Monday, March 03, 2008

Majesty Too Great to Dwell in Temples of Stone

Ancient Arad is located in the Negev, some 30 km. northeast of Be'er Sheva, on a hill that rises 40 m. above the surrounding plain.

During the 18 seasons of excavation conducted from 1962-1984, it became clear that the remains of ancient Arad are located in two separate areas and are from two distinct periods. The Canaanite city (3rd millennium BCE) was located mainly on the southern slope of the hill. On the summit of this hill, several fortresses were built in the period of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah (10th-6th centuries BCE) and also later, during the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods (5th century BCE to 4th century CE). Source:

Why am I telling you this? Let me explain.

During the excavation of the Arad, they found a Israeli Temple just like the temple of Solomon buried six layers deep. The temple seems to have been in existence durign the time of Solomon's temple.

Located in the northwestern corner of the citadel, the temple comprised three rooms along an east-west axis: ulam (entrance hall), heichal (main hall), and dvir (holy-of-holies). To reach the dvir three steps had to be mounted to an elevated platform, on which a one-meter high stone stele, painted red, stood. Stone altars, 50 cm. high, flanked both sides of the entrance to the dvir. The tops of the altars were concave and in them burnt organic material was found. At the center of the large courtyard in front of the temple was an altar built of bricks and stone, measuring 2.5 x 2.5 m. (5 x 5 biblical amot). It was probably similar to the altar described in the Bible (Deut. 27:5) and to that in the Temple in Jerusalem. (II Chronicles 6:13)

The Israelite temple discovered at Arad is the only one known outside of Jerusalem. It was part of the first Israelite citadel there and served as a roadside temple for travelers, merchants and the garrison of the citadel.

At the end of the 8th century B.C the reformations under King Hezekiah, King of Judah, all high places and worship centres were to be destroyed and only true worship was to take place at Jerusalem (II Kings 18: 4, 22. However the inhabitants of this place were Yahewstic worshippers, worshippers of the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they instead of destroying this temple built bupon it and layers of cities were built on this site. Apprently the temple at Jerusalem was destroyed but today this one still stands as the reminder of these worshippers who worshipped the true God.

In the first part, I did explain the Holy of Holies was were God promised to dwell with His Shekinah Glory on the roof of of the tabernacle. In the tabernacle were two sets of stones one a copy signifying God's love covenant and the other our responsibility because of this love covenant. It was not just a list of do and don't of commandments as we have always percieved. When Jesus died on the cross the temple veil was torn now symblizing we can enter the Holy of Holies but it also meant God was now also coming out of the sanctuary and now in His great mercy has chosen hearts of flesh to reveal His Glory. We are thus to be carriers of His light from the Holy of Holies to the world we are living into. Oh! How beautiful truly God and His majesty has chosen now hearts of flesh.


Sam Kurien

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Covenant People in a Contractual Society

I have been brooding about this one for a quite a time and came up with a catchy title 'A Covenant People in a Contractual Society'. Whenever I am explaining some ancient jewish concepts to my fellow belivers, I am always blown away with the concept of God entering into covenant with one man and we reaping the blessing of that because Yehovah is the initator of our love realtionship with Him. The Blessings of Abraham have come down upon me and you fellow believers because of this. Let me delve more into explaining this concept more accurately, recording it hear will be more beneficial to me and my readers any day you come across this post.

Our society is a contractual society meaining in simple terms for services provided, rendered and consumed are today performed on a basis of a contract. Its like a legal biniding to perform so and so at so and so cost with mutual agreements, failing to any of the said conditions there will be penalties as specified by the details of the contract. For example to use a cell phone service, your mobile provider enters with you in a two year contract, breaching or stopping the service earlier than two years you will probably be shelling out $175 as penalty fees as well as for reinstating the service you will pay $200 so and so forth. Our society has even reduced marriages (which is supposed to be a covenant realtionship) to contracts, we often hear celebrities having pre-nuptial agreeements. You may have heard of this one...If Katie Holmes stayed with Tom Cruise for ten years she will get $40 million but if she stays less than 5 years she will get 3 million dollars. Forgive me for not putting in the exact dollar amounts but that is how it has been coined in to a contract.

How is a covenant then different from a contract even when it is an agreement between two people or two parties. The interesting thing about covenant's is ...a covenant cannot be revoked, it can only be changed by the blood and the death of the person involved. Interestingly The Lord God of Israel started the first and the most important covenant with Abraham. When God called Abraham out from the land of the Chaldeans, He promised him, children as many as the stars of heaven and land for his descendants forever. Abraham believed and it was creditied to him for being a righteous. But one day Abraham does get fustrated and asks the Lord, though you have promised it hasn't happend. The Lord takes him out once again and tells to him look at the heaven's and stuff like that... and then tells him let me quote right from the text Genesis 15:9 So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon". Then the Lord asked him to cut them into two halves and place them. Now imagine these animals have been cut and the blood of these animals is flowing down from the flesh dripping down the mounds and being collected in the center. Later on in the same chapter vs18 it says God walked between them instituting a covenant saying Abraham I will keep this covenant and the blood is the reminder.

So in ancient Israel when a covenant was made between two people, the person or one of the parties had to walk in between barefoot through the blood, the blood splashed on to the fringes of his robes signifying be unto me this way if I break the covenant, it shall be with my death.

So time and again God painted this picture of reminder during passover the covering of His people was through the blood, so when the lamb was brought for the sacrifice at the temple the blood signified the covenant reminder between God and His people that He will remember and have mercy and forgivness.

Now when Jesus gave us the new convenant revoking the old, He paid it by ?Yahweh paid it by His own blood and death to save us, to become our covering, upholding His word and His covenant of Love towards us. Isn't that beautiful? Every time I revisit what God did with Abraham, I am reminded I am Covenant person, covered by the one Who is able to Keep His Word, who is always able to redeem me by His precious Blood.


Sam Kurien

Friday, February 29, 2008

Rudyard Kipling's - IF

After getting straight A's in 9 courses, I stumbled with a score of 67 in Econometric Statistics. Harvard Blues!!! Now that's humbling, but at the same time I don't want to beat up on myself for not doing so good. I need to take wins and losses the same and I am just again reminded of Rudyard Kipling's poem 'IF'. I have kept this poem in my Bible for couple of years now its been like Psalm encouraging and renewing fresher starts for life. I want to pen this down here again and may you also take encouragement reading it.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yoursefl when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tried of waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated dont't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, not talk too wise.

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master.
If you can thik - and not make thoughts your aim.
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn out tools.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings,
And risk it one one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your begninnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew,
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you,
Except the Will which says to them, "Hold On!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute,
With sixty seconds of distance run.
Yours is the earth and everything thats in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Son Is Born

Wow its two days now. Isaac Samuel Kurien my son was born on Friday 7:25 pm after a short two hour labor. It was a miracle seeing him come into the world full of promises, hopes, dreams and it was like a new spiritual birthing within me. Just before he came into the world God told me he was to be like the son of promise and I am to teach him all the ways of the Lord God of Israel, the God of Jacob. He also told me he will have ten times the spirit of Elijah and that he will be bring health to many.

When Hannah was born I had posted a blessing for her. I go through the same emotions again reminiscing again that it was just like yesterday "Isaac- You were in mommy’s tummy and I can’t believe you are here sleeping sound in my hands. Again I am overwhlemed with emotion knowing what a treasure I hold with fearful is a wonder that God could/and would trust me again with you for such a time as this".

You are our joy and watching your complete dependence on us is a pure delight. A reminder of how my dependence is on Yahaweh-Yirah. And again at the same time I know its for a season that you will be with us, then there will be a time to ochestrate the reason of your life, to do the mighty things God has for you.

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:5 “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” But this we know that what our God has done in our lives bringing you to us is marvelous work in our eyes. God named you ‘Isaac’ because Yehovah has now bestwoed on me a life of laughter and joy for me.

My Prayers will be up every day for you that you as God promised (ten times Elijah's spirit), you will go out and do great things for him, may you seize the gates of your enemies as a true descendant of Abraham, and may your path be that of kindness, showing grace and mercy to the weak. May you feed the hungry, and heal many in Jesus's name.

I pray again: "Yivarechicha Adonai V’yishmirecha, Ya-Ayr Adonai panav Aylecha v’yichunecha; Yee saw Adonai panav Aylecha v’ya-saym l’cha shalom.” meaning: May the Lord Bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you His Shalom.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mystery & Adventure

There are many higher themes to live for in this life. If we don’t we are pretty much not living…might as well as be dead. There are many adventures that we must take, voyages that we must travel, fight the dangerous beasts and dragons, cross the seven seas, find a hidden map, discover a secret cove, come across a hidden treasure. Travel lands that are far and away, rescue the damsel in distress, talk to talking trees, fly on a bird, meet up with strange creatures and all along the way make memories and great friends.

I am beginning to think life is not all about waking up, going to an 8 to 5 job, coming back sip a coffee or wait in a line with umpteen cars ahead of you in a star bucks drive thru or even coming home and tending to endless bills, solving issues and problems and going about tit and tat, aunty may and uncle pape. Yet it is a reality that most of us live in. There is something higher the human soul yearns for… a friend once said "I would die if life was all about this…and my soul yearns the need to be wrapped in an adventure" .

Last night I saw the movie “Bridge to Tereabithia” and boy some sensitive chords were strummed and hence this post. It’s a story about a boy and a girl who become friends. Jess the boy is pretty much an introvert and different as he likes art, he is treated almost as an outcast by a father who does not relate to his passion. At school he is picked on by other children but he has something in him that has spark & zeal for life and the desire to chase for an adventure within him. In comes the girl Leslie to his world…they become friends and is responsible for pretty much making up this imaginary world called ‘Tereabithia’ and she invites Jess to be in that adventure…soon reality for Jess turns... as they travel into this mythical land. Endless possibilities and stories begin! as he keeps his mind’s eye open. Together they journey through adventures, fighting trolls, monster vultures, and ugly beasts all agents of the dark master of the land. They set up their tree house (imaginary castle) and reign as King and Queen of Tereabithia who have to come to free the land from tyranny and injustice. The story has many underlying themes but the one that I want to pick up is the call for living for a higher theme, living and being wrapped up as my friend said in the adventure and allowing yourself time and space every day /whenever you can just escape to that imaginary place and live those adventures that you are really made for. Rustling of the trees and shaky leaves do becon a call to those who await that adventure. Oh sure when they come back they will be better persons, filled with self esteem, courage, kindness, gratitude and love for everyone around especially for those who cannot go to those mysterious lands.