The Kingdom of Stone – The Incredible Journey

(light upbeat music) – Adventurer and geologist Karl Mauch could hardly believe his eyes as he and his party exploring in the heart of Southern Africa, stepped out of the bush one day in 1871 Before him was one of the most stunning ancient stone monuments in the world Scattered across the hill and valley in front of him was a network of mysterious ruins, buildings, towers, and walls, all expertly worked in stone They seemed hauntingly out of place, in a landscape whose only other architecture was the simple timeless mud hut Mauch had stumbled upon the Great Zimbabwe, a long abandoned city of stone It’s the largest collection of ruins in Africa south of the Sahara and testament to a culture of immense wealth and great architectural skill All the towers and structures were built out of millions of stones, balanced perfectly on top of one another, without the aid of mortar Great Zimbabwe is a masterpiece of stone craftsmanship But who built this mysterious stone city? When was it built and why? As Mauch wandered through the abandoned city and examined the stone buildings, he was convinced he had discovered at last the legendary gold mines of King Solomon Join me on a journey into the heart of southern Africa as we explore this amazing kingdom of stone and discover its secrets And you may be surprised at just what we discover, because we will uncover an ancient message in stone that’s relevant to us today It’s a message that could bring you peace and change your life forever The legend of King Solomon’s gold mines has long haunted the minds of Arabs and Europeans alike According to the bible, King Solomon, the wise son of David, ruled in Jerusalem from 970 to 930 BC He was Israel’s third king and ruled during the nation’s golden age Solomon was renown for his wisdom and his riches The crowning achievement of Solomon’s illustrious reign was the erection of a magnificent temple on Temple Mount in Jerusalem It was a monument to God and a permanent home for the sacred Ark of the Covenant Solomon spared no expense on this building In fact, Solomon’s temple was perhaps the most beautiful building this world has ever seen Everything inside was gold, the dishes, bowls, lamps, lamp stands, and 500 shields were all made of solid gold But that wasn’t all Notice what the bible says in 1st Kings chapter six verses 20 to 30 Solomon built the temple and lined its walls inside with cedar boards He overlaid the whole interior with gold He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms with gold A golden temple Walk inside and all you would see was gold All the furniture was solid gold Then the walls, the ceiling, and even the floors were all covered with pure gold No wonder many people believed that Solomon’s temple was the most magnificent edifice ever built, a golden temple The idea is breathtaking King Solomon’s temple was a glory of gold By the end of his reign it’s estimated that Solomon had accumulated over 500 tonnes of gold Today it would be worth not billions but trillions of dollars Well, the bible provides a clue in 1st Kings chapter 10

where it tells of the Queen of Sheba’s royal visit to Jerusalem to meet King Solomon Now not only was Solomon renown for his wisdom and riches, but he was also a man of charm and romance The Queen of Sheba heard reports of Solomon’s great wisdom and went to investigate He surpassed her every expectation She gave him a large quantity of gold as well as precious stones and spices The gift of gold amounted to 120 talents, roughly 20 tonnes Solomon was also captivated by the queen’s visit and gave her all that she desired, whatever she asked for, and the two entered into trade agreements between their two countries As a result, Solomon’s navy, his ships, brought gold from the land of Ophir Notice what the bible says in 1st Kings chapter 10 The Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem with very much gold She gave the king 120 talents of gold, and the king had a navy and the navy also of Hiram brought gold from Ophir King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom So we are told that all this gold came from the land of Ophir But that’s where the clues stop and the trail goes cold Out of this mystery grew the legend that was to obsess adventurers, explorers, and treasure hunters for centuries, and drive the search for King Solomon’s fabled gold mines The Dutch, the Portuguese, and Arab traders conducted unsuccessful expeditions to find the legendary gold mines of Ophir Finally in 1871 a young German adventurer and geologist called Karl Mauch, set off into the interior of Africa in search of the mysterious gold mines of King Solomon His search led him here to the Great Zimbabwe Scattered across the hill and valley in front of him was a network of stone ruins These edifices were expertly constructed in stone and seemed so out of place in a land where mud huts were the norm He realised that he had stumbled upon something amazing The mystery of the place was almost palpable and eerie silence brooded over the stone wonder before him Beneath that pall of silence, and here at the heart of the ruins, Mauch found a huge enclosure with granite walls, 11 metres high and seven metres thick in places This stone enclosure was known to the local natives as Mumbahuru or the house of the great woman And it didn’t take Mauch long to succumb to his own wishful thinking and jump to the conclusion that the great woman must be the legendary Queen of Sheba Then of course Great Zimbabwe, by the same stretch of the imagination, must have been the capital of the kingdom of Ophir and the site of the fabled gold mines of Israel’s King Solomon But Mauch was wrong, as were a host of other later explorers and historians who believed that black Africans could never have constructed something as elaborate as the Great Zimbabwe However, the truth is that Great Zimbabwe had once been the trading and religious capital of a great black African empire In fact, parts of it were built as early as the 2nd or 3rd century AD by the ancestors of the very natives, who first led Karl Mauch to the site Over a period of more than 1000 years Great Zimbabwe grew and developed into the magnificent capital of an African kingdom It consisted of ceremonial shrines, royal palaces, passageways, granaries, and forts During the Mediaeval period the simple ruins and surrounding valley would’ve supported a population of upwards to 20,000 and was one of the most significant civilizations in the world, with trading links stretching as far away as India, Persia, and China

Nowhere in this great stone complex was there a straight wall or a right angle And no where was any mortar used to bind the granite rocks together All the towers and structures were built out of millions of stones balanced perfectly on top of one another without the aid of mortar Great Zimbabwe is a masterpiece of stone craftsmanship The ruins of the complex are divided into three main sections: the great enclosure, the valley ruins, and the hill fortress The great enclosure, a massive oval shaped structure, is the heart of the complex This was apparently the palace of the great chief who ruled this kingdom of stone The great enclosure is the largest single ancient structure in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert The outer wall is about 250 metres long and in places it’s 11 metres high and seven metres wide 15,000 tonnes of granite was used to construct the great enclosure And again, no mortar was used to hold any of the granite blocks together They were laid in brick like courses and fitted together with precision and sometimes capped with decorative chevron shaped border designs The valley ruins consist of scattered stone edifices as well as a large number of mounds that are the remains of earthen and brick structures that may once have rivalled the stone buildings in grandeur The valley complex is where the citizens lived, and was possibly the busiest part of the stone city Beyond the valley ruins the hill fortress is located on top of a steep sided 100 metre high hill It’s the oldest section of the complex and in early times was a place of refuge and used as a fortress In times of danger and when under threat the citizens would’ve found safety in the hill fortress Later it developed into more of a ceremonial and religious centre The hilltop fortress is reached by climbing a narrow twisting stairway that squeezes between outcrops of natural rock and allows only one person at a time to pass This would’ve made the fort easier for the inhabitants to defend when attacked Near the summit there’s a wall with four solid towers that gives the appearance of a traditional fortification From here the inhabitants could look down into the valley below and keep an eye on approaching danger On the summit of the hill there are stone walls and towers that creep from rock to rock and create a labyrinth of enclosures The defenders incorporated natural granite boulders and rectangular blocks to form walls up to six metres thick and 11 metres high Within the walls there are remains of earthen structures which may have been houses for soldiers or priests Because of the security provided by the hill fortress it was considered a royal city and was the residence of successive chiefs The kings kept many of their treasures here, including eight carved sandstone birds which were discovered nearby The hilltop fort’s narrow partly covered passageways and high walls provided safety in times of danger and a secure place to store the royal treasures But this hilltop fortress couldn’t save this kingdom of stone, its king, and its citizens This civilization disappeared and left no record of a written language behind, which makes Great Zimbabwe, the kingdom of stone, one of the truly lost civilizations of the world But it did leave a message behind, an important one Yes, this hilltop fortress carved out of stone, carries an important message for us today It’s a reminder that down through history cities and civilizations needed a place of safety, a place were citizens could find refuge and safety in time of danger But it’s not only ancient cities that need a fortress, a place of refuge We do too

Yes, we need a fortress, a place of refuge where we can find true peace and safety in times of stress and danger We too need a fortress that’s strong, reliable, and enduring because let’s face it, we all have our challenges It may be panic or stress over work deadlines, or bills we’re struggling to pay It may be relationship conflicts or ill health It may be the betrayal of a friend or the loss of a job It may be physical or spiritual battles When things like this happen, we need a refuge, a place of safety, and so we all have our own fortresses that we run to when we face overwhelming circumstances These fortresses can take the shape of people or relationships They can also be material things in our lives that we think will bring us happiness and take our minds off our problems and difficulties But sadly all too often these fortresses let us down and fail us, particularly when we need them most If you’ve had an experience like that, or are looking for a fortress that you can depend on, a fortress that will always protect you and never let you down, regardless of who or what is attacking you, then I’d like to recommend the one true fortress that will always protect you, the fortress that will never let you down Notice what the bible says in Psalm 91 verses one and two I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Yes, the bible talks about a fortress too It says that God is like a fortress He’s strong and reliable That’s how God is And because he’s so strong, he can keep us safe Things can attack but the walls will hold God protects us and gives us a safe place to hide when we’re afraid, attacked, or threatened When we trust in God, he becomes our safe place So next time you’re in trouble, run to Fort God He will save you and protect you That’s what Martin Luther did He was a priest who lived in Germany 500 years ago, back in the 16th century He began to read and study the bible and he realised that the mediaeval church had departed from the bible and the teachings of Jesus The church had fallen away from truths of the bible This really concerned Luther and so he publicly disagreed with the corruption and false teaching that had infiltrated the church Martin Luther then took a bold and dangerous step He nailed a paper to the door of the cathedral where he lived in Wittenberg, Germany On the paper he had written 95 complaints against the corruption and false teachings of the church It’s known as the 95 Theses It went down in history as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation The protest that were written that day for the public to see began the most dramatic reform within Christianity And it didn’t take long after the appearance of the 95 Theses, these complaints for discontent to grow into conflict Some Christians wanted to change and follow the bible and some didn’t Some even said that Martin Luther should be burned alive Because he wanted to follow the teachings of the bible he was declared a heretic and an outlaw to be captured and killed on sight He was in real danger He faced years of trials and persecution Fearing for Martin Luther’s safety a sympathetic friend led him into the protection of his fort, his castle, and it was in this fortress that Martin Luther reaffirmed the strength and comfort of a mighty God While hiding away he continued reading and studying his bible and the words of Psalm 46 came alive and vibrant for him Here is what it says in Psalm 46 verses one and two God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble Therefore, we will not fear Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea Those words inspired him to write one of the most famous hymns of all time, A Mighty Fortress is Our God

It was a bold affirmation of our powerful and loving God Listen to the words of the first verse A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing, our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal The four verses form a single continuous whole that progressively tells of the Christian journey through this world It covers the full sweep of the Christian’s life The song declares our absolute reliance on God and his absolute power over the forces of darkness A Mighty Fortress became a rallying cry for the reformation and a source of great strength for the common people It was sung in the streets It was sung by poor protestant immigrants on their way into exile, and by martyrs at their death It’s been translated into nearly every language, and 500 years later it’s still a source of comfort for many people today A mighty fortress is our God, gives us hope amidst the struggles of life The words still ring true today When the storms of life blow in around us, we can find refuge in the mighty fortress of our God The words of Martin Luther’s hymn also remind us that we’re in the midst of a great controversy the universal war between good and evil We’re reminded that our ancient foe, the devil, constantly strives to bring us down And haven’t we all experienced the harshness of Satan’s attacks? He often strikes at our weakest point, telling us lies and tempting us to give into despair and sin He’s a formidable enemy But here’s the good news He’s also a defeated enemy He’s doomed And in the words of A Mighty Fortress we find assurance that Satan won’t triumph Let’s remember we’re on the right side in this great conflict We will win the battle, but not because of our own strength As the hymn so eloquently says, our striving would be losing No, the victory is ours Only when we take refuge in our mighty fortress, Jesus Christ So the next time you’re surrounded by life’s stormy weather, when you feel under attack, when you feel fear or pain or disappointment, when your circumstances seem about to overwhelm you, remember there is a safe place, a shelter from harm God is your fortress, a safe place above the dangers of life, high above your enemies God knows all about the challenges that you are facing He has a safe place for you and his protection is limitless Notice what the bible says in Nahum chapter one and verse seven The Lord is good A stronghold in the day of trouble And He knows those who take refuge in Him Yes, God knows all about you and wants to protect you So if you feel like you’re fighting every battle alone and need a place of refuge, remember, God is your protection and strength in your time of need And remember the words of our hymn, instead of trying to win the battle with your own feeble efforts, turn instead to the mighty fortress When you put your struggles in the hands of God, you can be confident that you’ll survive the battle Why not decide to call on Him, the mighty fortress, today as we pray? Our dear heavenly Father, you are our saviour and our deliverer, you are our refuge and our place of safety We are so grateful that you are a powerful God, a mighty fortress, and that in our times of trouble and during the storms of life, we can find safety and refuge in you You are bigger than anything that comes against us, or anything that rages within us We commit our lives to you and pray for your continued blessing and guidance in our lives and we ask this in Jesus’ name, amen The Great Zimbabwe

is one of the most stunning ancient monuments in the world It’s the largest collection of ruins in Africa, south of the Sahara All the towers and structures were built out of millions of stones, balanced perfectly on top of one another, without the aid of mortar The Great Zimbabwe uncovers an ancient message in stone that’s relevant to us today If you’re battling the challenges of life and are looking for a fortress that you can depend on, a fortress that will always protect you and never let you down, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for all our viewers today It’s the book Utopia This book is our gift to you and is absolutely free There are no cost or obligations whatsoever Thousands have been blessed and inspired by this book Utopia So please, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to receive the gift we have for you today Here’s the information you need Phone or text us at 0436 333 555 or visit our website to request today’s free offer and we’ll send it to you totally free of charge and with no obligation So don’t delay Call or text 0436 333 555 in Australia or 020 422 2042 New Zealand or visit our website to request today’s offer Write to us at PO Box 5101 Dora Creek New South Wales 2264 Australia Or PO Box 76673 Manukau, Auckland 2241 New Zealand Don’t delay Call or text us now If you’ve enjoyed today’s journey to the Great Zimbabwe and our reflections on the mighty fortress, be sure to join us again next week when we will share another of life’s journeys together and experience another new and thought-provoking perspective on the peace, insight, understanding and hope that only the bible can give us The Incredible Journey truly is television that changes lives Until next week remember the ultimate destination of life’s journey Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth and 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 (light upbeat music)