A Wall Means Peace, Prosperity, If Not a Panacea!
Dr. Don Boys
21 October, 2016
Donald Trump has promised to build a wall on the southern border to keep drug pushers, terrorists, and tomato pickers from gatecrashing into America without following U.S. rules. Progressives (former liberals who lost the immigration debate and changed their name thinking none of us would notice) have resorted to ridicule–the last resort of the dumb, the deceived, and the demented.
Walls have been used since the beginning of time for defense, privacy, and “to protect the people of a certain region from the influence or perceived danger posed by outsiders.” In fact, an ancient city without walls was an invitation for disaster. Walls discouraged some barbarians, delayed others, and defeated still others.
A well-fortified city with high, wide walls, watchtowers, and iron gates was a good guarantee of peace and prosperity, if not a panacea. The Psalmist said in 122:7, “Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.” Who would want to live or start a business in a vulnerable city? A walled city offered security, stability, and sociality. People who lived outside walled cities were known as “pagans,” and were “rustic,” or “of or relating to the countryside,” and later were thought to be uncivilized or unenlightened people. Yes, I suppose if people chose to live in a violent, unprotected area, they would qualify as “unenlightened.” And dead.
In other words, thinking intelligent people lived behind walls, big walls if possible. Yet, today’s progressives like Hillary Clinton live in gated or high rise communities and ridicule a wall on our southern border. Clinton’s New York mansion has a high, attractive wall and in many parts of the world, homes are commonly built surrounded by walls topped with wire or glass for protection. That is to keep them away from us.
The Pope lives in the Vatican, a walled enclave within the city of Rome, yet wants us to build bridges instead of walls.
When Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land of Canaan, they returned and informed him of the conditions of the land. Most of them spoke of an incredible land of very large people living within walled cities. They spoke from exaggerated facts and fear, not faith. The spineless spies warned in Duet. 1:28, “the cities are great and walled up to heaven”–a slight hyperbole! They declared, “All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars.” They were saying, “Moses, you are a dummy if you think we can take those walled cities. We have no battering rams, no ladders, and no trees to provide the necessary siege instruments. Let’s go somewhere else.”
But the first walled city to be taken was Jericho, the “world’s first city.” Most people are familiar with the wall of Jericho that was miraculously destroyed to permit Joshua and the Israelites to conquer the city. I have been to the excavation site of those ruins many times. It was a well-fortified city but it fell by faith, not by force because the walls of Jericho fell in obedience to God. The people within the city thought they were safe because of their protective walls; they were wrong. This is no argument for not building a wall. It is an argument to prove that ancient people used walls to protect themselves, sometimes unsuccessfully, especially when God wanted the wall destroyed to produce judgment.
King Nebuchadnezzar II (reigned 605-562 B.C.) is famous mainly because of his association with the Hebrew prophet Daniel and his three buddies. Nebuchadnezzar built three walls around Babylon that were so broad that a four-horse chariot could turn around on it. The Ishtar Gate in the wall was said to be more impressive than any of the Wonders of the Ancient World.
Herodotus the Greek historian declared, “Babylon surpasses in wonder any city in the known world” and said that the wall was 56 miles long, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high! That is higher than a football field is long! Even allowing for the usual exaggeration of ancient historians, it was still a high wall. There was a wide and deep moat that encircled the entire city. No wonder it was commonly believed that Babylon was impregnable. But no one told two Hebrew prophets and King Cyrus that “fact” and the city fell to the Medes and Persians but the wall stood! A wall is not the only answer to survival but it’s a great beginning.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and during its long history it has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. It is one of the oldest walled cities. The wall has been built many times but the rock foundation and a few rows of original Herodian stones can still be seen. The wall is less than 3 miles long, the average height is 39.37 feet, and the average thickness is 8.2 feet. The wall also contains 34 watchtowers and 8 gates. On some of my 13 tours that I have led to the Middle East, I took the men and boys in my tour group to walk the tops of the wall to provide a different perspective of the city and its surroundings.
Even with the wall, the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple was accomplished by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. and the city and the Second Temple were destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70. The destruction in A.D. 70 was prophesied by Christ in Mark 13:1-2 when He said, “And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Note how precise He was in that not one stone would be left upon another. That was not poetic. Some of the Temple stones were 37 feet long, 12 feet high, and 18 feet wide. According to a PBS special, one stone weighed over 300 tons and they wondered if modern equipment could move such stones! It would take hundreds of men to move one stone but why would they even try to do so after an exhausting battle?
The prophecy was fulfilled literally when the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem and the temple buildings. One reason for the fall was the Jews were divided into three groups, even killing each other as the Roman Army was outside the wall! Rome prevailed and according to historian and eyewitness Josephus, the massive stones were moved by the soldiers, pried apart to collect the gold leaf that melted from the roof when the temple was set on fire. The city was taken after a four year siege!
Like Jericho, Babylon, and Jerusalem, the walls did not guarantee safety but then there are no guarantees in life. You do the best you can to protect yourself; but to invite thieves, thugs, and terrorists with open borders is insane. Borders are biblical and common sense and a wall is needed along our southern border.
The Great Wall of China with all its branches is 13,171 miles long extending east-to-west across the northern border of China and it was built to protect a nation not a city. And like city walls, it had a measure of success. It was built over the centuries beginning in about 221 B.C. to protect the Chinese against raids from nomadic groups from Mongolia. It was finished in the 17th century but fell into disrepair until recent years. The wall was also used to control immigration and permitted the imposition of taxes on goods that were transported along the Silk Road from Europe to China. When China extended its northern border, the wall became obsolete–except as a tourist attraction. It has four million visitors annually.
The 2,500 watchtowers and garrison stations permitted watchers to send smoke signals to alert inland troops of approaching danger.
A modern myth has prevailed and believed by most people that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure on earth that can be seen from the moon. But that is not true. Modern day scholars and scientists, as well as those who have traveled to the moon, have debunked this claim repeatedly but it is still often repeated.
But then there are many myths about walls that are espoused today in political discussion. Those myths are: we don’t really need a wall; a wall is an insult to our Mexican friends; a wall will not accomplish anything other than anger others; if people want in, they will get in; and at a cost of $8 billion, it is too expensive. Not if Mexico pays for it. Mexico has clearly and bluntly said that they will never pay for it but they will if America increases fines for overstaying visas and imposes a tax on every dollar sent to Mexico by workers in the US. About $20 billion per year is sent to Mexico from the U.S., usually by electronic transfer typically in about $300 amounts. Taking a small fee at the place of origin from each transaction will soon pay for the wall. After all, much of that money was never taxed.
Trump’s Wall, like the Great Wall of China, can be successful and provide a measure of peace and prosperity if not a panacea.