Pillars are often the one surviving part in the ruins of an ancient city. Archeologists studying these pillars can often identify the civilization by their structure.
Göbekli Tepe, Turkey, is an archaeological site currently being excavated in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. The excavation has been ongoing since 1996 by the Turkish government. The tell (artificial mound) has a height of 50 ft and is about 1,000 ft in diameter.
The tell includes two phases of use, believed to date back to the 10th–8th millennium BC (10,000 to 8,000 BC).
The site is being excavated and studied in two phases. During the first phase, circles of massive ‘T’-shaped stone pillars were erected on the site. These are said to be the world’s oldest known megaliths.
As of May 2020, more than 200 pillars in about 20 circles had been surveyed on the site. Each pillar has a height of up to 20 ft and weighs up to 10 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the local bedrock. In the second phase, the pillars are smaller and stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime. The site was apparently abandoned after that time.
The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery. One has to wonder how those ancient people could manage to build such enormous pillars with only human hands to do the work. But it tells us that pillars are strong, and pillars last.
Ever think of God’s promises as solid, lasting support pillars? Yes, when they are promises made by our Creator, they are strong. And they LAST. That is what we sing about:
When nature sinks, and spirits droop,
Thy promises divine
Are pillars to support my hope,
And elevate my mind.
We need these pillars, because there ARE times when “nature sinks and spirits droop.” The sinking is inevitable because we are mortal. But God has provided strong, pillar promises to help us through these times. What pillars do we have to give us support, support that is set in the bedrock of truth?
Let’s start with one of the simplest. It stands, a pillar among seemingly ordinary Proverbs. It is another of those capsule passages the author paid no heed to.
Prov. 22:4 4By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life.
What a start on the promises, and all have universal appeal and a strong progression: 1, 2, 3, each greater than the one before it: “1-Riches, 2-Honor, 3-Life.” All are things we mortals would enjoy.
What do we like? What would we ask for if we could have JUST what we like most? Start thinking, because the promises go far, far beyond your fondest imagining. This promise was first made by Isaiah, then repeated—with emphasis—by Paul.
1 Cor. 2:9 9But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Or to “free paraphrase” it,
Mortal eye has never seen, mortal ear has never heard, mortal mind has never imagined the things God has prepared for those who love Him.
Did you take it all in? No, you couldn’t—it is beyond anything we can ask or imagine! What a start on the strong, pillar promises of God!
Now let’s go to Paul’s vision of the promises in Romans 2. He starts with a reminder that God will “render to every man according to his deeds,” then relates the details:
Rom. 2:7–10 7eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;
Just realize what they—what WE—are seeking:
glory, honor, and immortality…
and then what we can get:
How do we get it?
“by patient continuance in doing good”, or “by patient continuance in well doing” (KJV)
What is “well doing” or “doing good”? It is literally “excelling in action that is distinguished,… excellent,…good (moral qualities) (DBL)
Then there is the other side, where we don’t want to go:
8but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The picture is complete. And it is all determined by what we do, because God is giving to each according to his deeds. If we are intent on the “good works” God commands, the “well doing” or “doing good,” the very BEST is ahead. And what a pillar promise it is, strong as the bedrock it stands on!
While we are with Brother Paul, let’s go to 2 Corinthians, where he is talking about how we get into God’s family as adopted sons and daughters. This is a mighty pillar promise.
2 Cor. 6:17–18 17Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Have you ever wished you could belong to royalty? This promise surpasses it a thousand times over. Think about belonging to the family of the angels… and having GOD Almighty for our Father, and being His own “sons and daughters.” And it is all for meeting the command to separate from the vanities, the “nothings” of this world, to “come out from among them”—because they have nothing of value to offer, and certainly nothing eternal.
So Paul relays God’s offer: “Come out… separate…” and “do not touch what is unclean… and I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters.” Who said it:
“says the Lord Almighty.”
But we can’t stop here. The next verse continues the thought. I like Phillips paraphrase of it:
“With all these promises ringing in our ears…”
Oh, let us keep the promises ringing!
2 Cor. 7:1, by J. B. Phillips “With all these promises ringing in our ears, let us keep clear of anything that smirches body or soul. Let us prove our reverence for God by consecrating ourselves to him completely.”
We can’t stop here, or we will have missed one of the mightiest support pillars in Scripture. Think about the FINAL snapshot in Revelation, taken of John’s glimpse into the ETERNAL day that follows the Millennium. John says,
Rev. 21 1Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Then he heard a loud angel voice describing it:
3And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
It is enough to take our breath away.
- NO more tears.
- NO more death.
- NO sorrow or crying. And…
- NO more pain.
Was John dreaming, or … was it to be real?
The one sitting on the throne in the vision realized John’s dilemma, so spoke again.
5Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
“True and faithful.” “True and faithful.” Those words kept ringing in John’s mind. It was all true. It was a fulfillment John would SEE one day in the future! What strong, mighty support pillar promises!
To be sure, John had long since forgotten to write. It was all too wonderful, he was spellbound!
At the reminder from the angel, John picked up his pen and resumed writing. And aren’t we thankful he did—or we would not have it!
These are only a few of the great pillar promises in Scripture. But they are enough to give us plenty of support for those down times when we need a lift, when “nature sinks and spirits droop.”
Nor is there any limit to the lifting power of these strong, sturdy pillars. No wonder Paul could say, in spite of the troubles he was enduring,
2 Cor. 4:17–18 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Eternal—that is the word to remember. The pillars of the ancients may last for 10 or 12 thousand years, but these Divine pillar promises are ETERNAL. Nothing on earth can approach that!