The Secret to Revealing the Lies of Temptation

Learning from Jesus at the Pinnacle of the Temple

Temptation is hard. That’s because the lies of temptation sound so convincing. When Jesus stood on the pinnacle of the Temple, He faced temptation with a wisdom we also can apply.

Temple Mount southwestern corner - The Secret to Revealing the Lies of Temptation

(Photo: Temple Mount southwestern corner. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Some believe the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem represents the pinnacle where Satan dangled temptation before Jesus (Luke 4:9). Satan is the best marketer in the sin business. 

A recent phone call reminded me of this. 

Click to continue reading »

I always enjoy going to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Western Wall is no exception. In this quick video I share one of major reasons coming to the Wall is so exciting. It reminds me of a hope that also will encourage you. 

Check it out! 

Tell me what you think: What is your greatest hope? To leave a comment, just click here.

How Your Mind is Like an Archaeological Dig

Time is no friend to an unintentional spiritual life.

Time does its natural work of hiding the truth. Archaeology proves it so. Go anywhere biblical history happened in Israel, and it looks different than when the event occurred. Sometimes, the difference is amazing.

How Your Mind is Like an Archaeological Dig

(Photo: Robinson’s Arch with new excavations. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I remember a dirt road beside my grandfather’s farm where I used to ride my bike as a boy. I went by that road recently, and it had completely grown over with weeds. No trace of that old road at all! Gone—after only a few decades.

Whenever I go to Israel, I see dozens of sites where biblical history unfolded. But without the archaeologist’s spade, the places of biblical events would lie hidden beneath centuries of erosion, overgrowth, and destruction.

It takes digging to see the sites. Why? Time does its natural work of hiding the truth.

The same proves true with your mind.

Click to continue reading »

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

There's only one thing we can give our God who has everything.

Abraham saw the acreage. David bought the lot. Solomon built the house. Nebuchadnezzar tore it town. Zerubbabel rebuilt it. Herod the Great expanded it. Titus flattened it.

Before these temples stood on Mount Moriah, it was nothing but a hill used for threshing wheat. Hardly worth noticing.

The Temple Mount—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

(Photo: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But today, the Temple Mount remains the most precious piece of real estate in the world. And the golden shrine that graces its crest has become the icon for the Holy City of Jerusalem itself.

How did this ordinary hill become holy? Not through battles or land bartering or by popular vote.

God chose it. It’s the same with us.

Click to continue reading »

My Virtual Reality Tour Through Jerusalem’s Second Temple

And a danger of living in a virtual reality mindset.

Have you ever experienced virtual reality? I hadn’t. But a Tweet from my friend, Carl Rasmussen, changed that. He made me aware of a new exhibit in Jerusalem. I checked it out recently.

My Virtual Reality Tour Through Jerusalem's Second Temple

(Image: Screenshot from the promotional video below)

On our free day in Jerusalem on our recent tour, my wife and some friends and I decided to experience a virtual tour through the Second Temple. This exhibit is sponsored by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation (the same organization that hosts underground tours of the Western Wall).

After entering a small room and receiving some instruction on using the virtual reality equipment, the guide ushered us to a room with a dozen swivel seats, each outfitted with virtual reality glasses and headphones. I put the gear on.

Suddenly, I was all alone.

Click to continue reading »

Connecting the Rapture, Rosh Hashanah, and the Place of Trumpeting

A reminder of where our true hope lies.

Whenever I visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, I’m eager to walk to the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. I’ve never been to this corner on Rosh Hashanah or during the Feast of Trumpets, but I’d love to go there then. Archaeologists have uncovered a large portion of the first-century street that stretched north along the original Western Wall.

Echoes of Rosh Hashanah— To the Place of Trumpeting

(Photo: The southwest corner of the Temple Mount at left. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

One hundred meters north of the corner is the part of the Western Wall where locals and tourists pray. But beneath the ground, Jerusalem’s Central Valley has been filled in with the rubble of the Second Temple’s destruction in A.D. 70.  As a result, the beautiful modern plaza stands about 30 feet above the first-century street uncovered at the southwestern corner.

There at the corner lies a reminder of something Jesus predicted 37 years before the temple’s destruction.

And of a promise He made that could be fulfilled at any moment.

Click to continue reading »

Chasing the Surprising Geography of the Presence of God

How can God be somewhere and everywhere at the same time?

It’s hard to imagine an omnipresent God dwelling in one place. And yet, every December we celebrate the fact. God dwells in the confines of a human body. And He is also everywhere.

But the incarnation isn’t the first time God has localized His presence among His people.

Presence of God

(Photo: Olive groves near Bethlehem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God is both omnipresent and present. King Solomon summed up the seeming contradiction when he prayed:

Will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. —2 Chronicles 6:18

From creation to Christmas—and from today to eternity.

Let’s take a quick geographical journey and follow movements of God’s dwelling place among us.

Click to continue reading »

Google Street View of 6 Biblical Sites

Walk around in the Holy Land without leaving home.

Google Maps Street View serves us well with directions, helping us to see what the turns in our journey actually look like. But the Web site also allows a virtual peek at some key biblical sites.

Google Street View of 7 Biblical Sites

There’s nothing like traveling to Israel to see the land of the Bible firsthand. Experiencing the Bible with all your senses is an unforgettable way to learn it. You’ll never be the same.

But until your first (or next) trip, you might enjoy a virtual walk through a few biblical sites via Google Street View.

I have chosen 6 biblical sites that allow you to do a little exploring.

Click to continue reading »

The good folks at SourceFlix.com have created a simple video explaining the history of the Temple Mount. If you’d like a quick summary of this significant place in the Bible and history, you owe it to yourself to watch this video. It is well done.

If you’d like more on the Temple Mount, check out this post.

Your Heart is a Reservoir for Truth

Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah mirror how God gave both rain and His Word for life.

I recently had a man in his 60s tell me, “I have to spend daily time reading the Bible. I mean every single day. I need it.” His words simply affirmed what the Bible makes clear for all of us.

Reading the Bible—Your Heart is a Reservoir of Truth

(Photo: A cistern near Michmash. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God used a simple, physical resource like rain water to teach the spiritual truth that He alone is the true source of life. This truth hasn’t changed for us. The need for water illustrates the need for truth—both essential for life.

When the rainy season begins in Israel each fall, the High Holidays draw to a close with the celebration of the holiday, Shemini Atzeret, which means, “the assembly of the eighth [day].” (The holiday originates from Leviticus 23:36.) Following the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, the act of bringing a sacrifice to God was replaced with the tradition of praying for rain, called Tefilat Geshem, the only exclusive ritual of Shemini Atzeret.

Where there is water in Israel, there is life. And where there isn’t water? The rule in antiquity was simple. Pray for rain and dig a cistern.

If you’re feeling dry in your spiritual life, there’s only one way to slake your thirst.

Click to continue reading »