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