Daily Archives: November 21, 2010

Half a millionaire!

Compared with many websites and blogs, reaching the 500,000 hits level, as we did a few minutes ago, is not much. However, for a blog by an obscure writer dealing with the narrow topic of the Bible lands this might be impressive.

During our first month online (May, 2007) we averaged about 81 hits a day. The blog was intended to provide an opportunity for friends of those traveling with me on a tour of Anatolian Turkey and the area of Paul’s first journey to keep in touch. I think there was no thought of continuing the blog on a regular basis.

When we discovered that there was continuing interest in the photographs and bits of information we provided, we continued to write. The growth of readership was gradual. This month we are averaging about 885 hits a day. At the annual professional meetings of the NEAS, ETS, and SBL several people who saw my name badge mentioned reading the blog.

We always have in mind those who preach and teach the Bible as we prepare our material.

Thank you for your interest in this material and for your kind words of encouragement from time to time. I must confess that some days I give thought to discontinuing the blog. Except for the evidence that some of the readers are finding this material helpful I probably would.

I am grateful to others who have called attention to my blog through their links and honorable mentions. Every time Todd Bolen mentions my posts at Bible Places Blog I note an uptick in hits. I continue to be thankful for WordPress and the platform provided to anyone who wishes to post their thoughts/materials on the Internet.

Just had a thought. What if I had a dollar for each hit? It was just a thought.

For this special occasion I wanted to share a nice photo of the site of Paneas /Banias/Caesarea Philippi. This photo shows the site of the Pan shrine at the foot of the vast rock which is part of the the foothills of Mount Hermon. A spring flows from beneath the rock to form the Banias River which in turn joins other branches to form the Jordan River. Click on the photo to get an image suitable for use in sermon and class presentation.

The site of Paneas was Caesarea Philippi in the time of Jesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The site of Paneas was Caesarea Philippi in the time of Jesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is the Bible text that goes with the photo.

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19 NAU)

Astronaut photo of Egypt, Israel and Jordan at night

The satellite photo below is one of the fabulous photos made by NASA astronauts from space. The emphasis in this photo is the Nile Delta at night. You are able to see the portion of Egypt where most of the people live. The Sinai, Israel and Jordan are also visible. To the north, the island of Cyprus and the south shore of Turkey can be seen.

NASA Astronaut Photography of the Egypt and Israel by night.Astronaut photo of Egypt, Israel and Jordan at night.

NASA provides a helpful explanation of the photo.

One of the fascinating aspects of viewing Earth at night is how well the lights show the distribution of people. In this view of Egypt, we see a population almost completely concentrated along the Nile Valley, just a small percentage of the country’s land area.

The Nile River and its delta look like a brilliant, long-stemmed flower in this astronaut photograph of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, as seen from the International Space Station. The Cairo metropolitan area forms a particularly bright base of the flower. The smaller cities and towns within the Nile Delta tend to be hard to see amidst the dense agricultural vegetation during the day. However, these settled areas and the connecting roads between them become clearly visible at night. Likewise, urbanized regions and infrastructure along the Nile River becomes apparent (see also The Great Bend of Nile, Day & Night.)

Another brightly lit region is visible along the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean—the Tel-Aviv metropolitan area in Israel (image right). To the east of Tel-Aviv lies Amman, Jordan. The two major water bodies that define the western and eastern coastlines of the Sinai Peninsula—the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba—are outlined by lights along their coastlines (image lower right). The city lights of Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, and Nicosia are visible on the island of Cyprus (image top).

Scattered blue-grey clouds cover the Mediterranean Sea and the Sinai, while much of northeastern Africa is cloud-free. A thin yellow-brown band tracing the Earth’s curvature at image top is airglow, a faint band of light emission that results from the interaction of atmospheric atoms and molecules with solar radiation at approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) altitude.

The image is used courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. You may access various images at their website here. An annotated photo is available there.

HT: Aantekeningen bij de Bijbel