Acts 18:23, Phrygia and the New Jerusalem

And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

//Phrygia is a region in modern-day Turkey. It’s mentioned three times in the book of Acts, telling of how the Gospel was spread there. But do you know its true Christian claim to fame?

It starts with this verse in Revelation:

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. –Revelation 21:2

In the second century, a man named Montanus started a new movement. He believed the age of the Holy Spirit had dawned, and that it dwelt in him bodily. Thus, the end of the world was at hand, and it was time for the New Jerusalem to descend. (Revelation teaches that the New Jerusalem floats down out of heaven to land on earth).

Montanus hailed from Phrygia, and insisted that’s where it was coming down. While Revelation hints that the New Jerusalem will land on Mount Zion, Montanus though it was headed for Turkey, the region of Phrygia, in a small village called Papuza.

While highly influential (you have probably heard of Tertullian, who was originally a Montanist), Montanus’ views couldn’t break into mainstream Christianity. He was excommunicated by the church in Phrygia. The New Jerusalem must have found a different place to locate.

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