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Volume 3 | Life & Ministry of the Messiah

Learning the Faith of Jesus

Runtime of this lesson: 01:41 minutes1999


Pack your bags. We're going on a journey. A quest to uncover Scripture and its meaning across history. Filmed on location in Israel and throughout the Middle East, the Faith Lessons DVD series is an adventure in biblical learning. You will discover why Jesus turned the world upside down with his compelling call to follow him.
Teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan brings together history, culture, and geography to illuminate the Gospels. Eight DVD lessons with a Leader's Guide will let you, your family, or your small group walk with Jesus through the days of his ministry on this earth. The insights you gain will transform your reading of the Gospels and inspire a deeper faith commitment.

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Beelzebul

Philistine god worshiped at Ekron. It means "Prince Baal."

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Beersheba Definition

City in the central Negev. It was settled before 3000 BC. Abraham and Isaac lived here. Abraham gave it the name Beersheba, which means "well of the oath" or "well of the seven." Often used to refer to the southern end of the P...

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Bedouins Definition

Nomads who live mainly in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They speak Arabic and are generally Muslim. They retain a lifestyle much like that of the early biblical characters Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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Baptize Definition

To wash, dip, or immerse in water. Baptism shows that a person's sins are washed away. He or she has joined the family of God and is united with Jesus in dying to sin and rising to a new life.

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Apollo Definition

Greek god of light, music, and poetry. He is often pictured with bow and arrow; Son of Zeus and Leto.

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Bethlehem Definition

Located at the border between the mountains and the wilderness, its inhabitants benefited from the fertile mountain valleys and pastures the wilderness provided for the shepherds' flock.Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, Micah prophesied t...

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Business District Definition

Although not named by many ancient sources, this district inside the Second Wall held many shops and markets. Jesus walked through the area on market day on his way to the cross.

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Triclinium Definition

A reception or banquet hall or dining room. The tables were placed in a U-shape and surrounded by couches, where diners reclined as they ate.

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Defense Tower Definition

Scholars debate the importance of the large tower that once stood in Qumran because it was essentially a religious community of separatists who lived in a peaceful, almost monastic existence. The Essenes did, however, believe in the Messiah's immi...

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Valley of Jezreel Definition

Large, flat, fertile plain in northern Israel between the Galilee Mountains and the Samaria Mountains. The international trade route Via Maris passed through this area. It is also known as the Valley of Armageddon.

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Canaanite Definition

The word originally meant "merchant" or "trader." Eventually it came to refer to the people of the region.

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Venus Definition

Roman god of love and beauty. Daughter of Zeus and Dione (or did she spring from the sea?)

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Aphrodite Definition

Greek god of love and beauty. Daughter of Zeus and Dione (or did she spring from foam in the sea?)

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Zealots Definition

The term Zealot technically applies to a person who belonged to the party or "philosophy" that began in Gamla, but it is often applied to all Jewish rebels who resisted Roman authority and Jewish collaborators.For generations, the Zealot...

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The Fortress Masada

The plateau Masada is located in the remote Judean desert. Because this desert was bordered by the more fertile mountain ridge of the land of Israel, Masada was close to more hospitable areas.The attraction of the location for Herod was that he co...

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The Harbor

These ruins are of harbors built after the time of Herod. His harbor, which was built on concrete foundations in the sea, is no longer visible, although the base of the breakwater still exists beneath the water. This spectacular accomplishment bro...

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The Caves at Qumran

At least 11 caves containing scroll material have been found in the area of Qumran. The caves shown here are the closest to the community and are labeled Caves 4 and 5, in the order that they were found.These caves probably contained the "lib...

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The Aqueduct

Herod's aqueduct was several miles long, bringing water to Caesarea from springs at the foot of Mount Carmel. For much of the distance, the water channel rests on a seemingly endless procession of arches. The plastered structure on the arches cont...

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Science/Technology

When we say the words "science" or "technology," we don't usually picture the ancient world. But in biblical times, new advances and discoveries were always being made.In the field of metalworking, the world gradually shifted f...

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The Herodion's Lower Palace

The lower palace, viewed from the height of the upper fortress, is massive. The pool with its island is most impressive in the wilderness. The remains of the colonnaded garden are clear. On the lower right are the excavations of the lower palace b...

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The Main Assembly Hall at Qumran

With the Dead Sea to the east of Qumran in the background, we can see the size of the assembly hall. On the right is the kitchen where the food was prepared. The size of the room and its prominence highlight the importance of this sacred meal to t...

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Zin Wilderness Definition

Name of part of the Negev wilderness just west of the Great Rift Valley. Named after the riverbed in the area: Zin.

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Agora Definition

Public square of marketplace.

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Things

Our world is filled with objects that have special cultural significance. As we look at the Islamic world, we think of the veils worn by many Muslim women. Things such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's have come to symbolize the United States.The writer...

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The Temple at En Gedi

En Gedi is one of the oases around the Dead Sea. Sodom and Gomorrah would have looked like this oasis. High on the cliff above En Gedi, archaeologists discovered a pagan temple already old at the time of Abraham and Lot. Sodom and Gomorrah probabl...

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The Sleeping Loft

Located on the second floor, this typical loft provided sleeping space for the family. The bed is a wooden frame with rope stretched over it. The mat over the bed provided some additional comfort. In poorer families, people often slept on mats on ...

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Edomites Definition

Esau's descendants. Edom means "red" and the Edomites lived in the mountains to the east and south of the Dead Sea. Because of Edom's attacks on Judah, God promised to take revenge on the Edomites.

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Elah Valley Definition

Valley in the Shephelah between the coastal plain and the Judea Mountains. David fought Goliath here.

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Murex Definition

Shellfish found along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea north of Israel, where the Phoenicians lived. Purple dye was produced from these shellfish.

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Necropolis Definition

Burial ground.

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Mercy Seat Definition

See Atonement Seat.

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Marriage Cup Definition

During Biblical times, a young man who wanted to marry would accompany his father to the chosen woman's house, where she and her father would be present. They'd negotiate a steep "bride price"%u2014the money or physical items that the wo...

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Leprosy Definition

The word used in the Bible for different skin diseases and infections.

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Masada Definition

A fortress expanded by Herod the Great to include a palace; on a mountain plateau on the Dead Sea's shore near Idumaea. David wrote, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress" (Ps. 18:2), a possible reference to this flat mountain plateau. Al...

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Sepphoris Definition

'%uFFFDGreek for Hebrew zippor, meaning "bird," because the town perched like a bird on a mountaintop in Lower Galilee. Hellenistic city built as Herod Antipas' regional capital; a major urban center of Hellenistic culture and power, wit...

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Shephelah Definition

Hebrew word for "lowlands." It refers to the area between the Judea Mountains and the coastal plain where the Israelites and Philistines met.

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Talmid Definition

The Hebrew word for disciple is talmid. This word stresses the relationship between rabbi (teacher or master) and disciple (student). A talmid of Jesus' day would give up his entire life in order to be with his teacher. The disciple didn't only se...

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Qumran Definition

A small community near the northern end of the Dead Sea, inhabited from 130 BC to AD 70, probably by the Essenes. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found near this settlement.

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Tekton Definition

A craftsman who often worked with stone. Jesus was trained as a tekton while growing up in nearby Nazareth.

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Synagogue of En Gedi

This spectacular mosaic floor from a synagogue built in the second or third century was found at the oasis of En Gedi along the Dead Sea. The synagogue hall shown here is 45 feet long and about 30 feet wide. It follows the synagogue style found in...

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Legion Definition

A military designation. Composed of spear men, archers, tacticians/strategists, cavalry, and reserves. Some of the best Roman legions, including the tenth, were stationed in Israel during the first century. Legion also was used to describe a host ...

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Kippah Definition

Head covering worn by observant Jews out of respect to God; similar to a yarmulke.

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Gat Shemen Definition

Olive (shemen) press (gat) From which we get the term "gethsemene."

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Haluk Definition

Outer garment.

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Galilee Definition

The northern part of the land of Palestine. Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee, and did a lot of his teaching ministry here.

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Fresco Definition

Design created by painting water colors onto wet plaster.

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En Gedi Definition

Means "place of the spring goat." A canyon and surrounding hills filled with springs that enabled a lush oasis to flourish on the Dead Sea's barren, western shore. Here David hid from Saul and possibly wrote several psalms.

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Hebron Definition

Means "league." Ancient city of Judah at the southern edge of the Hebron Mountains, north of the Negev and approximately 19 miles south of Jerusalem. Abraham lived here and purchased a tomb in this area where he, his wife, Sarah, Isaac, ...

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Household Implements

Typical household items from first-century Israel

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Josephus Definition

Jewish historian named Josephus Flavius, author of four major extra-biblical texts of Jewish life and culture. Born to a preistly family about the time of Jesus' death, he died approximately 100 AD; he was a Galilean commander in the First Jewish ...

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Judge's Platform Definition

The platform on which the ruler of the city sat. The presence of the ruler or king ready to pass judgment in the gate of the city is behind the prophet Amos' plea for "justice in the city gate."

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Jew Definition

At first, this was the name for someone from the tribe of Judah. Later it came to be used for anyone who was from the family of Jacob (Israel).

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Insula Definition

A family household arrangement common in Capernaum and Korazin, where many rooms%u2014residences for various family members%u2014were built around a central courtyard.

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Humanism Definition

Modern worldview based on an evolutionary model that considers human beings the ultimate life form and denies the existence or relevance of God. Right and wrong are determined by human standards, not God's.

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Scenes from En Gedi-Pools in the Desert

The desert around En Gedi is hot, barren, and dry. God's promise to his people was to turn the desert into "pools of water" (Psalm 107:35). Even the barrenness is made fruitful by the living water from God.The water and shade seen in thi...

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Scenes from En Gedi-Living Water Brings Life

The result living water is clearly seen. The barren wilderness on the background contrasts sharply with the lush growth produced by the water. The sudden appearance of water brings like out of the barrenness of the desert.Many Bible passages descr...

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Casting the Net

Casting the NetThis modern-day fisherman demonstrates how to use a cast net, one type of net used in New Testament times (Mark 1:16-18). The net is 18 to 25 feet in diameter. The fisherman arranges it on one arm, stands in the boat, and throws it ...

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History of Belvoir

Built by the Knights of the Order of the Hospitallers in the twelfth century, this isolated fortress protected the eastern side of the Crusaders' kingdom.Perched on a hill of the Issachar Plateau 1,700 feet above the Jordan Valley, this fortress e...

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The Wilderness East of Bethlehem

This photograph is taken from the top of the Herodion looking east towards the wilderness. It is striking how the farms seen in the foreground end where the wilderness begins. Going to the wilderness was a short walk for the people of the Bible. V...

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Caesarea: Why was Caesarea built?

Herod built the Seaport at Caesarea for a number of different reasons.- He needed a port on the Mediterranean because existing ones were outside his kingdom or hostile to him.- He recognized Caesarea's strategic location along the Via Maris, the t...

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Theater of Sepphoris

This photograph shows the remains of Sepphoris today. This glorious city, on a hilltop in Galilee, is slowly being uncovered by archaeologists. The name Sepphoris is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Zippori, which means "bird." Accord...

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Column Style and Fresco Panels on Masada

The photograph here displays a column style used by Herod on Masada. The columns were made of sandstone pieces that were plastered to look like fluted columns. When new, they probably looked like polished limestone or even marble. In the same plac...

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Crusades

Soldiers of the Cross? In November, 1095, Pope Urban II called upon all true Christians to free the Holy Land from so-called Muslim infidels. His speech sparked a period of violent conflict between Christian Europeans and the Muslims of the Middle...

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En Gedi Scenes-Water from the Rock

This small stream literally runs out of the rock. Miles away, rainfall seeps in the cracks in the rock until eventually it emerges like this. Many Bible passages speak of water gushing from the rock (Deuteronomy 8:15; Exodus 17:6; Psalm 105:41).Th...

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Gamla

Gamla is often called the "Masada" of the north because of the siege and fall of the town to the Romans during the Jewish Revolts. The city was originally settled by a group of Jews returning from captivity around 150 BC.The city is loca...

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En Gedi

Barely one hundred feet from the desolate wilderness, the oasis of En Gedi supports lush green growth. Nearby, a spring of water runs from a rock, flowing down a cliff and creating the beautiful waterfall of En Gedi.Surrounding En Gedi, the Judea ...

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Edom

Israel and Edom: Nations in ConflictJacob and Esau, the grandsons of Abraham, were to be fathers of nations in conflict. Esau (the older) ultimately would serve Jacob, and Jacob's people would be stronger than Esau?s people. Esau's descendents wer...

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Demeter: The Goddess of Groceries

Believed to be the goddess of grain who provided food, Demeter was popular among common people because acquiring enough food was a dominant concern for them. The secretive cult worshiped in a temple (twenty-two by forty feet) and eight-hundred-sea...

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Building a Typical Galilean Home

The typical Galilean house was built of basalt (dark volcanic rock) with the stones carefully squared or "dressed" by a stonemason (sometimes translated as "carpenter").A wooden scaffold is used in the building process. Smaller...

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An Essene Cistern

In the Qumran community, the Essenes created several cisterns that, as shown here, were plastered and had steps to allow them to access water. At least two of these cisterns are believed to be mikvoth, ceremonial or ritual baths used for actual cl...

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Hellenism: Center of the Universe

Hellenism: Center of the UniverseSatan tempted the first humans in the Garden of Eden in a clever way. "Did God really say...?" (Gen. 3:1) he asked. Adam and Eve were faced with an earthshaking choice. Who or what is the ultimate source ...

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Cistern of Masada

Cisterns Herod built to provide water during times of siege and to fill his luxurious swimming pools and supply his bathing complexes. The amount of water needed was staggering. There were several swimming pools on top of the desert mountain, wher...

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The Herod Family

Herod the Great* Died in 4 BC* Effective administrator, cruel, supported by Rome* Visited by wise men, killed Bethlehem babies* Greatest builder the ancient Near East ever knew* Had 10 wives, including Cleopatra, Miriam, and MalthacePhilip* Son of...

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Herod and Jesus: A Contrast Between Two Kings

Differing MotivationsHerod the Great thought highly of his abilities and power, and spared no effort to impress the world with his greatness. He was a schemer who feared the loss of his power and ruthlessly destroyed all potential rivals with incr...

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Remez

The great teachers (rabbis) during Jesus' day used a technique that was later called remez. In their teaching, they would use part of a Scripture passage in a discussion, assuming that their audience's knowledge of the Bible would allow them to de...

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In Herod's Footsteps

In Herod's FootstepsHerod lay dying in his opulent palace in Jericho. He had been seriously ill for a long time. From the description in Josephus' writings, Herod had gangrene, severe itching, convulsions, and ulcers. His feet were covered with tu...

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Jesus' Baptism

The Baptism of JesusOne of the greatest events to occur in relationship to the Jordan River was the baptism of Jesus. The gospel accounts tell us that a dove descended from heaven and hovered over the water as Jesus was baptized. A voice from heav...

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Misguided faith

Belvoir's FortressBuilt by French Crusaders with a moat, outer walls, and an inner building, Belvoir looks like a European fortress transplanted onto Israel's soilBuilt by a group of French Crusaders, the Belvoir fortress stands in an area of nort...

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A Study in Contrasts

Hellenism the dominant worldview in the first century, stands in stark contrast to the truths of God found in the Bible. Hellenism Biblical Perspective Human beings are the image of gods. Only God is God. He is the Lord of the Univers...

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Living Water (En Gedi)

Water in the WildernessThe waters of En Gedi provide a cool and refreshing refuge amidst the barren Judean Wilderness.Barely one hundred feet from the desolate wilderness, the oasis of En Gedi supports lush green growth. Nearby, a spring of water ...

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History of Masada

Masada is a large rock plateau that creates a desert stronghold in the Judea Wilderness. In Old Testament times, David hid from King Saul in this area. We don't know that David ever stayed in Masada, but David had surely seen or heard of its huge ...

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Bethlehem - Jesus' Birthplace

Today the town of Bethlehem is much larger than it was in Jesus' day. But despite its small size in biblical times, Bethlehem was the location of significant historical events. Discovering its history helps us appreciate why the town was the perf...

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Gamla Area

The Zealots were part of a movement completely devoted to serving God. They believed it was impossible to serve the pagan Romans while also being faithful to the law of God. They resisted Rome and anyone who sided with the Roman rulers, often with...

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Greek Gymnasiums

Every major Hellenistic city had an educational institution called a gymnasium, in which citizens of the Greek/Roman community were taught the wisdom of Hellenism. Religious Jews during Biblical times believed the gymnasium to be an abomination be...

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Household Provisions

Every home provided storage space for harvested food, as well as for additional possessions. Since life depended upon raising, preserving, and storing food, it was essential to store it so it wouldn't spoil or be eaten by rodents or insects.Some f...

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Inside the Herodion

This view is from the outer wall of the upper fortress of the Herodion. You can see the astonishing magnitude of this palace. Herod's workers began with a natural hill considerably higher than other hills in the area. They constructed double cyndr...

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Household Lamp

The Lamp Below the ladder leading to the sleeping loft is a typical "window" wall that allowed air circulation and more openness between rooms. In the window wall is an oil container made from the skin of a goat. Similar skins were used ...

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Primary Sources

What type of history do the four Evangelists tell, and what does it reveal about Jesus?No modern biographer would ignore all of Jesus' early life, as Mark does, or skip over his formative experiences as a young adult, as all Gospels but Luke do (L...

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Herodion

Viewed from the north from more than five miles away, the volcano-shaped mountaintop created by Herod dominates the skyline. The powerful appearance of this fortress is even more amazing when you consider that there was a circular palace coming ou...

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Language of Culture

A City Fit for the HerodsThere is no biblical record of Jesus teaching in Sepphoris, but we know that he grew up in the nearby village of Nazareth. From his hometown, Jesus could probably see the impressive city, which covered nearly five hundred ...

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In the Shadow of Herod

Herod s Magnificent PalaceThe Herodion, third largest palace of its day, stood as a magnificent monument to Herod's wealth and power.The Herodion, third largest palace of its day, was built in the wilderness near Bethlehem. The huge structure was ...

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Scenes from En Gedi

En Gedi is the home of desert goats known as ibex. These heavy- horned males and graceful does graze on the sparse grasses in the surrounding desert. The only available water for miles around is the spring of En Gedi. This photograph doesn?t exact...

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Scenes from En Gedi- Ibex

En Gedi is the home of desert goats known as ibex. These heavy- horned males and graceful does graze on the sparse grasses in the surrounding desert.The only available water for miles around is the spring of En Gedi. This photograph doesn?t exactl...

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My Rock and My Fortress

MasadaHerod the Great built and impressive fortress at Masada to showcase his own power, but it is remembered today as a symbol of the Jewish desire for freedom.'The mountain of Masada stands tall in Israel's Judea Wilderness. On top of this spec...

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The Time Had Fully Come

Qumran - The SiteThe wilderness community of Qumran served as home for the Essenes, a Jewish sect existing in Jesus' day.Qumran served as a study site for the Essenes, a Jewish sect existing in Jesus' day. Located at the edge of the Judea Wilderne...

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Lachish

Once one of ancient Israel's largest cities, Tel Lachish covers an impressive eighteen acres. The city was a fortification for Judah, and archaeologists have discovered the largest gate complex in Israel there. The massive double gate included bot...

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Not on Bread Alone

Not on Bread AloneIsrael is mostly rugged desert. The variety of Hebrew words for desert or wilderness indicates the significant role the landscape played in biblical history and imagery. For the Hebrews, the desert was far more formative than the...

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Gamla Definition

Aramic, meaning "camel," because from a distance this ridge in the Golan Heights (Gaulanitis) looks like a camel's hump. Located north and east of the Sea of Galilee. Home to nationalistic Pharisees (Zealots) who sought deliverance from ...

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Mount of Beatitudes

Tradition holds that this is the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). There is no concrete evidence to support this belief because the exact location is not specified in the Scriptures. However, this slope is in the righ...

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Qumran

Qumran served as a study site for the Essenes, a Jewish sect existing in Jesus' day. Located at the edge of the Judea Wilderness, Qumran was an isolated community. The Essenes could live out their beliefs in separation from other religious groups ...

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Mosaics at Masada

The mosaic floor pictured here is from the private bathhouse in the Western Palace. The multicolored geometric designs are typical of Herod's construction. Some scholars think he chose not to use figures of animals, people, or gods, out of respect...

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Insulas

People in Galilee often lived in family housing complexes known as insulae (singular: insula). Although not everyone lived this way, many people (particularly extended families) combined living units around an open courtyard.This living arrangemen...

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Religious Movements of Jesus Time

Four views of JudaismIn Jesus' day, there were varying philosophies within the Jewish faith. While some Jews embraced the Roman rulers, others resisted with violence. And whereas some Jewish believers lived a simple, isolated lifestyle, others enj...

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Sepphoris

Just three miles from the small town of Nazareth where Jesus grew up, archeologists are unearthing the sophisticated city of Sepphoris, the city Herod Antipas constructed as his administrative capital.Crowned by Herod's elaborate palace, Sepphoris...

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Cistern Definition

Because water in Israel is hard to come by, most ancient cities, towns, and even households used cisterns to catch and store rain runoff from rooftops, courtyards, and even streets.Cisterns were dug by hand out of solid rock and were plastered so ...

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Cisterns

What was "Cistern Water"In Israel, the rainy season is only five months long, stretching from November through March. Since fresh springs like those at En Gedi are rare, most ancient cities, towns, and even households used cisterns to ca...

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Jesus and the Jewish Revolts

Whereas some Jewish people sought salvation through political and military might, Jesus lived out completely different truths. He often warned his followers not to participate in a political method of bringing God's kingdom.Even though Jesus was c...

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Synagogue of Gamla

The remains of this synagogue, one of the oldest found in Israel, are outlined in this photograph. It apparently functioned as a community center because no specifically religious artifacts were found in it. However, the mikveh (ritual bath) uncov...

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Storehouses of Masada

This photograph shows the remains of the 15 storehouses on the eastern side of Masada. The one on the left is as it was found by archaeologists; the others have been reconstructed. In the background above the storehouses, you can see the Dead Sea,...

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