Artifacts & Biblical History

Since we are at the Western Wall today, seeing all this with our own eyes, I thought I would share again this blog about the size of temples of Israel.

The 1) Tabernacle in the wilderness, the 2) Temple of Solomon, 3) Herod’s Temple at the time of Christ and 4) Ezekiel’s Temple are compared. The football field looks insignificant compared to the temples (in more than one way :-)

The Muslim Shrine that now sits atop Temple Mount is built over the rock where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a holocaust. Solomon’s Temple had earlier been built over this site (Gen 22:2; 2 Chron 3:1). Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC and it was rebuilt when the exiled Jews returned to Jerusalem about seventy years later. It was not as elegant as Solomon’s but King Herod later rebuilt the Temple during the time of Christ. The 2nd Temple rebuilt by Herod was a glorious structure.

The Romans razed Herod’s Temple to the ground in 70 AD. In the 7th century, Suleiman the Magnificent built the current Muslim Shrine in the place of the Temple where it still stands today.

Will the Jews ever build a new temple there – what they call “The 3rd Temple”? No, because the 3rd Temple has already been built! It is the one described in Ezekiel 40. The Jews think this refers to an actual physical temple they hope to build someday in place of the Dome of the Rock, but Ezekiel is actually prophetically referring to the new Temple which is Christ’s Body. We are the Church and the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, the New Temple.

I also do not believe the Ark of the Old Covenant will ever be found (no matter how hard Indiana Jones looks for it). The old Ark has been replaced by the Ark of the New Covenant just like the old Temple has been replaced by the Temple of the New Covenant. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant.

Notice the River of Life flowing from the Holy of Holies!!

 

 

 

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St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven.’

“And again He says to him after His resurrection: ‘Feed my sheep.’ On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair.

“So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”

To read the whole article and see all the pictures, click here or on the pictures above.

For my DVD “Peter, Keeper of the Keys” and my book “Upon this Rock: Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church”, click here http://www.SteveRaysStore.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my talk on “Peter: the Rock, the Keys & the Chair” Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!

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Since we are on the Mount of Olives today I thought I would address a common concern.

One of our past pilgrims wrote to me expressing an apparent contradiction in the Bible about what I had said in Israel. The wording in the two verses below is what caused the confusion.

Acts 1:12  “[After the Ascension] they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.”

Luke 24:50–51  “Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.”

So, did Jesus ascend into heaven from the Mount of Olives or from Bethany?

Church of Pater Noster

On pilgrimages, I take my groups to the top of the Mount of Olives to the Church of Pater Noster (the “Our Father”) where Jesus taught his disciples to pray in “the Grotto of the Teaching” — a cave beneath the front of the church. It is here that the oldest traditions inform us that Jesus was raised into heaven. Here Constantine built a church in the early 300’s. Here we celebrate Jesus’ departure and pray the Rosary’s 2nd Glorious Mystery of the Ascension.

Muslim Chapel of Ascension

There is a Muslim mosque five minute’s walk away (called the Chapel of the Ascension) that most Protestants visit but I don’t patronize Muslim sites and don’t accept this as the authentic place of the Ascension.

No one knows the exact square inches where his feet left the ground. But the Church of Pater Noster has the oldest tradition, is on the Mount of Olives and very near Bethany.

If we had had the time, and there was not the big wall separating Jerusalem from Bethany like it does Jerusalem from Bethlehem, in a few minutes we could walked into Bethany from the the top of the Mount of Olives. We used to walk people there to go into the tomb of Lazarus. That is how close Bethany is to the top of the Mount of Olives.

However, I can’t do that with groups anymore because there’s a big wall that keeps us from walking from the Mount of Olives into Bethany.

Bethany is on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives about 2 miles from Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. At the time of Jesus there was nothing on the Mount of Olives but olive trees (even until the late 1800’s, see picture black and white picture from about 1900). If you left from Jerusalem, heading to the Mount of Olives, it was perceived you were headed to Bethany.

 The picture shows that even until the turn of the 20th century there was nothing outside the old walls of Jerusalem. That meant there was just trees and open space between Jerusalem and Bethany. Bethany, though not seen on this map, was on the Eastern slope of the mount.

The other two maps show the proximity of Bethany, the the top of the Mount of Olives and the short distance from the walled city of Jerusalem. Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.  He obviously saw no contradiction in referring to both places as the general location of Christ’s ascension.

It is easily explained this way. First, some suggest that he went as far as Bethany to say good-bye to the family he loved – Lazarus, Mary and Martha, then came back to the top of the mount and departed to heaven. However, there is no need to stretch things that far. Being on the eastern slope of the mount, Bethany is virtually on the Mount of Olives, especially from the perspective of Jerusalem.

If someone asks me where I’m from, I always say “Detroit.” But those who have been to my house know I really live 40 miles east of Detroit in Ypsilanti. But since no one knows where Ypsilanti is – I say “Detroit.”

If there is nothing but trees and bare land on the Mount of Olives and you’re heading east from Jerusalem, people would say you are going to Bethany. Jesus left Jerusalem and went over toward Bethany to ascend into heaven.

So if the geography is understood there is no conflict. Scripture can be trusted.

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Discovering the Place of Paul’s Shipwreck on Island of Malta on the Feast Day!

February 10, 2019

You would not have wanted to be with St. Paul today because February 10 is the Feast Day of the Shipwreck of St. Paul on Malta. I have been on ships in the Mediterranean many times and I make a practice each time of going out on the deck on a stormy night and imagining…. […]

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St. Adam & Eve, St. Abraham, St. Moses – Did you know some Old Testament people are Saints?

January 16, 2019

I am doing a show on Catholic Answers Live tonight (Wed., 1/16/19). The topic is OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS. Tune in at 6:00 PM Eastern at www.Catholic.com. You can listen to the podcast later too. Adam and Eve have liturgical feast days, so do Isaiah, Jeremiah, King David and many others. The Roman Martyrology (1600) lists […]

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UNESCO Adds the Baptismal Site of Jesus to the World Heritage Sites

January 13, 2019

Happy Feast Day of the Baptism of Our Lord! Since we will be at the actual site of Jesus’ baptism in two weeks with a bus full of pilgrims, I thought I would share this post again. This is an exciting development which helps establish the authentic baptismal site of Jesus. With the involvement of UNESCO […]

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Debunking 4 Biblical Myths Accepted by Many as True

December 29, 2018

There are three “truths” I have been asked about many times. Often people tell me these as though they’re explaining to me something I’ve never heard before. However, in each case, there is no historical, biblical or actual basis to any three of them. In each case they started being taught in recent times and […]

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Pilgrimage with Steve Ray 100 Years Ago – Imagine with Real Photos

December 28, 2018

Step into a Time Machine and imagine what it would be like going back in time on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Steve and Janet Ray 100 years ago! I have used actual pictures from over a century ago to re-create what it may have been like. I hope you enjoy! And, I […]

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Was Jesus Born on December 25?

December 24, 2018

Yes, Christ Was Really Born on December 25: Here’s a Defense of the Traditional Date for Christmas   by Dr Taylor Marshall The following is adapted from Taylor Marshall’s new book: The Eternal City: Rome & and Origins of Catholic Christianity. This is a long article and quite convincing. I have only given Objection 3 to […]

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My New Book Now Available! “The Papacy: What the Pope Does & Why It Matters”

December 21, 2018

  My new book is available today. My friend Dennis Walters and I have been working on it for a while and we hope you enjoy it. You can see and order it here. You can buy it now as a Christmas bundle with free shipping and other of my new items.   Topics include: […]

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Did the Wise Men Meet the Shepherds?

December 18, 2018

With upon us, I thought I would post my article this Christmas season with bits of interesting information and details about Christmas, the Gospels and Epiphany. Join us in Bethlehem for Christmas this year from December 26-January 4 or any of six times in 2015. Visit www.SteveGoes.com. Did the Wise Men Meet the Shepherds?  A […]

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How Big was Noah’s Ark

December 5, 2018

It was a big boat at a time when big boats did not exist. It was a feat of genius ingenuity. You can read the instructions for building in Genesis 6:14-22. We are also told that the ark is a picture of the Church and salvation. In the ark Noah passed through the waters which […]

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Flint Knives at the Heart of the Gospel

November 14, 2018

Ah, excuse me? What do flint knives have to do with the Gospel? A whole lot! Abraham believed God against all odds and as a reward he was given the special sign of the Covenant with God. And what was that wonderful sign between them? In Genesis 17:10-11 God announces this sign to Abraham: “This […]

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What Does the Word Catholic Mean? A History of the Word “Catholic”

October 29, 2018

As a Protestant, I went to an Evangelical church that changed an important and historical word in the  Apostles Creed. Instead of the “holy, catholic Church,” we were the “holy, Christian church.” At the time, I thought nothing of it. There was certainly no evil intent, just a loathing of the Catholic Church and a […]

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The Sign of the Cross: It’s History, Meaning and Biblical Basis

October 28, 2018

SIGN OF THE CROSS By Steve Ray The Sign of the Cross is a ritual gesture by which we confess two important mysteries: the Trinity and the centrality of the Cross. It is the most common and visible means by which we confess our faith. The Sign of the Cross is made by touching the […]

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St. Paul and the Cretans

October 25, 2018

Today we are touring the island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. St. Paul was here at least twice that we know of. He did not have a very flattering impression of the Cretans. This is what he wrote to Titus.

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