Israel My Glory In Depth: Interview with Bruce Scott
Do you wish you could walk the streets of Jerusalem? Come visit the city on a virtual tour on this week’s show! Our latest issue of Israel My Glory magazine treats readers to a tour of 15 sites in the Holy Land with stunning photos and engaging teaching on the biblical and cultural significance of each. Bruce Scott discusses his article “Jerusalem of Gold” to teach about the Holy City’s incomparable history and current intrigue.
Having led many trips to Israel, Bruce’s love for the city of Jerusalem shines through his conversation with Chris on this week’s show. Travel through the Temple Mount area, the Pool of Siloam, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and Via Dolorosa with Bruce as he shares why each of these sections of Jerusalem means so much to our understanding of God and His Word. Bruce’s insight will undoubtedly draw your heart closer to the Holy Land and help you understand why God placed His name in the city of Jerusalem!
Take a look at Bruce’s articles:
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover, and with me as always is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. Have you visited our website, foiradio.org. After this episode ends, I invite you, if you haven't been there yet, do visit foiradio.org. It's there. We have over eight years worth of programming on our site. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I'm holding in my hands our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, which is called On the Road to Zion, A Devotional Tour of the Holy Land. And actually today we're going to have our Program Ministries Director, Bruce Scott, on to talk about two articles that he wrote, two devotional pieces that he wrote, actually. He was given the great privilege of writing about Jerusalem, the heartbeat of God, the place where God would place His name, and also a name that's very familiar to many people, talking about the Via Dolorosa.
What does that mean and what does it mean for us as Christians? Well, Bruce is going to unpack all that. And also we're going to give our listeners an opportunity if they've never subscribed before to Israel My Glory, to receive a one-year free subscription. We're going to give you more details on how you can get that. So stay tuned.
Steve Conover: It's always a joy to have Bruce Scott on the program with us. But first in the news, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Israeli Defense Forces, Shin Bet and Israeli citizens for what he called a perfect job in Operation Shield and Arrow in Gaza. This after more than 1200 rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel by terror organization, Islamic Jihad, which is funded heavily by Iran.
Chris Katulka: Steve, here's my take. The Prime Minister and his team acted quickly and took the terrorists of Islamic Jihad by surprise. But this is just a fresh reminder for us that Israel remains surrounded by enemies who want to see the Jewish state disappear. But as Netanyahu put it, those who hurt Israel or even try to are putting their lives in danger.
Well, with me is none other than Bruce Scott, a colleague, a dear friend. Bruce and I used to lead trips to Israel together for several years. And not just any trip, it was our young adult trip to Israel, Origins. And so I hope that comes up a little bit in our conversation as we talk about our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, which is On the Road to Zion, A Devotional Tour of the Holy Land. And I know that's something that is near and dear to the heart of Bruce and myself, that we love connecting people with the scriptures as it comes to the land of Israel, but even more so when we get a chance to take you to the land of Israel and to walk you through what the scriptures teach as we take you from location to location. Bruce, I'm so glad you're with me on air today.
Bruce Scott: Thank you, Chris. It's great to be with you.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, we're looking at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, which is titled On the Road to Zion. You actually have two articles in this issue and the first one is called Jerusalem of Gold, but the subtitle to your article is one that caught my attention. It says Jerusalem of Gold: Welcome to the Only City in the World Where God has Chosen to Place His Name. Bruce, can you define that a little bit more? What does it mean that Jerusalem is the only place where God has chosen to place His name?
Bruce Scott: Sure. Well, it's interesting, there are a number of passages in the Old Testament, especially in the Torah, when God brought Israel out of Egypt and then went with them through the wilderness and then eventually brought them into the Promised Land. As He set up the sacrificial system, He told them that they were not supposed to do sacrifices anywhere else except the place that He chose, and they didn't know where that was going to be. Eventually, once they got into the Promised Land, they had the tabernacle set up at Shiloh, and that's where sacrifices took place for a while, but that wasn't the place where God was going to permanently set up the sacrificial system and where those sacrifices were supposed to take place. And eventually, that was identified as the city of Jerusalem when David was there and he established a city of David on the southern part of the eastern ridge of Jerusalem.
Eventually, as you remember the story, when David numbered the people and he wasn't supposed to do that, and there was a plague among the people as a judgment for what he did. And then when God stopped that judgment, David saw that the angel of the Lord was at the top of the ridge, which is biblical Mount Mariah, and it was there that he bought that area. King David bought that area, and that's eventually the place where Solomon built his temple. So this area and the city of Jerusalem itself was the place where God said, that's the place I have chosen to put my name. That's the place where I am going to identify myself with because of the sacrificial system, but ultimately because of what He would do with the promised Messiah, His own son, the Lord Jesus.
This would be the location that would change all of history, that would provide salvation for all those who put their faith in the promised Messiah. There was a specific location on planet earth where God said this was going to be the place where that was going to happen. And this was the city that He chose to identify Himself, His name with. It wasn't New York, it wasn't Paris, it wasn't Rome, it was Jerusalem. So this is a very significant place and a very important statement on the part of God.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, can I ask you, someone might be thinking, okay, that was nice for the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, isn't God done with that? Is Jerusalem still the only place where He places His name?
Bruce Scott: Yes, it is. There's no other place in Scripture that's mentioned where God says, you know what, I think I'm going to add my name over to this place as well. He doesn't say that. This is the only place because of the historical significance of it, the prophetic significance of it, the redemptive significance of it. And it's also going to be the place where the Messiah, the Lord Jesus returns in the future and where He will sit on the throne of David. Again, not in some other city, but in the temple, in the city of Jerusalem. So this is where He's going to place His name, where He has placed His name, and where He is going to keep His name in the future.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, I love that you brought this up too because this is a whole other radio show, but it's funny when you study through the Old Testament how oftentimes the Israelites would find themselves building places of worship to Ba'el or Astaroth, or they would build what they called high places, and it was the job of the kings to tear those high places down. And oftentimes, they didn't because the central place of worship was Jerusalem. Instead of the high places, it was the place of Jerusalem. But Bruce, in your devotional piece on Jerusalem, which I'm not going to make you sing Jerusalem of Gold on the radio program, I promise. But as we look at Jerusalem, you actually have it divided up into two sections in your devotional, the tunnel and the pool, and then also the temple mount area. Let's start with the tunnel and the pool, Bruce. What is the tunnel and the pool and why is this so important to understanding Jerusalem?
Bruce Scott: Well, the tunnel refers to what is often called Hezekiah's tunnel. And the reason is that King Hezekiah, when Jerusalem was being threatened by the Assyrians at one point, he built a stone wall to protect Jerusalem from the Assyrians, but he also wanted to make sure that Jerusalem's water supply was not cut off by the threatening army. So he had this underground tunnel that's over 1700 feet long dug. And it's such an interesting story because there was an inscription that was found in the tunnel wall, and it was an inscription written by the tunnel diggers, the workers, after they had completed it, and they came from opposite ends and then they eventually met up. And the tunnel is just a fascinating work of craftsmanship, how they were able to build this tunnel through stone and to bring the water of the Gihon Spring into Jerusalem.
And it's so much fun. If you ever get to go to Jerusalem, it's so much fun to walk through that tunnel. And some tour groups don't do it because they don't want to get wet. But it is so much fun to do it, and you do get wet. You don't get soaked, sometimes the water level, the water is still running through it, gets above your knees, but it's so much fun to go through that. And so often with the groups that I've led through there, it has such wonderful acoustics. We sing hymns, we sing songs of praise to the Lord. It just reverberates off the wall. So the reason why that's important is because Hezekiah brought freshwater into Jerusalem, but also because it connected to an amazing pool that, especially during the time of King Herod, was probably this massive pool that was probably hundreds of feet in size. Certainly larger than swimming pools today.
It was discovered in 2004, at least part of it was discovered in 2004, and they excavated it. And we know it today from John chapter nine as the Pool of Siloam, the pool that Jesus told the blind man that he had put mud on his eyes, this blind man who was at the temple area and was blind from birth, told him to go and walked down all the way down to the Pool of Siloam. And if he would wash himself on that, that he would see. And we know he did that. He went in faith and he was healed. He was able to see when he got out. Well, this is the pool that the water runs into from the Hezekiah's tunnel. And that pool of water, or you don't see much of that today, part of it has been excavated, the Pool of Siloam. But recently, the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the National Parks Authority announced that they have begun further excavation of that.
The last I heard is that so far, interestingly enough, they have not found much of the remains of the other half, but they're still working on that. But it's amazing to go there and to just picture in your mind this blind man trusting what Jesus said, and he walked down this pilgrim road that they're just now excavating that goes all the way from the Temple Mount south to the Pool of Siloam and he came up seeing.
Chris Katulka: We're speaking with Bruce Scott who is the Program Ministries Director at the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, and we're going to come back with Bruce in a moment. But first, let me share with you, if you've been encouraged by what Bruce had to say through his article, Jerusalem of Gold, then I want to encourage you to get our magazine, Israel My Glory, so that you can read it yourself. If you've never subscribed to Israel My Glory, then I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org. And there you can get a one-year free subscription to our award-winning Christian magazine.
If you are interested in anything related to Israel, the Jewish people, the Middle East, but you want to see it through a biblical worldview, then you need to get your hands on Israel My Glory again by going to foiradio.org. And there you can either subscribe to our print edition, we'll send you a copy of Israel My Glory, or you could actually subscribe to our digital edition, which I highly encourage you to do because there not only can you get our most recent issues of Israel My Glory, but you can also get 40 years of our amazing award-winning Christian magazine, right on your tablet, computer, or cellphone. So I encourage you to go to foiradio.org, if you've never subscribed to Israel My Glory, not only to read Bruce's articles, but several others as it relates to On the Road to Zion, A Devotional Tour of the Holy Land.
Bruce, we are continuing our discussion on your articles, Jerusalem of Gold. And I want to ask you a last question and related to the first article, which is, we looked at the tunnel and the pool, but now let's talk about the Temple Mount area. Let's talk about this significant place because I feel like you're taking us on a journey. We went down through Hezekiah's Tunnel, we were in the Pool of Siloam, and now we're going back up the pilgrims road to the Temple Mount. So let's chat about the Temple Mount. Why is this area so important to God choosing Jerusalem as the city, the place where He would place His name?
Bruce Scott: Well, it's so important. The Temple Mount really is the heart of Jerusalem. In fact, the rabbis used to say that Israel was the center of the earth. Jerusalem was the center of Israel, and the Temple Mount was the center of Jerusalem. This is where everything important took place in terms of God's redemptive plan. This is the location of where Solomon's temple was built. This is the location of where the Zerubbabel's temple was built and then later refurbished by King Herod and expanded by King Herod. This is the area where Jesus taught many times during His earthly ministry. This is the area where the sacrifices took place. And this is such an important place because God said, this is where all of these activities in getting right with me was to take place. So the Temple Mount is very important and today, you go there, you don't see obviously the temple.
The temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans, but what is there today are two Muslim structures, the Dome of the Rock, which is a Muslim shrine, which is in the center of the Temple Mount. It's the building that has the gold dome, and then you have the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is on the southern end of the Temple Mount Complex, which is actually a mosque where Muslims will go to pray. But the Temple Mount area is extremely important because of all of these things. And if you want to go to places where Jesus actually walked, there's some places when you go to Israel and Jerusalem, some people say, well, this is where Jesus was. Well, you don't really know for sure. But when you go to the Temple Mount, you can say for sure He walked in this area, especially the southern steps that they have uncovered and excavated. Southern steps leading up to the gates that would lead a pilgrim up to the Mount itself. Jesus, for sure, must have walked up those steps at least on some occasions. So it's a very significant place.
Chris Katulka: That kind of concludes our time talking about your first article. I really want to touch briefly though on your second article, Bruce, that you have called Via Dolorosa, and that's a name that people all over the world know. Some of our listeners may have not even stepped foot in Jerusalem before, but they've heard the name Via Dolorosa. Bruce, what is the Via Dolorosa, and again, why does it matter?
Bruce Scott: Well, it's a Latin phrase that means the way of sorrow, and it refers to the path that some Christians have thought that Jesus took after he was condemned by Pilate to be crucified. They think that this was the path, the street, the road that Jesus took to the crucifixion. And there is debate as to whether or not this is actually the path. There was a medieval tradition that this was the path primarily because it was known that the Antonia Fortress, which was located at the northwest corner of the Temple Mount, a Roman garrison was stationed there. That this was assumed that this was the place where Pilate stayed when he came to Jerusalem. Most modern scholars do not believe that today they believe that Pilate stayed at King Herod's palace, which was on the western ridge, the higher, the upper hill of Jerusalem, and that's where he stayed because it was palatial. It wasn't Spartan like it would've been if he had stayed at the Antonia Fortress.
So the Via Dolorosa was considered because of the place of where Pilate condemned Jesus being the Antonia Fortress. This is a path today that lead you to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is the traditional place where it is believed that Jesus was crucified and near there where He was buried and resurrected. There's another place, Gordon's Calvary and also the Garden Tomb that is sometimes thought as another place. I believe there's more evidence personally for the traditional site around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the place where Jesus died. So if that's the case, then the Via Dolorosa was actually not coming from the Antonia Fortress, but was actually coming from the area just south of the Jaffa Gate on the western side of Jerusalem. That would've actually been the historical Via Dolorosa coming from there where Pilate condemned Jesus and then took Him northward toward the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Chris Katulka: Bruce, I know you and I both agree on the fact that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre probably is the historical location where Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, and we can debate all day about that with people as well, but that's really not even the point. You and I are alike, Bruce, it's fun to geek out, as I would say, on the historical data of these events, but it's not where in Jerusalem that matters the most, it's why Christ died that matters. What are your feelings about that, Bruce? Especially when we go to Jerusalem and we go to Israel, we don't want the data and these things to get in the way of the real meaning of why we're there. Could you share a little bit about that?
Bruce Scott: Sure. I agree with you. You can get really excited about the historical locations and the ancient stones and all of that, and that's good to study it and I encourage people to do that. But like you said, the most important point of it all is that the Son of God came from heaven and took on human flesh. And He came in order to bring salvation to all those who believe in Him. He died on a real historical Roman Cross. He was put in a real historical tomb and He rose from that tomb three days later. And through that historical event, then anyone who puts their faith in Jesus, the Messiah, has their sins forgiven and they have the free gift of eternal life, which is not just a change of destination to heaven, but it's to get to know God, as Jesus Himself prayed, this is eternal life. "That they may know you, the only true God, Jesus Christ whom you have sent." John 17:3.
So the significance of all of this is that it's not just a fairytale, it's not a made-up story, it's not a fable. It is a historical event that took place at a historical location in Jerusalem, and even more specifically, at a specific place in Jerusalem, that God provided salvation to all who would believe in His Son. That's the significance of it, that's why it matters.
Chris Katulka: Amen. Bruce. Well, we've been speaking with Bruce Scott who is our Program Ministries Director here at the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. Listen, if you want to read Bruce's articles and connect with the entire devotional, Israel My Glory that we have, On the Road to Zion, then I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org and there you can get your one-year free subscription if you've never subscribed before. Bruce, thank you so much for being with us.
Bruce Scott: Thank you, Chris. It was a pleasure.
Steve Conover: Thanks to Bruce Scott for being with us today. If you have never subscribed to Israel My Glory magazine, we invite you to receive a free one-year subscription. Again, that's absolutely free. You can find out more at foiradio.org.
Chris, where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: Yeah, Steve, with the anniversary of the Six Day War coming up in June, I thought we would take some time to study the Six Day War, what happened and what were the results of the Six Day War for the state of Israel. And so we're going to look for the next two episodes at the Six Day War, a very important strategic moment in Israel's modern history.
Steve Conover: We hope you join us then. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, engineered by Bob Beebe, edited by Jeremy Strong, who also composed and performs our theme music. 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 I'll give you 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.
Israel My Glory Magazine
Since 1942, Israel My Glory has been a highly trusted, sought-after tool in the study of God’s Word.This award-winning magazine, published by The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, stands firmly on the literal-grammatical interpretation of the Bible. It is simply the best there is if you want to understand Scripture, Israel, and prophecy.
Sign up for your free one-year print or digital trial today!
*First-Time Subscribers Only
CONTACT US FOR DIGITAL TRIAL
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
Your gifts help us to continue proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.