Royal Palace at Brussels

May 10, 2011

Our lectureship in Belgium is completed; we remained for some additional biblical studies. This morning my wife & I traveled to Brussels for a scheduled study there. While there we had an outside view of the King’s Palace.

Royal Palace of Brussels. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Regarding the Royal Palace, Wikipedia says,

The Royal Palace of Brussels is the official palace of the King of the Belgians in the centre of the nation’s capital Brussels. However it is not used as a royal residence, as the king and his family live in the Royal Castle of Laeken on the outskirts of Brussels. The website of the Belgian Monarchy describes the function of the palace as follows: “The Palace is where His Majesty the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State, grants audiences and deals with affairs of state. Apart from the offices of the King and the Queen, the Royal Palace houses the services of the Grand Marshal of the Court, the King’s Head of Cabinet, the Head of the King’s Military Household and the Intendant of the King’s Civil List. The Palace also includes the State Rooms where large receptions are held, as well as the apartments provided for foreign Heads of State during official visits.

The palace is situated in front of Brussels Park.

Tonight we had concluding studies in Genk, and in the morning we are to fly back home, the Lord willing. We have renewed acquaintences and made new friends in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Holland.

Thanks for following our blog. If I might paraphrase Moses, stay with us and we will do you good (Num. 10:29).

Bruges, Belgium

May 8, 2011

We are continuing to enjoy our association with our friends in Houthalen, Belgium, including folks traveling from some distance away. It is a joy to have such opportunities to teach the Bible. This photo was made following worship services this afternoon.

Group photo following Sunday services at Houthalen, Belgium.

Earlier last week we had the occasion to visit the unique town of Bruges, dominated by 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th century houses and buildings. Our photo shows the market square, dominated by the Belfry and the Government Palace.

Market Square at Bruges, Belgium. Photo by Leon Mauldin

In the square one may see the monument to Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, heroes of the Battle of the Golden Spurs (July 11, 1302). In this battle the French were defeated.

Monument to Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

For those interested, Wikipedia has the following info re: Bruges:

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country.

The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It is oval-shaped and about 430 hectaresin size. The area of the whole city amounts to more than 13,840 hectares, including 1,075 hectares off the coast, at Zeebrugge(meaning “Brugge aan Zee” or “Bruges on Sea”). The city’s total population is 117,073 (1 January 2008), of which around 20,000 live in the historic centre. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 616 km² and has a total of 255,844 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.

Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as “The Venice of the North”.

Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port. At one time, it was the “chief commercial city” of the world.

Click on images for larger view.

Roman Tongeren

May 5, 2011

We are looking forward to the lectureship which begins tomorrow evening in Houthalen, Belgium.This study will survey the biblical text of Acts through Revelation, with emphasis on the geographical setting of these events as we narrate the biblical record. I am thankful to God for every opportunity to teach His word.

Near Genk, where we are currently situated, is the Roman settlement of Tongeren. Tongeren (Atuatuca Tungrorum) is the oldest city in this region, established by the Romans in 10 BC. It is strategically located on the road between Boulogne (France) and Cologne (Germany).

The Gallo-Roman Museum in their very informative booklet observes:

The Romans do not build their cities at random. Tongeren lies on a navigable stream, in the middle of fertile loamy farmland. The city is well connected with the Roman road system. For the Romans it is of crucial importance that the Rhine border can be reached quickly.

In places the ancient walls can still be seen.

Remnants of Roman Wall at Tongeren. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Many interesting Roman artifacts are featured in the museum, among which is this lead bar with the inscription of Caesar Augustus.

Lead Bar with Caesar Augustus Inscription, Tongeren. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Again, from the museum booklet:

Lead is an important metal for the construction of, for example, water pipes and drains. Traders ship the metal in the form of bars that are further worked in their place of destination. This bar probably comes from the Eifel region. The inscription IMP(ERATORIS) TI(BERII) CAESARIS AUG(USTI) GERM(ANICUM) TEC(-) means “Property of Emperor Tiberius Caesar Augustus, lead from Germania.” The term TEC probably refers to the person who managed the mine in the name of the Emperor. Of all the objects ever found in Tongeren, this bar is the only object to be marked with the name of a Roman Emperor.

Relation to Scripture: Caesar August was the emperor when in the biblical fullness of time (Galatians 4:4) Jesus was born. Luke writes, “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered” (2:1). Contextually, this is how it came about that Joseph and Mary, who resided in Nazareth of Galilee, made their way to Bethlehem of Judea, because Bethlehem was their ancestral home. Of course Caesar had no idea he was helping to fulfill the 8th century BC prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

Notice in the above text that Caesar could command that all the world be enrolled. This of course does not mean the whole globe, but the Roman world, the far-flung Roman Empire.

Remember to click on images for larger view.

Cave of Machpelah, Tomb of the Patriarchs

May 3, 2011

This morning my wife and I safely arrived in Genk, Belgium, where I am to conduct a biblical lectureship focusing on Acts through Revelation. This is an opportunity to make use of photos of Bible lands in which the events of Scripture transpired as we survey this exciting portion of the New Testament.

This past March we were able to go to Hebron and take a few photos there, including the site of the Cave of Machpelah, featured in this photo:

Site of Cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

When Sarah died, the inspired narrator (Moses) tells us that “Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her” (Gen. 23:2). This was at Hebron. Abraham had to procure a burial place for his beloved wife. The Promise Land was to be possessed by his descendants, but Abraham owned no land in Canaan. Therefore he purchased the cave of Machpelah with its field from Ephron the Hittite. This transaction was duly made “before all who went in at the gate of his city” (Gen. 23:3-19).

“After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan” (Gen. 23:19). Later, Abraham himself was buried here by his sons Isaac and Ishmael (Gen. 25:9). In Egypt, when Jacob was near death he called his twelve sons to hear his last words (Gen. 49:1). He commanded (ESV, Gen. 49:29) that he be buried at Machpelah also (v.30), and stated, “There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah” (v.31).

Herod the Great was a politician. To gain the favor of the Jews he lavishly renovated the temple in Jerusalem. Likewise, he built an impressive edifice around the cave of Machpelah, the tomb of the Patriarchs, using the same architectural style as that of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, with similar sized stones, masonry and pilasters (engaged columns). In March we were able to visit Hebron and see the traditional burial site of the Patriarchs, featured in our photo.

Regarding these Patriarchs, centuries after their deaths, God said, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Matthew 22:31-32). Jesus said, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,”—these men, though dead and buried, were still very much alive, and God was/is still their God! The soul lives on after death; on the last day all will be raised from the dead (John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:57).

You Ought To Say, “If the Lord wills…”.

May 1, 2011

To say that our schedule has been altered since this past Wed. would be a bit of an understatement. We are among the thousands w/o electrical power since Wed. AM. We are thankful to have been spared personally from injury as well as property damage. The area of Hanceville and Cullman Alabama looks like a war zone. In Cullman, entire blocks in the downtown area were destroyed and in some cases leveled. You’ve heard of the hundreds of fatalities in AL & our border states.

This morning in a short while we are to have worship services where I preach here in Hanceville. We are fortunate and blessed to be able to do so.

This event has put me in mind of James 4. I frequently use the expression, “the Lord willing,” or something similar, but these events have reinforced and deepened the impression of that text:

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (vv. 13-16).

Thanks for following our blog. We hope to be back on schedule soon.

My friend Ferrell Jenkins is currently directing a tour in Israel. See his Travel Blog–you can click on our blog roll to your right on this page.