Toilet discovered at 2,800-year-old shrine reveals Biblical tale of desecration of religious sites by King Hezekiah of Judah

Toilet discovered at 2,800-year-old shrine reveals Biblical tale of desecration of religious sites by King Hezekiah of Judah

  • The city gate at Tel Lachish in Israel has been found to have once contained a sacred shrine with two altars
  • Raised corners once decorated the altars have been cut and a toilet was installed in the corner of the shrine
  • Archaeologists believe this was a desecration as part of a religious crackdown on cults and idol worship
  • King Hezekiah is said in the Bible to have ‘removed the high places’ and ‘smashed the sacred stones’

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King Hezekiah instituted one of the most zealous religious crackdowns in the history of Judaism and saw the numerous cults in ancient Judah smashed to pieces.

Now evidence of the reforms implemented by King Hezekiah, which are described in the Old Testament, around 2,800 years ago have surfaced in a surprising form.

Archaeologists digging at the site of an ancient gate to the ruined city of Tel Lachish in Israel have uncovered the remains of a shrine that was desecrated during the purges in the 8th century BC. The discovery at Tel Lachish, however, is the first time that an archaeological find confirms this practice.
The Lachish city gate, as it is known, consists of six chambers which contain signs of city life at the time. In one of the chambers, however, is a shrine that once had walls covered with white plaster and two altars decorated with raised corners – known as horns.

These, however, appear to have had their tops deliberately cut off, a sign that there had been an attempt to end the spread of religious cults and centralise worship in Jerusalem  Putting a latrine at a holy site was considered to be sacrilege as it soiled a religious location that was to be respected. In the case of Jehu who destroyed the cult of Baal in Samaria the Bible states “And they demolished the pillar of Baal and demolished the house of Baal and made it a latrine to this day” (2 Kings 10:27).

Perhaps the greatest sign that the shrine had been the site of one of King Hezekiah’s crackdowns was the installation of the toilet within the inner sanctum of the shrine.

This stone with a hole cut through the centre would have been the ultimate desecration of the holy site. 38e07e1f00000578-3811712-tests_on_the_stone_toilet_pictured_and_the_ground_around_it_sugg-a-59_1475070670278

Sa’ar Ganor, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said: ‘Steps to the gate-shrine in the form of a staircase ascended to a large room where there was a bench upon which offerings were placed.

‘An opening was exposed in the corner of the room that led to the holy of holies.

‘To our great excitement, we found two four-horned altars and scores of ceramic finds consisting of lamps, bowls and stands in this room.

‘It is most interesting that the horns on the altar were intentionally truncated. That is probably evidence of the religious reform attributed to King Hezekiah.’ According to the narrative given in the Book of Kings in the Bible, King Hezekiah oversaw a widespread effort to abolish the religious cults and idol worship that had sprung up in Judah.

It states in II Kings 18:4: ‘He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles…’

Tests at the site showed that while the toilet stone appears to have been installed to desecrate the shrine, it was never actually used. Archaeologists instead believe it had been placed there symbolically and the inner sanctum of the shrine was sealed shut.

Dr Ganor said: ‘The size of the gate is consistent with the historical and archaeological knowledge we possess, whereby Lachish was a major city and the most important one after Jerusalem’.

‘According to the Biblical narrative, the cities’ gates were the place where ‘everything took place’.

‘The city elders, judges, governors, kings and officials – everyone would sit on benches in the city gate. These benches were found in our excavation.’

The ruins of the city gate today:

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A reconstruction of the city gate:

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Why should I worry?

Robert Louis Stevenson once said “Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall; anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day; anyone can live life sweetly, lovingly, patiently, purely, ’til the sun goes down.”

This harmonises beautifully with the words of Jesus Christ who said, ”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” ( Matthew 6:34)

We all face the problem of the anxiety and frustration we experience when we try to carry yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s fears with today’s load. It is more than one can bear and hospitals are full of those who have tried it unsuccessfully. A study of case histories by a group of doctors established worry as the greatest cause of illness. It was reported that worries fall into three categories. 40% of our worries are about the past, 50% about the future, and only 10% about present matters. This means we can eliminate 90% of all our worries by just living one day at a time.

Christ is the perfect example for the believer. He devoted himself completely to the task before him. He did one thing at a time. He carried his load, however hard, each day but he could put it down and fall asleep, even in the midst of a storm at sea! (Mark 4:35-41)  If we follow his example, we will live our lives one day at a time. We will not look into the future with fear and wonder how we shall cope. Instead, we will remember that a trip of a thousand miles must be made one step at a time.

True followers of Jesus should try to live one day at a time because no-one can be sure that he/she will live to see tomorrow. To try to carry tomorrow’s load as well as today’s and to worry about yesterday’s only wastes time.

Let us be wise and do our very best just for today. Do not worry about the past because it is gone. We should ask God to forgive us for the mistakes we made and take comfort in the fact that He will forgive us if we are truly sorry. The words of Jesus addressed to a sinner are consoling. “… Neither do I condemn you: go, and from now on, sin no more.” (John 8:11)

Today is ours. Let us live it having a firm faith and trying always to put our trust in God and giving Him thanks for every new day. We must have the faith to realise that tomorrow is a new day and that God will provide new strength for us. “Therefore do not be anxious saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

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In the beginning God …

The writer of this blog reads the creation record in the first book of God’s Word, The Bible, Genesis chapter one: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) at the beginning of every New Year. These opening chapters reveal to us the order and grandeur of the record, and yet it is so worded that ordinary folk like you and II can understand it. However, creation is ridiculed by so many these days.

Scientists who believe in creation as set out in Genesis have looked at the facts of science and cannot line them up with evolution. Consider the following:

1. The origin of life is unknown to science. The Law of Biogenesis observes that life only comes from life. Louis Pasteur proved scientifically that life does not come from non-life.

2. Many animals possess sophisticated equipment. The radar system of bats, the sonar of whales and dolphins, the electro-detection system of the platypus etc. A complexity that could not possibly have been produced by chance.

3. While single-celled creatures are numerous, there are none with two, three, four or even twenty cells. Thus there is no evolutionary sequence from single-celled to multi -celled creatures.

4. All known species (several million) appear fully developed, with all vital organs operational. There are no part formed eyes, half developed intestines or evolving feathers.

5. The genetic code in each cell, in the DNA, if written out in detail, would require as many as 4,000 large volumes of closely printed text. This is no accident of nature.

6. The DNA helix in each cell requires twenty different proteins for its instruction. These specific proteins can only be produced under the direction of the information in the DNA.Ttherefore the whole complex system must have been informed complete from the beginning of life.

7. Symbiosis, the interdependence of two forms of life, such as the fig tree and the fig-gall wasp, the yucca plant and the pronuba moth, pollen plants and the bee, each dependant for life upon the other, must have been formed complete at the same time.

Many other facts of science could be advanced. The Scripture says: “I will praise thee (God) for I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” (Psalm 139:14). This, is, of course a miracle.

What do you think?

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God’s Promises

How important it is that a promise should be kept! If someone breaks a promise to us, we feel disappointed and hurt. We are less trusting when more promises are made. We remember the past, and we wonder. When promises are kept we trust that future promises will also be kept.

Gods Promises

Has God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, made promises to mankind? Why would He do such a thing? What would He promise? “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?” (Numbers 23:9) Yes, God has made promises to us. He wants us to feel joy and love, to feel special, and to trust Him.

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An amazing chain of God’s promises to mankind runs from the beginning of time to our day, and can include us! God’s purpose from the beginning was that He would offer us salvation through Jesus. Since God’s intention of giving us eternal life was from the beginning of time, it is unlikely that He would be silent about it during His dealings with people recorded in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is full of prophecies and promises which give details of this plan. The writer of the book of Acts wrote, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)

The apostle Paul refers to promises

He wrote that he was a servant and an apostle (student as well as inspired teacher) of “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2-3) Paul, a zealous Jew, knew his Old Testament very well, and so he was aware of the promises made by God to his ancestors. In self-defence before Caesar’s court he says, “It is because of my hope in what God has promised our (Jewish) fathers that I am on trial today.” To the believers in Ephesus, Paul wrote that prior to belief and baptism into Christ they were “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God.”(Acts 26:6)

What are the promises to which Paul refers?

Adam and Eve died because they broke God’s command. But a promise of hope was also given. God would provide a “seed” – a son (Jesus) – who would suffer because of sin but deal a death blow to sin and death.(Genesis 3:15) A righteous man named Abraham was promised a land and a son, and many descendants, even though, at the time of the promise, Abraham and his wife were nomads, childless, and old. God told him that all the nations would be blessed because of his seed (Jesus). (Genesis 12:13 and 22) God repeated the promises to Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob and to the nation of Israel (Psalm 105:8-10) We can be involved! In the New Testament Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”(Galatians 3:26-29)He told them it didn’t matter if they were Greek or Jew, man or woman, slave or free. If they had been baptised into Christ, they had become part of Christ’s family and could inherit the promise as the sons of Abraham and of God.

 

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Promise to David

About 1,000 years after Abraham lived, Israel had a king named David. God loved David, and David loved God. God made a promise to David that one of his line, a son, would sit on David’s throne and rule from Jerusalem forever.(2 Samuel 7) Over the centuries, the Jews had remembered this promise and looked for a “Messiah” or “anointed one” (a king) who would provide this leadership. That is why the New Testament often refers to Jesus as the “Son of David.”(Matthew 21:9)

Jesus at first rejected

Jesus knew that his teachings, his miracles, even his resurrection would not convince some people of his identity. He said, “If they don’t listen to Moses or the prophets (which refers to the Old Testament), they will not be convinced even if someone rise from the dead.”(Luke16:21) After his resurrection, Jesus talked to two men on a road outside Jerusalem about all the events of the past week — his entry into Jerusalem, his trial, crucifixion and resurrection. “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”(Luke 24:25-27) Jesus emphasised that the entire Old Testament spoke of him. The disciples knew the Old Testament. They just had not understood the real message about Jesus.

It can be the same for people today. We can know about the stories and teachings of the Old Testament, but if we don’t see the message of Christ and the Kingdom of God in it we are missing its point. We should be very grateful to have the New Testament because it helps us to understand the importance of the Old Testament. Luke, who wrote the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles recorded the preaching of Paul, “The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath…We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…Therefore, my brothers, (sons and daughters) I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you…Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.”(Acts 13:27-41)

The promises are being fulfilled

The promise of a son has been fulfilled in Jesus. The promise of a land has been partially fulfilled. Israel became a nation again in 1948 after almost 2,000 years, and Jerusalem is now Israel’s capital. The promise of a righteous King and Priest ruling and leading worship forever from Jerusalem is still to be fulfilled.(Isaiah 9:6-7) The New Testament, especially the Book of Hebrews, teaches that these promises will be fulfilled forever in Jesus, who will be both Priest and King, ruling over His Father’s Kingdom on this earth. These promises are what make up the true Christian hope. Christians and the Covenants The Old Covenant, made between God and the Jews, helps us to understand the New Covenant made between Jesus and his followers. Now we can be “…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” the way God wanted the original Jewish nation to be, setting an example for the rest of the world and glorifying God.(1Peter 2:9) We can become true heirs of God by our desire and willingness to be “adopted” into His family. All God asks of His people is belief and trust that He will deliver His Promises We are told that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”(Isaiah 9:6-7) The prophet Isaiah was reminding himself and Israel that God upholds those who believe Him and obey His laws. We need to know the promises He has made, find out what our part of the bargain must be, and lay hold of Him, joyfully. Again, Luke talks to us. “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honoured the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”(Acts13:48)

 

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*To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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The Weather

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The British weather is a constant topic of conversation! In spite of the very sophisticated equipment available to forecasters today the forecasts are often wrong. Many do not really appreciate how bad or unseasonable weather can affect horticulture and farming and even the retail trade.

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Jesus passed judgment upon the leaders of Israel when they asked him for a sign from heaven (Matthew 16:1)”He (Jesus) answered them, “When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening”. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”(Matthew 16: 2 – 3). We have a similar saying “Red sky at night shepherds’ delight, red sky in the morning shepherds’ warning!” Israel’s leaders’ tragedy was that they were aware of “signs” in the sky but did not recognise the signs of the times, namely that their Messiah, their Saviour, had arrived and was talking to them! Jesus had come, in fulfilment of their Scripture, the Old Testament.( read, for example, Micah 5:2. There are many other prophecies of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.)

 

Now, in our day, the signs of the times point to the imminent Second Coming of Jesus from Heaven to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.(Ezekiel 37: 21, Luke 21:25-36) Sadly these signs are not known to most of our contemporaries.

The Old Testament makes clear that God controls the weather. If the nation of Israel refused to worship Him, their land would suffer; “And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you, until you are destroyed. (Deut 28: 23 – 24). In the book of Judges we read of the wickedness of Israel. Because of this a famine plagued the land (Ruth 1:1) so that families in Israel journeyed to Moab to escape hunger.

We can find many events in history where the weather has played a deciding role, the defeat of the Persian fleet by the Greek navy, the retreat of Napoleon and his troops from Russia and so on. God is in control and many of these happenings can be shown to fulfil Bible Prophecy. God does not only control the weather and climate change. In His good time He will send Jesus back to sweep away the chaos of human rule and establish a time of peace, and true prosperity for all (read Psalm 72).

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Quotes are taken from the ESV

*To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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Why I believe the Bible

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On Thursday 10th November (as you may have seen in the local newspaper) we are holding a special Bible class which will take the form of a DVD evening! The DVD we will be showing is called ‘Why I Believe the Bible’. This DVD is a series of short presentations from 6 Christadelphians. Each one is an expert in a particular field of science. They present their arguments for believing in the Bible from the perspective of their field of expertise. It is a free event and all are welcome to attend – so please come along and find out more about who we are and what we believe!

Well, this got us thinking, so we asked our members why they belive the Bible and we thought we would share some of their answers with you here on the blog! (Please note the names quoted are pseudonyms for security reasons but their ages are correct- or thereabouts, after all, a lady never tells!).

“When I look around at the beauty of the world and how everything works together in such perfect harmony, how can you not recognise a Creator? One looking over us ensuring we have everything we need. The Bible lays out exactly why we were created and shows us the whole purpose of our being. To aimlessly walk through life simply pleasing ourselves and our own selfish lusts isn’t enough for me. You can see from the greed and selfish ways of mankind how it is slowly destroying this earth. Which God in the Bible accurately predicts. 

Worlds leaders may have the best intentions of righting all the wrong within this world, but unfortunately without God and his Son Jesus, there is no hope of that. It is only through God’s loving-kindness that there will ever be the opportunity of Peace on Earth. Which is why I put my complete trust in him and his ways. God gives me the strength and confidence through all the wonderful things we have around us and a SURE Hope to hold onto of a better Earth ruled over by His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

Holly Bright, 30

“Global anti-Semitism, Israel inhabited with strong Jewish presence, fore-made predictions from Revelation occurring; these started me off learning about the strong evidence for biblical accuracy, while refuting the minimalist position with emerging archaeological data; the ‘Large Stone Structure’ (David’s Palace), Khirbet Qeiyafa, the temple mount, and many ancient inscriptions.”

John Bennett, 22

“Every time I look around at the world, at the beautiful mountains, the stunning coastlines, the Deep dark forests the amazing and fascinating creatures that live on this earth, just by looking at this alone makes me believe there is no way all this can be created by chance – it must be God’s work. “

Alfred Clarke, 30

“My faith in God and Jesus reassures me that the Bible is believable. As I read through the various books I see that they all link together, telling me the same message. The message that God had a plan right from the beginning of time, a plan of peace for all.”

Jacqui Parker, 45

“In our world I see such diversity in the animal and plant kingdoms from the tiniest wren to the huge orca whale, from the tiny snowdrop to the mighty redwood tree. God is the Creator. He reveals in the Bible His plan to bring order and peace to our sad world.”

Julietta Dawes, 71

“Having been bought up in a Christadelphian family, I decided in my teens to investigate my parents’ belief in the Bible. I did this by visiting a wide range of churches and chapels, not only was it a fascinating experience, but it also convinced me that the Christadelphians (with all their faults) have, what the bible calls ‘the truth’.

Bernard Shaw, 82

“The Bible, from cover to cover, brings me close to my creator: longsuffering and compassionate, kindness itself, utterly truthful, trustworthy and just. In a cruel, chaotic world He is sane, real, approachable and understanding. And He gives me strength now and a concrete hope for a quality of life that will be simply lovely.”

Catherine Evans, 66

“The shimmering colours of the peacock feather is due to a phenomena known as ‘interference’. Each feather consists of tiny flat branches. When light shines on the feather, we see thousands of glimmering coloured spots, each caused by minuscule bowl-shaped indentations. That doesn’t happen by chance. If God pays such close attention to detail in his creatures, how much more care and attention is he paying in our lives?”

Talulah Riley, 22

As we said, please join us on 10th November at 7.30pm
for our very special Bible Class!

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DO IT NOW!

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It was once said “The most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done whether you want to do it or not.”

Using this as a starting point it seems strange that most highly educated people have less time for God than ordinary people.

This proves the apostle Paul’s point when he said, “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God,” (1 Corinthians 3:19) because “.. God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world…..so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1Corinthians 1:27-29)

In this world of greatly increased knowledge we can become so absorbed in our own wisdom and our own petty problems that we completely fail to do what ought to be done when it ought to be done.

So let all of us, educated or not, learn the lesson – that of making ourselves do the thing we have to do when we ought to do it whether we want to do it or not.

The difference between success and failure in almost any venture is the ability to do the right thing at the right time. This illustrates the wisdom of Solomon who said “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die……” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Too many of us put off doing the thing that is unpleasant or unappealing. True religion does not attract the natural man. Paul tells us that “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God: for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.” (Romans 8:7) If we are wise, we will learn what we ought to do and do it. It is vitally important for us to apply it to serving God. In the final analysis the only education really worth having is in God’s law and the only worthwhile wisdom is Godly wisdom.

Too many have spent their lives without doing what they ought to have done for God and realised as they lay on their death bed that all the things they knew and all the money they had was of little use.

Let us remember our Creator NOW before the years draw near when we are no longer able to obey God. We must not use the lame excuse that we don’t have time. We have all the time there is, 24 hours every day! No one has more or less than that. If we are honest with ourselves we must admit that we find time to do things we like to do. We must develop the ability to make ourselves do the thing we should do when it ought to be done. Now is the time to draw nigh unto God. At our death or at the Coming of the Lord Jesus to set up His Father’s Kingdom it will be too late.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, or work, or knowledge, or wisdom, in Sheol [the grave], to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

There is no joy like godly joy and no pleasure on earth like the peace of God but we shall never experience it unless we begin and persevere. By doing so, we, having been ” … set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification, and its end eternal life.” (Romans 6:22)

Quotes are taken from the ESV

*To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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A Trip To Israel

Hello readers,

This blog post is a little bit different to our usual. One of our members has recently travelled to Israel and has very kindly agreed to share their experience with us on the blog. Enjoy!

“It was a pleasure to visit Israel for two weeks in August this year. I was able to develop an understanding of the history, both modern and ancient, of a land which God calls ‘most glorious of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:6) We visited many places.

Ashkelon, where Samson went to kill thirty Philistines for their garments, after they had tricked him, into revealing the answer to the riddle he had set by threatening his wife with death if she did not get the answer for them.(Judges 14:14-20) ;

Ashdod Philistine Cultural Museum which gives a context to the David and Goliath account, and to the endless struggle which Israel had with the surrounding people until the Babylonian captivity;

Masada where the Jews took refuge after fleeing Jerusalem after revolting against the Roman conquest of their land Jesus foretells the conquest in Matt 24:32-35.(Israel is symbolised as a fig tree).

The Mount of Olives Jerusalem where King David wept as he fled from Jerusalem when Absalom rebelled against his father (2 Samuel 15:30)

The Temple Mount Jerusalem where archaeologist Dr Leen Ritmeyer has found evidence of the First Temple Period platform from which Ezra spoke to the people who ‘sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain’ Ezra 10 (The children of Israel had been unfaithful by taking foreign wives after returning from the Babylonian exile)

The Jordan Valley where John baptised Jesus (Mark 1: 1-8) and where the Children of Israel crossed over when entering the land (Joshua 3)

Ein Harod, where Gideon separated the 300 men who were to go to war from those who were to go home (Judges 7)

Mount Carmel where Elijah met more than 850 false prophets of Baal and .all the people .to prove that the Lord is God.(1 Kings 18:20-40).

Independence Hall Tel Aviv where the modern state of Israel was confirmed by the UN vote in 1948. This was the fulfilment of Bible Prophecy which foretells the return of the Jews to the land of Israel.

Seeing such places as Shechem helps me to understand the different choices the Children of Israel had to make; did they want the blessing by obeying God or the curses because of disobedience, Mt Gerazim or Mt Ebal – the symbolic act described in Deut 27. Shechem, translated as Shoulder, lies between these two mountains emphasising that there is a great gulf between God’s blessings and His cursing, between choosing good and choosing evil.

Shechem

Beersheba, a town in the far south in Israel, a city whose ruins are excavated and preserved well enough for tourists to see the ouline of the city and some of the rooms clearly. It reminds one of how, in the latter period of the judges, the prophet Samuel’s sons Joel and Abijah “were judges” in Beer-sheba but that they “turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes and perverted justice”,

(1 Sam 8:6). This led the people of Israel to demand a king.

BeerSheba

The well in Beer-Sheba, 26 metres deep, reminds me of the fact that this was the foundation name of the city, the name chosen after Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant between them where “two of them took an oath”.(Genesis 21:22-31)

BeerSheba Well

Another interesting location was Perath. In Jeremiah 13:4, the prophet is told to go to this location, normally translated ‘Euphrates’, though it is actually more likely to be a location not too far from Jerusalem. This was misunderstood by commentators until recently.  

Perath                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

These sorts of things help me to understand the ‘beautiful land’ which God talks about and the relevance of it to my understanding of God, His Scriptures and the prophecies they contain for the future of our world.”

*To find out more about the Christadelphians in Ammanford, their faith and how you can be a part of it, please visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk

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Say it as it is!

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We sometimes pretend that something is different from what it really is and hope that somehow it will become what we have called it. For example a small boy wants a horse. He finds a broomstick and straddles it and calls it a horse and, to him, it becomes a horse. We are wise if we confine this to childhood and with the Apostle Paul say, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

Do we, sometimes, permit this child’s play to persist into adulthood?

These days our laws have made progress in making sure that the products we buy are clearly labelled. The manufacturer must list all the components of the product. If a jumper is made purely of wool, the label must tell us, but if it isn’t the label lists all the yarns used.

When it comes to worshipping God, we must be accurate and call things by their true names. So often we hear that every man has a right to worship God as he pleases. However, just saying this does not make it so. Man has a right to worship God only in the way God Himself has appointed. To say that we are free to worship God as we see fit is not true, just as if our saying that the broomstick is a horse actually turns it into a horse!

Jesus Christ told the religious leaders of His day, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honours me with their lips but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” Mark 7:6-7

God’s promise of salvation lies in calling things by their true names. We have to read the Bible as it was written, “…Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes by someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man; but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1: 20-21

We are not free to worship God as we see fit. We must worship Him as He has commanded. To find His commands, we must go to our Bibles with our minds ready to accept His teachings as they are written. To impose our private interpretations on God’s Holy Word, the Bible or to allow someone else to read it and tell us what to believe is disastrous. We must never replace Bible teaching with the doctrines of men.

When it comes to something as important as our eternal welfare, let us put away childish ideas and call things by their true names. Certainly we do not want to be found in the position of those who were condemned by Jesus when he said, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? ……for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.” Matthew 15:3, 6

So, let us worship God, not as we see fit but as He commanded us. Let us search the Scriptures daily so that we will be numbered among those “…who feared the Lord and spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of Hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession and I will spare them, as a man spares his son who serves him.” Malachi 3:16-17

*To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING?

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The speed of events worldwide is breathtaking! These are just a sample.

* Brexit has totally transformed the political landscape in the UK. In days there was a new Prime Minister and Cabinet. This change has huge consequences for Britain and Europe.

* According to the US National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration this June was the hottest ever recorded worldwide and the 14th consecutive month that global heat records were broken.

* We have witnessed Islamic terror attacks in Europe.

* The refugee and economic migration crisis is destabilising Europe.

* Aleppo is Syria’s largest city – 300,000 residents are facing barrel bombing by Syrian forces.

* President Putin has signed an anti-terror law which includes the banning of many activities by Christians such as emailed invitations for friends to attend church services.

* Because of intimidation worldwide, particularly in France, large numbers of Jews are moving to Israel.

The list goes on! Where can we find the solution to our world’s horrific problems?

God’s revealed Word, The Bible, has the answer.

The prophecy of Habakkuk in the Old Testament opens with the prophet complaining to God about the evils of that society – Habakkuk 1: 1 – 4. God then warns him of greater problems to come – Habakkuk 1:5 -12. God advises Habakkuk to place his faith in Him – Habakkuk 2: 1-4, that one day “… the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” Habakkuk2:14.

God then tells the prophet in a vision, Habakkuk 3, of the day when God will intervene in the earth and will establish that “glory”.

Having received this vision and having believed in what God had promised, Habakkuk accepted that horrific events were to happen in his own life time. Nevertheless he looked forward in faith to the time God has promised and writes “ yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the LORD is my strength…”Habakkuk 3:18-19.

Are we like Habakkuk? Shall we see the “glory of the LORD” when Jesus returns? Just like Habakkuk we need the spectacles of faith to see beyond the horrors of the present time. How do we obtain faith? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” Romans 10:17.

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Quotes taken from the KJV and ESV

*To find out more about our hope and how you can become a part of it, visit our website: www.ammanfordchristadelphians.co.uk.

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