- WND - http://www.wnd.com -

Report: Lost home of Jesus' apostles just found

Archaeologists believe they have found the home city of Peter, Andrew and Philip, three of Jesus’ disciples, in a dig on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the discovery of a Roman-style bathhouse indicated the existence of a city, and researchers think it could be the Roman polis of Julias.

The Bible verse John 1:44 says the three disciples were from Bethsaida, which was believed to have been renamed Julias after Livia Drusilla, who was known as Julia Augusta and was the mother of the Roman Emperor Tiberius.

Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College told Haaretz the discovery a multi-layered location in Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve suggests there was a city there, not just a fishing village.

“Josephus reported that the king had upgraded Bethsaida from a village into a polis, a proper city. He didn’t say it had been built on or beside or underneath it. And indeed, all this time, we have not known where it was. But the bathhouse attests to the existence of urban culture,” he told the paper.

WND co-founders Joseph and Elizabeth Farah in November will lead their fifth annual pilgrimage to Israel, where, in addition to seeing all the awe-inspiring sites you’ve dreamed of visiting all your life, they will share their passionate Israel-centric view of the Bible in God’s promised land and what that means to those of us who have been adopted in to His covenants with His people through Jesus-Yeshua, the Messiah we worship and adore. Reach out online now to get more details and make your travel plans, or call 1-866-267-2511.

“None other than the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius – in fact the only source describing this city’s existence – wrote that the Jewish monarch King Philip Herod, son of the great vassal King Herod, transformed Bethsaida, which had been a Jewish fishing village, into a real Roman polis (Ant. 18:28. Though whether it was built on Bethsaida, or by it, remains unknown),” the report said.

Josephus wrote of Bethsaida fortifying its defenses before a conflict that began in A.D. 67.

Haaretz there are three possible locations of Julias: “This one, called al-Araj; and two nearby sites by the lake. After unexpectedly finding the bathhouse and other Roman-era remains below the (previously known) Byzantine ruins at the site, the archaeologists think this site, at the delta of the river Jordan on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is the strongest candidate.”

The report said the archaeologists found a layer that appears to be from the late Roman period, roughly the first to third centuries, about six feet below the previously reviewed Byzantine level.

“That Roman layer contained pottery sherds from the 1st to the 3rd centuries B.C.E., a mosaic, and the remains of the bathhouse. Two coins were found, a bronze coin from the late 2nd century and a silver denarius featuring the Emperor Nero from the year 65-66 C.E.,” the report said.

Also found were pieces of a mosaic that could indicate the discovery of a missing church.

“Willibald, the bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria, visited the Holy Land in 725 C.E., and in his itinerary, he describes his visit to a church at Bethsaida that was built over the house of Peter and Andrew. It may well be that the current excavations have unearthed evidence for that church, say the archaeologists,” the report said.

The discovery of the city challenges an assumption held by researchers about the region.

They assumed the el-Araj site was under water until the Byzantine period, as they believed the sea was about 209 meters below sea level.

But the newly found building sites are about 211 meters below.

“Either the ancient Romans had gills, or it wasn’t [under water],” the report said.

“Geologists Prof. Noam Greenbaum from Haifa University and Dr. Nati Bergman from the Yigal Alon Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, studied the layers of the site and concluded that the site was covered with mud and clay that were carried by the Jordan River in the late Roman period, which corresponds to a gap in material remains from about 250 C.E. to 350 C.E. Later, in the Byzantine period, the site was resettled, the archaeologists conclude,” the report said.

WND co-founders Joseph and Elizabeth Farah in November will lead their fifth annual pilgrimage to Israel, where, in addition to seeing all the awe-inspiring sites you’ve dreamed of visiting all your life, they will share their passionate Israel-centric view of the Bible in God’s promised land and what that means to those of us who have been adopted in to His covenants with His people through Jesus-Yeshua, the Messiah we worship and adore. Reach out online now to get more details and make your travel plans, or call 1-866-267-2511.