Caesarea Maritima

December 6, 2017

Acts 10 narrates the exciting history of how the door of faith was opened to the Gentiles. The Apostle Peter was directed to leave Joppa and go up the coast to Caesarea where he would find a man with an honest and good heart, Cornelius the Roman Centurion, as well as his relatives and close friends.

Wave action at Caesarea, on the south side of the Herodian Palace. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Peter, who had the “keys of the kingdom of heaven,” had preached to the Jews first on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), and was then privileged to preach to the Gentiles in Acts 10. Peter began by saying, “Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10:34-35, NASB). Cornelius and those present heard “words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14, CSB). They were receptive to and obedient to the faith!

From this new beginning the gospel would go on to include Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 11), and on to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8; cf. Acts 13-28, etc.).

We have several posts on Caesarea, including here, here, and here.

Herodian Temple Inscription

April 1, 2010

Recent posts have featured biblically related artifacts from the Archaeology Museum at Istanbul. Yet another very important exhibit housed there is an inscription from the Herodian temple, (so called because of extensive renovations by Herod the Great, renovations which continued after his death). Stones with inscriptions (written in both Latin and Greek) such as this featured below were posted at regular intervals within the temple, to designate the point at which Gentiles could proceed no further:

Herodian Temple Inscription. Istanbul. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Thus far only one complete and two fragmentary copies (all in Greek) of this inscription have been discovered.  The inscription translates as follows:  “No foreigner is to enter within the balustrade and embankment around the sanctuary.  Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his death which follows.”

Visitors to the temple in Jesus’ day, and in Paul’s time, would have seen this stone and others like it. Paul in mind this separation of Jew and Gentile, symbolized by this inscription, when he wrote to the Ephesians, telling what a difference the Gospel had made.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation [emp. mine, L.M.], having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,  in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,  in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:14-22).

So the separation of Jew and Gentile no longer exists in Christ; Jew and Gentile are on an equal footing; both are sinners and must be reconciled unto God through the cross, in one body.  This is the temple referenced in our text; a building made of people, living stones, Jews and Gentiles who have come to the Lord for salvation.