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Mount Zion might not be where we always thought

The traditional Mount Zion in the Old City of Jerusalem

 

For decades, tourists have made a traditional circle through the Old City of Jerusalem, visiting so called biblical sites including Mount Zion. Shops have cropped up at these sites, selling wares and trinkets. It’s become its own economy, where it is less important that biblical events actually happened there, and more important that loads of tour buses arrive each day.

But sometimes, we find out our understanding of history is wrong. Tradition doesn’t leave room for new discovery.

For the past 25 years, Living Passages has brought teams to Israel. Through the years, Mount Zion was said to be within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. This was always the way it was.

We are excited about the continued revelations coming to light through the excavation of the City of David. As you know, each year, new discoveries there are validating Scripture.

Before its discovery 150 years ago, it made sense that Mount Zion would be within the Old City, where many claimed ancient Jerusalem was, albeit thru tradition.

Living passages scholar and guide Eli Shukron is an Israeli archaeologist, excavator, scholar and licensed tour guide of the ancient remains of Jerusalem. He has personally discovered the Pool of Siloam and Jerusalem Pilgrim Road from the Second Temple era and helped excavated those and other areas of the City of David.

You may be familiar with his theory: It is in the walls of this smaller city, to the south of the Old City of Jerusalem, Eli says is the real Mount Zion.

We believe this not because Eli Shukron said it, but because the Bible did.

  • “Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.” 2 Samuel 5:7 (KJV)
  • “And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David.” 1 Chronicles 11:5 (KJV)
  • “Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.” 1 Kings 8:1-2 (KJV)

This is exciting evidence that the City of David is Mount Zion. The Bible used them interchangeably. If the City of David is not in the place we have thought it was, that means Mount Zion isn’t either.

Tour buses continue to bring tourists to the traditional Mount Zion. But just because we have always done something, doesn’t mean we should continue to do so. We want to take your team to the true Biblical sites where Biblical history really played out, and where other tours don’t go.

As you have no doubt experienced firsthand over the course of your studies, what makes archaeology so fascinating is that it is a changing field where we are constantly learning new things. We are excited to share those new discoveries with your group as you lead them on this path through history.

Interested in a Bible archaeology tour? Check out our Israel tours here or our cruise options here.