Thursday, November 5, 2009

Petra! Nineveh! Babylon!

While learning about Major and Minor Prophets in my Old Testament class, we kept hearing about three great cities--once terrible enough to melt the courage of a thousand little villages--now lying in the rubble of their own annihilation, brought to their knees and covered by desert sand--myths buried deep and doubted by all who questioned the writings of obscure Hebrew prophets.

Today, all three cities have been unearthed and rediscovered. So amazing are the ruins that we still stand in awe of them. Towers, moats--sixty feet deep, walls as thick as a city street, magnificent buildings carved into the sides of canyon walls. We've been researching--my students and I.

Since there are no skyscrapers out here in the country, we had to use the grain elevator for comparison. It works well actually. It's as high as the palace section of Nineveh's wall, as high as the cliff face of Petra, and not nearly as high as the walls of Babylon--and the walls of Babylon stretched for fourteen miles, all the way from our little town to the interstate, and beyond. When you look at it that way, it's impressive! If you look closely, you can see the boys' class clustered at the foot of the elevator.

The main part of this elevator is 120 feet tall. With the additional tower on top, it extends to 170 feet.

Some of the facades in Petra were 120 feet tall, and the cliffs around varied from 100 to 300 feet high.

The walls of Nineveh were 53 feet high for the most part, but one area by the palace was 148 feet high, and the walls were also 40-55 feet thick.

Babylon's walls were higher than 170 feet tall--Herodotus said 350 feet tall--and the wall was a double wall that stretched for fourteen miles.

I took a picture on the way to school, approaching the elevator in the distance in order to imagine how one would feel traveling toward one of these great cities. We can see this one from our town, which is around 13 miles away. Just think what it would look like if it were 14 miles long!

Today we took a short field trip during class and walked to the elevator. While there, we recorded our City Chants, took a few pictures, and just stood and stared upward, thinking about those three colossal cities, and the walls that defended them so long.

Yet Petra Fell...just like Obadiah predicted.
Nineveh Fell...with a flood and an invasion, just like Nahum prophesied.
And Babylon was given to Cyrus the Persian and Darius the "invulnerable golden kingdom"...invaded through the dry bed of a diverted river. Well, Isaiah did say it would happen.

Mighty kingdoms rise and fall, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.

Cheers for Ancient Cities

After we looked at the elevator walls, we crept inside one of the gateways, got into our teams, and performed our chants. The echoes ringing around us, the wheat above our heads, grate on the floor, wind and dust whipping by. . . it was like an arena.