IN HIS STEPS: Biblical Archaeologists In Israel Make Stunning Discovery Of 2,000 Year Old Pilgrimage Road That Jesus Would Have Walked Up To The Temple

When a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighbourhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem in 2004, workers were sent to fix the leak, accompanied by a team of archaeologists. During the repairs, workers stumbled upon some stairs close to where the Shiloah was believed to have once stood. This was the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple. According to Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), almost all Jewish pilgrims would have entered the city along this road. Spielman claims this is a road that Jesus almost certainly used during the Second Temple period.
NEW DISCOVERY IN JERUSALEM'S CITY OF DAVID: 2,000-YEAR-OLD PILGRIMAGE ROAD
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The Pilgrimage Road goes all the way from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.

The deeper you dig anywhere in Israel, the more you discover remnants of the amazing and storied history of the Jewish people in the land. This latest find, a pilgrimage road dating back to the time of Jesus of Nazareth, is astonishing when you realize what it truly is. It’s the actual pathway that pilgrims, Jewish and gentile, walked to reach the Temple so they could worship God and offer sacrifice as commanded in the Law of Moses. Jesus Himself would have walked these steps, and very shortly you’ll be able to do the exact same thing when it will be opened to tourists.

“And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward. And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;” Nehemiah 12:37,38 (KJV)

When a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighbourhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem in 2004, workers were sent to fix the leak, accompanied by a team of archaeologists. During the repairs, workers stumbled upon some stairs close to where the Shiloah was believed to have once stood. This was the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple. According to Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), almost all Jewish pilgrims would have entered the city along this road. Spielman claims this is a road that Jesus almost certainly used during the Second Temple period.

To me, all these discoveries in the past few years relating to the last standing Jewish Temple sure makes me think that God is preparing the world to see the creation of another one. You know, the one that Daniel 9 and Jesus in Matthew 24 tell us will be used by Antichrist.

NEW DISCOVERY IN JERUSALEM’S CITY OF DAVID: 2,000-YEAR-OLD PILGRIMAGE ROAD

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: In 2004, a sewage pipe burst in the middle of the neighborhood of Silwan in southeast Jerusalem. The municipality sent in a crew of construction workers to fix the leak, and as is the case in Jerusalem and especially in neighborhoods adjacent to the Old City, they were accompanied by a team of archeologists.

As the repairs progressed, the construction workers stumbled upon some long and wide stairs a few dozen meters from where the Shiloah – the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple, until its destruction in 70 CE – was believed to have once stood. The steps were just like the ones that lead to the Hulda Gates, a set of now blocked entrances along the Temple Mount’s Southern Wall.

Discovery of the Shiloah Pool led to another monumental find – the central water drainage channel that had served ancient Jerusalem. This channel is the tunnel that visitors to the City of David – known as Ir David – get to walk through today, starting at the bottom of the Shiloah and emerging about 45 minutes later next to the Western Wall.

As is often the case with archeology, though, the first discovery or two are just the beginning. That is how a few weeks ago I found myself on an exclusive tour of an ancient road dug out beneath the village of Silwan and above the now well-known water channel (also the place where Jewish rebels made a final stand against the Roman invaders).

The ancient street is referred to as “Pilgrimage Road,” since archeologists are convinced that this is the path millions of Jews took three times a year when performing the commandment of aliyah l’regel – going up to the holy city of Jerusalem to bring sacrifices to God during Judaism’s three key holidays, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

The Pilgrimage Road goes all the way from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.

Titus Flavius Josephus, the first-century Roman-Jewish historian, wrote that 2.7 million people used to visit Jerusalem during the various Jewish holidays, bringing with them some 256,000 sacrifices. Almost all of the Jewish pilgrims, according to Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), would have entered the city on this road. It is a road that Jesus almost certainly used during the Second Temple period, alongside many of the famous Jewish scholars and leaders of that period.

“This place is the heart of the Jewish people, and is like the blood that courses through our veins,” Spielman said.

Here is one example: Hillel and Shammai – the famous first-century scholars who figure prominently in the Mishna – debate at what stage in a child’s development his father is obligated to include him in the pilgrimage. Shammai, the stringent one, says that a child should be included as long as he can sit on his father’s shoulders. Hillel says only if the child is able to walk up the 750-meter road need he be included.

Walking the road – as of now Ir David has excavated about 250 meters of it – you can imagine the throngs of people parading on it 2,000 years ago. Young boys walking next to their parents. Girls on their fathers’ shoulders. So far, only some of the stores that once lined the road have been partially uncovered, but with imagination you can hear the bartering that took place here – people trading leather for fur, seeds for honey, coins for wine.

For example, archeologists found a set of stairs in the middle of the road alongside one of the ancient shops. But the staircase doesn’t go anywhere. It ends in a platform. When Ir David checked, though, it found just one other similar set of stairs – in Rome, where it was used as something like a Hyde Park-style Speakers’ Corner. Basically, this was a place where people could make announcements and deliver speeches to the pilgrims as they climbed the road to the Temple.

Then archeologists found beside the stairs the burned remains of a male palm tree, one that doesn’t give fruit. Why would there be a non-fruit producing tree right there on the road? To provide shade for the speakers.

“To understand Jerusalem, you need to stand here,” Spielman said. “We were exiled in 70 CE and prayed three times a day and established a state. The last breath of Jews was here, beneath us.” Spielman pointed at some black ash discovered along the road and mentioned the thousands of coins the archeologists uncovered engraved with the words “Free Zion.”

“This was the battle cry during the fight against the Romans,” he explained. “They made coins and not arrowheads, because they knew they could not beat Rome, but they made the coins so there would be something left for the people who would one day come back.”

IR DAVID has changed our understanding of history. It is one thing to read the Mishna and imagine or visualize what life for Jews was once like. It is quite another to walk on the exact same road as they did.

For the last few months, Ir David has been working around the clock to connect the excavated part of the road with the Shiloah Pool. It is tedious work that has to be done slowly. Every inch excavated has to be reinforced with steel beams to protect the modern city above.

The project has so far cost several hundred million dollars, and while the government has provided a portion of the budget, most has come from private donors, such as Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum. Ir David hopes that when the road officially opens in a few months, it will draw approximately one million visitors a year.

Yisrael Hasson, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, noted: “The Road project is a part of the Shalem Plan, which was approved in a government cabinet meeting, the purpose of which is to preserve and develop the area of ancient Jerusalem. The plan relates to the sites of ancient Jerusalem from a comprehensive governmental planning and budgetary perspective, which will create a holistic visitor experience in this unique area. We are currently in the second phase of the plan, which will dramatically improve this entire area.  READ MORE

New discovery in Jerusalem’s City of David: 2,000-year-old pilgrimage road

The City of David has already changed Jerusalem. A new discovery there opening soon will change the way Jews connect with their past in a way never seen before.

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