Tag Archives: Ministry of Christ

Jesus’ calendar during Passover week

If we consider the Gospel of John a sort of “Day Planner” for Jesus, we have nearly complete activity recorded for two weeks of the earthly ministry of Jesus. The first is in John 1:19—2:11 where activity for six of the seven days is recorded. I think the omitted day is the sabbath.

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Imagine the city as it would have appeared to Jesus when he reached the top of the Mount of Olives. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next nearly complete week is the last week, leading up to the resurrection. John gives more attention to the last week than any other Gospel. Even here we have activities for only six of eight days. This section begins in John 12:1 and continues into John 20. Here is the way I have reconstructed it. Where John does not record the activity I have omitted the scripture reference.

  • Sunday — The King enters Jerusalem — 12:12-19
  • Monday — Cleansing the Temple —
  • Tuesday — Visit of the Greeks — 12:20-36
  • Tuesday — Jewish rejection — 12:37-50
  • Wednesday — No events recorded in the Gospels
  • Thursday Evening — Passover Meal, including Washing Disciples Feet (only in John) — 13:1-38
  • Thur. Eve — Farewell discourses — 14—16
  • Thur. Eve — Prayer — 17
  • Thur. Eve — Annas (only in John) — 18:12-14
  • Thur. Eve — Caiaphas — 18:24-28
  • Friday — Pilate — 18:28—19:16
  • Friday — Crucifixion — 19:16-42
  • Sabbath —
  • First Day — Resurrection — 20

It should be noted that the appearance before Annas and Caiaphas were the Jewish (Religious) trials. The appearance before Pilate [and Herod Antipas] were the Roman (Civil) trials.

John does not record the pronouncement of woes on the religious leaders, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and the account of the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

With this sparse attention given to two weeks, no wonder John says,

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25 ESV)

Updated from April 21, 2011

The Other Bethlehem – Part 2

The unique buildings we now see in the little village of Beit Lehem HaGlilit (Galilean Bethlehem) were erected in the 1930s by a group of German nationals. A 2008 article by Lydia Aisenberg in the Jerusalem Post explains the origin and dispersion of the group. Aisenberg says that Beit Lehem HaGlilit and the nearby town of Waldheim (now Alonei Abba)…

…were built by the Templars [or Templers], a German-Christian sect and Nazi sympathizers who were rounded up by the British in 1939 and deported out of Mandate Palestine. Some chose to return to Germany, but the majority of the Templar community’s members emigrated to Melbourne, Australia.

The sect originated in southern Germany and carried a holy mission known as the Tempel Gemeinde, or Tempelgesellschaft. The sect’s name was later shortened to just “Templars,” often confused with another group, the Crusader-era Templer Knights.

The Templars arrived in the Ottoman controlled Holy Land in mid-l880 and began to build communities in different parts of the country: Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Sarona (Tel Aviv), as well as the two communities Beit Lehem HaGlilit and Waldheim in the Jezreel Valley.

After World War I, the British sent the Templars packing, but members of the sect were later allowed to return. They were banished for a second and final time when their Nazi connections were discovered in the late 1930s.

Templar youth from Palestine had been sent to attend “educational” youth activities and family visits in Germany, where they met with top Nazi officials. Photographs on display at the Beit Lehem HaGlilit home of the Fleischman family depict Templar sect members wearing swastika armbands and congregating in one of the large courtyards between the two-story buildings and outhouses.

The Templars of Beit Lehem HaGlilit (Galilean Bethlehem) and neighboring Waldheim (meaning “Forest Home” in German) were eventually rounded up by the British and sent to detention camps until their deportation, after which British Mandate soldiers and police were billeted in the Templars’ former homes.

When Jewish refugee families later moved into the Templar houses in Beit Lehem HaGlilit and Alonei Abba, they discovered hidden Templar belongings that attested the sect’s support of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Items discovered in the community’s homes included Nazi party pennants, badges, banners, pamphlets and flags, in addition to photographs.

The stone house below, built by the Templars, served as a community house for the German nationals who lived in Galilean Bethlehem in the 1930s.

The Community House at Beit Lehem HaGilit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Community House at Beit Lehem HaGilit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next photo is of the Holocaust memorial erected by the residents of the town in 2007. Aisenberg explains the significance of the monument.

Its six large marble slabs lean forward, as if struggling to keep their pride and stay erect under the heaviest of loads.

Engraved on the memorial are the names of Jews snatched from their homes, transported and murdered by the Nazis. The names of the European towns and villages in which they had lived for generations are also etched deep in the stones, which seem to strain under the weight of memorializing so many thousands of murdered Jews and their annihilated communities.

The victims whose memories are honored on the six marble blocks, unveiled last year, are extended family members of today’s residents of the pleasant, upscale community of Beit Lehem HaGlilit.

A smaller block of marble at the side of the memorial boasts an inscription reading: “Erected by the community of Beit Lehem HaGlilit, second generation since the Holocaust, in recognition of our parents who survived the Holocaust, made aliya to Eretz Israel, participated in the founding of the state and amongst the founders of Beit Lehem HaGlilit, our home and in memory of our family members who were murdered by the Nazis in Europe during the years of 1939-1945.”

Monument to Holocaust Victims at Beit Lehem HaGelit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Monument to Holocaust Victims at Beit Lehem HaGelit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The complete article by Lydia Aisenberg may be read here.

After Part 1 was posted, Erik Wold left a comment and link that is pertinent at this point. The Dec. 26, 2014 issue of the London Mirror carried an article entitled “Is this secret Nazi enclave the REAL Bethlehem where Jesus Christ was born?” here.

The authors of the article claim that the settlement in Galilean Bethlehem was an effort by Hitler and Himmler “to show that Jesus was born an Aryan, not a Jew.”

This is home to a secret Nazi sect waiting for the Second Coming in the heart of the Holy Land.

And behind it all is an anti-Semetic [Semitic] fantasy dreamed up by Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler to show that Jesus was born an Aryan, not a Jew.

It may seem stranger than fiction but it all really happened in Bethlehem of Galilee, nine miles west of Nazareth.

The article also advances the theory of Dr Aviram Oshri that Jesus was born in Galilean Bethlehem, while acknowledging that the Israel Antiquities Authority “dismiss his claim as ‘worse than a joke.'”

As a result of something I read in the Mirror article I was led to Heidemarie Wawrzyn’s Nazis in the Holy Land 1933-1948. She says that the German colonies were used to aid Arab rebels. All of this came to a head about 1938 and resulted in the expulsion of the settlers.

I do not claim much knowledge about the Templars or the German settlement at Bethlehem, but I do find all of this intriguing as a prelude to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

Added Note: See the comment below by Tom Powers. Here is a copy of the photo he mentions. Use Tom’s link for the original at the Library of Congress.

Photo taken on Coronation Day of King George VI in 1937. The Fast Hotel, on lower Jaffa Road, was owned by a Templer family.

Photo taken on the Coronation Day of King George VI in 1937. The Fast Hotel, on lower Jaffa Road, was owned by a Templer family. Notice both Nazi Flags and the Union Jack.

The Other Bethlehem – Part 1

Everyone who has studied the earthly ministry of Christ knows that He was born in Bethlehem, the city of David, about six miles south of the ancient city of Jerusalem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-8; Luke 2:4,15). This village is designated as Bethlehem of Judea or Bethlehem Ephrath.

So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem), (Genesis 35:19 ESV)

The only reference to Bethlehem in the New Testament apart from the birth account in Matthew and Luke calls Bethlehem a village (kome; John 7:42) and ties it with the prophecy of Micah 5:2.

The other Bethlehem is located in the tribal territory of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15), about 7 miles northwest of Nazareth. For a list of the twelve cities of Zebulun see Joshua 19:10-15.

After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (A.D. 70) Bethlehem of Zebulun,

was known under the name of Bethlehem Zoriah — Bethlehem of Tyre — and was the seat of the priestly order of the family of Malchiah. Identified with Beit Lahm in Lower Galilee. (Avraham Negev, ed. The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, rev. ed., p. 58.

Galilean Bethlehem is now a small Jewish moshav, a cooperative agricultural settlement. The photo below shows the entrance to the moshav.

Entrance to the moshav of Beit Lehem HaGelit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Entrance to the moshav of Beit Lehem HaGelilit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The small map below shows the location of Galilean Bethlehem.

Map showing Galilean Bethlehem. BibleAtlas.org

Map showing Galilean Bethlehem. New Testament Nazareth would be located at the far right of the map under the “h” in Japh. Credit: Biblos.com.

Could Jesus have been born here? Primarily because of the proximity of Galilean Bethlehem to Nazareth, some scholars have suggested that this was the birthplace of Jesus. National Geographic writer Marisa Larson raises this question in a Feb. 11, 2008, followup to the Dec., 2007, feature “Bethlehem 2007 A.D.”

Larson cites Aviram Oshri, a senior archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, as someone who thinks that it was more likely that the historical Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Galilee rather than the Bethlehem of Judea.

“If the historical Jesus were truly born in Bethlehem,” Oshri adds, “it was most likely the Bethlehem of Galilee, not that in Judaea. The archaeological evidence certainly seems to favor the former, a busy center [of Jewish life] a few miles from the home of Joseph and Mary, as opposed to an unpopulated spot almost a hundred miles from home.” In this Bethlehem, Oshri and his team have uncovered the remains of a later monastery and the largest Byzantine church in Israel, which raises the question of why such a huge house of Christian worship was built in the heart of a Jewish area. The Israeli archaeologist believes that it’s because early Christians revered Bethlehem of Galilee as the birthplace of Jesus. “There is no doubt in my mind that these are impressive and important evidence of a strong Christian community established in Bethlehem [of Galilee] a short time after Jesus’ death,” he says. (copied from here, 12/27/14).

Oshri also expressed his views in Archaeology 58:6 (Nov.-Dec. 2005). He says that there is evidence of “a strong Christian community established in Bethlehem [of Galilee] a short time after Jesus’ death.” In fact, the first archaeological evidence is of a sixth century church [building].

Even if Christians of Galilee “revered Bethlehem of Galilee as the birthplace of Jesus” it does not negate the clear historical records of Matthew and Luke regarding the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea and the reason for the couple from Nazareth returning to the ancestral home in Judea.

If the Bible were written by men unaided by the Holy Spirit I think it would be reasonable to place the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Galilee and his upbringing in nearby Nazareth. There is an amazing undesigned coincidence here.

  • The Messiah was to be from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and of the family of David (2 Samuel 7:11).
  • The birth of the Messiah was prophesied to be in Bethlehem Ephrath (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6). This was the Bethlehem of Judea.
  • The couple living in Nazareth were both of the family of David (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:27,32,69). The legal line is traced through Joseph, and the blood line is traced through Mary in Luke’s account.
  • Joseph and Mary responded to the decree of the emperor Augustus that they return to their ancestral home for registration (Luke 2:1-5).

If Jesus had been born in Galilean Bethlehem, and if the Gospels had been written much later, as most critics claim, then they would have recorded a different story.

The ease with which writers could mix up the two Bethlehems, but did not, provides an  illustration of the amazing accuracy of the Bible.

Beit Lehem HaGelilit is situated on the north side of the western end of the Jezreel Valley.

Valley from Beit Lehem HaGelit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View SE to the Jezreel Valley from Beit Lehem HaGelilit. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

On the hills of lower Galilee, to the east and north of Galilean Bethlehem, there are Olive orchards, and cows grazing among the oaks.

Cows graze among the Allon Oak trees at Galilean Bethlehem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Cows graze among the Oaks at Galilean Bethlehem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Bethlehem of Galilee may be mentioned one other time in the Bible as the home and burial place of Ibzan the judge (Judges 12:8). The context in which he is mentioned is dealing with various judges of the tribes of Zebulun and Ephraim.

In  a post to follow I plan to share some of the recent history of Galilean Bethlehem.

The traditional site of Dalmanutha

Many tourists stop at Tabgha (Seven Springs, or Heptapegon) to see the mosaic of loaves and fish in the new Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. This church was built in 1982, but we know that a chapel was built at the site as early as the 4th century A.D. I will not engage in a discussion of whether this is the correct location for the feeding of the multitudes by Jesus.

Rarely does anyone have the opportunity to take the path from the church to the lake shore. This is private property. In the photo below, first notice that the water level is low. The green growth is covered when the water level is high. Notice also a path in the middle of the photos. This path leads from the church to the lake (when the water is high).

Traditional site of Dalmanutha (east of Tabgha). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Traditional site of Dalmanutha (east of Tabgha). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Only twice have I been able to reach the lake shore at this point. As one approaches the water there is a sign with the word Dalmanutha on it. I met Bargil Pixner in the book shop of the church in 1994 and have an inscribed copy of his with Jesus through Galilee according to the fifth Gospel. At least once in the book he mentions the Seven Springs as Ma-gadan, Tabgha (p. 37). The enlarged map in the back of the book marks the area as Ma-gadan (Dalmanutha).

Dalmanutha sign in 1994. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign at traditional site of Dalmanutha in 1994. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign at traditional site of Dalmanutha. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign at traditional site of Dalmanutha in 2009. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is the view from “Dalmanutha” toward Mount Arbel and the Horns of Hattin.

View from Dalmanutha toward Mount Arbel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 1994.

View from traditional Dalmanutha toward Mount Arbel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 1994.

I doubt that this identification is correct but thought it was significant enough to pass along.

We pointed out in a previous post here that Dalmanutha is mentioned only once in the Gospels.

And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. (Mark 8:10 ESV)

The parallel account in Matthew 15:32-39 says that Jesus came to the region of Magadan.

And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.  (Matthew 15:39 ESV)

More about Ephraim

In the previous post we pointed out that Ephraim, where Jesus went a short time before His death (John 11:54), is identified with Taybeh on the edge of the wilderness.

Ephraim is included on the Madaba Map dating to about 560-565 A.D. Below is a photo of a portion of the Madaba Map. The large town with palm trees around it represents Jericho. Below Jericho the land color changes to black. The entry closest to Jericho, but a little to the right, is Ephraim.

According to the website dealing with The Madaba Map, provided by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum – Jerusalem, the two lines of white lettering read,

Ephron also Ephraia, where went the Lord

Portion of the Madaba Map mentioning Ephron. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Portion of the Madaba Map mentioning Ephron. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is a larger cropped portion of the map identifying Ephron. If your Byzantine Greek is up to date, you can make out all of the words.

Closeup of Ephron reference in Madaba Map. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Closeup of the Ephron reference in Madaba Map. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The inscription is located close to the wilderness, but is too far south. Other similar mistakes are made on the map. One such example would be the location of Ebal and Gerizim (See Victor R. Gold. “The Mosaic Map of Madaba.” Biblical Archaeologist, Sept. 1958: 50-71).

Ruins of a Byzantine church remain at Taybeh. There are also Crusader ruins. The Madaba Map from Jordan reflects the traditions of the 6th century A.D. Add this to the biblical evidence we mentioned equating Ephron, Ophrah, and Ephraim, and we have strong evidence that Taybeh marks the site of Ephraim.

Barry Britnell pointed out that Google Maps spell the name of Taybeh as Taibe.

You may read more about the Madaba Map section on Ephron here. Click on Ancient Sources for quotations from Eusebius and Josephus. Also check the Discussion section for more explanation.

William F. Albright suggested, as early as 1924, that Ephraim was to be identified with En Samye (Ein Samiyeh), a few miles northeast of Taybeh. Well, that gives me another place to visit in the future.

Acts 5 — Photo Illustrations

The temple held a central place in the early days of the church. The gospel was preached to the large number of Jews from “every nation under heaven” in the temple precinct. After their acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Christ, the disciples continued “in the temple” (Acts 2:5; 2:46).

Twice in Acts it is recorded that the followers of Jesus met in Solomon’s Portico.

Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. (Acts 5:12) ESV)

The Greek word for portico or porch is stoa. The term is used in Acts 3:11; 5:12; John 5:2; 10:23. BDAG says it is used of,

a roofed colonnade open normally on one side, portico.

During a winter visit to Jerusalem at the time of the Feast of Dedication, Jesus “was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon” (John 10:23).

Second Temple Model showing porticoes around the perimeter of the Temple precinct. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Notice porticoes around the perimeter of the temple precinct. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This photo provides a better view of some of the Royal Portico on the south side of the temple platform (left). The other portico is on the west side. Solomon’s Portico is hidden by the wall on the east side.

Second Temple Model showing Porticoes. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Second Temple Model showing Porticoes. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Each portico was formed by two rows of columns and was 49 feet wide. These “lent great splendor and majesty to the lofty Mount and served also – the royal Portico in particular – as the gathering place for great assemblies” (Mazar, The Mountain of the Lord, 124). Fragments of these gigantic monolithic columns (27 ft. high; 4.6 ft. in diameter) have been uncovered during the Temple Mount excavations directed by Professor Mazar.

The Royal Portico was built by Herod along the southern end of the Temple courts and is described by Josephus as deserving to be mentioned above any under the sun (Antiquities 15.11.5).

Solomon’s Colonnade or Portico ran along the eastern portion of the outer court of the temple precincts.