Sunday, November 30, 2014

Interesting Discoveries During Research for The Messiah’s Sign

By Amber Schamel

Hello everyone! I was so excited when Ada asked me to share with you some of the interesting tidbits that I learned while researching for my new book, The Messiah's Sign. I'm a great lover of history and trivia, so these posts are always fun!

One of my favorite things about researching for a historical novel is visiting the places where your novel is set.  You can find out some of the most interesting tidbits by visiting the location. This is one of the reasons that I LOVE to travel. I've had the honor of visiting the Holy Land twice before writing the Days of Messiah series. Of course, at the time I was visiting, I didn't know that I would end up writing books with that setting, but the locations are still engraved on my mind.

The area of Judea is beautiful, with a nice climate, as opposed to the more desert-like climate around Jerusalem. There are many grassy hills surrounding the sea of Galilee, and Jesus roamed these hills often and preached his Sermon on the Mount atop one of them.

Capernaum was one of my favorite stops in Israel because it is where Jesus spent so much of his time and called many of his disciples. We know that Peter and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John, and also Matthew the tax collector were from this fishing town.

The most notable ruin in the town of Capernaum, is that of the Jewish Synagogue.  While the visible ruins are not the ones mentioned in the scriptural text, it is apparently built on the same spot, and pieces of the original foundation are visible beneath the white marble. The Synagogue of Jesus was built by a Roman Centurion who is mentioned in Luke 5, however it was destroyed and then rebuilt in the 4th century. This upper layer is called the "White Synagogue".

It is interesting that the corner pillars of the synagogue are heart shaped. This was to help support the slanted roof, as well as reinforcement for earthquakes and shifting of the earth.

The engravings on the ruins are still so well preserved that you can see many of the designs clearly, such as pomegranates, the star of David, and even geometric designs that resemble the swastika.
Jesus cursed Capernaum in Matthew 11:23 saying "And you, Capernaum which are lifted up unto heaven shall be brought down to hell - for if the mighty works that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would still be here today." Less than forty years after Jesus made this prophecy, the town was destroyed by the Romans, and has never been rebuilt.

Have you ever visited Israel? Which site would you most like to see?

Multi-published author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and is now the author of over half a dozen books. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites.  Amber is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.