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Kidron Valley

Kidron Valley

kidron_valley Between the city of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, the Kidron Valley flows from north to south eventually emptying into the Dead Sea. This view from the ancient City of David looks south where the Hinnom Valley merges into the Kidron Valley. The homes on the side of the hill are in the Arab village of Silwan.

Are you interested in traveling to Israel? Join me this October for a 12-day Bible Study tour of this beautiful land. See the Israel Tour Page for an itinerary and pricing details.

Podcast #2 - The Mountains Around Jerusalem

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] In Psalm 125, the psalmist draws a beautiful comparison between the mountains of Jerusalem and the love and protection that God provides to His people. But, in order to fully appreciate what the psalmist means, you have to have an complete understanding of the geography of Jerusalem. That is what we will be discussing on this program.

Podcast Links Jerusalem Post Article concerning 2013 Jerusalem Marathon 2015 Israel Tour

The Jerusalem Movie Trailer

The Jerusalem Movie Trailer


Since I posted about the official Jerusalem movie trailer last night, I've had a couple of people ask me about some of the locations. If you are interested, here is a run-down of all of the locations in the trailer: 0:05-0:09 - The Dead Sea 0:10-0:14 - Caesarea Maritima - This is the home city of Cornelius. The apostle Paul traveled through this city on his missionary journeys and then was imprisoned here for two years before traveling to Rome. 0:15-0:20 - Mar Saba Monastery in the Kidron Valley 0:21-0:25 - Masada 0:26-0:31 - Jerusalem from Mount Scopus 0:32-0:34 - Dome of the Rock 0:35-0:37 - Western Wall Plaza 0:38-0:43 - Western Wall 0:44-0:49 - Port of Joppa - Jonah tried to flee from God by boarding a boat at Joppa. The cedars from Lebanon were delivered for Solomon's temple via the port at Joppa. Peter saw a vision while he was at Simon the tanner's house which told him to go to Caesarea and find Cornelius. 0:50-0:52 - Franciscan Chapel on the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee - This is the traditional location of the Sermon on the Mount. 0:53-0:57 - Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives - Jesus would have traveled in this direction a number of times during His final week as he spent the night in Bethany, but spent the day in Jerusalem. 0:58-1:01 - Descending the Mount of Olives toward the Kidron Valley 1:02-1:03 - One of the many streets in the Old City 1:04-1:06 - Dinner time in the Old City 1:07-1:10 - Worshippers walk the Via Dolorosa 1:11-1:12 - Prayers at the Western Wall 1:13-1:17 - Prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque 1:18-1:24 - Church of the Holy Sepulture - This is the traditional location of Calvary and the tomb. 1:25-1:30 - Hezekiah's Tunnel 1:31-1:33 - Coffins from Gaza at the Israel Museum 1:34-1:38 - Sunrise over the Old City 1:39-1:45 - Jerusalem from the southeast

Would you like to visit these places? Next June, I'm going and I'd love for you to join me. If you are a student of the Bible, it is a trip that you will never forget.

The Pinnacle of the Temple

The Pinnacle of the Temple


In Matthew 4, we read the account of Satan tempting Jesus. One of those temptations is recorded in verses 5-7.

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

So, where is the "pinnacle of the temple"? Is it the top of the building? Honestly, we do not know. However, there are a couple of places that are generally considered when trying to answer this question.

The most accepted location is the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. This would have been where the Royal Portico and Solomon's Porch met overlooking the Kidron Valley. At the time of Jesus, the height from this location into the Kidron Valley would have been around 450 feet. Of course, the top of the walls have been destroyed and rebuilt since then, so it is hard to know exactly how high it would have been. Either way, it would have been a very long fall into the Kidron Valley. The image at the top of this post is a picture that I took last September from the area of the Gihon Spring.

The southwest corner of the Temple Mount.The other location that is often discussed as being a possible location of the pinnacle of the temple is the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount. From this corner, you would have overlooked the Upper and Lower City and you would be directly above a Roman street complete with shops and other places of business. Back in the late 1960's, excavations directly below this spot revealed temple stones which were cast over during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD as well as an inscription. This inscription, which also fell from above, describes the southwest corner as "the place of the trumpeting". From this location, a priest would have blew his trumpet for different Jewish events. The image to the left is a current picture of this corner with with the buttress of Robinson's Arch about halfway down.

The southeast and southwest corners of the Temple Mount from the Jerusalem Model at the Israel Museum.The final picture was taken at the model of Jerusalem at the Israel Museum. This model, around an acre in size, depicts Jerusalem during the first century. In this picture, you can see both of the Temple Mount corners that we have discussed here.

Both locations are viable options for the location of the pinnacle of the temple. From either location, a person would face certain death if they decided to jump off. Luckily for us, Jesus used His wisdom and did not succumb to any of the temptations that were thrown at him by the Devil. We all have a lot to learn from His example.

He Knew They Were Coming

The Golden Gate from the steps of the Church of All Nations in Jerusalem.On the night that He was arrested, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to spend some time with God in prayer. The traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane sits at the base of the Mount of Olives just across the Kidron Valley from the city of Jerusalem. Today, a Roman Catholic church, commonly called The Church of All Nations, is built on this spot. The Church of All Nations in JerusalemIf you stand on the steps of the Church of All Nations and look toward your west, you see the view that is depicted in the picture at the top of this post. I took this picture last September while visiting the site. It is a picture of what is commonly called the Golden Gate. This gate was built in the 6th Century AD on the ruins of another gate that dated to the Second Temple Period. During the time of Christ, this gate served as an entrance to the Temple Mount area for people that came from the east (Bethany, Bethpage, etc). It is not unreasonable to assume that Jesus, his disciples and many other people of that day went through that gate. As you can tell from the picture, the gate is not far at all from the Garden of Gethsemane.

Let's look at the picture a little differently. Imagine it is the middle of the night. Except for lanterns or torches that are illuminating the rock walls, it is completely dark. And, it is quiet. So quiet that Peter, James and John could fall asleep....twice. Now, let's read the passage from Matthew 26:

Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. - Matthew 26:45-47

From the passage, we know that the multitude came from the chief priests and elders, and it is probably safe to assume that they were in the city. If so, then Judas and the rest of the multitude could have come out of this gate.

Jesus could look up the hill and could see the lit torches that they would have been carrying. He could probably hear their voices and the clanging of the soldiers armor.

He knew that they were coming. He could have run away. But He didn't.