Archive for October, 2012
In 2003 I went to the ancient remains of Philippi in Macedonia with my wife. Travelling over from Thassos to Macedonia by ferry we landed at Neapolis (Acts 16: 11) now modern day Kavala and from there we made our way to ancient Philippi, to the Biblical sites such as the market place, as mentioned in Acts 16: 19 and the so-called prison, as mentioned in Acts 16: 24-31 and then onto the river which was just outside Philippi, where Paul baptized Lydia, as mentioned in Acts 16: 13-15.
The whole exprience astounded me and I could not but be amazed that I was actually standing in the places where the events I had read about for so many years actually took place. Places where our Sovereign Lord ordained these events to occur.
The fascination which had birthed within me when I first saw the great Arena in Ephesus on a documentary when I was a child, but I had a slight fear of flying which my wife overcame and so my ambition grew from desire to reality. The ambition within me grew and moved me so strongly that I followed our first journey to Macedonia with many more visits to sites connected with Acts of the Apostles. My wife and I would follow this journey in an adventure over the Mediterranean around Greece, and travels not only to Macedonia, Kavala and Philippi but to Turkey and Ephesus to the locations for the events of Acts 19, and the ancient city to whom Paul wrote the letter of Ephesians. Ephesus is also one of the seven Churches of Revelation.
We also travelled some time later onto Malta to the sites where the events of Acts 27: 39 may have taken place. We journeyed on foot to the sites where the events of Acts 28: 1-10 most likely took place. From then we journed also to Cyprus, and Kition in Larnaka, and then to Paphos and the events of Acts 13: 4-13.
After this glorious time my wife and I had with the Lord and His word, I became passionately drawn to the ancient reality of the original New Testament and its 1st century setting. I began to see how far Christianity had moved away from the authentic gospel and into tradition and doubted very much that Paul would be happy with modern Christianity?
If you have never visited such ancient Biblical sites, then I would highly recomend it. Being amongst the ancient locations gives the believer and critic such a more dynamic understanding of the Biblical narrative and when you are there and reading the text, its like being within the pages.
“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.”
Autobiography. Page 92-93.
“It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist. … In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind.”
Letter to John Fordyce, 7 May 1879
These tombs have a wide variety of historical facts connected to them, and although all of them are of interest, one point of this history stands out to me, that point being the fact that early Christians met in these tombs in ancient times.
At the Tombs of the Kings, early Christians from around the 1st – 4th centuries AD met for worship in singlar tombs around this location and also for protection from the persecution lashed out upon them by the Romans.
It is likely that the early Christians met in one tomb at a time.
Acts 11:19-20 tells us that after Stephen was martyred some Christians travelled to Cyprus and preached to Jews only. In Greco-Roman times Paphos was the island’s capital and it is likely that these Christians travelled there. However, it was not until Paul, Barnabus and Mark visited Paphos, Cyprus as written in Acts 13: 4-13 that the gospel was given to the Gentiles of which Paul, then Saul converted the Roman official.
Some believe that the Roman authorities were angry at Pauls conversion of the Proconsul Sergius Paulus and thus persecuted Christians at Paphos. Thus, it is for this reason that they went just outside the city walls and met in the ancient caves and tombs.
Evidence for this is found in the discoveries of crosses and Frescoes found in the burial chambers, which is regarded as proof that early Christians used these tombs during tribulations prior to the 4th century AD. Persecution of Christians was abolished by Roman Emperor Constantine who made Christianity the religion of Rome in 313 AD.
This short documentary which I made on the matter offers a more visual presentation of this subject of ‘The Tombs of the Kings and early Christians’.