Genealogies and census data are some of the most skipped parts of the Bible. They are still important. Here’s why.
By Mark D, Harris
Every year my wife and I read through the Bible. Some sections fly by, such as the stories of Goliath, the fiery furnace, and the raising of Lazarus. Other parts crawl, like the sacrificial system in Leviticus. The slowest portions of all are the genealogies and the census data. “How?” we ask ourselves, “does knowing that Mikloth became the father of Shimeam, and that they lived with relatives in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 9:38) impact my life as a Christian?” Likewise, we struggle to care that “The priests, the sons of Jedaiah of the house of Jeshua, (numbered) 973 (Nehemiah 7:39)?” Isn’t this a waste of space in a book that calls itself the word of the Almighty God?
Continue reading “Why Genealogies?” →
Statues are coming down all over America, some in a raging mob amidst political pandering, and others with government-directed construction crews. Few memorials are coming down after calm debates and reasoned decisions. Why do we have such statues in the first place? Which ones is it appropriate to remove? Which not?
By Mark D. Harris
The mass killing of Jews and other “undesirables” by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust (1939-1945) was one of the worst crimes in modern history. The Holocaust spilled oceans of blood, and its cruelty was beyond imagination. Concentration camps like Auschwitz in Poland and memorials and museums in places like Berlin and Washington DC educate current and future generations on what happened in the hopes that such an atrocity will never occur again.
Continue reading “Smashing Statues” →
Regardless of religion, nationality, culture, or theme, historical sites are a precious and irreplaceable legacy of man. They must be preserved when possible and rebuilt when necessary.
By Mark D. Harris
History is the story of man, who we are and where we came from. More importantly it is the story of God’s work with and for man. As such every part of it is important, even parts that don’t please us or fit our world view. Not every historical location can be saved because man today needs space just as man yesterday did. However, we need to save as much as we can. Sometimes we ruin irreplaceable artefacts through ignorance. Worst of all is the intentional destruction of historical sites by those who disagree with what they represent.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is notorious for destroying irreplaceable historical sites in Iraq and Syria, especially Christian and Muslim. The Afghani Taliban has done the same in Afghanistan, notably the Buddhas of Bamiyan (March 2001). However, some sites are shattered by other powers, often in times of war. Christians in ancient Rome devastated pagan temples. Ottomans badly damaged Christian churches and artifacts, including the Hagia Sophia, when they conquered Constantinople in 1453. Allied bombing leveled the 6th century monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy in World War II (1944). American-led forces fighting ISIS have devastated Mesopotamian historical sites, and Russian bombing has done the same.
Below is a list of historical sites that have been destroyed. We should discover what we have lost, repair what we can, and help prevent losing more in the future. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) tracks World Heritage sites, including those at risk.
Remembering historical events keeps us grounded in the past, knowledgeable in the present, and guided to the future.
By Mark D. Harris
Date in History
Henry Ford may have believed that “history is bunk”, but most people at most places and most times have disagreed with him. History is a record of people, and peoples – who they were, what they did, and why. History tells stories of courage and cowardice, of selfishness and selflessness, and of victory and vanity. Descendants discover who they are, why they are, and what they should do, from their ancestors. As such, history is the record of the universe.
Continue reading “Date in History” →
People follow calendars, but they also create and use them to advance their personal and political agendas.
The two primary parameters that shape human thinking, regardless of culture, antiquity, or language, are space and time…spacetime for the physicists among us. It is difficult to understand any communication without a common understanding of these parameters. Such simple phrases as “See you tomorrow” require both parties to have a similar understanding of “tomorrow”.
In the absolute sense, time is dictated by the rhythms of nature as determined by the Creator. In the past it was viewed as the distance in history (as opposed to geography) between events. In that mindset, the idea of saving time was ludicrous. Time progressed at its own rate and rhythm and man could do nothing to change those realities. Ancients wanted tasks to be quick and efficient just like moderns do, and for many of the same reasons, to maximize the duration of pleasant experiences and minimize that of unpleasant ones. However, in the ancient mind time was not like money, which could be stored. It had to be used.
Continue reading “Calendars, Cultures, and Politics” →