Monthly Archives: January 2015

Florida College Annual Lectureship 2015

Many of our readers attend the annual Florida College Lectureship. The theme for the February 2-5, 2015 lectureship is “Light Shall Shine Out of Darkness.

I am scheduled to present an illustrated lecture on “The Roman Imperial Cult in Palestine” Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. in Puckett Auditorium. It would be my pleasure to see some of our readers in the audience.

The complete lectureship program is available here.

Florida College Press has recently published two of my out-of-print books. Revised editions of Biblical Authority and The Finger of God are back on the shelf.

Two revised books by Ferrell Jenkins now available.

Two revised books by Ferrell Jenkins now available.

The bookstore manager asked me to do a book signing Thursday between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Love to see you there.

Other books in print include:

  • Studies in the Book of Revelation
  • The Early Church
  • The Theme of the Bible
  • God’s Eternal Purpose (Ephesians)
  • Better Things (Hebrews)

Several books that I have edited or have a chapter are listed if you search with my name at the Florida College Bookstore site here.

 

 

 

Auschwitz happened in my lifetime

Over the years I have been able to visit some places that proved exhilarating. Others have left me somber and contemplative. None more than Auschwitz.

Seventy years ago today Soviet troops entered the camp and liberated the survivors. The iconic sign at the entrance reads “ARBEIT MACHT FREI” (“Work makes free”). There is truth in the statement by itself, but in this case it was deceptive. Reports say that about a million people, mostly Jews, were killed there between 1940 and 1945.

The entrance to Auschwitz. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, 1991.

The entrance to Auschwitz. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, 1991.

Numerous questions come to mind as we contemplate this horrible tragedy. Why did it happen? Why were Jews singled out for elimination? Has something similar, on a lesser scale, happened to other groups? Doubtless. Could it happen again? In the United States? Could Christians face a similar situation?

When we think that we are superior to other humans we overlook the basic premise of creation.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)

The apostle Paul spoke to the same issue before the Areopagus in Athens.

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ (Acts 17:26-28 ESV)

The Google Cultural Institute has produced an interesting presentation on the “Evacuation and Liberation of the Auschwitz Camp” here.

Imagine being at Pompeii that day

Melbourne Museum has created an impressive recreation of what happened August 24, AD 79 at Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

HT: Agade list

Flying over Beit She’an, Bethshan, Beth-shan

The Israelis call it Beit She’an, but English Bible readers will know it as Bethshan. The town is mentioned only a few times in the Old Testament. The English Standard Version uses both Beth-shan and Beth-shean to identify this town. Other English versions use a variety of spellings including Bethshan.

From atop the ancient tell, called Tell el-Husn or Tel Beth She’an, one has an impressive view of the area. Occupational levels date back at least to 3000 B.C. Artifacts from Canaan, Egypt, Anatolia, north Syria, and Mesopotamia have been uncovered from the mound.

The photo below was made from the air with a view northeast. A small portion of the Harrod Valley, with some fish ponds, is visible in the top of the photo. The River Harod flows to the east of the tel hidden by the line of trees.

Tel Husn (Bethshan) is visible in the bottom of the image. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tel Husn (Bethshan) is visible in the bottom of the image. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

For many Bible students the first event that comes to mind is the defeat of King Saul at the hands of the Philistines. After his death on nearby Mount Gilboa, Saul’s body was taken to Beth-shean and fastened to the wall of the city (1 Samuel 31).

During the Greek period the city was named Scythopolis (city of the Scythians) and expanded to the foot of the tell.

In 63 B.C. the Romans, under the general Pompey, made the city part of the Decapolis (a league of ten cities; Matthew 4:25; Mark 5:20; 7:21). This was the only city of the Decapolis west of the Jordan River. The city was populated by gentiles, Jews and Samaritans.

The main street of the Byzantine city. The tel of ancient Bethshan is visible at the end of the street. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The main street of the Byzantine city. The tel of ancient Bethshan is visible at the end of the columned street. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The city grew to its largest size during the Byzantine period as a “Christian” city. It came under Muslim control in A.D. 636, and was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 749.

Some of the earthquake damage at Bethshan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Some of the earthquake damage at Bethshan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The destroyed Byzantine city lies between the theater and the mound. That’s a lot of history in one small place.

The other Aphek – of Asher

The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary follows William F. Albright in listing five towns named Aphek.

  1. Aphek of Asher (Joshua 19:29-30).
  2. Aphek of Aram (1 Kings 20:26-30).
  3. Aphek in Lebanon (Joshua 13:4).
  4. Aphek in Sharon (Joshua 12:18; 1 Samuel 4:1; 1 Samuel 29).
  5. Aphekah in Judah (Joshua 15:33).

In the previous post we discussed Aphek in Sharon where the Philistines were encamped while the Israelites were about two miles away at Ebenezer.

There was also a town named Aphek (Afek) located within the territory of the tribe of Asher.

Then the boundary turns to Ramah, reaching to the fortified city of Tyre. Then the boundary turns to Hosah, and it ends at the sea; Mahalab, Achzib, Ummah, Aphek and Rehob– twenty-two cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the people of Asher according to their clans– these cities with their villages. (Joshua 19:29-31 ESV)

The aerial photo below shows Aphek of Asher in the Plain of Akko (Acco, Acre). The city of Haifa and the western end of Mount Carmel can be seen jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea.

Aphek of Asher. View southwest toward the Bay of Haifa. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aphek of Asher. View southwest toward the Bay of Haifa. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In this photo we see the tel in the foreground with Mount Carmel to the south. the Ladder of Tyre in the distance to the north.

Aphek of Asher. View south toward Mount Carmel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aphek of Asher. View south toward Mount Carmel north-northeast toward the Ladder of Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Various sites with the same name can be confusing, but a little investigation helps to distinguish them.

Note: Thanks to the keen eye of A.D. Riddle for catching my mistake above. I did not recall circling the tel while we were flying. I had never been to Afek, so when the pilot pointed it out I began shooting continuously. I appreciate A.D. correcting this.

The photo below stretches all the way from Akko (Acre) to the Ladder of Tyre. You should be able to make out a white mark stretching into the sea in the distance.

The Mediterranean coast from Akko (Acre) north to the Ladder of Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Mediterranean coast from Akko (Acre) north to the Ladder of Tyre. Photo: Jenkins.

For additional information about this stretch of land, see our earlier post here.

Aphek – where the Philistines were encamped

One of the significant battles between Israel and the Philistines took place during the time of Samuel when the ark of the covenant was located in the tent of meeting at Shiloh.

And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. (1 Samuel 4:1 ESV)

Israel encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek in the plain of Sharon. This indicates that the two places were fairly close to each other. Aphek is located about 21 miles west of Shiloh. Ebenezer is about 2 miles east of Aphek.

Herod the Great built a city at the site of Aphek and named it Antipatris in honor of his father.

Herod was also a lover of his father, if any other person ever was so; for he made a monument for his father, even that city which he built in the finest plain that was in his kingdom, and which had rivers and trees in abundance, and named it Antipatris. He also built a wall around a citadel that lay above Jericho, and was a very strong and very fine building, and dedicated it to his mother, and called it Cypros. (Jewish Wars 1:417)

Because Aphek/Antipatris sat on a major south-north and west-east routes, it was dominated by many nations. The dominant feature of the site today is the Turkish fort. Inside are the excavated ruins of buildings from Canaanite to Herodian/Roman times.

The apostle Paul stayed overnight at Antipatris on his journey from Jerusalem to Caesarea (Acts 23:31).

Aphek/Antipatris is known by the modern name Ras el-Ain because it is located at the headwaters of the Yarkon River which flows into the Mediterranean about 11 miles to the west.

Source of the Yarkon River at Aphek/Antipatris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Source of the Yarkon River at Aphek/Antipatris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aphex/Antipatris is now dominated by the ruins of an Ottoman fortress.

The Crusader castle of Mirabel, later used as a Turkish fortress. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Ottoman fortress at Aphek/Antipatris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Our final photo shows the fortress and the source of the Yarkon River from the air. Notice in the previous photos the grass is brown. Those photos were made in August. The next photo was made in December and the grass is green.

Aerial photograph of Aphek/Antipatris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial photograph of Aphek/Antipatris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Leon Mauldin has written about Aphek here.

In the next post we plan to write about “The Other Aphek.”

 

 

A miscellany of topics

In the past few weeks I have been occupied trying to get some out-of-print material ready for reprint. Occasionally I read something that I think should be shared. Take a look at these.

Ephesus Museum Open. Carl Rasmussen reports on his HolyLandPhotos’Blog that the Ephesus Museum in Seljuk is open after being closed for renovation.

Gentile References in Matthew. Charles Savelle presents a list of “Gentile References in Matthew” at BibleX.

Bible Places Blog. Todd Bolen’s Weekend Roundups have been extremely helpful the past couple of weeks. See here for the most current one.

The Fallow Deer. Shmuel Browns writes about how the Fallow Deer was reintroduced into Israel from Iran. Fascinating story with photos here. Browns does not say where he made his photos, but mentions that some of the deer were taken to Neot Kadumim. When Leon Mauldin and I visited Neot Kedumim in 2005 the deer there were young. I note that they are not as gray as those in Shmuel’s photos. Perhaps the age accounts for the difference.

Young fallow deer at Neot Kedumim. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Young fallow deer at Neot Kedumim. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Using Maps in Bible Study. Wayne Stiles writes about “The Value of Using Maps in Your Bible Study” here.

Mount Gilboa. The Times of Israel carries an article here with beautiful photos, of the Gilboa Mountains and the wildflowers growing there in the winter and spring.

A poppy and a bee at the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A poppy and a bee at the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Responding to Newsweek. Darrell L. Bock has two more responses here to the Newsweek article on The Bible.

How Many Saviors? Amazon has Ronald Nash’s Is Jesus the Only Savior? available in Kindle format for $1.99 for a limited time. This book can be very helpful in this time of emphasis on pluralism and inclusivism.

The Exodus. Last Friday I heard Gretchen Carlson’s interview with filmmaker Tim Mahoney on Fox News. It was the first I had heard of the film Patterns of Evidence: Exodus. The film is debuting Monday, January 19 at select theaters nationwide.

A wide variety of scholars are interviewed in the film, including Charles Aling, Manfred Bietak, John Bimson, Israel Finkelstein, James K. Hoffmeier, David Rohl (who has advanced a revised chronology ancient Egypt and Palestine),
Bryant Wood, and others.

For info on the film and places it will be shown see Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus. Here is the trailer.

A few nice photos are available for download.

From Patterns of Evidence.

From Patterns of Evidence.

You are on your own to see/hear and evaluate.

Added Note (Jan. 19, 2015). Todd Bolen calls attention to a review of the film by Larry Largent. This review confirms my suspicions that the flim was an effort to push a revised chronology. Take a look at this review at Biblical Remains.