lebanon War
1987-1993 The First Intifada (“Shaking Off”)
2000- Camp David Summit
2000-2005 The Second Intifada
2005 Israel disengaged from Gaza
2006 Second Lebanon War
2008 Operation Cast Lead (Military attempt to stop Hamas rockets in Gaza Strip)

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Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus

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Masada Desert Fortress 2/15/18, 3)46 PM

Archaeology in Israel: Masada


Desert Fortress
Masada (Hebrew for fortress) is a place of gaunt and majestic beauty that has become one of the
Jewish people's greatestsymbols as the place where the last Jewish stronghold against Roman invasion
stood. Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular destination of tourists visiting Israel.

More than two


thousand years have
passed since the fall
of the Masada fortress
yet the regional
climate and its
remoteness have
helped to preserve the
remains of its
extraordinary story.

Masada was declared


a UNESCO World
Heritage site in 2001.

Geography

Masada is located
atop an isolated rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea.

On the east side, the rock falls in a sheer drop of about 450 meters to the Dead Sea and on the western
edge it stands about 100 meters above the surrounding terrain. The natural approaches to the cliff top
are very difficult.

History

The only written source about Masada is Josephus Flavius’ The Jewish War. Born Joseph ben
Matityahu into a priestly family, Flavius was a young leader at the outbreak of the Great Jewish
Rebellion against Rome (66 CE) when he was appointed governor of Galilee. Calling himself

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Josephus Flavius, he became a Roman citizen and a successful historian.

According to Flavius, Herod the Great built the fortress of Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. Herod, an
Idumean, had been made King of Judea by his Roman overlords and “furnished this fortress as a
refuge for himself.” It included a casemate wall around the plateau, storehouses, large cisterns
ingeniously filled with rainwater, barracks, palaces and an armory.

Some 75 years after Herod’s death, at the beginning of the Revolt of the Jews against the Romans in
66 CE, a group of Jewish rebels overcame the Roman garrison of Masada. After the fall of Jerusalem
and the destruction of the Temple (70 CE) they were joined by zealots and their families who had fled
from Jerusalem. There, they held out for three years, raiding and harassing the Romans.

Then, in 73 CE, Roman governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the Tenth Legion,
auxiliary units and thousands of Jewish prisoners-of-war. The Romans established camps at the base of
Masada, laid siege to it and built a circumvallation wall. They then constructed a rampart of thousands
of tons of stones and beaten earth against the western approaches of the fortress and, in the spring of
74 CE, moved a battering ram up the ramp and breached the wall of the fortress.

Once it became apparent that the Tenth Legion's battering rams and catapults would succeed in
breaching Masada's walls, Elazar ben Yair - the Zealots’ leader - decided that all the Jewish defenders
should commit suicide; the alternative facing the fortress’s defenders were hardly more attractive than
death.

Flavius dramatically recounts the story told him by two surviving women. The defenders – almost one
thousand men, women and children – led by ben Yair, burnt down the fortress and killed each other.
The Zealots cast lots to choose 10 men to kill the remainder. They then chose among themselves the
one man who would kill the survivors. That last Jew then killed himself.

Elazar’s final speech clearly was a masterful oration:

"Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself,
Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that
resolution true in practice ...We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against
them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die
bravely, and in a state of freedom."

The story of Masada survived in the writings of Josephus but not many Jews read his works and for
well over fifteen hundred years it was a more or less forgotten episode in Jewish history. Then, in the
1920's, Hebrew writer Isaac Lamdan wrote "Masada," a poetic history of the anguished Jewish fight
against a world full of enemies. According to Professor David Roskies, Lamdan's poem, "later inspired
the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto."

The heroic story of Masada and its dramatic end attracted many explorers to the Judean desert in
attempts to locate the remains of the fortress. The site was identified in 1842, but intensive excavations

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took place only in the mid-1960's with the help of hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers from Israel and
from many foreign countries.

To many, Masada symbolizes the determination of the Jewish people to be free in its own land.

Herodian Fortress

The rhomboid, flat plateau of Masada measures 600 x 300 m. The casemate wall (two parallel walls
with partitions dividing the space between them into rooms), is 1400 m. long and 4 m. wide. It was
built along the edge of the plateau, above the steep cliffs, and it had many towers. Three narrow,
winding paths led from below to fortified gates. The water supply was guaranteed by a network of
large, rock-hewn cisterns on the northwestern side of the hill. They filled during the winter with
rainwater flowing in streams from the mountain on this side. Cisterns on the summit supplied the
immediate needs of the residents of Masada and could be relied upon in time of siege.

To maintain interior coolness in the hot and dry climate of Masada, the many buildings of various
sizes and functions had thick walls constructed of layers of hard dolomite stone, covered with plaster.
The higher northern side of Masada was densely built up with structures serving as the administrative
center of the fortress and included storehouses, a large bathhouse and comfortable living quarters for
officials and their families.

King Herod's Residential Palace

On the northern edge of the steep cliff, with a splendid view, stood the elegant, intimate, private
palace-villa of the king. It was separated from the fortress by a wall, affording total privacy and
security. This northern palace consists of three terraces, luxuriously built, with a narrow, rock-cut
staircase connecting them. On the upper terrace, several rooms served as living quarters; in front of
them is a semi-circular balcony with two concentric rows of columns. The rooms were paved with
black and white mosaics in geometric patterns.

The two lower terraces were


intended for entertainment and
relaxation. The middle terrace had
two concentric walls with columns,
covered by a roof; this created a
portico around a central courtyard.
The lowest, square terrace has an
open central courtyard, surrounded
by porticos. Its columns were
covered with fluted plaster and
supported Corinthian capitals. The
lower parts of the walls were
covered in frescos of multicolored

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geometrical patterns or painted in


imitation of cut marble. On this
terrace was also a small private
bathhouse. Here, under a thick
layer of debris, were found the
remains of three skeletons, of a
man, a woman and a child. The
beautifully braided hair of the
woman was preserved, and her
sandals were found intact next to
her; also hundreds of small, bronze
scales of the man’s armor, probably
booty taken from the Romans.

The Storehouse Complex

This consisted of two rows of long Remains of the Masada bathhouse


halls opening onto a central
corridor. The floor of the
storerooms was covered with thick plaster and the roofing consisted of wooden beams covered with
hard plaster. Here, large numbers of broken storage jars which once contained large quantities of oil,
wine, grains and other foodstuffs were found.

The Large Bathhouse

Elaborately built, it probably served the guests and senior officials of Masada. It consisted of a large
courtyard surrounded by porticos and several rooms, all with mosaic or tiled floors and some with
frescoed walls. The largest of the rooms was the hot room (caldarium). Its suspended floor was
supported by rows of low pillars, making it possible to blow hot air from the furnace outside, under the
floor and through clay pipes along the walls, to heat the room to the desired temperature.

The Western Palace

This is the largest building on Masada, covering over 4,000 square meters (one acre). Located along
the center of the western casemate wall, near the main gate towards Judea and Jerusalem, it served as
the main administration center of the fortress, as well as the king’s ceremonial palace. It consists of
four wings: an elaborate royal apartment, a service and workshop section, storerooms and an
administrative unit. In the royal apartment, many rooms were built around a central courtyard. On its
southern side was a large room with two Ionic columns supporting the roof over the wide opening into
the courtyard. Its walls were decorated with molded panels of white stucco. On the eastern side were
several rooms with splendid colored mosaic floors. One of these, the largest room, has a particularly
decorative mosaic floor with floral and geometric patterns within several concentric square bands. This
room may have been King Herod’s throne room, the seat of authority when he was in residence at
Masada.
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Stronghold of the Zealots

The synagogue, part of the


Herodian construction, was a hall
measuring 12.5 x 10.5 m.,
incorporated into the northwestern
section of the casemate wall and
oriented towards Jerusalem. This
synagogue also served the Jews
who lived in Masada during the
Revolt. They built four tiers of
plastered benches along the walls,
as well as columns to support its
ceiling. This synagogue is
considered to be the best example
of the early synagogues, those
predating the destruction of the
Temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

An ostracon bearing the inscription


Remains of the Masada Synagogue
me'aser kohen (tithe for the priest)
was found in the synagogue. Also,
fragments of two scrolls, parts of
Deuteronomy and Ezekiel 37 (including the vision of the "dry bones"), were found hidden in pits dug
under the floor of a small room built inside the synagogue.

Among the many small finds of artifacts – most from the occupation period of the zealots – were
pottery and stone vessels, weapons (mainly arrowheads), remnants of textiles and of foodstuffs
preserved in the dry climate of this area; also hundreds of pottery sherds, some with Hebrew lettering,
coins and shekels.

Of special interest among the postherds of amphora used for the importation of wine from Rome
(inscribed with the name C. Sentius Saturninus, consul for the year 19 BCE), is one bearing the
inscription: To Herod King of the Jews Several hoards of bronze coins and dozens of silver shekels and
half-shekels had been hidden by the zealots; the shekalim were found in superb condition and represent
all the years of the Revolt, from year one to the very rare year 5 (70 CE), when the Temple was
destroyed.

In the area in front of the northern palace, eleven small ostraca were uncovered, each bearing a single
name. One reads "ben Yai’r" and could be short for Eleazar ben Ya’ir, the commander of the fortress.
It has been suggested that the other ten names are those of the men chosen by lot to kill the others and
then themselves, as recounted by Josephus. Evidence of a great conflagration were found everywhere.
The fire was pobably set by the last of the zealots before they committed suicide. Josephus Flavius

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writes that everything was burnt except the stores – to let the Romans know that it was not hunger that
led the defenders to suicide.

UNESCO World Heritage Designation

Criterion (iii): Masada is a symbol of the ancient Jewish Kingdom of Israel, of its violent destruction
in the later 1st century CE, and of the subsequent Diaspora.

Criterion (iv): The Palace of Herod the Great at Masada is an outstanding example of a luxurious
villa of the Early Roman Empire, whilst the camps and other fortifications that encircle the monument
constitute the finest and most complete Roman siege works to have survived to the present day.

Criterion (vi): The tragic events during the last days of the Jewish refugees who occupied the fortress
and palace of Masada make it a symbol both of Jewish cultural identity and, more universally, of the
continuing human struggle between oppression and liberty.

Integrity

Due to its remoteness, and the harsh climate of the southern end of the Judean Desert, following the
dissolution of the Byzantine monastic settlement in the 6th century the Masada site remained
untouched for more than thirteen centuries until its rediscovery in1828. The property encompasses the
remains of the site on its natural fortress and the surrounding siegeworks.

Of equal importance is the fact that the setting of Masada, the magnificent wild scenery of this region,
has not changed over many millennia. The only intrusions are the lower visitor and cable car facilities,
which in their new form have been designed and relocated sympathetically, to minimize visual impact,
though the siting of the summit station, is still controversial.

Authenticity

This is a site that remained untouched for more than thirteen centuries. The buildings and other
evidence of human settlement gradually collapsed and were covered over until they were revealed in
the 1960s. There have been no additions or reconstruction, beyond an acceptable level of anastylosis,
and inappropriate materials used in early conservation projects are being replaced. Limited restoration
works have been carried out to aid visitor interpretation with original archaeological levels being
clearly defined by a prominent black line set in the new mortar joints. Certain significant
archaeological elements, such as the Roman camps and siegeworks, remain virtually untouched. The
authenticity is therefore of a very high level.

Protection and management requirements

The Judean desert remains a sparsely settled area, with the harshness of the environment serving as a
natural barrier against modern urban and rural development pressures.

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The property and buffer zone are owned by the State of Israel, and the archaeological sites are
protected by the 1978 Antiquities Law. Since 1966 the entire Masada site, and its surroundings, have
been designated a National Park, updated by the 1998 National Parks, Nature Reserves, National Sites
and Memorial Sites Law. The National Park is further protected through being entirely surrounded by
the Judean Desert Nature Reserve, also established under the 1998 Act.

The property is managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, in cooperation with the Israel
Antiquities Authority. An important aspect of the current management plan is the decision to carry out
no further research excavation on the main site "in the present generation", although limited
excavation will be permitted when required by conservation, maintenance or restoration projects.

Almost entirely invisible from the summit, a new visitor centre was opened on the plain beneath the
eastern side of Masada in 2000. Providing all the anticipated facilities, the centre was designed to
accommodate the 1.25 million visitors per annum. The cable car, originally installed in the 1970's, was
replaced by a new, less intrusive, and heavily used system to connect the visitor centre with the
summit. It is also still possible to undertake the arduous climb to the summit by the two historic
pedestrian access routes.

The policy of prohibiting commercial activities of any kind, and picnicking on the summit, is
rigorously maintained.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry;


Joseph Telushkin Jewish Literacy, NY:
William Morrow and Co., 1991. Reprinted by permission of the author;
UNESCO;

Masada photo courtesy of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. All rights reserved to Itamar Greenberg and
to the Ministry of Tourism.

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The Restoration of Israel in the Modern Era

1. The Restoration of Israel: Key References by Carl F. Ehle, Jr., Class handout, 1983.

2. “The Land of Israel and the Future Return” by Walter Kaiser. Chapter 8 Israel: The
Land and the People. H. Wayne House, gen. ed. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1998.

3. The State of Israel is Born. The front page facsimile of The Palestine Post, May 16,
1948.

4. “An Assessment of Replacement Theology” by Walter Kaiser in Mishkan: A Forum on


the Gospel and the Jewish People, Issue 21, 2/1994.

5. Observations on the Restoration of the Jews in Advent Christian Thought by Carl F.


Ehle, Jr. This is a paper prepared for publication in the denominational press. Date
unknown.

6. “Faith and Politics in Today’s Holy Land” by Calvin L. Smith. Chapter 13 in The Jews,
Modern Israel and the New Suppercessionism. Broadstairs, Kent (United Kingdom):
King’s Divinity Press, 2009.

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