I want to dwell here upon our visit to Pompeii. The city of Pompeii was obliterated by volcanic ash emitted as a result of an eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79AD. The city has been re-discovered through archaeological excavations which have taken place over the last 250 years. We visited it on Monday, November 4th.
It is an interesting place to visit. The audio guide was not so helpful, but speaking to the personnel who were situated at certain parts of the site to keep watch and guide people was most helpful. They all spoke good English and seemed to be archaeology students at Naples University.
One thing that became apparent through visiting was that Pompeii was a place of gross immorality. Sexual licentiousness, fornication and lasciviousness were de rigeur in the place. It really had resemblance to a Sodom and Gomorrah type place. Here is one view on how we can consider the burying of Pompeii in volcanic ash as a judgemental intervention of God.
Further information on the happenings on that fateful day can be found here. I make two further observations:
- South westerly winds were normal at that time of year in Southern Italy. For Pompeii to be devastated required North-westerly winds. This again points to the finger of God.
- The previous day the Romans had been celebrating Vulcanalia which focused upon their devotion to the god of fire including volcanic fire. There is only one God of fire and that is the true God known through Jesus Christ.
In reviewing this whole matter we must be careful of saying this event happened as an act of judgement by God because of the sin of the people. The Lord warns of the danger of such cause and effect reasoning in Luke 13:1-5 where He says:
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish
I conclude with three observations:
- When we see calamities in the world rather than rushing to apportion blame or attribute responsibility we need to realise that we are in a world destabilised by sin. And I am a sinner and I need to repent so that I will not face judgement.
- The similarity between what happened to Pompeii and what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah are striking. So striking that we hear the voice of God echoing through the Pompeii events and saying sexual immorality is detestable to me and devastating to humanity and my anger stands against those communities given over to it.
These two observations should gave us much pause for thought as to our own personal situations and the precarious position we find ourselves in in the West through the embracing of a multitude of sexual perversions