Monday, April 19, 2010

Exploration in Antiquities Center part I

I went on a day trip with a group where we visited The Exploration in Antiquities Center located in LaGrange, Georgia. There are various tangible vignettes of life during Biblical times. Our guide was knowledgeable and well versed. I learned many things that I didn't know about the Bible and the true meaning of many Bible scriptures. It was a wonderful experience.
Click to enlarge any of the pictures for a better view.

CISTERNS
The long dry season of the Middle East made it necessary for inhabitants to collect water for times of scarcity of water or if a city was under combat. Rain only fell five months out of the year so water was a precious commodity.
Read Proverbs 5:15


THE EARLY CHURCH
Viewing the Romans as pagans early Jews and Christians would not adopt the architecture of the Romans. The basilica was constructed. In Latin it means “public court house.” Think of the Basilica in Rome, Italy. Crowds gather in its courtyard during various appearances andcelebrations by the Pope.
2 Corinthians 8:23


THE GRACE OF LIVING WATERS
A spring that flows water not from work of humans was considered a free source of water and a gift from God. It was thereby considered living water since it was constantly moving and replenishing itself with fresh water. The presence of water indicated life. Plants and animals would occupy the area since they too depended on water.
Exodus 2:16


Sheep will not drink moving water. It must be still. The moving water frightens them.


GOAT HAIR TENT
The goat hair tent was woven from the hair of black goats. The black hair of the goats insulated the tent from cold. During rains the goat hair would expand protecting the inhabitants from rain. After drying out the goat hair fibers would contract. Tents were divided into two parts by a curtain. The men were on the right and the women, children and belongings were on the left. The curtain not only separated the genders but kept passersby from seeing the wealth of the family, ie. food, water, fabrics, etc.
Constructing a tent was laborious . A tent was as important possession to a family. When families moved the tent was taken with them. Tents weren’t thrown away when they became worn , they were repaired.
Genesis 18:1, 2

THRESHING FLOOR
Threshing floors were used to separate grain from the chaff at harvest time.

First, the cut stalks of grain were spread on the threshing floor and a threshing sledge was pulled over the stalks by oxen. The sledge was a simple wooden sled> or heavy board with stone or metal spikes on the bottom that would break the heads of grain from the stalks. The same thing could be accomplished by having the oxen trample the stalks or by beating them with heavy sticks.


The second step was to toss the broken stalks into the air. The wind would blow the lighter chaff to one side, while the heavier grain would fall back onto the floor, the grain could then be gathered.
Because of the need for wind, threshing floors were normally located on hilltops or in
large open fields. Reprinted from JustWorship.com
Genesis 37:7

WINE VAT
Grapes were placed in a wine press and women stumped the grapes to release the juices.

The juice ran out of a spout and into clay jugs that were sealed with goat skin tied fastened with rope.

BIBLICAL MEAL
We were served a Biblical meal very similar to the ones served during Jesus' time. We were instructed to wash our hands thoroughly because there would be no knives and forks since they weren't used during that period. Thankfully, we had plenty of flat bread which could be torn and used as a scoop to serve ourselves. We were warned about double-dipping. That is, scooping out a portion of food with the bread, eating it and then using the same bread that's been in the mouth to take another scoop. Not sanitary. Yuk ! Throughout the meal our guide explained in detail various scriptures, prayers, food and history. There was so much information I can't remember it all.
Our meal included:
1. Bitter herbs radish, and endive in remembrance of the bitterness of slavery.
2. Fruit and nut compote represented the mortar that built Egyptian storehouses. It was served in small bits. Fresh fruit and dried dates, apricots, raisins
3. We were to choose either radishes, green onions or parsley from a platter on the table, dip it in salt water and eat it. This symbolized Jewish tears.
4. Instead of lamb we had chicken which represents sacrifice. We were told that many of the visitors didn't like lamb so that's why they do chicken. Christians understand the lamb as a symbol of Jesus himself. It is unclear as to whether lamb appeared on Jesus’ last supper menu. 5. Hard boiled eggs signified sacrifice and mourning.
6. Matzah, or flatbread made from flour and water depicted the hasty flee from Egypt. During the last supper, Jesus refers specifically to the cracker-like bread. According to many New Testament accounts, Jesus broke the matzahs, distributing it to disciples as a representation of his body.
7. Instead of wine we had grape juice or water. In the Christian Bible, the wine symbolizes Jesus’ blood and his new covenant to purify believers.
8. We also had a salad but I didn't think I could manuever that with flat bread.
I didn't know that the Romans reclined on couches (similar to what you see here) and used their right hand to eat with. The left hand was considered unclean.
Though you can't see it here the tables were set up as a triclinium. (plural: triclinia) A triclinium is a formal dining room in a Roman building. It was characterized by three couches, the klinai, on three sides of a low square table, those surfaces sloped away from the table at about 10 degrees. Diners would recline on these surfaces in a semi-recumbent position. The fourth side of the table was left free, presumably to allow service to the table. (Wikipedia)

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