Jerusalem archaeological discovery proves Biblical account of Babylonian conquest
Jeremiah 52 and 2 Kings 25 describe the siege and conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians on the ninth day of Av, 587 BC. This event and other catastrophes that occurred on the same date in subsequent years are commemorated annually with prayers, mourning and fasting.
In 2017, the ninth of Av falls on Aug. 1 and just days before this mournful day on the Jewish calendar, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced new discoveries from the time of Nebuchadnezzar II that definitively confirm the biblical accounts of that fateful calamity in Israel’s history.
In the 1960s, while this part of Jerusalem was under Jordanian control, the site was excavated by Kathleen Kenyon, a British archaeologist. In the seven seasons of digging, the teams under her supervision found a little evidence proving the existence of the First Temple, but there wasn’t enough to say the biblical account was accurate. In the 1970s, it was hypothesized that, if proof was to be found at all, perhaps excavations were not in the right place and should be carried out on the slope further east than where they had dug in the previous decade.
Over the last four months, Jerusalem’s City of David National Park has been host to an archaeological dig on the aforementioned slope, outside of the boundaries that were previously believed to be Jerusalem’s limits at that time. It led to discoveries and the much sought-after evidence from 2,600 years ago for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) to declare with certainty that the Bible’s description of the incursion and destruction of Israel’s capital was highly detailed and accurate.
The Bible says that Nebuchadnezzar vanquished the Judean King Zedekiah and razed his capital, Jerusalem, and “burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great man’s house, he burned with fire.” In the excavations, archaeologists found walls and collapsed rooms destroyed and covered in layers of ash. The burnt layers are evidence of a fierce fire that started suddenly and intentionally as the Bible states.
The IAA said that in excavating the collapsed rooms, they discovered rare artifacts including pottery with the royal seal from the decade before the First Temple, a carved ivory statue, and evidence of numerous food items typical in the diet of that time. The seals and stamps in the form of a rosette are the most important discovery as they provide absolute proof of the end of the Judean dynasty administration. The stamps and seals were used as the king’s mark on all goods that were traded.
“Now on the seventh day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire. So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem.” 2 Kings 25:8-10
Israeli-born Dee Catz is a Jewish believer in Yeshua, happily married with children. She has an interest in cooking and baking and all things Biblical. History, Geography, and Archaeology are some of her favorite hobbies, as well as touring Israel's national parks and landmark sites with her family and friends. She has been contributing to Kehila News Israel since December 2015.
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Rebuilding after ISIS: Iraqi Christians tour Israel
A group of young Christian Iraqis who identify as Assyrians have been brought on a tour of Israel as part of an initiative to encourage the rebuilding of communities destroyed by ISIS.
More than 100,000 Christians were forced to flee when ISIS attacked the Nineveh plains around the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2004. The population of Christians in Iraq has been reduced from around 2 million in the 1990s to fewer than 500,000 today.
An exciting movement has now begun to encourage Christian Iraqis whose families escaped from ISIS to return and rebuild their communities. The Philos Project, an organization which promotes Christian engagement in the Middle East, has partnered with America’s Museum of the Bible Foundation to bring 28 young Iraqi Christians from the U.S. and Canada to Israel for a week and a half.
In addition to experiencing the good things Israel has to offer, the group saw how life can go on and thrive after a community has suffered a catastrophe such as the Holocaust or the invasion of ISIS. Moreover, life continues during conflict.
Reflecting on this after being told of the terrorist attack in which three members of the Salomon family were killed in Israel during Shabbat dinner last week, Diana, a woman with the Iraqi group, told the Jerusalem Post it reminded her of the home she had fled.
“You go out and you don’t know if you are going to come back safely,” she said. “I saw people acting normally as if nothing happened, life goes on, memories came back.”
Another participant, Mary Anton, was born in Iraq and left for Canada in 1995. She grew up speaking Arabic, but has now started to learn Assyrian, the ancient Semitic language of her roots. She told the Post she is keen to return to Nineveh to see where her ancestors are from.
Indeed, the group identify as Assyrians. Referred to in the Bible, the ancient Assyrian Empire began in the 25th century BC and stretched across northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and the edges of northwestern Iran. Assyria came under the control of various powers and was eventually dissolved by the Arab Islamic Conquest in the seventh century AD. The remnant of the Assyrian people were mostly Christian by then and they remained in the area as an indigenous population.
In regards to going back and rebuilding, the group are aware of the difficulties.
“You have Kurdish and Arab forces trying to claim it as theirs, they fund and train and arm their own militias and there is politics,” a participant called Evon told the Post.
Nevertheless, the group has hope going forward and the trip to Israel was an encouragement.
“Jews and Assyrians went through the same things, being here inspires me to build Assyria and build our people and learn about our heritage and I look at Israel and see a future Assyria,” Mary summarized.
Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
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Archeologists uncover new evidence of Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem
Israeli archeologists have unearthed findings dating back to Babylonian conquest and destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem.
Archeologists uncovered several artifacts from charcoal covered rooms in the City of David dating prior to the siege of Jerusalem at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar over 2,600 years ago.
Archeologists found several jars for storage, as well as charred wood, fish bones, human bones and seeds. Amongst the artifacts found were an Egyptian ivory statue, pottery jars and rosette seal dating to a decade prior to the capture of the Temple by the Babylonians.
Dr. Joe Uziel, the head of the excavation carried out by the Israel’s Antiquities Authority, described the significance of their findings, explaining, “Classifying objects facilitated controlling, overseeing, collecting, marketing and storing crop yields. The rosette, in essence, replaced the ‘For the King’ seal used in the earlier administrative system.”
On the seal, he explained, “seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple Period and were used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty.”
He spoke of the wealth of the Judean Kingdom, particularly in Jerusalem, describing the “wealth of the Judean Kingdom’s capital is also manifest in the ornamental artifacts surfacing in situ. One distinct and rare finding is a small ivory statue of a woman. The figure is naked, and her haircut, or wig, is Egyptian in style. The quality of its carving is high, and it attests to the high caliber of the artifact’s artistic level, and the skill par excellence of the artists during this era.”
The findings also point to additional evidence of Jerusalem’s constant growth throughout the Iron Age, Uziel describing how the “row of structures exposed in the excavations is located outside, beyond the city wall that would have constituted the eastern border of the city during this period. In the current excavation, we may suggest that following the westward expansion of the city, structures were built outside of the wall’s border on the east as well.”
The finding comes just a fews days before Jews worldwide commemorate Tisha, the ninth day of the Hebrew month “Av”, a day of mourning in remembrance of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, July 30, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Amir is the founder of Behold Israel and lives in northern Israel. He has been invited to churches, prophecy seminars and conferences around the world, to teach on current events in Israel in light of Bible prophecy. Since 2004, Amir has been consultant to various law enforcement agencies and seminars on homeland-security issues.
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Texas stands with Israel – signing of anti-BDS bill
On Thursday, February 9th, 2017, a unique event occurred with profound spiritual implications. At the State Capitol building in Austin, Texas, an event called “The Texas Stand with Israel/Citizens Advocacy Day” was held. The event was organized by Texas State Representative Phil King (R) from Weatherford, Texas. This event was the first ever of its kind to be held in Texas.
The purpose for this historic gathering was to garner support for a new bill being introduced in the Texas State Legislature. The bill, House Bill 89, and its companion Bill in the Texas State Senate, SB 134, were designed to defeat the economic warfare being waged against Israel through a movement called BDS, which means Boycott, Divest and Sanction.
Israel’s enemies devised this new form of unconventional warfare in their never-ending desire to find new ways to combat Israel’s very existence. In fact, Pro-BDS author John Spritzler says, “I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”
The co-founder of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, said, “We oppose a Jewish State in any part of Palestine.” The heart of the BDS movement is to wage warfare on Israel and her right to exist in her ancient homeland!
The BDS movement has gained steam and notoriety around the world with numerous universities, governments, labor unions and businesses now participating. In fact, even some Christian denominations have come onboard with the BDS movement!
TEXAS WAGES WAR AGAINST BDS
This is where HB 89 & SB 134 come in. Texas Representative King and Senator Brandon Creighton (R) saw this new form of warfare being waged on the economy of Israel and felt that something had to be done!
Contained in these bills is a legally binding commitment by the State of Texas to prohibit the State from investing public funds in any group that wages economic warfare on Israel. What does this mean? Texas, now the 10th largest economy in the world, with a $1.6 trillion dollar a year GDP, will use its growing economic might to STAND WITH ISRAEL!
Texas is now Israel’s 4th largest trading partner, conducting over half a billion dollars in bi-lateral trade annually. Since 1996 Texas has done over $13 billion in trade with the State of Israel. In fact, nearly 300 companies in the state of Texas do business with Israel.
10-YEAR DROUGHT BREAKS
In May of 2015 Texas representatives came together and began planning these bills to Stand with Israel. In that same month, heavy rainfalls began to fall on the State of Texas. Over the ensuing months, 17 trillion gallons of rain came down on the State of Texas—thus ending a 10-year devastating drought!
Of course, some may say this is mere coincidence. I say it is God keeping His promises! Genesis 12:3 states, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed!”
Texas has not only enjoyed record-breaking rainfall but Texas’ oil boom produced one half of all job growth in the US since 2009 and added over $600 billion to the overall US economy. In its growing relationship with Israel, Texas A&M University announced in late December 2015 its plans to bless Israel by opening a $6 million marine research center in partnership with the University of Haifa.
MUSLIMS FIGHT PENDING BILL
All of this support for Israel has not gone without opposition. One week before our group of 500 supporters converged on the State Capitol, over 1,000 Muslims came to the Capitol in Austin and campaigned one-on-one with all of the State Legislators, urging them vigorously to vote against HB 89 & SB 134. They pressed the Texas legislators to not stand with Israel.
Although they went before us, we came with humility and the strength of God’s mighty Word! We represented Israel and God got the last word in this battle.
Over 500 advocates for Israel came to this event from both the Christian and mainstream Jewish communities! Maoz was the only representative from the Messianic community at this event.
In fact, the bill sailed through both chambers and its author Representative King called this law the “strongest that any state has passed” and “a model for other states to follow.”
BILL SIGNED INTO LAW!
On May 2, 2017, Israel’s 69th Birthday, at a festive gathering of officials and Jewish and Christian leaders, Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law!
“Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy,” said Abbott. “Texas is not going to do business with any country that boycotts Israel.” The law mandates that companies that contract with Texas government entities must verify they do not and will not boycott Israel. It is likely the toughest anti-BDS law in the world.
Groups that do business with the State of Texas, that have joined in on the economic warfare against Israel, stand to lose untold millions in revenue.
Abbott thanked House and Senate leadership noting, “I have never seen a bill so many people came together to get behind.” Signing the anti-BDS bill as the very first piece of legislation of the state’s 85th Legislature sends a powerful message. Abbott expressed his unwavering support tweeting “Texas says, Don’t Mess With Israel. Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies.”
He added, “The people of the Lone Star State and Israel share an unbreakable bond based upon mutual values, and by passing this legislation—ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund discrimination—Texas has reaffirmed this important friendship.”
“People in Israel are just like Texans,” said Abbott who spoke on the “cultural connection between the people of Texas and the people of Israel,” calling that connection “very deep and very genuine.”
Texas is the 18th state to pass an anti-BDS law.
For me, it was so encouraging to speak directly with many State Legislators and to hear first-hand their deep commitment to STAND WITH ISRAEL.
Ted Vanlandeghem is U.S. Spokesman and Director of Partner Relations at Maoz Israel Ministries.
This article originally appeared on Maoz Israel, July 2017, and reposted with permission.
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Israel Police: Friday prayer ends quietly
JERUSALEM, Israel – By mid-afternoon, Israeli police reported that Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount had ended peacefully.
“Police units [are deployed] in and around the city of Jerusalem to prevent and respond to any incidents,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said by statement. “Thousands of people gathered on the Temple Mount for Friday prayers. No incidents occurred as age was restricted over the age of 50 and women of all ages. Security measures continue.”
Muslim visitors who entered the site after receiving permission from the Palestinian Authority and Islamic religious leaders began rioting almost immediately.
Police officers used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to subdue the rioters. The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency rescue brigade reported that 100 demonstrators were injured in the melee.
Late Thursday evening, officers removed people who had planned to sleep at the site and join “demonstrations” on Friday. Officers arrested several visitors for causing disturbances there, the Israel Police Spokesman’s Office reported.
In the end, police decided to impose age limitations for men (50 or older) attending Friday prayers, while there are restrictions on women.
“Security assessments were made and there are indications that disturbances and demonstrations will take place today [Friday],” the report advised. “Due to this assessment, there is an age limit on the Temple Mount.”
In preparation to handle potential attacks, police closed access to a number of roads around the Old City, promising to respond to disturbances of any kind there. Additional units have been deployed where needed.
Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevi reiterated that security forces will respond forcefully to any disturbances, citing Israel’s responsibility for maintaining security on the Temple Mount.
Halevi said anyone who tries to disturb the peace, harm police or citizens should not be surprised at the response.
“Don’t test us because we know how to respond, and we know how to respond directly and forcefully,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Abul Gheit, head of the Arab League, said Israel is “playing with fire” that could spark a religious war that could “shift the core of the conflict from politics to religion.”
Gheit made his remarks in a televised speech from Cairo where Arab foreign ministers were summoned to an urgent meeting, Arutz Sheva reported, quoting AFP.
“I invite the occupying state to carefully learn the lessons from this crisis and the message it holds,” Gheit reportedly said, adding that “not one single Muslim in the world would accept the desecration of the al-Aksa Mosque.”
Member nations condemned “in the strongest terms” Israel’s efforts “to Judaize the occupied city of Jerusalem and distort its Arab and Muslim character.”
“East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state,” the minister declared, saying they reject and condemn “all measures by the occupying force to diminish Palestinian rights of sovereignty over it.”
This article originally appeared on CBN News, July 28, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.