An archaeologist believes he has discovered the true birthplace of Jesus Christ, and it isn’t located in the traditional Bethlehem most associate with his birth. Archaeologist Dr. Aviram Oshri believes that Christ was born in this Bethlehem of Galilee, nine miles west of Nazareth, and not in the West Bank town of the same name, which has been celebrated as the Lord’s birthplace for ages, as reported by the International Business Times.
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There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?
This week, I found out.
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-
-Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-Six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-Eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-Ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…so pass it on if you wish.’
The 10th-century B.C. reservoir may have been used by pilgrims coming to the Temple Mount.
Archaeologists have found an ancient water reservoir in Jerusalem that may have been used by pilgrims coming to the Temple Mount, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced.
The IAA said the cistern could have held 66,000 gallons (250 cubic meters) of water; it likely dates back to the era of the First Temple, which, according to the Hebrew Bible, was constructed by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. and then destroyed 400 years later.
Israeli archaeologists believe the reservoir served the general public in the ancient city, but say its location hints at a role in the religious life of Jerusalem.
“Presumably the large water reservoir, which is situated near the Temple Mount, was used for the everyday activities of the Temple Mount itself and also by the pilgrims who went up to the Temple and required water for bathing and drinking,” Tvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, said in a statement.
Excavation director Eli Shukron, with the IAA, said the reservoir also sheds new light on the extent of the public water system in Jerusalem hundreds of years ago.
“It is now absolutely clear that the Jerusalem’s water consumption during the First Temple period was not solely based on the output of the Gihon Spring, but that it also relied on public reservoirs,” Shukron said in a statement. The Gihon Spring was the main source of water for the city.
The reservoir was exposed during excavations on a massive drainage channel dating to the Second Temple period, according to the IAA. When that channel was constructed, its builders had to remove or cut through existing rock-hewn structures along the route, such as this reservoir.
Archaeologists with the IAA said they were able to estimate the age of the cistern based on signatures in its plaster treatment and its similarities with other First Temple reservoirs at sites such as Tel Be’er Sheva, Tel Arad and Tel Bet Shemesh.
Ross King says the nose, beards and hairstyles of two of the apostles standing to the right of Jesus in the portrait, Thomas and James the Lesser, match a portrait of Leonardo that was made several years after he created his masterpiece.
King told the Independent that while historians have long-suspected Leonardo placed images of himself in his works, no one has thoroughly researched “The Last Supper” for such evidence.
The 15-x-29-foot painting has been the source of endless speculation, though most of the analysis has focused on hidden meanings within the painting itself, such as how each of the apostles is reacting to the revelation that one of them has betrayed Jesus.
Still, King concedes that there is no definitive record of Leonardo’s physical appearance but says the Greek physical characteristics were “rarities for an Italian man of that period,” according to UPI.
Leonardo da Vinci scholar Charles Nicholl supports King’s hypothesis, telling the Independent,”Of all the apostles that [Leonardo] would wish to be identified with, I think Doubting Thomas would be top of his list because Leonardo was a great believer in asking questions rather than accepting what people tell you.”