Many places that are mentioned within the bible are just names, with no particular specific location. Ephesus is an example where you can go and stand in the very arena mentioned within the scriptures.
This very arena is mentioned in Acts 19:29,31 where two of Paul’s companions were caught up by the insurrection in the town. Gaius and Aristarchus underwent an experience that not many of us would hope to endure in our lifetime. Under duress, and probable physical violence these two men were dragged to this very theatre to the chants of great is Diana of the Ephesians. Paul sought to join them, but was persuaded by the brethren at Ephesus to refrain. This was a clear insight to the care that Paul had of his brethren. In juxtaposition to the seething hatred in pursuit of the ecclesia in his novitiate, the anxious thought for the welfare of others consumed him. The passion was reciprocated in their leaning on him with tears on his departure in Acts 20.
Greek mythology has Diana as the twin with Apollo to parents Jupiter and Latona on the island of Delos. Diana (gk heavenly or divine) was the Artemis of the Ephesians and the Persians. The god of the moon, the cyclical nature of the same controlling the cycles of fertility. The same idea was seen within Jericho the city of the moon, and within Ur and Haran were Nana, the god of the moon was worshipped. There was no mistake then when garments of Shinar were found at Jericho later in the time of Aachan. Josh 7:21. The elements were also seen within Ashteroth Karnaim, where Karnaim contains the idea of horns, and hence the rising moon, and the time of expected conception. The Latin Artemis was however different, and was the god of the hunt, demonstrated within panels with Marcus Aurelius sacrificing to this deity. Diana was then the goddess of the virgin, whose waiting for conception was a prime feature.
This worship became the foundation for the worship of Mary. The devotion of prayers of catholic masses to the woman indicates the need for appeasement of an angry deity and the placation of Jesus himself! This is at odds to biblical testimony where access to the father is through the son: “No man cometh to the Father, but by me” John 14:6 “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim 2:5 It also assumes that Mary is still alive to intercede for prayers. This again is at odds with the scriptures where “all men die, and then the judgment”
The theatre is built on the slopes of Panayir Dagh, with the capacity of seating 25,000. It is the largest theatre in Anatolia. [Another large theatre at Bergama / Pergamos and Miletus] The cavea has 66 rows of seats, divided by two diazoma (entrance rows of steps) and has three distinct sections reaching a height of 18 metres. The stage area called the skene, was used for both plays, contests and animal events. There was an actor preparation area called the orchestra. It was built during the reign of Lysimachus a successor of Alexander ca360-281BC whose segment of the divided Grecian empire included: Lydia, Ionia, Phrygia and the norther coast of asia minor. Lysimachus was one of the four horns of the goat mentioned in Daniel 8:8 One of the main attractions would have been “the sweet maidens, the daughters of Lydia” (1).
The real contest was between not merchant fees and a perceived deranged evangelist, but between the God of heaven, and the powers and principalities of sin. This was so outlined in the book of Ephesians, and the greatest victory ever taken is when a man decides to accept God over personal interest: “That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the ecclesia, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way, Eph 1:20-23.
- Jerome Murphy O’Connor: St Paul’s Ephesus: “Texts and archeology” pg 199