Digging Up the Past

Petra: The Lost City

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: David Down


Series Code: DUTP

Program Code: DUTP000027

00:01 Well, this is the last of our series of programs.
00:09 Sort of seems a pity it all has to end, doesn't it?
00:12 because this has been more than just a presentation of history
00:18 and geography. Its really the presentation of a message-a
00:23 message which I believe. I believe the bible.
00:26 I believe its message. And now we come to the last of the
00:30 programs and maybe its the best. Its a story of Petra,
00:36 the rose red city, half as old as time. 2000 years ago
00:43 Petra was a fabulously wealthy city. And people everywhere
00:51 knew about Petra. It boasted of its independence.
00:57 and prosperity. But all this came to the ears of the Romans
01:02 who were interested in wealth. And in the year 106 A. D.
01:07 Roman legions fought their way into the valley and conquered
01:12 and occupied Petra. They built a beautiful road right through
01:16 the center of the city. And the emperor, Trajan, had a
01:21 gateway erected to commemorate the victory. And under Rome
01:26 Petra prospered. But as the centuries rolled by, the camel
01:33 caravans that used to plod their way from Arabia to
01:37 Jerusalem and Damascus found an alternate route by the
01:42 Mediterranean and bypassed Petra. And as the result,
01:48 Petra's prosperity waned. Its population drifted away until
01:55 finally about 800 years ago, the valley lapsed into silence
02:01 and was deserted. Nobody knew where it was. Scholars knew
02:04 about Petra but they didn't know where it was.
02:07 And it was not until the year 1812 that the Swiss explorer,
02:14 Johann Burckhardt stumbled across these amazing ruins
02:18 and came out to tell an astonished world of what he
02:21 had seen - the lost city of Petra had been found.
02:53 Beautiful view from up here The Oleanders are blooming
02:57 all through the valley. And I'm up on the obelisk tomb.
03:02 It's called an obelisk tomb because of the four obelisks
03:07 that are on top of it; but they're not really obelisks
03:09 at all. They're fertility pillars. They were part of the
03:14 old Edomite type of worship and Nabatean worship and they're
03:19 the sort of thing that was forbidden in the Old Testament.
03:22 They're called Mesabot in Hebrew and they were not supposed
03:27 to worship these things. And so the instruction was to destroy
03:32 them. But actually its a tomb down below is the place or
03:36 triclinium where they had a funeral feast and up here
03:39 are the actual funeral vaults where the bodies are buried.
03:42 So this is called the obelisk tomb.
03:50 We are entering the ravine or Seka, which it is called
03:54 in Arabic, which leads into the Petra valley. And it was into
03:59 this valley that Johann Burkhardt, the Swiss explorer
04:02 came in 1812. Burkhardt was actually on his way to Africa.
04:06 He'd been employed by the African exploration society,
04:10 and they had advised him first of all to go to Syria and learn
04:14 the Arabic language, become familiar with the Islamic
04:17 religion before he went on to Africa. So he did that and when
04:22 he set out on his way to Africa, from Syria, he passed along
04:26 this way. Now he heard about this valley and so he decided
04:30 turn aside on the pretext that as a Muslim which he pretended
04:35 to be, he was going to offer a goat - sacrifice a goat to
04:39 Aaron's tomb. Aaron's tomb is up on top of Mount Hor.
04:42 And this was a sacred place for Arabs. And so he decided to
04:48 make this his pretext. But when he got into the valley and saw
04:52 inside, he was just absolutely over-awed and he realized he
04:56 must have found Petra. And apparently his Arab guide got
05:00 suspicious and threatened to kill him so he hastily
05:03 sacrificed his goat and came out to tell
05:06 the astonished world that he had found the lost city of Petra.
05:18 The walls of this ravine are anything up to 100 meters
05:21 in height. Just about meet overhead so it is a very easy
05:26 place for the defending army to defend against just a few men
05:31 against a whole army.
06:13 This is rather a quaint concept that the Nabateans had, well
06:16 it's quaint to our Western way of thinking, anyway.
06:18 very natural to them what they called God Houses. Solid stones
06:24 Their principal deity was a deity by the name of Dutra.
06:28 And they had these god houses. They're solid, you know,
06:32 you knock on the door and there is nobody going to open because
06:34 of its solid inside. You see they figure that god was a
06:38 spirit. God could go through stones so why go to the trouble
06:40 of hollowing out the thing. So this is one of the god houses
06:43 with an altar in front of it.
06:47 Well, you can imagine how Burkhardt felt when he got
06:51 to the end of the seek and this magnificent view burst on his
06:54 gaze. He must have been overwhelmed and you can
06:57 understand he betrayed his feelings. And this of course
06:59 also throws some light on a bible prophecy.
07:02 Now there's a special book in the bible that's entirely
07:05 debated the Petra, you know. The book of Obadiah. It starts
07:09 off by saying, The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord
07:12 God concerning Edom. You who dwell in the clefts of the rock
07:17 who's habitation is high. Well you can see why it says,
07:20 the clefts of the rock, can't you?
07:25 Can you see that Arab man lying down there having a sleep in
07:28 the sun? Well, that'll give you some idea of the perspective
07:31 of the immensity of this huge building. Well we call it
07:37 a building, actually it's cut out of the stone and that's a
07:39 remarkable thing about Petra. You see they didn't build things
07:42 one on top of the other. They just simply started at the top
07:45 and began to work down and cut these things out of the
07:47 solid face of the mountain and what worries me is, just suppose
07:52 somebody makes a mistake? I mean, if you're using stones
07:55 or bricks, you just throw it away, use another one.
07:57 But if you make a mistake here, you've had it.
07:59 And so its remarkable that they could make such fantastic
08:03 structures, just simply cutting them out of the stone.
08:06 Now this place is called El Gazna in Arabic.
08:09 which means, the treasury. It is called that because up at the
08:12 top there's a sort of an urn, and the Arabs used to think
08:16 that it was full of beautiful treasures and they took pot
08:19 shots with their rifles and held out their hands underneath
08:22 hoping that it would split open and all these fabulous treasures
08:25 would fall down into their hands but never did, of course.
08:27 The reason that its called the Treasury is because of that
08:32 but the question is, Is it a tomb or is it a temple?
08:34 Opinion is divided on this. I personally think it is a temple
08:38 because inside there are niches where I think that the deities
08:43 could have been installed, you know, images. Well whatever
08:46 it was it is a fantastic piece of architecture and workmanship.
08:53 Well really ladies, wouldn't you like this for your front doorway
08:57 just look at these beautiful colors here and you've got all
09:00 the annuals growing in your front garden.
09:02 You see they even carved their houses out of the solid cliff
09:08 face. It must have been beautiful. Well this house is
09:12 rather badly weathered as you can see, but what a beauty
09:15 it was. Look, I'm sitting in somebody's windows here.
09:18 How about that for a window? And over there is one of the
09:21 other rooms and look at the ceiling, will you?
09:24 I mean, you'd pay a million dollars to get a ceiling painted
09:27 like that. Here it is, just natural, it just comes naturally
09:43 The early inhabitants of Petra were the Edomites who of course
09:47 were descendents of Edom, which is another name for Esau.
09:51 You know the story of Jacob and Esau, the twins-had a bit of
09:55 friction between them and that Jacob had to go off to Bethel
09:58 and so on. And later on Esau came down here and his
10:02 descendents occupied this area. And they found it naturally a
10:07 very suitable place, very easily defended, not only
10:10 because of the seek which could be easily defended, but right up
10:14 on the hill behind me, up there is what is known as Sela.
10:18 Now Sela is the Hebrews word for rock, a very big rock.
10:21 And you can see it is a very big rock. It's flat on top.
10:24 And it has some cisterns up there, in fact the Arabs today
10:28 Um al Biara, the place of cisterns and so at the last
10:33 resort they were able to retire up there and obviously it would
10:38 be very hard to dislodge them. That's why the bible spoke
10:41 about the Edomites, as, You who live as an eagle.
10:45 You know, up in the nests. So it was very high. However it was
10:49 conquered by the Israelites under King David.
10:52 Joab, the army captain came down here and conquered it.
10:55 He killed most of the males, actually. And then later on
10:58 in the days of King Amaziah, of Judah, we have the record
11:02 in 2nd Chronicles, and in chapter 25 and verse 12
11:06 And the children of Judah took captive another 10,000 alive
11:10 brought them to the top of the rock and cast them down from the
11:13 top of the rock so that they were all dashed in pieces.
11:16 Well I can tell you, it's a long way down. I've been up there,
11:19 looked down. You wouldn't want to go down there.
11:21 And this is what happened during the days of Amaziah.
11:24 However as time went by, the Edomites became very arrogant
11:29 and in particular they allied with the Babylonians.
11:32 And they were very vindictive against the Israelites.
11:36 And so it was that we have the record in the book of Obadiah,
11:41 the prophet who spoke against Petra-verse 10.
11:44 For your violence against your brother Jacob shame shall cover
11:48 you. You shall be cut off for ever. In the day that strangers
11:52 carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates,
11:56 you were as one of them.
11:58 It was very malicious on their part. In fact it tells us over
12:01 here in the book of Psalms just what they said as they
12:05 united with the Babylonians. Psalm 137: Remember O Lord,
12:09 against the sons of Edom, the day of Jerusalem who said,
12:11 Raze it, raze it to its very foundation.
12:14 They egged the Babylonians on to completely destroy Jerusalem.
12:19 And so Jeremiah came up with the prophecy in chapter 49.
12:24 Against Edom, Thus says the Lord of Hosts, I have made Esau bare.
12:29 I have uncovered his secret places. Just have a look around,
12:33 will you? There's just absolutely nothing left here.
12:35 Its as bare as anything. Oh you who dwell in the clefts of the
12:39 rock, who hold the height of the hill, thought you make your
12:42 nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,
12:46 says the Lord. Edom shall be an astonishment.
12:48 Everyone who goes by it will be astonished.
12:51 And you've just got to come here and listen to the exclamations
12:55 that people make-tourists make. They're just absolutely
12:57 astonished at what they see. No one shall abide there.
13:02 Well, these prophecies often take a long time in fulfillment.
13:05 In fact, it almost seems as if it wasn't going to happen.
13:08 But it did.
13:21 In the 4th century B.C. a people by the name of the Nabateans,
13:25 came to Petra and squeezed the Edomites out.
13:29 And we're on the way up to the most spectacular edifice that is
13:35 attributed to them and that's a place called al-Deir,
13:38 on the way of course we past these beautiful walls.
13:41 You'd think that they were murals, wouldn't you?
13:44 Only they're too good for that. Well, the Nabateans are actually
13:47 descended from a character by the name of Nabayat who was
13:51 descended from Ishmael, Abraham's son, and they pushed
13:56 the Edomites out. They occupied this place,
13:58 And so the period of the Nabateans begins.
14:42 This is the Nabateans sacrificial high place.
14:46 You know the bible says whenever Israel apostatized,
14:49 they offered sacrifices on every high hill and under every green
14:57 tree. It seems to have been a system they had back there.
15:01 There's being a lot of fanaticizing About this.
15:03 Some people imagine that there were animals or human sacrifices
15:07 offered here. Well, there's no scriptural evidence to
15:11 support such an idea and from the size of this slab,
15:14 I would say its quite obvious it has just been for animal
15:16 sacrifices. So this apparently is where animals were sacrificed
15:21 and no doubt their blood was taken up here to the place
15:27 where oblations were made and where sacrifices were poured out
15:32 you know the blood, water-holy water poured out on here and it
15:36 ran down here through this little drain here.
16:09 Well, as you can see, I made it to the top. And what a fantastic
16:16 thing this is! Just look at it, will you. Cut out of the solid
16:20 face of the mountain and so beautifully done, so symmetrical
16:24 and it's a masterpiece of sculpturing.
16:37 For many years stories of Petra's fabulous wealth must've
16:41 reached Roman ears. But it was
16:44 not until the year 106 A.D. that Roman armies finally marched
16:48 into Petra, conquered it. And established the Roman way of
16:51 life here. Behind me is a victory gateway which they
16:55 built to commemorate the event. They ran a paved road
16:58 right through Petra and built this beautiful colonnade.
17:02 There were shops here. And so from then on you have the Roman
17:07 way of life here.
17:13 And here is a theater that was used in Roman times.
17:16 You know this could hold 30,000 spectators, so a lot of people
17:19 living here and you can see when they cut it or carved through
17:23 some of the tombs and left gaping holes there. Well some
17:27 body could get a good view from up there.
17:34 The tomb that you see up here on the left is thought to represent
17:39 the facade of a Roman palace. Actually this whole group of
17:42 tombs is of Roman style, adopted during the Roman period
17:46 by the Nabateans. The one away over there on right,
17:50 you see the one with the arches, well that's rather interesting
17:52 if you take a close look at it.
18:06 Early in the Christian era, Christianity came to Petra.
18:11 And this place was converted into a vast cathedral.
18:16 And what a place to worship!
18:24 In the 7th century A.D. Islam came here. But then the trade
18:31 routes began to alter. Caravans no longer threaded their way
18:36 through Petra. And the city began to die.
18:39 People drifted away and by the year 1200 A.D. the last record
18:45 we have is of the crusaders building a small fortress on the
18:49 hill. And then the valley lapsed into silence and there were only
18:54 the occasional nomads weaving their way around the valley.
19:43 Do you realize that what happened to Petra is a symbol
19:49 of what is going to happen to the whole world.
19:52 Let's turn back to the prophet of Petra, Obadiah.
19:57 And in his little book talking about Petra, he finishes up
20:03 by saying this. Verse 15, For the day of the Lord is upon
20:09 all the nations and it is near. And they shall be as though
20:14 they had never been. So you see it's not just a case of what
20:18 was going to happen to Petra. Obadiah was given a message
20:22 concerning the entire world at the end of time. And this,
20:27 of course, is consistent with what the other prophecies say.
20:31 For instance, in first Thessalonians, chapter 4,
20:34 and in verse 16, the great apostle Paul says, For the Lord
20:40 himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
20:43 the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead
20:47 in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain
20:52 shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
20:56 the Lord in the air. What a great day that will be.
20:59 All the good people who are ready to meet the Lord
21:02 will be raised from the dead and they'll be swept up from
21:05 this world with those who are ready who are living to meet
21:08 Christ in the air. Thou wilt forever be with the Lord.
21:10 Okay, what about those who are not ready? In Luke chapter 17
21:16 and in verse 28, it says, Likewise as it was also in the
21:21 days of Lot. They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold,
21:24 they planted, they built but on the day that Lot went out of
21:27 Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and
21:30 destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the
21:34 Son of man is revealed. And so the same thing's going to happen
21:39 All those who are not ready will be destroyed.
21:43 Now let me ask you a question. If all the good people go to
21:48 heaven and all the rest are destroyed, tell me, How many
21:53 people are going to be left alive in this world?
21:55 To answer that question, I turn to a very interesting prophecy
22:00 in Revelation, chapter 20, verse one where it says,
22:04 then I saw an angel coming down from heaven having the key
22:09 of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
22:12 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old who is the devil
22:16 and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
22:19 Now apparently what John saw in vision was one of these big
22:25 water systems that we've seen around the middle east,
22:27 you know, with a big stone on it's mouth and this angel
22:31 grabbed the devil, threw him into this pit. John couldn't see
22:35 the bottom to it so he called it a bottomless pit.
22:37 And then he put the stone on top of it, sealed it up, and he was
22:41 kept there for a thousand years. Now its quite apparent that this
22:45 symbolizes the condition of the world during the thousand years.
22:50 This world is going to be desolate. Its going to be
22:54 uninhabited. Its going to be just bare like this piece of
22:59 Petra that we have behind us here.
23:08 Well, just look at that. Absolutely desolate.
23:11 And that's the way the world's going to be for 1,000 years.
23:15 How come? Well, when Christ returns this world is just
23:19 going to be devastated. The bible tells us that mountains
23:23 are going to come crashing down into the plains.
23:25 Inhabited cities are just going to crumble. These proud
23:30 buildings that are in the world today, they're just going to
23:32 topple down. The inhabited islands are going to sink
23:36 beneath the foaming billows of the sea.
23:38 Everything is just going to be turned upside down. And inasmuch
23:41 as all God's people have been taken up there to heaven,
23:45 God's dwelling place, a very real place, wonderful place.
23:48 And all those who are lost are going to be dead.
23:51 there's just going to be nobody, nothing left in this world
23:55 for a thousand years. And the devil is going to have to join
23:59 in the ranks of the unemployed. He'll be out of a job. Nobody to
24:02 tempt. Nobody to annoy. No trouble to do. And so he just
24:06 going to be engaging in a lot of bickering and arguing with
24:09 all his fallen angels for a thousand years.
24:11 Serves him right. Well what happens then?
24:14 It says in Revelation 20 and in verse 7, Now when the thousand
24:20 years of have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
24:24 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the
24:27 four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog,
24:29 to gather them together to battle, whose number is as
24:32 the sand of the sea. Now here's lots of people, Where do they
24:35 come from? I think the answer is in verse 5, where it says,
24:39 The rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand
24:44 years were finished. So at the end of the thousand years,
24:48 apparently, the wicked people are going to be raised from the
24:52 dead. And the devil is going be in a job again.
24:56 Here are all the people to deceive and goes out and says,
25:00 Look, let's get going. We've got something to gain here. It
25:04 says, verse 9, They went up on the breadth of the earth and
25:06 surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city.
25:09 Oh, where did this beloved city come from? It tells us in
25:13 Revelation 21, verse 2, Then I, John, saw the Holy City, New
25:18 Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.
25:20 At the end of this thousand years God's people inside
25:24 this beautiful, wonderful city come floating down
25:27 and it settles on this earth. And so the devil goes out and he
25:30 says, Look! we ought to be inside there, we're the rightful
25:33 owners of this world. Come on, let's go up and attack them.
25:36 There are more of us than there are of them. Futile, of course.
25:41 Because you're up against God. But that's what he does.
25:43 It says, however, and fire came down from God out of heaven
25:48 and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was
25:51 cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. Just as the world was
25:56 deluged with water in the days of Noah-came pouring down out of
26:00 the sky and turned this whole world into a vast lake of water
26:04 so at the end of the thousand years fire is going to come down
26:08 pouring out of the sky, and its going to turn this whole world
26:12 into a vast lake of fire. And it says in verse 13-14, I'm sorry,
26:18 then death and Hades, that's the grave, were cast into the lake
26:22 of fire. This is the 2nd death. Now nobody's going to enjoy
26:28 dying. I've told you, you don't need to be afraid of death,
26:31 if you're ready for it. But nobody's going to enjoy dying.
26:34 Who wants to die a 2nd time? And yet here are people who have
26:38 rejected Christ, who have rebelled against his laws
26:42 and government and they're going to die a second time
26:46 in this lake of fire. Now this lake of fire is the only hell
26:50 fire the bible talks about. People don't go soon as they die
26:54 and get burned and frazzled for millions of years. That's not
26:58 the way God deals with people. And the bible doesn't teach
27:01 that. This is hell fire. This is the lake of fire and it does its
27:06 work completely. It completely burns them up, so that
27:09 they'll be finally destroyed and the devil, all his wicked angels
27:13 and all his followers are going to be completely devoured
27:17 in this lake of fire.
27:20 Well, when those fires have finished their deadly work,
27:23 and cleared away. When the tragedy of sin is forever ended,
27:30 God is going to make a beautiful new world, a lovely new world
27:34 just like it was in the garden of Eden and perhaps even better.
27:38 It tells us here in the 2nd book of Peter, chapter 3,
27:42 and in verse 2, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief
27:47 in the night in the which the heavens will pass away
27:50 with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent
27:53 heat, looking for and hasting the coming of the day of God;
27:57 because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire
28:01 and the elements will melt with fervent heat, nevertheless,
28:05 we according to his promise look for new heavens
28:09 and a new earth. I think we could do with a new heavens
28:13 and a new earth, don't you? A beautiful new earth,
28:17 where nothing ever goes wrong. But then Peter asks a very
28:21 significant question. He says this, Therefore since all these
28:26 things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to
28:31 be? How do you like that question? What manner of persons
28:35 ought you to be? You know I hope you've enjoyed these programs
28:41 we've presented to you. You've seen me a lot on these programs.
28:45 I've never met you, but I feel as though I've been talking
28:50 to you and I want to meet you. I'd like to meet you in that
28:55 wonderful kingdom. You know, there's something we should
28:58 consider, and that is at the end of that thousand years, all
29:02 humanity is going to be alive together at one place.
29:06 I mean, some will be inside God's city, and the others
29:10 will be outside. I sure want you to be inside.
29:14 I want to meet you there. Won't you promise me, please
29:20 promise me that you will accept Jesus Christ as your Savior
29:24 and do everything he tells you to do so that we can meet
29:29 together at Jesus' feet.


Revised 2014-12-17