Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ephesus...what a place!

During Paul's day, Ephesus was one of the most important cities in Asia Minor, a center of travel and commerce.  

 It was a metropolis of about 125,00 - 250,000 people.   It is estimated the city size was 5-10 % of the theater capacity - the Ephesus theater capacity was 25,000.  It was designed for theatrical performances and also gladiatorial contests were held there.

Paul spent more time in Ephesus than any other place.  "Through 3 years of Paul's labor, the Holy Spirit helped establish a church in Ephesus that remained influential for centuries."  (quotes from "Visual Guide to Bible Events". Martin, Beck, Hansen)

Street that Paul would have walk on!

They are still excavating the city.  Ephesus was severely damaged by an earthquake  in 614 AD,  It is said that only 10-15% of this ruin has been excavated.  Most of the dig has just been uncovered this past year!  

1st and 2nd Timothy and the books of Corinthians were written here.  
It is possible that John may have come here to die after his exile on the island of Patmos.

Fountain of Trajan (a military leader of Rome)

The temple of Hadrian 
(A Roman emperor; when they died, they were added to the pantheon of gods)  

You can see the relief of Tyche, the goddess of victory and inside, a female figure that could be Medusa. 

When we were at the museum in Selcuk, we saw this slab that was originally from the Temple of Hadrian.  It depicts the foundation of Ephesus in the 4th century AD.

This is a public bathroom that was along the street.

And the most amazing marvel for us at Ephesus was the Library of Celcus.  It was built originally somewhere around 25-115 AD.   The interior measures 70 by 80 feet and held approximately 15,000 scrolls.

Belgin and Jim took our picture.  You can see how huge this is compared to us!  How did they build this back so many years ago?

This library was dedicated to Celsus the proconsul of Asia.  His sarcophagus (which is a stone coffin, typically adorned with a sculpture or inscription) was located under the floor, in one of the semi-domed recesses.

The Staurogram, or Tau-Rho, is a Greek tau (T) combined with a Greek rho (P), 
and was used in the early church as an abbreviation for the Greek word for cross. 

This pie shaped symbol was an early Christian symbol.  Believers would use this symbol since it was very dangerous to be a Christian in Ephesus. This symbol was also the board to a popular game at the time so the soldiers did not recognize the symbol as Christian. Any other Christian knowing of this secret symbol could enter Ephesus and know that there were other Christians present.

A Jewish menora
Ephesus in Paul's day had a significant Jewish population.

The agora - The literal meaning of the word is "gathering place" or "assembly". The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city.
Paul’s successful ministry in this city was considered a threat to the people of Ephesis who worshiped Artemis.  Remember in Acts 19 when the people got so mad at Paul?

" 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!'  

Soon the whole city was in an uproar.  The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together.  

Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.  Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him  not to venture into the theater."

We stopped along the road to the harbour for a lesson.   This harbour was situated on the Aegean Sea at the mouth of the Cayster River, one of the greatest seaports of the day.  There were 3 major roads that led from the seaport: one road went east towards Babylon via Laodicea, another to the north to Smyrna and the third headed south to the Meander Valley.  No wonder Paul chose to preach here "along the hub of  human movement.  When he did, 'all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.' "  Acts 19:10

Birds in Turkey.

As we were sitting there, a group of camera people walked by.  Lilli went to talk to them and found out that they were there from RBC ministries!  "Our Daily Bread" will be having on-line links to Ephesus.  I get the paper edition, but I found out that you can get a Daily Bread app on your phone!


Lortab - our pharmacy mascot (you can "friend" him on Facebook
to see where he has traveled.  He's been all over the world!)

We went to the Church of Mary, one of the Council churches.  The basilica was renowned as the site of the 3rd Ecumenical Council in AD 431.

"During the time of Paul's imprisonment, he wrote the church in Ephesus (Ephesians).  In particular he encouraged these disciples to remain focused on Christ and to remain united in the face of coming persecution."  The people of Ephesus were surrounded by those who practiced sorcery and worshiped Artemis, known also as Diana.

The rioting in Ephesus convinced Paul to move on.  He went westward across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia (modern day Greece).  And that's where we would also be going next.

But first, I have a  couple more posts of Ephesus.

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