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Friday, June 17 2016

Acts 16: Paul's First Mission To Greece

"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. 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"

Ancient Macedonia was a territory located between the Greek peninsula and the Balkan highlands in southeastern Europe (see the map below). It had varied political and geographical status during Bible history. It existed as a Greek kingdom (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) and later as a Roman province (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). In the time of the apostle Paul, Macedonia was the first region of Europe to accept Christianity in large measure after the LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour) directed Paul across from Asia Minor (see the map below).

Greeks After his break with Barnabas (see The Meeting Of Paul And Barnabas and The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas), Paul was introduced to others who would become associates of him for the rest of his life. Among those was Timothy, to whom Paul later addressed two of his epistles (see also 1 Timothy: Godliness With Contentment and 2 Timothy: In The Last Days Perilous Times Shall Come).

"16:1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 16:2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." (Acts 16:1-5 KJV)

Paul's second missionary journey was intended, by him, to be limited to the area of his first - his native Turkey (see The Return Of The Home Town Apostles). But the LORD declared that Paul's second missionary journey was going to be his first missionary journey to Greece. That was accomplished through a man of Macedonia.

"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." (Acts 16:6-10 KJV)

Paul then sailed across the Aegean Sea (see The Aegean Connection) to begin many years of work in the cities of Macedonia and Greece. Many of his famous epistles are addressed to the Christians in those cities i.e. see 1 Thessalonians: Prove All Things, Hold Fast What Is Good and 2 Thessalonians: The Falling Away Of The Son Of Perdition; also 1 Corinthians: That Rock Was Christ and 2 Corinthians: The Devil's Fight Along The Way.

"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 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 16:11-15 KJV)

Paul's experiences in Greece were familiar to him from everywhere else that he had been before - some believed and welcomed the Truth with love, while others responded with hate and violence toward the Word of God (see also Paul's Encounters With Witches and Sorcerers).

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

"16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 16:20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 16:21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

16:35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. 16:36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

16:37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

16:38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 16:39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 16:40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed." (Acts 16:16-40 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was the Macedonian king known as Alexander the Great?
See The Prophet Daniel: The Ram and The He Goat and A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids


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This Day In History, June 17

1462: Vlad III the Impaler attempted to assassinate Mehmed II, forcing him to retreat from Wallachia.

1579: Sir Francis Drake claimed San Francisco Bay for England. He called it Nova Albion. Albion, meaning "the white" ("albino" originated from the same root word) was an ancient name for the island of Britain, from the White Cliffs of Dover). The Spanish however were later to take possession of it and most of what is today the southwestern states of the U.S.

Mexico
1631: Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, spent the next 20 years building her mausoleum - the now world-famous Taj Mahal.

1673: French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reached the Mississippi River.

1799: Napoleon Bonaparte incorporated Italy into the French empire.

1867: Joseph Lister performed the first surgical operation under antiseptic conditions on his sister Isabella, at Glasgow's Royal Infirmary in Scotland.

1876 1,500 Sioux and Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse (the leader of the Sioux at the battle of the Little Bighorn a few days later, in which Custer and his 7th cavalry were wiped out) repelled General George Crook's attack at Rosebud Creek in Montana.

Libertas 1885: The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City from Europe. While most are aware that it was a gift from the Roman-Catholic people and government of France, very few are realize that the Statue of Liberty was a deliberate, as stated by its builders, reproduction of the ancient Roman goddess Libertas, idol-worshipping Rome's "goddess of freedom." A 2,000 year-old Roman coin from 42 BC, from the era of the birth of the Roman Empire, as shown in the photograph, shows Libertas (including the idol's name, the Latin Libertas, in English meaning "Lady Liberty" right on the coin); the face and the crown are identical to the Statue of Liberty.

1924: The Fascist militia marched into Rome.

1925: 29 countries signed the Geneva Protocol which prohibited the use of poison gas in war.

1939: The last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, was beheaded in Versailles at the Saint-Pierre prison.

1967: China detonated its first hydrogen bomb.

1972: Five White House operatives were arrested at the Democratic Party Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington. The break-in eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

1974: An Irish republican guerrilla bomb exploded at Westminster Hall, in the British Houses of Parliament injuring 11.

1994: After the "L.A. Freeway Bronco Chase," O.J. Simpson was arrested for the knife murders of his former wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson was later acquitted of the murders by a jury of his "peers."

1997: During the Amsterdam conference of European Union members, a French diplomat replied in response to the slow progress of negotiations, "Rome wasn't built in a day" (see What Is The Mark Of The Beast? and What And Where Is Babylon Today?).


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