apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT
       COLOSSAE, ANATOLIA
                                     68 AD

COLOSSIANS 1:1-2; 2:1; 4:13-16 ~ Greetings from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle
because that is what God wanted….To the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that live in
Colossae…. And I am trying to help the people in Laodicea and other people who have never seen me….
I know that he has worked hard for you and the people in
Laodicea and in Hierapolis. ….Say hello to the
brothers and sisters in
Laodicea….After this letter is read to you, be sure that it is also read to the church
in
Laodicea. And you read the letter that I wrote to Laodicea.

Colossae is only an unexcavated mound today, but it did exist.  It is near today's Kona or Honaz.  
Historian Pliny said that
Colossae was known for its dark red wool .  Historian Strabo also mentions the
city.  A nearby city mentioned by the Apostle Paul was
Laodicea. Only recently have excavations begun in
ancient
Laodicea,  though its ancient amphitheatre has always been observable.  It is near today's city of
Eski Hissar, Turkey.  Earthquakes nearly destroyed both cities shortly before Paul wrote his letter to them.  
Also nearby in this apparent tri-city area was
Hierapolis which has been well excavated.  These tri-cities
were located in the county of Phrygia within the province of Asia.  All three cities dominated the beautiful
Lycus River valley at the foot of the Phrygian Mountains and all three were noted for their fine wool;
Hierapolis was also known for its healing hot springs which are still enjoyed today.  


COLOSSIANS 1:9-13, 26-28; 2:2-3~ With your knowledge you will also have great wisdom and
understanding in spiritual things;  ....do all kinds of good things and grow in the knowledge of God;  that
God will strengthen you. ...I want them to have the full confidence that comes from
understanding.  I
mean I want them to know fully the
secret truth [mystery] that God has made known. That truth is Christ
himself. In Christ all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge are safely kept….This teaching is the
secret truth [mystery] that was hidden since the beginning of time. This truth was hidden from all
people. But now that
secret truth [mystery] is made known to God’s holy people. God decided to let his
people
know that rich and glorious truth. That great truth is for all people. That truth is Christ himself,
who is in you. He is our only hope for glory. So we continue to tell people about Christ. We use all
wisdom
to counsel every person and teach every person.

As in most places of Anatolia (today's Turkey), the most ancient and dominant deity of Colossae  was
Cybele, Mother of the earth ~ people, trees, rocks ~ everything.  Anatolia, which bordered Syria, had been
over run by the Assyrians and later the Persians, both of whom brought with them their eastern religions.  
In the east, they believed that the holiest existence would be unity with the
spirit of the universe ~
Nirvana or Brahman.
 In Anatolia, they believed the holiest existence would be unit with the spirit of the
earth ~ Cybele.
 But only the holiest person could begin to understand the mysteries necessary to
reach unity with deity.  Paul used this oft-used
"mystery" term to show that the greatest mystery ~
salvation in heaven ~ had finally been made available to everyone who wanted it.  It was no longer a
mystery.  Jesus had even called himself the Way, the Truth, the Life.


COLOSSIANS 1:15-19, 22-24; 2:10; 3:1 ~ No person can see God. But Jesus is exactly like God. Jesus
is
ruler over all the things that have been made. Through his power all things were made—things in
heaven and on earth, things seen and not seen, all
{spiritual} powers, authorities, lords, and rulers. All
things were
made through Christ and for Christ. ...Christ is the head of the body. (The body is the
church.) Everything comes from him. And….he is the
Lord who was raised from death. So in all things
Jesus is most
important.  God was pleased for all of himself to live in Christ. And through Christ, God was
happy to bring all things
back to himself again—things on earth and things in heaven. God made peace
by using Christ’s blood (death) on the cross. But now Christ has made you
God’s friends again. Christ did
this by his death while he was in his body. Christ did this so that he could bring you before God. He brings
you before God as people who are
holy,  with no wrong in you, and with nothing that God can judge you
guilty of. … .
All of God lives in Christ fully (even in Christ’s life on earth). And in Christ you are full.
You need nothing else. Christ is
ruler over all rulers and powers….You were raised from death with
Christ.

The Eastern religions and the religion of Cybele taught that man had to become holy and perfect in order
to
ascend to their god which was the essence of the universe or the essence of the physical earth.  
Christianity taught that
God descended to humans in the form of a man in order to help humans
become friends with God ~ not be absorbed and lose their personhood.  

Eastern religions taught that a person had to be reincarnated hundreds of time until he was able to reach
perfection.   Pythagorus, a Greek philosopher, also believed in reincarnation until perfect, and he had
many followers.  Because Jesus lived that
perfect life for us ~ something impossible for us to do ~ and
then paid the penalty for mankind's sins while in his body, the died in that human body so he could come
back to life, he is now able to make
holy with no wrong in them simply by faith not trying to be perfect
themselves, which is impossible for humans to be.


COLOSSIANS 2:4,8 ~ I tell you these things so that no person can fool you by telling you ideas
[philosophies]
that seem good, but are false….Be sure that no person leads you away with false ideas
[philosophies]
and words that mean nothing. Those ideas come from people, not Christ. Those ideas are
the worthless
ideas of people in the world.

Famous early skeptics, Antiochus and Theiodas, were from Laodicea, twin city to Colossae.  
Skepticism simply means that it is impossible to know anything for sure.  Judgment is always suspended in
investigations, claiming that there is
no such thing as absolute truth.  Pyrrho (who d. 270 BC) traveled to
the East and learned from Buddhists.  Buddhism teaches there is
no absolute truth. Sextus Empiricus
was the first to write about Pyrrho, having done so in the 2nd century BC.  Pyrrhonism as a school of
skepticism was founded by Aenesidemus in the first century BC.   


COLOSSIANS 2:16, 20-23 ~ So don’t let any person make rules for you about eating and drinking or
about customs (festivals, New Moon celebrations, or Sabbath days)…. I mean, why do you follow
rules
like these: “
Don’t eat this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t touch that thing”? These rules are talking about
earthly things that are gone after they are used. These
rules are only commands and teachings from
people, {not God}. These
rules seem to be wise. But these rules are only part of a man-made religion
that makes people
pretend to be humble and makes them punish their bodies. But these rules don’t
help
people to stop doing the evil things their sinful selves want to do.  

There were tens of thousands of Jews who settled in Colossae, Laodicea and Heirapolis.  Among the Jews
there was the sect of Pharisees who believed in the Law of Moses and
counted and weighed minutely
the percentage of their possessions to sacrifice to God, pay their taxes, walk the alloted percent of a
kilometer on the Sabbath Day, etc.  Another sect of the Jews was the Essenes who did not believe in the
Law of Moses with its
600+ laws, but had their own set of rules.  Josephus and Philo explain that there
were large numbers of them in every city.  They took an oath of
celibacy, refused to eat meat, etc.  Their
initiates studied the
rules and cleansed themselves for three years in order to be accepted as a full
Essene.  They also promised to preserve the books of the Essenes and the names of the
angels.

Pythagorians were a popular Grecian sect.  Pythagorians who reached the inner circle owned no
possessions
and refused to eat meat, largely because they believed in reincarnation of souls into
humans, animals, etc.  True Pythagoreans who had the knowledge and understanding of the Mysteries,
observed a
rule of silence called echemythia, the breaking of which was punishable by death.


COLOSSIANS 2:18 ~ Some people enjoy acting like they are humble and love to worship angels. Those
people always talk about the
visions they have seen. Don’t let those people say, “You don’t do these
things, so you are wrong.” Those people are full of foolish
pride because they think only the thoughts of
people, {not the thoughts of God}.

The Hittite Empire controlled Anatolia (today's Turkey) for 350 yeas.  Their religion was a combination of
Babylonian and Egyptian.  Angel worship was common.

ANGEL GODDESS INANA (Babylonian) - Moon goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Priestesses
in her temple were prostitutes.
ANGEL GOD NINURTA (Assyrian) - A healer god and farmer god.  He was a dragon slayer,also a slayer
of bird monsters, a scorpion man, and a 7-headed serpent
KIRUBU SERAPHS (Babylonian) - Guardian angels, sometimes placed at the entrance to palaces and
temples.  Guided humans through life and eventually to death.

Hierapolis near Colossae was famous for its temple to Apollo.  The pythea who were mediums between
Apollo and commoners sometimes daily experienced
"visions" to find out what Apollo predicted or
declared.  People from everywhere came to receive an oracle from Apollo through the medium's
visions.
PROOFS THE BIBLE IS TRUE & UNCHANGED
ARCHAEOLOGY

NEW TESTAMENT

inspired WRITINGS OF JESUS' APOSTLES
           apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT
              ROME, italy
                                     62 AD

ROMANS 1:1-7 ~ Greetings from Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus. God called me to be an apostle [&
prophet]  I was chosen to tell God’s Good News to all people. God promised long ago to give this Good
News to his people. God used his prophets to promise this. That promise is written in the Holy Scriptures.
....And I do this work for Christ. And you people in
Rome were also called to belong to Jesus Christ. This
letter is to all of you in
Rome that God has called to be his holy people. You are people that God loves.

The patron goddess of the city of Rome and eventually the Roman empire was Roma.  Romans were
anxious to please everyone's god and had a pantheon of over 500 (see the section before this on ACTS
OF JESUS' APOSTLES).  However, they insisted that Roma be worshiped.  Each of the Caesars
beginning with Julius either allowed or insisted on temples to be built in their honor and to be considered
gods to be worshipped.  


ROMANS 13:1-3 ~ All of you must obey the government rulers. Every person who rules was given the
power to
rule by God. And all the people that rule now were given that power by God. So the person that
is against the
government is really against something God has commanded. People that are against the
government cause themselves to be punished. People that do right don’t have to fear the rulers. But
those people that do wrong must fear the
rulers. Do you want to be free from fearing the rulers? Then
you should do right. If you do right, then the
rulers will praise you.

The Apostle/Prophet Paul wrote to the church at Rome about 62 AD.  Nero was Caesar (54 – 68 AD).  He
became the emperor of the Roman Empire at age 17 after his mother allegedly poisoned the food of
Claudius Caesar (so stated by Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, and numerous other Roman historians). He
began as a good ruler, giving alms, arresting corrupt magistrates, reducing the taxes of the poor, etc.   
But power often corrupts.  As time went by, he murdered his threatening older brother, and his
domineering mother.

In 62 AD, the year Paul wrote to the church in Rome, Nero murdered his wife (calling it suicide).  He also
executed numerous people believed to be in a plot against him.  According to Suetonius,
Nero "showed
neither discrimination nor moderation in putting to death whomsoever he pleased" during this period..
(
The Lives of the Twelve Caesars:  Nero).  

Nero had great building projects.  Two years after writing this letter, much of Rome burned.  Roman
historians Suetonius and Cassius Dio wrote that Nero did this so he could build grand structures in the
burned-out areas, but blamed the Christians.  Although he paid for rescue efforts of victims and built new
homes, he used much of the burned-out area to build a palace complex with lush gardens.  A few years
later, Nero built the famous Colosseum where many Christians were killed.  But persecution of Christians
became rampant in 64 AD, so was apparently tolerated decades before the Colosseum was built.

Roman historian Tacitus wrote this about Nero and the Christians who refused to fight and retaliate:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on
a class hated for their abominations, called Christians [or Chrestians] by the populace.

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at
the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus….

But even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre
and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their
information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred
against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they
were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to
serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
 (Tacitus Annals XIV 15)
Goddess ROMA at the Temple of
Venus and Roma in ROME.
NERO Caesar
Coin of NERO with
his Mother
Bust of NERO at the museum
Capitolini in Rome
           apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT
           corinth, greece
                                     57 AD

I CORINTHIANS 1:1-2; II CORINTHIANS 1:1 ~ Greetings from Paul. I was called (chosen) to be an
apostle [& prophet] of Christ Jesus. I was called because that is what God wanted....To the church of God
in
Corinth, to those people that have been made holy in Christ Jesus. You were called to be God’s holy
people. You were called with all the people everywhere that trust in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—
their Lord and ours....Paul, an apostle [& prophet] of Christ Jesus by the will of God...to the church of God
in
Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia [southern Greece].

Corinth was a seaport and "navy town".  Historically, during the day it swarmed with peddlers, foreign
traders, sailors, soldiers, athletes in training, idlers and parasites of every kind.  It was known as a wild
city at night, full of brawls, lewd songs and drunken revelry.

Corinth was the major seaport city of southern Greece with three harbors.  A little later a ship CANAL was
built here to allow ships a shortcut from the Aegean Sea to the other side of Greece on the Adriatic Sea.  
It was second in importance only to Athens.  Home of one of the Seven Wisemen of Greece.


I CORINTHIANS 8:1, 4-7, 10-13 ~ Now {I will write} about meat that is sacrificed to idols....We know
that an
idol is really nothing in the world. And we know that there is only one God. It’s really not
important if there are things called
gods, in heaven or on earth. (And there are many {things that people
call}
“gods”
and “lords.”) But for us there is only one God. He is our Father. All things came from him and we live for
him. And there is only one Lord. He is Jesus Christ. All things were made through Jesus, and we also
have life through him. But not all people know this. Some people have [formerly] had the habit of
worshiping
idols until now [having converted to Christianity]. So now when those people eat meat, they still
feel like it belongs to an
idol. They are not sure that it is right to eat this meat. So when they eat it, they
feel guilty....

You understand that it’s all right to eat anything, so you can eat in an
idol’s temple.  But a person who has
doubts might see you eating there, and this might encourage them to eat
meat sacrificed to idols too.
But they really think it is wrong. So this weak brother or sister is ruined because of your better
understanding. And Christ died for this person.  So if the food I eat makes another believer fall into sin,
then I will never eat meat again. I will stop eating meat, so that I will not make my brother or sister sin.

The main god of Corinth was Poseidon who provided calm seas.  Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a safe
voyage, sometimes drowning horses as a sacrifice.

The Isthmean Olympic Games were first organized by the founder of Corinth and its first king in honor of
Poseidon.  Participants were naked.  Married women were not allowed to attend.  Sacrifices to Poseidon
were made either at sea or as part of the Olympic Games.  
Poseidon was also associated with
Dionysus, the god if wine and vegetation, parties and pleasure.  Rams were sacrificed to Dionysus
(Virg. Georg. ii. 380, 395; Ov. Fast. i. 357.)   

Aphrodite was claimed to be the wife of Dionysus.  "Among the honors paid her [Aphrodite] by the
Hermionians is this custom: maidens, and widows about to remarry, all
sacrifice to her before
wedding
."  (Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 34. 11)

"Kypris [Aphrodite], the goddess of desire, had done her sweet work in their hearts [and mated the
visiting Argonauts with the widowed women ]. . . . The whole city was alive with dance and banquet. The
scent of
burnt-offerings filled the air; and of all the immortals, it was ... Kypris [Aphrodite] herself whom
their songs and
sacrifices were designed to please."  (Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 850 ff (trans.
Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.)

"Apollonios [pagan prophet C1st A.D.] asked: ‘Do you sacrifice to Aphrodite, my boy?’ And Timasion
answered: ‘yes, by Zeus,
every day; for I consider that this goddess has great influence in human and
divine affairs.’"
 (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6. 3 (trans. Conybeare) (Greek biography C1st
to 2nd A.D.)
The canal at CORINTH, GREECE.
joining the Aegean Sea to the
Adriatic Sea
Temple to POSEIDON overlooking
the seaport of CORINTH. GREECE
DIONYSUS with Pan and wife
APHRODITE
Temple to APHRODITE ruins
in CORINTH, GREECE
        apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCHES AT
       GALATIA, ANATOLIA
                                    47 AD

GALATIANS 1:1-2; 3:1 ~ Greetings from Paul, an apostle. I was chosen to be an apostle, but not by any
group of people. My authority did not come from other people. No! It was Jesus Christ and God the
Father who made me an apostle....To the churches (groups of believers) in
Galatia....You people in
Galatia were told very clearly about the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Galatia was a large province in central Anatolia (today's Turkey) extending at one time from the Black
Sea on the north to the Mediterranean Sea on the south.  It was made up of a mixture of natives of the
area and celtic Gauls who invaded the area from the north three centuries before this letter was written.  It
was usually ruled by the aristocratic warriors with the native farmers in their control.  

It's
capital city was always Ancyra, called Ankara today.  Another important city was Pessinos (Balhisor
today).  The cities of Iconium, Lystra and Derbe were visited by Paul as noted in our previous section on
ACTS OF JESUS' APOSTLES.  Ancyra was famous for its
temple to Augustus Caesar and Roma.  At
the time this inspired letter was written to the Christians in Galatia, its capital city had about 200,000
people.


GALATIANS 1:8 ~ We told you the true Good News message. So if anyone tells you a different message,
they should be condemned—even if it’s one of us or even an
angel from heaven!

The city of Tavium/Tavia in the province of Galatia had a great temple to Jupiter.  The city of Lystra that
the Apostle Paul had preached in earlier also had a temple to Jupiter/Zeus.  (See ACTS OF JESUS'
APOSTLES.)  Sachiel was the ruling
angel of Jupiter, the planet named after the king of gods, Jupiter,
whose name means "covering of God."  Zachariel  was the
angel governor of the planet Jupiter.


GALATIANS 4:8-10 ~ In the past you did not know God. You were slaves to gods that were not real. But
now you know the true God. Really, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to those weak and
useless rules you followed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again? It worries me that
you follow teachings about special days, months, seasons, and years. I fear that my work for you has
been wasted.

The traditional goddess of this area tracing back many centuries was Cybele, the mother goddess of
the mountains who eventually became known as the mother of all the earth, the essence of the earth.  
Under the Roman Empire the most important festival of Cybele was the Hilaria, taking place between
March 15 and March 28. It symbolically commemorated the death of Cybele's consort, Attis, and his
resurrection by Cybele, involving days of mourning followed by rejoicing.


GALATIANS 5:2-3,12; 6:13-14 ~ Listen! I am Paul. I tell you that if you {go back to law} by being
circumcised,then Christ is no good for you. Again, I warn every man: If you allow yourselves to be
circumcised, then you must follow all the law {of Moses}....I wish those people who are bothering you
would
add castration {to their circumcision}....They want you to be circumcised. Then they can boast
about what they forced you to do.....It is not important if a person is
circumcised or not circumcised.
The important thing is being the new people God has made.

According to myth, Cybele's consort felt rejected by her, so castrated himself, then died.  Therefore,
priests of Cybele castrated themselves, then wore women's clothes and gave themselves women's
names.   They were called Galli.  Although Paul was speaking of circumcision required in the Old Law of
Moses, he went on to speak of castration required by priests of the local goddess at the time of his writing
~ the Galli of Cybele.   The people of Galatia knew he was referring to many idol priests of their time.
Temple of Augustus and Roma at
Ankara, Anatolia, with Augustus
Caesar's feats in relief on its wall
Head of JUPITER, Archaeological
Museum of Milan
Mother GODDESS, Cybele, dated c.
50 AD, in Getty Villa collection
Relief of Cybele & Attis
(before he CASTRATED himself) at
Archaeological Museum of Venice
          apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT
          ephesus, ANATOLIA
                                      68 AD

EPHESIANS 1:1 ~ Greetings from Paul, an apostle* of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle because that is what
God wanted. To God’s holy people living in
Ephesus, believers in Christ Jesus.

The remains of the city of Ephesus is are near today's Selcuk, Turkey.   At the time the Apostle Paul
wrote the church here, it was an important seaport on the west coast of Anatolia in the Roman province of
Asia Minor.  Today, the city is three miles from the water.  When it was part of the Grecian Empire, it was
one of the twelve cities in the Ionian League.  When
Ephesus was part of the Roman Empire, it was the
second largest city in the empire, and actually in the world, with a population of one fourth of a million early
in the 1st century AD, and half a million by the end of the 1st century AD.  

The city was named after
Ephesos, a Lydian Amazon, the woman warrior; she was said to have been the
first to honor Artemis and to have surnamed the goddess
Ephesia.  The Roman writer Virgil wrote of
Amazons. (Paus. ii. 7. § 4, viii. 12. § 1; Hesych. and Suid. s. v. essên.)
 Ephesos, the Amazon, was also
associated with worship to
Cybele, Mother Earth.  She was the great virgin mother of all living creatures in
the world, as was
Artemis.


EPHESIANS 1:3; 2:6; 3:10 ~ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has
given us every spiritual blessing in
heaven....And God raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him
in the
heavenly places. God did this for us who are in Christ Jesus....God’s purpose was that all the rulers
and powers in the
heavenly places will now know the many different ways God shows his wisdom.

Worship and beliefs in Ephesus was strongly influenced by Far Eastern religions which believed that the
holiest person could get in touch with the essence of the universe (god) and even
become a part of the
essence of the universe.
 At this time, Hinduism and Buddhism both existed and both believed in
uniting with the essence of the universe ~ Brahman or Nirvana.  It meant a complete loss of identity.   
That
to them was heaven
.   In the case of Artemis worship, the holiest person merged with the essence of
Artemis,
Mother Earth, rather than the universe.

Alexander the Great was born on the night the first temple to Artemis was burned.  Therefore, he felt a
kinship with Artemis.  When he went to Indian, Persia and other places in the East, it was not his intention
to bring Greek culture and beliefs to them, but to re-learn the beliefs that originated in the East.  
Therefore, when we read of Alexander's last years, we read of his basically becoming eastern in dress and
custom.


EPHESIANS 1:9; 3:3-6, 9-12 ~ God, with full wisdom and understanding, let us know his secret plan. This
was what God wanted. And he planned to do it through Christ....God let me know his
secret plan. He
showed it to me. I have already written a little about this. And if you read these things I wrote, then you can
see that I truly understand the
secret truth about the Christ. People who lived in other times were not told
that
secret truth. But now, through the Spirit, God has shown that secret truth to his holy apostles and
prophets. This is that
secret truth: that the non-Jews will get the things God has for his people, the same
as the Jews. The non-Jews are together with the Jews in the same body. And they share together in the
promise that God made in Christ Jesus....And God gave me the work of
telling all people about the plan
for God’s
secret truth. That secret truth has been hidden in God since the beginning of time. God is the
One who created everything. God’s purpose was that all the rulers and powers in the
heavenly places will
now know the many different ways God shows his wisdom. They will know this because of [through] the
church. This agrees with the plan God had since the beginning of time. God did what he planned. He did
it through Christ Jesus our Lord. In Christ we can come before God with freedom and without fear.
We can
do this through faith in Christ.

Artemis and Cybele (Cybele was the older version of Artemis), the great virgin mother of every animal and
person in the world, was associated with the
secrets, also called the Mysteries.  These secrets/
Mysteries
involved knowing great spiritual truths.  They also involved uniting with the god or goddess
one was worshipping ~ becoming united with it and thinking as the god or goddess thought.  This
knowledge was only made known to the initiates who had to go through various
secret ceremonies.  The
average person was not allowed to know what the
secrets/Mysteries were, nor were they capable of
knowing.  See more about this in the section on ACTS OF THE APOSTLES under "Ephesus".

Artemis' consort, Attis, was said to die in the fall and resurrect in the spring.  Every year his festival began
with lamentation and ended in celebration.  It included
ecstasy;   ecstasis in Greek means literally
"standing outside (oneself)."   Participants believed they were  
transported out of their body.  
Cybele/Artemis/Attis worshipers also became "ecstatic" by dancing and whipping themselves into a frenzy
where they felt elated or
carried away.  At such times, they believed their spirits were united with the
spirit of Artemis/Cybele who was the embodiment of all things on earth.

Heraclitus, Plato and Pythagoras, Alexander the Great, and Aristotle received instruction in the secrets/
Mysteries
at Ephesus.  Alexander the Great believed his soul entered into an intimate union with the very
Being of the
Mysteries since he was born the very night the first temple to Artemis was burned down.


EPHESIANS 2:2; 4:27; 5:8, 11-12; 6:11-12 ~ 2Yes, in the past you lived doing those sins. You lived the
way the world lives. You followed the
ruler of the evil powers over the earth. That same spirit is now
working in those people who refuse to obey God....Don’t give the
devil a way to defeat you....In the past
you were {full of}
darkness (sin), but now you are {full of} light (goodness) in the Lord....Don’t do the
things that people in
darkness do. Doing those things brings nothing good. But {do the good things to}
show that those things in
darkness are wrong. It is really very shameful to even talk about the things those
people in
darkness do in secret....Wear the full armor (protection) of God. Wear God’s armor so that you
can fight against the
devil’s evil tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against
the
rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the
spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.

Artemis had a dark side, revealing the female warrior part of her character ~ the Amazon.  She was
vindictive and there were many who suffered from her anger. One of her mythical actions was to join
Apollo in killing the children on Niobe. Victims of Artemis included Orion and Actaeon, and Meleage.  She
was sometimes called the goddess in three forms ~ goddess of the moon at
night, goddess of deeds of
darkness, and goddess of the underworld.


EPHESIANS 4:3-6 ~ You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue
together in this way. Let peace hold you together. There  is
one body and one Spirit. And God called
you to have
one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.  There is one God and Father of
everything. He rules everything. He is everywhere and in everything.

See above where Eastern worshipers desired to become one with the essence of the universe.  
Artemis worshipers desired to become
one with her, Mother Earth who, in turn, was one with the
earth.
The Aggora of EPHESUS
leading from the city to the
amphitheater, then to the sea
At the Boston Museum of fine arts is
the Acteon vase.
ARTEMIS is preparing to KILL Acteon.
Dated 470 BC
Artemis with WINGS on the
Francois vase, 4th century BC,
Archaeological Museum, Florence
Undeciphered disc
found in Crete in the Anatolian
(ancient Turkish) language.  
The MYSTERIES were just that ~
MYSTERIES to the common person,
and this may be one of them.
Artemis, Mother of all living things,
ESSENCE of everything on earth,
also called Mother Earth.
              apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT
            PHILIPPI, GREECE
                                      68 AD

PHILIPPIANS 1:1; 4:15 ~ Greetings from Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ. To all of God’s holy
people in Christ Jesus that live in
Philippi. And to all your elders and special helpers….You people in
Philippi remember when I first told the Good News there. When I left Macedonia….  

Philippi was near today's Filippoi and was at the northern end of the Aegean Sea and 9 miles inland  high
in the mountains.   It was on the border of Greece and today’s Bulgaria, Romania & Albania, then
occupied by the Thracians.  Josephus called them the Thir-Asians.  This area had been invaded at some
time by the Norse, so many of the people here were red-headed and blonde.  The city of
Philippi was
built by Grecian King Philip II to protect gold mines there, and also to keep the European barbarians out of
Greece.  It was, therefore, settled by a great many warriors and their families.  "Civilized" Grecians and
Romans considered people at
Philippi to be rough and illiterate.


PHILIPPIANS 2:25;  3:12-14, 21;  4:7, 13 ~ He works and serves with me in the army of Christ….I don’t
mean that I am already exactly like God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that
goal. But I continue
trying to reach that
goal and to make it mine.. ..Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached
that
goal. But there is one thing I always do: I forget the things that are past. I try as hard as I can to
reach the
goal that is before me. I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize. That prize is mine
because God called me through Christ to the life above….With that power Christ is able to
rule all
things….And God’s
peace will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. That peace which God gives is
so great that we cannot understand it….I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me
strength.  

Paul knew that referring to spiritual war in his letter was something the people in Philippi would easily
understand.  Thracian
warriors and their families from today's Bulgaria, Romania and Albania dominated
Philippi and were even available as mercinaries to other countries..  One Roman historian described them
as follows:  
"First of all the Thracians, like beasts of prey long held behind bars, charged so vigorously
with a great shout upon the Roman right wing, the Italian cavalry, that this people, courageous by nature
and through experience in war, was thrown into confusion..."
[Livy, XLII, 59].  When they returned home
after battle they displayed  the severed heads of their enemies and sang and chanted loudly.  


PHILIPPIANS 3:20 ~ But our homeland [citizenship] is in heaven. We are waiting for our Savior to come
from heaven. Our Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ.  

There was a great cultural mix in Philippi which sometimes resulted in identity confusion.  Herodotus
described them as follows:  
"The Thracians joined the expedition wearing fox caps, wearing long coats
under their vivid
colored capes. Their calf-high footwear was made of deerskin. They were equipped with
spears, light shields and small daggers."  
Once settled back home, they continued to dress similar to the
way they did in battle.  On the other hand, the Grecians and Romans in the city wore
togas.  

The Grecians were famous for their
philosophers, the Romans for their democratic form of government,
and the Thracians for
war.  Whereas the Greek and Roman citizens of Philippi were famous for science
and astrology, the Tracians were famous for ornate crafts.  Whereas the Grecians were famous for
developments in medicine and the Romans for developments of connecting roads throughout the empire,
the Thracians were famous for their success in farming in this mountainous region.  Their
languages were
different, their
dress was different, and their interests were different.  So speaking of citizenship where
all became one would be something that was catch the attention of the Philippians who Paul wrote.  


PHILIPPIANS 4:15-19 ~ You people in Philippi remember when I first told the Good News there. When I
left Macedonia,
you were the only church that gave me help. Several times you sent me things I needed
when I was in Thessalonica. Really, it is not that I want to get
gifts from you. But I want you to have the
good that comes {from
giving}. I have all the things I need. I have even more than I need. I have all I need
because Epaphroditus brought your
gift to me. Your gift is like a sweet-smelling sacrifice ….My God is
very
rich with the glory of Christ Jesus. God will use his riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you
need.
 

Philippi was originally built to protect the
gold mines in the mountains surrounding the city.  The
Thracians were famous for their
gold-covered crafts.  Although their culture and lifestyles were usually
based on warfare, they were also very talented artisans. They produced extremely well-crafted jewelry and
utensils, very advanced weaponry and elaborately designed pottery and sculptures, indicating a society
with people who were well off.   
Ruins of PHILIPPI
Forum and Acropolis
Thracian warriors of PHILIPPI
Cultural differences in PHILIPPI
GOLD craft found in Thracian
excavations
Unexcavated COLOSSAE mound
Laodicea                      Hierapolis
Status of CYBELE found in the
county of Phrygia.  She wears a
veil of MYSTERY covering her body
Borobodur temple has reliefs
depicting the many reincarnations of
Buddha as he tried to be PERFECT
and reach nirvanah (unity with the
essence of the universe)
Sextus Empiricus who first wrote
of the Pyrrho philosophy of
skepticism ~ NO ABSOLUTE TRUTH.
PYTHAGORIAS
On display at the
Capitoline Museum, Rome
Guardian Kirubu SERAPH
Statue of APOLLO
ANGEL Inana          ANGEL Ninurta
           apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT
       THESSALONICA, GREECE
                                     55 AD

I THESSALONIANS 1:1, 7-8; II THESSALONIANS 1:1 ~ Greetings from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. To the
church (group of believers) that lives in
Thessalonica….You became an example to all the believers in
Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s teaching spread from you in Macedonia and Achaia.  And also your
faith in God has become known everywhere.

Thessalonica is today the second largest city in Greece, and is also called Salonica.  The city began as a
small village of Therma, but was built up and renamed after Thessalonika, half-sister of Alexander the
Great and daughter of King Philip II.  Eventually it became capital of all the Greek provinces in the Roman
Empire.  It is on the Thermaic Gulf in the north part of the Aegean Sea.  Rome declared it a free city or
what we could call a city-state.  When Paul wrote to the church at
Thessalonica, it was in the northern
Grecian province of
Macedonia; Paul wrote to them while in the southern Grecian province of Achaia in
Athens.  Much of Thessalonica has not been excavated because the modern city sits on top of the ancient
city.


I THESSALONIANS 1:9 - People everywhere tell about the good way you accepted us when we were there
with you. Those people tell about how you stopped worshiping
idols and changed to serve the living and
true God.

Some of the gods of Thessalonica that Paul seems to have been teaching against were maritime and
death deities (but believed to do more than is listed here):
1.        Castor & Pollux –
Guardian gods of sailors who prayed to them for favorable winds
2.        Hermes – Protector of travelers (incl. sailors), escorted people to the
underworld
3.        Serapis/Osiris – king of the deep, gatekeeper to underworld, protector of sailors, resurrector


I THESSALONIANS 4:13-17 ~ Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those people who have
died. We don’t want you to be sad like other people—people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus
died. But we believe that Jesus rose again. So, because of Jesus, God will raise to be with Jesus those
people who have
died. What we tell you now is the Lord’s own message. We who are living now might still
be
living when the Lord comes again. We who are living at that time will be with the Lord, but not before
those people who have already
died. The Lord himself will come down from heaven. There will be a loud
command. That command will be given with the voice of the
archangel and with the trumpet call of God.
And the people who have
died and were in Christ will rise first. After that, we people who are still alive at
that time will be gathered up with those people who have
died. We will be taken up in the clouds and meet
the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever.

The god Serapis had been known as Osiris to the Eyptians, but was Grecianized at the instigation of
Ptolemy to encourage the Egyptians and Greeks in his kingdom to get along.  The statue selected by
Ptolemy to represent Serapis looked much like Pluto and Hades of the
underworld.  Among other things
he was judge of the dead, king of the deep, and the
resurrection.  


I THESSALONIANS 5:4-8 ~ But you, brothers and sisters, are not living in darkness (sin). And so that day
will not surprise you like a thief. You are all people who belong to the
light (goodness). You belong to the
day. We don’t belong to the night or to darkness (evil). So we should not be like other people. We should
not be sleeping. We should be awake and have self-control. People who sleep, sleep at
night   People
who get drunk, get drunk at night. But we belong to the
day (goodness), so we should control ourselves.
We should wear faith and love to protect us. And the hope of salvation should be our helmet.

The twin sons of Zeus, Castor and Pollus, were guardian gods at sea and on land.  They also represented
the
living and the dying.  The myth is that their father Zeus allowed Pollux to give half his immortality
to his mortal brother, Castor.  Thus, one day one twin would be on Olympus and the next day in Hades.  
They are represented in the
night sky as Gemini.  Among stories about them is their rapes.

Among other things, Hermes (another son of Zeus) was the "watcher of the night" and "protector of
thieves".  His temples and shrines are often associated with Aphrodite and Dionysus with associated
orgies.


II THESSALONIANS 2:4 ~ That Man of Evil is against anything called God or anything that people
worship. And that
Man of Evil puts himself above anything called God or anything that people worship.
And that
Man of Evil even goes into God’s temple and sits there. Then he says that he is God.

Nero was caesar at the time Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica.  Nero claimed that he was of a
mirculous and
divine birth.  He also built the Colossus of Sol (the sun god) with his own facial features.

Before him was Claudius Caesar for whom a temple was built in his honor.  Before him was Gaius Caesar
"Caligula" who ordered several
temples and statues to be built dedicated to himself.

In 42 BC, the Roman senate
deified Julius Caesar.  The cult of Divus Iulius (the Divine Julius & his
successors) became official and spread all over the Roman empire.  Altars and temples of Divus Iulius
were built in all Roman provinces.  Loyal citizens of the Empire were expected to make a periodic offering
of incense to the spirit of the emperor, and upon doing so they received a certificate that they had
demonstrated their loyalty by sacrificing. Christians, of course, refused to worship the Emperor,
considering the cult to be idolatry. The sacrifice was used as a law enforcement tool to ferret them out.  
The
temple to Caesar in Rome is also a temple to a comet declared to be the spirit of Julius Caesar.  
Only the foundation of the temple exists today, but it is depicted on many ancient coins and in the relief
seen here (on display at the Forum of Julius Caesar in Rome) of the Roman emperor addressing the
senate in front of the
Temple of Divus Julius.


II THESSALONIANS 2:7-10 ~ The secret power of evil is already working in the world now. But there is
one who is stopping that
secret power of evil. And he will continue to stop it until he is removed (taken
out of the way). ….The
Man of Evil will come by the power of Satan (the devil). He will have great power,
and he will do many different
false miracles, signs, and wonders.  The Man of Evil will use every kind of
evil to trick those people who are lost. Those people are lost because they refused to love the truth.

HERMES was associated divination, magic, witchcraft, and initiation and contact with the visible and
invisible worlds.   He was often associated with Toth, the Egyptian god of
magic.  Writings attributed to
Hermes Trismegistus, known as
Hermetica, provided guidance in practical magic, potions, alchemy and
astrology.  The Apostle Paul knew these things and addressed them in order to give the Christians
courage.
The agora (market place) at
THESSALONICA
SERAPIS, judge of the dead,
resurrector
Gemini twins of the night sky
CASTOR &
POLLUX
at Hermitage,
St.
Petersburg
HERMES holding
DIONYSUS
Archaeological
Museum, Olympia,
Greece
SERAPIS,  at
Staatliches
Museum
Ägyptischer Kunst,
Munich
TEMPLE to Claudius CAESAR
Colchester, Britain, built about the
time Paul wrote Thessalonians
Relief of emperor in front of
TEMPLE to the DIVINE
JULIUS CAESAR
HERMES the healer, on display at
the Musei Vaticani, Rome
         apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCHES IN
     PROVINCES OF ANATOLIA
                                     64 AD

I PETER 1:1-2; II PETER 1:1; 3:1 ~ Greetings from Peter, an apostle* of Jesus Christ.  To God’s chosen
people who are away from their homes—people scattered all over the areas of
Pontus, Galatia,
Cappadocia, Asia
, and Bithynia....- Greetings from Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ….
My friends, this is the second letter I have written to you. I wrote both letters to you to help your honest
minds.

PONTUS - Roman province in purple on map.  Pontus is Greek for Sea, referring to the Black Sea on the
north coast of this province.  It was first mentioned in  Xenophon's Anabasis.  The kingdom of Pontus was
founded by the Persians, taken over by the Greeks and finally taken over by the Roman Empire.  the
capital city was always Amasya.  Today, you can still see the tombs of the ancient kings carved into the
mountains behind the city.

GALATIA - Roman province in Green on map.  Galatia's capital was Ancyra, which is the same as today's
Ankara which is the capital of Turkey.  It was named after the Gauls who came down from Europe and took
over the land.  (Some of the Gauls split off before they arrived in Anatolia and went to today's France,
called Gaul at that time.)  Augustus Caesar conquered Galatia for Rome in  25 BC, and built a marble
temple to himself and the goddess Roma in Ancyra.   See pictures of Galatia above with the letter written
only to the church in Galatia.

CAPPADOCIA - Roman province in Brown on map.  Ancient historian Herodotus said Cappadocia
covered most of the Taurus Mountains from the Mediterranean Sea in the south to the Black Sea in the
north.  It is mentions by both Darius and Xerxes of Persia and included most of the ancient Hittite Empire.  
Hattusa was the capital city.  It was an independent kingdom until Tiberius Caesar conquered it and made
it a Roman province.  Göreme was settled during the Roman period and it was then that the conical
houses were carved out of stone.   

ASIA - Roman province in Yellow on map.  See writings to Ephesians and Colossians above, both of
which were in the province of Asia.

BITHYNIA - Roman province in purple on map.  Although Pontus and Bithynia were together for
administrative purposes, Bithynia was at the west end of the province and Pontus at the east end.  Nicea
and Nicodemia were the most important cities, and founded by Alexander the Great.   It was settled mostly
by Thracians, a country just north of Macedonia between Greece and today's Turkey.   During the time it
was under Persian and Grecian control, it maintained much independence, even having its own king.  
When the Romans finally took over, the senate allowed the king to remain.   

I PETER 3:9; 14--18; 4:1:12-16; 5:9 ~ Don’t do wrong to a person to pay him back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t
something bad to a person to pay him back for saying something bad to you. But {ask God to}
bless that person….14But
you may
suffer for doing right. If that happens, then you are blessed (happy). “Don’t be afraid of those people {that make
you
suffer}; don’t be worried.”* 15But you should keep the  Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer every
person who asks you to explain about the hope you have. 16But answer those people in a
gentle way with respect. Always
be able to feel that you are doing right. When you do that, the people who say bad things about you will be made
ashamed….17It is better to
suffer for doing good than for doing wrong. Yes, it is better if that is what God wants. 18Christ
himself
died for you. And that one death paid for your sins. He was not guilty, but he died for people who are guilty. He did
this to bring you all to God. His
body was killed, but he was made alive in the spirit….

1Christ
suffered while he was in his body. So you should strengthen yourselves with the same kind of thinking Christ had.
The person who has
suffered in his body is finished with sin….12My friends, don’t be surprised at the painful things that you
are now
suffering. Those things are testing your faith. Don’t think that something strange is happening to you. 13But you
should be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s
sufferings. You will be happy and full of joy when Christ shows his glory.
14When people say bad things to you because you follow Christ, then you are
blessed (happy). You are blessed because
the Spirit of glory is with you. That is the Spirit of God…
.suffer because you are a Christian, then don’t be ashamed. You
should praise (thank) God for that name (Christian)….Stand strong in your faith. You know that your brothers and sisters
all
over the world
are having the same sufferings that you have.

The suffering predicted by the Apostle Peter did grow.  

67 AD UNDER NERO CAESAR:  "Nero even refined upon
cruelty, and contrived all manner of punishments for the
Christians that the most infernal imagination could design.  In particular, he had some sewed up in skins of wild beasts,
and then worried by dogs until they expired; and other dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, filed to axletrees, and set on
fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them."  

81 AD UNDER DOMITIAN AND 108 UNDER TRAJAN & ADRIAN:  Christians were blamed for all natural disaster or refused
to worship Caesar or any local idols.  Some were beaten to death, others fed to wild animals, crucified, boiled in oil, burned
at the stake, but they never retaliated, never cursed, rather preferring to accept quietly and bless.  "A pagan, beholding them,
was struck with such admiration and exclaimed, "Great is the God of the Christians!" for which he suffered a similar fate."

162 AD UNDER MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONIUS:  "The
cruelties used in this persecution were such that many of the
spectators shuddered with horror at the sight, and were astonished at the patience of the
sufferers.  Some of the martyrs
were pass with their already wounded feet over thorns, ails, sharp shells, etc. upon their points; others were scourged until
their sinews and veins lay bare, and after suffering the most
excrutiating tortures that could be devised, they were
destroyed by the most terrible
deaths....

"....a young man but a true Christian, being delivered to the wild beasts on account of is faith, behaved with such
astonishing courage that several pagans became converts to a faith which inspired such fortitude."  Others were pressed
to
death with weight, some had their brains dashed out with clubs, or thrown from cliffs, or beheaded.

Persecution spread to France.  A young lady and three others were "taken to the amphitheater, suspended on a piece of
wood fixed in the ground, and exposed as food for the wild beasts.  Her earnest prayers encouraged others and none of the
wild beasts would touch her....again accompanied by a youth of 15...exposed to all manner of
punishments and tortures.  
Being strengthened by her, he persevered unto
death and she, at length, was slain with the sword."

192 AD UNDER SEVERUS:  Persecution extended to Africa.  Some were put on display at an amphitheater and gored to
death by bulls, others tied to horses and dragged to death.
 EVERY CENTURY SINCE THEN, CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN
PERSECUTED, BUT NEVER RETALIATED; INSTEAD, THEY DID WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS; THEY FORGAVE THOSE
WHO WERE TORTURING THEM TO DEATH.
 Gradually, pagan temples closed down and more and more people became
Christians.

(Quotes are from Fox's Book of Martyrs written in England during time many were being burned at the
stake.)
Mountain Tombs of ancient kings of
PONTUS
Conical homes in CAPPADOCIA
mountains
Statue of Jupiter found
in Nicomedia,
BYTHYNIA displayed in
the archaeological
Museum, Istanbul
          apostolic LETTER TO THE CHURCHES IN         
 PROVINCE OF ASIA, anatolia
                                     64 AD

REVELATION 1:9 ~ I am John, and I am your brother {in Christ}. We are together in Jesus, and we share
these things: suffering, the kingdom, and patient endurance. I was on the
island of Patmos because I
was faithful to God’s message and to the truth of Jesus.

Patmos is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea near ancient Ephesus of today's Turkey.  In ancient times,
people living on Patmos were called Dorians.  In the third century BC, an acropolis was built there along
with fortified towers and wall.  It is 13 square miles (34 sq. km).  


REVELATION 1:4, 10-11 ~ From John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace
(kindness) and peace to you from the One (God) who is, who {always} was, and who is coming…On the
Lord’s day the Spirit  took control of me. I heard a loud voice behind me. It sounded like a trumpet. The
voice said, “Write in a book all these things you see, and send it to the seven churches: to
Ephesus,
Smyrna,  Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia
, and Laodicea.

See location of these cities and Island of Patmos on map.


REVELATION 2:1-3 ~ “Write this to the angel of the church in Ephesus: “The One who holds the seven
stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands is saying these things {to you}. I
know what you do. You work hard, and you never quit. I know that you don’t accept evil people. You have
tested those people who say that they are apostles but are really not. You found that they are liars. You
continue to try without quitting. You endured {troubles} for my name. And you have not become tired of
doing this.

Ephesus had one of the seven wonders of the world at the time this was written.  The great white marble
temple to Artemis was there, of such great size that it could tower over any other temple in the world.  
Those who made their living by making statues, serving as priests and priestesses, etc. troubled the
church constantly with
false accusations or even infiltration.  Despite everything they tried to do to
eradicate Christianity, all that is left of the great temple to Artemis are a few stones and a single column
that was created in modern times from scraps of columns laying around the ground.


REVELATION 2:8-10 ~  “Write this to the angel of the church in Smyrna: “The One who is the First and
the Last is saying these things {to you}. He is the One who
died and came to life again. I know your
troubles, and I know that you are poor. But really you are rich!  Don’t be afraid of the things that will
happen to you. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in
prison. He will do this to test you. You will suffer
for ten days [awhile]. But be faithful,
even if you have to die. If you continue faithful, then I will give you
the crown of
life.

There were two great temples in Smyrna ~ one to Zeus, the other to Cybele after whom the nearby
mountain was named.  Recent excavations have uncovered statues of the gods Hermes, Dionysos, Eros
and Heracles.  Today, Smyrna is called Izmar.

Polycarp, a student of the Apostle John, was
burned at the stake here.  Continually asked to recant by
the Romans, he finally said,
"Four-score years and six I have served the Lord, and He never
wronged me; how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?".
 (A full account of his martyrdom is
given by an eye witness in the book
Apostolic Fathers.)

Also during this time in Smyrna, Ignatius wrote his Christian friends not to try to deliver him:  
"Now I begin
to be a disciple.  I care for nothing or invisible things so that I may but win Christ.  Let
fire and the cross,
let the companies of wild
beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the
whole body, and all the malice of the devil come upon me.  Be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus."


REVELATION 2:12-14 ~ “Write this to the angel of the church in Pergamum: “The One who has the
sharp
two-edged sword [of the Word of love] is saying these things {to you}. I know where you live.  You
live where
Satan (the devil) has his throne. But you are true to me. You did not refuse to tell about your
faith in me even during the time of Antipas.  Antipas was my faithful witness [Christian] who was
killed in
your city. Your city is where Satan lives.

Pergamum had temples to Athena, Zeus, Hera, Demeter, and Asclepius; and in AD 98 a temple was
dedicated to the
Emperor Trajan.  Trajan actively led persecution of the Christians who refused to pay
tribute to him or acknowledge him as a god.  His persecution got so bad that Pliny wrote him about the
thousands of
Christians being put to death daily, although they never broke any Roman laws:  "Their
crime amounted only to this ~ that they were accustomed on a stated day to meet before daylight and to
repeat together a prayer to Christ as God, and to bind themselves by an obligation not indeed to commit
wickedness."  
Often, Christians were tortured to death in public amphitheaters for the entertainment of
the people.


REVELATION 2:18, 20, 24 ~ “Write this to the angel of the church in Thyatira: “The Son of God is saying
these things. He is the One who has eyes that blaze like fire and
feet like shining brass.

Thyatira is today's Akhisar, the new city having been built on the ancient one.  Remains of the old city are
exposed periodically when city lots are vacated.  One of the first-century coins minted in
Thyatira was to
Hercules who had a son named Tyranus/Tyrrhenus.  Some believe he was the patron god of the city at
one time and had
feet of flaming brass.

This is what he says {to you….. She says that she is a prophetess. But she is leading my people away
with her teaching.... leads my people to do sexual sins and to eat food that is offered to
idols…. But you
other people in
Thyatira have not followed her teaching. You have not learned the things that they call
Satan’s (the devil’s)
deep secrets (mysteries).

Both Apollo and Dionysus were served by women called pythia who were supposed to go into trances
and discover the
mysteries of the god and of people's futures.  Apollo pythias were to do this nine
months of the year, and Dionysus the other three months.  Although they sometimes required human
sacrifices in previous centuries, they now required animal sacrifices.  Whenever more sacrifices were
made than the priests and priestesses could eat, they sold the rest of the meat in the market place.  It was
against the consciences of Christians in this city to eat such meat.


REVELATION 3: 1 , 4-5~ “Write this to the angel of the church in Sardis: “The One who has the seven
spirits and the seven stars is saying these things {to you}…. But you have a few people {in your group}
there in
Sardis who have kept themselves clean. Those people will walk with me. They will wear white
clothes, because they are worthy. Every person that wins the victory will be dressed in
white clothes like
these people.

Sardis was first mentioned in Homer's Iliad.   As with so many cities in western Anatolia/Turkey,
earthquakes hit periodically.  
Sardis was destroyed in AD 17, but, as always, was rebuilt.  However, by
the 19th century, it had been completely deserted.  Therefore, since no city was built on top of it,
excavations have been much easier than the other six churches of Asia.

A temple to Artemis was unearthed in ancient Sardis.  Often in this area, Artemis was interchangeable with
Mother Earth Cybele.  Both were considered
virgin mothers.  White referred to purity and cleanliness.


REVELATION  3:7, 12 ~  “Write this to the angel of the church in Philadelphia…  The person that wins
the victory will be a
pillar in the temple of my God. I will do that for the person that wins the victory. That
person will never again have to leave God’s
temple.

Although the other cities with the other six churches had been founded at least a thousand years
previously,
Philadelphia was only about 250 years old.  It was called "Little Athens" because of its many
temples.  The city of the area experienced many earthquakes and was nearly demolished by one during
Augustus' Caesar's reign, so he exempted the city from paying taxes while it rebuilt.

Philadelphia had an imperial cult meaning that it had temples and tributes to all Caesars as gods.  
Christians, of course, could not go into his
temple and bow down to his statue.  They would allow
themselves to be beaten or imprisoned or even executed for treason rather than bow down to Caesar or
any other god.


REVELATION 3:14, 18a   ~ “Write this to the angel of the church in Laodicea: “The Amen* is the One
saying these things {to you}. He is the faithful and true witness…. I advise you to
buy gold from me—gold
made pure in fire. Then you can be truly
rich.

Laodicea was famous for its money transactions, being a trade center between Orientals and
Europeans.  Travelers going to and from the orient needed
money exchanged into each other's
currency.
  This is according to historian Cicero.  

The Laodiceans were so
rich that when their city was destroyed by an earthquake during the reign of
Nero in AD 60 some four years before the Apostle John wrote this down, its citizens immediately rebuilt it
with no outside help.  Numerous buildings from ancient Laodicea have been excavated, revealing statues,
temples gymnasium, stadium, two amphitheaters, and other examples of
wealth.  

REVELATION 3:18b ~ I also tell you to buy medicine to put on your eyes. Then you can truly see.

Ancient historian, Strabo, explained that Laodicea had a great medical school.  Denizili is the nearest
town to the numerous ruins of
Laodicea that have been excavated.  It was one of the tri-cities with
Colossae and Hieraopolis.  
Wall Reliefs from Hall of Judgment,
Palace at Khorsabad
Island of PATMOS in Aegean Sea
7 CHURCHES in the province of
ASIA, Anatolia with PATMOS at
bottom left
A single column marks where the
temple to Artemis once dominated
EPHESUS.
Ruins of SMYRNA's agora.  
Christians were imprisoned and
killed here.
Temple to Tragan in PERGAMUM
Amphitheater in PERGAMUM
Minted in THYATIRA:  coins
honoring Hercules,
Apollos and Dionysus
Ruins of ancient THYATIRA appear
throughout modern Akhisar
Temple to Artemis unearthed in
excavations of SARDIS.
An imperial cult to Augustus
Caesar was at Philadelphia
(statue at the Louive, Paris)
Numerous ruins of LAODICEA