Exploring Ephesus (2015) - full transcript

Exploring Ephesus combines the fast-paced adventure of a travel show with truly rich biblical scholarship and relevant spiritual insights. Join hosts, Dr. Mark Wilson and Dr. Andrew Jackson...

foodval.com - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Hello I'm doctor Andy Jackson.

I've been leading biblical tours
in Turkey for many years,

but today is a very, very special day

because I'm going to be meeting

a very close friend of mine
doctor Mark Wilson

who's the author of a very popular book

called "biblical Turkey."

Twenty years ago we journeyed
through Turkey together

and now we have an opportunity
to go and explore

the ancient greco-Roman city of Ephesus.

I'm sitting here in a beautiful
location near the aegean sea

it's the bay of the modern city of izmir

and this is biblical smyrna.

And so here I'm waiting
with a lot of anticipation

to meet Mark and also
to have you and invite you

to join US on this really unique
time of exploring Ephesus.

Oh there's Mark now.

Andy good to see you again.

Been so long.

Yeah welcome back to Turkey.

I'm so excited 20 years ago.

It's hard to believe isn't it?

Time's moved so fast.

The first time we traveled
together through Turkey,

you remember that?


That was my first time in Turkey.

I was just beginning
my own doctoral studies

working on the seven churches.

On the other side of that now
and as you know

in 2004 dindy and I moved here
to this city, ancient smyrna;

lived here six years
and now we're in antalya

so it's been an amazing journey for US.

And it all started right here
with you in 1992 on that trip.

We still look good.

I'm really looking forward

to this trip together

to discovering and exploring
Ephesus with you.

It's going to be a great journey

so let's head down there now.


Let's get going.

Mark both of US have lived in Israel

and studied the life of Jesus
and the gospels,

but it's amazing to me how
many people do not realize

that Turkey really is the
focus of the new testament.

About two thirds of the new testament

is either written to or from Turkey.

We have most of Paul's missionary journeys

taking place here.

And of course you have western Turkey

with the seven churches of revelations.

So, so much new testament takes
place in this wonderful land.


This is such a beautiful land.

Just 10 years ago majority
of Turks didn't even know

that they were living in the
land of the new testament.

I remember that.

One story I don't know if I told you,

but I have a friend who
was driving through Turkey

maybe 15 years ago,

and he picked up a Turkish hitchhiker.

And he was talking to him and
the hitchhiker asked my friend,

"well what are you doing here?"

And he said, "we're driving
through the journeys of Paul,

the apostle Paul."

And well the hitchhiker goes,
"who's the apostle Paul?"

And he goes,

"well he's one of the main
leaders in the new testament."

And then my friend asked him,

"well where do you live in Turkey?"

And he goes, "tarsus."

Yeah, Paul's home town.

Paul's hometown.

That kind of a good example at that time.

It's getting much better though.

Well let's take off.


Mark as we explore Ephesus

there's going to be a lot of topics

that we're going to be able to discuss.

And I know one of the topics
I wanted to focus in on

is the three years of ministry
that Paul spent in Ephesus,

the longest he spent anywhere in any city

I'm really excited to look more

into his three years of ministry there.

Yeah I agree.

We got a great adventure ahead.

One of the things I'm looking forward to

is our visit to Patmos where
John received the revelation.

So sometimes you get a little seasick,

but I'm hopeful we'll make it okay.

Yeah I'm looking forward to that boat trip.

And then just how John
received the book of revelation

and also the seven churches
of the book of revelation.

And I think that's very
important as we talk about

and as we travel into Patmos
and we go down to Laodicea

to discuss a lot about the
seven churches of revelation.

Yeah so after Paul dies

John becomes the leading figure
in the church in Ephesus.

And I think just the fact

that Ephesus is the center

of early christianity and
biblical christianity,

and there's so much

that would be applied
to our own faith today

and overcoming in our faith,

not being conformed to
the culture around US.

So I think that we're just going to have

a lot of topics to discuss

and it's really going to be a rich time.

I agree.

It's really going to be a great time.

Now we've got the whole history
of the sights before US.

This is a beautiful view of Ephesus.

Yeah the whole history of the city

is built around these three hills.

Peon in the middle, coressus on the left,

and then to the right ayasoluk.

Yeah and Ephesus was located

in a different location,
a different time in history.

The ionian's settlement
was over there in mount peon.

Then they moved over to
the temple of Artemis area,

the Libyans and the persians.

And then from there...

Alexander the great comes through...

Yeah Alexander the great and then...

Then general lysimachus

moves the hellenistic city
between these hills.

We can see the incredible walls

from the hellenistic period
here on top of mount coressus.

And then in front of US
we've got the Roman forum

that they developed.

And of course another thing we can see

is the route of the sacred processional

from the temple of Artemis
through the magnesium gate

and then down through the city.

Yeah then later on as the goths came in

and destroyed the temple of Artemis

and then the byzantines
moved out right over here

to where the Saint John's basilica

is located.

And then after the byzantine
Ephesus the Turks came in

and conquered and that
was over the area there;

that would be Turkish Ephesus.

So this gives US a view of
all of the history of Ephesus.

It's a beautiful view.

Here we are at one of the seven
wonders of the ancient world.

It's the sight of the temple of Artemis

of the ephesians.

It was one time larger
than a football field.

Today it's just an open field with a column

because the goths came in
ad 262 and destroyed it all.

But what's your thoughts
about what it looked like

during the time of Paul and John

and the early christians that lived here?

That was a tremendous sight.

It was like a forest of a 127 columns,

the largest religious temple in
the ancient world at the time.

It functioned four ways within the city.

It was a repository for civic decrees.

It was a bank.

It was an asylum for fugitives.

And of course its most important
function as a religious center

and it was from this temple that
all the sacred processionals

that regularly went through
Ephesus both began and ended.

Andy who's this interesting
figure you've got in your hand?

Yeah this is a
replica of the goddess Artemis

and this is the type of replica

that the priests of Artemis used to take

and walk into the sacred
processional through Ephesus;

the upper city down through the lower city.

And from here the visitors could
have looked through the temple

and saw the original standing
in the center of the temple.

The apostle Paul

in his third missionary
journey heading to Ephesus

went across the Roman province
of galatia to Laodicea

when he entered the province of Asia.

Then he came up the meander valley

to the city of magnesia;

up to where we are right now
as he was heading to Ephesus.

Paul must have been extremely excited

when he reached this point looked up

and saw this magnificent triple arched,

architectural structure,

read the bilingual Greek
and Latin inscription

that's above US telling him
that c. Sectilius Pollio

had built this aqueduct
for the city of Ephesus

dedicated to the emperor
Augustus and tiberius.

And after weeks of travel his
destination was soon to come.


Very, very close to Ephesus.

Let's go on up.

Here we are amidst the thistles and thorns

looking at the important
eastern gate of the city,

the magnesium gate.

And this connected Ephesus
with its sister city magnesia

on the meander about 15 miles southeast.

And through this gate the sacred
processionals related to Artemis

came into the upper city.

Paul came down from Laodicea

down the meander valley then
he went right through this gate

into the city of Ephesus.

Let's go.

Wow here we are.

Two million people
come to Ephesus each year now.

Mark this is a big open area.

This is upper Ephesus.

What role did it play
in the city of Ephesus?

Well this is the
governmental center of the city

called the civic agora or the Roman forum.

Acts 19 we read that the town
clerk intervened in the riot

and his offices would
have been in this area.

He also mentions courts
would be in session.

This is the area

where the courts would
have taken place in the city.

Here to our right is the bulletarian;

the town council would have met here;

so a very important part

of the administration of ancient Ephesus.

A really impressive area of Ephesus.

Roman emperor worship

what a lot of people
would call imperial cult

was very much a part

of the religious environment of Ephesus.

And Paul and John would have interacted

with emperor worship in Ephesus.

And here we are at a place

that is very well known
for emperor worship.

We're looking at what archeologists believe

is the sanctuary to divus Julius
that's the divine Julius Caesar

and thea roma, the patron
goddess of the city of Rome.

The Greeks worshipped living
emperors as divine beings.

However, the romans wouldn't do that.

It was only after the emperor died

that they would begin to worship him.

So when you read in the book
of revelations chapter 12

about the two beasts;

when you look at the woman
seated on seven hills

in revelation 17 mystery Babylon,

this is all related to
the imperial cult worship

that took place in a city like Ephesus.

The imperial cult emperor worship

was such a part of Ephesus
and we have so much more to see.

Let's go see.

A lot to see.

Oh Andy

we're coming into the mission square here.

This is an incredible sight straight ahead.

Even how high this is up here

is quite amazing.

Yes it's a massive infrastructure here,

substructure here that they
built this temple on top of.

This imperial cult temple
we're looking at of course

is extremely important
for the history of Ephesus.

In the first century bc, around 27,

the Greek assembly authorized
the first imperial cult temple

in the province of Asia
and that was in Pergamum

during the reign of Augustus.

In 26 ad they built a
second temple in smyrna

during the time of tiberius,
but the Roman senate

wouldn't give Ephesus
an imperial cult temple

because the prominence
of the Artemis temple.

And it wasn't until the end

of the first century around 89, 90

the emperor domitian built this temple.

And it's the area just right here below

is just the lower structure, substructure.

The temple actually was on top
and this was a massive complex

of emperor worship and the imperial cult.

And this was built at the time

that the apostle John was living
here and ministering here.

So I'm sure that was something

that was really...
The Christian community here

when they saw this being built

must really stirred up some emotions

as it relates to the true living god

versus the Roman emperor.

That makes an
important propaganda statement

that Caesar is lord over this city.

We're looking at
a very important scripture here

related to the imperial cult.

It talks about Ephesus

being the first and the
greatest Metropolis of Asia

but it also mentions the second neokoros

of the second temple warden
of the emperor here.

And this is the key word, neokoros,

that we find in acts chapter 19

talking about Ephesus
as being the temple keeper

for the temple of Artemis.

This column summarizes

the religious essence of Ephesus

because it has emperor worship on one side

and it has an image of
Artemis on the other side.

And I think with both of them together

it summarizes really the
religious context of Ephesus.

The internal identity of Ephesus

is the imperial cult and
the worship of Artemis.

And when we put them together on one column

it really summarizes
what Ephesus is all about.

Mark you wrote a book

on the theme of victory
in the book of revelation

which is a very important theme
for US as christians today

becoming overcomers in our faith.

Can you tell US a little bit about that?

We especially see it in the letters

to the seven churches

and they conclude with
promises to the Victors

and the churches for overcoming.

And this theme of victory is epitomized

especially in this relief
of the Greek goddess Nike

that's behind US.

She's holding in her
left hand the victory wreath

that's awarded to the winners
of the various games

that were held in cities like Ephesus.

In her right hand she's
holding a palm branch.

And when you see the Victors in heaven

from every nation people tribe and tongue

gathered around the throne
they're holding palm branches

in their right hand.

So the symbols that she has
in her left and right hands

are very important imagery

for understanding the book of revelation.

And we want to be overcomers.


We're standing in front of
this incredible structure;

the reconstruction of the library celsus.

One of the most interesting parts of this

is a menorah graffital

that's on the step
leading up to the library.

This graffital, of course,

tells US that we've got
Jews living in this city

which we know from literary sources

like josephus the Jewish historian.

10 times he mentions

the fact Jews lived
in this particular city.


And it's a tradition of Paul

wherever he went whatever city he went to

he'd visit the synagogue first
and that's true in Ephesus.

His first visit to Ephesus from Corinth

he visited the synagogue.

And then when he left he came back

and the first thing again
he went back into the synagogue.

So we know the first christians
in Ephesus were Jewish

and most likely they became believers

at pentecost in Jerusalem

because we know that Jews from
Asia were located at that time.

So we know the earliest church
in Ephesus were Jewish.

By the way do you have any information

on where the synagogue
might be in Ephesus today?

Well the Austrian archeologist

has been working here for a hundred years

and unfortunately haven't found
any signs of the synagogue

or even very few other objects
related to the Jewish community.

You can't wait until they find that.

Acts 16 tells US
that Paul on his second journey

is wanting to preach the gospel
in the province of Asia,

but as he gets into this area

the holy spirit directs him northwestward

to the port of troas.

Now if we read between the lines
Ephesus is his destination.

It's a perfect place for
him to set up his ministry;

fourth largest city in the Roman empire,

capital of the province of Asia,
a large Jewish population,

transportation hub, both land and sea,

and of course the center
of Artemis worship here.

But from troas then he
goes over to Macedonia

and from Macedonia goes down to
Achaea and ends up in Corinth.

Yeah and after spending

about 18 months in Corinth

Paul along with Priscilla and
Aquila and probably his team

come across the aegean into the port here

and then they walk into
the great harbor road

that we're on right now.

And the first thing that they
see when they enter Ephesus

is the great Roman theatre of Ephesus.

Paul must have been very excited.

Over two years since
he'd set out for this place

he's finally arriving in Ephesus.

We're standing in the terrace
houses in downtown Ephesus

and this is the area

where the elite of the
city would have lived.

Behind US is the home of Furius Aptus

and these homes were built

first in a first century ad and
lived in for several centuries.

And in this type of environment

the early christians would
have held their meetings.

Yeah when we
talk about the church in Ephesus

during the time of Paul and John

we're really talking about
numerous house churches.

And in 1 corinthians chapter 16 verse 19

Paul makes this clear when he writes,

"the churches in the province
of Asia send you greetings.

"Aquila and Priscilla greet you
warmly in the lord

and so does the church
that meets in their house."

This is a pear style type home,

the public space where visitors would come

and it's in this area the
early church would meet.

And you can see from its size

maybe 40 or 50 people could have gathered.

And it's in this type of a space

that the worship of Jesus Christ
would have taken place

in the city of Ephesus.

We're arriving in a very
special place in Ephesus

on the hillside above the city

related to Saint Paul
so let's go ahead and enter.

The depiction of Paul we're looking at here

is the earliest portrait
that we have in Turkey;

dates from the late fourth
to early fifth century.

You can see his name paulos to his right.

It shows a scene from a
later Christian document

called the acts of Paul and Thecla.

Here Paul is preaching
in the city of iconium

and Thecla is listening to
his message out the window

and accepts the message
and becomes a believer.

And in the acts of Paul and Thecla

we have the earliest and only
physical description of Paul

that we have and in
this portrait we see that.

He's bald headed, his eyebrows are meeting

and his nose is hooked.

Yeah and it's very interesting to me

that we would mention that
during the time of Paul and John

that the churches met
in houses, house churches.

And after John they started,
here in Ephesus

they also started meeting
in caves, in cave churches,

and this is a perfect example
with this fresco of Paul.

This is really well preserved right here.


Probably the
best one of the preserved ones.

So this is really an interesting cave.

We see some of the
inscriptions on the walls

over here on the side.

A little bit of a grotto

or some kind of a thing right here.

Paul tells US

that he taught publicly in house to house.

We know that he spent
three months in the synagogue

and then he moved to the hall of tyrannus

and he taught for two years.

It's a very interesting tradition

related to Paul's time
at the hall of tyrannus.

Daily life in a city like Ephesus

began at sunrise and ended at noon.

So Paul would have been working
at the commercial agora

as a leather worker,
tent maker, in the mornings

then in the afternoons

he would move into the hall of tyrannus

to engage with visitors to this city,

the residents about the
gospel of Jesus Christ.

And it was during this period of time

that he reached so many people
in the province of Asia.

Yeah I think a lot of times

we envision Paul lecturing for two years

behind a pulpit kind of thing,
but actually the Bible tells US

that he engaged in discussion;
Questions and answers

and really a discipling approach,

and probably engaged
a lot of his coworkers.

Apollos and Priscilla and Aquila
were involved in the training

of those that were part of the school.

Another dimension
of Paul's time during this time

of course is a concern about
what's going on in Corinth.

He's beginning now to hear

about the problems developing in the church

and hearing the body life
of the church in Ephesus

as they're dealing with spiritual gifts

and other issues

he's getting a background that
he's later going to be writing

in his first letter to the corinthians

addressing these issues.

He had Corinth on his mind.

What's exciting
to me about this gate, Andy,

is it was standing here
in the first century

during the time of the apostle Paul.

It was dedicated to the emperor
Augustus by two of his freedmen.

We can see their names
mazaeus and mithradates,

and on a regular basis
while Paul was in the city

he would go through this gate

on his way to the commercial agora.

Let's go on in.

Yeah that kind of reminds me

of the story of when Paul
was with Priscilla and Aquila

and they had a leather
business trade in Corinth.

And then when they came here together

it's most likely that they
set up the same leather trade

right here in the commercial agora.

And Paul spent most of the time
when he was in ministry

actually doing leather trade.

So it's quite a location,

this fantastic commercial agora.

It's also the area

where one of the most famous
incidents in acts 19 take place;

related to Demetrius and the silversmiths.

And why was Demetrius so upset with Paul?

Well when Paul first came here

there were just a handful
of Jewish believers,

but after three years in ministry

there was large numbers of Jews
and non-Jews coming to the lord.

And there was a real movement
that was really affecting

the religious environment of Ephesus.

And Demetrius says this:

"And you see and hear how this fellow Paul

"has convinced and led astray

"large numbers of people here in Ephesus

and in practically the
whole province of Asia."

So it was outrage.

It was not so much

just having to do with the
religious affront to Artemis,

but it was affecting their pocketbooks;

unable to sell souvenirs to
all these religious pilgrims

who were in the city.

Demetrius and the silversmiths
must have started the riot

getting involved others around them

and they would've gone out this exit here

as they made their way then to the theatre

where the disturbance continued.

Now we're heading up

to the great Roman theatre of Ephesus

that held 25,000 people.

Demetrius and the silversmiths

initiated this disturbance;

others out in the streets joined them here

and there's sort of a
mob mentality prevailed

and most of the people

joined this group going into the theatre

not even knowing what they were doing.

Total confusion.

They just rushed right in here.

Wow this is incredible.

Can you imagine the confusion,

the pandemonium that was going on here

when this crowd assembled in the theatre,

25,000 people shouting great
is Artemis of the ephesians?

Two of Paul's companions in here.

The shouting continued.

Some of the Jews in the city

tried to put their leader to speak.

He was shouted down.

Absolutely chaos.

Yes it was.

And what was Paul doing during this time?

Well Paul wanted to appear before the crowd

in his defense,

but the disciples didn't let him.

Even from the officials of
the province, friends of Paul,

sent him a message

begging him not to come into the theatre.

What's so interesting about this of course

is the sound goes out to the harbor.

Nobody in the upper city
could even hear it.

So finally word gets through
these crowded streets.

The town clerk he makes his way down here

trying to bring this crowd under control.

And of course the thing
he threatens them with

is that they are rioting against Roman law.

And he says, "we're going to be
in big trouble with the romans

if we don't bring this riot to a close."

And of course he does that

and settles it and the
illegal assembly is over.

Yes and because of this big scene

of this Artemis riot

it seems like this motivated Paul

even though he was planning
to leave soon anyway

to go ahead and depart out
of Ephesus and onto Macedonia.

Wow what a view.

Yeah it is fantastic.

Yeah it is.

Mark 250 miles straight across from here

is the city of Corinth.

And Paul spent a lot of his time
when he was in Ephesus

with preoccupation with a lot of the things

that was going on in the corinthian church

some of the problems they were having,

that kind of thing,

writing to them actually visiting them.

Well it was a very complicated situation.

As you know with the corinthians
this is unmentioned in acts 19,

but we see that some of the church

wrote him a letter about the problems,

representatives from the church
came who discussed with him

some of the problems,

and then in this context
while he's in Ephesus

Paul writes the first letter
to the corinthians.

And he continued the relationship.

Even in the 1 corinthian letter

he said, "I'm going to come and visit you."

And he did.

After the Artemis riot

he takes off and he spends
three months with them.

So Paul continued to have a heart

for the development and the
growth of the church in Corinth.

We're traveling through the very waters

to which Paul passed on
the end of his third journey.

He's traveling with eight companions

including Timothy and Luke.

And he's decided to bypass Ephesus.

He's in a hurry to reach Jerusalem

trying to get there
before the day of pentecost.

They stopped at the island
of samos which is behind US

and the next day they make
their way down to miletus.

Somewhere along here he decides,

I cannot leave the province of Asia

without seeing the ephesian
elders one more time.

Yeah in acts 20

when Paul is talking to
the elders he gives them...

Up to this point,

most of the opposition
towards Paul's ministry

has been outside of the church.

And now he forgets and prophesies

that there will be false teachers

that will arise among them.

And I would like to read
Paul's own words in acts 20.

He writes, "guard
yourselves and all the flock

"of which your holy spirit
has made you overseers

"you Shepherds the church of god

"which he bought with his own blood.

"I know that after I leave

"savage wolves will come in among you

"and will not spare the flock.

"Even from your own men will
arise and distort the truth

"in order to draw away the
disciples after themselves.

"So be on your guard.

"Remember that for three years

"I never stopped warning each of
you night and day with tears."

And then this comes true

when Paul was released
from prison out of Rome

and he returns back to Ephesus with Timothy

and he leaves Timothy in Ephesus
to deal with a false teaching

that now has arisen
within the city of Ephesus.

That's a very important change

in Paul's relationship with
the ephesian church isn't it?

Very true.

Very true.

Mark we got on a boat
early this morning in Ephesus

and probably four hours

we've been traveling across the aegean sea

and we come to the island of Patmos.

How far actually is the island
of Patmos from Ephesus?

We're about 75 miles southwest of Ephesus.

Today Patmos is a Greek island.

In the first century it was part
of the Roman province of Asia.

It's a small island, about 13 square miles

shaped like a kidney bean.

Many people ask this question

and I know I often think about it:

What was it like on the island of Patmos

when John lived here?

We really don't know much.

Patmos is mentioned hardly
at all on literary sources;

probably very similar
to the way it looks today,

a bare desolate rocky island.

We know there was a Roman Garrison

up in the acropolis area,
small population of Greeks

who live here on the island at this time,

but it was pretty much
isolated forsaken place then.

So John lived
in exile in an isolated location

and this is where he received
the book of revelation.

Hey Mark, this is a great place

for US to sit and have a chat.

Sounds good.

The second half of the first century ad

the early church faced
three significant challenges.

First after the fire on Rome ad 64

nero was looking for a scapegoat
to pin the blame for the fire on

and the christians were
a very convenient target.

And the first major
persecution of the church

now occurs in the city of Rome.

And according to tradition
both Peter and Paul

are martyred at this time.

And shortly after in judea

the Jewish revolt takes place in ad 66.

And pretty soon Rome of course

is sending troops led
by the general vespasian

to try and put down this rebellion

that's going on among the Jewish people.

And then suddenly in the Roman empire

after nero commits suicide

we have four individuals
who serve as emperor

during the year ad 69 called
the year of four emperors

with vespasian emerging now as
the emperor of the Roman empire.


And that sets the setting

for Jesus' warning to the
disciples on the mount of olives

his last week of his
ministry where he says,

"when you see the romans surround Jerusalem

flee the land."

I think this is the motivation

that John took some of his community,

some of the believers,

and actually left Jerusalem
and went to Ephesus.

And there settled in Ephesus

and he had a 40 year ministry in Ephesus

where he wrote first
and second and third John

and the gospel of John.

And of course here he came to Patmos

and here wrote the book of revelation.

Here we are Andy
at the church of the apocalypse

and according to early Christian tradition

one of the most important events
took place in a cave

around which this church is built:

John received his
revelation of Jesus Christ.

What does the book of revelation

tell US about the
circumstances of this event?

Yeah revelation 1:9

John gives US a very distinct statement

of why he is on the island of Patmos.

It reads, "I John your brother
and companion

"in the suffering and kingdom
and patient endurance

"that are ours in Jesus

"was on the island of Patmos
because of the word of god

and the testimony of Jesus."

So here's John really expressing his heart

of identifying with the suffering

of the christians in Ephesus

and in the seven churches
of the book of revelation.

Does the book
of revelation tell US anything

about the occasion when John
received the apocalypse?

Yeah there's a specific passage,

revelation 1:10,

where John gives a very clear description

of how he received the book of revelation.

It says, "on the lord's day
I was in the spirit

"and I heard behind me a
loud voice like a trumpet,

"which said write on a scroll what you see

"and send it to the seven churches:

"To Ephesus, smyrna,
Pergamum, thyatira, sardis,

Philadelphia, and Laodicea."

There's all kinds of interpretations

on what it meant to be in the
lord's day and in the spirit.

What are your thoughts on that?

Well, this is the first of four occasions,

we're told John was in the spirit

when he received the
revelation of Jesus Christ.

Look at the surroundings

where we're at in the first century.

A very bleak desolate situation
for him living in a cave

and suddenly now the lord takes him up

to show him these incredible visions

of what's going on in heaven.

So this was a total disconnect

from what his life was here on the island

to what was going on
in the heavenly places.

That is quite a lord's day.

We're going down the meander valley,

beautiful valley here.

We're going to Laodicea
and one of the things

that I think we over see a lot
of times in the book of acts

it describes the results of
Paul's ministry in Ephesus

is that all the Roman province
of Asia heard the gospel,

all Jews and gentiles.

And the Roman province of Asia

was about the third of the
area of modern day Turkey.

And at that time most likely
the seven churches

in the book of revelation was planted.

I was just wondering what
are your thoughts on that?

Well there's certainly

more than seven churches
in Asia in the first century,

but Ephesus, smyrna, and Pergamum

were the three most important cities

so naturally they had churches.

Sardis, Philadelphia, and
Laodicea were secondary cities.

We see the route of the order

of these churches following geographically

a road that would have made a circle around

that would end in Laodicea.

As you know Andy the number seven

is a very important symbolic
number in revelation

and kind of links back to the menorah,

the candlestick with its seven bowls,

and we see Jesus walking
among the candlesticks

there in revelation chapter one.

Yeah it's twenty years ago I remember

when we were at Laodicea
there was just nothing there.

So I'm really excited and
I'm sure you are as well

to just see the new discoveries,
the new archeological work

that was done in Laodicea.


Let's just enjoy
the beautiful meander valley.

Laodicea became a very wealthy city

in the first century due to
strategic geographical position.

Also its textile production
contributed to its wealth

as well as the banking
enterprises that went on here.

In ad 60 when the major
earthquake devastated the city

Rome offered to help rebuild,
but the laodiceans said,

"we're wealthy enough we
can rebuild it ourselves.

Yeah and I think the pride of riches

also entered the mindset of the church

because Jesus rebukes
the church of Laodicea

in John's revelation where he says,

"you say I am rich.

"I have acquired wealth
and do not need a thing,

"but you don't realize
that you are wretched.

"I counsel you to buy from me
gold refined in fires

so you can become truly rich."

And he certainly seemed to have adopted

this attitude of self-sufficiency

that was in the general citizenry at large.

Mark one of the most familiar verses

in the letter to the laodiceans is this:

"I know your deeds that you
are neither cold nor hot.

"I wish you were either one or the other.

So because you are lukewarm
neither hot nor cold

I'm about to spit you out of my mouth."

And over the years we have heard

a number of different
interpretations of this imagery.

What is your understanding of this passage?

It seems to refer to the water situation

of the city of Laodicea
which is behind US here.

We're standing looking at the water system

that actually brought cold spring water

from an underground spring
about three miles to the south.

You can see it's a double channel of stone

that brought water to a
water tower again behind US

that distributed throughout the city.

So much of the year
this water would've been

very cold water going into the city.

Also behind US you can
see the white travertines

from the city of hierapolis
which sat above them.

And this is a great spa center.

Even in antiquity people went there

to get treatment for various ailments

and benefitted from the
hot mineral spring water

that was there.

And then just to our east
is the city of colossae.

Above that city sat mount cadmus,

a very high mountain

that most of the year it had snow on it.

And so when that snow melted
that fed into the lycus river

that flowed into the meander

so these images, the geography of this city

lends very much to helping US

to interpret this passage
of hot or cold and lukewarm.

And clearly lukewarm is
a negative image there

the way Jesus uses it.

We just left Laodicea

through the ephesian gate
on our way to Ephesus.

Yeah right outside the ephesian gate

it this very well preserved Roman bridge

and Paul would have passed along this way

on his way to Ephesus on his third journey.

The messenger

that brought the book of
revelation to Laodicea

also would have taken
this same road to Ephesus

which is about a hundred miles ahead of US.

Well here we are Andy

Saint John's basilica.

Let's go see it.

Now this was byzantine and Turkish Ephesus.

And this is the acropolis.

This is actually a defensive wall

that was built around
Saint John's basilica.

Many people confuse Saint John's basilica

with this wall,

but it's actually behind
the wall as we enter up.

What's interesting to me

is all those recycled stone

that comes from various
buildings in Ephesus.

I see freezes, column fragments,

even some inscriptions here
built into the wall

that they've brought in
something called spolia.

Well we're looking here Andy

at the incredible ruins here
of Saint John's basilica.

We can see over here from
some of the temple remains

as we walk around over here.

As you know Andy scholars date the writing

of the book of revelation

either early around 69 before
the destruction of Jerusalem

or late around 95 before the death of John.

Regardless of which date we hold to

we know that John came back to Ephesus

after his exile on the island of Patmos.

Yeah and when
he came back he re-established

and built up the church in Ephesus

and also in the Roman province of Asia.

And he became known as the apostle of love.

In 1 John he writes, "dear
friends let US love one another

"for love comes from god.

"Everyone who loves has been
born of god and knows god.

Whoever does not love does not
know god because god is love."

Well let's go visit the grave

of this beloved disciple.

Mark many people in our groups asks US

if this is the exact place where
the apostle John was buried.

Well I think he was buried here.

The early christians in Ephesus

preserved the memory for centuries

that John was buried in this necropolis

or cemetery of the city.

Then in the early fourth century

they built this very simple
four posted ciborium

that we're looking at here

that is covered by a dome or canopy.

Then in the fifth century

we have a church built over the tomb,

but that was destroyed by an earthquake.

And then in the sixth century
the emperor justinian

builds this magnificent
basilica over the tomb.

So we can say this is the exact spot.

I think so.

The temple of Artemis

used to be the great drawing place

of pilgrims from all over the world,

but it was destroyed in ad 262.

So when this was built and the tomb of John

this became the pilgrimage sight

for christians from all over the world.

Yes it did.

We've had a wonderful visit to Ephesus Andy

and I was wondering what
do you think the legacy

of the first century church here
is for christians today?

Some of the most important

early Christian leaders lived
and ministered here in Ephesus.

We know Paul did, apollos,
Priscilla and Aquila, Timothy

and also some of the
most significant letters

of the new testament were
written to or from here.

Paul wrote 1 corinthians.

We have an ephesian letter,
first and second Timothy.

And also John wrote the history
letters and the gospel of John.

And then of course the message
in the book of revelation

was written to here.

By the way I was wondering

in there it says that the
lamp stand could be removed.

What's your thought about that?

Well I think the translation there

would be better if it said
the lamp stand would be moved

because many visitors
come here in your groups too

and look at the spiritual situation here

and think nothing happened
after the first century,

but we have a very rich history in Ephesus

following that period.

We have Ignatius passing
through the province of Asia

in the second century

writing a letter to the
church here around 110.

And through this period of
the first several centuries

there was a lot of
persecution that took place

generally in the Roman empire.

But after the legalization of christianity

in the fourth century

we have third ecumenical council
taking place here in Ephesus.

And of course the growth of the church

is going along with many
important developments

in the history of the city here.

The harbor began to be increasingly silted

and not utilized, plagues happened here,

earthquakes periodically
bring great destruction

and so we see the church though
continuing through this period.

So even with all of these obstacles

the church continued to grow
and develop and as Jesus said,

"the gates of Hades will
not overcome the church."

And so the theme I think
is great to finish on

here in Ephesus is one of victory,

that we are to be overcomers in our faith

and certainly that's the legacy
that we see here in Ephesus.

For me it's really
been great to be back in Turkey

with you again after over two decades

and to re-explore Ephesus.

A lot of changes have taken place here,

but we've made some
wonderful fresh discoveries

that we missed the first time around.

Mark I've really enjoyed

exploring Ephesus with you.