Nuclear War in the Bible

The scriptures give a reference to a nuclear war several times. I take the quotes in this story from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible. Some bible passages can tax your brain trying to understand them. But they become clearer after years of reading and studying them.

Is God using his power and bringing the elements of nature into play? We know he often does so. Or is God letting man use his own destructive power?

The first reference I’ll talk about is in the book of Zechariah. This describes the “end times” when the Jews are back in their homeland.

Zechariah 14: 12-15

12, And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13, And on that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. 14, Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. 15, And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever beasts may be in those camps.

Here is an interesting passage from Zechariah. “Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.”

What does humankind possess that would cause such a horrific effect? This will happen while the armies in question (The enemies of Israel) remain standing. This means before their skeleton hits the ground. A nuclear explosion would cause this effect. Zechariah states that all the animals in and around the area will perish likewise. Nothing escapes a nuclear explosion.

Take Hiroshima as an example. The city destroyed with one bomb and thousands of people killed in an instant. Today’s nuclear warheads are many times more powerful.

Israel has had the atom bomb since the 1950s, although not publicised to the world. Certain friendly and allied countries know this, but avoid the issue. At present, they are the only country in the middle East with nuclear capabilities.

When did Zechariah write these predictions of the future?

In the book of Zechariah, chapter 7, verse 1, king Darius is in his fourth year. This places the date at 519/518 BC. Chapters 9 — 14 have no specific reference to date. But since it was in Zachariah’s lifetime, it is around 40 years later in 480 BC. Thus, he wrote this prophecy around 2500 years ago. The usual weapons a soldier had to fight with then were swords. Zechariah must have found this vision from God strange and frightening. He must have found it hard to contemplate. Hence the unusual description. Try to imagine someone from that era in ancient times describing a view of a future nuclear war.

Let us look at what Isaiah said.

(Isaiah lived around 700 years before Christ).


13: 9-11

Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. 9, For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. 11, I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.

This verse speaks of the earth not receiving any light. Science understands the implications of a world plunged into a global nuclear war. The world would be in darkness or semidarkness. A lack of sunlight could last for up to two years according to science. This would cause a type of temporary ice age (nuclear winter). The effect of dust clouds on the atmosphere is what makes this condition happen. Clouds created by the “mushroom” effect. All from many nuclear explosions blocking out the sunlight.

What about Damascus?

17: 1-3 An oracle concerning Damascus.

Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins. 2, The cities of Aroer are deserted; they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid. 3, The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus; and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the Lord of hosts.

Damascus goes back to a time before recording history. Many scholars believe it is the oldest city in existence. A city inhabited from ancient times to the modern day. Aroer is a town east of the Dead Sea, on the bank of the River Arnon, in present day Jordan. In biblical times occupied by the Moabites.

The city of Damascus has seen much destruction throughout history, right up to today. Indeed, the modern Syrian civil war has seen vast swathes of the city destroyed by bombing. Damascus is still a city despite being uninhabitable. This being the case, the prophecy relates to a future event.

17: 14

At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more! This is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.

This verse shows a swift incident, in less than a full day. Destruction before the next day arrives. Israel’s enemies destroyed in such a short time.

66:15-16 Final Judgement and Glory of the Lord

For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the Lord enter into judgement, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

That element “fire” keeps repeating itself in the scriptures. A destructive force used in the end times.

 What Jeremiah says:


(Jeremiah began prophesying in 627 BC).


31, The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgement with all flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the Lord. 32, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, disaster is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth! 33, And those pierced by the Lord on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.

Jeremiah mentions many nations, from one end of the earth to the other. The whole earth is at war, not just a particular area or continent. The number of dead will be so great, and in such a short time, that mourning and burying will be impossible. Bodies are left to rot in the open.

49: 23-27Judgment on Damascus

Concerning Damascus: “Hamath and Arpad are confounded, for they have heard bad news; they melt in fear, they are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet. 24, Damascus has become feeble, she turned to flee, and panic seized her; anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her, as of a woman in labor. 25, How is the famous city not forsaken, the city of my joy? 26, Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed in that day, declares the Lord of hosts. 27, And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.”

We have the “fire” element again on Damascus. To destroy a city by fire in an instant would take a mighty force. Nuclear warheads are that fiery force.

Ben-Hadad was the title of hadada, the Armenian king in ancient times. Later claimed as a title for further kings. The Aram kings had attacked Israel during biblical times. A judgement brought on to the Israelites. But a reversal of judgement came from God and He punished Israel’s enemies by “fire.”

Ben-Hadad became a title for a leader of a deity, just as Pharaoh for Egyptian rulers. Ben-Hadad: ruler of Damascus.

Now for the prophesies of the NT

Matthew 24: 21-22

21, For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22, And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Mark 13: 19-20

19, For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20, And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

Enter Jesus

I take these two passages for Matthew and Mark. They are of Jesus talking to his disciples of the end times, referred to as the tribulation in the bible.

Jesus is speaking of a disaster not seen before, even greater than the two world wars. One so great that the world won’t see again. Another world war, but this time using nuclear weapons. This time, the world is heading towards total annihilation.

Jesus says if he doesn’t intervene, then all human life will end, humanity will wipe itself out. But there is hope for humankind. Jesus says that “I will shorten those days” before the end comes. The only one who can stop this destruction is Jesus himself. He is speaking of his second coming. He will return to earth at the height of a nuclear war before it’s too late.


The book of Revelation is an entire book of twenty-two chapters about the end times. The world’s destruction in the stages leading up to the return of Christ. Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet’s imprisonment and destruction. Another world set up by God, judgement day and a new beginning.

It is a book written symbolically and can be difficult to understand. Much study and careful judgement needs implying. The more time spent studying the book, the clearer it becomes. We should read it along with the book of Daniel. In Daniel lies the key to understanding the prophesies in Revelation. The book of Revelation is a separate subject for coverage at a later date.

D. Marsden © 2020


The front line is fighting hard
Nightingales every one
tending to the sick
not knowing when time’s done
braving every day the enemy
until the day will come,

when we’ll rejoice
and thank them every one
the Nightingales on the wards
in homes and all, bar none
we’ll thank them for their valour
by them the war is won.

we owe them everything
those that risk their life
their selfless acts for strangers
saving, child, man and wife
they have but one focus
keeping us well is their drive.

Pin the medals on their chests
for they had no orders
they did their lot willingly
they went past the borders
gave so much love and care
nothing did they hoarder

Indebted to them, so many
volunteers every one
left their homes to fight
a light of love they shone
we pray God keeps them safe
till the nightingales have won.

©D Marsden 2020

The History and Persecution of the Jews

The Persecution of the Jews


I believe if you want to know the truth, go to the earliest source. Not the info of some latter-day professor who has to feed his ego. Not the Darwinian who wants to change history. The books of the old testament are some of the oldest historic writings available. They tell the story of a nation through their generations. These writers didn’t want fortune or fame from their writings. They weren’t after producing a best seller, although that’s what they achieved. They aimed to document events as they happened about their nation’s existence. The pain and suffering as a nation. The trials and tribulations of their lives and relationship with God. Their times in exile. Punishment for turning away from God. Glory and fruitfulness when living with God, their rewards for obeying God’s law. It is all written as a document for preservation. Not for financial gain, but for knowledge for future generations. It’s a testament to all the nations. To those who will listen. If you want to know the unbiased truth, read the holy scriptures, read them as a history book. Learn the truth. Many lies are written in literature, but there can only be one truth. Seek it. The writers of the holy bible were documenting events. The old testament isn’t about religion but more about events that happened to a nation, and other nations around them. About the people, their relationships, their wars, their travels and migration. It’s about history first hand.


The Jews` persecution is a phenomenon, a mystery why the Jewish race has suffered persecution throughout history. They have endured harsh times by their oppressors, even to the brink of extermination. Yet they survived against all the odds. Here is an overview.

The patriarchs

1967–1606 BC

This story takes us back in history over 4000 years. The nation of Israel was formed at the times of the patriarchs (the heads of the Hebrew people). The leaders here referred to are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, three of the patriarchs. Abraham, (Abram) known as the father of all the nations, the first patriarch was born in 1967 BC. Abraham had a wife, Sarah (Sarai). They and several family members moved out of their country. They migrated to Canaan, under God’s command, and during this time, God gave them their former names. The year was 1892 BC. God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants to inherit the entire land of Canaan forever. Abraham was born in 1967 BC and moved to Canaan when he was 75 years old. He had a son when he and his wife, Sarah, were old. They both assumed that Sarah would never carry a child, but God blessed her. In 1868 BC, they had a son and named him Isaac. Years later, Isaac married Rebekah and in 1807 BC they had twins, Esau and Jacob.

The leaders’ wives are known as the matriarchs. Sarah (wife of Abraham), Rebekah (wife of Isaac) and Leah (a wife of Jacob). These three father figures and their wives rest at the Hebron holy site. The Cave of Machpelah, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

Jacob had another wife named Rachel. Leah and Rachel were sisters. Rachel couldn’t conceive at first, and Leah gave Jacob six sons and a daughter. Rachel gave him two sons at a later date.

12 sons and 12 tribes


Jacob, also named Israel by God, was Abraham’s grandson. He had twelve sons (all patriarchs). Born between 1723 and 1710 BC. They each ruled over a part of the nation of the twelve Hebrew tribes. These became known as the twelve tribes of Israel. (The Israelites).


Judah was the prominent of the twelve tribes and covered the city of Jerusalem. King Solomon and David were from this tribe, the bloodline passed down to Mary and Jesus. Jerusalem became the capital of Israel. King Solomon built the holy temple in the city of Jerusalem.

The twelve tribes comprised ten of the Northern Kingdom and two of the Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom was Simeon; Reuben; Gad; Ephraim; Issachar; Naphtali; Manasseh; Asher; Zebulen; and Dan. The Southern Kingdom was Benjamin and Judah.

Egypt is World Power


Israel came out of Canaan into Egypt because of a famine in 1677 BC. Jacob was 130 years old. After dwelling in Egypt for 135 years, the tribes of Israel prospered, they multiplied and grew strong. Pharaoh saw they were growing and becoming a large nation. He feared that someday they would become a threat to him and Egypt. So, in 1382 BC, he took them into slavery. They remained so for another 80 years. They built cities and monuments while in captivity, and life was cruel. In the scriptures, it mentions that they also built the city of Ramses. Later, the king of Egypt ordered all the male babies born to the Hebrews cast into the river. Moses survived and brought up by Pharaoh’s daughter. The adult Moses had to flee Egypt after killing a guard. While in a foreign land, God called upon Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of slavery…

Continued in part 2…


Exodus to Canaan


Moses led the Israelites out of bondage from the land of Egypt through the desert unto the land of Canaan. He sent 12 spies into Canaan, one out of every tribe. He instructed them to stay for 40 days and gather information about the inhabitants. They had to report anything of significance. After 40 days, they reported their findings to Moses. God told the Israelites that they will dwell in the desert for 40 years. A punishment for disobedience while passing through the desert. 1 year for each of the 40 days, the spies continued into the land of Canaan. The generation that disobeyed him will not see the promised land. Only their descendants will.

Joshua conquers Jericho.

The Israelite army prepares for war. Priests carry the Ark of the Covenant into battle as a mighty weapon empowered by God. After the seventh and last trumpet sounded, the walls of Jericho fell, making way for the mighty army of Israel. They destroyed the city and its inhabitants, and they took the spoils of gold and silver and all precious items back to the Israelite’s camp and into the treasury. In the following years, the Israelites fight many battles to take the land of Canaan.

Israel’s Fall from Grace

Israel appointed a series of Judges to rule over them. During this era, they turned away from God several times and worshipped idols. God punished them by delivering them up to their enemies. God favoured them again and restored their status after they repented.

1372–1332 BC 1st Apostasy

Israel suffered eight years of captivity under the rule of the king of Mesopotamia.

Judges 3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 8 Therefore, the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim for eight years.

1332–1314 BC 2nd Apostasy

For eighteen years, Israel was held captive by the king of Moab, Eglon.

Judges 3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

1252—1232 BC 3rd Apostasy

This time it was twenty years in captivity for their sins. Their oppressor was Ja`bin, the king of Canaan.

Judges 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. 2 And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin King of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3 And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years, he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

1212–1205 BC 4th Apostasy

Seven years in captivity under the rule of the Midianites.

Judges 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 6 And Israel was impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.

Israel is World Power


1172 BC 5th Apostasy

With God’s favour, Israel conquers the Midianites under the leadership of Gideon. They become a world power. Gideon dies in 1172 BC, and Israel once again turns away from God and worships the false god Baalberith.

Judges 8:32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33 And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim and made Baalberith their god.

1145–1127 BC 6th Apostasy

Eighteen more years of oppression for disobeying God

Judges 10:6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord, and served not him, 7 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. 8 And that year the vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.

Reign of Saul,

1065–1025 BC

The birth of Saul was around 1105 BC, and in 1065 BC, he became king. He ruled until 1025 BC. During his reign in 1036 BC; the Philistines slaughtered the Israelite army. They then carried off the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark became a curse unto the Philistine’s while in their possession. They moved it among their people and suffered much destruction. Turmoil fell on them wherever it went. They had possession of the Ark for seven months before returning it. They took it back to the Israelites for fear of further deaths.

Reign of David: 1025–985 BC

And Solomon: 985–945 BC

David was born in 1055 BC and becomes King of Israel in 1025 BC, the year that Saul dies. He ruled over Judah from 1030 BC. He remains king of Israel until 985 BC. He was thirty years old when he became king and reigned for forty years. Under David’s rule, the nation of Israel grew in power and prosperity. King David fought many wars and battles and defeated many enemies. He spilled much blood on the battlefields. In 1015 BC, King David and one of his wives, Bathsheba, had a son named Solomon.

Israel anointed Solomon as King in 985 BC, and he ruled for 40 years until 945 BC. They planned a temple for building in Jerusalem; it was God’s house and a place for the Ark of the Covenant. King David prepared the design. He gathered all the materials for the temple in readiness for his son, Solomon, to take charge. David wanted to build the temple, but God told him his son was to be the builder. David had soiled his hands with the blood of too many wars.

Chronicles 22: 7 And David said to Solomon, my son as for me it was in my mind to build a house unto the name of the Lord my God. 8 But the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.

So it was that Solomon built a magnificent temple as the house of God. In 985 BC, work started on the temple and it finished in 962 BC. They placed the Arc of the Covenant in the temple in 974 BC. Solomon becomes a great and wise ruler. God granted him great wisdom from God and recognised as the wisest man on earth. Solomon dies in the year of 945 BC.

945 BC–721 BC

After the death of Solomon, the nation split. Jeroboem ruled the ten tribes, the Northern Kingdom (Israel). And Rehoboem (Solomon’s son) ruled the southern Kingdom (Judah). The kingdoms battled each other. For many years, this carried on.

Assyria World Power

750—612 BC

In 721 BC, the Assyrian army took Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom. Israel had once again fallen from grace through idol worship of the heathen gods. God delivered The Northern Kingdom (Israel) into slavery by the hands of the Assyrians.


Fall of Israel to Fall of Judah

721–586 BC

In 586 BC, the Babylonian army, under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, captured Jerusalem. The capital of the Southern Kingdom of the tribes of Judah. The Babylonians destroyed the holy temple in Jerusalem and burnt it to the ground. The army knocked down the walls of the city and burnt the houses. They slaughtered men young and old, women and children all fell by the sword. They carried the treasures of the temple off to Babylon. Rich nobles of the tribes of Judah were and taken into slavery. They left the remaining poor in the city. Once again, God had punished his people for turning to worshipping false gods. And now the Babylonian Empire has destroyed their holiest place of worship.

Babylon is World Power

612–539 BC

After conquering Assyria, with the aid of the Medes and Persians, Babylon becomes a world power. The world’s first great empire. Also known as the Chaldean Empire. It had several leaders. During the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, King Nebuchadnezzar ruled. Babylon was a nation of idol worshippers. During his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had the Etemenanki Ziggurat rebuilt.

The Jews without a temple

586–516 BC

During this period, the Medes and the Persians were on the rise. An army of two nations joined to fight common enemies. Darius was the king of the Median empire, Cyrus the Great ruled the Persians. In 539 BC, Darius the Median took the Babylonian kingdom. The Medes slain Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, the night the empire fell.

Persia is World Power

539–333 BC

After the fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians, in 538 BC, Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their land of Judah. To build their temple again. 50,000 Jews returned to their home, albeit under the rule of the Persian empire.

Restoration of the Temple

516–400 BC

Work started on the temple, under the reign of Darius the Mede. It took until 516 BC to complete. A celebration, the Passover, took place to mark the occasion. The Jews had returned home, to their God given land, but still under foreign rule.

Greece is World Power

333–63 BC

Greece became the next world power, the third of four great empires in the ancient world. They conquered the Persian empire under the leadership of Alexander the Great. They took control of Jerusalem, but let the Jews govern themselves. As did Cyrus the Great. They were still under the rule of the Greek Empire but allowed to practice their religion. In 168 BC, the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV, desecrated the temple. He erected a pagan altar inside the temple and sacrificed a pig to the Greek God Zeus. Referred to in the bible as “the abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel. This led to a revolt. Judah became an independent state within an empire, but only for a short while. Again they were subdued, and Antiochus IV stopped all Jewish worship. He implemented worship of the Greek pagan God Zeus.

Rome is World Power

63 BC–AD 476

Rome was a republic from the 6th century BC until it became an empire in the 1st century BC and had its first emperor. In 63 BC, it became the fourth great empire of the ancient world, the mightiest of them all. The Jews came under Roman rule, but they still practiced their own laws and religion, controlled by the occupying Romans.

Rome had been fighting wars with Greece on many fronts and for centuries. Rome defeated them when in 168 BC at Pynda, at the battle of Cynoscephalae, Greece fell.

Destruction of the second temple

AD 70

Under Roman occupation, the Jews had several skirmishes with the Romans, but no threat to the might of the Roman Empire.

In AD 66, 33 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, the Jews once again revolted. The Emperor Nero sent Vespasian to restore order. In AD 68 this succeeded in the province. The Romans then concentrated their efforts on Jerusalem. Nero committed suicide. Vespasian was the new emperor and returned to Rome. His son, Titus, then leads the army in Jerusalem. By AD 70, they had penetrated the city and began the systematic slaughter. The Roman soldiers murdered everyone they came into contact with in a bloody frenzy. Men, women, children, all innocent bystanders, fell under the sword. They made their way to the temple and, in a fit of madness, they slaughtered the Jews, trying to save it. The Romans set fire to the temple, climbing over dead bodies in their attempt to loot for treasure. Destruction of the temple, for the second time in history, was imminent. The romans slaughtered thousands of Jews. Thousands that survived the onslaught traveled to Egypt to work as slaves. Others dispersed throughout the Roman empire. Persecuted, sometimes as entertainment in the arenas.

The romans carted the holy relics of the temple off to Rome. They put on celebratory display as a mark of their victory.

Again, the Jews part from their holy land into slavery and dispersed all over the Roman Empire.


AD 70 to AD 1967

After Jerusalems` destruction, and through the centuries, the Jews wandered. They settled all over the globe. Anti-Semitism followed them wherever they moved, but very few remained in the holy land. For two centuries, many settled in Babylonia.

The age of the prophets went, God no longer spoke to the Jews. Christs` rejection was their major stumbling block. God chose not to speak to them anymore. But the Jewish prophets predicted their future up to the end of the modern world.

The Spanish Inquisition saw many Jews murdered. Led by the Catholic Christian movement. They opposed the Jews in disbelief of Christ and opposition to Christianity.

Nazi Germany, under the rule of Adolph Hitler, saw the worst atrocities on Jews in modern times, the worst time in the 4000-year history of the Jewish people. Over six million Jews murdered by the Nazis between 1939 and 1945.

Of course, there were many incidents of anti-Semitism in modern history.

AD 135

Jewish rebellion against Roman rule ended in what it described as a massacre. The romans slaughtering thousands of Jews at Betar. A Jewish settlement about six miles south of Jerusalem.

AD 1096

During the first crusade, the crusaders killed tens of thousands of European Jews. As they passed through Europe on their way to the holy land, they left a trail of dead in their wake. The crusaders were brutal and murdered all Jews, men, women, children, sick and old. Around 12,000 Jews slaughtered in the Rhyme Valley alone.

AD 1147

The second crusade struck Jews in Germany and France again. Many more Jews slaughtered.

AD 1190

During the third crusade, many Jews massacred in England. 150 Jews murdered at York Castle by a mob enticed by the start of the third crusade.

AD 1236

Around 3000 Jews massacred in France by the crusaders.

AD 1242

In Paris, by order of the pope and the French king, they burned all copies of the Talmud.

AD 1252

In May of this year, pope Innocent IV (now there’s an irony) authorised the use of torture by the inquisition, to make accused heretics confess. The Jews suffered under this order.

AD 1290

During this year, all Jews expelled from England.

AD 1336

Several thousand Jews in Germany murdered by the unofficial Armleder bands. The pope stopped the senseless killings.

AD 1391

Widespread anti-Semitism in Spain led to thousands of Jewish massacres. One of the worst attacks on the Jews in the middle ages.

AD 1421

Jews attacked in Vienna, and across Austria. 300 trapped in the Or-Santa synagogue in Vienna. Some committed suicide. The rest burned to death when they torched the synagogue from inside. They rounded up around 200 remaining Jews and burnt them at the stake.

AD 1553

The pope issued a decree condemning the Jewish religious writings. He ordered it all burnt. Authorities collected all books from the Jewish community and an enormous bonfire ensued.

AD 1648

The Cossacks, under the rule of Chmielniki, slaughtered thousands of Jews. This took place in the polish ruled eastern region. Hundreds of communities destroyed. About 100,000 Jews murdered in many forms of death, from the sword to drowning.

AD 1768

The Haidamacks, in the East polish region, slaughtered thousands of Jews. Men, woman, and children killed. They showed no mercy. It is said that in one city clearing of the bodies took priority. This took place to clear the streets for the soldier’s horses to pass.

AD 1819

Anti-Jewish riots took place throughout Germany.

AD 1905

2000 Jews killed in Russian attacks over several areas of Russia. Up to 2500 killed in Odessa by organised mobs.

AD 1918,

There was much anti-Semitism in Russia. after WW1. They organised many pogroms, resulting in around 150,000 Jews murdered.

AD 1938

In Nazi Germany, an event known as “Kristallnacht” took place. The Nazis murdered 100 Jews, burnt down their synagogues and ransacked their homes. Around 30,000 Jewish men arrested and deported to the death camps. This set the seeds for the well-oiled killing machine. What resulted was the final solution and death toll of over 6,000,000 Jews.

AD 1939

Germany starts WW2 by invading Poland. The roundup of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto takes momentum. Mass executions of Jews follow.

AD 1941

The biggest single massacre of the Jews during the holocaust, to the said date, takes place in Kiev, Russia. In a place named Babi Yar. On 30 September 1941, the Nazis executed over 33,000 Jews.

In that same year, in October, known as the “Odessa massacre”, over 50,000 Jews slaughtered.

AD 1942

Around 400,000 Jews rounded up in the Warsaw ghettos and deported to the death camps.

AD 1944

Around 300,000 Hungarian Jews rounded up. Then transported by train to Auschwitz concentration camp for execution.

AD 1945

By the end of WW2, The Nazis had exterminated over 6,000,000 Jews.

AD 1947

The United Nations set out a plan that divided Palestine into two states, a Jewish and an Arab state. This was unacceptable by the Arabs and fighting broke out between Arabs and Jews.

AD 1948,

They declared Israel a state, the first time since 70 BC (1847 years), that the Jews had a recognised home again. The Arab / Israeli war started with Arab nations attacking Israel.

AD 1949

The war of independence for Israel ended. It saw over 6000 Israelis killed and around 1500 wounded.

AD 1950

Jews allowed to leave Iraq (modern day Babylon). But only provided they gave up Iraqi citizenship. Over 100,000 Jews evacuated from Iraq between the years of 1949 to 1951. The evacuations named Ezra and Nechemia, after the leaders of the Jews from 597 BC, who led the Jews back to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile. Israel brought home another 49,000 Jews from Yemen and surrounding area between 1949 and 1950. It ran under the name Operation Magic Carpet.

AD 1956

Israel invaded Egypt. Forcing other foreign nationals and Jews to leave Egypt. Around 25,000 Jews fled the harsh regime and their assets seized by the Egyptian government.

AD 1967

When the Jews advanced into Jerusalem, it seemed like suicide. All the surrounding Arab nations attacked them. The Arabs sustained heavy losses, but after six days, the war was over. Israel had won. They captured the holy part of the city, (the old city) up to the remains of Solomon’s temple, (the Wailing Wall). The Israeli general, Moshe Dayan, stated the Jews had come home, never to leave again.

AD 1973

Egypt made war again against Israel in the “Yom Kippur War.” In retaliation for the 1967 six-day war, Egypt was hoping to regain back lost territory. The Jews fought back and won the war at a cost of 2500 Jewish soldiers dead.

The Dome of the Rock

In the holiest part of Jerusalem is the Muslim holy mosque, “The Dome of the Rock.” One of the holiest places in the Muslim world. Built on the site of Solomon’s Temple.

Jesus was the last “live” messenger from God. From AD 33, after Jesus’ ascension, they document no more direct contact with God. Although the scriptures have many passages from the prophets about later events. Several of those revelations came from Jesus. These events refer to the times of Jews returning home to their holy land after almost 2000 years of exile.

One prophesy stated that the Jews will have their land back in the end times. This happened in 1948. In 1967, they retook the holy part of the city of Jerusalem.

Another prophecy states Solomon’s Temple will be built again for a 3rd time.

Watch this space.

D. Marsden © 2020

The Secret of Rennes-Le-Château

The Secret of Rennes-le-Château

Rennes the Village

Rennes-le-Château lies near the foot of the Pyrenean mountains in Southern France.

It is a small village with a sparse population. At the heart of this community stands a church, dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. A church that stands on the site today, built round about the eleventh century. Here is where a mystery lies.

The Renovations

In 1885, the catholic church appointed Father Bérenger Saunière, the Parish Priest of Rennes. The church of Mary Magdalene was in a rundown condition and Saunière was a simple poor priest. But what followed soon after was astonishing. He spent a vast amount of money renovating the church to a magnificent standard. Far above such extravagance that befits a village church. Sauniere refurbished the inside with gained statues, fine paintings and elaborate decorations. He also built several orangeries, had a tower built attached to the church, and named it Tour Magdala. The name refers to an ancient village in Israel north of the country on the shore of Galilee. In Hebrew, Magdalene means Tower Magdala, the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. Her name suggests this: Mary of Magdalene. A villa built some distance away that the tower by a walkway. Saunière added a sacristy (also known as a vestry) for keeping church equipment. Such as sacred vessels, church parish records and specific furnishings. Saunière also renovated the run-down cemetery. He built a wall encompassing it and a set of wrought-iron gates set in pillars on each side. These had a lintel stone above, running across the gate head. It had a stone pediment on top with a skull and crossbones carved into it.

The Mysterious Inheritance

A mystery surrounds where Saunire got his wealth to carry out all this work. These renovations took ten years to complete. This also included the cemetery and Saunière’s living quarters. All this work required carpenters, stonemasons, labourers and many other tradespeople. These people needed paying for their labours. Materials and fittings needed payment as the work progressed. The accounts and invoices relating to the works have survived. They confirm the amount to be over 11,500 Frank’s, which inflates to around £4,000,000 in today’s money, in 2020.

Asmodeus the Master Demon

There is a Latin inscription over the entrance to the church, terribilis est locus iste. This translates to “this place is terrible.” There are other inscriptions. One reads: “this is God’s house, the gate of heaven, and it shall be called the royal court of God.”

A figure inside the church, installed by Saunière, is of the demon Asmodeus perched holding up the font. Above are four angels. Asmodeus is in many ancient writings as a master demon, sometimes referred to as the king of demons. It’s possible that the statue is portraying a message of good. Represented by God’s angels, subduing evil represented by Asmodeus underfoot? Ancient writings denote demons, bound as slaves, and powerless. Working on God’s temple under the command of Soloman. God gave Solomon power over the demons through the archangel Michael and possession of a ring.

Saunière embedded many symbolic references in the church for reasons unknown.

Buried Treasure

Many theories abound about Saunière and Rennes-le-Château. too many to put into such a brief blog, but what follows are some more popular ones.

Buried treasure has been one theory of Saunière’s wealth. One such theory is that Saunière found a hoard of buried treasure somewhere within the church or grounds, hidden in a hidden vault underground.

King Dagobert II

There are several tombs below the church. One tomb refers to the last resting place of King Dagobert II. (Although other evidence suggests the burial of Dagobert at the St. Dennis Basilica). The crypt could have been found by Saunière. Then finding the king’s treasure buried along with him. Dagobert II was from the Merovingian dynasty. They ruled Austrasia (the Franks, Gaul, Germany and Northern Italy) during the 7th and 8th century AD. Dagobert II had the royal title of King of Franks. He was born in 652 and died in 679 and ruled for 3 years before his death by assassination. Dagobert reintroduced the minting of gold coins. After an earlier ruler suspended the act. He was the last king to have coins minted in his name in Marseille.

The Goths and Solomon’s Treasure

Another theory is that it was King Solomon’s treasure that he came upon. About 37 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, in AD 70, Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem, and raised Solomon’s temple, and the treasures carried off to Rome. The Visigoths later looted this in AD 410 after they sacked Rome. Rennes was once a stronghold of the Visigoths. It’s possible their spoils were buried on the site for safekeeping, when the Romans and the Goths were at war with each other.

The Goths were a Germanic race. Comprised the Visigoths from the West and The Ostrogoths from the East. They drove the Romans out of much of Europe, took over a large area from Germany, and across the Eastern part of the continent. They settled in Southern Gaul, now France, to the Pyrenees and into Northern Spain. After the Goths had plundered Rome, they took the treasures of Solomon’s Temple back to Rennes, and hidden them away for safekeeping. The Goths later converted from German paganism to Christianity. They would have considered the treasures of Solomon as sacred.

The Cathars

Cathars also had a stronghold in the region. They were a branch of Christianity but had differing views from the Catholic church. This later led to their demise when persecuted and overrun by the Catholics somewhat violently. The Cathars occupied the regions of Northern Italy and Southern France. From the 12th to the 14th century AD. Maybe they hid their treasures during their time of persecution. This was to protect them from the invading Catholics. It is said that they were the keepers and guardians of the Holy Grail. And that they gained many other religious artefacts. Centuries later, Saunière may have discovered their vast number of hidden treasures.

The Knights Templar

Another guardian of the treasures of Christ and Solomon was The Knights Templar. A Christian charitable order that had great input during the crusades. They were a military organisation and a powerful fighting force. They received authority from the pope and grew to a large order. First founded in 1119, they were active until 1312. The pope of that time, Clement V, set out to destroy them. The Templars accrued massive amounts of wealth and religious artefacts.. They considered it their duty to guard the sacred treasures of Solomon. There is speculation that The Templars had Solomon’s treasures in their possession. This also includes the Arc of the Covenant. They set up a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace in the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They build the Temple Mount on the old site of Solomon’s Temple. This is how they gained their name, the Templar Knights. They also had a stronghold near Rennes-le-Château. There is a chance of a great wealth buried there.

The Jesus and Mary Myth

Another theory, one that has had much debate and at least one best seller written about it. It is the theory that Jesus bypassed the cross and emigrated to France with Mary Magdalene. Later, Bérenger Saunière came across some documents hidden away in his church in relation to the bloodline of Jesus’ family and the Merovingian Dynasty. As the story goes, the Vatican paid Saunière a vast amount of money for his silence on this matter.

Was this the case? The Vatican would have carried out a less costly way of keeping this poverty-stricken priest quiet. What was the risk to the church for a massive secret left in the hands of a lowly priest? This theory is one of the most implausible. But remember, the book in question is a fiction novel, so we assume poetic licence.


Saunière was at Rennes as Parish Priest for 32 years until his death in 1917. During that time, Saunière appointed a housekeeper. Marie Denarnaud, who was about 20 years younger than himself. She became his trusted confidant and, on his deathbed, he passed the secret of Rennes-le-Château to her. Denarnaud herself had instructions to convey the secret before her passing. In 1953, she suffered a brain haemorrhage. This left her paralysed and speechless. So the secret remains that for future interested parties to ponder.

Many experts in various fields have studied this strange story. Journalists and authors have indulged their passion and much ink spread across the white paper canvas. Film crews have contributed their part. But no-one has ever come up with a cast iron explanation, only theories.

The mystery carries on with the same old questions. Where did this peasant priest get such vast wealth? How did he become rich beyond his wildest dreams? What form of wealth or currency did he stumble upon? How did he get such wealth so quickly? He spent the equal of four million pounds in today’s value on renovating a village church and grounds? What are those symbolic gestures that he placed in and around the church? What happened? We’ll never know the truth.

D. Marsden © 2020

Europe and bible prophesy

The European Union

The bible describes a latter-day Europe as a joining of nations formed together to make up a 10-nation union of power, a ten-nation confederacy.

The history of the EU is brief.

Allied countries created the union in 1945, to put an end to war in Europe, after the devastation caused by the second world war. Six European countries (France, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Germany) came together to form an alliance not only to keep the future of Europe at peace, but also to solve the economic problems that the war had created. The Treaty of Paris agreed on free trade of raw materials, the movement of coal and steel, the primary purpose. The European Coal and Steel Community (The ECSC), was up and running by 1952.

One idea stemming from this was to create a federal Europe where all the nations would pool together rather than create another war within Europe in the future. During the 1950s, they drew a European defence agreement up by the states to form a unified army. France rejected this, but remains a proposal still.

France didn’t include Britain in, and therefore Britain stayed out of the agreement.

In 1957, they signed a new treaty, known as The Treaty of Rome. This formed the EEC (The European Economic Community), which later morphed into what we know today as the EU (European Union). They bore the EU out of the Maastricht Treaty that came into being in 1993, a political and economic union of its member states.

In 1960, under a conservative government, Britain applied to join the EEC but France apposed in 1963 because the French parliament, led by President Charles DE Gaulle, was weary of the close relationship of Britain to the USA. Britain reapplied in 1973 and voted into the union, still known as the EEC.

In 1981, Greece was the tenth nation to join the EEC. Spain joined in 1986, further countries followed. In 2013, Croatia joined, this made 27.

A United States of Europe was a long-standing vision and as far back as 1849, Victor Hugo, the French writer, stated at the Paris Peace Congress as president, and expressed that vision:

 “A day will come when your arms will fall from your hands! A day will come when war will seem as absurd between Paris and London, between Petersburg and Berlin, between Vienna and Turin, as it would today between Rouen and Amiens or between Boston and Philadelphia. A day will come when you — France, Russia, Italy, England, Germany — all your nations of the continent will merge, without losing your distinct qualities and your glorious individuality, in a close and higher unity to form a European brotherhood, just as Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, all our provinces are merged in France.”

“A day will come when the only fields of battle will be markets opening up to trade and minds opening up to ideas. A day will come when bullets and bombs will be replaced by votes, by universal suffrage of the peoples, by the venerable arbitration of a great sovereign senate which will be to Europe what Parliament is to England, what this diet is to Germany, what the Legislative Assembly is to France. A day will come when we will display cannon in museums just as we display instruments of torture today, amazed that such things could ever have been possible.”

“A day will come when we shall see those two immense groups, the United States of America and the United States of Europe, stretching out their hands across the sea, exchanging their products, their arts, their works of genius […] And to bring about that day will not take another 400 years, for we are living in a fast-moving age.”

Of course, this was over 170 years ago. Hugo could not even imagine today’s destructive weapons. He didn’t foresee what was coming upon Europe and the rest of the world, but his words do ring true for Europe after the wars, until now anyway.

The Ten-Nation Confederacy

The bible speaks of a ten-nation military formation that will rise out of a revived Roman Empire. An alliance comprising ten countries (UK, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy and Germany) joined in 1955, as the Western European Union to bring together a military alliance for the defence and security of Europe. They were also members of NATO. Power transferred to the EU in 2011 when the Western European Union disbanded.

The Revived Roman Empire

Rome had its first dictator and emperor in 54 BC. The empire ruled over Europe, including Britain (which was then known as Britannia), the middle East and Africa. The empire lasted until 476 AD, when it fell to the German Goths. During the empire, and to date, Europe and the western world have become steeped in Roman culture and influence. Constantine became emperor in 306 AD, and Christianity was the religion of Rome. In 380 AD, it became the sole religion of the empire. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, the dark ages followed. The unity of Europe after the war was the formation of the revived Roman Empire, of which a leader will arise (The Antichrist) to rule over the empire as a dictator.

‘The Treaty of Rome’ signing took place in Rome on one of the seven hills, (we know Rome as the city of seven hills) known in Roman times as Capitolonium. Today it is Capitoline Hill, and they signed the treaty at the Plazzi de Campidoglio. Capitoline Hill has several temples upon it, the most important one being The Temple of Jupiter, built in 509 BC. This temple represented Rome. Jupiter was The Roman’s pagan god. The treaty signed at this location points to the revival of the Roman Empire.

The Book of Daniel

Daniel 2: 36-40

Verse 36: “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation.  37: You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory,  38: and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold.  39: Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40: And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. “

In Daniels interpretation above, the head of gold refers to King Nebuchadnezzar the ruler of the Babylonian Empire, the other kingdom after refers to the Medo-Persian Empire ruled by Darius the Mede, the third kingdom of bronze refers to the Greek Empire ruled by Alexander the Great and the Medoc fourth kingdom refers to the mighty Roman Empire, the greatest empire of the ancient world.

Daniel 2: 41-43

And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.

 Daniel 7: 7-8

Verse 7: After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It differed from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. Verse 8: I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

In Daniel’s vision above, he was referring to the great and powerful Roman Empire that was the mightiest empire to that date in history. Mightier than the three great world empires before it (Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece). The ten horns refer to ten future nations forming the revived Roman Empire. This differed from all the empires before it, it was mightier, conquered more of the ancient world and reigned for a longer period of history. It was also an empire that left behind a legacy to rise again out of the nations it conquered and left its cultural mark. The little horn refers to the Antichrist that will rise out of this reborn Roman Empire to rule a united European nation.

The Book of Revelation

Revelation 17:3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.

Here is a view of the revived Roman Empire. The beast is the symbol of ancient Europe (Europa), more on this later. The ten horns again are the ten nations of Europe, and the seven heads are seven kings of the ten nations. Three are overthrown for not conforming to the satanic ruler, The Antichrist.

The Symbols of the European Union

The Greek Goddess Europa, according to mythology, rode on the back of a white bull, which was Zeus in disguise. He took her away and threw her off his back and then raped her. The name ‘Europe’ resulted from being named after the Greek Goddess, Europa. Based on Greek mythology, the name Europe or Europa is synonymous with a woman riding a bull took from paganism. Several buildings of importance in the EU have this symbol as their emblem: The Parliament Building in Brussels; The Parliamentary Building in Strasbourg, France; The New Brussels Headquarters. They all have this pagan statue of a woman riding a bull.

The European flag of twelve gold stars on a blue background could also have a biblical significance. But what does the blue background and the gold stars mean?

Revelation 12:1. And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Blue represents the sky or heaven, and the twelve gold stars represent the crown of the Virgin Mary referred to in the book of Revelation.

Twelve is the number of completeness and has several religious significances: the twelve apostles, of the New Testament, the twelve sons of Jacob who formed the twelve tribes of Israel in the Old Testament, in the Book of Revelation God’s kingdom has twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. There are twelve signs of the social and twelve months in a year. Many references to the number twelve are found in the bible.

Conclusion We’ve seen how biblical prophecy shows a European ten-nation confederacy run by a dictator (The Antichrist). But the EU is no longer a nation of ten states. There are now twenty-seven countries in the union. The EU absorbed the ten nation coalition of The Western Union. But the prophecy is about the future, and not about this present time. Some further developments will take place in order to recognize this ten-nation confederacy. One thing is certain, it will happen. Bible prophecy is never wrong

D. Marsden © 2020

The Crossroads to Hell


Robert Johnson was a blues musician from the 1930s who, they said, made a deal with the devil to enhance his musical talent.

As the story goes, he played blues guitar around the clubs and bars of the Mississippi Delta area where he lived as a young boy. In the early part of his career, he was often laughed at and frowned upon because of his guitar playing. Some described it as cats wailing and worse. A prominent blues musician once told Johnson to put his guitar away because he was driving people nuts.

Johnson tried to learn and play guitar but could never seem to get anywhere. One night, he did something about it. He and his guitar visited the crossroads of two highways in the Mississippi Delta and waited until midnight, where it is said a man in black turned up. Some say it was the devil. At that point, Johnson made a deal; the devil promised him he would be a great blues guitar player in return for his soul. His guitar playing would be magical and impressive. The music world would be at his feet, the devil told him. The young would-be musician was thrilled. He had just fulfilled his burning desire to become a brilliant musician. Fate had paved the way for him. They struck the deal. He only had to practice, and the notes would flow from his fingertips.

He disappeared from the music scene for a year and no one heard from him. When he emerged again, he played his guitar like a wizard. Some musicians thought there were two people playing the same song. Some believed that the devil was playing with him. He had a technique that no-one else mastered. The devil had provided Johnson with a tremendous talent for playing blues guitar, writing songs, and singing. The devil now owned his soul.

That’s how the legend goes.

One thing we know, he became a great blues musician. He disappeared from the music scene for a while only to come back oozing talent. It’s hard to grasp that an untalented lousy guitar player can come back as a talented musician. It’s understandable to go from bad to good, and from bad to great even, but from terrible to genius. Well, don’t you need to have some talent to start with to be that good? Those that heard him play beforehand always said how bad he was. They would rather not have to listen to him, so there was no spark of genius, no talent there. So where did it come from?

In one of his famous songs: ‘The Cross Road Blues’, the lyrics say that he prayed to God for mercy, to save his soul:

“I went down to the crossroads

Fell down on my knees

Ask the Lord above for mercy

Save me if you please.”

         Lyrics by Robert Johnson

Why would he want saving? Could it just mean that he was repenting for his sins?

 Did he go back later to undo the deal, to pray to God to save him from the devil?

The song’s last two lines.

“And I’m standing at the crossroads

I believe I’m sinking down”

           Lyrics by Robert Johnson

It sounds like he is imagining himself to be heading down into hell. Of course, it could have other meanings. Maybe it’s a metaphor for the way he feels. After all, that’s why it’s called blues music, to express how you feel sadness and despair inside.

Whether he agreed with the devil or some demonic spirit, we’ll never know. One thing’s for sure, he was a talented musician. He had a significant influence on blues music and inspired many artists around today.

Cross Road Blues

I went down to the crossroads

Tried to flag a ride,

I went down to the crossroads

Tried to flag a ride,

Nobody seemed to know me

Everybody passed me by

I went down to the crossroads

Fell down on my knees

I went down to the crossroads

Fell down on my knees

Ask the Lord above for mercy

Save me if you please

I am going down to Rosedale

Taking my rider by my side,

I am going down to Rosedale

Take my rider by my side

You can still barrelhouse, baby

They call us on the riverside

You can run, you can run

Go and tell my friend-boy Willie Brown

You can run, you can run

Go and tell my friend-boy Willie Brown

And I’m standing at the crossroads

I believe I’m sinking down.

      Lyrics by Robert Johnson

D. Marsden © 2020

The Mysterious Helix Staircase

The Helix Staircase of the Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel is a small, French Gothic style church built in the 1870s in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the United States of America. It’s a beautiful chapel on the outside and inside and kept in good repair. It was a Roman Catholic Church run by nuns.

The inside decor is plain but beautiful, a look you’d expect from a chapel of this size and location. But it has one striking feature that attracts architects, artists, designers and tourists alike. It is The Helix Staircase, a spiral staircase of some beauty. The nuns named it the “Miraculous Stairs.” Called such by the way of its engineering and construction.

The staircase itself forms a spiral, turning 360 degrees, twice. The strange thing is, it has no centre pole, but is sound. This is the beginning of the staircase anomalies. The mystery lies within the way the stairs came into being, by a miracle no less, according to legend.

The nuns of the chapel had a dilemma: how to get access to the choir loft, a type of mezzanine floor at one end of the chapel over the doorway. There wasn’t room for a large staircase in the chapel. They called on the local carpenters for advice, but none had a suitable solution.

The nuns prayed to Joseph for his help: Joseph, a humble carpenter, a hardworking man who married the Virgin Mary, known to Catholics as Saint Joseph. Looked upon as the patron saint of carpenters and hard workers alike.

Sometime later, a man answered their prayers, but had a condition he could be alone in the chapel for three months. Strange enough, he had only a few simple tools, including a hammer, and a saw and a T-Square.

He constructed the staircase on time, with wooden pegs for nails. A marvellous and beautiful construction, a work any designer or joiner would be proud of. It was symmetrical and had no middle column to support it. The usual construction of a spiral staircase is around a central column, a crucial part of its structure. The engineering was so that he had designed it without one. An unusual method and should not support any weight on the staircase, but it does and has done so for over 140 years.

After he finished the work, the carpenter left, collecting no payment. Never seen again by the nuns; They tried to locate him, but couldn’t. Where did the wood originate? In the 1990s, the manager of the chapel took a small piece of wood from the original part of the stairs. (the balusters were added 10 years later for safety reasons) and sent it away for analysis. Results showed it was an unknown species of spruce. The wood was strong and dense and is like wood grown in freezing climates where it grows at a slow rate. None grows in the area. Anything even similar would need transporting thousands of miles from abroad.

Over the years, many experts have visited the chapel and found the staircase intriguing. They agree it is possible for artisans of the day to do such a task. History shows many structures of undeniable Intricacy and detail, but what makes this different is the story of the nuns praying for help, the stranger visiting the chapel and the engineering involved almost defying gravity, and built by one man with a hand full of tools.

Of course, the story could be true or exaggerated. If we look closer, we see that such a construction, comprising pieces of wood fixed together and glued to become one solid piece, would work. So, it is feasible to suggest such a construction is possible.

If they sourced the wood from thousands of miles, it would have still been quite possible. The only problem that might have hindered the project would have been the cost.

The craft workers would have been in good supply, even the highly skilled ones. Just glance back in time to realise this, in an age of wood used for many elaborate constructions, the galleons that sailed the seven seas, for instance.

One theory is of the entire structure being constructed in France and shipped as one solid piece. This is a possibility, but as mentioned above, the stranger brought with him only a few tools, including a T-Square. The T-Square is interesting. They used a square of this nature in architectural drawing, laid flat across a board. It is not a tool for fashioning wood, which would suggest the carpenter designed the construction in situ.

Miracles happen, so miracle or not? You decide. But the facts remain: it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and an intriguing example of clever engineering, built almost 150 years ago in a plain chapel in a small town in New Mexico, US.

D. Marsden © 2020