Archaeological discovery: Old Testament-era gate, high place found   

A general view shows the Dome of the Rock (L) and the Western Wall (C) in Jerusalem's Old City December 6, 2017.
A general view shows the Dome of the Rock (L) and the Western Wall (C) in Jerusalem's Old City December 6, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Archaeologists in Israel have discovered a sacred structure known as a high place and a gate to a city that existed during the days of the Old Testament.

Professor Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska headed the excavation, which took place in the ancient city of Bethsaida in the Golan Heights-based Jordan Park.

In an interview with The Christian Post on Thursday, Arav explained that the newly discovered high place, found last week, was comprised of three stele, or standing up stones.

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“One of the steles was iconic and depicts the moon-god of the Arameans. This is unusual discoveries since there are only six steles of this type preserved from the ancient world,” explained Arav.

“One was discovered some years ago at Bethsaida, another one was discovered last week and four others were discovered in sites ranging from the northern Kingdom of Jordan to south Turkey. The moon-god was one of the most important gods of the Arameans.”

Arav also told CP that the city gate they found was “unique since it is the only city gate of a capital city preserved from the Southern Levant from the biblical period.”

“In the Southern Levant there were several biblical kingdoms, each one had a capital city. However, none of these capital cities is preserved today to the extent that it reveals the most important structures in the cities. Bethsaida is unique and a game-changer,” continued Arav.

The discovery of the gate and its high place caught the attention of The Christian Institute, a United Kingdom-based apologetics organization.

Chris Sinkinson, a lecturer at Moorlands College in England, told the Institute in an interview earlier this week that the ancient city was important to biblical studies.  

“The city is thought to be the capital of the Kingdom of Geshur, a friendly ally of Israel. King David married the daughter of the King and Absalom fled here during a rebellion,” said Sinkinson.

“The discovery of this city will have significant implications for our understanding of the world of the Bible at that time.”

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