Lesbos @ God's Geography
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Lesbos



Lesbos is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, about 623 square miles, just off the coast of Turkey. Paul the apostle was on this island, as recorded in Acts 20, in the city of Mitylene (modern Mytilini):

13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.



[Image courtesy NASA's Earthobservatory]

Now let's zoom in and take a look at what this island is shaped like:



[Image STS058-71-87 courtesy Earth Sciences and Image Analysis,
NASA-Johnson Space Center Astronaut Photography of Earth]

It's a moth!

Moth

Your first question might be, "Why a moth instead of a butterfly?" Before we get to that, let's take a look at moths in the Bible. They are all clothes moths, and the references are to their destruction of garments. There is a perfect example in Matthew 6 where Jesus says:

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Here's a diagram of a clothes moth:


Clothes Moth


In all cases the moth is a negative symbol, and synonymous with destruction or corruption. On the contrary, the butterfly is (I believe) a symbol of renewal and even eternal life, but there are no butterflies in the Bible.


Butterfly


I can't help but point out a few interesting points about this island: (1) Mytilini means 'mutilated'; (2) Lesbos is the origin of the word 'lesbian'; and (3) the euphemistic symbolism of the moth (or butterfly) is clearly feminine, namely the clitoris. Female circumcision certainly comes to mind. Talk about mutilation!


There is one characteristic of moths we should consider: at night, many moths are attracted to light, giving rise to the phrase, "moth to the flame", a figure of speech for attraction. But why do they do that? Can we say they are creatures of darkness (at least many of them) that are attracted to the Light (John 1:4-9)? With this in mind, notice on this old map how close the Lesbos moth is to the seven churches that were in Turkey:


Seven Churches


And recall that each of the seven churches was represented by a candlestick in Revelation 1:

12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire;

15 And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.


He is the Light.

17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, "Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am He That liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

Now that's a lot of light for a moth to be attracted to! I trust that your light shines so that you will attract many moths (Matthew 5):

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Which is in heaven.


Moth to the flame

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