The Destruction of Pompeii… a lesson in History!

On August 23, 79 AD, Pompeii looked like any other busy, prosperous city…

People were moving about, trading goods, news, and friendly talk. Three days later, on August 26, all of these sounds had fallen silent, and the place itself had vanished. Almost nothing was seen of Pompeii for more than 1500 years. Now, more than 1900 years later, we are learning more and more about the last days of Pompeii. What happened to Pompeii preserved a treasury of information about life in the ancient Roman Empire.

The Destruction of Pompeii (1 of 6)

(click here to watch pt 2 , pt 3, pt 4, pt 5, pt 6)

A Christian Perspective

Copyright © 2001
Michael S. Cole, M.D.

It is my opinion that Pompeii is the most important archeological site anywhere. Almost every other ancient urban site is simply the remains of a ghost town, long ago deserted by its citizens who carried away with them everything of value. Prior to the eruption of Vesuvius, Pompeii was a thriving city. Then it was buried with so little warning in 79 A.D. that Pompeii was literally frozen in time.

If we want to know details about what life was like in a Roman city during the first century, I think by studying Pompeii we can get the very best perspective with the least speculation. We can understand how the privileged rich man and the ordinary slave lived from day to day in the Roman Empire during the time when

Christianity was beginning to spread throughout the Mediterranean. A better understanding of life in Pompeii, a city with both Roman and Greek influence, can help us to better understand many of the writings of the New Testament.

Thanks to the United States Navy, I was stationed near Pompeii in the mid-1980’s. My wife Jeannie and I visited the ruins of that ancient city many times. Our first tour was conducted by Tony d’Ambrosio, then a professor of archeology at the University of Naples, now the director of excavation at Pompei. After studying everything I could find about Pompeii, I served as an amateur guide for many friends and relatives.

The slide show and commentary provided here will give you a glimpse of what you would see and learn if I could personally escort you around the streets, villas, temples, theaters, baths, shops, and forum of Pompeii. As a bonus, I’ve also included photos of many items from the National Archeological Museum of Naples where most of the treasures of Pompeii are housed. If you’re interested, you should check out some of the many books and Web sites from which you can learn lots more than I’ll be sharing with you here.

If you’re planning to visit Pompeii, perhaps this virtual tour will help prepare you for what you will experience there. If you’ve already been to Pompeii, maybe you’ll learn something new from my perspectives. If you’re likely to never make it to see Pompeii for yourself, I truly hope your time spent at this Web site will educate, enlighten, and inspire you.

Click here to take a virtual tour of the city

There is also an interesting devotional message from Worthy Ministries below on the subject of Pompeii, that I think you will enjoy reading.

There is a lot, I believe, for us to learn about this ancient city of Pompeii and its people. Even as the devotional message (below) points out, in how there was a woman, who along with everyone else was frozen in time by the burning magma flood that consumed their lives; in how this one woman was found clutching her jewels and was trying to take them with her.

You know there is much talk today about how the United States, having so far failed to learned from history, is on the verge of repeating it; and along with this analogy the comparison is often made comparing us with the ancient Roman Empire; which as we understand from history did not topple due to any opposing armies from without; but it toppled from within, due the internal greed and corruption of its leadership, and the overall lasciviousness, debauchery, and sin of its people… in a nation who had forsaken the Lord God of Creation.

What history doesn’t record is the longsuffering of a loving God, whom I am sure made every effort to sway the citizens of this ancient Roman city from their ways, and all apparently to no avail.

Listen to what God says in the Book of Romans about such a people:

Romans 1:8-32

8 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

What I do know, however, is all that the Lord is doing here in the United States today, in order to try and get our attention; but I wager you that much the same attitude that was seen in the days of Noah, and also I believe this was true of Ancient Rome as well, where the Bible records that in spite of Noah’s warnings (as the Bible says he preached for 100 years) of a coming and impending disaster, that in spite of these warnings the people carried on business as usual, and were much too busy buying and selling and giving in marriage, and all the normal every day affairs of their lives, to give God any consideration. And that was a BIG mistake, as it is also for us today!!!

And by the way, Jesus warns us that as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be when He returns.

I can only hope and pray that same history is not repeated here in America; but I can also see that our time is running short; and such as it is, there are signs a plenty all around us, in both nature and in the sad state of our economy; not to mention the state of our crumbling, corrupt, and ill managed government, which we have today, which I am sure is not that different from the Roman government of ancient history.

God’s instructions for a people who are faced with God’s judgment, as we are today in America, is very clear. In that the responsibility for our government, and God’s impending judgment upon it, does not fall to the unbelievers, the atheists, and agnostics, who are in virtual control today of every level of our society, our media, our government and our culture; but the Bible makes it very clear that the responsibility of whether our nation is turned back to God, or whether we are judged, falls to the believers, the Christians… of those who are called by God’s name!

Read it for yourself in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Let us here in America follow the instructions given us in our Operations Manual (the Bible), and let us continue to watch and pray, and let us also be about our Father’s business too, which is to be a witness to this lost world, in all those souls who are all around us, who don’t yet have a clue what future awaits them if they turn away from and forsake the Lord their God, and turn away from the Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ! Selah


Skip Barland

From: Worthy Ministries
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 2:30 AM
Subject: Worthy Brief – 7/6/2010

The volcano waiting to erupt!

1 Timothy 6:6-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

As I write, it seems the prevailing concern among people everywhere is — what’s going on with the economy?
People are watching their wealth dissipating and dwindling away.
Reflecting on these material losses reminds me of a story about a lady who perished in Pompeii in the first century.

Pompeii was a flourishing city in Southern Italy until 79 AD.

Suddenly, for two days Mt. Vesuvius erupted and completely destroyed Pompeii in all its pomp.

The city was covered in meters of ash and pumice for 1700 years until it was accidentally discovered in 1748.

When archaeologists began excavations in 1910 they uncovered a petrified woman clutching some of the finest jewelry ever recovered from the ancient world.

She was apparently attempting to flee the doomed city, and in her haste, holding desperately onto her valuable possessions — she lost her life.

During its time Pompeii was a magnificent city, yet it’s destiny was destruction by a nearby volcano –- and so it is with our world today.

There’s so much beauty on our planet earth –- yet its destiny is certain!

The day is soon coming when it’s elements will be destroyed with fire, the earth and everything in it, laid bare, [2 Peter 3:10] –- and our earthly possessions will not come with us into glory, (only what we have done with them).

As the Apostle Paul said, we came into this world with nothing — and when we leave this world, we take nothing with us.

We can make the mistake of holding too dearly onto our earthly possessions, making them our “treasure”, (rather than storing treasure where moth and rust do not corrode etc.) — but this is a costly error, as illustrated by our “petrified lady.”

Instead, let’s remind ourselves that we are stewards of God’s possessions, responsible to use them with His interests in mind, to further His Kingdom with the things He has entrusted to us.

With so much work to be done, let’s never allow our earthly possessions to petrify us with greed or fear thus preventing the eternal work we were preordained for, and stealing our eternal rewards.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah

Negev Desert, Israel

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This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

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