12 Apostles Stone Circle

This week, an aunt and I, plus one collie, braced ourselves against the February winds to trek across Rombalds Moor, overlooking Ilkley and Burley, to find the Twelve Apostles. This refers not to the self-appointed leaders of local mega-churches, nor to the genuine articles who are now with their Lord in glory. Rather, it is a small and otherwise disappointing stone circle. There are various books and sites peddling explanations for its existence, ranging from the usual astronomical calendar to place of druidic sacrifice. We really have no idea, and the circle we see today has been damaged and restored on multiple occasions. It dates from around 1800BC, which corresponds to the life of Abraham, the great patriarch whose exploits we are currently considering in our weekly Bible Study. The Japhethites who built it were of little interest to the Biblical writers. Their names, constructions and affairs were omitted, while the inspiring Spirit focused upon the affairs of one man and his much-prophesied family. From Abraham would the promised Rescuer arise; his blood and DNA would course through His earthly veins. The increasingly idolatrous sons of Japheth on their northern hills and misty isles would play no part in this, but they would be some of the foremost beneficiaries. While our ancestors shifted stones and dug trenches for who-knows-what, an ancient Mesopotamian was being promised a supernaturally-sired Descendant by whom all nations on the earth would be blessed.

Tis by the faith of joys to come
We walk thro' deserts dark as night;
Till we arrive at heav'n, our home,
Truth is our guide, and faith our light.

The want of sight she well supplies;
She makes the pearly gates appear;
Far into distant worlds she pries,
And brings eternal glories near.

Tho' lions roar, and tempests blow,
And rocks and dangers fill the way,
With joy we tread the desert thro',
While faith inspires a heav'nly ray.

-Isaac Watts