Revelation: Historical Ephesus

Revelation 2:1a To the angel of the church in Ephesus write…

Historical Ephesus was the largest city of the seven churches.

This is the city for Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesus was located on the Cayster River. The city was between the Maeander River to the south and the Hermus River to the north. The city was also a great seaport on the Aegean Sea. The geography allowed Ephesus to be a significant commercial destination. It was the most important port in the Aegean.

There was a great theater in the city. It was believed to seat 50,000 people. The Apostle Paul wanted to go and speak to the multitude but his disciples had another idea. Acts 19:31 Also some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater.

Ephesus was home to the fertility goddess Diana or Artemis. The temple of Diana was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The city was the location of the riot in Acts 19. The Apostle Paul was having an economic impact on the literary and idolatry industry. People were turning to Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul spent more time in Ephesus than any other church. Acts 20:17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.

Acts 20:31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

Extrabiblical historical sources indicate Mary the mother of Jesus died in Ephesus. The Apostle John is thought to have died and was buried here as well.

Today in the 21st century, there is nothing left but ruins.

The Revelation Record by Henry M. Morris; Holman Bible Dictionary; Nelson Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts; Tyndale Handbook of Bible Charts & Maps; Key Word Study Bible.

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