Herculaneum: Waiting to be Rescued

In AD 79, the pleasant little Italian town of Herculaneum was destroyed by the Vesuvius earthquake. Like its more famous neighbour, Pompeii, it was covered in ash and pyroclastic flow. On the photograph above, you can see where the people went down to the sea to await rescue. The photo below shows the first-century coastline (the blue line); this would have been where the sea came to. The areas at which the yellow arrows point is the land mass created by the lava- it essentially extended the coast, creating land where once there was sea.

The red circle refers to the location of the bodies on the beach, whose skeletons feature in the other photographs. Hundreds of people, on seeing their town’s destruction, descended on the beach, searching for help that never came. Poor souls! Their remains were discovered 1900 years later. No boats came to pick them up; no rescue operations succeeded.

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
Jeremiah 8:20

This life is full of troubles, sometimes of a gargantuan, catastrophic nature. Thank God, the Christian need not face such events alone, and their destructive effects will never have the last word: “Behold, I make all things new!”

The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian is that the former has been part of a rescue operation. The latter are still waiting on the beach in vain, or still in their houses eating and drinking even while the volcano of judgement rumbles.