Category Archives: Turkey

“The stork in the heavens knows her time”

The stork is listed among the unclean birds in Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18. The Psalmist says, “the stork has her home in the fir trees” (Psalm 104:17.

I have not seen a stork nest in a fir tree, but I have often seen them on the top of electric poles, chimneys, and ruined columns.

These storks are building a nest on the top of an old brick column at Kovanlik, Turkey. This photo was made yards away from the beginning of the Via Sebaste or Imperial Road that leads northeast across the mountains from the Pamphylian coastal plain to the Anatolian plateau. The approximate location is 37 10.4234N, 30 35.875E. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins

The prophet Jeremiah uses the faithfulness of the stork as it moves from one continent to another and then returns as an illustration of the faithfulness not seen in the people of the LORD.

Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 ESV)

I have seen this played out repeatedly in my travels in Israel and Turkey. The storks fly from Europe and other northern climes to Africa in the fall of the year. The Great Rift provides the way for them to navigate through Syria and Israel/Jordan.

A stork heading north and a sunrise over the Golan Heights. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

This is a composite photo showing a stork in the Jordan Valley and a sunrise over the Golan Heights. Photos by Ferrell Jenkins.

The prophet Zechariah also uses the wingspan of the stork as an illustration. In one of his visions he says,

Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women coming forward! The wind was in their wings. They had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. (Zechariah 5:9 ESV)

The Keren Kayemeth Leisrael JNF website provides good information about storks, and other birds, in the Hulah valley here. Here is another nice site with information about storks and some good photos.

HT: Dr. Mark Wilson, author of Biblical Turkey, who gave the directions of the Via Sebaste mentioned with the first photo to Leon Mauldin and me. An article by Mark R. Fairchild in BAR includes a map showing two possible routes from Perga in Pampylia to Pisidian Antioch. The caption with the map suggests the Via Sebaste as possibly being used by Paul, but Dr. Fairchild does not think Paul would have traveled that way. Nonetheless it is possible that Paul might have used this route in one direction or the other, more likely on the return. (Fairchild, Mark R. “Why Perga?” Biblical Archaeology Review 39.6 (2013): 53–59.)

Carchemish and the Rise of Babylon as a World Power

It was a day of high excitement at Carchemish in 605 B.C. when Pharaoh Neco came all the way from Egypt to this city now on the border between Syria and Turkey. On an earlier excursion from Egypt to Carchemish in 609 B.C., Neco killed Josiah, king of Judah, at Megiddo.

The map illustrating Pharaoh Neco’s trip to Carchemish is included in Bible Mapper v. 5. Click on the map to see a larger, more easily read, map.

Pharaoh Neco came to assist the Assyrians as they fought the Babylonians. But the emerging world power from the southern Euphrates city of Babylon overpowered the Assyrians and the Egyptians and sent Neco running back to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, chased Neco to the border of Egypt.

It is still exciting at Carchemish. I have been within sight of Carchemish a few times. Military installations are clearly visible on top of the tell. The first time I was near Carchemish was in 1995. The tour operator handling my tour in Turkey advised me not to go to Carchemish (Karkamis) because it is “zero on the border” of Turkey and Syria. You may see other photos of Carchemish by using the search box with that word.

This photo was made in Turkey. The site of ancient Carchemish can be seen in the distance to the left of center. The River Euphrates makes a left turn before the mound and continues to flow into Syria and Iraq before flowing into the Persian Gulf. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Jerash (Gerasa) in Jordan

Jerash is also called Gerasa and Jarash. It was founded by Alexander the Great about 332 B.C., but declined as an important city about 300 B.C. The ruins are seen today are principally from the second century A.D. Roman city. We can imagine what the city of the time of Jesus looked like.

Gerasa/Jerash

This map shows the relationship of Gerasa/Jerash to Galilee, the principal area of Jesus’ ministry. Photo prepared with BibleMapper v.5. ferrelljenkins.blog.

Jerash is located in a well-watered valley in the mountains of Gilead. The modern village is inhabited mostly by Circassians, who were brought there by the Turks in the last part of the 19th century.

Hadrian's Arch, Jerash, Jordan. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

The Triumphal Arch was constructed at the time of the visit of the Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 129. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A German traveler named Seetzen rediscovered Gerash for the Western world in 1806. Excavations were begun in the 1920s. The main points of interest include the following: Triumphal Arch (built in 129 A.D. to celebrate Hadrian’s visit; Oval-shaped Forum (only one of its kind from the Roman period, from 1st century); Temple of Artemis (columns are 45 feet high with Corinthian capitals); Cathedral Church (ca. A.D. 350-375). Thirteen Byzantine churches have been excavated at Jerash.

Cardo from Roman city Jerash, Jordan. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

A view of the cardo of Jerash in Jordan. Jerash was one of the cities of the Decapolis. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

People from the Decapolis followed Jesus during His ministry in Galilee. Jerash was the second largest city of the Decapolis, after Damascus (Matthew 4:23-25). When Jesus traveled through the Decapolis he possibly visited the area around Jerash (Mark 7:31).

Beautiful mound covers the site of ancient Lystra

The mound of Lystra, now called Zordula, is located about 18 miles south of Konya (biblical Iconium), Turkey, near the village of Hatunsaray.

Lystra was visited by Paul and Barnabas on the First Missionary or Preaching Journey (Acts 14). Lystra and Derbe were towns of Lycaonia (Acts 14:6). The locals spoke the Lycaonian language. They called Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes (14:12). Inscriptions have been found that identify these particular gods with Lycaonia.

This was the home of young Timothy, “the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:1). Timothy accepted the invitation of Paul to join him on the second journey. Two of Paul’s epistles were written to Timothy.

The mound of Lystra, 18 miles south of modern Konya. View to the south. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto # 34 – “I will make your enemies your footstool”

A monarch with his foot on the neck of a subdued enemy is a common motif in the ancient near east. An illustration such as this helps us visualize certain Biblical texts.

Here I wish to use an illustration from the Roman world shortly after New Testament times. In the statue below we see the Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) with his foot on the neck of a subdued enemy.

Roman Emperor Hadrian with foot on an enemy. Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian with his foot on an enemy. Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

This statue is displayed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. It is made of marble and is said to have come from Hierapitna, Crete.

The photo below is a closeup of the captive with the Emperor’s foot on his neck.

Closeup of an enemy with the foot of Hadrian on his back. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian has his foot on the back of an enemy that has been subdued. Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

In the New Testament, Peter quotes Psalm 110:1 to show that Jesus is now seated on the throne of David at the right hand of God (Acts 2:35).

The apostle Paul understood this. He said of Jesus,

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:25 ESV)

The last enemy is death (1 Corinthians 15:26).

The illustrations here and in other posts are suitable for use in PowerPoint presentations for sermons and Bible classes. We only ask that you leave our credit line intact so others will know how to reach our material.

For examples from the Old Testament see here.

Check our Index on Bethlehem & Birth of Jesus

We have a few indexes prepared of topics that have been covered widely on this blog. One is an Index of article on Bethlehem and the Birth of Jesus here. It also includes some articles about the origin of Santa Claus at Myra, Turkey. We encourage you to take a look at these articles.

Our photo was made from the Franciscian Shepherd’s field in Bethlehem and this is the first time we have used it. I call it Shepherd’s Field by Day.

 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Luke 2:8 ESV)

Shepher's Field by Day. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

Shepherd’s Field by Day. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It is not possible to post as often at this time as I did in years past, but I want to encourage you to use this site often in your Bible study. Use the Search box to locate posts about Bible places, people and customs. I think will enhance your study of the Bible.

Thanks for telling others about the blog.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto # 32 – the beauty of the simple

The water of Laodicea, site of one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation, came from hot springs immediately south of the city. By the time the water reached Laodicea it was lukewarm.  Jesus described the church as being like the water supply of the city.

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16 ESV)

Laodicea was one of three cities of the Lycus River Valley in Asia Minor (Colossians 2:1; 4:15-16). Today this area is in Turkey. Toward the end of the first century the book of Revelation was sent to several churches of Asia (Revelation 1:11).

This photo shows part of the water distribution tower at ancient Laodicea. Mount Cadmus, location of Laodicea, is seen in the distance.

Part of the water distribution system of ancient Laodices in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

Ruins of the ancient water distribution system at Laodicea. Mount Cadmus, the location of Colossae, is visible in the distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Notice in the previous photo to the right of the ruins you will see several people gathered. They are looking at the calcified clay pipes that once distributed water to the residences of Laodicea. When the water left the spring it was warm, but by the time it arrived at Laodicea it was lukewarm.

How here is our favorite foto for today.

Some fern, grain and tiny flowers grown in the calcified pipe that once brought water to Laodices. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

This picture shows one of the broken clay pipes in the water distribution system, now calcified. But notice the little plants growing in the pipe. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A florist could hardly do better. This pipe apparently became so clogged that dirt could settle in it and provide a bed for these little plants.

Great Resource for Teaching Acts

The new Photo Companion to the Bible, produced by Todd Bolen and BiblePlaces.com, is a wonderful resource for those who teach the Bible. The first set in this series of material was on the book of Ruth. Next came the Gospels. And now we have the book of Acts.

There are more than 4000 images in this set on Acts. The images for each of the 28 chapters are included in a PowerPoint presentation with annotations explaining the image selection and background.

I could say much more about the value of this collection of material, but I suggest you go immediately to the detailed information here. You will see samples of the work and ordering information. For a limited time you can get this material at a special sale price.

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos #3

It was quite a thrill when I first found and walked on this nice stretch of Roman Road near the Turkish village of Saglikli about 12 miles north of Tarsus of Cilicia. Tarsus served as one of the great crossroads of history. It was the home of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul who described it as “no insignificant city” (Acts 21:39; 9:11; 22:3).

Roman road north of Tarsus in Cilicia. ferrelljenkins.blog.

Roman Road near the Turkish village of Saglikli, about 12 miles north of Tarsus in Cilicia. Home of Saul of Tarsus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This road that was constructed about A.D. 200 during the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus. Did Paul and Silas follow this same route on an earlier road during the second journey?

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos #2

Hasankef in southeastern Turkey is an old town to be flooded by the Tigris River. Hasankef is located about 37 km. [23 miles] south of Batman, Turkey, and about 300 km. [187 miles] north of Mosul, Iraq, site of ancient Nineveh. National Geographic, Nov. 2018, describes what is happening here in an article entitled “Flooding History.”

The northern portion of the two photos. The citizens can be relocated, but the history will be flooded. FerrellJenkins.blog.

The northern portion of the two photos. The citizens of Hasankef, Turkey, can be relocated, but the history will be flooded. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It takes two photos to make this a favorite.

The Tigris River at Hasankef, Turkey. FerrellJenkins.blog.

The southern portion of Hasankef, Turkey. This town will be flooded by the Tigris River as a result of the building of dams on the river. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Tigris River is mention only twice in the Bible.

  • Named as the third river flowing out of Eden (Genesis 2:14). Raises interesting questions about the location of Eden.
  • Associated with a vision seen by Daniel further south in ancient Babylon (Daniel 10:4).