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Just Another Pile of Rocks? (published in The North Weld Herald 7/22/10)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:15 PM by Fccea Webmaster
My brother, Dr. Jon McNeff, of Walnut Creek, CA, led a tour of biblical sites in the Holy Land, Greece and Turkey in late May and early June of this year. He billed me as co-host, but mostly I was comic relief, assigned to make sure that we didn't leave anyone behind anywhere.

Five distinguished members of our community joined us Sharon Hill and Diane Tateyama of Ault, Roger and Aleta Schulz of Eaton, and, last but not least, my wife, Patty.

Among many highlights, perhaps the most significant for me occurred on the morning of May 28 as we beheld an amazing site at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This area has been uncovered by recent excavations and was only opened to the public within the past 3-4 years.

Most of the city of Jerusalem that Jesus knew has long since disappeared. The Romans virtually leveled the city in 70 AD, and subsequent eras of rebuilding and destruction under various ethnic and religious traditions have left little that Jesus would have known. The southwest corner excavation is an exception.

It has uncovered a street that dates to Jesus' time -- a place where He walked. It is bordered by the mammoth foundation of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great on one side, and by the remains of shops and businesses on the other. To walk that street and stand in those ancient doorways was inspiring enough.

But what I found truly awe-inspiring was something else. As I stood on that street, I was reminded of a time when Jesus stood in the same place as recorded in Matthew 24:1-2, "Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple [for their beauty]. But he answered them, 'You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.'"

Not one stone left that would not be thrown down -- and there they were -- a great pile of rocks stacked in the middle of the street! They were stones which had at one time occupied the top of the temple wall, but about 40 years after Jesus' prophecy, the Romans had indeed torn down every building and every wall that constituted the great temple of Herod. And as they threw those huge stones from the top of the wall into the street, huge indentations were made in the street -- and there it all was right in front of our eyes -- mute testimony to the omniscience of the Savior who walked those streets 2,000 years ago.

I have long believed that the greatest evidence for the validity of Christianity is twofold -- the undeniable evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead -- and fulfilled prophecy. Depending on who is counting, there are well over 600 prophecies in the Old Testament to the life of Christ alone. Prophecies such as the fact that He would be born in small, insignificant Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), that he would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12-13), that he would refuse to answer his accusers (Isa. 53:7); that he would die by crucifixion, a means of execution unheard of at the time David prophesied it (Psa. 22:16); that people would gamble for his clothing (Psa. 22:18); that none of his bones would be broken, though that was common in crucifixions (Psa. 34:20); that he would lie in a rich man's grave (Isa. 53:9); that he would be resurrected (Psa. 16:8-11). Psa. 22 and Isa. 53 read like NT history, rather than OT prophecy, although even the most adamant critics acknowledge that they were written hundreds of years before the facts that they describe.

A pile of rocks? Maybe to some, but to me they were screaming witnesses to the truth of God's Word, compelling us all to receive Him (John 1:12). For this same One who accurately prophesied the destruction of this indestructible temple also prophesied this to believers: "I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." He's never been wrong yet. Trust in Him.

By His Grace, Pastor Dave