Exciting things are happening in this generation. Israel is the key that opens the door to God's future plan. In 1990 a big gun for Christian Apologetics was accidentally found in the literal shadow of the Temple Mount. Read about this astounding discovery.
There is a discipline in Christianity called Apologetics. It represents "the defense of the faith." Apology is a very misleading word when attached to this noble cause. For those of us who know Jesus Christ as our savior, we have no need to make an apology in defense of our beliefs. The word was never intended that way anyway. Today, Apostate Christianity and the present decline in spirituality dominate this discipline. The normal understanding of an apology may have it's old misleading usage restored?
The Roman Catholic Church is a good example of what Apostate Christianity has done to Apologetics. The "Altar" in all of it's Churches has a relic, or is dedicated to a relic which serves as an apologetic reminder of their style of proof that the Bible record can be defended. These relics range from pieces of the true cross, - the nails - thorns from the crown of thorns - the seamless robe of Christ - the burial shroud that covered Him - the linen of Mary - her wedding ring - locks of her hair - vials of her milk - and even her house miraculously transplanted from Palestine to Italy (yes it's true! A flying house!), just to name a few. John Calvin remarked that there were enough pieces of the cross existing in the Roman Churches of his day to form a good ship load of which 300 men would be hard pressed to carry, and that which the Bible said one man carried (Boettner: Roman Catholicism). Apology to the public is certainly an appropriate word in dealing with this kind of defense of the Biblical record. Rather then an apology, St. Paulinus, one of the Roman Catholic apologists for the veneration and defense of relics, says that "a portion of the true cross kept at Jerusalem gave off fragments of itself without diminishing."
Today Evangelicals join with the Romanist using the shroud of Turin as an apologetic argument. Even Noah's Ark, is being exploited among Evangelicals in a similar manner. I am not denying that Noah's Ark, or any other true relic exists. I'm only pointing out what a laughing stock apologetics has become to a rightly skeptical secular public. Now, before you get to laughing too hard - let me hit you with a ten ton apologetic brick.
In 1990, workers constructing a Water Park in the Jerusalem Peace Park found a Second Temple burial cave literally in the shadow of the Temple Mount. It was not an uncommon find; over 800 Second Temple tombs have been found around Jerusalem. What made it unique was the family name scratched on the back of one of the ossuaries.
I suppose someone is already thinking about getting their ticket to Israel. They probably feel that to see or even touch such a sacred object might bring a cure for some infirmity, produce untold personal wealth, or fix the things their sinful heart has ruined? God has been very frugal in preserving genuine relics. He knows what men would do with things like the original writings of Peter or Paul. Today we must rely on copies of those originals for our New Testament because of the exploiters. We already know what would happen had God preserved the original cross! Yet, God has revealed to our generation an object directly linked to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not the Golden Challis of man's desires, but rather one of the most infamous characters in human history. - A rather hard thing to venerate. - Even old Paulinus would have difficulty exploiting this object!
What makes this archaeological find the "big gun" of Christian Apologetics? It's the family name Caiaphas someone in antiquity scratched on the back side of the ossuary for identification. Contained in this identification name was also the answer to a 2000 year old mystery which confounded scholars expert in the writings of Josephus. The reality of what was found has even the most liberal archaeologists agreeing that the bones of a man in his sixties contained in this ossuary are none other then the Biblical High Priest mentioned many times by name, and who ordered the first scourging of Jesus Christ.
Zvi Greenhut was working for the Antiquity Authority when word came on that cold November day of an accidental discovery at the Peace Park. He observed that the roof of a burial cave had collapsed. A quick look revealed four ossuaries scattered around the central chamber. It had been pillaged in antiquity. As he looked in the four niches of the cave, he could see the ancient tomb robbers had only pillaged six of the twelve ossuaries in the tomb. Niche four was undisturbed, and contained two ossuaries which were still in the same place where the ancient owners had placed them. The large number of ossuaries suggest the Tomb was in use for a long period of time by several families. The most ornate of all the ossuaries was found in niche four. An ossuary fit for a High Priest. A name was discovered scratched on the backside transliterated "Yehosef bar Qafa,"or Joseph son of Caiaphas. With the publication of this information, came the solution to a 2000 year old puzzle. Josephus was a Jewish historian working for the Romans when the Jewish Second Temple was destroyed. His writings have survived. Scholars had debated a peculiar phrase used by Josephus in reference to the Caiaphas of the Bible.Only he identified him as "Joseph who was called Caiaphas" (Antiquities Of The Jews 18 2:2). Now, after 2000 years, a Priestly ossuary turns up in the shadow of the Temple Mount with the inscription "Yehosef bar Qafa." An ossuary containing a famous family's bones among which are those of a man in his sixties. The age scholars place the death of the Biblical Caiaphas. I suppose there are some who when even hit by a ten ton brick would deny it really happened, but for the rest of us the proof is undeniable. Archaeologists have uncovered the bones of one of the most infamous characters in all recorded history. A genuine relic taking us to the very days when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem. This is not some of the Virgin Mary now encased by an extravagantly ornate Roman Catholic Cathedral. This is something very simple, and very real. A positive link to the Biblical record of the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Men of our generation have seen the bones of this man recorded in
A dastardly character who plots death for anyone deemed a threat to his power. He is of the very worst sort who through history have risen to places of authority on the blood of the innocent. We have seen these loathsome characters in the past, and we continue to see them today. We read more of this terrible man's manipulations in
How sad when men like this are allowed to take and remain in positions of responsibility. This was not a loss for God or for righteousness. A plan had been prepared from the very foundation of time (Ephesians 1:9-12). God well foreknew the heart of man. There were no surprises. Even Caiaphas is recorded as having uttered the truth concerning Christ. In the midst of his plotting, much as God permitted that money hungry Balaam to only tell the truth when prophesying (Numbers 22:12), so also Caiaphas found himself repeating that same event. Christ had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Caiaphas now faced with another affirmation of his need to step aside, and allow Christ to assume His rightful position. Now plots again in
Yes, even the lips of this evil man proclaimed the greatest story ever told. It is no mystery shrouded in mysticism. Listen again to the words of Caiaphas: "That Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God." His words indicate that God loves Roman Catholic or Evangelical, Black or White, Jew or Gentile. Yes, Jesus does love the little children of the world. They are all welcome to gather, to come, to the one and only Savior. Promised throughout the Old Testament (Isaiah 53). Confirmed throughout the New Testament (1 John 5:10-12). He died at the hands of this Caiaphas, but in doing so fulfilled God's eternal plan of a single sacrifice that is able to save a soul lost in sin (Hebrews 9:24-28). He can save your soul if you'll only ask Him!
Now the bones of Caiaphas to the religious manipulators of our day. It is not religion that saves. It is not some single group who have the corner on truth and salvation. It is only the unique Jesus Christ who physically walked the streets of Jerusalem. He alone has the power to save (Acts 4:12). Only He can cure the body as well as the heart. No relic, or man, or religion will ever do what only He can do.
When the issue is your personal salvation, all men, all religion, must step aside. My friend, you must go to the Christ of the Bible. The one found in the New Testament who was real, and touchable. He willingly sacrificed Himself by allowing sinful men to put him to death. His power over death was one of their chief concerns. He suffered the humiliation of the cross so salvation could be legally offered to you (1 Peter 1:18,19). God's honor remains intact because Christ suffered in your place. The penalty for your sin was what he bore at Calvary (1 Peter 2:22-25).
There is no record of Caiaphas ever repenting, and coming to Christ. Had he repented, even he would have found forgiveness, restoration, and eternal salvation. Now it is time for you to decide what you will do with this Christ? He is real. His life is recorded. What will you do? Will you run to the latest sighting of the Virgin Mary? Or, will you search the Bible for the real Christ?
How sad I must add this addendum June 28, 1999
July/Aug 1999 Biblical Archaeology Review (pg 12) Israel Museum Exhibit
Putting the Lid on Caiaphas
Museum officials in Jerusalem have had to seal shut the stone burial box of Caiaphas, the high priest who interrogated Jesus, and turned (H)im over to Pontius Pilate for trial. The box, called an ossuary, has been on display for several years and will be a centerpiece of a new exhibit on early Christianity, slated to coincide with millennial celebrations in the Holy Land next year.
The ossuary was discovered by accident in 1990 when a tractor plunged into a cave near Jerusalem Hill of Evil Council, where priests gathered to plot Jesus' death. In keeping with Jewish custom, the bones found in the ossuary, believed to belong to six individuals, were reburied after excavation.
Christian pilgrims, overwhelmed by close proximity to an artifact directly associated to Jesus, frequently pray in front of the ossuary, and some have even tried to sneak a peek inside the box, prompting museum officials to seal the ossuary. "The lid was broken several times," said exhibit curator David Mevorah. "We have now had to fortify it with epoxy resin because people coming here ... try to open it and see if the bones or relics are still here." (They are not.)
The burial box adorned with floral designs hewn in its limestone exterior, is exhibited next to a dedication tablet from a structure unearthed at Caesarea that mentions Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who condemned Jesus to death. The ossuary and the tablet will be joined later this year by a replica of the sole artifact confirming the practice of crucifixion - an ankle bone peirced by a large iron nail.
Here we go! Watch the worshipers come to venerate the stones and wood rather then Jesus Christ. They will pray to an empty box rather then pray for salvation because it means coming to the same Christ so rejected by men the first time He came! Is our generation any different?
Caiaphas the High Priest
After He was arrested, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas' house and detained overnight. The guards mocked and beat Him (Luke 22:63-65). In the morning He was interrogated and further beaten. Caiaphas asked Him, "Are you the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," Jesus replied (Mark 14:61-62). Caiaphas then handed Jesus over to Pilate to be tried.
Following Jesus' crucifixion, Caiaphas continued to persecute the early church. He brought the apostles before the religious leaders and said to them, "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this Name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's (Jesus') blood." Peter and the other apostles replied, "We must obey God rather then men" (Acts 5:28-29).
The Caiaphas family tomb was accidentally discovered by workers constructing a road in a park just south of the Old City of Jerusalem. Archaeologists were hastily called to the scene. When they examined the tomb they found 12 ossuaries (limestone bone boxes) containing the remains of 63 individuals. The most beautifully decorated of the ossuaries was inscribed with the name "Joseph son of (or, of the family of) Caiaphas." That was the full name of the high priest who arrested Jesus, as documented by Josephus (Antiquities 18: 2, 2; 4, 3). Inside were the remains of a 60-year-old male, almost certainly those of the Caiaphas of the New Testament. This remarkable discovery has, for the first time, provided us with the physical remains of an individual named in the Bible
The Trial of Yeshua HaMashiach
|This is the
where Jesus was
|These are the
original steps that
Yeshua was led down after
his trial before Caiaphas.
At the top of the stairs and
|Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted a crown of thorns for His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him.||-||-||"Hail,
King of the Jews!" they said. They spit on Him, and took
the staff and struck Him on the head again and again.
After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him.
Then they led Him away to crucify Him.
original stone etching is a game the
Roman soldiers would play to see who
among them would get to torment
their prisoner - including our Messiah.
Edited by DDSrail on 3/3/97
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