Monthly Archives: January 2009

Visiting the Ptolemaic Temple at Edfu

At Edfu, 64 miles south of Luxor, we visited the temple of the sun god Horus who is represented by the falcon. Begun by Ptolemy III in 237 B.C. and completed by 57 B.C., it is the finest example of the ancient Egyptian temples that I have seen. At Luxor we saw Alexander the Great represented as a Pharaoh. His successors, the Ptolemies, brought this practice to an extreme in the temple at Edfu. Ptolemy is pictured repeatedly on the limestone walls standing before Horus; Horus is always the taller figure. Idolatry was not something new to the Greeks, of course (Acts 17; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

There is a scene inside the temple showing 12 priests carrying an ark on poles. This box on a boat contained the important books pertaining to the temple and the religion of Horus. I think it dates to the time of Pharaoh Neco (late seventh century BC). Neco was the Pharaoh who killed Josiah, the king of Judah, at Megiddo. He continued to Carchemish where he met defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. A replica of the ark is on display in the most holy place in the temple.

The ark at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The ark at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A visit to Edfu demonstrates that, in the Ptolemaic period, we are no longer observing an Egypt ruled by Egyptians but one ruled by foreigners. The prophecy of Ezekiel had been fulfilled.

Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also destroy the idols And make the images cease from Memphis. And there will no longer be a prince in the land of Egypt; And I will put fear in the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 30:13).

Descendants of Ham no longer controlled the land, but it was dominated by foreigners who were descendants of Japheth. In the 7th century A.D. the country came under the control of Arab rulers who were descendants of Shem. This same rule by foreigners now continues in the present Egyptian government headed in recent time by presidents Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. The modern Egyptians are simply caretakers of the ruins of ancient Egypt.

We do a lot of studying and learning on the tour, but we also have fun. Of our 42 person on the tour, about 15 have attended Florida College. Two board members are among the group. The college mascot for the sport teams is the Falcon. We posed with Horus, the falcon god, for a photo.

Note: I left the boat at Aswan to come to a nice Internet Cafe. It seems that I failed to include the photo referenced above on my flash drive. I will try to get it on later.

Note: We are back in Cairo. Here is the photo.

Florida College Falcon fans at Edfu, Egypt. Photo by Sharon Cobb.

Florida College Falcon fans at Edfu, Egypt. Photo by Sharon Cobb.

No opportunity to post tonight

We are on a Nile River cruise boat. Even though I uploaded some photos last night, I was told tonight that it would cost $25 for 30 minutes if I uploaded any photos, etc. Since I don’t have a “Donate to this web site now” on my blog I will just wait until I can get to an Internet cafe in Aswan tomorrow night, or Friday night in the hotel in Cairo.

Thanks for keeping in touch. I appreciate the interest you have in this trip.

Comment about Lachish

I note that we have an interesting comment on the post about Lachish on July Fourth. You might enjoy reading it.

Thoughts on the Nile during the Inauguration

Shortly before sunset I made a few photos of the Nile River looking toward the west bank of the river. I thought I would share this one with you.

Sunset on the Nile. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sunset on the Nile. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We are anchored on the Nile a few miles south of Luxor. From my cabin on the Tu Ya cruise boat I am watching the Al Jazeera Network live coverage of the inauguration ceremonies in Washington. The choice of the majority of voters on November 2 was not my choice, but I must say that I am proud at this moment to be an American.

The American ideal of freedom and justice for all is a noble one. Surely there are times when this ideal is not met, but it remains the dream that holds us together, many as one. The diversity of our nation is a testimony to the vitality of that dream.

The inaugural ceremony is the same whether watching it live in Washington, on Al Jezeera in Egypt, or on NBC, CNN, Fox, or one of the other networks in the United States. Well, maybe. The thing that makes the difference is the commentary afterwards and the news chosen to run underneath the live event.

Luxor and the World Powers

Luxor was known as Thebes in Old Testament times. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied the Lord’s judgment of the city. Jeremiah says,

The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, says, ‘Behold, I am going to punish Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings, even Pharaoh and those who trust in him’” (Jeremiah 46:25; see also Ezekiel 30:14-16).

A visit to the ruined and unoccupied temples of Karnak and Luxor, where Amon (or Amun) was worshipped as a great god, certainly convinces us of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Shortly after the time of Jeremiah (about 586 B.C.), Egypt and Thebes began to decline as a world power.

In 663 B.C. the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal had already conquered Thebes (Hebrew, No Amon). The prophet Nahum, in prophesying the fall of Nineveh, calls attention to this event (3:8ff.).

Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied during the Babylonian period of world dominance. Darius the Great (521-486 BC), who befriended the Judeans, helping them rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, depicted himself as a Pharaoh on a shrine door now displayed in the British Museum.

The young Alexander of Macedon came to Thebes in 336 BC and left reliefs of himself portrayed as a Pharaoh making offerings to the god Amon. Cassander rebuilt the city in 315 B.C. The later Ptolemaic kings who succeeded Alexander built temples to the gods at Edfu and Kom Ombo and regularly pictured themselves as worshiping the gods of Egypt. Likewise, the Roman emperors built temples beside the ancient temples of the Pharaoh. The temple of Philae has a small temple to Augustus ( 30 B.C. to A.D. 14) and another to Trajan (A.D. 98-117).

Luxor, Egypt

We boarded our cruise boat today shortly before noon. After lunch we spent a few hours at Karnak where the great temple complex is located.

In the late afternoon we went to Luxor temple. This is the temple of Ramses II situated on the banks of the Nile River. I tried making a few photos of the beautifully lit entrance with the statues of the Pharaoh and the obelisk. Here is one of those.

Luxor was known as Thebes in the Old Testament.

Luxor Temple in Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Luxor Temple in Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It is difficult for me to write more or post more photos at this time because there are only a couple of computers on the cruise ship and the cost is steep — about $10 for 30 minutes. I simply wanted all of our readers, especially those with family members and friends on the tour, to know that everyone in our group is doing well.

Our boat remains docked at Luxor tonight. Tomorrow morning we visit the Valley of the Kings. At about 1 p.m. the boat departs for destinations along the Nile River.

Daydreaming a little

Family and friends who know us personally know that our greatest joy for the past four years has been our grandson. He stayed overnight with us recently prior to this tour. Almost the first question after he woke up was, “What were the pyramids?” I think his mind was satisfied when I finished the explanation. I promised that I would put him in a picture with us at the pyramids. He willingly posed for me to get a suitable photo.

Traveling with our grandson in our heart.

Traveling with our grandson in our heart.

We sent this photo to him yesterday, and he emailed back his hearty approval. He said that he read the sign in front of the group all by himself. Maybe someday he can come to Egypt with us. What a joy that would be.

And this fits in well with our recent theme of composite creatures. Let him who has understanding receive it.

The Giza Pyramids

Today has been a long and busy day. Our group visited the Cairo Museum and the Giza Pyramids. This photo of the group was made on the west side of the Pyramids. In the distance you see some of the buildings of Cairo in the Nile Valley.

Egyptian Adventure Group at the Giza Pyramids.

Egyptian Adventure Group at the Giza Pyramids.

Click on the photo for a larger copy.

Tomorrow morning we have a flight scheduled for Luxor. There, after visiting the Luxor and Karnak Temples, we will begin a four day cruise on the Nile with stops along the way to visit important historical sites.

I am not sure if I will be able to have a good Internet connection during most of that time. Keep checking back.

For a more personal outlook on the tour I urge you to see Picture This at http://scenewithsharon.blogspot.com.

Egypt and the Bible

The land of Egypt is an important part of the Bible world, and the country played an important role in biblical history. Egypt is mentioned more than 600 times in the Bible. One may add to this numerous reference to the various cities, such as Alexandria, On, and Pi-beseth, that are mentioned where the word Egypt is not used.

Cairo on the Nile River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Cairo on the Nile River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A number of significant Bible stories take their setting in Egypt. Abraham sojourned there (Genesis 12:10). During Joseph’s stay in Egypt he went throughout the land storing grain (Genesis 41:46-48). Moses was born there, adopted by the daughter of a Pharaoh, and trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:20-22).

We have every reason to think that these men would have seen the pyramids and other “antiquities” of their time. The Step Pyramid of Djoser, located at Saqqara, was built about 2640 B.C. Shortly thereafter in the twenty-sixth century B.C. came the famous Giza pyramids. Modern man stands in awe of these ancient tombs. This was during the Old Kingdom period of Egyptian history (2800 to 2250 B.C.).

Neither Abraham, Joseph, nor any of the Israelites had anything to do with the building of the pyramids. The pyramids of Giza had been standing more than 500 years when Abraham visited Egypt.

Except for Danny and Sara, who came a day earlier, everyone in our group was tired from the long flight and the loss of seven or more hours. We still made good use of the time by visiting the Citadel and the Mohammed Ali Mosque. Then we went to Old Cairo to visit a Coptic church and the Ben Ezra Synagogue. These churches are built within what has been called Fort Babylon. Hopefully we will get back to visit the church associated with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, and the Coptic Museum.

See the earlier post about the Ben Ezra Synagogue.

This photo shows a portion of what is marked as a Roman Fort. In the past there have been signs with the phrase Fort Babylon. This ruin (on the right of the photo) is part of the Roman fort that was known as Fort Babylon in Roman times. At that time the Nile River flowed beside the Fort, but has since changed its course. The buildings to the left are part of the newly restored Coptic Museum.

Roman Tower (Fort Babylon, on right) and the Coptic Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Roman Tower (Fort Babylon, on right) and the Coptic Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Arrived safely in Cairo

Our non-stop Delta flight from New York to Cairo took only about 9 hours and 30 minutes of flying time. Weather here is beautiful. All forty two members of the group are accounted for.
We have checked into our hotel near the airport in Heliopolis. It is almost noon now (seven hours ahead of EST). In a few minutes we will begin some sightseeing, likely visiting Old Cairo this afternoon.
We look forward to sharing more with you in the days to come.