This is the second time that I have been to the Israel Museum, and it is the second time that I have wished I could shrink in size to about 1 inch tall. If I could, I would have a blast running around the scaled 3D model of first century Jerusalem!
I LOVE the scaled model.
I love looking at it and imagining the streets being filled with people doing everyday things. I love imagining how crazy the city would be during one of the annual celebrations that would require Jews to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When Jesus came to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, there was likely half a million people filling the busy streets.
The scene came to life right in front of me as I listened, looked, and imagined.
Looking out at the model from a couple different vantage points, we talked through several key locations from the life of David, Solomon, and Jesus.
We talked about why the Jebusites would have settled where they did, in the land that would ultimately become Jerusalem. The answer became obvious as we looked over the model. Jebus was the land just northwest of where the Kidron Valley and the Hinnom Valley come together, and it contained one very important element -natural water. The Pool of Siloam is located within the walls of David’s Jerusalem, the original Jerusalem. The pool collected water from a natural spring, as well as water coming down from further up the mountainous region.
It was also interesting to think about Jerusalem being the land between Benjamin and Judah. Saul, Israel’s first King, was from the tribe of Benjamin. David, Israel’s second King, was from the tribe of Judah. In a way, the establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a way to unify Israel as one. It was a land that was technically given to Benjamin, but was occupied by Jebusites.
When David became king, he reigned in Hebron for 7 years, but Hebron is located in Judah. He wanted to move the capital to, what appears to be, a very strategic city. So he conquered the city that would become Jerusalem, and the king from the tribe of Judah moved the kingdom to the northernmost part of Benjamin.
To put this in perspective, it would be similar to moving the capital of the United States of America from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, D.C. Suddenly the capital did not belong to any one tribe, but to ALL of the tribes.
Moving around the model, we moved out of the Old Testament and into the new. We imagined Jesus coming down from the Mount of Olives and into the Temple Mount during the Triunphal Entry.
The Temple Mount has a prominent and obvious “main door” to the south. You can’t miss it. The road is three times as wide as any other and the doors are massive. Jesus did not use this door. Instead, he was coming from the east and would have used the eastern door. Why is this important?
The eastern gate would have been used by the High Priest. There was an important ritual that the High Priest would undergo, sanctifying themselves by taking a special bath in the Mount of Olives and then entering the Temple Mount through the eastern gate. It is likely that this is exactly what Jesus did before making his Triumphal Entry through the High Priest’s Gate. In essense, he was declaring himself to be the High Priest.
These are the kinds of things that become so illuminated while studying the scaled model.
After marveling at the model for a sufficient length of time, we went in to the museum where we had a chance to view the famous “Dead Sea Scrolls”. The Israel Museum is the only place on earth where you can for sure view the scrolls. Pieces travel around the world for exhibits, but most of the scrolls remain in Israel.
It is super faith building to be reminded that the scriptures we read and study today have been faithfully preserved and passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. We can read and study with confidence that the words have not been changed to fit the ever changing whims of mankind. The Dead Sea Scrolls stand as a testament to the faithfulness of God, and to His promise to watch overHis word.