The largest passenger steamship in the world at the time, the Olympic-class RMS Titanic was owned by the White Star Line and constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Titanic was designed by experienced engineers, using some of the most advanced technologies and extensive safety features of the time.
The tragic sinking of RMS Titanic has become known as one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history. On her maiden voyage from Southampton (England), to New York City (USA), she struck an iceberg on 14th April 1912 at 11:40pm and later sunk at 2:20am that night. Of the 2,223 people on board, 1,513 perished and only 711 survived. Although complying with ship regulations at the time, she only carried lifeboats for 1,178 people (even though the ship had a maximum passenger and crew capacity of 3,547).
Name: Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic
Class and type: Olympic-class ocean liner
Owner: White Star Line
Port of registry: Liverpool
Route: Southampton to New York City
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast
Completed: 31st March 1912
Tonnage: 46,328 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 882 ft 9 in (269.1 m)
Height: 175 ft (53.3 m) (Keel to top of funnels)
Decks: 9 (Lettered A through G) Installed power: 24 double-ended (six furnace) and 5 single-ended (three furnace) Scotch marine boiler. Two four-cylinder reciprocating triple-expansion steam engines each producing 15,000 hp for the two outboard wing propellers at 75 revolutions per minute. One low-pressure turbine producing 16,000 hp. (A total of 46,000HP).
Propulsion: Two bronze triple-blade wing propellers. One bronze quadruple-blade centre propeller.
Maximum Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Total Capacity: Passengers and crew (fully loaded): 3,547
Captain: Edward J. Smith
Maiden voyage: 10th April 1912
Fate: Sank on 15th April 1912 after hitting an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Now rests at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean at a depth of 2.5 miles (4km).
Of a total of 2,224 people aboard Titanic, only 711 (less than one third) survived, and 1,513 perished. The majority of deaths were caused by hypothermia in the 28 ºF (-2 ºC) water where death could occur in as little as 15 minutes.
The Story of John Harper
On board the Titanic the night of the tragedy was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter ‘Nana’. He was a widowed preacher travelling from his home church in London (where he was pastor), on his way to preach at the Moody Church in Chicago (named after the famous preacher D. L. Moody).
According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to the safety of a lifeboat. He then left her and headed back up the deck to assist others, as many frantically scrambled to save themselves. Amidst the chaos, John Harper was interested not in saving himself, but rather the salvation of others.
As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck calling out, “Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!” It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within and the ship literally began to break in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.
In the desperate minutes that followed John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water pleading with them to get right with God. John Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris, and asked him between breaths, “Is your SOUL saved?” The young man replied, “No!” Harper then tried to lead him to faith in Jesus Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reject the Gospel. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said, “Here then, you need this more than I do…” and swam away to others who were drowning. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to Christ. Over 1500 men, women, and children went down into the water that night, but tragically only six were rescued by the lifeboats. Miraculously, one of them was the young man on the debris.
Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and as tears rolled down his face, recalled how that after John Harper had led him to Christ, Harper had tried to swim back to help others. However, because of the intense cold, John Harper had grown too weak to swim, and slowly sunk down into the icy depths. His last words before going under in the freezing waters were, “Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!”
What did John Harper mean when he cried out, “Women, children and the unsaved into the lifeboats?” What did he mean when he cried out to the man on the debris, “Is your soul saved?”
As a preacher of the Gospel, John Harper knew that there is nothing more important than where each of us will spend eternity. As a Christian, he would have believed that all mankind will forever dwell with the Lord in Heaven, or spend an eternity of misery and torment in a place the Bible calls Hell. This gave John Harper the urgency to reach those who were not yet ‘saved’ with the Gospel before it was too late.
What is the difference between you and those who had only minutes to live on the Titanic? Only time. Each of us is headed for eternity. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. We don’t know when, but one thing is certain… our appointment with death is coming. John Harper was ready for eternity, which is why he was able to so fearlessly turn his attention to others, despite his own predicament. How about you? Are you ready? Are you ‘SAVED’?
To find out if it is either the bliss of Heaven or the fires of Hell that await you, take this simple test to see how good a person you are, and how many of the Ten Commandments you have kept. Let’s look at just five: 1. Have you ever lied? 2. Have you ever stolen anything? 3. Have you ever used God’s Name, or the Name of Jesus Christ as a curse word? 4. Have you ever committed adultery? 5. Have you ever murdered another human being?
Most reply that they have only told ‘white lies’, stolen only a few things (perhaps when they were young), never thought that blasphemy was such a ‘big deal’, have never actually committed adultery, and certainly have never killed anyone. This is the average response. However, God’s Standard of Holiness is so high and far above ours. Here is how God sees us: 1. Lying: The Bible says, “Lying lips are an abomination (or something vile, detestable, and revolting) to the LORD” (Proverbs 12:22). 2. Stealing: No matter the value, if you have ever taken something that does not belong to you, then you are a thief, and thieves, “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). 3. Blasphemy: The Bible says, “…thine ENEMIES take thy name in vain” (Psalm 139:20). 4. Adultery: Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). 5. Murder: The Bible says: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). “…For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Now can you see, that sin in the eyes of God is a serious thing? Can you see that your sin is not only wrong, but also an offense to a Holy God? If God were to judge you right now by the standard of the Ten Commandments, would you be innocent or guilty? Would it be Heaven or Hell? For an unsaved person, it would be Hell. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).
Despite the serious consequences of our sin, God has made a way for us to be ‘saved’, and this was the good news that John Harper tried to share with as many as he could before he died. John Harper understood that even though he was a sinner, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [Jesus Christ], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). The Lord Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, and then died on the cross for sinners like you and I, and then triumphantly rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). You can have that everlasting life, simply by confessing your sins to God and turning from them, and then trusting in Jesus Christ alone as your own personal Saviour. John Harper’s last words were actually a quote from the Bible, and I urge you dear reader to heed them! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
The Lord’s Work Trust 2011. Titanic Inspired by, “The Titanic’s Last Hero” by Moody Press 1997, (also available as a DVD documentary)”.
56 Children were saved and 53 were lost.
296 Women were saved and 106 were lost.
146 Men were saved and 659 were lost.
212 Crew survived and 695 were lost.