Please join me as I take you on a tour through 1st century Napoli, a coastal city in south-western Italy. You’ll first notice the noise of thousands of people screaming. This is coming from the amphitheater. There are no doubt believers in “Yeshua” (Hebrew name for Jesus), being torn by beasts as depicted in this famous painting. The Romans provide entertainment just about every night of the year to prevent people from criticizing the government. Sometimes there are gladiators fighting one against one to their deaths and other times there are rare beasts (shipped from Northern Africa) together with people and eating them alive.
The temperature is ideal and is especially good for olives, grapes and citrus fruit. This is a wealthy city and there is no lack of food. People get more holidays per year than work days. The men go to the public baths after work which feature three different temperatures. They probably have a massage as well. There is plenty of homosexuality since it’s not illegal, but these men also have a wife and children at home.
Some of the men frequent the exotic sex place where they view what today is called “pornography” on the walls. There are also statues around depicting the oversized male organ which they worship. The symbol was connected with the creative forces of Nature, and therefore fertility, riches and the harvest. It was even displayed at the entrance to homes, businesses and along the roads, as protective, up to the Middle Ages. Suffice it to say that Greek mythology with its sex-related divinities also influenced this life style. Babies born as result of this illicit sex might be abandoned in the streets, in which case the believers would raise them.
Some of these people had no doubt heard about “Yeshua” and lived moral lives. They were different in that they were pacifists, refusing to join the Roman army. Instead of calling Caesar king, for which they might be dragged into the coliseum, some fled underground. The catacombs in Rome show evidence of a group of people who remained alive but who were hidden.
Close by Napoli is Pompeii which was closer to the ocean 2,000 years ago. The people in Pompeii had no shame but phallic cults are said to have also been a part of the religions of India, Asia Minor, Egypt and Greece.
One day in 79 A.D, the area of today’s Napoli the Vesuvius volcano erupted destroying around 22,000 people within a six-hour period. The evil practices of these places came to light only in 1763; namely, the statues and wall paintings. Only 2/3 of the 660-dunam area has been excavated so far. The ruins in both Pompeii and Herculaneum were such that people and animals were caught in positions in which they were exactly when the volcanic fumes and rocks hit causing immediate death. One can read the eye-witness account of Pliny the Younger describing how his uncle, a brilliant writer, was trying to flee but who died.
The burning question could be, “Why did G-d wipe out 22,000 people within six hours in this particular area?” I think it’s evident that their cup of iniquity was overflowing.
When Ruth Graham was reading the draft of one of Billy’s upcoming books, she exclaimed, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”*
My husband and I were in Pompeii on September 25, 2019 and this visit more than confirmed what I had discovered years ago when doing some library research. My husband purchased the little booklet on site at Vesuvius called, Pompeii; the Erotic Secrets**, lest anyone think I’m exaggerating.
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) went as a missionary to India. She smeared coffee on her face in order to better fit in with the people. She entered Buddhist temples and discovered how young children were being violated by the old priests and she did something about it. In 1948 these evil practices were outlawed.
Our guide pointed out how many deaths occurred in the Napoli area or in Italy as a whole THIS YEAR, and how few births there were in the same period. It is known that if a country’s average family is not producing 2.2 offspring, the society will eventually die out. He said that Italy has a phenomenon of many men not marrying since they feel obligated to stay with an ailing mother. This is part of the problem. In contrast, since I’m writing not only for Israelis, our country boasts the highest reproduction rate of any country now. The gay lifestyle of today does not produce offspring, contrary to the gay men of the first century.
In summary, I personally feel that the pornography of today wherever it is in the world, and especially evident in the electronic world is far worse than what went on in these places. For one, pornography is easily reaching even elementary school aged boys and girls here in Israel. Such videos have a world-wide potential audience. What was on the walls of Pompeii stayed in Pompeii; the camera was not yet invented. Then there are the books and magazines which one can easily find, no doubt, in every corner of the world.
G-d help our corrupted society. Dear believers in Yeshua, stay far away from perversion. There’s a famous saying, “The idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Each believer has a unique gift which they need to discover and put to use to serve the Body of Messiah and which ultimately glorifies our Master. Paul wrote, “Give attendance to reading.” Make good use of your time since it’s running out.
We need to take our breastplate of righteousness, girdle of truth, and most of all, the sword of the Spirit (the Word of G-d) and confront evil however and whenever we can. Amy’s efforts in that dark place succeeded, and by G-d’s grace, we can also succeed.
** Pompeii – the Erotic Secrets; Civilization, Art and History, Edizioni Kina Tialia/L.E.G.O. S.p.A., new edition.