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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.
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?
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 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.
Fact Finder: What did the Messiah give to the apostle John to write about Ephesus in the Book of Revelation?
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.
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.