Archaeology & The Hope of Israel:
Uncovering the Foundations of Faith!
Friday, October 23, 2009
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Hello! This is Paul Billington bringing you another edition of the Bible in the News as archaeologists in Israel announce plans for major excavations at the famous Western Wall - digging down to the very foundations of the 'Kotel' (or Kosel, meaning "Wall") where Jews offer their prayers today.
According to reports: "The current prayer area will remain open, supported by pillars, while a new area will be added underneath, at the level at which worshippers at the ancient Temple stood in the past."
While it is always interesting to see what the archaeologists uncover, and to observe the political fall-out that often accompanies these excavations - for the Palestinians Arabs always try to obstruct connections of the area to Jewish history and their temple - it is even more relevant to see connections with the Bible emerge.
Exposing the foundations of the temple, even just the retaining wall of the temple platform, connects us to the prophecy of Daniel (chapter 8:11-14) which foretold of the Roman power taking away the daily sacrifice, and "casting down" the place of the sanctuary, holy place, or temple. The passage reads:
"Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (Daniel 8:11-14).
That passage is referred to by Jesus in Luke 21:24 where we read:
"And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
The passage in Daniel, to which Jesus undoubtedly refers, has been translated "the evening-morning sacrifice was taken away; and the foundation of its temple scattered."
This was the work of the Roman power in A.D. 70, but both Daniel and Jesus say that this destruction would be a temporary matter. Daniel indicates that the scattering power would eventually be broken, and the evening-morning sacrifice restored. Jesus says "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
The meaning is that Judah's hosts were to become an evening morning sacrifice because of their rebellion against Yahweh, for a period of 2,300 years - or until the times of Gentile supremacy be fulfilled, "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" - or as this has been rendered more correctly, "Then the Holy shall be avenged."
So as archaeologists bring the ancient foundation stones before our eyes, and we see the evidence of that destruction wrought by the Roman power laid out for the world to view, we are reminded of the fact that the Bible has decreed that this destroyed place of worship shall be both avenged and restored. And is not this where we are today as we see the Jewish people being restored to their ancient Land and City?
The Jewish people have been returning to their ancient homeland for over a century now and their modern nation of Israel came into being in 1948. Jewish control of Jerusalem came as a result of the 1967 Six-Days war - as it happens, just 2,300 years after the goat power of Daniel 8:5-7 overpowered the Persian ram.
Now Daniel 8:17 gives us to understand that this vision is to be "at the time of the end." Furthermore, the Roman power of the Gentiles is to practice, prosper, destroy, cause craft and deceit to prosper until it stands up against "the Prince of princes" - at which time Rome will then be broken.
This is the sense of the prophecy that is brought to our attention by the excavations now revealing the foundations of the temple that was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans. The "Prince of princes" referred to in Daniel 8:25 is none other than Jesus Christ himself who is to return for the very purpose of restoring again the kingdom to Israel (as expected by his disciples in Acts 1:6).
This is the Hope of Israel (Acts 28:20); a hope that all true Christians embrace. Our prayer is that of Psalm 102 where we read these words:
"Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD (verses 13-18).
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Printed: Friday, October 23, 2009
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