The End of Paul's 3rd Missionary Journey
"A Riot at Ephesus"
When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time. And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: "Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship."
Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions. And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him. Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater. Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people. But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!"
And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: "Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly. For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly. For we are in danger of being called in question for today's uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering." And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. (NKJV)
(Part 3) Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey: Ephesus…. “An Uproar In Ephesus”
As we prepare to close out this powerful 19th chapter of Acts, let’s do a quick review of what the Holy Spirit did in Ephesus through God’s called Apostle Paul.
1. First, 12 men, disciples who followed the teachings of John the Baptist were converted and after hearing the gospel message and realizing that the Messiah that they were waiting to come had already come in the person of Jesus Christ began to prophesy (proclaim) the Word of God.
2. Then Paul, (doing what he normally did when he went into a new city) went into the Jewish temple to reason with the Jews who worshipped there continued to be met with fierce opposition concerning the gospel message of Jesus Christ from both unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. However, there were some Jews and many Gentiles in Ephesus’ synagogue who did accept the gospel and were converted.
3. Paul responding to the fierce opposition did something he had not done previously at other temples. This time Paul gathered all of the new converts and removed them from the synagogue and separates the new church from the synagogue. Holding services in the School of Tyrannus, he continued to teach and reason with other Jews and Gentile who traveled to Ephesus, He did this for 2 years.
4. God blessed Ephesus with special miracles by using handkerchiefs and aprons Paul used for personal reasons and healed many of the sick and removed evil spirits from those whom had evil spirits.
From the 13th verse, certain vagabond Jews, 7 of them who were sons of a Jewish chief priest name Screva pretended to be exorcists, unsuccessfully attempted to cast out a demon in a man possessed while in his house.
They were met with the discovery that the demon not only knew who they were, but knew that they didn’t possess the Holy Spirit not the gift of casting out demons. Enraged and filled with violence, the demon possessed man beat them up, so badly, he tore off their clothes and they, all 7 of them ran from his house naked and wounded.
5. When the word of their fate reach the public, causing much fear, miraculously it started a great evangelistic harvest, for it did 5 things as the result of the fear the news concerning the 7 sons of Screva caused.
A. God’s name was greatly glorified in Ephesus.
B. Many of the people who were practitioners of witchcraft and other “curious” demonic arts got converted after confession of their gross sinning.
C. They completely turned away from their evil practices brought all of the books and charms used in their evil craft and burned all of it as not to pass them on to someone who may have wanted to remain in the craft.
D. They also publicly revealed how they did the things to bewitch the public. Someone took it upon themselves to find out how much money was spent in buying all the books and charms they used and priced all the burned material at 50,000 pieces of silver, which for that time frame in history was a great amount of money.
E. The WORD of God (the Gospel Message) grew and prevailed in Ephesus. After such a great conversion experience taking place in Ephesus, Paul purposed in his spirit to go back to Jerusalem before he was to ultimately go to Rome.
Paul’s Preaching and Miracles worked by God: “The Aftermath”
a. A “Great Commotion” Meeting of the Silversmiths (vs. 24-27)
Demetrius, a silversmith and one who made shrines (idols for a specific god or goddess) apparently called this meeting to voice his disdain for what the Gospel and the conversion of the people was doing to their money making profession. Here’s what he pointed out to the crowd: (vs. 25-28)
1. We all made our money by this craft (selling idols) This is our occupation. This is a lucrative business and we depend on people buying these idols.
2. Not only here but everywhere else THIS PAUL and THIS GOSPEL PREACHING is putting us out of business everywhere it’s been preached. Paul is telling everybody there are no gods made by hands.
3. Not only is our craft in danger of destruction, but the temple of our great goddess Diana should be despised and her magnificence is broken to whom all of Asia and the world (as they knew it) worships.
Important: When the WORD of God is preached and when it Prevails.......Four Major effects of Pure Religion (Christianity) will have in “Communities and on “Commerce” (Economics
a. When the WORD of God prevail, it destroys (puts out of business) many kinds of businesses people now patronize. It would put an end to all businesses that caters to the pride, vanity, luxury, vices, and selfish ambition of people.
b. When God’s WORD prevails, wars cease, and peace breaks out in “war-torn” lands. God’s WORD makes all the preparations for war which drafts so many hearts and hands into mortal combat useless.. It makes war mongers lay down their weapons of mass destruction and turn their spears into plow sheds.
c. When God’s WORD prevail liquor stores are closed down and crack houses are boarded up….meekness and temperance prevails in a once violent society…the only things that would be distilled is water and vinegar.
d. When God’s word prevails: licentiousness would cease…No more "Gentlemen’s" clubs…No more Astoreth (dancing poles). pimps and prostitutes will be gone..
Here’s a Literal truth:
The effect of pure religion (Christianity) often exposes and brings certain immoral and unmoral jobs that people are employed in into shame and contempt. The WORD of God pours shame on those who are engaged in ministering to the vices and luxuries of the world. Pure and undefiled religion reveals the evil of such a course of life, and those vices are banished by the mere prevalence of better principles. Yet, the talents and money that these industries lose is not really lost….It is transformed to other business and other jobs. God’s WORD does not make you idle. HIS Word causes people to devote their talents to useful employments, and opens fields in which all apply their talents and labor to become useful to themselves and to their fellow-men.
In other words: the once useless in the eyes of God has now become useful through redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Crowd reaction: Wrath in fullest (vs. 28-31)
Being full of wrath cried out: “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” (vs. 28)
The purpose of the outcry of this clamor was doubtless to produce a persecution against Paul, and secure protection for the Ephesian silversmiths to stay in business
1st Point: Often, when people have no arguments after they have been exposed for the wrong they have done, rather than repent and stop what they were doing… they raised hell and start a ruckus.
When the silversmiths business was in danger of being ruined when their employments are in danger of being ruin and the people began to stop buying silver replicas of Diana, They flew into a fit, being filled with rage.
2nd point: When people's pecuniary interests are affected, they often show great for zeal for religion, and expect both support and protection of their idolatry by raising a ruckus clamor in behalf of some man- made doctrine to maintain their own person interest and vices to protect their own financial or influential gains from wicked devices and means.
3rd point: People will always find a way to pen a religious cloak on what they do as unmoral and immoral it may be and then in opposition of the real church question the ethics of the Christian religion, because Christianity breeds change in the one who embraces it and condemns the acts of idolatry and the lifestyles of the unmoral and immoral.: and sounds God’s warning to those who refuse to turn from their wicked ways… Remember the following Scriptures:
1 Corinthians 5:17: If any man be in Christ, he (or she) is a new creature (creation) Old things are passed away….Behold (Look and observe) All things are become new….
Romans 12: 1-2: And be not conformed to this world (SIN-Lust, Pride, Greed, Idolatry, Immorality) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove that good, acceptable, perfect will of God
The City's Reaction: Confusion:
2 of Paul’s companions: Gaius and Aristarchus were caught and rushed into judgment into a theater. (vs. 29- 31)
A “disorganized” crowd of Ephesians: They grabbed hold of Gaius (a Corinthian who entertained Paul at his house and showed great hospitality toward him there) and Aristarchus ( a man who would accompany and watch over Paul when he traveled to Rome and would also be incarcerated with him there) arrested them and brought them into the marketplace to stand trial.
Paul ‘s passion and concern: Paul wanted to go and talk to the people, even defend both his friends and his own ministry, but the disciples would allow him to. (vs. 30)
Certain of the chief people of Asia (the Asiarchs) who were Paul’s friends sent word to him expressing their concern and sought to dissuade him from going too. (vs. 31)
Who are the Asiaics?
The Asiarchs were those to who were responsible for the care and regulation of the public games. They were a sort of high priests, and were always persons of considerable riches and influence. Were they Christian? No
They could not have been Christians; but they were Paul’s friends; and having foresight that Paul would be exposed to great danger if he went into the theatre in the midst of such turmoil, they sent a message to him, pleading with him not to go into danger so apparent.
Taking a closer look at the actions of the mob crowd…..Just to show just how confused they were:
“Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Here’s a prime example of the danger of what could happen whenever a crowd is filled and gathered together with uncontrolled passion over a civil matter and not know what that matter is in reality.:
Some therefore cried one thing……. Most of them didn’t even know what was going on. Only a few did…but for those who didn’t….. Their passion for drama and noise drew them in a frenzy and they became part of the mob. You can’t follow the thundering herd! Every crowd isn’t your crowd!
Another “literal truth”
In most cases where a riot or a mob scene breaks out suddenly, the majority of the people who show up don’t even know what’s going on…Noise and excitement has a way of making us stop what we are doing and go join the noise and excitement. Wherever you hear noise, eventually a crowd will gather to first find out what caused the noise and then become part of that noise!
Here’s a PowerPoint:
If the church could only be drawn by divine noise and the holy excitement of God’s love in the atmosphere and praise enters in and breaks out in the building. What building? YOUR building….YOUR temple... your body is the temple of the HOLY Ghost….,Dare to let joy enter in your building, Dare to let deliverance enter in the building, let healing enter in the building. Let the Holy Spirit put you in a holy frenzy…..When all of God’s children get together….WHAT a TIME!
At the Marketplace: Case Dismissed (verses 33-34)
And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defense unto the people. (vs. 33)
And they (the Jews in opposition of Paul) drafted Alexander out of the crowd to speak in their behalf. His role was to basically tell the magistrates the Jews had nothing to do with the uproar. Who this Alexander was is not known. According to many Biblical scholars, Grotius Alexander (his full name) was one who was known to be a Jew, and who wished to defend the Jews from being regarded as responsible for starting this riot. Up to this point in modern history, the pagans believed that the Christians were a sect of the Jews. (Judaism) The Jews who were believers of Judaism wanted him to speak in their behalf to show Christianity was not a part of Judaism nor were they in allegiance to Paul and the preaching of the gospel but the uproar was caused by the actions of Paul and his group, the newly formed church and the ministers who assisted him in spreading the gospel
But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.(vs. 34)
The mob’s response to Alexander: When they determined and figured out that Alexander was a Jew, they literally shouted him down and drowned his ability to be heard by the crowd. For 2 hours they shouted the following: “GREAT IS DIANA OF THE EPHESIANS”
Reason: There was a general disdain and prejudice against the Jews, the and the belief that Christianity was just a sect of Judaism, they (the confused mob) was fully disposed to blame the entire cause of this uproar on Jews. Thus, they didn’t want to hear anything the Jews had to say to any defense.
A “note” concerning the outcry from the mob: the outcry served 2 purposes:
They first did it to silence Alexander.
They shouted, continuously in order to make it emphatic in public that they were completely “souled” out to the worship and upkeep of the monument erected in honor of Diana (Artemis) The more they shouted, the more in a frenzy they became.
Power Point of Emphasis:
As a Christian, the attitude they had toward Artemis should be the same attitude we ought to have toward the Lord. The more we call His name the better we should feel, and the louder we ought to praise HIM… the more the Holy Spirit should cause us be so aware of the presence of God…the power of God …and the protection of God that that praise that’s on the inside that’s trying to get out even now has no excuse not to get out….When you think of the goodness of Jesus and all that He’s done for you….You ought to let that praise out...That fire that’s on the inside that’s shut up in our bones ought to make you want to holler….to celebrate in a Holy frenzy. They had that attitude toward a statue….the GOD we serve is real
Concerning the Town Clerk (Chancellor, scribe, the secretary, public notary
And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?
Whatever his official title, this officer had a seat in their deliberation assemblies, and apparently, it was his responsibility to keep the peace in Ephesus.
When he had appeased the people (the loud confused mob crowd) that is, restrained, got them quiet, then taking over the assembly, he delivered the following address: (in confidence, arrogance, indignation and reproof against any naysayers)
"You men of Ephesus, What man in this crowd or elsewhere, that does not know that it is well known (and openly admitted) this whole city of the Ephesians worships the great goddess Diana and the image (actual statue) which fell down from Jupiter. In fact the whole wide world comes here worshipping her and making business transactions".
The Implication: What he thought and his personal position on the matter:
He implied that the worship of Diana was so well established that there was no danger that it could be destroyed by a few Jews, and he therefore reproved them (the mob crown) for what he deemed was their unreasonable fears.
What he didn’t know or couldn’t imagine:
Because he knew very little to nothing about the power of “that” religion (Christian religion the Holy Spirit and the gospel (the WORD of GOD) of salvation).
He didn’t know that the proclamation of God’s WORD cause everything that happened in Ephesus then. Not only did God’s WORD bring a cataclysmic spiritual change in Ephesus then, the same WORD would do the same in the future.
In the future, history will record the final demise of the entire Roman Empire, (Babylon) idolatry, immorality and every vile act of sin imaginable in general, including the worship of Diana of Ephesus and all.
From Revelation Chapter 18 to Revelation Chapter 20:15, God revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos that in the near future (according to God's timetable) Satan's destruction will be complete, including the total destruction of Babylon (Revived Roman Empire) and his ultimate demise in Chapter 20:15 in the Lake of fire.
“The Fall of Babylon the Great” (vs. 1-3)
“After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily* with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."
God's decree to HIS People: “Come out of Babylon” (vs. 4-8)
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached* to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you,* and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.' Therefore her plagues will come in one day: death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges* her".
The World’s Reaction to her destruction: The World Mourns Babylon's Fall (vs. 9-19)
The Kings Reaction to Babylon's destruction: Lamentation and weeping (vs. 9-10)
The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'
The Merchant’s Reaction: (The Movers and Shakers) (vs. 11-19)
"And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you,* and you shall find them no more at all.
The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.
The “Ship master’s Reaction”:
Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What is like this great city?'
"They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.'
Heaven and the “Righteous on earth’s reaction:
Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles* and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!"
The Finality of Babylon's Fall (Roman Empire) (vs. 21- 24
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth."
Heaven Exalts over Babylon: “Babylon is Destroyed!”
“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord* our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!" Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both* small and great!"
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the* Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God." And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Conclusion of Chapter 19.........
Now concerning any accusations pertaining to our goddess:
Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. (vs. 36)
Since no one can call in question the zeal of the Ephesians on this subject, or doubt the sincerity of their beliefs, and since there can be no danger that this well-established worship is to be destroyed by the efforts of a few evil-disposed Jews, there is no reason for this uproar. Quiet down!
Do nothing in a heated, inconsiderate manner. There is no occasion for tumult and riot. The whole difficulty can be settled in perfect consistency with the maintenance of order For ye (Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths) have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.(vs. 37)
Demetrius and his friends. The blame was to be traced to them. You brought these men here who haven’t committed sacrilege, nor have they blasphemed your goddess; The meaning here is that Paul and his companions had not been guilty of robbing the temple of Diana, or any other temple. The charge of sacrilege could not be brought against them. Though they had preached against idols and idol worship, yet they had offered no violence to the temples of idolaters, nor had they attempted to strip them of the sacred utensils employed in their service. What they had done, they had done peaceably.
They had not used harsh or reproachful language of Diana. This had not been charged on them, nor is there the least evidence that they had done it. They had opposed idolatry; had reasoned against it; and had endeavored to turn the people from it. But there is not the least evidence that they had ever done it in harsh or reproachful manner.
This reveals a powerful lesson we all can learn from Paul's method of evangelism:
This shows that people should employ reason, and not harsh or reproachful language against a pervading evil; and that the way to remove it is to enlighten the minds of people, and to convince them of the error of their ways.
Speak the truth in love and share the gospel in a way that causes the people hearing it to strongly consider their ways as they are under conviction by the Holy Spirit. People gain nothing by bitter and reviling words; and it is much to obtain the testimony of even the enemies of religion as Paul did of the chancellor of Ephesus-that no such words had been used in describing their crimes and follies.
Now, Concerning Demetrius and the Craftsmen (verses 38-41)
Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
If Demetrius and the Craftsmen have a complaint of injury; if injustice has been done them by anyone.
There are court-days; days which are open, or appointed for judicial trials, where such matters can be determined in a proper manner. Perhaps the courts were then held, and the matter might be immediately determined.And there are deputies Roman proconsuls that their cases might be brought before them with the certainty that it would be heard and decided. Let them accuse each other in the court. The laws are equal, and impartial justice will be done.
But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
If you seek to determine any other matters than that pertaining to the alleged wrong which Demetrius has suffered in his business. Anything respecting public affairs; anything pertaining to the government and the worship of Diana in an assembly convened, not by tumult and riot, but in conformity to law.
For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
Right now, we are in danger to be called in question by the government; by the Roman authority. If this uproar, continues for so long a time, it would be likely to attract the attention of the magistrates, and expose them to their displeasure
The Roman government hated public commotions and such an assembly as this, convened without any good cause, would not escape their notice. There was a Roman law which made it capital for anyone to be engaged in promoting a riot. Sui "He who raises a mob, let him be punished with death."
And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
Dr. William Edward Boddie