Monthly Archives: October 2009

Thebes in Bible Prophecy

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 worshiped as a great god, illustrates the fulfillment of this prophecy. Shortly after the time of Jeremiah (c. 586 BC), Egypt and Thebes began to decline as a world power.

This photo of the avenue of the ram-headed sphinxes leads to the first pylon of the great temple of the god Amon (or Amun). The first pylon was the last part of the temple constructed (about 700 BC) and remains unfinished. This photo is large enough to be used in teaching presentations. Click on the photo for a larger image. I hope you will enjoy using it.

The avenue of ram-headed sphinxes and the first pylon at Karnak. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The avenue of ram-headed sphinxes and the first pylon of the great temple of Amun at Karnak. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In 663 BC 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.).

Visiting the Bible Lands with Mother

I regretted that my Father never was able to visit the Bible lands with me, but Mother made two trips. The first in 1980, a year after my father died, and the second in 1993. I enjoyed having her as part of the group. She could walk faster and longer than anyone in the group, I think.

Vera Jenkins at Joppa in 1993. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Vera Jenkins at Joppa in 1993. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This has been one of my favorite pictures of Mother. I made it at ancient Joppa in Israel, March 13, 1993, with the Great Sea in the background.

Vera Mann Jenkins – 1913-2009

Vera Mann Jenkins -- 1913-2009

Vera Mann Jenkins -- 1913-2009

My mother passed from this life to be with the Lord this evening in Huntsville (AL) Hospital. The photo I am sharing with you was made in 1993 when she was 80 years of age. She was a wonderful woman, a good mother, and a faithful Christian. I am thankful for the influence she had on my life.

At a later time I will share some remembrances of her.

Charles Darwin – Galapagos Finches

HT: Defend the Word

Archeobus Tour on the Appian Way

While visiting the Appian Way in Rome I noticed the archeobus. I assume there may have been a guide with the group at the Tomb of Caecilia Metella. That is a neat idea on a dry day.

The Archeobus Tour on the Appian Way. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Archeobus Tour on the Appian Way. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Perhaps the next time I am in Rome I will look into this tour. Photographers were utilizing the beautiful sunny day and the ancient ruins to photograph some newly weds (to be?).

Wedding photography on the Appian Way. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wedding photography on the Appian Way. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I wondered if they knew that the Apostle Paul once passed this way (Acts 28).

The Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine was dedicated to the Emperor by the Senate and the People of Rome in A.D. 315. Constantine served as Emperor from A.D. 306 to 337. By the time of Constantine the church had made major departures from the New Testament pattern of church organization. The Emperor attended the Council of Nicea, but allowed the eastern bishops to preside over the meeting.

Grant comments on the question of Constantine’s conversion:

The question as to whether he was a “genuine” Christian or not depends on somewhat subjective definitions. (Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, 227).

The Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Helena, the mother of Constantine, was responsible for the construction of many of the well-known churches of the Holy Land. Rosenberg says,

Her role in church history was due to her partnership in Constantine’s program of church building at Bethlehem and Jerusalem and to her discovery of what she believed to be the true cross, both of which led to the revival of Jerusalem and the encouragement of pilgrimage to the Holy Land. (Encyclopedia of Early Christianity 417).

The Pyramid of Caius Cestius

The Pyramid of Caius Cestius, erected in 43 B.C., is located in the Aurelian wall near the Gate of St. Paul in Rome.

Pyramid of Caius Cestius and the Gate of St. Paul. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Pyramid of Caius Cestius and the Gate of St. Paul. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Caius Cestius was an insignificant first century B.C. magistrate, but it is possible that Paul saw his Pyramid.

How big is the Canon? Depends on who you ask.

Bible Study Magazine has made available a chart comparing various canons of Scripture. Those included are the SamWhat's in Your Bible? Find out at BibleStudyMagazine.comaritan Bible, Hebrew Bible, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Syriac, Ethiopian, and Protestant. By clicking on the small chart you will be taken to the complete large chart in Bible Study Magazine.

Dan Brown’s novels: Fact or Fiction?

On the plane from Rome last week I noticed someone reading The Lost Symbol. I think the Today Show made a lot of the book a few weeks ago. I gave some attention to The Da Vinci Code here, but don’t plan to do the same for this new book.

The Telegraph, in an article by Tom Chivers, mentions 50 factual errors in the two books by Dan Brown.

Dan Brown’s new novel The Lost Symbol opens with a bold word: FACT. “All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real”, it says.

The Da Vinci Code, his previous bestseller, began in a similar fashion. “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate”, Brown says before the prologue.

Chivers discusses the categories of History, Geography, Science, Symbols, Religion and Mythology, Language, and Miscellany.

Swiss Guard at the Vatican. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Swiss Guard at the Vatican. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is one of the mistakes that would not matter much except for the fantastic claim that everything in the books are true.

Langdon says the Swiss Guard’s outfits were “designed by Michelangelo himself.” This is an urban myth: Michelangelo had nothing to do with them. The current uniforms were designed by Commandant Jules Repond between 1910 and 1921.

The Vatican’s official web site says,

The colours which make the uniform so attractive are the traditional Medici blue, red and yellow, set off nicely by the white of the collar and gloves. The blue and yellow bands give a sense of lightness as they move over the red doublet and breeches. The Guard’s every-day uniform is completely blue. With the passing centuries there have been a few minor changes, but on the whole the original dress has been maintained. It is commonly thought that the uniform was designed by Michelangelo, but it would seem rather that he had nothing to do with it. However, Raffaello certainly did influence its development, as he indeed influenced fashion in general in Italy in the Renaissance, through his painting.

I wondered how I would ever use this good photo of a Swiss Guard at the Vatican.

HT: Biblical Paths

Nabataean site in the Negev vandalized

Ynet News reports that Avdat, a Nabataean site in the Negev, has been severely damaged by vandals. In August, 2008, I had Avdat on my list of places to visit. We made it to the site, but it was within 30 minutes of closing time and the guard would not allow us to go to the top. I regret that we missed seeing everything — even more now.

The Nabataean site of Avdat in the Negev. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Nabataean site of Avdat in the Negev. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Raviv Shapira, director of the southern district of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority told Ynet that the sight of the destruction was awful: “We came in the morning and found the place in shambles,” described Shapira, “They broke the staircase, destroyed the walls, and painted on them. The worst is that the two most ancient churches in Israel were destroyed, and 13-foot columns were shattered with hammers along with artifacts and the authentic marble alter, which is the most important (artefact) in the city.”

The Nabataeans founded Avdat around the 3rd century BC, along the “Perfume Road” which stretched between the Jordanian city of Petra and Gaza. The place was named after the Nabataean king, Avdat, who was also buried at the site. According to Shapira, Avdat was the most important historic city on the “Perfume Road” after Petra between the 1st century BC and the 7th century AD, and was inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans and Byzantines.

We typically refer to the “Perfume Road” as the “Spice Road.” Read the full story here (including a video).

HT: Joseph I. Lauer