Prison Epistles: II



Eternal Plan


1:3           heavenly realms

1:4           before the creation

1:9-11      the mystery of his will...when the times will have reached their fulfillment...the purpose of his will

1:14,18    our inheritance....his glorious inheritance

1:20         heavenly realms...rule and authority, power and dominion

2:1           kingdom of the air

2:6           in the heavenly realms

3:2,4,6     the mystery made known....the mystery of Christ....mystery through the gospel

3:9           mystery which for ages past was kept hidden

3:10         rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms

3:11         his eternal purpose

3:15         his whole family in heaven and on earth

4:10         ascended higher than the heavens in order to fill the whole universe

6:11         the devil's schemes

6:12         Our struggle is...against the rulers...authorities...powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms

6:19         the mystery of the gospel

The seaport, Ephesus, was the capitol of the province of Asia.  Its temple to Artemis eventually became one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  The temple was burned and rebuilt 7 times, each time larger than the last.  Whereas Solomon's temple was 30' X 90', the last temple to Artemis was 164' x 308'.  It had 120 columns set in two rows, each 6' across and 60' high.  However, the second temple is the one Paul saw, built during the reign of Alexander the Great.  Her temple was an empty building except for her statue at one end.  There was also an ampitheatre built in her honor nearby.  Olympic-type games were played there. 


Artemis supposedly fell from heaven into a forest near Ephesus (Acts 19:35).  Her crown looked like a city wall, her chest was full of breasts as the mother of all life, and her legs were wrapped together as a mummy and carved with animals and mystical incantations.  These incantations must have also been printed on scrolls for use in sorcery.  As a result of Paul's teachings, such scrolls were burned publicly, valued at 50,000 pieces of silver (a piece of silver was a day's wages).  


Shrines of her temple - sacred dwelling places - were made and sold to tourists to take home with them or travelers to pack for their trip so they would never be far from worshipping her, the life giver and protector.  These shrines were also placed in graves, possibly to provide a place of worship for the spirits of the departed.  


Artemis was goddess of the forests and wild animals, and life in general, and therefore a general life-giving force in nature.  She was especially dear to women giving birth.  Therefore, she was the goddess of fertility, although she was portrayed as a virgin.  Her priestesses were virgins.  Her high priest was a eunuch, and under him were priests who served for only one year to offer sacrifices - anything of value - in behalf of the city government (never bloody sacrifices) - probably disguised taxes.  Her temple was used as the treasury building of the Ephesians and the province of Asia. 


After three years in Ephesus (Acts 20:31), the old pagan ways could tolerate Paul no longer.  "A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen.  He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said, 'Men, you know we receive a good income from this business.  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.  He says that man-made gods are no gods at all.  There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."  As a result, a riot started and progressed to the ampitheatre where the crowd shouted for two hours "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"  (Acts 19:28-34).  Then ensued the riot and Paul's escaping from the city.


An interesting and fairly reliable speculation is that Mary, Jesus' mother, was living here in Ephesus by now.  This idea comes from the Apostle John's ties with Ephesus over the years, and it was to his care that Jesus had entrusted his mother (John 19:26-27).  Also interesting is the fact that never do any of the New Testament epistles greet Mary or mention anything about her, even though their letters were sent to the entire civilized world at that time and she had to be somewhere among them.


Over the next 35 years, four letters were written to the church in Ephesus by apostles.  This letter of Paul's was the first.  A couple years later after being released from prison, Paul wrote two letters to Timothy was in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3).  And thirty years later, the Apostle John wrote a fourth letter to them as one of the "seven churches of Asia" in the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:4; 2:1).  By this time, the church at Ephesus had deteriorated (not in size or doctrine, but in love) as Paul had predicted would happen in Acts 20:28-30.


1:3       Jesus Christ fell from heaven, as did Artemis, but then he returned to bless us in the ________________________________.


1:4-5    A separate study of "chosen" reveals that being chosen relied on being qualified (Jesus did that for us if we believe he did), and begin in the church, litterally in Greek the "called out" or chosen ones.  This verse strongly infers that the world was created for man.


1:9       The mystery of God was purposed through _______________________________.


1:10     (Also repeated in 3:6)  Here is the theme of the letter.  God put into _______________________, when the ________________________ reached their ___________________________________, bringing all things in ______________________________ and on earth under one head, Christ.  Who do you think is the other who is trying to be our head?  (Hint:  6:5)  ________________________


1:13     Some people say the seal mentioned in Revelation 7:2 is our social insurance number, etc.  What does this verse say the seal is?  ______________________________________________  (The Bible always interprets itself!)


1:20-21  God raised Jesus back to life, then seated him in the ____________________________________ realms, far above all _____________________ and authority, ___________________________ and dominion.


1:22     God made Jesus head over everything for the __________________________ which is his ___________________________.  In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus also called his church the _________________________ of heaven.


2:2       The ruler of the __________________________ of the air is the _________________ at work in the disobedient.  Ephesians 6:5 specifies who this is:  _____________________________________.


2:6       How did God raise us up with Christ (Romans 6:4)?  _______________________________________


            We Christians are right now seated with Christ in the _______________________________________________.


2:10     Although we cannot be saved by a certain number of works, we were _________________________ to do good works which God ________________________________ in advance for us to do.


2:14     By Jesus' blood, he "our peace" made both Jews and Gentiles one and destroyed the _______________________, the dividing wall of ____________________________ by abolishing the Law of Moses.  (Remember, it was Jews from Ephesus and the rest of Asia who caused Paul's arrest in Jerusalem leading to his imprisonment in Rome (Acts 21:27).


2:19     Christians of all nationalities are fellow ______________________ with God's people and members of God's ________________________________.


2:20     The foundation of this church is the __________________________________ and ___________________________________.  What does Revelation 21:10 & 14 say the foundation of the New Jerusalem is?  _________________________________  This would lead us to conclude that the church is the New Jerusalem.


2:21-22  The grand temple to Artemis in Ephesus was nothing compared to the holy _______________________ in the Lord.  We are being built together to become the dwelling, not where Artemis lives, but where __________________________ lives by his Spirit.


3:1       Because of all this, Paul was a voluntary ______________________________________ of Christ, even though he was an involuntary prisoner of Rome.




            God created all things so that now, through the _______________________________ his wisdom could be made known to _______________________________ and __________________________________ in heavenly realms according to his _______________________________ purpose.



            Why would God have to do all this to prove a point?  To find this out, we can trace all the times "mystery" is mentioned in the Bible (see chart in appendix).  The result is that the "mystery" is forgiveness and salvation.  Satan is the accuser (12:10); every time he influences us to sin, he says to God, "See, I told you they are bad."  But what we do, God can undo.  Satan and justice insisted on punishing us, so God sent his son to take our punishment for us.  Satan is justice, but he is not mercy.  God is both.  So when the punishment was settled, he showed mercy to us and said, "Now I'll pretend you never did those things; I'll pretend you're perfect."  Satan, the accusing one.  God, the merciful one.  Apparently none of the angels of God or Satan understand this.  So God is demonstrating it through us.  Perhaps, since God's angels will be casting Satan's angels into hell, they need to know and understand this. 


            The rest of the reasons we're here, we'll have to keep searching the scriptures for.  Perhaps you've figured out another reason.  But isn't it wonderful that we have a God we cannot fully understand?  If we could, he would not be God.


3:13     Apparently the church at Ephesus was discouraged because of Paul's __________________________________ and perhaps felt it was their fault since it was Ephesian-Asian Jews who got him in trouble in Jerusalem, leading ultimately to his imprisonment in Rome (Acts 21:27).


3:14     God's kingdom-family is both in ________________________________ and on ______________________________.


3:18     Christ dwells in us so we may grasp how ________________________ and ________________ and ___________________ and ________________________ his love is.


3:20     God can do _________________________________________________ more than all we ask or ______________________.


4:1       Again, Paul says he's a prisoner, but of whom?  _______________________


4:4-6    List below the things there is only one of:










            Check the ones that are part of the "trinity".


4:8       When Jesus ascended to heaven, he led _____________________________ in his train.  Isaiah 6:1 says the train of God's robe filled the ________________________________.  1 Kings 8:10-11 says the cloud that filled the temple was the _________________________________ of the Lord. 


            Therefore, God's train is his glory.  What is God's glory?  Exodus 33:18-23 says Moses asked to see God's glory.  God replied, "When my glory passes by...you will see my back (train)."  List below from Exodus 34:6-7a the traits that create God's glory:










            Therefore, it is by these traits in Jesus' "train" that he led captives to heaven.  Remember, we were not entitled to heaven until Jesus overcome death.  Everyone had been held in paradise until his resurrection and ascension.


4:14     Childish Christians are tossed ______________________________________________ by the waves, blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the ___________________________ and _______________________________ of men in their ______________________________


4:15     Who is head of the church?  ______________________________


4:17     The Gentiles were _________________________________ in their understanding because of the ______________________ in them due to the __________________________________ of their hearts.


4:19     The Jews were usually moral, but the result of the Gentiles hardening their hearts was the loss of all ___________________, giving themselves over to ___________________________________ with a continual ____________________ for more.


4:32     But if one of our numbers does any of these since listed in the previous verses, we must __________________________ because Christ forgave us.


5:3-5    lists still more sins, which he calls idolatry:


            * O

            * F

            * C

            * I

            * G


5:18     We can be filled with the Spirit instead of getting ___________________________.


5:19     We need to speak to each other with ________________________________________________________________________,

            making music by playing on the strings of our _________________________.


5:21     Men and women are to submit who?  ________________________________________


5:2       Wives are to submit to who?  ____________________________________


5:25     Husbands are to submit to who?  __________________________________


            5:32     Wives are compared with what?  _________________________________________


6:1       Children are to submit to who?  __________________________________


            6:4       Fathers are not to _______________________________ their children.


6:5       Slaves are to submit to who?  ____________________________________


            6:9       Masters are to remember that they have a Master in _______________________


6:11     We are to put on the armour of God so we can take a stand against who and what?  _______________________________ ________________________________________________


6:12     Though we seem to be struggling only with people and events on earth, actually we are struggling against rulers, authorities, and powers of this ________________________________________________________ and against the _________________ forces of evil in the _______________________________________________________.


6:14-16  Our Christian armour is:


            * Buckle of ______________________________

            * Breastplate of ___________________________

            * Boots of _________________________________ with the _________________________ of peace (not war)

            * Shield of ________________________________

            * Helmet of ______________________________

            * Sword of the Spirit which is the ________________________ of God


6:20     Paul was an ambassador for God in _________________________________


6:21     Tychicus, who delivered Paul's prison letters to both Ephesus and Colossae, was from (see Acts 20:4) the province of ________________________.