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MIDDLE EASTERN PHOTOS/COMMENTARY, VOL. I

OUR JOURNEY BEGINS IN AMMAN, JORDAN

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POSTCARD – AMMAN, CAPITAL CITY OF JORDAN

 

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HOTEL JERUSALEM - AMMAN, JORDAN

 

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AMMAN NEIGHBORHOOD

 

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AQABA, JORDAN
Located along the Gulf of Aqaba

 

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A JORDANIAN VILLAGE

 

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JORDANIAN CHILDREN

Children rejoice to see a tour bus approaching!  The tour bus stops and tourists hand out small gifts and candy.  This is a delightful custom giving the tourists a chance to experience the precious children of each country.

 

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JORDANIAN COUNTRYSIDE WITH ACACIA TREES

The Acacia (shittah or shittum) tree is a thorny tree found abundantly in Egypt and more sparsely in arid areas elsewhere in the Middle East.  It grows abundantly in the wadies of Sinai and the Dead Sea.  The Ark of the Tabernacle was built out of the Acacia tree’s orange-colored, close grained, wood.  This wood is heavy and very insect resistant.  The Acacia grows up to 20 feet tall and bears yellow flowers

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Acacia Tree – Google Image


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WHITE, FLINTY ROCK AT SPRING OF MOSES VILLAGE, JORDAN


Dome-like, white rock in the background is thought to be the rock referred to in
Exodus 17:1-6:
“Wherefore the people quarreled with Moses, and said to him, ‘Give us water that we may drink’ ….  And Moses prayed to the Lord ….  ‘Behold, I will stand before you there on the flinty rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the flinty rock, and there shall gush water out of it, that the people may drink.’  And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

 

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Spring of Moses Village, Jordan


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Spring of Moses Village
PETRA, JORDAN

 

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PETRA – JORDAN’S ANCIENT & MYSTERIOUS TREASURE


Tourists ride horses into Petra (Rock) guided by young boys who can speak multiple languages.  My guide was age 15 and spoke 5 languages. 

 

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Petra is accessible only through a narrow gorge cut out of the mountain.  After riding on horseback through this stone mountain, it is a breathtaking experience to reach the entrance to Petra.  Petra was one of the easiest to defend cities of the ancient world.  Its leaders became rich through trade, good water management, and by exacting tolls from caravans.  Petra’s glory days were in the century before Jesus’ birth.  When Rome annexed it in the second century, Petra had about 30,000 residents.

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THE ANCIENT TREASURY AT PETRA


The ancient treasury is sculptured as part of the stone mountain.  The entrance gorge cut through the stone mountain opens into a large circle in front of “The Treasury.”  It is world famous because of the Indiana Jones “The Last Crusade” movie.  “The Treasury” is so-named based on the large carved object that resembles an urn at the top of this enormous building.  According to legend, the urn contains treasure.  Chips on the inaccessible urn are the results of unsuccessful attempts to break it with bullets and stones.

“The Treasury” and many of the other buildings in Petra are actually tombs.  One of Petra’s mysteries is that with all these tombs, no human bones have ever been discovered.

Petra was built in the 1st century B.C. by Nabataen Arabs, to be the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom.  It was taken over by the Romans in the 2nd century A.D. (B.C.E.).  Modern engineers say the Nabataens were “absolute geniuses” at controlling rainwater to prevent flooding and to avoid shortages in times of drought.  Petra’s temples, tombs, theaters, and other buildings are scattered over 400 square miles.


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RUINS OF THE ANCIENT CITY OF PETRA

 

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6 yr. old Jordanian at Petra who knew how to charm the tourists.

 

MT. NEBO (PISGAH), JORDAN
One of the most revered holy sites in Jordan.

“Go up into this mountain of the Abraye [the descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, who had crossed the Euphrates River] into mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over toward Jericho; and view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession.  And die on the mountain which you ascend.”  Deut. 32:49-50a

“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to the mountain of Nebo, to the top of the hill which is opposite Jericho.  And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan ….  So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.  And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor; but no man knows of his sepulcher to this day.”  Deut. 34:1, 5-6

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On a crystal clear day, Jerusalem may be seen in the background.

 

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The Serpent on Mt. Nebo

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent of brass, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass that every one who is bitten by a serpent, when he looks upon it, shall live.’  So Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”    Numbers 21:8-9

“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man is ready to be lifted up.”  John 3:14

 

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CHURCH & SANCTUARY AT MT. NEBO


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This church is a memorial to Moses and a center for pilgrimage since earliest Christian times.  The 1st church was constructed in the 2nd half of the 4th century to commemorate the place of Moses’ death.  This church had three apses (a projecting part of the building), was semicircular in form, and vaulted.

 

DAMASCUS, SYRIA

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DOWNTOWN DAMASCUS, SYRIA
While in downtown Damascus, part of our group got lost.  A young Syrian man walked many blocks with us, back to our tour bus. 

 

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SHOPPING AREA – DAMASCUS, SYRIA

Because our seminary professors spoke Arabic, the Syrian government suspected they might be spies.  Therefore, a government official rode on our tour bus.  One night in a restaurant we caused quite a stir because someone overheard our professors speaking Arabic.  When law enforcement officers arrived in the restaurant, the fear from the other customers was palpable.  We were simply puzzled as to what was going on.  Finally the situation was solved and the law enforcement officers left the restaurant.  Meanwhile, we got to experience first hand the level of fear that exists in the Middle East.

 

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A STREET CALLED STRAIGHT


“Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision ….  ‘Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight and enquire at the house of Judah for Saul of the city of Tarsus; for behold, he is praying and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and laying his hands on him to restore his sight’ ….  Then Ananias went to him at the house, and laying his hands on him, said, ‘Saul, my brother, our Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the way when you were coming, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’  And in that hour, there fell from his eyes something like scales; and his eyesight was restored; and he arose and was baptized.”  Acts 9:1-19


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HANANIA CHURCH – DAMASCUS

Hanania Church is located on the site of the House of Judah where Ananias healed Saul/Paul of his blindness.

 

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POSTCARD – DAMASCUS WALL


“Saul became more powerful, and he made the Jews who dwelt in Damascus tremble when he proved that Jesus is the Christ.  After he had been there many days, the Jews plotted against him to kill him.  But their conspiracy was made known to Saul, how they watched the gates of the city day and night to kill him.  Then the disciples placed him in a basket and let him down over the wall during the night.”  Acts 9:22-25

 

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UMMAYAD MOSQUE – DAMASCUS


The pulpit is in the center.
History of the mosque:  3000 B.C.E. – Aramean Temple to the god Hadad.
1st century C.E. (A.D.) – Temple to Jupiter
193-211 – Restored  under Septimus Severus
379 C.E. (A.D.) – Church of St. John the Baptist under the Emperor Theodosius.
636 – South wall became mosque shared with Muslims after Damascus was taken by the Arabs.
708-715 – Ummayad Caliph Al-Walid built the Great Mosque in the present shape.  The Christians were compensated with four permanent church sites elsewhere within the old city.


                                    1893 – Prayer Hall rebuild by the Ottomans after a severe fire.
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PRAYER HALL – UMMAYAD MOSQUE – DAMASCUS


The Prayer Hall is situated over the site thought to contain the tomb of John the Baptist.

“Your Lord says, ‘Call on Me; I will answer your prayer.’”  Qur’an 40.60

“When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed Close to them.  I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me.”  Qur’an 2.186

“Prayer restrains one from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of God is the greatest thing in life, without doubt.”  Qur’an 29.45

“Establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of night:  for those things that are good remove those that are evil.  This is a word of remembrance to those who remember.”  Qur’an 11.114

“Call on your Lord with humility and in private.”  Qur’an 7.55

 

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While in Damascus, the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch & All The East, His Beatitude Ignatius IV, spoke with our seminary group.  He was very outspoken about the arrogance of the United States in its relationship with the rest of the world.  His Beatitude warned that unless Americans changed their attitude, real trouble could be forthcoming.

 

VILLAGE OF MA’ALOULA, SYRIA

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By far, the Village of Ma’aloula is the most important Christian site in Syria.  In Syrian, Ma’aloula means “the entrance,” probably referring to the gorge in between the mountains.  Ma’aloula is the only village in the world that still speaks an ancient dialect of Aramaic—the dialect most likely spoken by Jesus.

While in Ma’aloula, our tour group happened upon a baptismal service.  The parents invited us to observe with them.  We were thrilled to be included in this sacred ritual.


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The church was unheated, as is the case in Middle Eastern churches.  The naked baby is dipped into warm water in the bowl and baptized.

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After baptism, the baby is anointed with oil and given its 1st Communion.


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The parents are jubilant.

 

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ST. SERGE CHAPEL – MA’ALOULA, SYRIA


St. Serge Chapel was built in the 4th century.  Although the village of Ma’aloula dates far back in history, there are only two chapels and few remains that are very ancient.  This first chapel is the St. Sergius convent (Mar Sarkis), a Greek Catholic chapel.  It has a beautiful display of icons on the wall above the altar.  This chapel is considered to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in Christendom.  Down the mountain into the village is the other chapel, a Greek Orthodox chapel dedicated to St. Thecia (Mar Taqla) and located in the lower monastery.  St. Thecia is said to have been a pupil of the Apostle Paul.  She is thought to be buried in the mountain just above the monastery.


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This altar is the oldest in the world.  It predates the 325 A.D. Council at Nicea where it was outlawed because it resembles an altar of animal sacrifice. The villages of Ma’aloula and Seidnaya are located in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and are of great importance to Christendom.

SEIDNAYA, SYRIA

This village, where houses are built around a rock with a very old monastery at the top, is considered a place for religious pilgrimage.  A steep climb is the only way up to the monastery, which is said to date back to the Emperor Justinian (483-565). 

Legend states that the Virgin Mary appeared to Justinian and asked him to found the monastery.  After entering through a maze of passages we finally reach the Chapel of the Virgin.  The walls are covered with beautiful icons including one said to have been painted by St. Luke, author of the Gospel of Luke.  This chapel was very sacred to Christians and at one point was the second most sacred Christian place of pilgrimage after Jerusalem.  The Crusaders called it “Notre Dame de Sardeneye.”

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Hilltop Monastery at Seidnaya dating to the time of Emperor Justinian.

 

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Chapel of the Virgin – Seidnaya, Syria

 

 

TADMOR - PALMYRA, SYRIA

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“And King Hiram [of Tyre] sent to King Solomon one hundred and twenty talents of gold.  And this is the portion of tribute which King Solomon levied to build the house of the Lord and his own house.  And he also built the wall of Jerusalem and Millo and Hazor and Megiddo, and Gezer.  For Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had gone up and conquered Gezer and burned it with fire and slain the Canaanites who dwelt in the city and given it as a present to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.  And Solomon built Gezer and Beth-hauran the lower and Baalath and TADMOR in the land of the wilderness and all the cities for storage that Solomon had, and the cities for the chariots and cities for the horsemen and whatsoever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem and in Lebanon and in all the land of his dominion.”    I Kings 9:14-19,  II Chronicles 8:1-6

Monumental architectural feats are characteristic of the Middle East.  There exists many theories as to how these huge stone structures were created, but not one gives a feasible explanation for a world without cranes.   Metaphysicians would say these immense stones were levitated into place.

 

 

TADMOR – PALMYRA, SYRIA

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Tadmor was located in a fertile oasis in the Syrian desert 140 miles northeast of Damascus.  Its location between Mesopotamia and the western part of the Fertile Crescent rendered it an important caravan city between 2000 B.C. and the early Islamic period in the 7-8th centuries C.E. (i.e. A.D.).  Tadmor reached its height of prosperity during the Roman period and was then called PALMYRA.  The well-preserved ruins tell a detailed story of a wealthy Syrian metropolis.  (Harper’s Bible Dictionary)

PALMYRA’s magnificent ruins reveal much about the reign of Queen Zenobia during the 2nd century C.E.  Palmyra is located near a hot-water spring and was an ideal place for caravans to stop and rest.  These caravans were traveling between Iraq and Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan—and were trading in silk from China to the Mediterranean Sea.  Queen Zenobia was an astonishing ruler.  She was exceptionally brilliant and attractive.  A gifted linguist, she was an eloquent speaker of Palmyrian, Greek, and Egyptian.  Queen Zenobia had a wide knowledge of politics, and in her court, were many philosophers, scholars, and theologians.

 

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    TOWER TOMB – PALMYRA                         INTERIOR OF TOWER TOMB
This tower tomb dates back to pre-Roman times.
The grayish section beside the woman and child painting is composed of stone shelves onto which the coffins were placed rising from the floor to the ceiling.


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INTERIOR OF TOWER TOMB


In between each of the painted wall panels were the stone shelves holding the coffins.  Each tower tomb held many coffins.  Note the angel in the circle on the ceiling—in the above photo.

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THE CEILING OF THE TOWER TOMB


This tower tomb is an excellent example of the wealth present in ancient Tadmor and Palmyra.

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MONASTERY AT PALMYRA

 

         
CAIRO, EGYPT

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THE CITADEL OF SALAH AL-DIN AL-AYYUBI
A Citadel is a fortress that commands a city, a stronghold.

 

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School Children in the Citadel
Many of the children greeted our group with shouts of “Welcome” and came over to shake our hands.

 


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POSTCARD - MOHAMMED ALY MOSQUE INSIDE THE CITADEL OF SALAH AL-DIN AL-AYYUBI IN CAIRO, EYGPT

 

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ST. SARGUS ORTHODOX CHURCH IN CAIRO, EGYPT

The oldest church in Egypt – built on the site where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are thought to have lived during their sojourn in Egypt.

 

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        INTERIOR OF ST. SARGUS                    NATIVITY SCENE AT ST. SARGUS
The Middle Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas during January.  The Orthodox Churches in the Middle East have ancient roots in the earliest of Christian churches.

 

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A MAJOR STREET IN CAIRO, EGYPT
The camel herds are a normal part of the traffic.


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CAMEL HERD – CAIRO, EGYPT
Camels are essential animals for desert travel because they can go for up to a week without water.

 

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A PAPYRUS PLANT

In ancient times, this plant was used to make paper and scrolls for writing.  This shop continues to make papyrus paper. The original biblical literature was written on papyrus scrolls, including the early Christian text.  Over 800 scrolls have been discovered at Qumran, an Essene community.  60 of these scrolls were written on papyrus.

 

GIZA, EGYPT

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          PYRAMIDS AT GIZA


We arrived at Giza after dark.  The next morning we came down to breakfast to find the dining room overlooked the pyramids.  From a distance of ½ mile, we reacted upon first seeing them, “Is that all?”  Our anticipation of finally seeing the pyramids fell flat.  Little did we know!

 

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We rode camels the one mile round trip to the pyramids.


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Members of our seminary group on their camel

When the camel kneels, it bends the front legs first, leaving the rider at a precarious angle.  As my camel kneeled, my camera got caught between me and the saddle rod and cracked.  Thankfully, it lasted until we got back to the U.S.  I enjoyed telling people that I broke my camera on a camel’s back.

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My Camel Guide

 

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THE GREAT PYRAMID
Once you reach the pyramid, it is gigantic.  The pyramids were covered in white limestone during ancient times, which made them glow brightly in the desert Sun.

 

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THE GREAT PYRAMID

The Great Pyramid is the largest and only surviving 7 Wonders of The Ancient World.
The mysteries of the pyramid are yet to be fully discovered.  Contrary to popular tour guide explanations, the Pyramids at Giza were not an enormous tomb built for a Pharoah with a huge ego.  According to metaphysical researchers, the most likely use for the pyramids was for Initiations into the Mystery Religions.

Research by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert in their book The Orion Mystery:  Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids found that the three pyramids at Giza are aligned with the three stars in Orion’s Belt.  The King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid is also aligned with Orion’s Belt.  It was within the King’s Chamber that the neophyte underwent symbolically the “second death”  in order to achieve the status of Initiate.  Thus God’s question to Job (Job 38:31):  “Have you seen the path of Orion?”   (Lamsa’s translation from the Aramaic) very likely indicates God is asking Job if he has been initiated in the King’s Chamber

 

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THE SPHINX WITH PYRAMIDS AT GIZA

         
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THE SPHINX AT GIZA


The Sphinx is one more mystery to be found in Egypt.  According to Tony Bushby in The Secret in the Bible, the Great Pyramid and Sphinx are directly linked to the Torah of the Bible.  Modern secular researchers believe the Sphinx and Great Pyramid to be much older than is commonly stated.  As additional discoveries are made, we will find that Egypt plays a major role as background for both the Old & New Testament.  Egypt provides a rich source of exciting research for biblical researchers, journalists, and metaphysicians.  There are underground temples within the Sphinx and tunnels leading from it to the Great Pyramid and the Nile River.  Mystery on top of mystery!

END OF VOL. I

Volume 2

 

The Caudles of Anson County, NC

What's Really Happening in America?

Divine Government

Re-introduces House Bill 808 Calling for a Dept. of Peace

Wake Up To Mother Earth

Foreclosures, Bankers' Manifesto, & Land Patents

The Debt Crisis Is The Best Thing That Has Happened!

 

 

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