Petra –City in the Rocks

Petra –City in the Rocks

CaptureEnclosed by towering rocks and cliffs of soft red and cream colored marbled mountains, Petra is located south of the Dead Sea about 100 km by road. Carved by the resending waters of the great flood, this range of mountains becomes a focal point of History and is scattered all the way through Scriptures. If you were to ask a researcher to list five great cities of old, Petra conceivably would not be on the list: it finds itself sprinkled throughout times gone by.   In the Bible, this city is located in the heart of Mount Seir. [1]Mount Seir is known as the place that Esau made his home (Genesis 36:8; Joshua 24:4). It was named for Seir, the Horite, whose sons inhabited the land (Genesis 36:20). The children of Esau battled against the Horites and destroyed them (Deuteronomy 2:12). Mount Seir is also given as the location where the remnants “of the Amalekites that had escaped” were annihilated by five hundred Simeonites (I Chronicles 4:42-43). Mount Seir is also referenced in Ezekiel 35:10.

Wikipedia describes Petra this way:

Petra is an “[i]Arabian historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma’an, that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system.”

Petra was “established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.”

Genesis14:6 tells us that it is a place in the wilderness.  It was built as a resting point from the Kings Highway to the Water Parting trade route. It can be found, figuratively, “in the middle of nowhere.”

[2] Avi Rubin, a former airborne commander in the Israel Defense Force, says this with reference to Petra: “Petra might be the ultimate defensive position in a regional war” because of its location. The city carved out of the mountains as a resting place for travelers. This resting spot became a very wealthy and very cross-cultural in nature.  It is part of Jordon today, but in the time of the Bible being penned, it was part of Edom or Esau (the father of the Edomites, Genesis 36:9) and a city that connected Horeb and Kadesh-barnea (Deuteronomy 1:2).

Its location is of such importance that according to Rubin, “[ii]It is an outstanding defensive position. Airborne assault would be most difficult. It is what I would call a natural defensive position. The Roman legions, the Crusaders, the Arabs and now the IDF, Iraq and the Jordanian army all recognized this… The most important defensive feature is called ‘the Shiq,’ which is about 2,000 meters long. It is a narrow passageway, which leads into the city. It has very high, sheer walls, which will protect the Israeli population as they enter the city from the west (more on this later). The rocks of Petra can help protect from gunfire, bombing, artillery and perhaps even absorb some radiation.”

This Shiq that he refers to leads to the Kasni, a structure that is completely carved out of the mountain as on large room and several underground tombs fit for a king. It is not completely know how this was carved with the tools and technology of the day, but it was and is still there. It said to be one of the greatest achievements of the day. The Kasni itself stands over 39 meters high, looking all around are ancient buildings that once housed a city of people.

Petra is literally a dugout hollow of the mountains. Used as a central trading spot in the time of its economic heights and located in the middle of all the major trade routes of the day. It is not completely know how the Kasni was built, however, it is believed to have been carved from the top down leaving behind the tomb of Kasni.  The building of this great mystery must have required many workers, supervisors and surveyors to plan and execute the building of this tomb. Leaving the Kasni behind, you enter into the great city of Petra. Today this land is not much more than a tourist attraction. However, this will change as Petra will once again find its place again in the pages of history.

Many challenges were faced in the building of this city including the management of water supplies. The rainy season of March through May could drop many feet of water on the city and drown it all. To overcome this there was a great tunnel leading to a dam away from the city. They also carved out gutters along the mountain that acted as vast water management for the city. The design and thought that went into planning the water system of Petra is one of the greatest designs of the ancient times. Located at a bottom of a basin, they designed these channels to flow water into the city to last for the whole year by saving water in great cisterns. They mastered the hydraulic engineering that was needed to sustain life in the desert. They have over 200 cisterns in the city providing water for over 50,000 people plus the traders that came and went.

Because of all the trade that took place in this desert, religion became over shadowed by a little bit of each country that came though the city. They worshiped gods from Rome and Egypt and Babylon as well as others. It is believed that city and the Kasni was built around the time of Christ’s birth but there is not enough information to clearly see when. The Israelites upon leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea circled this land for about 38 years time before God directed them northward to Canaan.  The exodus of the Israelites was 1313 BC and the great city was not built until about 1000 years later.

Petra is believed to be a location that Israel will flee to during the end times as a place of shelter as previously mentioned. It is a place of old that God will use again in His story. More recently, Petra has indeed been placed back in the headlines when the [iii]US Government has stepped in to provide up to $477 million dollars to aid Jordon in rebuilding Petra to a status of inhabitable. It remains unclear as to how exactly this city will come back to life but the location and size of the city in past history shows us that it is capable of providing substance to a people living there.

Bibliography Page

Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible

Gills Commentary on the Bible

Adam Clark commentary on the Bible



counsel of the ungodly

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1

wrong way2Counsel of the ungodly” this makes me to think of so many things. Where do we get our information from? How do we know truth? Do we follow facebook and twitter friend’s more than Biblical friends? I mean do we know more about what is going on in the lives of strangers or can go into detail on how God provide for the Israelites? Do we see the wisdom in Solomon, or are we too busy wondering who wins the next reality show. (Honestly, I am trying to think of what is on T.V. now and I have no idea!)

Life is hard; there is destruction all around us. Political mess is clearly displayed. Social breakdown and ruined lives everywhere. Drugs, Immorality, Slander and dis-contentment abounds in the heart of America. Why are we shocked by this? Why do leave God and wonder why bad things happen just to run back to God and ask where he was? When we live a life distracted by the things of the world then it is no wonder that sin abounds. When was the last true repentance of sin in your life?

I am not the judge or a judge, but I live in a world that it is ok to discuss football for hours but the name of Christ mentioned gets you sent to HR. This is not ok. Taking advice and basing our life on words of wisdom by talk show host and radio guru is not going to make you better, healthier, or smarter. Reading the Bible will! In fact Ps 1:2 continues on to say, that true delightment comes from being in the Book. Read your Bible every day and you will grow, grow, grow…. As the song goes. If you, yes you spend more time in the Word of God and less time wondering what is going on in the world -then the world would be wondering what’s going on in you.

How is your church attendance? Your prayer life? What about your trust and faith life? Do you trust God? Do you have faith that HE will provide? God’s faithfulness is unending; however it cannot be expericend if you don’t have the faith to accept it. Do right. Live right. Chase God. Make choice like they really do effect and affect the rest of your life.

  • Who do talk with?
  • What is on your iPod?
  • What information do you base your decisions on?

Do follow the words here in Psalms? Circumstances do not get to decide what is right and wrong the plumb line of truth found in the Word does. Right is always right and wrong is always wroung and truth never becomes a lie until it changed and ceases to be the truth.

Chose today to serve Christ and delight yourself in his glory.

Light bulb moment.

From the forward of Bibilcal Missions by Roy Dearmore, Ron Thomas writes,

” The best way to disciple is one on one in bodily presence. What better way to teach than to walk and talk personally with someone. unfortunately, this means is not always possible. Time and space limit our ability to personally, bodily, disciple everyone. Tapes and personal correspondence can be a means of placing our imprint on the life of another individual. Much of the New Testament is a collection of letters written for the purpose of instruction, correction, reproof. and admonition. Another means of transfer and discipleship is an extended form of the written page. Why not write books? Why not pour those years of experience and knowledge into books so that others can profit? Books can travel places we cannot personally go. Books can live on beyond our expected years and touch lives beyond our lifetime.”

Who knows the book I pulled this from? It is 667 pages of “dry as cracker juice” (says Dr Head) information on mission’s and working in the field build churches, It was required reading for a class I took at GBBI. This short paragraph changed me. It changed my perspective on reading and the benefit from it. I never considered reading as something to do as a means to be better personally. I had a lightbulb moment. The rest of the book I dont remember  but I remember this paragraph. To be taught by Spurgeon, or RGLEE, or the list is endless, once read a book by Dr Sexton he wrote in the 80s on building a bus ministry. Made possible by books. Read Read and read some more.

Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

and on and on Solomon talks about getting wisdom from learning and knowledge from understanding. May the Lord help me as I grow in Knowledge and Wisdom.