After hitting up the southernmost part of Israel for a few days, floating in the dead sea, going to Jordan, etc., we headed off for Jerusalem. We stayed the night at a hotel right on the dead sea and "bobbed" for a few. That morning we went to a tabernacle model. It is to scale if I remember right, and here are the main parts of it. This building had to be put up and taken down at every campsight, including the wall around it. This is where the Israelites would go to experience God's presence (though only levites were allowed to) during the flight from Egypt.
Here is the altar upon which one would make the sacrifice. Imagine the blood covering the ground, the smell of barbecuing meat, the sight of priests approaching the altar on the ramp so as to not reveal any leg, etc. This is the first "stage" one had to go through to get to into the presence of God.
Talk about big BBQ instruments! These were made of bronze
Karen is the only one not going up to the altar. . . good way to avoid being pushed in like the witch in hansel and grettle.
After making the primary sacrifice, the priests would cleanse themselves in this bronze laver. If you looked in, you would be able to see a reflection of yourself both before and after cleansing.
Yet one more step before getting into the tabernacle.
The walls of the tabernacle were made of gold. These walls were not.
As you go into the tabernacle, the table of showbread was on the right.
Nothing like a nice air conditioned tabernacle.
This is a rough mockup of what the high priest looked like. The breastplate had 12 stones, showing that he represented the 12 tribes of Israel before God. You can see the bells at the bottom of his garment. While he was in the holy of holies (he was the only one allowed), if the bells stopped a-ringin, time to go a-cleaning. it meant that he died because he wasn't pure enough to be in the presence of God. It's a lot easier now. Like the Queen's guards, this guy would NOT react to any prodding.
This lampstand was made from one solid piece of gold. The new one they are building for the third temple (I didn't get any pictures of the temple institute, where they are getting ready for the new temple, but if you're ever in the area . . . ) is not.
Here is where they would burn insence.
Inside the ark of the covenant were the ten commandments (made of foam) Aaron's staff that budded, and a jar of Manna
The top of the ark had two angels made of gold whos wings touched. The priest would sprinkle blood right in the middle of the wings as a petition asking God to not give Israel what she deserved.
We got back in the bus and road for a bit longer, and visited Masada. This was the last stand for the Zealots (listen to my sermon on Sunday to learn a little more about this group of Jews). They held out for a long time in this excellent fortress, but Rome is rich and was able to outlast (and outbuild) the last civil resistance of the Jewish people. It's a great story. Consequently, it was a very wealthy city because it had access to the minerals in the dead sea. They had to think of some ingenious ways to survive in this desolate wasteland.
A watchtower with the outside wall to the city.
They are still in the process of excavating this site.
This is a re-do of an original fresco they found here. Nice wallpaper, no?
The big long rooms are where they held food. They were able to store months of food at a time.
Quite a drop down to the valley floor. The whole city was built on a plateau with huge walls. Down at the bottom of the picture, you can see where Herod's palace was.
Here is the remains of the actual palace, the coolest part of the mountain due to the shade and afternoon breeze.
How do you get water up a giant mountain? You store it in a cistern, and hire slaves to bring it to you. here is the cistern.
I think this room is a steam bath if I remember right. The pillars held up the original floor, under which water was heated and created steam.
One of the original mosaic floors, still in tact after 1930 years.
A model of Masada in all its glory, the palace is in the front. It's good to be king.
Refreshing oranges after a hot hike up and down the mountain.
How did Rome break such an incredible fortress? This is a man-made siege ramp. It took Rome several years and many deaths, but this is how they broke into the city.
Back to the water question . . . Only getting a few inches of rainfall a year can be hazardous to your health. The inhabitants created this complex matrix of trenches to collect rainwater and bring it to the cistern. This is a working model, and is still wet.
All in all, it was a great day. It was capped off with floating and drying out and tasting nasty dead sea tap water on accident and a great buffet and a good night's sleep.
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