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Old Graveyards, Our History and God's Grace & Mercy

Old Graveyards, Our History and God's Grace & Mercy

My wife and I live in a rural county of Pennsylvania.

In our travels to estate sales and family activities we see many graveyards, some still maintained by family or friends and many forgotten and grown over.

For a decade we lived next to a civil war cemetary with local significance, the headstones gave us a snapshot of who these people were, their names and when they lived and died.

How soon we forget those that die and move on into the timeless realm with Christ and the many that have died before them.

Their headstones are a tangleable material memory of them just as their belongings hold significance to loved ones.

So when you see an old cemetary take a moment to look back and think of the people that walked the land and how through God's grace they lived the time alotted to them and are now with our Lord!

The video below from Donnie Laws gives us an excellent tour of old graveyards in the Appalachia's.

Video from Donnie Laws

"Our rural areas across the Appalachian mountains is full of old graveyards of our pioneers and settlers of this land. Our countries history is in these old graveyards. Here is a few places I have visited in these mountains. I have only touched on the history of these locations. Thanks so much for watching. God Bless." from video introduction

The Oldest Graveyards in America and Abroad

"The hallowed ground where our ancestors lay has long been the subject of myths and legends. But in the case of enduring stories and reputations, not just any burial ground will do: You’ll have to look towards the oldest graveyards to really get a sense for a culture’s take on death, dying, and the afterlife.

We’ve often sat in reverential awe within the walls of old cemeteries, letting our minds wander over the stories that each of those tombstones holds. It’s natural, then, that we’d want to explore even more — and share that with you in this guide to the oldest graveyards in America and the world.

Follow along as we uncover the history of graveyards, cemeteries, and burial customs, discover the differences in types of graveyards, and then explore the majesty and wonder of the oldest graveyards in the world.

Let’s journey carefully and respectfully from the land of the living into the abode of those long past..." from the article: The Oldest Graveyards in America and Abroad

Abandoned Burial Grounds

"Historical archaeologists are often asked to assist with abandoned burial grounds and cemeteries. “Abandoned” cemeteries refer to burial grounds that are no longer being used or maintained.

Many of our nation’s burial grounds were lost and forgotten as families and communities moved to new locations. While formal city and church cemeteries are the grave yards most people think of as final resting places, family and community burial grounds were common historically, especially in rural areas, and these have often been abandoned and forgotten with the passage of time. Many disenfranchised communities, such as African Americans in the South and Chinese-Americans in the West, never owned or managed the land on which their families were buried, increasing the likelihood of later abandonment. The use of informal markers, especially wooden markers, which have been lost to time, is also problematic. Landowners also sometimes removed surviving markers on an abandoned cemetery to increase the value of their property, further masking the presence of a cemetery. Finally, formal registration of burial grounds is a product of the modern era. As a result, most historic cemeteries were not recorded on deeds, plat maps or historical surveys that pre-dated those registration measures..." from the article: Abandoned Burial Grounds

Why Was a Burial Place So Important in the Bible?

"In Genesis 49:29-32, we read Jacob’s instructions about his burial place: “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah—the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” Obviously, Jacob was very concerned with his burial place, and he knew the exact history of the spot he had chosen. When Joseph was approaching death, he also gave instructions concerning his remains (Genesis 50:25).

One reason the burial place was so important to the patriarchs has to do with God’s promise of the land. God had promised that Abraham’s descendants would possess the land where he had been buried (Genesis 12:1-3). Jacob knew that, if he was buried in Canaan, his tomb would forever remain within the Promised Land. The fact that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would all be buried there—three generations—emphasized their belief in God’s promise to give this land to their family.

A second important reason was that Jacob wanted to be buried with his family. Still today, many people prefer to be laid to rest alongside family members as a sign of love and solidarity. In ancient times, it was considered an honor to be buried in a family plot. Many a king’s death is recorded as he “rested with his ancestors” (e.g., 2 Kings 14:16; 2 Chronicles 21:1). Jacob’s desire to be buried with his wife, father, and grandfather naturally displayed his deep love for them.

A third reason Jacob desired to be buried in the cave of Machpelah was that it was land he and his family owned. Jacob’s grandfather had purchased it from the Hittites. Though Jacob had been given land in Egypt to live in, he did not consider it his own. His home was in Canaan, the land where he had been born and raised and where he wished to be buried.

A fourth reason for the patriarchs’ insistence on their burial place in Canaan was that they held on to the hope of a future kingdom. Hebrews 11:9-10 says, “By faith [Abraham] went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” Verse 16 adds, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

The patriarchs understood that their death was not the end of life. Instead, God had a future kingdom prepared, one where the Lord God will reign as King." from the article: Why Was a Burial Place So Important in the Bible?



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