A Visit to the Museum of the Bible
February 24, 2019

On a Sunday in February, four of my family (Ed, Jeffrey, Julio and I) went to Washington, D.C., to tour the Museum of the Bible.

The entrance, on the right, has two 40-foot tall bronze doors depicting text from Genesis 1 from an early edition of the Gutenberg Bible, in Latin. So as you enter the museum, you actually walk into the Bible.

From the observation area on the top floor you can see much of the city.

There are seven floors of all kinds of displays. I will introduce you to only a few items.

A reproduction of the Memeptah Stele (stone monument), 1208 BC. In cuneiform writing, this stele recounts the military conquests of the pharaoh Memeptah of Egypt. Near the bottom, he mentions that he “wiped out” a people called Israel. This is one of the earliest extra-Biblical references to Israel, confirming the historical accuracy of the Bible.

A closer view of the same stele. The photo has a distracting glare because of the overhead lighting.

The above two photos are of a replica of the Lachish Mural, created in Nineveh about 681 BC.

King Sennacherib of Assyria came to the nation of Judah in 701 BC to destroy its fortified cities. Lachish, southwest of Jerusalem, was the second to last of the cities he attacked. The mural is from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh and depicts the battle of Lachish, which is narrated in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and the book of Isaiah. The record of the Lachich Mural again proves that the Bible gets it right.

A model of Jerusalem in the time of the kings of Judah. The temple complex is in the upper right section.

A large hall contains dozens of Bibles and descriptions of early persons who translated the Bible from Latin into vernacular languages.

In another area there is an impressive display of a circular library with over 6,000 volumes, one volume for each language of the world. The majority of the volumes represents languages that do not yet have any portion of the Scriptures at all.

A scene representing Nazareth as it was in Jesus’ day.

Another scene in Nazareth.

A portion of the Hebrew Bible in a scroll, similar to what was used in Jesus’ day. Note that the sections of the scroll are laced together so that if a mistake is made in hand lettering one section, the scribe does not need to discard the entire scroll. He can simply rewrite that one sheet.

For the first time in my life I learned about the Wiedmann Bible, which depicts the complete OT and NT in pictures. This Bible is on display at the museum. As you will have guessed, the above scene shows Joseph and Mary arriving in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.

The Bible was created by Willy Wiedmann (1929-2013) in Stuttgart, Germany, over a period of 16 years and consists of 3,333 hand painted images.

A portion of the Wiedmann Bible.

The entire work, “the world’s longest painted Bible.”

This is an exact replica of the portable pulpit used by George Whitefield (1714-1770) for outdoor preaching. Whitefield was an English Anglican minister and evangelist who was one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement. He had several preaching tours in America and was part of the Great Awakening here.

The display mentions that “The Marks of the New Birth” was one of his greatest and most successful sermons, which he preached on many occasions.

With that, I close this blog post. Obviously, the Museum of the Bible contains so much more than I can narrate. I urge you to visit it for yourself.

An Unusual Arrangement for a Church Key
November 27, 2018

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is one of the holiest sites of The Christian faith. Many believe that this is the location where Jesus was crucified and buried.

Church of Holy Sepulchre 1

Church of Holy Sepulchre 2

The third photo above shows visitors entering the memorial structure inside the church, a memorial built over the spot where traditions says that Jesus was buried.

I have visited this Church several times, but only recently did I learn the unusual story of the key.

The key to this world-famous Christian Church is held by a Muslim man and his family, and it has been in his family for centuries.

This began in the early 600s, when Umar ibn Khattab was the second caliph (chief civil and religious leader) of the Muslims. He met in Jerusalem with the Christian Patriarch Sophronius and made an agreement granting Christians right to worship in Jerusalem. Since many Christian denominations wanted to worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Umar entrusted the church’s key to a Muslim family for safe keeping.

Actually, the arrangement involves two Muslim families. One family holds the key and carries it to the Church doors every day. A man from another Muslim family uses the key to open the doors. The same process happens every evening to close the doors.

You can learn further details about this arrangement by going online to: key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Monday, December 19, 2011
December 20, 2011

I am here to work on some major review and planning about the present and future of our work in Israel. Chris McNiven from Chicago, son of Don and Sue McNiven, is here to help us with this task. Chris’ work includes walking non-profit organizations through this very kind of thing.

This morning Hank drove JoLene and me and Chris to Tel Aviv. We picked up the one piece of our luggage that was not on our flight yesterday. Then we attempted to go to hear a special speaker talk about the work of Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), the humanitarian organization that arranges for children to come to Tel Aviv for life-saving heart surgery, and through whom Hank sponsors children for surgery. But we got an unclear address and unclear directions for the meeting place, which was in Yafo (or Jaffa), just south of Tel Aviv. So despite phone calls to SACH’s office and confusing directions from people on the street – we stopped several times and asked for this Center – we missed the meeting entirely and drove back to Jerusalem, a 45 minute drive if traffic is light.

Hank says that in Israel receiving confusing directions is a common experience, just part of the price you pay for living here.

NOTE: You may learn more about SACH through their web site: Save A Child’s Heart: Wolfson Medical Center.

In the afternoon Chris, Hank and I worked on a detailed review of our strategic plan for the ministry here. We made excellent progress in what we need to accomplish.

JoLene spent the afternoon with Michele and family and made chili for their supper.

We three men (not to be confused, of course, with “we three kings”) went out for dinner at Focaccia restaurant.

Then back to our apartment. I worked late on emails and such while Jolene went to bed at a decent hour.

The Holy City
December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We arrived at the Tel Aviv airport at 2:30 AM!
Hank Dannecker met us and took us to our apartment in Jerusalem, on Hevron Road, the main road, noisy with traffic, that goes south out of the city toward Bethlehem and all of southern Israel.

We got a few hours of sleep, then went with Hank and family to the Jerusalem Baptist Church on Narkis Street. This is the church they attend.
The service included “Christmas in Vienna,” a program by their children and teens. Michele was pianist for the entire program.
There was a Christmas buffet meal following the service.

In the evening, after dark, JoLene and I walked 25 minutes to the Old City and had a light supper there.

Israel – Part 5
December 27, 2009

I found great delight in exploring the Old City of Jerusalem, on foot because most of the Old City is made of narrow streets, some of them with many steps, where no motor vehicle can go.

Israel – Part 1
December 6, 2009

On December 4 we traveled by land from Jordan to Israel. Our friend Hank and his family met us on the Israel side, to take us to Jerusalem.

London Journal – Sunday, March 15, 2009
March 15, 2009

We left early today because this is the last day for the special exhibit at the British Museum on Babylon: Myth and Reality. A few tickets would be available for those who showed up early (9:00 am) and waited in line.

We got there; we waited; we got tickets for entry at 12:30 pm.