Mount of Temptation
This site is less certain than most other holy sites as being the true location, for where Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights. But there are some good reasons to believe it was in this area, like the fact that this area was, from time immemorial, a refuge for those who wished to isolate themselves from the world.
Galilee is a small, shallow, freshwater lake that gets stirred up very much and quickly, especially in January. A good contrast to compare is the ocean. Oceans require much more wind to change their ripples into waves, then it can take days afterward to calm down after a huge storm. A shallow lake, by contrast, develops waves much more unpredictably and suddenly, then calms down to being mirror-like almost as soon as the wind stops. The ocean’s waves also never obtain the same narrow, horizontal distance from their base to their crest, like a shallow lake’s waves do. This means the sides of a shallow lake’s waves are much steeper, which actually makes a shallow lake much more dangerous. Add to this the instability of the flat-bottomed boats the fishermen used in Jesus’ day, compared to our modern-day boats with ballasts. And add to this the weather patterns of Galilee, which are due to the hills that surround the lake and the cool, prevailing westerly winds from the Mediterranean. The weather here is quite unpredictable, making Psalm 107:23-32 intensely applicable to the fishermen of Jesus’ day.
Millstone Hung About the Neck
Millstones were used for grinding wheat or other grains. Many more millstones were found in Capernaum than what could’ve been used by its own inhabitants, which seems to indicate they were being made there out of the local, hard basalt rock, and sold to customers who lived elsewhere. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:5-6).
Pool of Siloam
Discovered in 2004 and partially restored (it used to be much bigger). John 9:3-7, “Jesus…spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva…anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”
Pinnacle of the Temple
The pinnacle of the temple, where Jesus was tempted to throw himself down from, could’ve been next to the Kidron Valley on the eastern wall. This would’ve been a higher drop than even the southwestern corner shown in this picture. But many scholars believe it was more likely to be this southwestern corner where Jesus was tempted because here the whole city could witness it, whereas hardly anyone would witness it in the Kidron Valley. Also, from here a priest would blow the trumpet to announce the beginning of the Sabbath and other special events. So this corner became significant for the attention of the city’s residents much like our media is to us today. And in the original Greek, “pinnacle” comes from a Greek word commonly used to refer to turret-like structures. Only later did its basic meaning change to the highest point.
The Antonia Fortress was adjacent to the temple mount so the Roman Soldiers who resided in the fortress could quickly descend upon the temple precincts if there was a riot. Also, it was slightly taller than the temple was, to let the Jews know “who’s boss” and effectively “rub it in their faces.” This was traditionally where Jesus was beaten and condemned to die, but more likely, because of Josephus’s (and Philo’s) writings, he was beaten and condemned in what became known as Herod’s Palace. If this is true (which seems most likely), it changes the validity of the “Via Dolorosa” as being where Jesus walked to his crucifixion.
Peter’s House or “Insula”
This place in Capernaum is more than likely the location for Peter’s house that existed in Jesus’ day. Also, Peter’s “insula” would’ve been built from the same basalt type of rock common to that area. But what remains there now was rebuilt, expanded, renovated, etc., from the way it was in Jesus’ day, and archaeologists date these remains to an era of about 500 years after Jesus was here. Likely Peter’s descendants and/or their friends continued to meet here in a house church after Peter died, and eventually, it became more like a shrine, with pilgrims coming from afar to write their names on the walls, etc.
Peter’s courtyard gives a slightly better idea of what “insulas” were like in Jesus’ day. The rooms they built were for sleeping in, and their courtyards were all fenced in not only to keep in their chickens, sheep, etc. but to help protect their women and children from outsiders.
The Biblical Resources Center in LaGrange, Georgia, used to have a center in Israel when I went there in 2002 and again in 2004. They served us, tourists, a Passover meal as part of our learning experience; this was before we sat down to eat.
Southern Steps of Temple Mount
Jews walked up these steps when approaching the temple, especially during the great pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Christian archaeologists and scholars agree with 100% certainty that Jesus must’ve been here (see also a modern-day picture of the restored southern steps). The temple itself was rebuilt in 1.5 years (back in 19 BC), and most of the temple mount was completed by 26 AD.
Model of Golgotha
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on what is most likely the site of Golgotha. In Jesus’ time it was outside the city walls, but today it’s within the old city walls because the old city today has its walls in a different place. There is no reason to believe that Jesus was crucified on top of a hill; he could’ve been crucified at the base of a hill. The Roman Catholic Church depicted the crucifixion at the top because it seems to exult Jesus better. But there is a good chance there’s a hill there that looks like a skull, which is why the place was called “Golgotha.” And this first-century replica of Jerusalem has such a hill on this site.
Changes for my website
My 2 students have been stuck on the Contact Us webpage to try to make it work. 1 of them will be consulting with the instructor of the college. We hope to get this fixed soon.
- Putting out a Fleece, Casting Lots, and Choosing that Hill to Die on February 24, 2020
- False Humility in the NT, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, Part 3 of 3 February 17, 2020
- False Humility in the NT, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, Part 2 of 3 February 10, 2020
- False Humility in the NT, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, Part 1 of 3 February 3, 2020
- Christ’s Temptation as our Inspiration January 26, 2020
– View previous posts –
My Focus in Blogging
My story of forgiveness and healing is quite unrelated to envisioning the Bible world. But since our world is sin and pain infested, I suspect many will want to hear more about my personal experience. I wrote a couple of blogs about this, but mostly I focused on envisioning the Bible world. I learned lots after being in Israel, and now I can share that with you.
Plans for Improved Website:
Now that my documentary links are all moved under the Tour Israel menu heading, I’ll see if I can get my website working better for the visually impaired. This requires a lot of work and my student may be too busy with other technical fixes. I’ll see what I can get done by the end of May, 2023.
Thanks for your interest.