Monthly Archives: May 2012

Salamis was the first stop for Barnabas and Saul

Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit from Antioch. Their first stop after leaving the port of Seleucia was Salamis on the eastern coast of Cyprus. Here is Luke’s account.

When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. (Act 13:5 ESV)

It is interesting to note that there are no accounts of conversions at Salamis. The city had a large Jewish population during the Roman period.

Why go to Cyprus? These facts might provide some suggestions.

  • Well, it was east of Antioch, and a first step toward going to the Gentiles.
  • It was also the home of Barnabas (Acts 4:36).
  • After the stoning of Stephen some had traveled to Cyprus preaching to the Jews (Acts 11:19).
  • Some men of Cyprus had come to Antioch preaching to the Hellenists (Greeks) (Acts 11:20).

Salamis is now located in the the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or as the folks in the south say, “the occupied territory.” This photo shows some of the foundation stones of the harbor where Barnabas, Saul, and John Mark landed. Breakwaters extend for some distance into the sea.

Ferrell Jenkins at the ancient port of Salamis.

Ferrell Jenkins at the ancient port of Salamis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We visited the gymnasium. Not to workout. Our workout came from walking over the large site. This gym was build in the time of the Roman Emperor Augustus.

Salamis Roman gymnasium built in the time of Roman Emperor Augustus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Salamis Roman gymnasium built in the time of Roman Emperor Augustus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

When I see one of these gymnasiums or palestras (exercise areas) I am reminded of what Paul wrote to Timothy:

for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV)

A short distance from Salamis is the Church of St. Barnabas. The church is now a museum of icons. Many traditions have grown up in Cyprus about Barnabas.

In the afternoon we returned to Nicosia and made a stop at the Cyprus (Archaeology) Museum. They have a nice collection of artifacts, including some of the statues from Salamis, but photos are not allowed. Museum’s often do not allow photographs in hope of selling more books in the gift shop. Allowing photos provides an opportunity for teachers and others to talk about their visit with others. It actually encourages others to visit the museum. Too bad they don’t agree with me.

This photo is a collection of statues from Cyprus in the Louvre.

Cyprus collection from the fifth century B.C. in the Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Cyprus collection from the fifth century B.C. displayed in the Louvre, Paris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It was a good day.

Saul came to be known as Paul at Paphos, Cyprus

On the first missionary journey, Barnabas, Saul, and John Mark, traveled through Cyprus from Salamis to Paphos on the southwestern coast of Cyprus. The following events involving these men took place there (Acts 13:6-13)

  • They found a Jewish magician, a false prophet, named Bar-Jesus, meaning Elymas. He tried to turn Sergius Paulus away from listening to Saul and Barnabas.
  • Paul resisted the efforts of Elymas to turn aside Sergius Paulus from the faith. Elymas was blinded.
  • Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man who served as proconsul, believed the Word.
  • Saul also came to be known as Paul. This is the name he would use throughout his ministry to the Gentiles.
  • From this time on, Paul became the lead man in the work that was being done.
  • Paul and his companions set sail for Perga in Pamphylia.

Tuesday afternoon and evening, and Wednesday morning, I visited Paphos. The harbor used by Paul and Barnabas is today a harbor used for pleasure boats and fishing boats. Tuesday afternoon the town was filled with tourists. I though a lot about the events we have listed above.

The harbor at Paphos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The harbor at Paphos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The archaeological park is large, but only a small portion of it has been excavated by archaeologists.

The most impressive items at the site are the numerous houses with elaborate mosaics. These houses began to be built in the 2nd century A.D. and continued in use until the 7th century.

Paphos was an important city during the Hellenistic period., and into the Roman period. The few structures dating to the time of Paul (or earlier) include the Asklepion, the odeion, and the Roman agora which still needs to be excavated.

The photo below shows the odeion. The lighthouse of Paphos in the background is of recent origin, but is built upon Roman foundations.

The Odeion at Paphos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Odeion at Paphos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

My friend, Leon, was able to join me by this afternoon. Tonight we are in Nicosia, Cyprus.

1400 year old olive press excavated

The Israel Antiquities Authority announces the discovery of a 1400 year old olive press at Modi’in. According to a brief article in Arutz Sheva,

A statement by the IAA called the press the grandest and most complete one found so far.

Archaeologist Hagit Torgë, who is directing the dig, said the press, which was used to produce industrial quantities of oil for food and light, about 1,400 years ago, “was preserved surprisingly intact with all its components.”

1400 year old olive press at Modi'in. Credit: Hagit Torgë, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Olive press at Modi’in. Credit: Hagit Torgë, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Click on the photo for a hi-res image.

Olives are mentioned in the Bible from Genesis (8:11) to Revelation (18:13), and are still important in many parts of the world.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Group departs for home after two weeks of study in Turkey and Greece

About noon today our group of travelers departed from the Athens International Airport for the USA and their various residences. One couple from Canada left earlier in the day. Others will be traveling to Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon, and perhaps a few other states that do not come to mind at the moment.

Yesterday morning Steve Niemeier, a minister from Indiana, spoke during our worship period. He mentioned some of the things he had learned on this tour. It was not his first time to travel to foreign lands, but his first organized tour to some of the Bible lands. He said that previously the places we visited, such as Ephesus, Colossae, Patmos, Corinth, et al. had been places on a map, but that now they were places in our mind. I thought that was a good way to express the value of tours like this for preachers, teachers, and other Bible students.

I have a few more places to visit before returning home. Perhaps we will be sharing some of those in the days to come.

The photo below is one that I took in at Corinth a couple of days ago. It is the Fountain of Peirene, Corinth’s most important reservoir with a capacity of over 81,000 gallons. The fountain was fed from subterranean springs. The fountain is no longer in use, but you can still hear the water flowing.

Fountain of Peirene at Ancient Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Fountain of Peirene at Ancient Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Paul worked 18 months at Corinth

Paul first visited Corinth during his second preaching journey (A.D. 50-53; Acts 15:36-18:22). After facing opposition of his fellow Jews in Thessalonica and Berea, the brethren at Berea conducted him to the sea and to Athens, the intellectual capital of the Greco-Roman world.

Paul was alone in Athens, but he had sent for Timothy and Silas to come to him immediately from Berea. After what might be considered limited success at Athens, Paul continued to Corinth in the Peloponnesus. Paul stayed at Corinth for 18 months according to Luke’s account in Acts 18.

During that time he was brought before Gallio. The site of this encounter was likely before the bema, the judgement-seat, in the agora. The photo reflects one of the important things we saw today at Corinth. The foundation of the bema is seen in the left of the photo. The Acrocorinth, the high point of the city, is in the distance.

Corinth. The Bema in the Agora. Acrocorinth in distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Bema in the Agora of Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Numerous changes are taking place all over Europe at popular tourist destinations. I first noticed it a few years ago when the bus driver had to park a distance from the center of activity in Salzburg, Austria. Everyone had to walk a considerable distance to reach the place where the walking normally began. Then I saw it in Florence and Rome. Now it is true in Athens and Corinth. Buses are required to drive a long distance out of the way to reach the parking at Corinth.

At the site we now see rope barriers preventing one from walking close to the columns of the Temple of Apollo, or approaching the Fountain of Peirene, or the Bema. I understand that these restricting are imposed by the European Union on their member states.

Visiting anywhere in the world takes longer than it did a few decades ago due to the tremendous increase in traffic.

Paul preached in Athens

Our cruise ship, the Louis Cristal, arrived in Athens early this morning. After breakfast we disembarked and met our local tour operator and guide. Andi has guided my groups several times over the years, and I am pleased to have her with us. She divides her time each year between the USA and Greece.

We drove by the usual historical places in Athens, and stopped at the old Olympic stadium before going to the Acropolis.

Syntagma (Constitution) Square was clean and orderly; not at all the way it has been portrayed on American TV lately. I am not saying that the things shown on TV never happened, but that when the same video clips are shown over and over for many days it leaves the wrong impression.

I had hoped that the scaffolding and cranes used in the restoration of the Parthenon would be gone. Such was not the case. The only place I could get a photo without showing these things was from the back.

The back of the Parthenon in May, 2012. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The back of the Parthenon in May, 2012. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Parthenon, where the virgin goddess Athena was worshiped, was built between 447 and 438 B.C. It is still quite a building.

We also visited the Areopagos (Mar’s Hill), possibly the place where Paul delivered his speech on the Unknown God (Acts 17).

While the group went with the guide looking at some highlights in the Athens National Museum, I made some photos of the nice collection of Roman Emperors.

Below is a photo of the portrait head of the Emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) in Pentelic marble.The museum sign says,

The head is crowned with the corona civica (a wreath of oak leaves and acorns) tied with a ribbon.

The Roman Emperor Claudius in the Athens National Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman Emperor Claudius in the Athens National Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Paul’s visit to Athens and Corinth was during the reign of Claudius. In fact, the emperor is mentioned in Acts 18:2.

And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them,

The great famine mentioned in Acts 11:28 also took place during the reign of Claudius.

We have plans to visit Corinth tomorrow.

Limited Internet Access and Time

While on the Aegean cruise portion of our tour, the Internet access has been sparse. I am writing from an Internet shop in Santorini. We have visited Patmos (where the Apostle John was exiled), Rhodes (where Paul’s ship stopped at least once), and Crete (where Paul stopped on the voyage to Rome).

Santorini is a fascinating place. The little white-washed buildings rest on the rim of a volcano that blew away more than half of it’s top more than 3000 years ago. I had hoped to visit Akrotiri, but we have arrived too late in the afternoon for that.

Tonight we sail for Athens. Perhaps by tomorrow evening I will be able to share some photos with you.

Thanks for checking by.

Paul stopped at Miletus

This morning our group visited Ephesus, the site of the Temple of Aretmis, and the Ephesus Museum. In the book of Revelation, Ephesus is the first of the cities mentioned (Revelation 1:11; 2:1-7), but for our tour it was the seventh. Ephesus was also the location of much work by the Apostle Paul (Acts 19).

In the afternoon we drove south to the ruins of the city of Miletus.  Miletus is mentioned only two places in the New Testament. The first is on Paul’s return from the third journey about A.D. 57 (Acts 20:15, 17). The other time is when Paul tells Timothy, in his last letter, that he had left Trophimus “sick at Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20). This indicates that Paul stopped at Miletus on the voyage to Rome, but no activity is recorded.

From Miletus, on the first visit, Paul sent for the elders of the church at Ephesus. In those days it would be a lengthy journey for a messenger to go from Miletus to Ephesus. The distance by land would have been about 63 miles. If the couriers went across the Gulf of Latmos (Latmus) the distance would be about 38 miles. The map below shows the location of Miletus on the south of the Gulf of Latmos. Over the centuries the harbor, fed by the Meander River (see our masthead), silted up. Today Miletus is landlocked about five miles away from the Aegean Sea.

Think about how long it took the courier to go from Miletus to Ephesus, locate the elders, and for them to make their way to Miletus.

Map showing Miletus and Ephesus. BibleAtlas.org.

Map showing Miletus and Ephesus. Map courtesy BibleAtlas.org.

Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders is recorded in Acts 20:18-38. The photo below shows the ruins of the large Harbor Monument which was built originally in 63 B.C. This monument was at the end of the Lions’ Harbor, one of four harbors at Miletus.

Ruins of the large harbor at Miletus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ruins of the large harbor at Miletus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

At this harbor, or somewhere very near, Paul’s ship docked. After his meeting with the elders from Ephesus, they accompanied him to the ship for his departure to Jerusalem.

When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him,  grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship.  (Acts 20:36-38 NAU)

Tomorrow we begin the Aegean cruise portion of the tour. In the afternoon we will visit Patmos. The next day we will be at Rhodes, and the following day at Crete and Santorini.

It may be difficult or impossible for me to blog during the cruise. Using the Internet on the ship would cost a fortune, and the time at port will be used for excursions.  Please check each day to see if we are able to post info.

More about Hierapolis

After a period of worship this morning we began our touring day in Pamukkale (ancient Hierapolis). From there we continued to Aphrodisias, a Roman city that gives an impression of the reality of life in the period when Christianity was first being spread across the Empire. From there we continued to our hotel on the Aegean Sea.

The photo below was made at Pamukkale, Turkey (ancient Hierapolis). We are standing on the colonnaded Roman road, and the monumental gateway behind us is the Arch of the Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96). It was constructed in A.D. 82-83.

It was during the reign of Domitian, or shortly thereafter, that the book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John.

Arch of Domitian at Pamukkale (ancient Hierapolis). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Arch of Domitian at Pamukkale (ancient Hierapolis). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Hierapolis was the home of Papias (c. A.D. 60 to c. A.D. 130). He was a disciple of the apostle John and a companion of Polycarp. There are some traditions associating Philip (apostle?, evangelist?) with the city.

The city of Hierapolis is one of the three cities of the Lycus River valley named in the New Testament.

For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. (Colossians 4:13).

Tomorrow we hope to visit Ephesus and Miletus.

Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Colossae, and Hierapolis

There were many sites to see today. We left Izmir (Smyrna) in the morning and drove east to the site of ancient Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6). From there we continued to in a southeast direction to Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13). Then we made our way to the Lycus River valley. The first stop was at Colossae (Paul’s epistle to the Colossians). After viewing the ancient mound which still awaits excavation, we went to Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). On the way to the hotel we stopped for a photo of the cliffs at Pamukkale (ancient Hierapolis, Colossians  4:13). The name Pamukkale means  “cotton castle” or “cotton fortress.”

Mellink describes the formation here. He says the city,

… is famous for its continuing geological transformation. Hot mineral springs issue from the rock in the city, and the waters streaming down the cliffs have deposited limestone in large formations, the surface of which is made a gleaming white ‘frozen cascades’ (IDB II:601).

'Pamukkale 'frozen cascades'. Photomerge by Ferrell Jenkins.

‘Pamukkale ‘frozen cascades’. Photomerge by Ferrell Jenkins.

We could see the white hillside clearly from Laodicea about six miles to the south. The photo above was made just below the cliffs. Hierapolis sits on the plateau. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Nothing has changed in the past few years at Sardis, Philadelphia, and Colossae. A tremendous change is taking place at Laodicea. Portions of the city that had remained buried until the past decade are now coming to light. I was surprised at the changes just in the past four years since I was here. Later on we will try to show you some of these new things.

Tomorrow we plan to visit Hierapolis and Aphrodisias before arriving at Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea near Ephesus.

Everyone in our group remains well and seems to be enjoying the visits and the study time together.