As I was relaxing on my front porch this morning I began thinking about the apostle Paul when he had visited Athens. Athenians worshiped over 30,000 gods. Each god had it’s own alter, including one to the Unknown God.
The apostle Paul ministered in some of the world’s most pagan and demonic cities. In fact, along with Athens, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus are among some of the most pagan, demonic cities in the history of mankind!
As the wine, drugs, music, drum-beating, and sexual perversion of temple worship intoxicated those participating in the pagan ceremony, demonic activity became stronger and stronger in the temple. Such was the backdrop of Paul’s visit.
The Altar to the Unknown God
A plague raged through Athens about 600 years before Paul visited the City. the city elders were clueless about how to stop it. They believed the city was under a curse. They offered sacrificial offerings to their gods, but to no avail. The priestess said there was another god who remained unappeased. She advised that they should send a ship to the island of Crete and fetch a man called Epimenides who would know how to appease the offended god.
Epimenides advised the elders to graze a flock of healthy sheep on the grassy slope of Mars Hill. He then prayed to the unknown God for a sign and pleaded that any sheep that pleases you to lie upon the grass instead of grazing.
Although it was early morning when the sheep were at their hungriest, before long some sheep settled down to rest and these were separated from the remainder of the flock for the sacrificial offering. Epimenides ordered stonemasons to construct altars on each animal’s resting place. On each, they inscribed the words “agnosto theo” meaning “to an unknown god”. Within a week, the Athenians recovered.
Paul in Athens
Acts chapter 17:16 tells us; While Paul was waiting for them [Silas and Timothy to join him] in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city.
Later we learn in verse 22-23; So Paul, standing before the council [states] … as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’
Paul continues in verse 23; This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
Discovering The Unknown God
One of my favorite movie series was the Indiana Jones sagas. He was the great archeologist in search of the Ark of the Covenant in the first movie. His search took him to many different lands.
I am suggesting that we begin an adventure together to discover the unknown God. I believe that this unknown God is absolutely knowable. He desires to be known by each person He created. This God has revealed Himself to each person that has ever lived on this planet. He will continue to reveal Himself for all eternity.
To know God is to be mankind’s highest goal in life. The only way to get to know someone is to spend time with them and learn by observation. Join me on this journey. Together we will discover this God who reveals Himself in many various ways.
I have been searching through the Guidebook and have found many precious gems (attributes) proving to me who this Unknown God is and what He likes and doesn’t like. There is so much to discover!
I have collected these gems and listed them under the heading “the Knowable God.” Use these as a quick reference to help you begin to discover for yourself this Unknown God. This God loves us more than you can imagine! Let’s discover Him together!