Delay Was Deadly!
THREE families, seven adults and six children, ran desperately for their lives. They had apparently huddled together in the shelter of someone’s home, hoping to ride out the terrifying hail of stones. But as the thunder of falling stones grew quiet, a new terror arrived—a black cloud of suffocating ash. Now there was no choice but to run.
In the lead was a man, probably a servant, who ran with a bag of provisions slung over his shoulder. He was followed by two boys, one about four years old, the other five, running hand in hand. The others followed—panic-stricken, struggling, stumbling, desperately seeking escape. They tried to breathe, but instead of air, they inhaled moist ash. One by one, all 13 fell and lay motionless and were finally entombed by the falling ash. Their pathetic remains would lay hidden until archaeologists uncovered them almost 2,000 years later and deciphered the sad details of their last moments.
These 13 victims were only a few of the estimated 16,000 that perished in the ancient city of Pompeii, Italy, on August 24, 79 C.E. Many survived by fleeing the city when Mount Vesuvius belched its very first explosion. Yet, those who delayed—mostly wealthy people who did not want to leave their homes and possessions—were buried under 20 feet [6 m] of rock and ash.
What happened in Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago may be ancient history. But in many ways it parallels the situation facing the entire human race today. A global sign, far more ominous than the thunderings of Mount Vesuvius, is serving notice that this present world order is facing imminent destruction. To survive, we must act immediately. Delay is deadly. Just what that sign is and how we can wisely respond to it is the subject of our next article.
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Cover photo by National Park Service
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Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei