Temple Mount

STRANGE BED FELLOWS: JORDAN AND ISRAEL

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                   Breaking news.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU, HOLY LAND GURU

In a surprise development, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah, met together last week in Amman Jordan to discuss their shared concerns: Muslim radicalism and national defense.

One could say that this is a demonstration of the maxim:  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. But that would be overly simplified.

The two leaders met to discuss shared concerns about the current increase in the level of Arab radicalism that threatens both countries, the conflict in Syria, and the continuing  fallout from the  so called “Arab Spring”.

Built in historic tension between Jordan and her Arab neighbors, results from the fact that  Jordan, is a Sunni Muslim State, that borders Shiite Iran and Shiite dominated Iraq and Iran-allied Syria.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 https://maps.google.com/maps?q=map+of+jordan&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x15006f476664de99:0x8d285b0751264e99,Jordan&gl=us&ei=fs3aUs6GLuzMsQTyiIGIDg&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

A fragile existence at best for Jordan.

Jordan is clearly a target of the Muslim radicals. With this very public meeting, that target just got a whole lot bigger.

Those above stated long standing inter Muslim tensions have been exacerbated by the current  flow of refugees from the turmoil in Syria now spilling over the borders into both Turkey and Jordan.

A Complicated History

It is important to understand that Israel has, since 1967, been maintaining a military presence along its Jordan River border with Jordan.

On our holy land tours we have often driven alongside the plowed strip of land with its wire  fence that has provided this necessary barrier. Fences really do work. We in the US have yet to understand that fact.

Jordan fears  that negotiations being pushed by the present  US Administration in its quest to fulfill an Obama  campaign promise, could result in the establishment of  an untenable  Palestinian State ( with borders agreeable to both the Palestinians and the US but not to other parties), that could result in a compromise of Israel’s stabilizing influence along the border with Jordan. Not good for either side.

Jordan river border,

Jordan river border,

Jordan wants the Israelis to maintain a presence there and is fearful that Israel could cave in to American demands. Such a compromise would not serve the interests of either country.

Hence this historic meeting.

What makes this meeting so significant is not that it was held but that it was held openly and in Amman. Clearly Jordan has chosen sides.

It is important to understand that Israel and Jordan have a complicated history.

When the UN declared the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 , the combined forces of all of her Arab neighbors, including Jordan, ganged up on the fledgling  Jewish state.

Israel more than survived that 1948 “War of Independence”.

It was victorious and extended its borders beyond those designated only days earlier by the UN. She was then in a stronger but not yet secure position.

Again in June 1967, 19 years later, under the prodding of then Arab nationalist Egyptian President Abdul Nasser, conflict broke out with the 6 day war.

Nasser was a client of the then Soviet Union and his motivations were clearly at the behest of the Soviet Union in its contest with the US to dominate the region.

Under the guise of spurring  nationalism Nassser orchestrated a combined attack on Israel from the South (Egypt) East (Jordan) and North East (Syria).

Jordan was a reluctant participant.

Again Israel survived and even prospered, primarily at the expense of Jordan which lost all of the West Bank of the Jordan River including the Old City of Jerusalem and including the valued Muslim holy place, the golden Dome of the Rock.

dome of the rock

dome of the rock

Israel gained its most precious site, the “Wailing wall” or Western Wall of the Temple Mount that goes back to the time of Jesus and is nearest to the location of the destroyed temple that Jesus frequented.

Wailing wall/Wetern Wall

Wailing wall/Western Wall

Then King Hussein (married to an American girl and father of the current King Abdullah, also western educated and an Oxford grad) was a pragmatist and had his own real politic problems to deal with including an unsuccessful attempt by Yasser Arafat and his PLO forces to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy.This failed coupe led to the expulsion of Arafat and  the PLO from Jordan and into Lebanon, where they remain.

King Hussein long rued the day he got sucked into the 1967 conflict. It cost him dearly.

Behind the scenes discussions have been ongoing between Israel and Jordan for a long time. Those meetings seldom appear in the press. (Can you spell clandestine?)

This inter country communication goes back as far as 1963 but in particular to the days leading  up to the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

Six years after the disastrous Arab losses of 1967, the Egyptians and Syrians were  plotting  to retake land lost to Israel.  They wanted Hussein to join them in this plan and fight Israel with an Eastern front.

Rather than support them, King Hussein actually tipped off then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (an American from Milwaukee who had emigrated to Israel)  that this was a foot.

Jordan  remained out of that conflict.

Israel and Jordan  have shared interests and shared concerns over the shape of and the terms of the establishment of any proposed Palestinian state.

The openness of this  meeting between Abdullah and Netanyahu on Arab soil is quite significant in what it says as to the cooperation between the two countries.

It also ramps up the enmity of the Muslim radicals against Jordan and their desire to unseat King Abdullah. Oh and by the way American forces are now quietly on the ground in Jordan to undergird the stability of the region.

My personal perspective

I first went to Jordan in early 1967 on my very first Holy Land tour and  returned as recently as our holy land tour in February 2013.

Petra where Paul may have stayed

Petra where Paul may have stayed

Jordan is a beautiful country with strong Bible roots of interest to Christians who visit there.                                                       Among those roots are:  the place where the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River to conquer the promised land, the place where John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, the place where St Paul spent time preparing for his world changing ministry (Petra), Pella where the early Christians sought refuge as the Roman armies approached to sack Jerusalem in 70 AD, and the places where both Moses and Aaron are buried, to name just a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is another original contribution by Dr. Robert Grant aka The holy land Guru to help his  friends keep up to speed on all things holy land related and is based upon the perspective he has derived from 125 journeys to that part of the world during the past 46 years.    Each year he plans to take friends to the holy land.

His next  departures are December 1, 2014 and January 12, 2015. If interested please go to the website or call Dr. Grant at 386 447 9473.

DIGGING IN THE DIRT: THE FINE ART OF ARCHEOLOGY

Even though I have been to the Holy Land innumerable times over the past 46 years I have never personally participated in a dig. Sounded like hot, hard work and did not intrigue me all that much. Not my cup of tea.

My wife Judy, on the other hand, is possessed with a kind of curiosity that she always wants to dig when we visit sites like Megiddo .

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I well remember one time we were in Philippi (the New Testament book of Philippians) in Northern Greece and she was only stopped from giving in to this compulsion when one of the guards stopped her.

Archeology sounds so glamorous. Just to consider the thought  that you might uncover the ultimate hidden treasure. Think of the Indiana Jones movies and their appeal.

But archeology is just not as glamorous as all that I have found. Much of it has to do with digging in dirt and finding tiny clues from the past, coupled with the skill to recognize when a fragment of pottery ( a shard as it is called) was made, by its historic characteristics. Pottery is the main way that dating is determined. Sometimes major structures, like a 200’ long section of wall recently discovered outside the walls of Old Jerusalem, are uncovered, but that is the exception not the rule.

A recent publication by the Biblical Archeology Society, (BAS) entitled Jerusalem Archeology: Exposing the Biblical City caught my attention as it focused on the daily grind of the detective work we call field archeology.

Since 1967 when Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem in the 6 Day war, there has been a lot of digging around the temple area. I have written in earlier postings about the discovery there  of the steps leading up to the temple from the southern valley, up which Jesus most assuredly must have walked.                                             (Go to      Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru  for the many articles I have posted in recent months to keep my friends up to speed on all things Holy land related)

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But there is much more that has been uncovered there  including parts of walls and foundations of buildings that go back 1000 years before Jesus to the time of Solomon the builder of the 1st great temple to stand in that area.

The original City of Jerusalem called the City of David, is located downhill from the walls of the current Old City and is a nondescript muddy mound . It is an active archeological site.

The archeologists have now determined how David’s son Solomon enlarged Jerusalem and enclosed the area from the City of David all the way up to and including the current Temple mount, in his Jerusalem’s environs.

Solomon built his glorious temple on the same general area where the current Golden dome of the Muslim shrine now sits  where also  his great palace probably once stood. The massive current platform we now see was built by Herod the Great at the time of Jesus (later restored by Suleiman the magnificent in the Middle ages,) and is much more extensive than the area used by Solomon 1000 years earlier.

Moved by this account in BAS  I turned to the Biblical account of this event in 1 Kings 6 and, upon re reading it for the umpteenth time, was fascinated by the detail that it contained even tying the date of this construction by King Solomon  to the Exodus from Egypt  480 years earlier. (A side benefit of this is to offer us guidance as to when the Exodus from Egypt actually occurred as well as when the Temple was built)

It took Solomon 7 years to build his temple and 13 years to construct his nearby imposing palace that was 150’ long by 75’ wide and 45’ tall. Among the details incorporated in this grand building was the casting of 2 massive bronze columns 27’ tall and 18’ in circumference.

I find that when I read such Biblical passages against the background of having actually traveled to the place itself, this all takes on a new dimension of reality.

That is why I especially urge pastors to have the experience of travel to the Holy Land such as we offer each year.

This should not be considered a luxury but a source of important knowledge necessary in order to be an accurate teacher of the Word.

Also I might add, reading this Biblical account in a modern language translation like the New Living translation makes this massive project so easy to picture.

So much for background.

This BAS  article on archeology in Jerusalem reports that in 1999 the Muslims who now control the Temple Mount, decided to dig some steps down through the floor of the plateau near the al Aqsa Mosque and connect to an area below mistakenly called Solomon’s Stables.

This is a vaulted area below the South Eastern corner of the temple mount (perhaps the  pinnacle of the Temple as described in the temptation of Jesus by Satan) .

Solomon’s Stables consists of a lower area with a series of columns that support the platform above where the modern mosque is situated.

Dating for Solomon’s Stables is difficult to ascertain as some date this to the Roman Emperor Hadrian (about 130 AD) when he rebuilt Jerusalem (his city was called the Aelia Capitolina ) following its destruction by the 10th Legion 40 years earlier  in 70 AD.

After the rise of Islam in the 600s AD this lower area was made into a Muslim prayer room. Later the Crusaders turned It into a stable and then it reverted back to being a Muslim sacred place.

In order to provide convenient access for visitors to the Al Aqsa Mosque, to this subterranean place now called the Marwani Mosque, the modern Muslim rulers of the Temple mount area decided to create a flight of stairs by opening up a hole in the present  platform and providing step access from above.

In the process of doing this they created stress on the Southern wall and this threatened the collapse of the entire structure. An unsightly emergency repair can now be seen in white on the Southern wall as the result.

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

The BAS article reports how the Muslim diggers just dumped truckloads of artifact laden dirt taken from the excavations, into the Kidron Valley below.

They were oblivious to the damage they were doing and the value of what they just discarded, as their only focus was the building of this set of stairs.

Others had different plans for this pile of dirt: Israeli archeologists viewed this dirt pile as a potential treasure trove and established a nearby  location on Mount Scopus where they began laboriously trucking the dirt and washing down the debris and sifting it for the tiny treasures that subsequently were uncovered and have now added a great deal to our knowledge of the area.

Among the treasures found is a fragment of a 3400 year old clay seal containing the oldest Hebrew writing ever discovered in Jerusalem. It is a part of a clay tablet written in cuneiform (ie with a wedged shaped stick in soft clay that is then fired) that is thought to date back to about 400 years before Solomon when the Canaanites had a city there.

This fragment is thought to be a file copy  of a letter of appeal sent by the Canaanite king who then ruled over this area, (remember this was well before the time of David and Solomon) sent from Jerusalem  to the weird pharaoh Akhnaten, the monotheistic pharaoh from the 1300s BC, asking for help against some of his enemies.

A trove of such correspondence was earlier discovered in Egypt and is called the Amarna letters. Apparently just like us they made file copies of important documents so that they could later refer back to what they had said. How modern does that sound?

And so  truckloads of dirt are brought in and washed and sifted and tiny treasures such as these are retrieved from time to time.

Such is the not so romantic and dirty drudge work that is much of the lot of the modern archeologist.

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If you should be one who travels with us on a Holy Land Tour you will see many such digs and excavations.

We invite you to come along with us on one of our personally escorted journeys to Turkey, Jordan and Israel in 2014 and add this rich experience to your bucket list for sure. Special arrangements available for pastors as well.

By Dr. Robert Grant aka The Holy Land Guru   written  August 18, 2013.

www.holylandguru.com

Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru

ARE SOLOMON’S 3000 YEAR OLD TIMBERS  STILL IN USE TODAY?

Everyone who goes to Jerusalem recognizes the impressive gold domed building called the Dome of the Rock.

Most fail to notice the other less glamorous major building that now occupies the South end of the same raised platform which was  built by Herod the great at the time of Jesus. This second building is quite large and figures importantly in Islam as its 3rd most revered site.

It is called the al Aqsa mosque or al haram ash sharif  aka  The Noble Sanctuary.

This is the top of temple Mount where prominemt Muslim shrines are located

This is the top of temple Mount where prominemt Muslim shrines are located

Question: Is it possible that some of the massive timbers used to build this mosque in the 7th century could date back to the time of Solomon 1700 years earlier? or at least back to Herod the Great and Jesus some 700 years earlier? Seems there is reason to consider this possibility seriously.

It is interesting to consider the idea that part of a Temple, holy to the Jews, could now actually be an integral part of one of Islam’s most revered places.

Ironic one might say!

It needs to be understood that such huge cedar timbers used for the construction of the Temple of Solomon and later Herod were extremely difficult to acquire and very expensive to purchase and so, whenever available later in history, they would always be recycled into other buildings.

It is apparent that such huge cedar timbers have been used in the construction of the al Aqsa mosque and it is thought that they may date back to the time of Solomon making them 3000 years old. In fact they may well have been recycled more than once and perhaps also used in the Temple of Herod of Jesus’ day.

The Biblical record of the estimated 950 BC harvesting of such timbers is quite interesting as it describes the enormous expense and effort expended in taking delivery of these prized timbers brought at great expense and difficulty from modern Lebanon.

You will recall that King David was forbidden by God to build this Temple because he had blood on had hands  and that the responsibility for such construction was reserved for his son Solomon to fulfill.

And so Solomon, like David his father before him,  appealed to Hiram king of Sidon (read Lebanon) for his help. Hiram’s men were experienced wood cutters. He also controlled the mountain area where the huge cedar trees grew and still grow today.

(An interesting aside: The cedar tree that figured so prominently in its history is  the emblem of the modern country of Lebanon. You will also see it painted on the tail section of the official Lebanese airlines. Also note this special wood was also used by the ancient Egyptians for boat construction such as the huge solar boat discovered buried at the base of the Great Pyramid in Giza. The Philistines also used it in their temples.

When we go to the Sea of Galilee on the Holy Land tours I conduct annually we will see the 1st century fishing boat discovered buried in the mud of the Sea of Galilee and now on display in a special museum on the north shore near Capernaum. It is made mostly of cedar as well. They call it the “Jesus boat”. )

All very interesting.)

And so Hiram readily agreed to Solomon’s request. Solomon  offered to pay him well.

Hiram said:  “I have received your message and I will supply all the cedar timber you need. My servants will bring the logs from the Lebanon mountains to the Mediterranean Sea”   (an enormous challenge)    “and make rafts and float them along the coast to whatever place you choose. Then they will break the rafts apart so you can carry the logs away”.    (another enormous task transporting these huge timbers from the port of Jaffa , read Jaffa/Tel Aviv, all the way up to Jerusalem, approximately 36 miles but also an increase in elevation of about 3500 feet) “You can pay me by providing me with food for my household,” said Hiram.  1 Kings 5.

The record states that Solomon provided Hiram with an enormous supply of olive oil and wheat in return for the timber.

Solomon’s part of the needed labor force was also huge.

Building this temple was an enormous undertaking and a religious duty that Solomon eagerly embraced.

He employed teams of 10,000 men at a time in Lebanon, working for one month and then having 2 months off, thus requiring 30,000 laborers just in the timber business part of this project.

In addition he also had over 150,000 other workers engaged in the project.

So these cedar timbers could well have quite a history to reflect back upon.

It took 7 years for Solomon’s workers to complete this project.

Back to the Al Aqsa Mosque. The platform where this Mosque now stands was originally erected by Herod the Great at the time of Jesus to be the platform on which to build a replacement for the temple of Solomon that had been destroyed hundreds of years earlier.

Nearby the present Mosque is what, at the time of Jesus, was called the “pinnacle of the temple” where Satan tempted Jesus to commit suicide. This is the high point of the platform walls at the corner where the Southern and Eastern walls come together as you view it from afar.

Under the platform on which the al Aqsa Mosque now stands is a remarkable structure of Herodian columns built to support the weight of the upper floor of the vast platform. Mostly filled with rubble it is mistakenly called Solomon’s Stables under the mistaken notion that Solomon used this for his horses. Not true.

The al Aqsa Mosque has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt over the years, often as a result of earthquake. Unlike the golden covered Dome of the Rock which is built on Rock, the Al Aqsa mosque rests on fill dirt.

On a recent Friday during the month of Ramadan it is reported that 155,000 Muslims came there to pray.

Visiting the Temple Mount is always a high point of the Holy Land tours we take to the Middle East, now well over 125 such journeys to the Bible lands.

Although it is in Israeli territory, control of the Temple Mount  was ceded by the Israeli General Moshe Dyan (the guy with the eye patch) (some say foolishly )  to the Palestinian Authority after the 6 day war in 1967. So the Arabs now control who can go there or not. Security is tight. A long elevated walkway has been built for access complete with metal detectors.

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Although I have been on top of the Temple Mount innumerable times I have never entered the al Aqsa Mosque.

Next time I am there in February 2014,  I will go inside and try to see if any of those famous recycled timbers possibly  purchased by Solomon or by Herod are in view.

BTW:  Our next journey to the Holy Land is scheduled for February 2014 when we will be taking some new friends with us to Turkey, Jordan and Israel for 11 wonderful days.

Information about that journey can be found on the website.

If you have not yet had the ultimate travel experience then we invite you to consider coming with us. And if you are a pastor you are encouraged to invite your church members to accompany you as well on this journey so that your expenses can be fully covered. Only 3 couples needed for you to  accomplish this goal. Not difficult at all.  I will be fully engaged in overseeing all aspects of the experience so you don’t need prior experience.

Dr.  Robert Grant has been traveling to the Holy land for over 46 years hosting special holy land tours for friends. He has been designated the holy land guru by some.

 

With warm appreciation to Biblical Archeology Review for updated information.

July 25, 2013

 

Egypt: Political Schizophrenia
Unthinking people glibly say that Middle Eastern countries like Egypt and Iraq should hold democratic elections as though that is the end all be all solution.
Is that really the answer? Replace the current autocracies with democratically held elections?
But what if those countries have no traditions of democratic values ie freedom of the press, freedom of religion, open elections, freedom of speech and of assembly , separation of powers, civilian control of the military, independent courts? What then?
Egypt! That is what you get.
A year ago Egypt held democratic elections. They elected Mohammad Morsi President and put the radical Muslim Brotherhood into power.
Fools in the West watching this process cheered along. “Democracy may be messy” they argued “but it works”.
So how did that democratic election work out?
Not so good most would agree. Most especially the Egyptians
And so the crowds, now many millions strong, are back in Tahrir Square in Central Cairo and the military has overthrown this democratically elected government and the Obama administration now has egg all over its face and banners are everywhere condemning Obama and his ambassador for his support of this, to be sure, duly elected, radical Islamist government.
The military has long been the real power in Egypt going back to the time of Gamel Abdel Nasser in the 1950s when he, a colonel in the Egyptian army, led a coup that overthrew the regime of King Farouk.
And so the military has now taken over in Egypt and installed Adly Mansour, the Chief Justice of what is their Supreme Court, as the interim President. Free elections have been promised but no word as to when.
So Egypt experienced a year of a democratically elected government and what did it get them?
Chaos prompted by the religiously motivated policies of their president who put a radical theology ahead of economics and basic human rights.
Included in the leadership of that Morsi government were those who advocated cleansing Egypt of all semblances of idolatry such as the sphinx and traces of the Pharaohs.
How?
Blow them up just as like minded radical Islamists did in Afghanistan in 2001 when they dynamited two 1700 year old Bamiyan statues of the Buddha and tried to do again in 2007 in a remote village in Pakistan where they tried to dynamite a carving of the Buddha on a mountainside. In this act they were unsuccessful.
So it is not far fetched to believe that the Morsi government might have given the go ahead to radicals in their party for the blowing up of the sphinx? There was actually serious talk of this. And what would that have done to the local economy that employs thousands when the tourists no longer came?
Luxor is another Egyptian tourist mecca. I have been there. A radical group called Gamas Islamiya launched an attack there that resulted in the deaths of 58 tourists in the grand temple of Queen Hatshepsut in 1997.
President Morsi recently appointed as governor over Luxor, a man connected to that same group. This new governor to be of Luxor was going to implement policies that would have killed the tourist economy there such as strict adherence to Islamic dress codes for women, no alcohol, no mixing of the sexes. The locals, fearing the repercussion from the tourist trade , objected and the man dropped out.
And what of the Coptic Christians of Egypt?
They have lived under a cloud of fear for the past year, experiencing brutal oppression under the democratically elected Morsi government. A headline in the Los Angeles Times reads (4/12/13) “Egypt’s Coptic Christians Live in Fear of Islamic Extremists”.
Samir, an Egyptian Coptic High School Philosophy teacher was interviewed for this article while praying in a significant little Coptic Church, north of Cairo on the banks of the Nile. He said. “I feel unsafe ….they set a Christian man on fire the other day…seven Copts and one Muslim have died in clashes in recent days.”
(An aside: What of that church? I have actually visited there. Local tradition claims that the Holy Family stayed there during their flight from Herod into Egypt following the birth of Jesus. In fact locals will show you a very old tree that they claim provided shelter from the sun for the Holy Family. Interesting tradition.)
The Times further reports that “Scores of Copts have been killed in sectarian violence since early 2011 including 24 worshipers who died in a church bombing. Another Copt reported that “Copts are facing organized oppression and forced immigration ………..Islamist radicals want to get rid of Christians across the Middle East”.
So what are America’s interests in this situation? I would remind you that countries do not have friends. They have interests.
I refer you back to an article I wrote several days ago, the Ugly face of Radical Islam. that you can find in this blogs at www.holylandguru.com in which I argued that countries do not have friends. They have interests. Those forces that contribute to stability in Egypt are in our interests.
Written by Dr. Robert Grant 7/4/13

Dr Grant has been traveling to the lands of the Middle East for about 46 years and has been there over 125 times hosting holy land tours for his friends. As a result he has been designated the holy land guru by some.

On Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru

holy land tour with the Holy Lnad Guru

Stones from the time of Herod the Great

 

The Amazing Roads of Rome
How many of our American Roads do you think will still be useable in 100 years?
The Romans built things to last. Places like the now 2000 year old Pantheon in Rome are standing tributes to the skill of the Roman architects and builders and the vision of their often evil dictators.
Biblical Archeology magazine now reports the discovery of a well preserved Roman road near the Old City of Jerusalem that they think may date to the 2nd or 3rd century AD. ( or as they say CE)
Seems the local Jerusalem authorities were digging to install a new drainage pipe. It is not uncommon for diggers to turn over dirt and find wonderful treasures from ages past in Israel.
Reportedly there were two main Roman roads from Jerusalem to Jaffa ( a suburb of Tel Aviv and reminiscent of Jonah’s famous whale misadventure) and this is part of the Northern road.
When I was graduating from Wheaton College with a major in history, the final senior year essay assignment was to write about the implications of a passage from the Bible about the specific timing of the coming of Jesus as the long awaited Messiah.
Galatians 4:4 states “But when the right time came God sent his Son .”( the New Living Translation) In the King James version it reads “When the fullness of time had come God sent forth His son”.
The clear implications of the Bible statement are that certain conditions needed to be in place before the Divine birth would occur in God’s planning. A remarkable statement indeed.
In striving to answer Professor Cairnes’ question, I observed the many things that Rome had wrought that prepared the way for the birth of Jesus as we Christians believe.
Conditions were put in place during the heyday of Roman dominance that made the communication of the Christian message possible across the vast stretch of the huge Roman Empire. Among many worthy of note were: the so called Pax Romana that resulted in a time of relative calm that made it safe to travel. The dominance of a common Greek culture and language enabled ease of communication of the message of the Resurrection across the Empire, etc.
Other factors also played their important part. The development of the vast system of roads built by Rome was clearly one. The fact that the Roman legions also patrolled those roads contributed to safe travel and the spreading of the Christian message.
It was more than a slogan to say that “all roads lead to Rome”. It seems to me  also quite remarkable the way the culture and environment was prepared for “the event”.
Because of these roads you could travel everywhere in the vast Roman Empire and because of the deployed Roman garrisons you could do so in relative safety. This was not true 100 years earlier.
So the roads of Rome were a significant achievement. They were also so well constructed that portions of some of them still exist and many Roman bridges are still in service today after 2000 years.
On some of my journeys to the lands of the Bible, I have taken my friends to Northern Greece, then by boat, where we disembarked at Kavala, the modern name for Biblical Neapolis. Bible students will recognize that this is the place where St Paul first landed in Europe on his 2nd missionary Journey.
It is a short distance from Neapolis to Philippi to which Paul wrote one of his famous letters that is now the book of Philippians in the New Testament part of the Bible. And there you see yet another wonderfully preserved Roman road from the time of Paul. No doubt his footsteps echoed from that same road with its large flagstones.
Yet another famous Roman Road leads into the city of Rome and is called the Appian Way and it traces its history back to the time of the New Testament. Paul was initially buried along its side.

Dr Robert Grant has been traveling to the Holy Land for over 46 years and has gone there more than 125 times taking holy land tours with his friends. He has been so designated as the holy land  guru by his friends.

Published by Dr. Robert Grant aka “The Holy land Guru” 7/3/13
Also on Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru