Kidron Saga, Part 1: The Garden of Eden
Two of the most important mountains in the world are found in Jerusalem: Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives. But it’s the Kidron Valley sitting between them that has so much to teach us about God’s pursuit of you and me!
Chris opens up an awesome six-week series on the Kidron Valley starting way back at the beginning of creation in the Garden of Eden. This perfect sanctuary was more than a beautiful home for Adam and Eve; it was where God chose to dwell with humanity as well as a place of worship.
But why is Eden still significant in your future? How do history and prophecy come together here and in the Kidron Valley, the focus of this spectacular study? Keep listening this week and for the rest of the series to learn incredible truths about our great God and the prophecy He’s given us to understand our future!
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover and with me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka. I'd like to encourage you right at the outset to visit foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. There you can find out more information about The Friends of Israel Today radio program. You can also access our archive pages and listen to six years worth of Chris's teaching. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we're starting a six week series today. I call it the Kidron Saga and you might be thinking, "Kidron saga. What is this, a drama?" It's not a drama. We are actually looking at a specific location in Jerusalem that sits between two mountains that I think there's a lot of prophetic tension that happens between these two mountains. The six week series is going to walk us through the Bible and really connect you to what God is doing with his presence and his people and really what this location, the Kidron Valley, has to do with God's return to earth. Something that's really incredible to see. I think it's going to be a great six weeks.
Steve Conover: Yeah, we look forward to it. In the news, prime minister Naftali Bennett recently spoke publicly that both Jews and Muslims have freedom of worship on the temple Mount, hinting at a change in policy at the most contentious site in Israel. Currently Jews can visit the Temple Mount that houses the Al-Aqsa mosque, but the status quo there has been that non-Muslims are forbidden to pray.
Chris Katulka: That's the key word Steve, status quo. Status quo means that we're not going to upset any of the religious sites for either Muslims or Jewish people or Christians. It's actually embedded in Israel's declaration of independence that they wouldn't do that. So this is a big deal because even in the 1967 war when Israel captured east Jerusalem and the Old City, I mean, they could have taken the Temple Mount at that point, but they didn't because under status quo law, they gave it back to the Muslims. It's really important.
But here is something interesting, here Naftali Bennett, the first real religious kippah wearing prime minister says, "You know what? Maybe enough's enough. Jewish people should be given the permission to pray on top of the Temple Mount. It is their most holy site. It's where the Holy of Holies was placed." So of course they want to pray there. On the other hand, that site for Muslims is only the third most holy place and it's actually never even mentioned in the Quran. I think it's okay that Naftali Bennett is pushing a little bit. I think it's time for the waqf, who permits and runs that area, permits the Jews to pray at their most holy site.
Well, we just wrapped up our Friends of Israel Jerusalem in Prophecy conference where we looked at the entire history of God's chosen city. The city that he chose to put his name in, the city that he chose to put his presence in, the city of peace, the city of Jerusalem. We looked at Jerusalem from the past that we saw in the scriptures, we touched on Jerusalem in the present, and then we also looked forward in the future, in the prophecy of the new Jerusalem that will be coming out of heaven from Revelation chapter 21. Now if you're thinking to yourself, "Man, I wish I could have been a part of that conference. I wish I could have watched it." If you're thinking to yourself, "I love learning about prophecy. I love learning about what's going on in Israel. I love Jerusalem. I know it's important to God's plan of redemption."
Well, technically you didn't miss out just yet. I'm going to give you some information in a little bit on how you can still catch up and watch our Jerusalem and prophecy conference and some of the goodies that come with that. But the reason that I want to start this new series, this Kidron Saga as I call it, the reason it's really important to me is because the Kidron Valley is a specific location in Jerusalem that much of biblical prophecy takes place in. In Jerusalem there are two mountains that actually sit side by side, next to one another. That's Mount Moriah where the temple was constructed. Mount Moriah is where Solomon built his temple. It's the property that David purchased for Solomon that he could build the temple there. It's where the second temple was reconstructed after the Jewish people returned from the land from exile. It's where Herod reconstructed and built up the second temple to make it one of the most magnificent temples in the Roman empire.
All of that was on top of Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah is also the same place where Abraham bound Isaac. You got to go way back into Genesis. And if you remember, Abraham bound Isaac and God provided a substitute. Abraham was called by God, commanded by God, to offer his one and only son to the Lord as he commanded him. And just before he was going to offer him to the Lord, God stopped him and provided a Ram in the thicket, a substitute, a picture of the true sacrifice that only Christ could provide in Jerusalem. That's Mount Moriah. But to the east of Mount Moriah sits another mountain, there neighboring mountains. It's the Mount of Olives. There are so many biblical events that took place on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives looks out over Jerusalem. It's where Jesus cried out to God just before the crucifixion in the garden of Gethsemane.
It's where the Lord Jesus took a donkey. Do you remember? According to Zachariah 9:9. It happened in Matthew chapter 21 where he went down into Jerusalem. Well he got on that donkey on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is where the Lord taught about the last days in Matthew chapter 24 and 25. That's why it's called the Olivet discourse because it comes from Jesus taught about these things from the Mount of Olives. And it's the place where the disciples watch the Lord Jesus ascend into heaven in Acts chapter one. There are so many biblical events that happened on the Mount of Olives, but what's in between Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives? Well, that's the Kidron Valley. The prophetic events that take place in the Kidron Valley are almost innumerable. God is doing something amazing in this little valley.
It's really the prophetic tension point between these two mountains and this is what we're going to spend the next six weeks on. It's this tension that builds in between these two mountains in the Kidron Valley. But before we get there, we need to get ourselves to Jerusalem in the scriptures because while the Kidron Valley is important, it's who travels between the two mountains that give it meaning. The valley is deep. It protected Jerusalem from its enemies who were seeking to attack it. It's the reason Jerusalem's enemies always come from the north in the scriptures. See there's no valleys in Jerusalem in the north, but there are valleys on the east, on the west, and the south and they actually protected Jerusalem. They helped to keep the enemies at bay. This valley is very significant, but it's the Lord who gives these mountains and these valleys meaning.
So let's go back in the Bible. We're actually going to go way back in the Bible to the very beginning of the scriptures to the garden of Eden. That's right. Before we get to the Kidron Valley, first we have to start in Eden because these two actually are going to play with one another in the tension that we're talking about because we all know the story of the garden of Eden. Maybe you've seen Eden on a felt board in Sunday school or you've read about it in Bible stories growing up. Eden is the place where God put Adam after he created him. In Genesis chapter two verses five through seven says that, "Nothing had grown on the earth yet because there was no rain and no man to cultivate the ground." Moses, who wrote Genesis, is trying to convey that there was nothing.
It was tohu wa-bohu. It was formless and void and God is creating it. The land was barren. So first God causes springs from the earth to water the surface of the ground and then from that same soil he formed Adam and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. So now God has both fertile soil and the gardener to cultivate the ground to produce the fruit that he wants. This is how God is building the garden of Eden. Now God goes even one step further. It's God who plants the garden in Eden, as it says in Genesis chapter two verse eight. This is the first place Eden appears in the creation account in Genesis chapter two. And the first time it's mentioned it isn't called the garden of Eden. Think of it more as an orchard or a hedge about it in an area called Eden, almost like a park.
That's kind of what Moses is trying to convey in Hebrew. Moses in Genesis two says, "Eden was East of where they were." So that's east of the land of Israel. From Eden flows the headwaters that divide into four major rivers, the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris, and the Euphrates. What's being conveyed is that Eden is a place of abundance and provision. So right from the very beginning we see that God is the potter, he's the planter, he's the provider. He shapes man from the dust of the earth, he breathed life into him, and then God the creator planted Adam in the garden where he could thrive and fulfill his divine purpose of cultivating what God created him to do. And notice the garden God plants is positioned in a place of abundance. It says in verse nine of Genesis two that God, "Made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food."
And in verse 10 it says that, "A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and from Eden it divided into four major rivers." The Lord gave Adam the divine task to work and keep the garden. And these are such interesting words for Moses to use when he's defining Adam's role in the garden of Eden because in Hebrew they are the same words assigned to the priests of Israel in the tabernacle. And that's going to play out for us later on in this concept of the Kidron Valley. You got to hang on with me here to see it. But the Hebrew word for work is the same word to serve and the priests were to serve the Lord in the tabernacle and to serve the people of Israel, to help cultivate the relationship between the two of them. And just as Adam was to guard or keep the garden of Eden, the priests were to guard and keep the law of God as it relates to how the Israelites should worship him.
God even provides a helper for Adam in the garden. But I want you to see something here because see, the garden plays a major role on how God is interacting and working with Adam and Eve. The garden is more than just a place for fruit and trees and food to grow. It's actually a place that's more important. It's where God physically met with Adam and Eve. In many ways, he's dwelling with Adam and Eve in his creation. It was a place of divine residence on Earth where God met with his creation, unhindered by sin, unhindered by shame, unhindered by guilt. God walked with Adam and Eve. They knew one another intimately, personally.
The garden was more than just a place for survival. The greater purpose of the garden of Eden was the idea that it served as a sanctuary where God dwelled and was to be worshiped.
Now before we continue, I want to let you know, I told you about our Jerusalem in Prophecy conference that we were just having and I talked actually during my message, which was called Glory Days. I talked about the Kidron Valley a bit. I talk about God's presence dwelling with his people. And if you're interested in learning about Jerusalem in prophecy, if you want to see the history of Jerusalem and how it's all working to the ultimate hope that we have of a new Jerusalem that comes down, God's presence dwelling with man, this prophetic hope that we have, I want to enlighten you to how you can still watch it, even though the conference is done. We have it available on demand for you to watch for the next week or so and when you're online there, not only can you watch the entire conference, but you can even still get all the notes from each speaker that spoke.
You can still get a free PDF download when you register of 10 Reasons Why Christians Should Support Israel. And then on top of that, we want to give you 50% off of the book that we use to couple with the Jerusalem in Prophecy conference. It's called Jerusalem In Prophecy and it's written by Dr. Randall Price. You'll get 50% off purchasing that book as well. It's a fantastic online conference that you can still be a part of even right now. Steve, will you let our listeners know how they can be a part of the Jerusalem in Prophecy conference online?
Steve Conover: Yeah. To watch that prophecy conference online you can just simply visit FOI, that's for Friends of Israel, foiconferences.org, foiconferences.org. We hope to see you there.
Chris Katulka: Okay. So we started this series called the Kidron Saga, the prophetic tension that exists between the Temple Mount, which is Mount Moriah, and the Mount of Olives. But like I said earlier, Mount Moriah, the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, the Kidron Valley, just like any valley, mountain, or city in the world, it's nothing without the Lord. It's the Lord who gives all of these locations meaning and significance or else they're just like any other city, any other valley, or any other mountain in the world. And that's why we want to go back to the beginning of the scriptures when we talk about how God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. We were just talking about how the garden of Eden was more than just a place for Adam and Eve to get food and survive. Eden was a sanctuary where God personally walked with his creation, but we all know what happened.
Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan and chose disobedience. They chose the one tree, there was just one, but they chose the one tree God commanded them not to eat, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is just another way of Adam and Eve signaling to God, "I'll do things my way. We can be like God and determine what's right and wrong." That's how Satan deceived Adam and Eve. See, it's the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That means Satan deceived Adam and Eve to thinking they could be the arbiters of good and evil. Now think about this, because Eden is much like a sanctuary where God interacted with his creation and was able to be worshiped by his people, his holiness could not stand to be in the midst of such sin. So, God banished Adam and Eve from Eden, from paradise.
And at the end of Genesis chapter three it says, "When God drove the man out, he placed on the Eastern side of the orchard in Eden angelic sentries who use the flame of a whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life." Here's what God wants, my friends. He wants us to get back to Eden. He's been pursuing us all throughout history, even today, so that we could enjoy Eden with him. That's what God's doing all throughout the scriptures. God takes pleasure in being with his creation. He made heaven and earth so that we could enjoy, cultivate, inhabit his creation with him, our Creator. God may have driven Adam and Eve out of the garden, but he's been fighting in many ways to bring us back. That's what this whole series is all about. It's actually watching how God is doing this.
God's pursuit to dwell with us, this idea of God's pursuit is really the whole theme of the Bible and the location where history meets with prophecy and God's divine way of making sure we walk with him like Adam and Eve did in the beginning is through the events that take place in Jerusalem. The valley that exists between Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives, the Kidron Valley. It's going to play a major role in this tension as God is drawing us back to him that we might walk with him just as Adam and Eve did. Now next week we're going to move forward and we're going to see the powerful moment God's presence came to dwell with his people, again that presence idea, in the tabernacle. All of it's driving us to the Kidron Valley.
Steve Conover: Israel, on the verge of becoming a state, a teenaged Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the holy land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: My wife and I recently visited her mother in the hospital. Most of the people in that hospital can no longer care for themselves, speak little, seem bitter. They appear to be counting the days until they die. As I viewed this sorrowful picture, I realized I must encourage these people. I quickly befriended them. They immediately seemed to like me probably because I made them feel like they still have value and they are important in God's eyes. When I asked if they remembered anything about the Bible, most replied they pray only from their prayer books. One of the men said, "Listening to the rabbis does not bring us joy, but you, just for a short time, have actually made us smile." I then read Psalm 37 verse 25 to show them even in old age they can be fruitful. “I have been young and now I'm old. Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his descendants begging bread.” I told them, "You are important even at your advanced age. And you can be even more important if you will turn back to the Lord. Return to him and obey his commandments." I assured them they do not have to be bitter because those who truly believe in the Lord will never be forsaken, but will have everlasting life in his presence. As it is written in Job 19:25 and 26, "I know my Redeemer lives and he shall stand on the Earth. And after my skin is destroyed in my flesh, I shall see God." I told them, "Do as Amos 5:4 says, "Seek me and live. In the Lord there is no death, only life." I could tell from their expressions they'd never heard these things before. They began to question me about their future.
They wanted assurance that the things I'd told them were really true. I began reading some of the Psalms to them. I ended with Psalm 23, putting special emphasis on the end of verse six. "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." And when I finished reading, someone said, "We have read those passages many times, but they never entered into our hearts as they have today." Just then my wife said, "Zvi, today is Friday. We must get to the shops before they close for the Sabbath." I looked at my watch and realized I'd been speaking with these people for more than three hours. They seemed sad I had to leave so I said to my wife, "Give me a few more minutes with my new friends."
I then ask them, "Do you have any more questions before I leave?" One asked, "How can you be sure you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever?" I replied, "It is written in Psalm 119 verse 89. “Forever, O Lord, your Word is settled in heaven.” Put your trust in him and you will have the same assurance. Psalm 118 verse 17 says, "I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord." I plan to return and continue witnessing to these dear people. I pray they will accept the Lord as the Messiah and Savior before their earthly journey is over.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us today. Chris, before we close, give us some insight into where we're headed on next week's program.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. So we looked at the garden of Eden today and we saw the idea of a sanctuary, God's presence dwelling with his people, walking with Adam and Eve. And we're going to see how God's desire to dwell continues on in the creation of the tabernacle, Exodus chapter 40. Again, driving us to this Kidron Valley, this Kidron Saga that's about to take place.
Steve Conover: Join us next week. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong, Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Jerusalem in Prophecy Online Conference
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Discover the fate of Jerusalem in this special online conference! You’ll learn through Scripture what has made this city the subject of world powers’ attention throughout history, what is still to come, and how God is guiding its destiny.
Apples of Gold: From Silence and Sorrow to Joyful Singing
Zvi visited his mother-in-law in the hospital. As he looked around, he saw so many faces full of sorrow and hopelessness, people who were just waiting to die. He realized the opportunity he had to reach a hurting group of people in need of the truth of God’s Word. Though the people knew the Old Testament, their hearts were just waiting to be opened to the true glory of God’s Word. Hear how Zvi brought hope to many people who had been seeking it for so long.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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