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Tuesday, April 9 2013

The Aegean Connection

As shown in the photograph below, the Aegean Sea is located between Greece, to the west, and Turkey, to the east. It's actually a northern projection of The Mediterranean Sea, with Crete generally regarded as the division between the two areas. To the north, through the Dardanelles, is the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus. The Aegean Sea is about 600 kilometers / 375 miles long and 325 kilometers / 200 miles wide, with a total area of approximately 214,000 square kilometers / 82,600 square miles. The Aegean's ancient name, Archipelago, now used to refer to its many islands, has also become a geographic term for any grouping of islands.

The Aegean Sea region was the home of a number of the world's most-ancient civilizations - the Minoan Civilization of Crete, and the great intellectual and military empire of Greece (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids), and Asia Minor, known today as Turkey, all of which were the scene of much of the earliest growth of Christianity. For the apostle Paul, the Aegean Sea was the sea route between Asia and Europe.

"Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis"

The Aegean Sea Paul had apparently intended to maintain his ministry in his native Turkey (Paul was born in Tarsus, a city of Turkey near the Mediterranean Sea), however when the time came, the LORD (see The Kingdom Of The LORD God) directed Paul to sail for Europe, across the Aegean Sea (see also The Meeting Of Paul And Barnabas and The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas).

"16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

16:13 And on the sabbath [see also Why Observe The True Sabbath?] we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us." (Acts 16:6-15 KJV)

At the end of Paul's third missionary journey (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey), he sailed directly from Greece through the Aegean to Jerusalem, with only a brief stop on the coast of Turkey where he was met by the Christians of Ephesus (see the map below).

"20:13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 20:14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. 20:15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus. 20:16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church." (Acts 20:13-17 KJV)

"20:36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all [see also How To Pray]. 20:37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 20:38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship." (Acts 20:36-38 KJV)

"21:1 And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 21:2 And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. 21:3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 21:4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 21:5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 21:6 And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

21:7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him." (Acts 21:1-8 KJV)

"I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ"

The Book of Revelation (which was actually a letter; see The Epistles: Revelation and the Fact Finder question below) was given to be written by the apostle John while he was being held as a prisoner of the Romans on the island of Patmos, located in the Aegean Sea just off the coast of Turkey.

Patmos, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea

"1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ [see also What Happened When The Messiah Arrived In Heaven? and What Happens After The Messiah Returns?], which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God [see also What Does Word of God Mean To You?], and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." (Revelation 1:1-3 KJV)

"1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." (Revelation 1:9-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the prophetic significance of "the seven churches" for today?
See Where Are The Seven Churches Of Revelation Today?


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This Day In History, April 9

193: Septimius Seversus was proclaimed emperor by the Roman army (see Legions Of Men And Angels and Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire) in Illyricum (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

537: Byzantine general Belisarius began his Siege of Rome.

1241: Mongol forces fought the Poles and the Germans at the Battle of Liegnitz.

1413: Henry V was crowned King of England.

1440: Christopher of Bavaria was made King of Denmark.

1483: King Edward IV of England died.

1511: St. John's College of Cambridge, England was founded.

1626: Francis Bacon, British lawyer, courtier, statesman, philosopher and writer died at age 65.

1682: Explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle reached the mouth of the Mississippi River and claimed Louisiana for King Louis XIV of France (i.e. Louisiana is named after a King of France).

1770: English explorer James Cook sighted Botany Bay, Australia.

1747: Simon Fraser, the 12th baron Lovat Jacobite, became the last man in England to be executed by beheading.

1799: Sir Humphrey Davy discovered the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide, ("laughing gas").

1869: The Hudson Bay Company ceded its territory to Canada.

1917: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the German-held Vimy Ridge (France) was taken by 4 divisions of Canadian troops after one of the fiercest battles of the war.

1921: The Russian-Polish War ended with the signing of the Riga Treaty.

1940: Germany invaded Norway and Denmark during the Second World War.

1945: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian and anti-Nazi was executed in Flossenburg concentration camp. He was arrested in 1943 for his involvement in a plot to assassinate Hitler.

1948: 245 Arab men, women and children were killed by the Irgun (a "Zionist" paramilitary group; see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate, A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace) in a village close to Jerusalem called Deir Yassin. The murders resulted in tens of thousands of Arabs fleeing to the Arab-controlled West Bank, and into Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Egyptian Gaza Strip. In retaliation, the Arabs murdered 77 Jewish doctors and nurses in a convoy on their way to Mount Scopus.

1969: The supersonic Concorde airliner made its maiden flight, from Bristol to Fairford in England.

1991: The date of Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0

1992: President Manuel Noriega of Panama was convicted of drug charges in a Miami court. Noriega was captured as a prisoner of war when the U.S. invaded Panama, however he was thereafter prosecuted by U.S. domestic law.

2005: Britain's Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, his mistress of many years.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank