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Monday, June 20 2016

Acts 19: The Miracles At Ephesus and The Idol Pedlars

"God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them"

Ancient Ephesus was a city located in southwestern Asia, in what is today western Turkey (the apostle Paul was born in Tarsus, in southeastern Turkey; see The First Voyage Of Barnabas and Saul and The Return Of The Home Town Apostles).

After having visited the Ephesus during his second and third missionary journeys, the apostle Paul also wrote the "book" of Ephesians (see Ephesians: Put On The Whole Armour Of God), which was actually an epistle, a letter (see The Epistles: What Is An Epistle?), to the "Christians" (as the followers of the LORD had shortly-before come to be known, at Antioch; see Where Believers Were First Called Christians) at Ephesus.

Ephesus Paul's work, by means of the Holy Spirit of God, at Ephesus was powerful and productive: "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" (verse 11-12 below).

"19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?

And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?

And they said, Unto John's baptism.

19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.

19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

19:17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

19:21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season." (Acts 19:1-22 KJV)

In that era, Ephesus was a prominent city of the world. The Romans (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) gave it the title "the first and greatest metropolis of Asia." Its foremost economic and religious attraction was the heathen Temple of Diana, known as "Diana of the Ephesians," and its open theater, which was capable of seating 50,000 spectators - then the largest in the world, and still very big in comparison to modern-day stadiums.

The Ancient Theater at Ephesus The cult of Diana had become a big religion because it was heavily promoted by the businessmen who became wealthy from the manufacture and sale of idolatry. When many people began to realize, from the preaching of Paul, that their idols were worthless junk, the businessmen incited a religious riot against Paul.

"19:23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 19:25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 19:26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

19:28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 19:29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. 19:30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 19:31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. 19:33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. 19:34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

19:35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 19:36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 19:37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 19:38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. 19:39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. 19:40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly." (Acts 19:23-41 KJV)

Fact Finder: What did the Messiah give to the apostle John to write about Ephesus in the Book of Revelation?
See Where Are The Seven Churches Of Revelation Today?

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This Day In History, June 20

451: The Battle of Chalons. The Romans under Flavius Aetius fought the forces of Attila the Hun (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars, A History Of Jerusalem: Titus And The Zealots, A History Of Jerusalem: Hadrian and Simon bar Kokhba and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad). At its greatest extent, the Hunnic Empire covered the lands from the Ural River (in Russia) in the east to the Rhine River (in Germany) in the west, and from the Danube River (in Germany) in the south to the Baltic Sea in the north.

Attila the Hun 1214: The University of Oxford received its charter.

1397: The Union of Kalmar united Denmark, Sweden, and Norway under one monarch.

1529: Clement VII and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) signed the Peace of Barcelona; it ended attacks on Rome by the Lutheran armies.

1567: Jews were expelled from Brazil by order of regent Don Henrique.

1624: France and the Netherlands signed a treaty of non-aggression at Compiegne.

1631: The Irish village of Baltimore was sacked by Algerian pirates.

1756: 146 British soldiers in India were captured and imprisoned in a suffocating cell reserved for petty offenders. 120 of them died in what became known as the infamous "Black Hole of Calcutta."

1837: King William IV of England died. He was succeeded by his 18 year old niece, Queen Victoria, who remained on the throne for 63 years.

1840: Samuel Morse received a patent for his "telegraph."

1877: Alexander Graham Bell installed the world's first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Bell lived for many years at the nearby city of Brantford, Ontario where the Bell Homestead is today a popular tourist attraction. According to Bell's own recorded testimony, he invented the telephone at his home in Brantford.

1923: Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary leader, was assassinated.

1942: A Japanese submarine shelled Estevan Point, British Columbia, one of the very few direct attacks on North America during the Second World War.

1946: Fred Rose, the only member of the communist party elected to the Canadian Parliament, was sentenced to six years in prison for conspiring to communicate wartime secrets to the USSR. He was exposed as a traitor by Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk at the Soviet embassy in Ottawa, who had defected to Canada.

1955: The longest solar eclipse in the 20th century, 7 minutes and 8 seconds. The maximum possible is 7 minutes and 31 seconds (see also What Can You See In The Firmament Of The Heavens?).

1963: The U.S. and the Soviet Union agreed to establish a "hot line" between Washington and Moscow.

1972: President Richard Nixon's famous "Watergate" meeting with H.R. Haldeman where 18 minutes of tape were later mysteriously erased.

1979: ABC News (U.S.) correspondent Bill Stewart was shot dead by a Nicaraguan soldier; the murder was recorded and shown around the world, adding to the fall of the CIA-backed regime of the dictator Anastasio Somoza.

1992: Czech and Slovak leaders agreed to split Czechoslovakia into 2 separate countries. It had been formed in 1918 after the First World War caused the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire.



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