DBB 6.20.2018: GAFCON + Jerusalem Diary
Now more than halfway through the conference and am so glad that I came. I expected to be blessed, but this has been a wonderful time in the Lord and look forward to reflecting on this moment for years to come.
I grabbed a quick breakfast with Abp. Mbanda and his lovely wife Chantal before heading over to the Jerusalem Conference Center.
The morning’s Bible exposition (Luke 23:50-24:12), Jesus: Buried and Risen was led by Bishop Tito Zevala of Chile:
Chile is currently in the process of becoming the newest province in the Anglican Communion, but is currently part of the Province of South America. Until recently, Bishop Zevala served as the primate of the province.
Choir rocked the outfit again today.
Abp. Mbanda led the plenary today with a talk on ‘God’s World.’ You may remember that Mbanda was also the director of Compassion International for all of Africa. He has vast mission experience and it showed in his talk.
Jason Mandryk of Operation World shared some remarkable statistics concerning world mission. I’ll be revisiting these numbers in the future.
I grabbed lunch with David Hanke, the rector of Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, Virginia. Lauren and I have a number of friends who go to this church and God is doing a wonderful work there. David was part of the Timothy Program at the Falls Church, a great ministry that has young priests join the staff of that great church for two years and then go out and plant a church.
After lunch, Bishop Sam Mugisha and I headed to the Museum of Israel. It was a great visit with him and a blessing to share in the experience of seeing some remarkable artifacts.
The only part of the museum I really cared about was the Canaanite period up through the Romans. The museum shows you things that you read of in the Bible, but normally gloss over (normally because you either don’t understand it or don’t know what it looks like). You remember the Canaanites? They inhabited the land of Israel before the Israelite conquest beginning Jericho. The tablet above, and the lions below, were Canaanite religious symbols.
This is an altar built to Asherah, the goddess of the Canaanites (El was her male counterpart). This dates back to the 10th Century B.C. You an read all about her in the early years of the Israelites. Judges is a good place to look:
This is a pedestal built to hold an idol of Baal, the storm god of the Canaanites. He dominated their religious devotion. This too dates back to the 10th Century B.C.:
One of the great struggles of the Israelites, and even for us today, is syncretism—the mixing of religious ideas and practices to form your own religion. When the kingdom divided, Jeroboam created places of worship and sacrifice for the northern kingdom of Israel so that they would not have to travel to Jerusalem, Judah’s capital and home of the Temple. Jeroboam put idols in Bethel and Dan (you can see pictures of the latter earlier in my diary). This one (above) is a small version of one of the golden calves that Jeroboam had made. It dates back to the 12th Century B.C.
This is an Aramaic text from a monument celebrating the military victories of the King of Aram (9th Century). It mentions King David, the oldest mention of that dynasty outside of the Bible.
Above, King Uzziah’s epitaph (the one from Isaiah 6). When the second Temple was being built, they had to move his tomb. You might remember he died of leprosy, and the remains had to be removed, leprosy or no. It reads: ‘Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah. Do not open!’ Speaks for itself.
The Bishop standing in one of the Gates of Hazor built by King Ahab (9th Century B.C.):
This is a Judahite sanctuary from the 8th Century B.C. from Arad. This was located in what would have been its Holy of Holies. There’s still remains of the incense it burned on the stands. King Hezekiah destroyed it when all sacrificial worship was consolidated in Jerusalem:
These two metal strips contain the oldest biblical texts in the world (late 7th Century B.C.). They both contain a version of the blessing from Numbers 6 that I say each Sunday when we bless the children before Sunday School:
The sarcophagus of Herod the Great.
A piece of the Temple that was recovered from the southwestern parapet. It notes that this was the location of the trumpeter who would sound the trumpet notifying its hearers of a holy day or the start of the sabbath.
This Greek inscription (above) was from the enclosure of the Temple. It reads: ‘No foreigner shall enter within the forecourt and the balustrade around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his subsequent death.’ This would have marked the boundary of the court of Gentiles.
The ossuary of Caiaphas the High Priest at the time of Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection (Matthew 26:57).
My day ended with an encouraging dinner with a dear brother in the Lord who is a bishop standing firm in a difficult place. Grateful to him and so many others who take to heart Paul’s charge to Titus (1:9).
Good night from Jerusalem,