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As a dedicated Mac user, I am pleased to announce that GLO is now available for Mac owners.
Glo is an interactive Bible with a world of media, resources and tools – HD video and documentaries, high resolution images, zoomable maps, 360-degree virtual tours and much more – to help you get closer to the Word of God. The Bible comes to life through Glo, allowing you to experience and explore the biblical world in ways never before possible. And it’s easy to use with Glo’s unique browsing lenses.
I used our new CD-ROM, The Seven Churches of Revelation – Walking among the Lampstands, to teach part of a course on The Archaeology of the New Testament yesterday.
Having read this article in Arutz Sheva on Israel’s earthquake preparedness, a few hours earlier, the promise to the overcomers in Philadelphia came home with more force than usual. It quotes from the State Comptrollers’s report this month, which paints a bleak scenario, expecting a 7.5 quake to kill 16,000 people and leave 377,000 homeless. Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss’ wrote that:
“Most earthquake experts feel that the eventuality of an earthquake in Israel that is liable to exact thousands of victims and cause significant damage to property and buildings is almost certain, and that such a quake will definitely come sooner or later…”
“A quake of 7.5 on the Richter scale in northern Israel is expected to cause 16,000 deaths, 6,000 seriously injured, 83,000 lightly injured, 377,000 evacuated from their homes…
“Though it is vital that hospitals continue to operate after an earthquake, many northern hospital buildings are very old and not built according to contemporary standards. A Health Ministry survey found that most of them are liable to collapse during an earthquake.”
Part of the promise to believers in the sixth of the Seven Churches to receive a letter from Jesus Christ was : “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more” (Revelation 3.12).
As we read in the CD captions, temples in Asia in antiquity were always supported by pillars, making them the safest structures in the city. This message, therefore, would have resonated deeply with people living in this notoriously earthquake-prone area. In terms of earthquake preparedness, it is fascinating to read Pliny’s account of the construction of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (the first of the Seven Churches):
“It was built on marshy soil so that it might not be subject to earthquakes or be threatened by subsidences. On the other hand, to ensure that the foundations of so massive a building would not be laid on shifting, unstable ground, they were underpinned with a layer of closely trodden charcoal, and then with another of sheepskins with their fleeces unshorn” (Natural History 36.95).
Far-sighted planning indeed!
Response to our existing CDs has been heartwarming, with many requests for more teaching tools like these. Having visited the Seven Churches of Revelation in 2010 and having been immersed in this subject before and since, we had to make this the subject of our next CD. It is the fact that the letters of Jesus to these representative churches were written with full knowledge of the circumstances and environment of each group of believers that make this subject so edifying and compelling.
This presentation has 105 pictures and captions, making it suitable for a two-part talk (or a shorter one, if some slides were left out). It begins on the beautiful Greek island of Patmos, where the Apostle John was told to write the visions which he saw in a scroll and send them to the Seven Churches (Greek singular:”ekklesia”) which were in Asia. We visit these sites: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea in order, with additional slides devoted to Laodicea’s sister churches in the Lycus Valley: Colossae and Hierapolis, (without reference to these neighbouring churches, in particular their water supply, the letter to Laodicea would be unintelligible).
The circular postal route of the messenger is mapped, with a separate map given to highlight his journey from one city to the next. Each section includes a slide containing the full message to each church (quoted from the NKJV) with a useful summary given in its caption. The church and its city is then placed in its geographical and historical setting, with links made to the local background in each letter. Images providing Scriptural insight, accompanied by detailed captions, are given of each city. In Ephesus, you can disembark at the ancient harbour and walk with the messenger up the Harbour Way to the Theatre where the great riot had taken place about thirty years earlier in the time of Paul. With reference to Smyrna, see a possible modern remnant of the “crown of life.” In Philadelphia, ponder the poignancy of the promise to the “overcomers” of that city, never more to have to “go out.” This was to a group of people who were used to always having to flee the city, in an area notoriously prone to earthquakes.
And there are pictures that show the truly stunning location of some of these cities: the lofty acropolis of Pergamum, Sardis’ gentle glen of the Pactolus, in which King Midas is reputed to have washed off his “golden touch” and the breathtaking beauty of the travertine cliffs of Hierapolis. With the photographs having been taken in April, some of them cannot escape being framed with poppies or Judas Trees.
Not living at the time these letters were written, we cannot expect to fully appreciate their force. However, with the help of this presentation and the many illuminating links made to the background of each church, we can better appreciate the message of these letters which are still so remarkably relevant today.
The CD cover slide shows the Temple of Trajan in Pergamum, where the cult of Emperor worship made the city the place of “Satan’s Throne.”
The new Carta Collection offers an outstanding collection of Bible Atlases and books on the historical geography of the Bible. Each book is richly illustrated with original artwork, reconstructions, drawings, and diagrams. These are must-have volumes for anyone interested in the background of the Bible, and for teachers at every level.
As a Mac user, Accordance is my favourite Bible Software and I use it almost on a daily basis. We were pleased to know that three of our books were chosen to be part of this selection:
Todd Bolen of BiblePlaces.com wrote this about the collection:
An extraordinary collection of historical and geographical works on the Bible from the Carta Publishing House in Jerusalem has been announced for Accordance Bible Software (Mac). Some of these works are the best in the field and available nowhere else electronically.
The collection consists of the following books:
Bible Lands Atlases