Haifa a modern and largest city in the north of Israel, the city includes an important port and extending from Mediterranean up the north slope of biblical Mount Carmel.
The most important touristic site in Haifa are the incredible Bahá'í Gardens and, at their heart, the gold-domed Shrine of the Báb. The B Bahá'í is one monotheist religions that comes from Persian. At the foot of the gardens is located the German Colony, with shops, galleries and restaurants in 19th-century buildings from old Germany community.
Haifa municipality includes other important christians sites, the Cave of Elijah, Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, the Kishon Valley and the Mount Carmel itself.
The first settlement was built on the slopes of Mount Carmel before 3,000 years. The earliest known settlement in the area was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city founded in the Late Bronze Age, 14th century BCE. In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: being conquered and dominate by Phoenicians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, British and the Israelis.
After Haifa liberation by Israelis during the independence war in 1948, the Haifa Municipality has governed the city.
The port of Haifa continues to be the major port in the Israel’s coast of Mediterranean sea that includes about 64 square kilometres. Haifa also include two important universities, Haifa University and Technion - Institute of Technology, the both located on the Carmel Mountain.
The convent on Mt. Carmel is a conspicuous object as you approach the coast from the Mediterranean, and from the hills round about Nazareth. The present building was erected in 1828, and is an hour’s walk from Haifa. Napoleon used the former buildings for a hospital during his Syrian campaign.
David S. Schaff, The Middle Ages From Gregory VII., 1049, to Boniface VIII., 1294, History Of The Christian Church 5; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910.
Nahalol. Although its exact location is uncertain, a case has been made to equate this city of Zebulun’s allotment with Tell en-Nahl, five miles east of the Mediterranean Sea near Haifa. Etymological similarities in the name and the appearance of artifactual remains covering the Early Bronze to the Arabic periods favor this identification, but its placement in Asher’s territory creates a geographic problem that has not been resolved.
John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 245.
Mount Carmel. It is likely that Mount Carmel, south of the modern port of Haifa, had long served as a boundary between Israel and Phoenicia and was, like many mountains, considered a sacred site. As early as the lists of Pharaoh Thutmose III (fifteenth century), Carmel is probably the one identified as a holy mountain in the vicinity of Acco. It is also the location where Assyrian king Shalmaneser III collected tribute from both Tyre and Jehu of Israel in 841. Carmel actually refers to a mountain range that stretches about thirty miles from the outcropping into the Mediterranean southeast toward Megiddo and stands at the northwestern end of the Valley of Jezreel. It is uncertain which summit in the range is the location of the contest. It is possible that the contest took place at the foot of the mountain rather than on its summit. Sacred mountains usually featured the places of worship at their base rather than at the summit, which would have been considered holy ground inaccessible to the populace. Elijah eventually ascends to the summit to offer his prayer for rain (v. 42).
John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000, 377-378.
Josephus and Mark 1:5; 11:32 agree that John was enormously popular. There is no compelling reason to question the Gospels’ tradition that John was active generally prior to Jesus’ ministry, though the exact chronological relationship of the two cannot be specified. Josephus relates that some Jews thought that Antipas’ execution of John had been avenged by God through the defeat of his army by Aretas IV, probably in 36 C.E. John’s death accordingly preceded this date and probably belongs in the latter half of Antipas’ reign.
Particularly in view of John’s popularity, the Christian tradition that Jesus was baptized by John (and that John was soon arrested thereafter) is open to historical question. It is not clear that Q described Jesus’ baptism by John. Jesus himself must nevertheless have at least heard about John and doubtless approved of him, perhaps even imitating him in some respects.
The exact contents and scope of John’s message are difficult to determine. Josephus presents John as someone who exhorts to virtue, righteousness among fellow Jews, and reverence toward God.
Given the general political and religious climate, there are likely to have been political overtones pertaining to the future of the Jewish people. Whether John used apocalyptic imagery (cf. Q) is uncertain. In any event, Christian tradition has moved John into a much more definite role as precursor of the Messiah and as Elijah.
John’s teaching regarding baptism doubtless involved some discussion of repentance, purity, and forgiveness. Josephus is at pains to deny that the baptism was for forgiveness of sins, while Mark affirms this. Both positions seem to be evolved from an original connection of repentance, baptism, purity, and forgiveness, witnessed also in the writings from Qumran. The controlling idea that forgiveness comes from God will not have been displaced.
The location of John’s activity outside Jerusalem, combined with baptism involving forgiveness, raises the question of to what degree John consciously challenged the Jerusalem priesthood. Increasing evidence for the prevalence of Jewish ritual ablutions renders less likely the thesis that a baptist movement must necessarily have stood in opposition to the temple cult.
“JOHN THE BAPTIST,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 728.
Mark, Q, and John agree in speaking of a special group of “disciples of John.” Remarkably, these writings witness to the continued existence of this distinct group throughout Jesus’ ministry. The kernel of this group undoubtedly goes back to the lifetime of John. A group of John’s adherents seems to have continued on to rival followers of Jesus even after John’s death. Out of the dialogue, Johannine elements such as fasting and baptism might have been introduced into the nascent Christian faith.
John’s disciples evidently believed John to be the Messiah (Recognitions 1.54.8; 1.60.1–2; John 1). After his execution, they seem to have thought John was hidden away by God to return soon (Mark 6:14, 16; 8:28; Recognitions 1.54.8). In all these aspects John’s movement appears to have established a pattern for the early followers of Jesus.
Bibliography. C. H. Kraeling, John the Baptist (New York, 1951); E. F. Lupieri, “John the Baptist in New Testament Traditions and History,” in ANRW II.26,1 (Berlin, 1993), 430–61; C. H. H. Scobie, John the Baptist (Philadelphia, 1964); R. L. Webb, John the Baptizer and Prophet. JSNTSup 62 (Sheffield, 1991); W. Wink, John the Baptist in the Gospel Tradition. SNTSMS 7 (London, 1968).
“JOHN THE BAPTIST,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 728.
Kishon Valley. The Kishon River flows northwest from the northern end of the Jezreel Valley to the Mediterranean just east of Haifa. It is fed from the mountains in the Carmel range and from the hills of Galilee around Nazareth.
John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000, 379.