From Roy Davison’s Old Paths website, I found Michael Cole’s Virtual Tour of Pompeii. I’m reading all the slides, with valuable and interesting information, with photos. Here’s an example: Slide 49: “Tombs:”
Outside the city walls, elaborate tombs were built along the road entering the city, here and on the opposite side of Pompeii. These monuments to dead citizens were pretentiously placed to impress visitors to the city.
This was likely a common practice in the first century. We have record from Matthew 23:27-28 that Jesus warned, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
To use the tombs of dead men to demonstrate how great a city was in the Roman Empire was a foolish display when the city was filled with lawless and unrighteous men and women.
After seeing on these tombs the inscriptions about men who thought their lives and accomplishments would always be remembered, Mark Twain wrote in 1869 in Innocents Abroad, chapter 31, “The Buried City of Pompeii,” that it was saddening to think that he, too, would likely be completely forgotten or misidentified by future historians.
Wikipedia often has a list of notable people for its entries to towns and cities. Is this not something similar to the tombs lining the roads to Pompeii?
May this slide serve as a powerful reminder that it is not our deaths that will make us prominent in the eyes of God, since all must die, but rather our lives lived before him and our walk with him, as humble souls redeemed by the blood of Christ, that will determine our entrance into the heavenly city.
Let us not worry so much about what is written on our tombstones, but if our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Have you checked to see?